August 4, 2011 Minutes

Meeting Date: 2011-8-4

Person Presiding: Michael Frizell

Members in Attendance: Sandra Arthur, Scott Fiedler, Sandra Johnson, Nadine Jones, Peggy Jones, Charles Klarr, Erin Parrish, Holly Robison, Matthew Stublefield, Erin Trotter, Andrea Weber, Kirk Whittington, Dixie Williams, Mary Ann Wood, Kyle Yates

Guests in Attendance: Beth Bruner, Brandon Eckhardt, Patrick Grayshaw, Ashleigh Lewellen, Steve Turner, Sharon Lopinot, Catherine Beck, Paula Wilhelm, Donna Hanley, Lyn McKenzie, Pam Campbell, Paula Huey, Rebecca Grant, Vicki Anderson, Yvette Medley, Holly Pepe, Kelly Cara, Susan Willingham, Diane Sandefur, Karen Foster, Kelli Farris, Leta Moler, Jennifer Meyer

Actions of Meeting

Agenda Item: Call to Order

Staff Senate has quorum, and was subsequently called to order by Chairperson Michael Frizell

Agenda Item: Approval of Agenda

The agenda was emailed in advance of the meeting. There were no changes requested and the agenda was approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Approval of Minutes (7/7/2011)

The minutes were emailed in advance of the meeting. Mary Ann Wood and Dixie Williams were mistakenly listed as proxies, and Sharon Lopinot’s name was misspelled. These changes made, the minutes were approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Presentation

Representatives of the All University Campaign Committee presented. Mike Harders and Melanie Earl related that staff and faculty would be asked to consider making a charitable gift between September 12th and 30th. The goal this year is to increase participation through payroll deductions. Those donating can direct the use of their donation.

Agenda Item: Old Business

Secretary Matthew Stublefield gave an update on the Staff Senate web site. The roster has been updated and more changes are in the future. Due to the time it takes to make changes, he requested that Staff Senators email him if there was a certain section that needed prioritized over other sections.

Chairman Mike Frizell talked about three anonymous letters he received from staff members regarding concerns they had. He thanked staff at large for communicating with Staff Senate and encouraged people to continue doing so.

Chair-Elect Dixie Williams asked Senator Scott Fiedler to present the findings of the Bylaws Workgroup. Senator Scott Fiedler stated that the workgroup agreed with the changes but that a few other changes needed made. Since they only met the day before the Staff Senate meeting, they hadn’t had time to send those changes out yet. These amendments will be emailed to Staff Senate in advance of the next meeting for consideration before we vote.

Agenda Item: New Business

Certification pay for Certified Professional Secretaries

Senator Peggy Jones brought the subject to the floor and yielded to Beth Bruner from the Department of Planning, Design and Construction.

Beth Bruner holds a CPS and explained what the certification was and the exam needed to get it. The University gives a $50/month pay increase to people who pass the certifying exam.

In 1988, the Board of Regents designated this as a stipend. This was changed a few years ago to an increase in base salary, rather than a stipend, which has had the effect of newly hired people being brought in at the same pay as someone with their certification, even if the new hire isn’t certified.

A resolution has been proposed to return to the spirit of the initial resolution from the Board of Regents so the $50/month is either a stipend or somehow delineated so it is not part of base salary.

Senator Holly Robison raised the point that 369 staff have their CPS, and that the workgroup would like to send a survey to those staff members to get their feedback about how to move forward. Currently, those holding a CPS do not have to be recertified to maintain their stipend because originally the certifying organization (an international body separate from the University) did not require certification. In 1997, that body changed their standards and now require regular recertification, and the University issued a statement at that time that it would not have the same requirement for the purpose of maintaining the stipend.

Senator Holly Robison went on to say that the resolution could be read as requiring continued recertification, thereby endangering some people’s stipend, so she wanted to make sure it has a grandfather clause for those people. Regarding the survey, she stated that Kelly Cara with the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning has volunteered to help write the survey, which is scheduled for the first week of September and with the hope of presenting the results and resolution at the October meeting of the Board of Governors.

Chair-Elect Dixie Williams asked why we would want to grandfather people into the stipend if the certifying organization had changed to require recertification.

Senator Holly Robison stated that the test was now longer, cost money to the test-taker, and was hard to complete.

Senator Nadine Jones stated that when she originally took the test, she was told that she would not need to recertify.

Beth Bruner pointed out that while the University pays the initial fee for the test, it does not pay for recertification, and that the exam is quite expensive.

Senator Sandra Johnson observed that she is unfamiliar with how the certification worked prior to 1997, but that the certificate now has an expiration date.

Senator Peggy Jones stated that in 1988 the increase in pay was to recognize the achievement and maintenance of CPS skills. The 1997 resolution eliminated the requirement to formally maintain the certification. Now, the exam is changing from CPS to CAP with 3 sections for a total of6-8 hours. The more advanced CAP-OM exam is not funded by the University and has no stipend associated with it.

Senator Scott Fiedler brought up the example of the Master Advising Certification which requires a 1.5 day workshop and continued maintenance. Because of this example, he would think that the CPS would need to be maintained as well.

Senator Nadine Jones stated that while she has taken courses, it has been 3-4 years since her certification lapsed.

Chair-Elect Dixie Williams observed that it seems like the focus is on a one-time grab for money: someone takes the test once and gets a raise of $600/annual and then doesn’t have to maintain that. With this being the case, she can’t imagine the Board of Governors approving a change to it. She went on to state that Staff Senate shouldn’t take this forward is it’s just a grab for money; we should move forward for the right reasons.

Leta Moler from the Office for Diversity and Inclusion stated that maintenance requires 50-60 hours of class. Perhaps as a transition, people who had their CPS at one time and have the stipend could do the 50-60 hours over the course of 5 years.

Senator Holly Robison stated that the draft resolution was to redefine the pay increase as a stipend rather than an increase to base salary, that way when the base salary is increased the people without a CPS won’t be making the same amount as the people who have a CPS.

Senator Mary Ann Wood observed that Interim President Smart is getting rid of numerous stipends right now and wondered if the CPS stipend would be viewed in the same light.

Lyn McKenzie from Human Resources added that while the organization that grants the CPS requires recertification, the University does not and that the stipend would continue. In January 2006, then President Nietzel directed then CFO Kent Kay to move stipends into base pay with the goal of making payroll more transparent. She added that base salary increases are based on a percentage of a person’s total salary, so while she agrees that it disadvantages people during a time of salary adjustments, it was viewed as a benefit for those who would receive raises for a percentage of their base salary.

Paula Wilhelm from Human Resources went on to note that the October 1997 memo addressed the IAAP requirement for recertification, at which time Southwest Missouri State University choose to not require recertification. Rather than focus on the international organization, the goal at the time was for people to take professional development courses and keep account of their coursework for submission to the national organization. Paula went on to state that the CPS exam is going down from 3 parts to 1 part.

Secretary Matthew Stublefield stated that it ought to be possible to keep track of pay on the back-end.

Senator Charles Klarr observed that this seems to be an issue of payroll compression which is happening everywhere.

Beth Bruner said that Interim President Clif Smart mentioned pay in the recent Faculty Senate meeting and that he wants to have a pay raise specifically for Job Family 1. She feels that this may be a good time to write this resolution about maintaining the extra pay for CPS and grandfather people in based on their taking additional courses.

Senator Holly Robison stated that anyone who moved up (was promoted or changed departments) and took a position elsewhere lost the bonus due to its incorporation in base salary. If it was a stipend, it wouldn’t be lost like that.

Senator Charles Klarr asked Human Resource if anyone had “lost” their extra CPS pay since 2007.

Senator Holly Robison and Dixie Williams stated that they would be hired at the minimum for the new position.

Lyn McKenzie stated that if a person with a CPS were promoted to a new position, their pay would just increase to that new salary amount.

Senator Sandra Arthur stated that this is what happened to her. She was reclassified after only getting $1-200 of her first year’s CPS stipend, and then the amount was considered part of her base pay for the new position. But she was still paying out-of-pocket to maintain the certification.

Lyn McKenzie observed that if we had been in normal times, people would have gotten raises, which figures off base salary.

Senator Sandra Arthur and Lynn McKenzie debated whether or not a person truly “lost” the increase when they moved to a higher paying position, with Lynn maintaining that they did not and Sandra maintaining that they did.

Beth Bruner added that when she was promoted, she “lost” her CPS pay, but it was pulled into her base salary. Consequently, 5 other people in Administrative and Information Services received raises to the same amount she made.

Chairman Michael Frizell asked for final words, and Karen Foster stated that we need to re-evaluate the situation. If we give someone $600 for getting their CPS, we should then incentivize additional increases for other training or use our fringe benefit credit hours to crease better educational access.

Senator Erin Parrish stated that we need to be careful in the wording of the resolution because the University does not give additional pay for increases in education.

Upcoming renewal of Missouri State University health insurance

Secretary Matthew Stublefield brought the subject of the upcoming renewal of Missouri State University’s health insurance plan to the floor and yielded to Mike Harders for an explanation of the issue. This renewal is coming up in the next year and Mr. Harders has suggested the University reconsider its self-insurance and accept bids from outside companies to see if we can get a better deal.

Open Forum

Director Andrea Weber has a list of work groups for Staff Senators to sign onto based on the survey results she received.

Chairman Mike Frizell stated that Staff Senate needs to continue being proactive on matters and that the Certified Professional Secretary discussion was a good one and will help promote goodwill.

Melanie Earl reminded the Senate that people interested in serving on the Staff Senate Scholarship Committee can sign up on the form at the front of the room.

Chairman Mike Frizell stated that if Staff Senate is going to do anything, it must be unified. If people aren’t interested in working on a particular project, we’ll let it go rather than trying to force it along. And if someone has something that needs addressed, they should let the Senate know.