Jan 13

January 2005 Minutes

Call to Order:

Laurel Driscoll called the meeting to order.

  • The minutes of the December meeting were amended to read “The meeting was adjourned by Veronica.” Vickie Driskell moved to accept the amended minutes. Diane Basom seconded.

Chancellor Thomas update:

  • The good news is that the University is hiring a software support person, a user support person, and a graphics artist. These searches are completed and offers have been made.
  • Regarding state funding, state income is ahead of projections. However, balancing the state budget will continue to be a challenge. During the previous 2 years, the $400 million shortball has been funded by one-time monies that are no longer available. Promised money is being distributed to higher education institutions and the Chancellor is working closely with the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Chancellor feels confident our interests will receive serious consideration.
  • The smoking policy has been implemented. Receptacles will be placed at building entrances to eliminate litter.
  • Student enrollment is down. Chancellor Thomas would like to hear what areas of study people might be interested in. SMSU-WP has been contacted about possibly offering firefighter training which would lead to a certificate. Dean Law and Dennis Lancaster will be looking into this possibility. The university is attempting to identify community needs and evaluate where SMSU-WP can meet the need. The Chancellor also asked us to talk to people we know about what SMSU-WP has to offer.
  • Someone asked if A+ funding will continue this year. Chancellor Thomas said he had not heard any discussion of A+, so he assumes there are no changes.
  • Chancellor Thomas was asked to address the issue of giving sick days to another employee. The policies do no allow this practice. There are some benefits to accumulating sick days. Sick days and vacation days are handled differently. A certain number of vacation days can be accumulated, there is a maximum. If an employee accumulates more than the maximum of vacation days, he loses the extra days. Sick days continue to accumulate with no maximum. According to Martha Tuttle, a retiring employee is paid for 40% (up to a maximum of 48 days) of unused sick leave. If the retiree has accumulated more than 48 sick days, the additional days can be used to extend vested service. For every 21 days in the balance, 1 additional month of service is reported to MOSERS. An employee who leaves prior to retirement receives no compensation for sick days.
  • The Chancellor indicated that currently, vacation time is added after an employee has worked 7 years and then again after 17 years. He would like to see this come more in line with industry standards, which have increments of 5 and 10 years.
  • Someone asked about the reason for decreased enrollment. Thomas said that the Admissions Office had called every student who did not return last fall. There were a wide variety of reasons that students didn’t return, many of them personal. Some were looking for a degree that led more directly to employment. Others were looking for a less rigorous program. The University is continuing to research this issue.
  • Chancellor Thomas updated us about the Computer Graphics AA degree. Thomas said it is being implemented. The Respiratory Therapy degree is in place and provisionally approved.

Laurel asked the Chancellor to help her award certificates of appreciation to past officers Veronica Mays, Vickie Driskell, Rachel Peterson and Barbie Mustion.

Laurel said there are offices sponsoring The Friday Thing each month except January and June. ASC/Library will take June. January has no sponsor.

Committee sign-up sheets will be available after the meeting for the following committees: Bylaws, Budget and Priorities, Special Event/Fundraising, Community Service/Public Relations, Website Administration.

Special Events/Fundraising committee will handle new employee packets and picture albums for employees who are leaving. After some discussion, Steve made a motion that employees who have worked at SMSU-WP for 5 or more years will receive a picture album from the Staff Senate. Martha Seconded. Motion carried.

Laurel previously met with the other new officers to plan for the coming year. She would like to bring in speakers for the monthly meetings and asked if those present had suggestions. Several suggestions were made.

Laurel asked if the Staff Senate wished to join the students and faculty in donating to the Tsunami relief. Heather Mullanack, SGA President, is coordinating this effort. Vickie asked what organization will be receiving the funds. Laurel will investigate further.

It was brought up and discussed that there is no break room for staff in Looney Hall.

Laurel received a card from Charlie Sheen (2004 spokesperson for Lee National Denim Day) thanking SMSU-WP for participating in Lee Denim Day for breast cancer. Vickie will continue to coordinate this annual acitivity.

Adjournment:

Laurel adjourned the meeting, with a reminder to sign up for committees.

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