Staff Council Minutes 2002-2003

Staff Council Minutes 09-10-02

Attendees: Aime DeGrenier, Co-Chair, Irasema Lewis, Susan Rusiecki, Renee Sweeney, Rosemary Jackson, Michelle Richard, Donna Russell, Patricia O’Brien, Aaron Clark & Susan Desjardins


  • Review remaining business from last year
  • Discuss plan or strategy for an election in Li Ling Waller’s division Discuss co-chair position, nomination & election
  • Staff Council Luncheons with guest speakers
  • Staff Council retreat with Lauren Turner
  • Brown Bag/town meeting luncheons with Lauren Turner
  • Revisit some of the bylaws.

Add in some guidelines for future committees

Since Li Ling Waller has resigned as co-chair and will soon be leaving the campus for a job elsewhere, we discussed filling her position on the council. After reading the bylaws we determined that a campus wide nomination & election must take place to fill the balance of her term. Renee Sweeney, Aime DeGrenier & Sue Rusiecki will take on the task of sending out the nomination ballots.

Rosemary Jackson nominated Michelle Richard for the vacant co-chair position and the motion was seconded by Donna Russell. She was elected unanimously by the council.

Aaron Clark has agreed to serve out Blanca Ayala’s term on the council and will serve on the Social Recreation committee and help Shelly Richard with scheduling events. Aaron’s name was on the ballot during the last election and came in second to Blanca who left the college during the summer.

Both Rosemary & Aime have been contacted recently by a Mount Holyoke College student/reporter with questions regarding the council’s role on campus and our views regarding the Fair Labor Code issue. We discussed how and if we should respond (see attached response written by Rosemary Jackson).

Rosemary will contact Mary Renda, chair of the MCCL committee, for an update regarding the Fair Labor Code. She will also invite Susan Pliner, Dina Bevivino & Sandra Suarez of the MCCL sub-committee dealing with the Fair Labor Code to meet with us and bring us up to date on this issue.

Continuing business was discussed as follows:

Staff luncheons in October, February, March, & April with guest speakers that may include:

  • Rev. Richard Fournier — Interim Protestant Chaplain/Ombudsperson
  • Lisa Freitag-Keshet, Jewish Chaplain
  • Patricia Albanese, Director of the Library
  • Joanne Creighton, President of the College

We discussed having town meetings (open forum for staff) with Lauren Turner of the Department of Human Resources. They may be held in Chapin or in another large space if Lauren agrees to do them again this year.

Winterfest, December 18th sponsored by the President’s office and held with assistance from the council members.

We expect to have a half day retreat with Lauren Turner sometime in the fall.

We discussed how to implement a campus wide method of performance evaluations for employees of the college and if there is a merit pay pilot program in progress. Questions included; how does one get a performance review and who is responsible to see that this is done by managers on a yearly basis. It was determined that there is a haphazard method in place and that Human Resources is working on getting a good model that will work campus wide. A merit pay pilot project may be considered by the President’s office.

We discussed the desire for a tuition benefit for children of people who have either retired or are approaching retirement from the college.

We were assured by the people who work in Human Resources that a dental plan will be forthcoming and could be in effect sometime in 2004.

The Department of Human Resources is in the process of planning "Brown Bag" luncheons. A campus wide survey was conducted last year to determine what subjects would be of interest to the employees of the college.

The review of the by-laws was tabled for discussion at a future meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Desjardins

Staff Council Retreat with Lauren Turner 10-04-02

Topics of Discussion:

  • Tuition reimbursement for retirees
  • Tuition benefit for MHC employees (increase?)
  • Staff Showcase
  • Training (advancement advantage for staff)
  • Plan for 2010 (staff input)
  • Ceremonial Events (Winterfest, Employee Service Awards, & parties for Retirees
  • Merit Pay — Performance Evaluations
  • Code of Conduct
  • Dental Benefit & Flexible spending


Tuition reimbursement for retirees; many employees are starting their families at an older age so therefore their children will be of college age when they are retired or preparing to retire. Should MHC offer the benefit of tuition for their children. What criteria should be used; length of service, etc. Would the benefit continue if the parent were to die. At present, no other college provides this benefit.

Tuition benefit for MHC employees; this benefit exists but does everyone know about it. The current benefit is $250. Should it be published more broadly and should the dollar amount be increased.

Staff showcase; consider a way to highlight staff achievement. A profile in the source about an employee’s achievement would be one way to accomplish this.

Training: Cross training methods in departments that would give an employee the chance to know someone else job and possibly create an atmosphere for advancement in that department. Five College programs; how to get more people to take advantage. Suggest more programs to be scheduled here at MHC.

Plan for 2010: The president wants and needs the staff’s input for the plan 2010. Lauren will schedule visits to departments to get their staff input. The staff council will also be meeting with Lauren to discuss this subject.

Ceremonial events: Lauren asked if we thought MHC does a good job in this area.

We talked about Winterfest, the breakfast for Employee Service Awards and parties for retirees. She suggests that the staff council work closely with the presidents office in order to achieve a more substantive program at Winterfest.

Merit pay and performance evaluations; and whether or not a merit pay system should be piloted on campus. Who would warrant a merit pay increase? What criteria would be used? What would it accomplish? Would it cause more problems than it’s worth, etc.? Is it a motivator for good work performance? A pool of money would have to be created by the trustees to initiate such a program. Performance evaluations: some employees on campus have never had one done. A system exists, but compliance to the process is spotty across campus. Mandatory evaluation must be put in place and regularly completed since evaluations are valuable for both management and the employee. Would employees be comfortable with evaluating their supervisor?

Code of Conduct: the desire has been expressed by many on campus to have such a document .Lauren suggests divisional meetings to explain the need for a code of conduct and to get input concerning the wording of such a document.

Dental & Flexible Spending: A dental plan will be available soon and most likely it would be the Delta plan already being used at Smith & Hampshire College.

Flexible Spending Accounts: Not many employees take advantage of this benefit. HR will try to get the word out to employees through divisional meetings.



Staff Council Minutes 10-08-02

Attendees: Michelle Richard & Aime DeGrenier co-chairs, Susan Rusiecki, Renee Sweeney, Patricia O’Brien, Susan Desjardins, Rosemary Jackson & Irasema Lewis

Absent: Donna Russell & Aaron Clark

New business:

A network folder will be made available for the Staff Council so that we will be able to save the meeting minutes, luncheon flyers, balloting materials etc. in this folder.

Old business:

The nomination ballot for Division 5 (Li Ling Waller’s seat on the council), will be mailed out to the division soon. The term of the seat will be from November 2002 to May 2003.

The flyers for the upcoming Luncheon meeting with Richard Fournier and the Town Meeting schedule information will go out this week.

Staff Council Guidelines: We reviewed the guidelines section by section and have made the following changes:

Change the "guidelines" to bylaws.

Nominations & Elections section, 2nd paragraph; now reads as follows; Nominations and elections to fill vacancies resulting from resignations will take place during the annual election process and will be for the balance of the term.

Change: Nominations and elections to fill vacancies resulting from resignations will take place during the annual election process or at the discretion of the council. The term of the seat would be at the council’s discretion.

Any changes to the document must be approved by the college president. A copy of the document will be submitted to Joanne Creighton for her approval or disapproval.

We reviewed the titles listed under Council Seats and will continue to ask for volunteers from the council to fill these seats.

We discussed the present method used to elect the co-chairs and decided that we need to use formal procedure in the election process.

We discussed holding a "special orientation" meeting when new members are elected to the council to orientate them about the council’s function and our need to fill certain council seats.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Desjardins

Minutes from Follow-up Retreat 11-04-02

Agenda created at the beginning of meeting:

  • Plan 2010
  • Performance Management and Compensation
  • Professional Development
  • Town Meeting Agenda

Plan 2010

Lauren has met/will meet with several departments/groups including Facilities Management, LITS, Academic Assistants, and OPC. It was suggested that she come to the December Financial and Administrative Services Meeting and that a few names be added to the group so that some departments will have better or full coverage on the topic.

Ideas that were put forth by council members or Lauren at the meeting are:

More Community Service needs to be available and this can tie into work-study monies. At the present time America Reads and America Counts are two organizations that the college works with. There needs to be development in this area.

The Academic Advising process needs to be looked at. Staff notices that students are not aware that course load limitations impact their financial status and other issues. Is there room for staff advisors? Is there more training that could be arranged for current advisors? Rosemary reported that MCCL is putting out a report soon that addresses the issue of problems with academic advising. A sidebar with this issue is that currently the policy states that only faculty can advise. This illustrates the division between staff and faculty. Staff could be very useful to students in this area because of their knowledge of requirements that the faculty would not be aware of. Lauren suggests that we make a value purpose document stating the issue in two lines.

Talking about strengthening academic programs fostered ideas about visiting faculty and how to better orientates them to the campus and facilities. By their lack of connection to the college by various circumstances (i.e. office space) they may not being able to collaborate with others in the college in the same way a tenured professor would. Although there are good orientation procedures, the visiting professors may get lost once their workloads start to get busy. Some follow-up orientation programs may help in this area. Locating their office space in a more central area might help also.

Talking about clustering disciplines initiated some questions about how limited the clustering would be. Some colleges have "schools" with departments under the schools. Although bigger departments with interdisciplinary programs under them may help with advising, the logistics of placing them in a central building together might be difficult. A few of us have noticed the difficulties in having a department that consists of one or two professors. Clustering these under related departments with prospects of collaboration could be academically exciting and administratively sound. The question that Sue had was if there would be an effect on jobs and Lauren said she did not anticipate that there would be.

Co-Curricular was the next area of the plan that was discussed. Leadership was the first component that we talked about. Some felt that the Weismann Center was too separate and needed to be more integrated into the campus. We thought combining programs with the CDC might be a good idea. We thought that the Social and Critical Thought class could be integrated into the Weismann Center. It was explained that the Weismann Center started as an initiative to address the mission of the college to train leaders. SAW developed from needed skills. Debate and the CBL were put under the center but the umbrella was never defined. What came out of our conversation about the center was that an initiative we might support was to have the Weismann Center make connection with the curriculum and address functionality.

Environmental Awareness was discussed as something that was already going on at Mount Holyoke. To improve in that area we discussed a partnership combining faculty and staff expertise. An example of this would be Nancy Fratoni advising professors how to use chemical that they use in research. Lauren envisions an Environmental Advisory Board with both staff and faculty participating.

Under Curricular/Co-Curricular an expansion of the 5 College Bus was discussed along with needs for students to get off campus. There was a proposal to extend the 5 College Bus service to at least Food Mart. Looking at improving the scope of student life, we discussed how activities and clubs in Springfield were an area that needed to be covered by transportation. Student Life and the Fleet Department tie in to publicize the events that would have transportation to them. There could be an extension of the Arts Calendar that is now being published by LITS. Also discussed as a serious concern for many departments were the needs of summer student residents that were not currently being met. A summer meal plan, summer hosting program and more transportation for those students who work in departments or just need to stay the summer was proposed.

To address community building some ideas that came out of conversation were: a monthly all campus event and receptions before events. The monthly all campus event would be in the evening at Blanchard with a RSVP required.

We talked about enhancing 5 College collaboration, which we presently have in a few areas.

We also talked about folding a LITS orientation into staff orientation and how to best get training to our staff.

Performance Evaluations and Staff Development

Staff evaluations and the possibility of both employee and supervisor evaluated by each other were discussed along with the issues of making time and money in the budget for training. Having a staff member evaluated after 3 to 6 months and every year after that to help increase communication between employee and supervisor. The ability to reward an employee that performed above and beyond was an idea that came up. And we discussed the division between faculty and staff raises and whether the salary pool should be combined.

Town Meeting Proposed Agenda

  1. Staff Council Report
  2. HR Update on benefits
  3. Plan 2010 with some publicity and a way for staff to read plan (i.e. web)
  4. Q&A

Lauren with get together with Amy and Shelley to finalize the agenda.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna J. Russell





Staff Council Minutes 11-12-02

Attending: Donna Russell, Renee Sweeney, Aime DeGrenier, Michelle Richard and Susan Desjardins

Absent: Rosemary Jackson, Irasema Lewis, Susan Rusiecki, Patricia O’Brien, Aaron Clark & Bernetta Parson

The abbreviated meeting held after gathering with the Senior Staff opened at 12:15 PM in the Willits Hallowell living room.

Old business:

Status of the Staff Council By-Laws/will revisit at December’s meeting

Winterfest 2002: To be held on Wednesday, December 18th from 11:30 — 1:30 pm in Chapin Auditorium. Committee members from the MHC community are: Irasema Lewis, Donna Russell, Sandra Suarez, Michelle Richard and Deborah Harbison.

There will be a welcoming from the President’s office along with a performance from the English Handbell choir. Also included: food catered by Willits, a raffle and a place to donate "new" pre-school toys to the Chicopee, Holyoke & Springfield Head Start’s "All I Want For Christmas", and assorted items to the Providence Ministries & Woman Shelter Campaneras. The council has been asked to participate by manning specific areas of Chapin during the event. Who does what will be determined at a later meeting.

April 2003 Staff Council Luncheon: guest to be determined, possibly Rabbi Lisa Freitag-Keshet who is the new Rabbi at Eliot House.

Staff Award Pilot Program: Nominations for the award will begin at our next meeting or at the beginning of next year. Balloons and a certificate will be presented to the winner. It is suggested that an employee be honored each month.

Donna Russell reported that the 250th Anniversary of South Hadley will be celebrated with a "costume" ball on January 25th from 8-12 Pm in Chapin Auditorium. A costume will not be required to attend.

Michelle Richard reported that the "Art at Work" exhibit will be held on December 2nd from 4-6 pm in Kendade. Twenty four employees have committed themselves to 40 exhibits. Light refreshments will be served and the event is open to the college community.

The meeting closed at 1 pm.

Respectively submitted,
Susan E. Desjardins




Staff Council Minutes 11-12-02 Meeting with Senior Staff

Senior Staff members in attendance: Joanne Creighton, Donal O’Shea, Patricia Vandenberg, Mary Jo Maydew, Jane Brown, Cindy Legare, Monica Augustin, Kevin McCarthy, Charles Haight, & Rochelle Calhoun.

Staff Council members in attendance: Rosemary Jackson, Aime DeGrenier, Michelle Richard, Renee Sweeney, Irasema Lewis & Susan Desjardins

The council submitted a copy of our "MHC Plan for 2010 Comments/Proposal from the Staff Council, November 2002". (see attached)

Joanne Creighton opened the meeting using the document as an outline for discussion.

II Strengthening Academic Program:

Community Service: Agreement was reached that community service needs to be available and further developed but how far do we want to go and some feel we already do a great deal in this area, but that partnering in community projects rather than volunteering on a weekly basis might be the way to go. The best models for outreach may be corporate, where employees volunteer in the communities that surround them. That may include a week or two of volunteering. President Creighton stated that she didn’t think the college "should loan out their employees for extensive periods of time".

Visiting Faculty: There are three orientations for faculty in place now involving LITS, the Weismann Center, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the College, the President’s office and Human Resources. Further discussion on the topic included offering more opportunity for the college community to interact with new faculty & staff.

Community connection: How do we make the Weismann Center a more effective center able to serve the entire campus. The Weismann Center is conducting a survey with questions regarding their future role. It is on the MHC home page and all are welcome to participate in forwarding their remarks to them.

Environmental issues: Our proposal for faculty, staff & student collaboration regarding environmental issues was discussed and we were told that there is "good news" in this area. Similar programs are in place and working. Although specific goals for the future need to be defined and how does the college support them financially. For instance the campus master plan needs to be revisited in regards to making the college a botanic garden rather than a parking lot.

World Center: President Creighton is glad that we like the idea of a World Center. She says there is some resistance to the idea but she plans to take the idea forward.

III Building Connections:

Academic Advising: We suggest in our proposal that we would like to explore the idea of utilizing the staff as student advisors. Our staff represents a diverse, educated and committed team with much to offer the students. We are aware that some staff such as coaches, and those working in the academic departments are advisors already. All faculty are supposed to serve as advisors as well. The students have indicated in surveys that not all faculty members take on this role willingly. Time constraints play a part in this and faculty members on the senior staff agreed that this is something that needs to be looked at. A training program could be developed for those who would serve as an advisor.

Enhancing student life: We all agreed that the students need access to more off campus opportunities, such as bus trips to concerts etc. The 5 college bus system if it does provide more services than exist now will naturally become more expensive for the colleges who participate in their services. A bus after midnight could be one of these added services. It was stated that "we should stop describing ourselves as a "rural" campus. We have access to many venues we just need to provide a better way of getting to them.

Concerns about students who live on campus during the summer months: Most feel that the room fees they are charged are too high and that the students do not have access to meals. It was suggested that host families from the MHC community and beyond could take some of this burden away by providing a home base for students while they are here away from home. This would be helpful especially around the holidays and during the summer while the school is not in session. Internships that could help pay for housing and meals should be considered.

Community building: The idea of having more events for the faculty, staff & students to attend in order to interact with each other, lead to the following discussion. Staff participation now is very low for most scheduled activities, except for picnics and the Winterfest celebration. How do we get the staff to participate in other events? It was suggested that more support from supervisors, so that staff might attend if they were aware they were able to do so.

IV Stewarding College Resources

Staff: We need to do a better job in the area of performance evaluations. It is agreed that the current system is not consistent. Although most systems of employee performance evaluations is very time consuming the senior staff does want to make this a priority and feel that every single employee should have a performance review. Merit pay was discussed briefly and it was agreed that it would be a challenge for the college and we may not be ready to take this on.

Our meeting with the senior staff closed with thanks for our attendance and appreciation of our preparation on the issues discussed.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan E. Desjardins




Open Forum with Lauren Turner 11-20-02

NY Room
Staff Council Present: Bernetta Parsons, Rosemary Jackson, Amy DeGrenier, Shelley Richard, Aaron Clark, Donna Russell and Sue Rusecki

Shelley and Amy started the meeting by introducing themselves and other staff council members. Shelley started the overview of what Staff Council was working on. She gave us information about Winterfest and how to contact Irasema Lewis if you wanted to be on the committee. Lauren told us later that offices would be closed for Winterfest again this year. Shelley explained that we were working on Plan 2010 and how we came up with the document that we presented to senior staff. She touched briefly on the Fair Labor Code and the sub committee of the MCCL (Multi-Cultural College Life) committee. She told the audience we would also be at the Benefits Fair this year.

Amy then continued the update by talking about our ideas of recognizing staff with a Prize Patrol type format. She solicited ideas for nominations. She talked about the Source and encouraged staff to submit articles. She talked about the Staff Art Exhibit coming up in Kendade starting on December 2nd with the reception running from 4pm — 6pm that day. The topics of the current Brown Bag Lunches were discussed and staff was encouraged to share their talents with others for the next round. Training and Development was discussed as an important area of concern of the council. We are looking to Senior Staff to commit to this for staff (time and money).

Lauren updated the audience about current Human Resources initiatives. There has been some talk between council and Lauren about Orientation and Human Resources has taken this up as an initiative they will work on. She announced that by July ’04 we will have a Dental Plan. Lauren confirmed that between Christmas and New Year’s Day offices may close if all dept. members would like to take part or all of it off (vacation time) in addition to the time given by the college. Voice mail should reflect when the offices will be closed and should be checked periodically. Public Safety should be notified of the schedule of the office. She talked about getting a commitment for Staff Professional Development in the Plan. Performance Management was mentioned. We need to have the evaluations completed, which many departments aren’t doing. Audience members were encouraged to keep track of their leave accrual and check in with their department to make sure both parties agree.

The first audience comment was a suggestion that instead of every 5 years getting an award, staff should get an extra vacation day. Lauren did say that our vacation accrual is very competitive (after 5 years we have 4 weeks vacation). Many in the audience identified with the comment that it is hard to use 4 weeks at times.

Next we started talking about Plan 2010. Audience members were encouraged to read the plan on the web or at least the summary. On December 9th there is a luncheon forum to discuss the plan.

Amy then led discussion of the suggestions the Staff Council has proposed. Under Community Service one staff member said she was unable to participate in the Day of Giving and proposed another day or half day that the staff could take to participate in their own Day of Giving if unable to go on the college’s scheduled day. A suggestion was made that information be collected about staff that is volunteering. Under Visiting Faculty Wendy Watson suggested that a list of visiting faculty be more widely distributed. When talking about orientation it was suggested that the web could be instrumental in getting information to those who need it. This could be developed with the current view option for staff. It could have a new employee information option.

Lauren told the audience that she would be meeting with the academic administrative assistants about the proposed clustering of academic departments. An audience member told us that there is a committee that teams up the CEL and Facilities Management on environmental issues. Partnership instead of working parallel is needed. A comment was made that we don’t know what is going on environmentally on campus. The college needs to do a better job of communicating what is going on. The Source was suggested as a venue for information.

An audience question about the landscape changes and whether they are in keeping with the Olmstead Plan followed. John Bryant said that if anything we are going to be more in synch with that plan. Vehicular traffic inside campus is going to be curtailed in future landscape plans and this will add aesthetically to campus. A suggestion was made that this kind of information be communicated via the web or mhc.announce.

Amy said that Senior Staff is open to exploring the suggestion that staff be considered for advisors for students. They also liked the idea of a Summer Host Program.

Last suggestions from the audience were: an orientation of parts of campus that staff could go to as a benefit (i.e. Art Museum, Kendall, or Library) and that career services be available to staff.

Staff Council Minutes 12-10-02

Attending: Aime DeGrenier, Susan Rusiecki, Irasema Lewis, Renee Sweeney, Patricia O’Brien, Susan Desjardins, Donna Russell, Bernetta Parson & Rosemary Jackson.

Absent: Michelle Richard and Aaron Clark

Old business:

Winterfest: December 18th from 11:30 — 1:30. The committee reports that the invitation should be in the campus mail by the end of the week. Raffle items have been donated by the Parthenon Restaurant & Subway. Several craft items will also be donated by Debbie Harbison. The raffling will be limited to a couple of segments spread out over the 2 hour event. Winners do not need to be present to win. Charitable items requested for donation this year are for Needy Neighbors, Woman’s Shelter Campaneras & All I want for Christmas/Chicopee, Holyoke Springfield Head Start. Joanne Creighton will give a short welcoming address. Seasonal background music will be played as no one is available to give a live performance. Willits will be catering the food. Rosemary Jackson, Pat O’Brien & Sue Desjardins will arrive early and help man the entry ways and help with name tags and raffle forms. A suggestion box will be made available to gather the staffs input & ideas for future Winterfest celebrations.

Fair Labor Code Update: All future meetings with departments to discuss the Fair Labor Code have been suspended by the committee until they can come up with a clearer message of what they are trying to accomplish. Many of the sessions held so far have turned out to be "complaining sessions" and have left the staff who participated in them a bit confused. See the attached e-mail from Sandra Suarez which explains the situation in a very articulate manner.

Prize Patrol/Staff Award Pilot Program: We discussed how to proceed with the nomination process. Should the prize be for individual employees or a department as a whole? Should the staff nominate from their peers or should a department head do the nomination? This subject needs more discussion and was tabled for future meetings.

Spring luncheons: February — 2003 Peter Carini — Director of Archives & Special Collections (?).

Aime DeGrenier will ask Peter if he would like to speak.

Town Meetings with Lauren Turner: Lauren will compile information gathered at these open forum meetings and share them with Mary Jo Maydew and members of the senior staff.

Donna Russell & Rosemary Jackson reported on a recent faculty meeting that they had attended as follows: A lot of the discussion at the meeting concerned the various construction sites on campus. The faculty and President Creighton feel they should take responsibility for keeping Mount Holyoke beautiful and environmentally sound for future generations. The "new" lower road in front of the Blanchard Campus Center will need to be greened over to bring back the "spacious" green area promised by the planners of this project. The road as it stands, takes over the whole space between Blanchard and Pratt and does not allow for anything except pavement and traffic.

There was some discussion about using monies that have been allotted for the staff dental plan and absorbing those funds into a grant program benefiting the faculty and their endeavors. Lauren Turner said "that this cannot happen, as the staff has already been told that dental is on the way, no later than 2004"

Over registration for various classes is a concern of many professors and their students. They are hopeful that the "new" system to be implemented by LITS & Enrollment will solve some of these problems.

New business: concerns were raised regarding whether or not Division V & VII are fairly represented on the staff council since Career Development & Enrollment are now in the same division. The council will need to take a look at this situation when elections are held in the spring.

The staff council has been invited to attend an OPC meeting on February 5th, 2003. Refreshments will be served at 9:45 AM with the meeting at 10:00 Am — 12:00 Pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan E. Desjardins




Staff Council Minutes 01-14-03

Attending: Aime DeGrenier, Aaron Clark, Rosemary Jackson, Renee Sweeney, Michele Richard, Patricia O’Brien, Susan Rusiecki, Donna Russell & Susan Desjardins.

Absent: Bernetta Parson & Irasema Lewis


  • Update: Fair Labor Practice Subcommittee
  • Update: Administrative Priority & Environmental Priority Committee — Draft 2010
  • The upcoming election process

Fair Labor Practice Subcommittee: The committee will be going into retreat to discuss their progress and how to proceed with further discussions with staff regarding the "code of conduct". Both staff council & human resources have contacted the committee to offer their assistance. Neither has received a reply. John Grayson, Associate Professor of Religion has volunteered to serve on the committee replacing Craig Woodard.

APC/EPC — Draft 2010

Shelley Richard participated in a half day retreat to review the second draft with the Administrative & Educational Priority sub-committees and senior staff. The staff section of the draft for 2010 is being re-written by Mary Jo Maydew. Mary Jo Maydew, Lauren Turner, Shelley Richard and Cindy Legare are meeting to condense the lengthy version now present in the second draft. Shelly assures us that the points we made at our meeting with the senior staff last fall will not be removed from the draft. The final draft for 2010 is due in May.

Bernetta Parson has resigned her position at the college. Her seat on the council will not be filled at this time. Her seat on the council will be filled when the regular election process takes place in the spring. A review of the population in the divisions the council represents and any changes made to the names of departments will be reviewed before the election process takes place.

New business:

Aime DeGrenier announced that she will resign her position as co-chairperson of the Staff Council at the end of this semester. She will be giving birth to twin girls in late spring or early summer and will need to work part time when she returns to work in the fall. She will continue to serve on the council. A new co-chair will need to be chosen in the fall.

The staff council logo with the addition of the MHC logo will now appear on many of the printed communications mailed by the council.

Autumn Onley of Spelman College e-mailed all Staff Council members requesting information about how to form a Staff Council at Spelman. She was referred to us by their new president, Beverly Tatum who served as MHC’s president during Joanne Creighton’s sabbatical last year. Aime will respond to her e-mail.

It was suggested that our meetings which are now held on our lunch hour, be held at a different time of day. We are working on behalf of the staff and most of us do not take a lunch hour on the day we have a council meeting. We will e-mail our meeting & work schedules to Aime and try to schedule another time of day for our meetings.

Old business:

Prize Patrol: Sue Rusiecki suggested that we include an article in the source to see if the staff likes the idea of having a "prize patrol" to award employees or departments when they do something special. We have a small budget and we may be able to purchase suitable items to present to the winners of such an award. We also discussed the purchase of a similar item to hand out at the benefits fair this spring.

Adverse weather conditions & the college policy for closing or delaying opening during bad weather;

Aaron Clark was asked by staff members to make the council aware that they felt the college should have closed earlier than 3:00 Pm on 1/3/03. Driving was very hazardous and many employees found that they had difficulty getting home in a timely manner. On another stormy day this winter, parking lots & sidewalks had not been plowed or made ready to receive employees and their cars. In this case, a delay in opening would have been appropriate. Comments from the staff and the council regarding this issue will be brought to Lauren Turner’s attention.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan E. Desjardins




Staff Council Minutes 02-11-03

Attending: Aime DeGrenier, Sue Rusiecki, Donna Russell, Renee Sweeney and Patricia O’Brien, Rosemary Jackson

Rosemary Jackson commented that she was pleased that the Faculty had sent a letter to President Bush stating their opposition to the war movement.

Upcoming staff council lunch speakers:

  • March 3 - Patricia Albanese, Director of LITS
  • April meeting - President Creighton
  • Suggested speaker for next fall – Lee Bowie
  • The topic of whether we should have back up speakers was discussed.

Benefits Fair:

  • The committee reviewed the brochure and chose a pen for giveaway at the Benefits Fair.
  • Pat O’Brien to follow up with the printer

Election process:

  • The divisional count was not summarized, Rosemary Jackson to review and tally
  • Once we have the divisional count Sue Rusiecki will review the number of staff in each division
  • The call for nominations needs to be mailed in March and returned by April 4
  • Phone calls will be made to nominees for acceptance
  • Ballots will then be mailed out by April 9 and returned by April 25
  • We will then count the ballots
  • The candidates will be contacted and we can announce our new members at our May meeting

Additional items for the May meeting:

  • Discuss the cochair replacement
  • Introduce new members and give them a description of committee positions available.  This will enable them time to think about what they would like to sign up for in September.
  • Discussion of personnel issue on campus

Respectfully submitted,
Patricia O’Brien




Staff Council meeting notes from 03-11-03

Members attending: Aime DeGrenier, Shelley Richard, Renee Sweeney, Patricia O’Brien, Donna Russell, Rosemary Jackson, Susan Desjardins, Aaron Clark, Susan Rusiecki & Irasema Lewis

The meeting opened at 1:30 pm with the following agenda items:

  • Update on the Plan for 2010
  • Progress report regarding pens with staff council logo
  • Status of the nomination ballot
  • President Creighton’s April luncheon
  • Visual identity presentation for our April meeting
  • Employee scholarship program
  • Update from council representative at latest Faculty meeting, and discussion of the letter sent out to the community by Linda Chesky Fernandes
  • Update from council representative to the Alcohol & Drug Advisory Committee

Shelley Richard attended a meeting held with the trustees to discuss the recent draft of the Plan for 2010. Discussion is ongoing as there is still work to be done on the final version of the plan.

Patricia O’Brien presented a copy of the Staff Council/MHC logo that will be printed on pens distributed at the human resources Benefit’s Fair in the spring.

Sue Rusiecki asked that we review the nomination ballot before it goes to print and is mailed out to the staff.

President Creighton’s staff luncheon will be held on April 10th at Willits-Hallowell. The event will feature “a conversation with President Creighton”.

Aime DeGrenier will invite Patricia Vandenberg from the Office of Communications to attend our April 8th meeting. She will discuss how the “new” MHC logo is being used on campus. Since this is a visual presentation we will hold the meeting in Room #231 in the library.

Members were asked if we knew what procedure to follow for getting information out to the campus regarding the Employee Scholarship Program. Rosemary Jackson & Sue Desjardins will look through their notes from last year to see what took place.

Donna Russell did attend a recent faculty meeting and said there was nothing new to report. Donna Russell opened discussion of a letter sent out to the college community by Linda Fernandes.

The letter describes how disappointed Linda was in the handling of the paint crew/Facilities Management during an investigation by public safety of the “peepholes” in various bathrooms located in the Mandelles.

After some discussion, we concluded that we did not know enough about the incident, except for rumors circulating, to draw the conclusion that public safety had overstepped their authority. Aime & Shelley will speak to Lauren Turner and express our concerns that employees be treated in a fair and decent manner if they find themselves under investigation for suspected wrong doing.

Pat O’Brien reports from her attendance at the latest meeting of the Alcohol & Drug Advisory Committee the following: The ADAC will be sponsoring a display on Skinner Green, of “a car wreck with victims” to exhibit the results of what can happen if you drive when intoxicated. The date is April 3rd with a rain date of April 10th. An interfaith service and candlelight vigil will also be part of the day’s events. Members of the council were asked to remind the members of their divisions of the event as it draws closer.

Respectively submitted,
Susan Desjardins





Staff Council Minutes 04-08-03

Attending: Irasema Lewis, Donna Russell, Aime DeGrenier, Michelle Richard, Patricia O’Brien, Renee Sweeney, Aaron Clark & Susan Desjardins

Absent: Rosemary Jackson & Susan Rusiecki

Presentation by Patricia VandenBerg, Executive Director of Communications/ MHC Logos:

We were instructed how to access and use the MHC logos by Patricia VandenBerg, Doreen St. John, Theresa Chamberlain and our own Aime DeGrenier. We were encouraged to use the logos on any appropriate college material such as letterhead, brochures & handouts etc.

Old business:

The Fair Labor Committee has been on hiatus due to Mary Renda’s mother’s illness and her own “sabbatical” leave from the college. As it stands, if the issue resurfaces, it will be handled differently by the committee formed to deal with it.

Ballots for seats on the staff council have been mailed out and are due back by April 28th. A special meeting will be held to count the votes to determine who the next council members will be.

New business:

We discussed the current “Smoking Policy” especially where it has been violated on campus. Many people do not stand away from the building the required 20 feet and the smoke filters into open windows. It was stated by many that access to the outside ashtrays has become a problem. They do not exist in some cases and may have been removed by facilities during the winter months. Piles of cigarette butts are to be found where the ashtrays had been. Better signage stating the “smoking policy” and ashtrays need to be put back in place. Patricia O’Brien will bring this matter to Lauren Turner’s attention.

The annual Benefit’s Fair will be held on May 8th at Willits-Hallowell. The staff council will have a table this year. Renee Sweeney will present a poster with items that represent the staff council activities for each year. Council members were asked to provide Renee with these items. Members of the council are requested to let Shelley know a time when they can sit at the table while the fair is in progress. It was suggested that the council provide a gift for Debbie Harbison since she has donated an item to be raffled off at the fair. She also provided many items for the raffle we held at Winterfest. A suggestion box will be provided so that we can receive the staff’s suggestions.

A special meeting will be held shortly with Kim Kelleher & Linda Somano from Human Resources. They will explain the compensation & salary package for Mount Holyoke employees.

Suggested speakers for next year: John Fortini or Dale Hennessey of Dining Services and Jesse Lythe from the President’s office.




Staff Council Meeting 05-13-03

Attending: Aime DeGrenier, Shelley Richard, Donna Russell, Aaron Clark, Susan Rusiecki, Susan Desjardins, Patricia O’Brien, Rosemary Jackson, Irasema Lewis & Renee Sweeney

New Council Members attending: Bardee Sadlier, Patricia Serio, Taryn Dunaj & Teresa Picard

New council members welcomed and open council seat duties described to include: the scribe, communications person, meeting scheduler, MCCL attendee, Faculty Meeting attendee, HR Liaison & the Co-chair position

Seat duties were filled as follows:

  • Pat Serio – Co-Chair
  • Renee Sweeney & Patricia O’Brien – Communications & email
  • Event & meeting scheduler – Aaron Clark
  • Scribe – Bardee Sadlier
  • HR Liaison – Irasema Lewis
  • MCCL – (will need to be decided upon)
  • Faculty Meeting – Irasema Lewis & Donna Russell

The new members were asked to hold in confidence issues & concerns that are brought to the council.

Newly elected council member Karen Kirkpatrick representing Division VI & VII, has declined the position. After some discussion, the council decided that the nomination & election process must be done over again in her division in order to fill the council seat.

Employee Scholarship Award: no eligible applicants applied for the scholarship. The council decided to extend the deadline to receive applications to June 15, 2003. Members of the council were asked to get this new information out to the staff and an article will be posted on MHC announce as well.

End of year report: Co-chairs, Amie DeGrenier & Shelley Richard are working on this and have a draft for the council to review.

Comment cards from the May 8th Benefits Fair: Suggestions were that we include union members on the council and that we revise our ballot, so that it is easier to understand.

Vacation accrual: ( HR ?) is considering a 5 weeks vacation per year benefit after 20 years of service. We agreed of course that this should be implemented.

We quickly discussed the issue of bare footedness in buildings. OOOH!

A convocation speaker will be determined over the summer.

Linda Samano & Kim Kelleher of HR spoke to us about how compensation and salary packages for Mount Holyoke employees are compiled. Their office conducts surveys of the job market and they do their best to provide a fair & competitive wage for the college’s employees with the resources that are available.

The meeting adjourned at 3:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan Desjardins