Staff Council Minutes 2004-2005
Staff Council Meeting 09-14-04
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Linda Chesky Fernandes, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Christopher Rust, Mike Donais,Taryn Dunaj, and Rosanne Meczywor.
Caissa McClinton announced she was leaving Mount Holyoke College so a special election will be held. Nominations followed by ballots will be sent to her divisions only (Divisions 6, 7 and the Alum. Assoc.). Theresa will pull the ballot form from last year and update it then make copies and ask Claudette for labels for the departments of Admissions, Development, FA, Alum. Assoc., CDC, Comm., Enrollment, FP, and Registrar.
Pat will update council responsibility list.
The retreat has been scheduled for 9/23/04 in Willits from 1pm-4pm.
In trying to save money, the number of flyers will be reduced and only sent to departments instead of to each staff member. Over $500.00 was spent last year in copies. One other way to get information out to staff is for each representative to email one person in each department of her/his division and ask that person to send it onto other staff in the department.
Day of Giving is scheduled for Friday, October 1, 2004.
Rays of Hope Breast Cancer walk scheduled for October 24, 2004.
The 5 College Training and Development series has been sent to the administrative assistants list.
Staff Coffee Breaks- Fall Speakers
1 Adrianne Andrews, new Ombudsperson
2 Isabel Daring, new Coordinator of Multi-Cultural Affairs
Instead of having luncheons in Willits which is not centrally located and people have to pay for lunch (and cannot bring in food), will look to have coffee breaks (which were VERY successful last spring) in a residence hall living room or somewhere more central where outside food can be brought in. Roseanne will contact HP of Rockies for availability of sunroom and living room. Christopher will look into the cost of coffee from Rao’s.
Staff Council Minutes 10-12-04
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Mike Donais, Taryn Dunaj, Rosanne Meczywor, and Tom Clark.
Staff Council Email List
This issue was brought up last year and was determined that the Staff Council email list cannot be used to advertise information or events not related to official Staff Council or College business. Sending out unsolicited emails is considered SPAM. We will touch base with Lauren on this issue at our upcoming retreat.
Lauren Turner mentioned the liability to the College regarding sick and vacation time for staff and suggested that departments present a report each year with balances of sick and vacation time- maximums, what has been used, and what the balance is going forward.
There is a new content management system for the MHC website and a consulting group has been hired to help select the right program for the College.
Dale reminded staff that there is a 10% discount on all purchases if you use your MHC OneCard.
Rosemary Jackson needs a volunteer from Staff Council to be on “The Source” committee.
Environmental Management System Working Groups
Nancy Apple has asked for volunteers from the Staff Council to be on the Environmental Management System Working Groups. The volunteers are:
• Waste Reduction and Recycling- Taryn
• Energy Conservation- Carolyn
• Environmentally Sensitive Grounds Practices- Tom
• Green Building Design and Construction- Mike
Coffee Break Prep
One of the fall Coffee Breaks will be with Adrianne Andrews on 10/19/04 from 10am-11am in the N. Rockefeller Hall Living Room.
Pat will get food and beverages.
Door will be unlocked at 9:45am.
Reminder of the Staff Council retreat with Lauren Turner on 11/3/04 from 9am-1pm in Willits.
Staff Council Retreat 11-03-04
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Mike Donais, Taryn Dunaj, Rosanne Meczywor, Tom Clark, Linda Chesky Fernandes, and Lauren Turner.
The issue of how the Staff Council should use its email list was brought up again. It was decided that Staff Council would get bombarded with advertising requests and would not know where to draw the line so that the council would stick to the original policy of only sending on Staff Council and official College business.
The question was brought up asking what is the official publication for MHC news and events. It was believed that MHC Announce is the official web notification and the CSJ the official publication. Teresa will check on this.
In light of the major increases in health insurance, Lauren informed the council that she is putting together a Health Care Advisory Committee to look over new and different options for College health insurance (ideas include Tufts and Health New England). The committee needs staff representation and will meet between November 2004 and March of 2005.
Emeriti College Health Initiative
The Melon Foundation is chartering a type of post-retirement health care system. Both faculty and staff would be able to put money into a VEBA (account like FLEX). The money would go in and come out tax free but can only be used for health care (insurance premiums, etc.). In addition, employees who retire at age 55 and older and who have been with the College for at least ten years would have the option of joining a national health insurance program. MHC has signed on as a charter member and enrollment will begin July 1, 2005. Lauren asked for help from the council in educating and marketing to the College community.
In addition to staff representatives needed for the Health Care Advisory Committee, there are also staff representatives needed for the following committees:
• MCCL (3 year commitment)
• Emeriti College Health Initiative
• President’s Commission on Diversity
• Employee Service Awards
Carolyn will draft a letter asking for help from all staff members to serve on these committees. Lauren will add a paragraph of support to this letter. The council will send letter out to staff as soon as possible.
Linda will announce the position open on the President’s Commission on Diversity committee to the Academic Administrative Assistants meeting on Friday.
Last year’s budget closed balanced. Lauren reported that senior staff promised staff salary increases to be a priority this year but there is no word now on how much of an increase.
Moral is very low across the board of staff. Two years of deferred raises, cuts in personnel, and increased work loads have taken a toll. Lauren asked if the council had any ideas or suggestions on how to increase moral. Some members were worried that some ideas might be see as frivolous and a waste of money while other ideas may seem “too little, too late.” More on this topic will be discussed at the next meeting.
Next meeting is Tuesday, 11/9/04, 1:30pm-3:00pm in Blanchard 213.
Staff Council Minutes 11-09-04
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Mike Donais, Taryn Dunaj, Linda Chesky Fernandes, Tom Clark, and Sue Beaulieu.
Coffee Break with Isabel Daring
Pat will contact Isabel and set a date and time for the coffee break. She will shoot for a time in the beginning of December and Rosanne will reserve North Rocky living room again. Linda will get the food and coffee- probably from Costco and Dunkin Donuts.
There have already been 3 emails received from staff regarding serving on the MCCL committee. It was agreed that the council will wait a few more days as not all divisions may have seen the email. Once the list of interested staff members is complete, an email will be sent to them advising them that this position is a 3 year commitment.
Fair Labor Code of Conduct
There was an email on Chat from the SGA asking for faculty, staff and students to be on a committee looking into pushing through a Fair Labor Code of Conduct. This topic was discussed the last 2 years and the Staff Council has put forth its opinion. The council decided to wait and see as there is not much that can be done at this point.
Pat asked for information from the council that should be included in the Staff Council section of The Source. Information presented was the first Coffee Break, the need for staff on committees, and an update of the retreat with Lauren Turner. Pat will find out the publication date to see if it would work in advertising the next coffee break.
Lauren Turner- Retreat Continued
Lauren asked the council to brainstorm ideas that would help the low morale of staff. Some ideas mentioned were:
• an extra holiday/vacation day in the spring
• a table set up in Blanchard where students, faculty and staff could write notes of appreciation to staff and departments. Could be run in conjunction with SGA’s Staff Appreciation Day.
• a letter should be sent to staff informing them that senior staff is aware of the hardship staff is under and is committed to a salary increase July 1.
• a skating party for staff and their families on a Friday at 4:00pm during J-term. There would be smores and hot chocolate for all!
• have pictures of service award winners during the slide show at Winterfest, Staff Council will take the pictures of the award winners in their divisions.
• give out (choice of) free turkeys and hams to staff (benefits eligible) on Friday, 12/17. Staff will receive a letter from Joanne Creighton and Staff Council reminding everyone of the 2 extra holiday days, the commitment of senior staff to staff, and a coupon for a free turkey or ham. Extra turkeys and hams will be donated to a local food bank. Lauren and Linda will call area companies for costs.
Staff Council Meeting 12-14-04
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Taryn Dunaj, and Tom Clark.
Reminder to email groups about Winterfest on Wednesday, December 15, 2004, and to bring canned goods if able.
Reminder to email groups about the Coffee Break on Thursday, December 16, 2004, with Isabelle Darling. Tom will put a reminder on MHC Announce.
Out of 128 Employee Service Awards to be handed out at the breakfast in February, 81 people agreed to have their picture taken and shown as part of the slide show at Winterfest. Christopher Rust put in 12+ hours putting the amazing show together.
Other ideas for staff recognition to be initiated this spring (2005) are:
Staff of the Month- this idea was met with a little concern in the amount of work it would take to nominate and possibly vote on someone as well as the fact that it would only affect a few staff a year. Some members were also concerned that other staff could feel jealousy or bitterness if their co-worker was recognized and they were not.
Staff Appreciation Day- this could be done in conjunction with SGA. An idea of having cake and an opportunity for the community to write letters of appreciation to staff or staff depts was also presented.
The staff ice skating day is also another possibility. We will have to wait and see what the weather conditions are like in February.
Getting the word out that there is a Staff Newsgroup on line. Publish how to get on it and how to use it in the CSJ.
Go Red for Women Campaign
Elaine D’Amours stopped by and asked the Council’s support in promoting the “Go Red for Women.” This is a campaign run by the American Heart Association as an effort to educate women and men about heart disease in women. The main month is February and Elaine is hoping to have weekly clinics, a day that the College community wears red, lectures, brown-bag lunches, etc. There has been interest shown by other area women’s colleges. The Council will discuss its involvement and get back to Elaine at a later date.
Staff Council Meeting 02-03-05
Attending: Teresa Picard, Pat Serio, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Christopher Rust, and Rosanne Meczywor.
On-line Voting Booth
Christopher has been working with LITS and has designed an on-line voting booth for the upcoming Staff Council elections. This “booth” will hopefully save a lot of time and money. Christopher is trying to set a date when the Council can “try out” the voting booth- possibly March 8, 2005. Any concerns and issues with the voting booth should be brought up at the next meeting.
Breakfasts and Coffee Breaks
The Council has decided to put off the Coffee Breaks until the spring and possibly have a Coffee Break to discuss the salaries and budget for next year (much like the Coffee Breaks last spring).
President Creighton will hold the first “Breakfast with the President” on 2/11/05 in Blanchard. This is open to ALL College community members.
Employee Appreciation Activities
Pat will email Lindsey Dunaj (acting SGA President) and ask if the SGA is planning another “Staff Appreciation Day” and how the Council can help/be involved.
The Ice Skating Party will probably not happen this year as we are into a very busy time of year (plus, the weather is not fully cooperating as it has been too warm for ice). This activity may be better to have during J-term next year.
The MHC Go Red for Women Day will be 2/24/05 with activities such as a guest speaker, a table at Blanchard, cholesterol testing, blood pressure testing, and tours of Kendall. The details are still being worked out.
Linda Samano Meeting with Pat and Christopher
Linda Samano asked to meet with the Council co-chairs to discuss the possibility of a “training grant” for MHC along with UMASS and Smith. The grant would be for eighteen months covering 6-8 topics over a 7-9 week training period per topic focusing on both personal and professional development. Topics would include improving skills of general office staff members (writing/grammar, Myers-Briggs tests, pre-supervisory skills, email/phone protocol, problem solving, new skills, etc) as well as skills of non-office staff personnel (cooks, dishwashers, custodians, housekeepers, etc.) in obtaining new skills and/or changing professions.
Supervisors so far are in favor of this training. Linda will keep the Council in the loop.
Staff Council Minutes 03-08-05
Attending: Tom Clark, Mike Donais, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Christopher Rust, Rosanne Meczywor, and Maryanne Alos.
Also present, Lauren Turner
Welcome to new member Maryanne Alos who replaced Linda Chesky Fernandes.
Writing for Beyond Workshops
There are still 7-10 spots available and organizers are really trying to push staff to signup. One of the main issues with the workshops is the amount of time required to attend. Staff members feel they cannot commit that much time without falling far behind in work.
Some ideas to improve the attendance were finding “floaters” to cover for staff attending the workshop, having the workshops in the fall, spring and summer to give staff more options to attend during “slower” times, and making/advertising the workshops more specifically such as workshops for writing recommendations and proposals as well as editing.
March of Dimes Walk
Lauren Turner brought forth the March of Dimes Walk as a possible interest or involvement for the Council. She did not have much information but would contact Carrie Fuller to find out the date, location, etc.
Computer Purchase Program
There was a request to lower the purchase minimum for staff wanting to buy a computer. Presently, partial financing is available through the College at a minimum amount of $1,000.00 to cover 2/3 of a computer purchase (meaning a person would have to spend at least $1,500.00). However, the average cost of a computer has greatly decreased making it very difficult to take part in this program.
Lauren Turner stated that this issue was “on the radar” and she would welcome a recommendation from Staff Council.
Health Care Analysis
Lauren presented the Council with the latest on the health care analysis. She said that there was very good turnout at the Open Forums and though there was a concern about not getting enough people to serve on the committee, there were ample volunteers with 17 (14 staff and 3 faculty) being selected.
The final recommendations were almost complete with the vendors Blue Cross/Blue Shield (offering HMO Blue and Point of Service programs) and Tufts (offering HMO and “Liberty” programs). The “Liberty” program is a consumer driven/high deductible program much like a health savings account (FLEX) and could end up less expensive than HMOs and Point of Service.
The web-based voting “booth” was presented to the Council and will be used this year to vote for the new representatives. First, the nomination forms will have to be mailed out and returned, but once all the nominations are set, the names will go into the program and staff and logon and vote. This will be a great savings in time and paper for the Council.
Instructions, including time period and how to logon and vote, will be included on the nomination form.
There will be more information as the system is fine-tuned.
Staff Council Meeting 4-12-05
Attending: Tom Clark, Mike Donais, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Rosanne Meczywor, Taryn Dunaj, and Pat Serio.
Also present, Lauren Turner
Pat will draw up a proposal to Human Resources from the Staff Council outlining a program to add one day of vacation for every year of employment at MHC after 20 years up to 5 weeks (25 days).
Computer Purchasing/Financing Policy
Carolyn will research the present costs of computers, printers and software to include in a proposal to change the requirements of computer financing provided by the College. The Council feels that the loan for the total cost of the computer should be brought down from $1,000.00 (with a maximum of $2500.00) and that the College should finance 100% of the loan (instead of 2/3). Presently, employees who want to get financing through the College for a computer must pay the total cost (usually by credit card) and bring in the receipt to be reimbursed with the loan amount. The Council feels that there should be another alternative for employees who cannot pay for the computer upfront.
Tom reported that the invitations are in the mail.
*Addition: as of 4/19, the President asked to change the date to 5/10- divisions have been notified and new flyers are being printed and will be sent out asap.
Times were assigned to have each Council member work the Staff Council table at the Benefits Fair (May 12, 10:30am-4pm)
The first appointed person declined so another has been chosen and will be asked by Pat.
Lauren Turner spoke about the committee dealing with the risks of privacy issues on campus. Everything from emails, to spam and computer viruses, to shredding documents (what should be shredded, what shredders are good, companies that dispose of documents). The committee would like input from various groups and departments on what information they deal with and their concerns.
9 vs. 12 Month Pay
Bardee brought the issue of 9 month employees not being allowed to be able to be paid over 12 months. A staff member in her department, who is nine month, asked Human Resources if he could be paid over 12 months. He was told “no” and when he asked why faculty were paid over 12 months, was given the answer that faculty work over the summer preparing for classes. He was told that Human Resources could give him a breakdown of what his pay would be over 12 months so he could prepare a budget, but could not be given his salary over a 12 month period.
Because time was short, this issue will be brought back to the council at the next meeting.
Staff Council Minutes 05-04-05
Attending: Tom Clark, Mike Donais, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Christopher Rust, Teresa Picard, and Pat Serio.
Many staff, especially staff working in Facilities Management, were upset with the recent changes to the College’s insurance policy. The College is now asking for the driving records of staff who drive College owned vehicles opening up a can of worms with privacy issues. In addition, issues regarding staff members using their own vehicles in doing College work possibly having to get commercial plates (and increases in their own insurance) have raised issues. Staff with questions are being advised to seek their own council.
Christopher Rust will be resigning from the Staff Council at the end of this academic year for personal reasons. A one year position will be voted on in the upcoming election.
Christopher Rust attended the OPC meeting and reported that there will be a pay increase for faculty and staff between 3% and 3.5% beginning July 1, 2005 (at the President’s breakfast the week before, it was reported that staff would get a 3% increase and faculty would get a 3.5% increase).
The architecture firm SLAM was chosen to design the new residence hall with drafts ready this fall. The new hall is scheduled to be in use by Fall 2008.
Table tents will be put on the tables at the President’s luncheon reminding people to vote for new staff council reps beginning 5/10/05 at 8:30am and ending 5/13/05 at 5:00pm. The web address is www.mtholyoke.edu/go/vote.
Council members will email their areas with reminders that the voting is on-line this year and directions on how to do it.
Linda Young contacted the Council regarding the recent release from Dean Bowie regarding racism and race relations on campus. Linda was upset with some of the wording referring to an incident last year involving staff and students. This was brought to the attention of Lauren Turner who spoke to Dean Bowie- the sentence has been taken out of the final report.
A letter has been drafted and will be sent to Human Resources recommending that staff who have served the College for 20+ years be given an extra 5 days of vacation time.
At this time there have been no nominations for the Staff Council scholarship. Pat will check on the wording of the scholarship. Theresa motioned that the scholarship should be able to be renewed by the previous year’s winner if no new applications had been received. The winner of the previous year would re-apply and, if was found to meet all the requirements, would receive the scholarship for another year.
Tom seconded the motion. The Council was all in favor.
This motion will be left for next year’s (2005-2006) Staff Council for review.
Pat will put together a basket from Staff Council for the drawing at the Benefits Fair.
Theresa and a staff member spoke about if the dependents of retiring staff could still be eligible for tuition remission. There are and will be a few staff who will be at or beyond retirement and have dependents at college age. The staff member asked if these dependents could still remain eligible after the staff member retired. Theresa told her she would bring this issue to the Council.
Because of the late timing of this issue, it will be left for next year’s Staff Council as well.
Staff Council Meeting 06-01-05
Attending: Tom Clark, Mike Donais, Bardee Sadlier, Carolyn Miller-Coulter, Rosanne Meczywor, Pat Serio, Maryann Alos, Barbara Bunyan, Mary Fanelli, Penny Silveira, Cindy Legare, Charmaine Colino, Sue Beaulieu, and Monica Reginio.
Welcome to new members!!!
There were a total of 96 votes cast on the new web voting system for next year’s Council members. While this is not the best turnout, this is a new system. It was suggested that the nomination forms be sent out (on paper) again next year as one way to help get the word out about the on-line voting.
The Council should also contact Mike Crowley or Christopher Rust regarding the set up of the on-line voting booth for next year.
Letters will be sent by Pat Serio to Lauren Turner regarding the computer loan policy and the vacation policy. Pat will also send Lauren an email regarding the 9 month employee asking to be paid over 12 months.
Bardee will update the web with the names of the new members as well as the latest meeting notes.
New Member Committee Responsibilities
OPC liaison and co-chair: Charmaine Colino
HR liaison and co-chairs: Mike Donais and Tom Clark
Communication/email/mail: Tom Clark and Monica Reginio
Events Coor./schedule meeting rms: Barbara Bunyan
*Secretary/Web: Rosita Nunez
Drug & Alcohol Committee: Cindy Legare
Faculty Meeting: Penny Silveira and Maryann Alos
Scholarship Committee: Mike Donais and Monica Reginio
Energy Conservation Comm.: Mary Fanelli
*Because Rosita was not at the meeting, she will be asked if she wants the secretary position. If not, Monica said she would switch responsibilities with her. (as of 6/2, Rosita will be the Secretary for Staff Council)
Tasks for Next Year
Mike and Tom will set meeting with the president in the fall.
Penny needs to know who will be the Convocation speaker as soon as possible.
Blanchard meeting room needs to be reserved for the monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, 1:30pm-3:00pm.
Charmaine would like to speak with Lauren about the exact amount of funds available to the Staff Council.