Staff Council Minutes

18 August 2009

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez. Fred Kass, Lorraine Lacasse, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier

It was brought to our attention that information about Flex Time reported in the Minutes of 9 April 2009 raised some questions that we need to respond to. We reported that a pilot program would be in place for summer 2009 and that Lauren was confident that this would be approved by OPC and Senior Staff. It isn’t clear why the pilot did not go forward. Paula Pierce will contact previous Staff Council members and follow up with Lauren Turner to find out why Flex Time was not initiated. One department that did try out Flex Time found that longer service hours increased customer satisfaction and reduced expenses by eliminating overtime. An added plus was that it also improved morale within the department.

This meeting was called to prepare an agenda for our annual meeting with President Creighton on September 11.

The budget seems to be the heart of most topics brought forward. How can we maintain our excellence when our financial resources are constrained? We believe that staff play a critical role in keeping all other resources strong and would like to discuss with President Creighton ways that we can ensure a healthy human resource.

Communications – new initiatives, proposed reductions in benefits, staffing changes – the Council believes that staff should be included in these discussions. We also believe we should have a liaison to Senior Staff. As Gladys Moore is an advisor to the Staff Council and a member of Senior Staff, Fred will invite Gladys to attend our September 8 meeting to explore this further. It was suggested that we ask Gladys if she would attend the September 11 meeting with President Creighton.

Staff Appreciation – with increased workloads and reduced benefits, managers need to find ways to show appreciation for their staff. Staff Council will explore ways to promote stewardship and provide social interactions with events like the Coffee Breaks. One suggestion was to have a themed question presented at the Coffee Breaks with small discussion groups to get staff input on various issues and initiatives.

Morale – giving staff a voice in decision making, improving communication, and showing appreciation will give morale a much needed shot in the arm. These should be high priorities for the Administration and Management.

Carmen Jimenez and Fred Kass will prepare and forward copies of last year’s agenda and Year End Report for our review. Fred will also send a first draft of this year’s agenda and report.

8 September2009

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, James Moynihan, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Minutes for the August 18, 2009 meeting were approved. Carmen will post the minutes to the Staff Council web page.

Meeting with President Creighton – September 11, 2009
Staff Council member’s names have been sent to Irasema. Fred Kass will draft an agenda and forward it to President Creighton for approval prior to our meeting.

President Creighton asked Staff Council for input on changes being considered for Winterfest. The Council’s response was that Winterfest should continue to be a lunch for staff. The Council discussed ways in which costs might be subsidized or reduced if needed.

Flex Time
Paula Pierce met with Lauren Turner to discuss the Flex Time pilot and why it was not offered across campus. Lauren stated that a proposal for Flex Time was submitted for review to OPC and Staff Council. OPC had some concerns with the proposal, but did support the pilot and any manager who wished to try a pilot over the summer. This information was communicated to managers, but not all extended the option to their staff. The Council will discuss this further with President Creighton and request that the Flex Time pilot be revisited.

Mountain Day Appreciation for Staff
Staff Council will once again serve pies to staff on Mountain Day. Ice cream will be served compliments of Dining Services and will be available to all. Cappie Glica, Theresa Rae, and Sue Rusiecki will manage the logistics. Staff Council volunteers will be solicited to serve the community on Mountain Day.

Coffee Breaks
Paula Pierce and Sarah Barrett will coordinate for the October Coffee Break. Suggestions made to use this venue as an opportunity to get staff ideas on creative ways to generate revenue are being considered.

Staff Council Mailing
Sarah Barrett will solicit and assemble items for the October email to staff.

Staff Council Retreat
Theresa Rae will contact Lauren on dates for the Staff Council Retreat. After Lauren’s availability is confirmed, Theresa will set up a Doodle for our selection and notify us by email.

Staff Council Liaison
At our meeting of August 18, it was stated that Gladys Moore is a liaison to Staff Council. After a conversation with Gladys, Tanya Williams reported that Gladys would be willing to meet with the Council to discuss ways that she can help with staff issues. Council will consider inviting Gladys to a future meeting.

In our conversation with President Creighton, Council will request timely and accurate reporting on budget cuts, layoffs, and restructuring of departments and positions. We will also ask that staff be included in gathering information before decisions are made that could impact workflow policies and processes.

An additional recommendation was made that the Administration review the use of outside consultants. This will be brought to the President.

11 September 2009

Attendees: President Creighton, Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Lorraine Lacasse, Cindy Le Page, James Moynihan, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

President Creighton presented copies of the Priorities for 2009-2010.

Staff Council members introduced themselves and shared some historical information about number of years of service and department affiliations.

President Creighton thanked the Council for their continued work in representing the staff and said that the Staff Council is a great success and a positive addition. She asked the Council to use meetings to bring forward to her staff comments, issues, updates on what has been accomplished, and future projects.

Council asked if the bi-annual meeting with the President should be the primary avenue for bringing staff issues to the Administration. President Creighton encouraged us to bring questions and concerns as they come up to Senior Staff.

President Creighton asked if we had any feedback from staff about the campus update sent on September 4.

Council reported that staff members have expressed concerns about layoffs.

President Creighton explained that layoffs were not considered in early budget projections but as student numbers came in they had to be considered. The Administration is working hard to save positions through attrition and by reviewing faculty appointments.

Staff Council suggested that an area for review is the use of outside consultants for campus projects. President Creighton offered to take this back to her staff and reported that we will see more maintenance work and fewer new projects in the coming year.

Council asked that managers include staff in conversations about changes in policies and processes. President Creighton agreed that dialogue at this level is important for better decision-making. One example used was the recent Printer Inventory and print management study that is being done in LITS. There are concerns that printers will be removed without considering work flow and that fewer printers will affect productivity. President Creighton made note to bring this forward.

President Creighton asked for suggestions on improving staff morale. Staff Council asked the President to consider the following:

  • Communication – must be timely and accurate. News should be distributed on campus before it appears in the media. When layoffs are the only option, it is important that the staff is treated with respect. What plans are being proposed for severance packages and reemployment counseling?
  • Flex Time - Council suggested that the Flex Time pilot be revisited.
  • Staff Accomplishments – with reductions in benefits being discussed, encourage managers to find positive ways to acknowledge staff accomplishments and show appreciation.
  • Professional Development – as a result from our recent survey to staff, this came across as the highest point of interest for staff. Training opportunities need to be offered on both staff and management levels.
  • Extended vacation time for employees with 20+ years of service. We need to follow up on this initiative and report on a decision.
  • Tuition benefits – there is a plan to review the college’s tuition benefits by Human Resources. Lauren Turner will convene a committee. We should include staff feedback in this study.
  • Elder care – what options are available for review?

Priorities 2009-2010

President Creighton reviewed the priorities for this academic year and made comments on the following:

  • Plan for 2010 – complete work and report on achievements;
  • Enrollment – sustain first-year academic pool of over 3000;
  • Finances – continue to explore ideas to diversify revenue;
  • Fundraising – campaign to reach $200M in gifts and pledges;
  • Facilities – completion of the boathouse and Kendall Sports Complex;
  • Environment – centers are moving to Dwight;
  • Five Colleges – continue to pursue enhanced collaborations.

President Creighton asked about changing the format for Winterfest to a different time and menu. The Council’s recommendation was to follow the same format with a lunch. There were many favorable comments on the social interaction this venue provides as well as the opportunity for staff to give back to the community through the collections for designated charities. If necessary, some changes could be made to the menu if needed.

Staff Council Coffee Break
Council reported that we have started to plan the coffee breaks and hope to use the first event to involve staff in revenue generating ideas. President Creighton supported this idea and asked us to encourage staff to become involved in brainstorming and also to stay informed by reading Mary Jo Maydew’s blog and attending future meetings on the budget.

8 October 2009

Attendees: Lauren Turner, Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, James Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Lauren convened the meeting with reports from the recent meetings from OPC and Faculty. There were discussions on staff morale, the budget, and recent announcements about merging Technical Services among the Five College libraries

The good news on the budget is that the budget deficit is smaller than was expected, but there is still work to do. Lauren stated that we need to look for areas where we can make improvements. She suggested that we look at existing processes and how we can make those processes more efficient. There will be a review of current benefits to see where adjustments could be made. Are there other ways that we can reduce expenses?

Council asked if a labor pool has been considered as a way to keep the staff who may face layoffs. Lauren explained there are administrative challenges in doing this and that it would be very difficult across campuses. At Mount Holyoke, when restructuring is being considered, the college does look to other areas on campus for possible relocation. She gave examples on the merge of Public Safety and how this did not impact Mount Holyoke but did mean a loss of jobs for the Smith campus.

She encouraged the Council to think about ways that we may offer services to other departments and even other campuses. For instance, in Human Resources staff at Mount Holyoke provide benefits support to Hampshire College with a charge back.

The Council inquired about budget initiatives being implemented in the Academic Departments. Lauren reported that there have been changes made to Faculty teaching loads and suggested that the Council invite Dean O’Shea and Mary Jo Maydew to speak at a future coffee break.

Process Efficiency
Lauren stressed the importance for us to think about existing processes and how we can make them more efficient. She used the example in HR of processing time sheets and how the move to an on-line method has reduced staff time considerably.

Lauren asked Council to think about what we can do to help departments and managers get off the hamster wheel and do less with less. She would like our ideas in time for presentation at the November OPC meeting.

Staff Morale
Lauren spoke about the dialogue at the Faculty Meeting on merging the technical services departments in the Library. This is an ongoing Five College collaboration and there are still aspects of the merge that are being worked out. She has had meetings with the Mount Holyoke staff of Technical Services and will continue to keep them informed. She did not know of conversations on the other campuses or how their staff would be affected.

In response to questions about “severance” packages, Lauren explained that Mount Holyoke does not have a set policy but does work within these guidelines:

  1. One week for each year of service
  2. Health insurance continues (Cobra) for the time of severance
  3. Four weeks minimum
  4. Six months maximum
  5. Immediately eligible for unemployment
  6. Notice time is deducted from severance time
  7. Loans/mortgages must be paid off
  8. Tuition benefit in effect will carry through the academic year

Review of Benefits
Lauren asked members of the Council to join committees which are being formed to review the following benefits:

  • Kendall
  • Tuition
  • Vacation Accrual
  • Pension Plan

She also asked for our opinions on the Computer Loan Program.

Tuition Benefits (2 volunteers)

  1. Tuition Exchange
  2. MHC Tuition Waiver for Dependent Children
  3. Free Courses for MHC Employees
  4. Free Courses for Children of MHC Employees
  5. Staff Reimbursement of $250 (per semester) for on-going education
  6. Tuition Grant (Grade 20, $900 per semester)


  1. Mount Holyoke must maintain a balance between students accepted at Mount Holyoke and students of our employees who attend qualifying schools. We are close to where we’ll have to cap or not offer any incoming.
  2. Benefit is limited to daughters of MHC employees who meet the admission requirement and currently covers entire tuition.
  3. Benefit is grade dependent. Could we redeploy to benefit all employees?

Vacation Accrual (1-2 volunteers)
Academic year employees may not carry over vacations days. Fiscal year employees may carry up to 20 days from the existing FY and 10 days from the previous FY. Total of 30 days.

There is a financial implication in that the value of banked days becomes a liability on the books. Goal should be to encourage use of vacation time when it is earned rather than saving and often losing it.

Computer Loan Program (no committee – please send council vote)
This program is available to all staff. The cost to manage it is not inconsequential and warrants review. Lauren reported that there are currently 65 loans ranging in value from $500 to $1800. Lauren asked that we seek out staff input.

Pension Plan (1-2 volunteers)
Changes in the regulations of the Pension Protection Act have demanded a review of our existing formula for calculating contributions and waiver of the waiting period. To be compliant, we must tighten up our requirements.

Kendall (1-2 volunteers)
An advisory committee of faculty and staff will review the feedback and concerns. Cindy Legare and Bardee will be facilitators.

Staff are invited to join any of the above committees.

Flexible Work Schedules
Lauren explained that the option to implement, or not, was left to the discretion of the managers. Some managers decided against offering it. Lauren suggested that we review and if we feel it should be reconsidered, she will bring it back to OPC.

In closing, Lauren encouraged everyone to consider signing up for the Intergroup Dialogue Sessions. She also asked to be invited to our November Council meeting for further discussion on Staff Development, Child Care, and the Weather Policy.

13 October 2009

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, James Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Kendall Update
Mount Holyoke College will be hosting the 2009 NCAA national championship for field hockey on November 21 and 22, 2009. Bardee Sadlier distributed information sheets and asked council members to share with their divisions.

Council Vacancy
Lorraine Lacasse submitted her resignation from membership on the Staff Council. Council voted to ask the runners up in Division III/IV if they were interested in filling the position for the remainder of the term. Chris Letourneau has accepted to serve on the Council through May 2009.

Committee Assignments

The following Council members have expressed interest in serving on the Human Resources benefits’ committees:

  • Kendall – Jim Moynihan and Tanya Williams
  • Tuition – Cappie Glica
  • Vacation Accrual – Stephen Parmenter
  • Pension Plan – no assignment yet

Coffee Breaks
Paula Pierce and Sarah Barret suggested November 4, 2009 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. for our first coffee break. Mary Jo Maydew, vice president for finance and administration will be asked to lead staff in a brainstorming session on revenue generating ideas. We hope to follow up with The Dean of Faculty’s Office as guest for the second coffee break so that they can inform staff about ways in which the academic departments are helping to balance the budget.

Staff Council Mailing
We talked about what kinds of notices to include in our monthly email blasts for staff. The general consensus was that we include any information pertaining to staff. It was agreed that the items should be brief, informative and include web links for more information when possible.

Flex Time Update
Council agreed to continue dialogue on the Flex Time option. Paula Pierce will ask Lauren what should be the next steps.

10 November 2009

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, James Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Staff Council Coffee Break – November 4, 2009
The Staff Council Coffee Break was a success. We received excellent feedback from those who attended. Staff enjoyed working in small groups and appreciated the opportunity to engage with other members of the community. Paula Pierce provided the Council with the list of ideas that were garnered from the brainstorming session. She asked the Council to review the list and to send any missing ideas.

Next steps:

  • add explanations for each group
  • review by staff council
  • add clarification/information as needed
  • send to Mary Jo Maydew
  • present to OPC

Staff Council Committee Reports
ADAC – Bardee Sadlier reported on recent events. Vegas Night venue was moved to Friday night hoping to prevent pre-event drinking. Eight people were transported to area hospitals for alcohol related treatment – five were MHC students. Other events sponsored by ADAC were not as well attended this year. The increase in the price of admission and change in time may have been contributing factors.

HR Benefit Committee Reports

  • Pension Plan – Mary Heyer of the Dean of Faculty’s Office indicated her willingness to serve on one of the benefits’ committees. Fred Kass will ask Mary if she will serve on the Pension Plan Committee.
  • Vacation Accrual - Jim Moynihan has offered to serve on this committee with Stephen Parmenter.
  • Kendall Committee – Faculty still have concerns about the proposed $150 membership fee. The committee has been asked to propose some other pricing formulas and bring these ideas to Senior Staff.

Continuation of Staff Council Retreat
Lauren asked to meet with the Council to update us on three areas that were not covered during the retreat.

Staff Development
Due to economic challenges, the fund that covered some of the Five College collaborative training has not been renewed. With further reductions in travel and conference budgets, Human Resources is looking for other methodologies that will promote professional development. Lauren asked Staff Council to prepare a summary statement on professional development from the results of the Staff Council survey completed in September 2008. She would like to have the summary before the end of the year so that it can be included with the budget requests due January 2010.

Child Care 
Lauren reported that the Preschool Enrichment Team has been contracted to review the current programs offered at The Gorse Children’s Center at Stony Brook. The team will confer with teachers and parents of both current and previous students as they help us reassess services and the future direction for the Center. Lauren will share their report with Staff Council in February 2010.

Weather Policy
Lauren spoke about the complexities of determining when the college should be closed and when it makes sense to delay opening. Council asked Lauren to remind managers that staff not designated as essential should be allowed to make a personal decision about not coming in during inclement weather. Television and radio stations will not be used to post notices. Staff should consult the Weather Line 538-2330, or the college web site.

Next Staff Council Coffee Break
Date: December 9, 2009
Guest Speaker: Mary Jo Maydew and the Dean of Faculty’s Office
Topic: Budget Initiatives in the Academic arena

Winterfest – December 17, 2009 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Jim Moynihan reported for the Winterfest Committee. Staff Council members will assist by staffing the greeting table and collecting/boxing donations given by staff for the selected charitable organizations. Jim will assign jobs and distribute schedules to Staff Council members at the December 8 Staff Council meeting.

Celebration of President Creighton – May 6, 2010
Fred announced that a celebration is being planned to honor President Joanne Creighton for her years of service to Mount Holyoke College. The location, speakers, and agenda are currently being planned. The committee has invited a number of speakers and has asked Staff Council to select a member from the staff. Fred will check with the staff members who were suggested by the Council to see if they are available to speak at the event.

Reminder – Community Breakfast on 11/12/09 Blanchard 8-9 a.m.

8 December 2009

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, James Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Faculty and Staff Council Dialogues
Two faculty groups who are interested in formalizing ways that faculty and staff can work together on common issues have contacted Staff Council. Preston Smith, Chair of the local chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and John Lemly, Chairperson of the Faculty Conference Committee have both requested conversations with Staff Council. Fred will get back to these groups about meeting.

December 9 Coffee Break
Sally Sutherland, Associate Dean of Faculty and Donal O'Shea, Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs will be the featured speakers at the December 9 Staff Council Coffee Break. Mary Jo Maydew, Vice President for Finance and Administration will also be available to answer questions. In the event that we have a delay in opening because of the predicted adverse weather, the Coffee Break will be rescheduled.

Fred Kass will make the following announcements:

  • The President’s next Community Breakfast will be on December 16, from 8 – 9 a.m. Lynn Pasquerella, Mount Holyoke’s 18th president is planning to attend.
  • Flu vaccinations may now be scheduled by calling the Health Center. Both Seasonal and H1N1 vaccines are available.
  • Winterfest will be on December 17 from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Chapin Auditorium.
  • "Understanding the International Student Experience at MHC" Workshop, Hooker Auditorium, Clapp Laboratory, 12-1 pm and 1:30-2:30 pm

Staff Council Committee Reports
ADAC – Bardee Sadlier reported that the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Committee will be replacing their Red Ribbon Campaign with a new initiative they are calling “Take The Pledge”. More information to come.

Winterfest – Jim Moynihan provided council members with a list of tasks and asked us to arrive early to help set up.

HR Benefit Committee Reports

  • Pension Plan – no update at this time.
  • Vacation Accrual – no update at this time.
  • Tuition Benefits – no update at this time. Committee should be meeting soon.
  • Kendall Committee – The committee has drafted a few membership payment models, which they will present for consideration. A final policy is expected to be in place by February 1, 2010.

Paula Pierce was asked to present the data on revenue generating that was collected during the Staff Council Coffee break on November 4. Fred will ask the OPC agenda committee to also include Sarah Barrett as a co-presenter.

Falcons Group Night
Mass Mutual was offering Springfield Falcons tickets at reduced pricing for groups of 15 or more. Since there was not enough interest to put together a group at this time, we did not pursue the offer but the Council did think that there might be other opportunities for staff outings. Stephen Parmenter is going to speak with Amanda Florek about past events and will report back.

Professional Development Support
In response to the budget cuts for staff training, Staff Council is drafting a statement of support asking the administration to reinstate funding for professional development. Fred will prepare the draft and present it to the Council for review before it is sent to Lauren Turner. Data from the Staff Council survey will be used to show that professional development was listed as the highest priority among staff at Mount Holyoke College.

12 January 2010

Attendees: Sarah Barrett, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Chris Letourneau, Jim Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Sue Rusiecki, and Bardee Sadlier

Spring Coffee Break
Staff Council would like to invite our new President-elect Lynn Pasquerella to be our next guest speaker. Fred Kass will be working on possible dates.

Staff Council Committee Reports

  • Kendall Committee – The committee has formalized their study and will submit their recommendations for consideration. A formal announcement will be sent to the MHC community when a final plan has been chosen.
  • No other committees had updates to report.

Meeting with President Joanne Creighton
Staff Council is scheduled to meet with President Joanne Creighton on February 4, 2010.The Council will thank President Creighton for her support of the Staff Council during her tenure, seek input about how we could improve our role in representing staff, and ask for feedback on how we could help Lynn as she takes over the presidency.

Search for Director of Public Safety
Staff has expressed a desire to give input on the search for the new Director of Public Safety. Fred Kass has had conversations with Mary Jo Maydew, Vice President for Finance and Administration about ways in which staff can send their suggestions and concerns. An update about the search, with additional information about where to send feedback will be sent to faculty and staff in the next few weeks.

Faculty and Staff Council Dialogues
Preston Smith, a member of the local chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) will be our guest at the February 9, 2010 Staff Council meeting. We will be exploring professional development and ways in which the AAUP and faculty can support staff.

Professional Development Support
In continuing conversations about professional development, Staff Council is concerned that staff may find it difficult to take advantage of training opportunities. The Council feels that training is mission critical and should not only be offered but should be required for all staff. A strong concern is that departments that are working with reduced staff may not have sufficient coverage to allow for training. There have been suggestions/recommendations to reinstate apprentice programs that prepare employees to move into better positions as they become available. Council hopes that collaboration with the AAUP will be a first step in getting the college on track in re-investing in staff.

4 February 2010

Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Chris Letourneau, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Guest Visitor – Preston Smith representative of the AAUP
Preston Smith, Associate Professor of Politics and member of the Executive Committee for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), attended our meeting to give a brief history of the AAUP and their work. One of their current concerns is how the suggested Five College collaborations will impact each of the colleges. Preston asked Staff Council to send him suggestions on how the AAUP can help support staff. He invited co-chairs, Fred and Tanya, to attend a future meeting of the AAUP.

Spring Coffee Break
Staff Council hoped to schedule a Spring Coffee Break with our new President-Elect Lynn Pasquerella as the guest speaker but have not been able to secure a date. We are working on an early May date for the last coffee break of the year.

Staff Council Committee Reports
No Reports at this time.

David B. Truman Employee Scholarship
Information about applying for this year’s David B. Truman Employee Scholarship will be sent out at the beginning of April. The web site will be updated to reflect the new application date of May 3, 2010.

Meeting with President Joanne Creighton
Staff Council was scheduled to meet with President Joanne Creighton on February 4, 2010.However, due to the President’s illness, the meeting was rescheduled to February 23.

Save the Dates

  • March 31- President’s Lunch (co-sponsored by Staff Council)
  • April 22 - President’s Community Breakfast
  • May 6 - Celebration and Farewell for President Joanne Creighton

Search for Director of Public Safety
The deadline to submit applications for the position of Director of Public Safety was February 1st.Report back from the search committee is that there is a good applicant pool and the committee is in the process of selecting candidates to interview.

Changes in Membership Attending Meetings of the OPC
Staff Council was recently informed that we would no longer have a seat at the monthly meetings of the Operational Policy Council (OPC). This change is the result of a restructuring in their membership and a desire to reduce the number of attendees. The Council expressed concerns that attendance at the OPC meetings have been a valuable avenue of communication and will request that OPC reconsider this decision.

23 February 2010

Meeting with President Creighton

Attendees: Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Chris Letourneau, Jim Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Meeting of the Board of Trustees, February 25-27, 2010

President Creighton talked about the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting. She said in addition to their normal business, the Board has also scheduled four plenary sessions. Topics for discussion will include:

  • Demographic shifts in student enrollments
  • Five College collaborations
  • Alternative sources of income
  • Future financial models

President Creighton reported that the college is in better shape fiscally than we thought it would be. We have a record number of student applicants but we still need to figure out how to close the gap left by the previous years of economic challenges. She advised that we continue to look for sustainable ways to reduce expenses and increase revenues.

Employee Service Awards
President Creighton commented on the Employee Service Awards that were recently celebrated and informed us that Senior Staff asked about reviewing and possibly changing the format. What has traditionally been a breakfast has become an all-morning event. Council expressed the importance of the service awards and explained that the breakfast provides a social and fun way to honor staff for their years of service. Joanne asked us to think about how we can keep the celebration fun and social while being considerate about the length of the event.

Comments from President Creighton
Council thanked President Creighton for her many years of support, and commented on the growth the Council has achieved under her leadership. The Council asked President Creighton for advice on our future direction and how we can be of value to the new President. President Creighton offered the following comments:

  • Communication is a challenge in an institution of our size. Staff Council helps by giving staff a group who will hear their concerns and bring them to the administration.
  • She said that the Staff Council is valued by Senior Staff. The Council has substance and is aware of the issues. She suggested we continue to look for ways to vet out concerns that staff may have.
  • During a troubled economy there will always be high levels of anxiety. She asked us to work on ways to relieve the anxiety.
    •She recommended we keep connections to other groups that include faculty and students.
  • She encouraged us to continue our community conversations, like the coffee breaks, as a means to effectively get and communicate ideas. The administration welcomes all ideas - even the out of the box ideas.
  • She suggested that we take the lead from our new President, Lynn Pasquerella –she will have a plan.
  • Staff should be a part of the solution. We can help by being engaged in and positive about change. She asked us to think about change in a constructive way and then figure out how to make it work.

Council asked President Creighton if she was aware of the changes communicated by OPC to limit attendance at their meetings and explained how a valuable opportunity for us to get information about policies would be lost. President Creighton said that she did know about the restructure but it is not what led to the decision. She suggested we continue to seek out ways to meet with members of the OPC.

9 March 2010

Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Chris Letourneau, Jim Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Tanya Williams

Staff Council Committee Reports
Retirement Committee. This committee is currently reviewing data and examining various models that might be considered at Mount Holyoke College.

Tuition Benefits Committee. This committee is in the process of reviewing the benefits for tuition waiver, tuition exchange, tuition reimbursement and the tuition grant. As part of their review they are comparing benefits offered at Mount Holyoke with tuition benefits that are offered at comparable institutions.

MCCL (Multicultural & College Life Committee).
President Creighton suggested that Staff Council continue to work closely with other groups on campus. Tanya offered to contact MCCL for an update since we have not had a recent report from them.

David B. Truman Employee Scholarship
The web site has been updated to reflect the new application date of May 3, 2010. An announcement about the scholarship will be sent in the Staff Council April Email News.

Meeting with President Joanne Creighton
Staff Council had their final meeting with President Joanne Creighton on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. Minutes will be posted on the Staff Council web page.

Meeting with President-Elect Lynn Pasquerella
Staff Council is scheduled to meet with President-Elect Lynn Pasquerella on Tuesday, April 27.

Staff Council Elections
An email requesting nominations for the 2010-2011 Staff Council will be sent to eligible staff at the beginning of April. On-line voting will take place Saturday, May 8 - Friday, May 14. A laptop will be available at the Benefits Fair on Thursday, May 13 to provide staff an additional opportunity to vote.

Save the Dates
Thursday, April 22 – President’s Community Breakfast
Thursday, May 6 – Celebration and Farewell to President Joanne Creighton
Thursday, May 13 – Benefits Fair

May 6 Celebration and Farewell to President Joanne Creighton
Fred reported that Russ Boudreau would speak on behalf of the staff at President Creighton’s Celebration and Farewell. A web page will be created to publicize the event. An email will go out at the beginning of April inviting staff to the Celebration and Farewell along with a request to send entries for President Creighton’s memory book.

Friday, September 24, 2010 - Inauguration of President Lynn Pasquerella
Lynn Pasquerella will be installed as the 18th president of Mount Holyoke College at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 24th. A Presidential Inauguration Committee has started planning for the inaugural weekend. More information to follow from the President’s Office.

12 April 2010

Sarah Barrett, Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Chris Letourneau, Paula Pierce, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, Theresa Rae, and Tanya Williams

Benefits Change Discussions
Lauren Turner met with Staff Council to discuss the summary of benefits change document that she is going to share with the campus. Human Resources convened two benefit advisory committees in February 2010. This document summarizes their discussions to date. In addition, other issues that have been discussed include child care (Gorse Children’s Center) and parental leave.

Retirement Benefits: The first benefit advisory committee was charged with reviewing retirement benefits and long-term care insurance. The committee was asked to review the MHC Defined Contribution Retirement Plan and to make informed recommendations about plan administration and design. The committee was also asked to look at voluntary retiree health insurance options and the advisability of MHC sponsoring a group Long Term Care plan.

Tuition Benefits: The second committee was asked to review tuition benefits and recommend appropriate changes. They are looking at the MHC Tuition Waiver, the Tuition Exchange Scholarship Program and the Tuition Grants and Tuition/Course Fee Reimbursements.

Child Care: Lauren reported that consultants from The Preschool Enrichment Team (PET) were hired to conduct an assessment of how the programs at the Gorse Children’s Center are meeting the needs of our community. They will be completing their report in the near future, which will be shared with the campus community.

Parental Leave: This review has not yet begun.

Group Health Insurance: The College will maintain our Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance options for 2010-11. Rates for all plans will increase by 18.9% effective July 1, 2010.

Vacation Accrual: A committee is being formed to review our policy on vacation accrual.

Computer Loan Program: This program will be phased out beginning December 31, 2010.

Staff Council Election Update
Fred Kass distributed the list of nominees for each division. There were 52 nominees (19 Division I/II, 27 Division II/IV and 6 Division VI). Nominees will be contacted and those who accept to run will be asked to submit a brief statement that will be included on the Staff Council Voting web site.

On-line voting will take place Saturday, May 8- Friday, May 14. A laptop will be available at the Benefits Fair on Thursday, May 13 to give staff an opportunity to vote.

Scholarship Update
We have received one application with supporting documents. A second notice will be included in the April Staff Council Email News to encourage additional applications

Benefits Fair Update
The Benefits Fair theme this year will be “Celebrate Spring”. Raffle prizes and scheduling for coverage during the event were discussed.

Meeting with The Board of Trustees
Staff Council will join the Board of Trustees, Senior Staff, and the OPC on Friday, May 7 for lunch. Fred Kass will give a short presentation about the work of the Council

11 May 2010

Cappie Glica, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Chris Letourneau, jim Moynihan, Stephen Parmenter, Paula Pierce, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, and Theresa Rae

Staff Council Election Update
Voting for seven seats on Staff Council opened on Saturday, May 8, 2010 and will close on Friday, May 14. Due to a technical glitch some Staff Council Nominees were in the wrong divisions. Corrections were made and the votes received up to that point were cleared. An email was sent to staff-council-voters-a asking them to revote. Fred will send out the list of winners on Monday, May 17. Council members will call all nominees to let them know about the results before the winners are posted to the Staff Council web page.

Scholarship Update
We received two applications but one application did not include all of the supporting documents. Council decided to give the second applicant a bit more time to provide all documentation.

Benefits Fair Update
Several council members offered prizes from their departments for the Staff Council raffle and game. Theresa Rae offered to take care of the decorations, snacks and a game. Bardee Sadlie donated a folding chair, compliments of Kendall, for the raffle. Staff Council members volunteered to take various shifts to cover the event.

Meeting with The Board of Trustees
Staff Council will join the Board of Trustees, Senior Staff, and the OPC on Friday, May 7 for lunch. Fred Kass will give a short presentation about the work of the Council.

14 June 2010

Cappie Glica, Gail Holt, Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy Legare, Cindy LePage, Christopher Letourneau, Stephen Locklin, James Moynihan, Brenda Payette, Paula Pierce, Theresa Rae, Sue Rusiecki, Bardee Sadlier, Heather Tetrault, Lori M. Widmer-Hinckley, and Tanya Williams

Newly elected members - Dina Bevivino, Stephen Locklin, Cindy Legare, Heather Tetrault, Brenda Payette, Christopher Letourneau, Gail Holt and Lori M. Widmer-Hinckley - were welcomed. Departing members - Carmen Jimenez, Fred Kass, Cindy LePage, Theresa Rae, Stephen Parmenter, and Bardee Sadlier - were thanked for their years of service.

Tanya asked council members to talk about their various committee assignments so that new members would have an understanding of the duties of each. She led a brief discussion about who are we, what do we do, and what we hope to accomplish in the next year. The Council felt that this will be a year of learning and that we will need to follow the lead of our new President, Lynn Pasquerella. We plan to focus on staff unification and connections with other groups on campus.

  • Committee assignments for Staff Council 2010-2011:
  • Co-chairs – Tanya Williams and Gail Holt
  • Communications – Cindy Legare
  • Events Coordinator/Scheduler - Heather Tetrault
  • Secretary – Sue Rusiecki (back-up secretary – Brenda Payette)
  • Web – Chris Letourneau and Sue Rusiecki
  • Drug and Alcohol – Jim Moynihan
  • Faculty Meeting – Cappie Glica and Lori M. Widmer-Hinckley
  • Scholarship – Cappie Glica
  • Election – Sue Rusiecki
  • OPC – Paula Pierce
  • HR Liaison – Paula Pierce
  • Student Coalition for Action – Tanya Williams

Staff Council Calendar
An overview of the proposed Staff Council calendar was distributed. Heather will reserve rooms and Tanya will coordinate dates with President’s Office.

Scholarship Update
Two $500 scholarships will be awarded this year. Cappie Glica will notify the recipients. The awards will be announced on the Staff Council Web page.

Human Resources Committee Updates
Tuition Benefits – The committee has submitted their recommendations to Lauren Turner who is drafting a report.

Retirement Committee – The committee has looked at a number of options that would encourage earlier participation by staff. They have not completed their study and will resume their work in the fall.

Vacation Accrual – Discussions are continuing about reducing the number of vacation days that can be carried, encouraging staff to use vacation time when accrued, and providing accrual options for non-academic 10 and 11 month positions.

Inauguration Update
The inauguartion event sponsored by the staff will take place on September 23. The Council is looking for a staff member to speak on our behalf. Brenda Payette, Paula Pierce, and Tanya will work on an email request for nominations.