STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES

    July 19, 2017

                                                               

    President Michelle Lowery presided over the July 19, 2017, Staff Senate meeting held at the Capital Chamber Room (329) in the LSU Student Union at 10:30 a.m. 

     

    ATTENDANCE

    SENATORS                                                    

    Executive/Administrator/ Manager      

    A - Kucharchuk, Kayla (’18)

    Pr - Millican, Tammy (’20)

     
    Service/Maintenance

    P - Matkovic, Igor (’20)

     
    Professional/Non-Faculty

    P - Gomez, Jennifer (’18)

    P - Green, Elizabeth (’18)

    P - Henry, Jake (’18)

    P - Lowery, Michelle (’18)

    Pr - Ortiz, Shelly (’18)

    P - Springstead, Jennifer (’18)

    P - Villien, Douglas (’18)

    P - Ethridge, Jade (’19)

    Pr - Henry, Rachel (’19)

    P - Heroman, Stephanie (’19)

    P - Reonas, Barbara (’19)

    P - Rios, Hector (’19)

    P – Braud, Jennifer (’20)

    A – Calderara, Derek (’20)

    P – Clemmons, Jill (’20)

    Pr – Hernandez, Kristen (’20)

    P - Lemoine, Nathan (’20)

    P – Padilla, Osmar (’20)

    Pr – Stone, Megan (’20)

     
    Skilled Crafts

    P - Adedeji, Funmilayo (’19)

    Pr - Corbitt, Brent (’18)

     

    Technical/Paraprofessional

    P - Cherry, Aaron (‘20)

     

    Clerical/Secretarial

    P - Salvadras, Amber (’18)

    P - Arnold, Nancy (’19)

    P - Thibodeaux, Ashley (’19)

     

    A - Indicates Absent               

    P - Indicates Present

    Pr - Indicates Proxy
     

     
     
    GUESTS:

    Jake Palmer, LSU Emergency Operations Center

    Wes Heath, Office of Multicultural Affairs

    Roxane Berthelot, Campus Federal Credit Union

    Casey Coughlin, Campus Federal Credit Union

     

    CALL TO ORDER

    The meeting was called to order by President Michelle Lowery at 10:30 a.m.

     

    ATTENDANCE

    There was a quorum with six proxies noted.

     

    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

    Senator Jade Ethridge led the Pledge of Allegiance.

     

    APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – June 21, 2017, Staff Senate Meeting

    A motion to accept the minutes was made by Member-at-Large Barbara Reonas. The motion, seconded by Past-President Douglas Villien, carried.

     

    GUEST SPEAKER – JAKE PALMER, LSU EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER

    President Michelle Lowery introduced our guest speaker, Jake Palmer, who is with the LSU Emergency Operations Center. Michelle and Jake briefly worked together on the newly formed Safety Planning Month Committee, which will be held in September. In light of the fact that safety is always a hot topic, the Executive Committee invited Jake to speak with the Staff Senate today about upcoming plans and goals for campus safety.

     

    Jake Palmer mentioned that he is a Manager of the LSU Emergency Operations Center as of February 2017. In the past, D’Ann Morris has been handling a lot of the emergency operations on campus as well as managing the Student Health Center. LSU decided to invest and focus more on preparing for emergencies. From what he has seen, LSU is really good at responding and there is a lot of things that we can do in between events that will get the university set up to respond even more efficiently.

     

    Palmer gave a little history about himself. He was doing this exact same position at Texas State University before coming to LSU. He is an LSU graduate and is happy to return to Baton Rouge. He and his family were living in Baton Rouge until he moved to Texas in 2012. Prior to that, he worked in Emergency Management with the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security. He has also worked for several state and federal governments such as the Department of Defense, as well as a couple of private firms.

     

    He mentioned that what he thinks is real important for LSU is that we take advantage of employees who are out in the field and on campus and to make sure that there is an open dialogue between what you are seeing and doing on a daily basis and how they can help out. He mentioned some good examples. Some of the projects that they are working on right now is working with the Childhood Development Center to update their emergency planning with how to get their students on and off campus. They are in a little different situation than the rest of campus, so they are working through those concerns. When LSU says they are closing campus or that we have to evacuate, we are trying to get everyone away from campus but they are in a situation where there are young kids there and their parents have to come onto to campus to bring them home. So they are working on how to plan for them and make sure that we are aware of the operations that they are doing over there. They are also doing some merchant planning work with the Library which consists of updating their business continuity plan.  He is also responsible for helping different departments on campus since everyone has full time job duties with their emergency plans, training and any preparations that can be done before an event happens. Then when there is an emergency situation, there is communication coming from many different areas. That is one of the big things that he would like to instill. The only communication that is received right now is text messages and alerts on everyone’s computer when an actual emergency is happening. But he thinks that we can open those lines of communication prior to an emergency. Making sure everyone is aware of the information being reviewed when the decision needs to be made to close the campus or depending on what kind of weather is coming or what kind of emergency is on campus.

     

    Palmer mentioned that it is important that just because an event did not happen in your building or your location, you still need to know what happened. He gave an example of a recent power outage that we had that affected over 75% of the campus. People want to know why that happened. They are trying to build those lines of communication, so they can get that information out to you. There are quite a few different people and groups on campus who are responsible for their buildings or departments and he wants to make sure that those two lines of communication are open. Some of ways that they are doing that is through the Student Affairs Office. They have developed a safety website, which was reviewed during the meeting. He thinks that this is a great resource as a one stop shop for safety information. If you go to lsu.edu and conduct a search of emergency preparedness or safety right now, you are going to get a lot of information from Environmental Health or LSU Police Department or the Emergency Operations website. He really likes the student affairs site which can be found at lsu.edu/staysafe which was in place when he arrived here. They are doing some work to update this site as well. 

     

    Palmer mentioned that the site gives you some information which includes a check list and important campus phone numbers. They are updating the site to include better information for something that may happen on campus. They want to make sure that they have to most up to date information listed. Campus Transit and the LSU Shield Application is mentioned. This is something that they are really trying to push out to faculty and staff. This is a great tool that is free to use. The LSU Police Department is taking the lead with the LSU Shield App but if the Staff Senate can help to get this information out as well, that would be great.  As big as this campus is and as wide spread as we are, there is stuff happening 24/7. We really want to make sure that this tool is out there. They also want to make sure that everyone is signed up for the emergency text messaging.  He has been asking the different departments that he has been visiting if everyone is signed up since they have a low participation rate. This is just one that that everyone can do to stay informed on campus emergencies. They only use everyone’s cell phones for emergency notifications, so people are aware and can take action right away.

     

    Palmer mentioned that there are a lot of things mentioned on this website that his office does not particularly handle but this site is a great resource for employees. Safety month is coming up in September which is another great program event that happens at LSU. It really gets people to think about safety. They have also been doing an orientation breakfast with new students all summer and he has told parents that we do need to make safety and emergency preparedness the forefront in people’s minds. No one worries about this stuff until we are in the middle of some crisis. No one thinks to look and learn the evacuation map on how to get off of campus in a hurry. They are working hard to make sure that those tools are in your hands more efficiently. Palmer encourages ideas as well and provided his contact information at jpalmer1@lsu.edu and he can also be reached by telephone at (225) 578-1919. He has been visiting and working with as many departments as he can on campus. They are also trying to work at an office level. If you think your office would benefit from hearing from him on what to do doing an emergency event whether it’s shelter in place or evacuate, please let him know. He thinks it is important to know how to control our own work spaces if someone is on campus to harm others. It can be on how to lock the doors to emergency kits needed in different offices or how to communicate with others in our office, if separated.  As much preparation that we try to put in place, if we can’t get the message out and people are not fully aware on what to do then it is not very useful.

     

    He opened the floor for questions or suggestions.

     

    Senator Ashley Thibodeaux mentioned one of the things that she found out 12 years ago when she began working at LSU, and is still hard to get a handle on, is many departments do not have a trained employee with regards to First Aid. She is certified outside of LSU but she tried to find out if this was done here and found a lot of conflicting information. She is in a big department and there have been a lot of little emergencies but she thinks that if there was a mechanism where people could volunteer who may be able to deal with those types of events, or they could help until first responders are able to get there, or to make people feel safe who don’t know what to do. Jake Palmer mentioned that is a perfect example of what we need for improving communication, there is a crisis response class that was offered to faculty and staff last week. Thibodeaux mentioned that she was unaware and she actively asked for years for something like that. The Department of Environmental Health is responsible for CPR and AED training. They are also looking at the policy with regards to AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators) and how or if those would be distributed around campus. Palmer mentioned the Building Managers and his hopes to work through them in the future since every building on campus as a coordinator designed for that role. He thinks that it is important to be able to train certain people just in case someone in that room or building has a crisis so they will know what to do until help arrives.  

     

    Palmer mentioned that the university he came from instituted a standard response protocol which mentioned four actions which are evacuate, shelter in place, lock down, or lock out. They figured that if they could get everyone to grasp these actions, we can figure out the rest. It allowed them to really clean up any confusion with the four different types of messaging. He is hoping to implement something here at LSU along those lines. One of the things he heard when coming here is that LSU does not explain the messaging beforehand. This is something that he would like to build on the EOC web site. What the templates will look like to help give everyone an idea of when you see a message like this what to do.  He thinks that everyone will benefit from this moving forward.

     

    Q: Is there actually an evacuation plan in place? There was a bomb scare a couple of years ago and everyone was trying to leave campus but was stuck in traffic on campus for 3 hours.

     

    A: There is a link to a zoned evacuation map of campus on the Stay Safe website.  They are trying to get this posted on the LSU app and on the back of vehicle parking tags. 

     

    Q: What department hosts the crisis support class? And will more classes be offered?

     

    A: LSU Police Department helped coordinate the class and he is pretty sure if there is a need, they will host more classes. Palmer suggested to send him an email of interest and he will follow-up and try to get another class scheduled on campus. Treasurer Jennifer Gomez mentioned that it is not only just about going to these types of classes and what knowledge is gained from attending, but also what your department head determines the type emergency planning. President Lowery suggested that Gomez meet with Palmer on putting a plan in place for her department that she manages. Palmer mentioned that is what they are currently doing to get these type of plans in place.

     

    Q: With weather events that happen, most school entities make the decision to close if needed way before LSU does, can you tell us the process that LSU uses before making that decision to either close or stay open?   

     

     A: First thing you have to clearly define when you say LSU is closed, what does that mean? How does that affect everything else that is going on? He thinks that the reluctance in making these snap judgements depends on the situation. These decisions are based on the timing of the event as well as all the things that must come into play for a decision to close campus. For things that we see coming, we begin meeting with outside agencies and in his role, he would begin by communicating with the Governor’s Office, Mayor’s Office, and Homeland Security. We start holding briefings with the National Weather Service on what conditions are expected and when. Then they begin to communicate with departments on campus on what events are planned and what groups they are bringing on campus. It does boil down to what day of the week things are planned like a Saturday Football Game and by Friday there are a lot of people already here. He thinks that we need to better coordinate internally with the departments on campus as those decisions and those outcomes are being discussed. He has begun putting together an informal list of the departments that he sees being affected like transportation, UREC, facilities, etc., when we were watching the recent tropical storm. He is working on building that list. If you would like to be included, let him know to see if it’s the best fit for your department’s needs. He would really like for the message to go out before you see the text message or hear about what is going on in the news. He mentioned the Core Committee which is made up of himself, LSUPD, representatives from facilities and Risk Management along with a few others who look at everything going on, in order to then make those decisions. The timing on when that decision is made needs to be as early as possible since classes start early in the morning and people will already be on the roads. He would also like to develop a site where we could give access to certain department heads and building managers, where they can go to get information as a one stop shop so the departments can post their most up-to- date information. By providing this information in this way, it would save a lot of leg-work.  It all boils down to communication and making sure we know what is going on internally before those big messages go out.

     

    President Lowery thanked Jake Palmer for coming to speak with the full Senate today. She asked for him to share the safety video with her once it is ready and she will forward to the full Senate. He thanked the group for the invitation and shared his contact information again.

     

    PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

    President Michelle Lowery mentioned that when she was getting ready for today, she had actually taken a couple months to plan out some things that she wanted to address for the coming year and make some plans. When the Executive Committee met in June, she talked about some of those things. The new Executive Committee met in July and had plans to attend a Retreat this Sunday and discuss more plans. She wanted to give the full Senate an overview of what she is looking to do this year and how she would like for everyone to interact and be involved.

     

    Lowery announced that her two goals for this year are organizational effectiveness and member engagement. The reason she chose those two things is because in working with the Executive Committee for the third year, she has noticed some things that we could improve upon. She shared with Executive members that as a Staff Senate, we have some restrictions that other organizations don’t have and we are not necessarily set up to be as successful as some are. We are all working staff members with full time jobs and there is only so much time that we can commit but she thinks that we can put some protocols in place to really help us to be more effective. Lowery also mentioned that a couple of months ago, she had a Senator tell her that no one talked to them during their first meeting, so she wants to make sure that that does not happen again. So at the beginning of meetings, she will be at the entrance, welcoming people as they arrive. She asks that we all mingle as we come in as well and just talk with each other. The reason she planned the first social was to get to know each other outside of the meetings. So, if we don’t plan a happy hour maybe we can schedule a group lunch. It is important to get to know each other as we will be serving on committees and working together.

     

    Lowery mentioned some plans for the year. Each year, the Staff Senate receives an operating budget. The Staff Senate Treasurer will give an overview of the budget during the monthly general meetings. The Executive Committee discussed the expenses last year and then made some projections for this year. The budget projection will be reviewed for approval during the Executive Retreat. We would like to be prepared as the different committees will begin planning their events for the year and will need to know their budget. This will also help facilitate any funds left over to purchase items that may be needed.

     

    Lowery mentioned Committee Chair/Co-Chair expectations and responsibilities which is not something that has ever really been outlined as it is not listed in the Bylaws. She and Past-President Douglas Villien had a conversation of what that would look like and what people expected to do, so that there will be no surprises. We will get that information to the Chairs/Co-Chairs after the first Communications Committee Meeting but would like to develop that to include in the Bylaws, so whoever is interested in serving as a Committee Chair/Co-Chair, they would know what they are expected to do.  It is not just show up and run a meeting, there is a little bit more to it. This is intended in helping Chairs/Co-Chairs be successful by knowing what is going to happen pre-meeting, during the meeting, and post-meeting, so everyone knows what is going on and what is needed from us.

     

    Lowery mentioned Executive Officer responsibilities and that the Bylaws mentions just a certain amount of information on what those roles are to be as a general guideline. She would like to review those roles during the Retreat on what are the things that those positons can be assisting with. There are issues that staff have during the year and the current structure does not identify which Executive Officer should work on those issues. She would like to have a plan in place. Usually when staff email with a concern, they want an answer pretty quick, so we need to be able to react. Some things we can send to committees to discuss but if it is something that they want a response pretty quickly, we need to try and honor that.

     

    Lowery mentioned fundraising and that we do a great job with Candy Grams and some other things. One thing she noticed while planning another event is that our Student Government is hosting the SEC Exchange this weekend and so they have had four different give back nights. The most successful one has been held at Kendra Scott Jewelry in Perkins Rowe. We don’t have to do just this one but if they can send 4 students to the store for 4 hours on a Friday night and make $350 dollars, she thinks that we can do better with promoting that to staff. They will let representatives ask customers to mention Staff Senate’s Give Back Night and we earn a percentage of the sale to help with our fundraising. When Student Government received the numbers, Kendra Scott thought it was low, so Lowery thought we can try that. She encouraged Senators to think of other fundraising possibilities or share if you know of something else that may help with this effort.  Lowery mentioned that we also discussed a recipe book at one point which would take a lot of effort in creating but things to think about for the future.

     

    Lowery mentioned Staff Senate’s guiding documents and the lack of information provided in the Bylaws. She would like for the Staff Senate to do a more detailed review of those documents this year. We need everyone’s review in case something is missing or needs to be changed. Specifically, we need to review the committee structures. We have a certain number of committees and there is more staff on some than others depending on interest. We need to see if the committees doing what we need to do and are they meeting enough throughout the year. She had a conversation with a new Senator, Derek Calderara, regarding Staff Benefits, Policy and Development and is development something we need to separate out and try to do more of in a separate committee for staff. Is that something that we really need? She encouraged everyone to think about what works well as we look at our current committee structure and think about ways to improve committees in order to be successful.

     

    Lowery mentioned Staff Senate’s Strategic Plan. We had a 5-year plan from 2015-2020 and some of the things that she has been considering is that, we had a 5-year plan which is a really long time and our leadership and membership changes every year. She would like to look at this from a 3-year term as the President-Elect, President and then Past-President serves. She thinks that will help with a little more continuity. She would like for the Communications Committee to look at this in a more strategic way when they meet quarterly. Lowery also mentioned when looking at the Strategic Plan to focus on the three “A’s” which are Advocacy, Awareness and Appreciation. Those are some things that we really want people to know Staff Senate for, so really pushing that message and how do we address those issues.         

     

    Lowery mentioned processes. Senators recently saw the apparel order go out. She didn’t want to wait until August/September for that to go out, so that when we participate in Fall Fest, which is scheduled on September 29 and the Staff Senate has a table, everyone can be identified as affiliated with the Staff Senate.

     

    Lowery mentioned protocols and she would like for the Senate to develop some email templates for guest speakers, legislation and staff recognition. Some of the conversations regarding legislation in particular as we haven’t addressed a lot of legislation. Last year, we did a piece of legislation to honor President Alexander, we didn’t have any legislation this past year and Senator Rachel Henry will have two pieces for the Staff Senate to vote on but it would be more helpful if we had a template of what that legislation looks like so if you have an issue, you can use the template for whatever the issue is and it will be a lot easier; you don’t have to do as much work.

     

    Lowery mentioned some timing of projects and that she moved the new member orientation to the end of June on the 28th, so that new Senators can be up to date on Staff Senate and the different types of committees. Then they could make those appropriate choices based on committee preferences.  The committee preferences were done earlier so that the committees can start meeting sooner. By doing so they can hopefully start getting a head start on taking care of the organization. She also noticed that we really don’t have a lot of transitional documents. When we were doing the committee preferences, there were certain areas that were unclear such as which Executive Officer was supposed to be serving on which liaison positions. Therefore, clearing up that documentation would be helpful, so we know not put it out there to the full Senate unless it is supposed to be a specific person serving.

     

    Lowery mentioned training where new Senators had some training on the details of the Staff Senate. We discussed the expectations and responsibilities of Committee Chairs/Co-Chairs and Staff Senate representation in general. The last couple of years, we have worked really hard to create a certain image for Staff Senate and we want to make sure no matter where you are that you remember that you are representing Staff Senate and whatever you say can impact how people perceive Staff Senate, in a positive way or in a negative way. It depends on the topic. Especially if it is a topic that is important to you personally, so therefore you are passionate about it. So, the Executive Committee just wants to make sure that you are aware of that and really try to put your best foot forward when you are having conversations on behalf of Staff Senate and if there is more needed on that, we can definitely talk about in detail but that is something that we value. Because if the University Administration is going to take us seriously we have to be professional and do what we say we are going to do. Not just when you are representing Staff Senate in any of your correspondence.

     

    Lowery mentioned socials, Happy Hours and group lunches. She has also been having one on one lunches with new Senators. If she hasn’t reached out to you yet, don’t worry she will be. She really wants to get to know each of you and figure out what you want to do to help out the organization. She would like to get to know everyone on Staff Senate.

     

    Lowery mentioned staff appreciation and development. We had an appreciation event in May. We have a list of staff who attended that event and she would like to follow up with them to see if they had a good time and what we could do differently to make the experience better. It was really hot and we were serving hot jambalaya which we really appreciated from Campus Federal Credit Union but is that something we need to do earlier in the year, if we are going to serve jambalaya or do we need to do that later and serve maybe popsicles instead. She just really wants to get their feedback on that event. She would also like to create an event guide to assist those who are planning those events for the next year. We had some issues with the marketing Student group this past year who did a great job in the beginning with planning the appreciation event but as the semester ended, they were done with their project and there were a lot of loose ends that we had to finish up. We also want to look at options for partnerships with Human Resource Management on staff development. We really haven’t looked at the development piece and she and Jennifer have discussed training for new supervisors. There is something on the HRM website but what does it look like and how helpful is it to supervisors. So if there are things you think of in this area, please let the Executive Committee know.

     

    Lowery mentioned a few things that staff have reported with regards to staff perks and legislation. Everyone probably received an email last month regarding the faculty football ticket raffle. Staff Senate is looking into that. This is something that staff should also have, in our opinion, and when Athletics was approached, they were under the assumption that it was for both faculty and staff which it was not. So one of the things we need help with, is identifying what perks staff get compared to what perks faculty receive and how can we be more equitable with the perks that are out there.    

     

    PRESIDENT’S REPORT

    President Lowery reported that she attended the University Budget Committee meeting on June 23. You may have heard on the news that we are looking at raises for faculty and staff. The details are to be announced in October but the main portion of that meeting consisted of do we want to keep the priorities that the university had last year. Some of those priorities were merit increases for faculty and staff, new faculty positions, increase in GA stipends for individual disciplines, library renovations, strategic planning, deferred maintenance and info technology. Looking at the budget, we can probably do the top four items of merit increases for faculty and staff, new faculty positions, and increase in GA stipends for this year. With those commitments, they were looking at a balanced budget for the year. Of course, we also know that things may happen so for right now, that is the plan to start off with the balanced budget and to put those things forward. They should know more soon and hopefully the Budget and Finance Committee will invite Tommy Smith and Jason Droddy to attend their first committee meeting to hear more about that. In this meeting, the normal partners were at the table and it was a general overview with some details. She took notes but will be asking for more details about that.      

     

    President Lowery reported that the Executive Committee met on July 12. She has mentioned a lot of what was discussed. She also mentioned some future meetings, the Executive Committee will attend a Retreat on Sunday, July 23. Also, for the August 9, Staff Senate Meeting the Provost may attend to discuss LSU Strategic Plan.

       

    STANDING COMMITTEES

    President Michelle Lowery requested that standing committee updates be provided.

     

    Long Range Review & Planning

    Past-President Villien mentioned that former Senator Summer Steib submitted a Final Report to close out the 2015-2020 Staff Senate Strategic Plan which was included in the meeting packet. Basically it states that we haven’t done much as we were waiting for LSU’s next Strategic Plan to be released and to make sure Staff Senate is aligned with the university’s plan.

     

    SPECIAL AD-HOC COMMITTEES

    President Michelle Lowery requested that special ad-hoc committee updates be provided.

     

    Volunteer

    Senator Jennifer Springstead mentioned that she attended a Commencement Planning meeting. Commencement will be held on Friday, August 4. There will only be one main ceremony. The Staff Senate will help the volunteer effort with golf carts again this year for just the handicap parking lot. The Commencement Speaker is Jay Ducote. They are planning a huge luncheon after the ceremony. The details are still being worked out and with that they are trying to figure out exactly how many volunteers they will need. Right now, Springstead will focus on volunteers for the golf carts. Once the details are worked out for the other volunteers, she will forward on those areas.

     

    Springstead also announced that Fall Fest will be held on Friday, September 29, which is also homecoming week and parent weekend. That committee has begun meeting to discuss those details as well.   

     

    LIAISON COMMITTEES

    President Michelle Lowery requested that liaison committee updates be provided. 

     

    OLD BUSINESS:

    University-wide Protocol following the Death of a Staff Member

    University-wide Policy for Breastfeeding Mothers

     

    President Lowery mentioned that Senator Rachel Henry is working on drafting resolutions for a University-wide Protocol following the Death of a Staff Member and a University-wide Policy for Breastfeeding Mothers. She was unable to attend the meeting today but we should have something to review by the August 9 Staff Senate Meeting.

     

    Meal Plan Payroll Deduction for Employees

    President Lowery mentioned that there was a staff member who reached out to the Staff Senate for help in finding out why LSU Dining no longer offers payroll deduction for staff meal plans as you can use this without any taxes, so it is different than using Tiger Cash. Since there has not been a whole lot of interest, it is a little more taxing on Auxiliary Services to do this. If that was to change, they may reconsider this but right now staff have the option to purchase Tiger Cash. So that way, they can still go to the Dining Halls but it includes tax and their fee. Staff can buy a dining plan but just can’t payroll deduct for the cost of that plan. Any staff member can go to the Dining Hall and pay as they go as well. Lowery mentioned we may do a group lunch at one of the Dining Halls in the future.

     

    Legislation to merge the School Retirement Systems

    Member-at-Large Barbara Reonas mentioned that it failed in legislation. Former Senator Donna Love had called Staff Senate’s attention to this possible legislation and to be aware of what was being discussed downtown.

     

    Reonas mentioned that during the last meeting, there was a discussion regarding the Office of Group Benefits legislation regarding the Tobacco Use and Spousal Surcharges of $50 per month. Both of those initiatives were rescinded because Attorney general Jeff Landry stepped in and had some grave concerns. Evidently, they are not off of the table for the foreseeable future but they will not be a part of this year’s changes. The out-of-pocket cost increase for the Magnolia Plans did pass.

     

    Staff Senate Budget

    Treasurer Jennifer Gomez announced that she has met with President Lowery regarding the Staff Senate Accounts and discussed the review and reporting process.  

     

    Gomez reported for June 2017 the following:

     

    Bursar Account (Gift Fund) - $149.22

     

    LSU Foundation Accounts:

    Fee Support Scholarship - $14,310.76

    Holiday on Campus Support Fund - $141.99

    Scholarship Award - $3,993.09

    Support Fund – $248.86

    State Account (Operating Budget) $1,210.96

     

    Total Budget: $20,054.88

     

    A copy of this report was included in the July Meeting Packet.

     

    Gomez reported for July 2017 the following:

    Bursar Account (Gift Fund) - $49.22

     

    LSU Foundation Accounts:

    Fee Support Scholarship - $14,356.96

    Holiday on Campus Support Fund - $141.99

    Scholarship Award - $3,993.09

    Support Fund – $48.86

    State Account (Operating Budget) $5,954.05

     

    Total Budget: $24,544.17

     

    A copy of this report was also included in the July Meeting Packet.

     

    All of the balances will roll over except for the Staff Senate’s Operating Budget generated from the state account which starts over on July 1, at $6,442.

     

    Staff Senate Gift Fund

    Melonie Milton, Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator, announced that the Staff Senate Gift Fund was implemented to recognize certain events for Senators and former Senators that may happen throughout the year.

     

    The guidelines are as follows:

    Baby - Send flowers or gift to current Senators with the cost not to exceed $50.

     

    Death - Send flowers upon death of a current Senator or former Senator, and for current Senator’s immediate family members which includes spouse, child, or parent with the cost not to exceed $50. If a memorial donation is requested in lieu of flowers, the amount of the donation will be $50.

     

    Graduation – Send an appropriate gift to current Senators with the cost not to exceed $50.

     

    Retirement – send an appropriate gift to current Senators as well as former Senators with the cost not to exceed $50.

     

    Wedding – Send an appropriate gift to current Senators with the cost not to exceed $50.

     

    The Administrative Coordinator is responsible for collecting funds from Senators each year, maintaining the account and sending gifts when needed.

     

    Senators were encouraged to contribute $10 per year on a voluntary basis to the LSU Staff Senate Gift Fund as funds are low for the upcoming year.

     

    NEW BUSINESS:

    Summer Commencement

     

    President Lowery mentioned that when the request for volunteers does come out, if you could put a hold on your calendar for that morning from 8:00 a.m. until noon so we can help with this volunteer effort. Springstead mentioned that no Senators will be needed inside just outside at the moment. Lowery mentioned more details to come.

     

    Student Move In Day

    President Michelle Lowery asked how many have signed up to volunteer for Move In day so far. The Student Move In Day will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, which is our normal meeting day. The general meeting has been moved up one week to Wednesday, August 9 in order to accommodate this volunteering opportunity. There are two shifts, a morning and afternoon shift. Lowery has been asked to be a core volunteer where she will be stationed at one residence hall and help with coordinating efforts there. She has asked that all Senators be put at her location, so that we can work together and get to know each other more as we help our new students move in. If you have the time and can put that on your calendar, we would really appreciate that.   

     

    Senator Placards/Photographs/Apparel

    Melonie Milton announced that we are in the process of ordering the apparel after obtaining the logo approval from Trademark Licensing. There are four Senators who are interested in taking a professional head shot which she is in the process of scheduling with Strategic Communications. The Placards are ready for those who were interested. Please see her after the meeting to receive. The apparel invoice has been received which had some discrepancies. Melonie is working out those errors and will send out invoices for everyone’s apparel soon.  

     

    President Michelle Lowery asked everyone to review their Committee/Liaison preferences that were included in the meeting packet. This list is temporary as some people filled out the form differently where some used it as an interest form and some used it as their choices. Please review and let us know what you really want to do. We have 28 Senators with a certain number of committees plus the liaison appointments. Some people have a lot more listed than others but please tell us what you can do. If you want to go to all of the committees that you have listed to try them out and see, that is totally fine too but please let us know, so we can get a more concrete list together. There have been a few people who have mentioned that they may have to back out of some things which is ok but we want you to participate in everything that you want to. Most committees will meet monthly. Some of the liaison appointments meet monthly, some meet less. We need a liaison for the Office of Group Benefits Board Meetings. The Organizational Relief Fund meets weekly. Take a look at it and if you have questions, let us know so we can make those adjustments. There are still some appointments that need to be filled. The Holiday on Campus Committee needs another Co-Chair. Senator Brent Corbitt will serve as a Co-Chair. This committee needs more membership as there is much to plan for that event. We really want new Senators to look at this committee as well since this is one of our signature events that we host for the LSU Community and their children.

     

    Lowery mentioned that we still need an alternate for the Organizational Relief Fund to help serve with Member-at-Large Barbara Reonas. Student Sustainability Oversight Committee needs a liaison. This is a new fee that Student Government supported to create sustainability initiatives, so if that is something that you are passionate about, let us know. This was not on the committee preference form but we need a liaison. We need a liaison for University High Risk Travel. Secretary Nancy Arnold has agreed to serve as the liaison for the LSU Foundation Outstanding Staff Service Award Committee. Lowery suggested for Chair/Co-Chairs to discuss when they would like to hold their first meeting then let her and Melonie know so that we can both attend. She would like to attend the first meeting of all the committees to help with committee charges. Holiday on Campus needs to start meeting since the event is soon approaching in late November. With some of these liaison appointments, if you are unable to attend the meetings, you can always review their website for news and any updates, so please consider that as well. Please remember everyone needs to have at least 2 committee/liaison assignments. So if you don’t have enough, we may be reaching back out to you.

     

    As mentioned, the Communications Committee will meet 4 times this next year, every quarter to work on some bigger topics.

     

    President Lowery discussed Staff Senate perks that she mentioned in her plan. Are there any perks that you are aware of, so we can start compiling a list? She has a couple of items but wanted to know if you knew of any as well. Some that were mentioned included 10% off at the Barnes & Noble at LSU (includes Starbucks), 10% off at the LSU Veterinary Clinic, Paying with Tiger Cash has perks monthly as well from their different vendors. When you see a student discount anywhere, that is usually extended to staff and faculty as well, Human Resource Management has a lagniappe website page that lists some discounts offered, hotels and Enterprise Car Rental offers discounts for state employees, Woman’s Center for Wellness offers discounts for state employees, the YMCA offers discount for state employees, AT&T and Verizon Cellular phone offer discounts, Cox Cable and the Geaux Box offers discount on Internet Charges (must be renewed every 2 years), Cheesecake Factory offers a free piece of Cheesecake for LSU Employees and there is Free Institutional Wi-Fi Abroad with EDU Roam at Academic Institutions.

     

    If there are some discounts that you are aware of that faculty receive but staff do not, please let us know. We realize there may be some but we would like to review those perks.

     

    Senator Reonas mentioned that Staff Senate is waiting to hear back from HRM on how many part-time students are staff members at LSU to see if they can potentially utilize some of the student services such as the Health Center and UREC since they do not pay fees. They have to pay the difference for the student fee. At UREC, they actually offer a faculty and staff discount. So the question proposed would be to see if the difference in fees can be applied to the staff who are also part-time students. The response at the moment is, how many part-time staff students are there? She doesn’t imagine the number to be very high and they will most likely honor that but at the moment we are waiting on those figures from HRM. As far as the Health Center, we learned that if you are a student who is also a staff member, you can utilize their services just like any other student would. There is no restriction on you based on the fact that you are also an employee. If you are part time, you will have to pay that additional fee like any other student but that is a service that is offered to you.

     

    Lowery mentioned it is good to have these conversations. Even though we haven’t had raises, it is good to know what discounts are offered so we can promote those discounts on social media as well.     

     

    Staff Senator Birthdays

    President Michelle Lowery announced that Senator Kayla Kucharchuk celebrated her birthday on July 16th.  Happy Birthday!

     

    ANNOUNCEMENTS:

    President Michelle Lowery announced that this Friday, July 21, one of the last NCBI University Workshops will be held. It’s an all-day workshop. They are planning half day workshops for the future. It’s more about your internal identity and how you relate to others. So it may benefit you as a mom or a dad. It really takes a look at all different perspectives with some individual activities. Lowery thought it was great training. Senator Arnold mentioned that it was enlightening. Lowery has heard that 17 HRM staff members have participated and there has been some discussion of possibly making this a requirement for new staff at some point. There are other departments who are looking at some similar training for their staff as well. So you may see this NCBI Workshop being offered more which is the National Coalition Building Institute.

     

    MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Past-President Douglas Villien moved to adjourn.  The motion, seconded by Senator Ashley Thibodeaux carried.  The meeting adjourned after noon.

     

    Nancy Arnold, Secretary

     

    NA/mm