STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES
June 21, 2017
President Douglas Villien presided over the June 21, 2017, Staff Senate meeting held at the Club at Union Square at 10:30 a.m.
A - Matkovic, Igor (’17)
P - Cherry, Aaron (‘17)
P - DeRoche, Jon (’17)
A - Kucharchuk, Kayla (’17)
P - Lemoine, Nathan (’17)
P - Lowery, Michelle (’17)
P - Millican, Tammy (’17)
P - Ramachandran, Anand (’17)
P - Reonas, Barbara (’17)
A - Spurlock, Maggi (’17)
P - Steib, Summer (’17)
P - Villien, Douglas (’17)
P - Gomez, Jennifer (’18)
A - Henry, Jake (’18)
P - Ortiz, Shelly (’18)
P - Poret, Elizabeth (’18)
P - Springstead, Jennifer (’18)
P - Ethridge, Jade (’19)
P - Henry, Rachel (’19)
P - Heroman, Stephanie (’19)
P - Rios, Hector (’19)
P - Adedeji, Funmilayo (’19)
P - Corbitt, Brent (’17)
P - Salvadras, Amber (’18)
P - Arnold, Nancy (’19)
A - Thibodeaux, Ashley (’19)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Jennifer Braud, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Jill Clemmons, Academic Programs Abroad
Kristen Hernandez, Faculty Technology Center
Osmar Padilla, Continuing Education
Megan Stone, LSU Office of Student Media
Trey Truitt, Staff Senate Past-President
Vice Provost Dereck Rovaris, Office of Diversity
Casey Coughlin, Campus Federal Credit Union
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Douglas Villien at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with no proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Elizabeth Poret led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – May 17, 2017, Staff Senate Meeting
A motion to accept the minutes was made by Member-at-Large Aaron Cherry. The motion, seconded by Past-President Tammy Millican, carried.
President-Elect Michelle Lowery discussed the lunch menu options for those who are either allergic or do not like seafood and for those who are vegetarians. Senator Rachel Henry mentioned that LSU Dining has been working with the Club at Union Square to establish a new menu, so some of the items are being showcased today. The new menu allows people to either pick two or three items off of the new menu. Today, Staff Senators are being offered to either pick two or three items at a discounted rate.
President Douglas Villien requested that standing committee updates be provided.
SPECIAL AD-HOC COMMITTEES
President Villien requested special ad-hoc committee updates be provided.
Senator Jennifer Springstead mentioned that Ashley Arceneaux with the President’s Office is calling for suggestions regarding Commencement. If anyone has any suggestions or comments in general, please send those to Jennifer. She is not sure when the next meeting will be held.
President Villien gave an overview of the Volunteer Committee and their efforts with helping during Commencement for the newly elected Senators in attendance.
President Villien asked that liaison committee updates be provided.
Office of Group Benefits
Senator Anand Ramachandran reported that he attended the Office of Group Benefits Policy and Planning Board meeting on June 14, 2017. The written report was included in the meeting packet. He mentioned that they discussed the Tobacco Use and Spousal Surcharges. This applies to the Blue Cross Blue Shield plans with respect to spouses who are not employed by the State of Louisiana or Louisiana State University. They also discussed a 1% plan increase which will not apply to Vantage or People’s Health plans. These changes are proposed. Nothing is definite as of yet. The board discussed this increase as opposed to an increase of 2% across the board for all of the health plans. They are also searching for a new benefits management company. No bids have been requested for a replacement for a new benefits management company. The Part D subsidy will terminate on December 31, 2017, and at this time no bids have been requested for a replacement. The board also discussed the High Cost Generic Avoidance Program which starts October 1, 2017. President Villien mentioned that the private sector insurance companies has a tobacco use surcharge. There is a Town Hall Meeting scheduled on June 28, 2017, at the Claiborne Building at 1201 N. Third Street, downtown Baton Rouge. These changes are only for the plans offered by the Office of Group Benefits such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Vantage, People’s, and does not include LSU First.
Past-President Tammy Millican mentioned that if we know of anyone covered by one of those plans mentioned to encourage them to attend the Town Hall meeting as there was another instance where they were trying to pass something like this which created a lot of outrage and those covered need to attend to learn what will be happening and ask questions if needed. She mentioned that the spousal surcharge is not applied if the spouse is not eligible for coverage elsewhere or if the spouse is a state employee eligible for an OGB plan. There shall be a surcharge of $50 per month assessed against each enrollee who covers a spouse as a dependent under a self-insured OGB health plan, when that spouse is eligible for health insurance through an employer-sponsored plan but has declined this coverage. LSU First has not made a determination if they will apply a spousal surcharge at this time. Also, the tobacco surcharge would not only be for the employee but any dependent who is 18 years of age or older. They are not sure how they will handle this but possibly having anyone who is covered to fill out an affidavit stating that they do not use tobacco products. The board also discussed covering grandchildren as long as they reside with the insured. Millican also mentioned that the out of pocket cost is increasing by $1,000.00 for Magnolia Local Plus plan and $2,000.00 for Open Access Plan. She commented that it is our responsibility to notify employees covered under those plans. She will forward the information to the full Senate. The contract also with Prudential Insurance is expiring at the end of this year as well.
Secretary Barbara Reonas wanted to know if the spousal surcharge is only for entities outside of the state, for example, if a state employee works at LSU or UNO, is the surcharge applied if they have LSU First. Millican mentioned that it is a $50 monthly surcharge, which covers a spouse as a dependent under a self-insured OGB plan where that spouse is eligible for health insurance through an employer sponsored plan but declined that coverage. So, it is not clear and that would be something that we would need to find out. Senator Jennifer Springstead asked if this would apply if this is the spouse’s secondary insurance as well. That is also a good question as it is unclear. Villien has not heard about these changes for LSU First. An affidavit would also be required regarding spousal coverage as well.
Staff Senate Budget
President-Elect Michelle Lowery mentioned that since Treasurer Kayla Kucharchuk is currently out on Maternity Leave, the Report will be given during the July 2017 Staff Senate General Meeting.
Staff Senate Gift Fund
President Villien encouraged senators to contribute to the Gift Fund. Voluntary contributions are $10 per year, per senator. The guidelines for expenses from the gift fund were mentioned.
University-wide Protocol following the Death of a Staff Member
President Villien announced that Senator Rachel Henry has brought this item to the Executive Committee’s attention for a possible Resolution. Senator Henry mentioned that she has brought two topics that she would like for Staff Senate to propose to the University, the first being that the University should have an official Protocol following the Death of a Staff Member regardless of what their service time was. This past semester in LSU Auxiliary Services, they lost a long standing staff member, Tara Cook, and literally nothing happened which was really disheartening to her. She did not know her well as she was new in that Unit, so she almost felt like an outsider looking in. Henry use to work in the Chancellor’s Office where they would receive requests for him to write letters to the family stating appreciation for their service and offering condolences. She reached out to the Presidents’ Office and made a similar request which they said that they would do but she never received any feedback that it was done and no responses when she followed up. Moving forward, Senator Henry would like to see some official protocol in instances such as this. Our Deans, Supervisors and Leadership would be notified, so a letter could come from either one. Anything along those lines she thinks would be better than nothing. Senator Rachel Henry will draft something for review during the July Staff Senate Meeting for feedback. President-Elect Lowery mentioned there is someone who handles the student death notices so that Senator Henry can reach out to them to see how that is handled. President Villien mentioned that there was a protocol in place when he worked in the Registrar’s Office, where the student’s tuition and fees were completely refunded. Lowery mentioned that there is a complete protocol in place for students and the Dean of Students actually started a ceremony this past year as they remember the fallen Tiger, so to speak. The family and friends were able to bring photos and speak, if they desired. They also have volunteers that go to the hospital to visit the family. This could be helpful when presenting this university protocol to our leadership. Henry mentioned in addition to that, she watched her direct supervisor have to figure out what to do with her parking, her accesses, etc. She mentioned there needs to be some type of checklist or guidance on how to deal with this type of situation. Possibly even some help from Student Advocacy and Accountability for some type of grief counseling availability for students and coworkers, etc. Villien mentioned that in the Registrars’ Office, long serving, former Staff Senate Judy Colley passed away and for months afterward people were shocked to hear the news of her death. He wondered why that was not announced somehow. He mentioned it would be really nice to have some type of policy in place.
University-wide Policy for Breastfeeding Mothers
President Villien announced that Senator Rachel Henry has also brought this item of a University-wide Policy for Breastfeeding Mothers to the Executive Committee’s attention for a possible Resolution as well. Henry mentioned that they are exploring the option of having a Mother’s room or Lactation Room in the LSU Student Union. She asked for feedback on Facebook. She realized that there is there no database of safe spaces for a Mother’s Room, but there is also no policy that protects mother’s that are going through that on this campus as well. Henry obtained a copy of the official company-wide policy from Pennington. Henry has contacted LSU Human Resource Management who confirmed that we do not have a policy statement in place which could dictate that a woman is allowed so many breaks throughout the day; Pennington’s policy is very detailed. Henry mentioned that we can even take that policy and go a step further and ask the Building Managers for every building to indicate where there is a safe space is in their building. It can be very awkward to ask your supervisor or coworker, especially a man, if there is a safe, private space in the building for a Mother’s Room. Maybe this information can be found on a website or maybe we can request a policy statement to that would address this issue.
President Villien mentioned that a discussion regarding safe spaces for breastfeeding mothers was mentioned in the Administrative Process Improvement Committee (APIC). He also mentioned that Strategic Communications is working on this issue. Senator Shelly Ortiz mentioned that the safe spaces need to be somewhat adequate as well. The one in her building, Pleasant Hall, is in the basement and the mothers would rather use the bathroom. Henry would like to see Staff Senate create a resolution for our administration to consider supporting the creation of official policies. She is happy to draft this as well. Senator Summer Steib mentioned that Council of Gender Equity is also looking into this and would like to collaborate on that, possibly a joint resolution. Past-President Tammy Millican mentioned that we may want to include Tiger Stadium and some of the other sport facilities as well including the Tiger Athletic Foundation. Villien mentioned that we could collaborate with faculty Senate on both of these issues. However, there may not be much of a protocol for deceased Faculty. Senator Hector Rios asked what would be required for the safe space. Henry mentioned electricity, air conditioning, a chair, a table and a lock on the door. It may be hard for every building to designate a room but maybe a private bathroom for something like that. Senator Rachel Henry will draft something for review during the July Staff Senate Meeting for feedback.
Introduction of Elected Senators
President Douglas Villien announced the newly elected or re-elected Staff Senators who were chosen to either serve a three year term through 2020 or to fill a vacancy.
In the Executive/Administrative/Managerial Category:
Past-President Tammy Millican, Executive Director with Facility & Property Oversight was re-elected for a 3-year term. Treasurer Kayla Kucharchuk, Manager with the LSU Olinde Career Center was re-elected to fill a 1-year vacancy seat through 2018.
In the Professional/Non-Faculty Category:
Jennifer Braud, Counselor with College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Derek Calderara, Coordinator with Residential Life; Jill Clemmons, Assistant Director with Academic Programs Abroad; Kristen Hernandez, Educational Technology Consultant with the Faculty Technology Center; and Osmar Padilla, Coordinator with Continuing Education were elected for a 3-year term through 2020. Nathan Lemoine, Information Technology Analyst with Law Enforcement Online was re-elected for a 3-year term through 2020. Secretary Barbara Reonas, Lead Counselor with College of Engineering ran unopposed for a 2-year vacancy seat through 2019. Megan Stone, Business Manager with the LSU Office of Student Media ran unopposed for a 1-year vacancy seat through 2018.
In the Technical/Paraprofessional Category:
Member-at-Large Aaron Cherry, Maintenance Superintendent with Facility and Property Oversight ran unopposed for a 3-year term through 2020.
In the Skilled Crafts Category:
Senator Brent Corbitt, Electronic Technician with Facility and Property Oversight ran unopposed for a 1-year vacancy seat through 2018.
In the Service/Maintenance Category:
Senator Igor Matkovic, Custodian Manager for Building Services with Facility and Property Oversight ran unopposed for a 3-year term through 2020.
He mentioned that there is still 1 vacancy in the Technical/Paraprofessional Category through 2019 and 2 vacancies in the Service Maintenance Category through 2019.
Recognition of Senators
President Douglas Villien recognized Senators who served this year, fulfilled their terms of office and those who served the Senate as a Chair or Co-Chair and Liaisons during this past year. Villien presented Certificates of Appreciation for Dedication and Service to Senators Dominic Adedeji, Nancy Arnold, Aaron Cherry, Brent Corbitt, Jon DeRoche, Jade Ethridge, Jennifer Gomez, Jake Henry, Rachel Henry, Stephanie Heroman, Kayla Kucharchuk, Nathan Lemoine, Michelle Lowery, Igor Matkovic, Tammy Millican, Shelly Ortiz, Elizabeth Poret, Anand Ramachandran, Barbara Reonas, Hector Rios, Amber Salvadras, Jennifer Springstead, Maggi Spurlock, Summer Steib, Ashley Thibodeaux and Douglas Villien.
Villien also presented the President’s Attendance Award to Senators Nancy Arnold and Tammy Millican for perfect attendance at all of the Staff Senate meetings for the year.
President Douglas Villien announced that for the LSU Staff Senator Service Award, in recognition of an individual member of the LSU Staff Senate who has provided outstanding service to the Senate for the past year, the Staff Senate Executive Committee would like to recognize Jennifer Gomez. Prior to be elected in 2015, she served as a costume character for Holiday on Campus. Since then she has provided above and beyond service to the Staff Senate and to the university. She has served as Co-Chair of the Holiday on Campus Committee during her first year. She served on the Staff Benefits, Policies & Development Committee for the last two years. She has proven to be in invaluable player in the New Staff Receptions and making sure that they were always a success, with contacting Vendors to participate and helping to set up volunteers. Most recently she secured the Shirley Plakidas Reception Room in the Union Theater and a donation from LSU Auxiliary Services to help cover the cost of the food. She has always been instrumental in helping in any way that she can and is always involved during Staff Senate events as well as helping during Commencement. She is also the newly elected Treasurer Officer.
President Douglas Villien announced that for the LSU Outstanding New Senator Award, in recognition of a new member of the LSU Staff Senate who has provided outstanding service to the Senate for the past year, the Staff Senate Executive Committee would like to recognize Jade Ethridge. Jade has only been on the Staff Senate for one year and she has hit the ground running. She agreed to Chair the Scholarship Committee and has done a phenomenal job. She has coordinated two Candy Gram Sales and helped deliver them all over campus. Together, both events raised over $1300 for the Staff Senate Fee Support Scholarship Fund. She also facilitated the Holiday Decorating Contest which raised $200 last year which also benefited the Staff Fee Support Scholarship. She also advocated for a donation from the Alumni Association to which they agreed to contribute $1000 annually to that effort. She has been instrumental in making sure that the staff scholarship award contract with Financial Aid & Scholarships was amended to raise the amount of each award that recipients receive every year. She also has volunteered during Commencement.
2017-2018 Executive Committee Officers
President Douglas Villien announced the 2017-2018 Staff Senate Executive Committee members who are President-Elect Tammy Millican, Secretary Nancy Arnold, Treasurer Jennifer Gomez, Member-at-Large Barbara Reonas, President Michelle Lowery and Past-President (Ex-Officio) Douglas Villien.
President’s Closing Address
President Douglas Villien gave a closing address to the full Senate.
Passing of the Gavel
President Douglas Villien passed the gavel to Past-President Trey Truitt. President-Elect Michelle Lowery mentioned that the Staff Senate had two President’s this year since Trey Truitt has accepted a position off campus. Past-President Trey Truitt gave a few words. After seeing the 2016-2017 PowerPoint Year in Review Presentation, the Staff Senate really did a lot this past year and he thanked President Douglas Villien for carrying the torch. President Douglas Villien officially passed the gavel to President-Elect Michelle Lowery.
President-Elect Michelle Lowery presented President Trey Truitt with a President’s Plaque with a Staff Senate Certificate of Appreciation for his dedication and service to the LSU Community and the LSU Staff Senate as LSU Staff Senate President, 2016-2017 and thanked him for all of his work this past year.
President-Elect Michelle Lowery also presented President Douglas Villien with a President’s Plaque with a Staff Senate Certificate of Appreciation for his dedication and service to the LSU Community and the LSU Staff Senate as LSU Staff Senate President, 2016-2017 and thanked him for all of his work this past year.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President-Elect Tammy Millican announced that President Michelle Lowery is celebrating her birthday today, June 21st. President Michelle Lowery announced that Treasurer Jennifer Gomez celebrated her birthday on June 4th and Senator Jon DeRoche will celebrate his birthday on June 23rd. Happy Birthday!
President Michelle Lowery announced that the New Member Orientation will be held on Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at the Women’s Center which will help our new members become more acclimated before the Senate year begins.
President Michelle Lowery announced that she would like for Staff Senators to attend a social event to mix and mingle, aside from the general meeting, once a month. She would like to hold during the first week of every month where current, former and prospective Senators can attend. The first social will be held at the Chimes on Friday, July 7, at 4:30 p.m.
President Michelle Lowery announced that the Executive Committee will send out the committee preferences to the full Senate this afternoon to also help with getting everything in place for the new Senate year. Everyone will receive an email with instructions on how to access through TigerLink. She has sent invitations to all of the new Senators. If you would like to Chair or Co-Chair, please indicate that on the form. Also, the Communications Committee will meet 4 times this next year, every quarter to work on some bigger topics.
President Michelle Lowery announced that Student Move in Day will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 which is our normal meeting day. The Executive Committee has decided to move that meeting up one week on Wednesday, August 9 to accommodate this volunteering Opportunity.
President Michelle Lowery also announced that the meeting location for 2017-2018 will be held in the Capital Chamber Room (329) in the LSU Student Union. We are going to try this space out although we will not be sitting in the usual rectangle configuration. If we would like to go back to that, we can move the meeting location for a later date.
Senator Rachel Henry announced that the LSU Student Union is undergoing some renovations in the Tiger Lair which will be completed by fall 2017. Some new food concepts are coming to the Union, so be on the lookout. Patrick F. Taylor Hall will be having a new food vendor as well. There will also be some announcements on some new services that LSU Auxiliary Services will be offering.
Senator Rachel Henry announced that She Geauxs, the women leadership initiative on campus is in the middle of an online summer book club. They are about to finish the June book. They have a July and August book coming up. If you are interested in participating, it is all on social media – no meetings or stress. Follow and like the She Geauxs Page on Facebook.
Senator Jennifer Springstead announced that the Old Forestry Building is coming down this year.
Senator Summer Steib mentioned an email that was sent out to everyone on campus regarding a series of workshops called welcoming diversity. She is part of the training team on campus. She mentioned that these are fabulous all day workshops. They started about 2 weeks ago and the feedback has been very positive. She can forward the email to the Staff Senate Office to send out for those who may be interested. They will be hosting again in the fall as well. Please help spread the word as these are open to students, faculty and staff.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Senator Aaron Cherry moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Past-President Douglas Villien carried. The meeting adjourned after noon.
Nancy Arnold, Secretary