STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES
December 16, 2015
President Tammy Millican presided over the December 16, 2015, Staff Senate meeting held at the LSU Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Event Room at 10:30 a.m.
P - Matkovic, Igor (’17)
P - Cherry, Aaron (‘17)
P - Craddock, Jacquelyn (’16)
P - Hale, Robert (’16)
P - Hart, M.E. (’16)
P - Hendricks, Kendra (’16)
A - Perkins, Julie (’16)
P - DeRoche, Jon (’17)
P - Godfrey, Nikki (’17)
P - Kucharchuk, Kayla (’17)
P - Lopez, Ramon (’17)
P - Lowery, Michelle (’17)
P - Millican, Tammy (’17)
A - Nunes, Daniel (’17)
P - Reonas, Barbara (’17)
A - Spurlock, Maggi (’17)
P - Steib, Summer (’17)
P - Truitt, Trey (’17)
P - Villien, Douglas (’17)
P - Dufrene, Robert (’18)
P - Eldredge, George (’18)
A - Gomez, Jennifer (’18)
P - Ortiz, Shelly (’18)
P - Poret, Elizabeth (’18)
P - Springstead, Jennifer (’18)
P - Waguespack, Darcy (’18)
P - Adedeji, Funmilayo (’16)
P - Owens, Kevin (’18)
P - Corbitt, Brent (’17)
P - Arnold, Nancy (’16)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Zachary Faircloth, Student Government
Brian Ainsworth, Campus Federal Credit Union
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Tammy Millican at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with no proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Jacquelyn Craddock led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – November 18, 2015, Staff Senate Meetings
The November Meeting Minutes will be deferred for approval until the January 2016 Staff Senate Meeting.
President Millican reported that on November 24, she attended the last Holiday on Campus Committee planning meeting which will be summarized later in this meeting.
On November 25, thanks to Staff Senator Donations, five care packages were sent to deployed soldiers from Louisiana on behalf of the Student Government Adopt-a-Soldier Initiative. President Millican thanked everyone for their kindness in donating. The Student Government was trying to get about 50 packages together to send to our soldiers and next year hope to do more.
President Millican reported that on December 1, she attended Holiday on Campus which was a wonderful event despite the rain. She saw more Staff Senate participation than in prior years. The goody bags were filled with candy for the kids. The event ran smoothly with all the wonderful planning. There were 247 items donated to the Food Pantry and approximately 4 large bags of toys donated to the Toys for Tots program. One amusing addition to our event was brought about by a professor on campus who has about 500 students in a class and asked his students to attend Holiday on Campus, take a picture with Santa Claus, and get a raffle ticket in order to earn extra points. In this class there was a lot of athletes, and so the line for Santa photos looked very different than usual with just kids. It was an added benefit of having student athletes there; the food ran out towards the end, but everyone got fed. There were many people who came up to President Millican to tell her what a wonderful event and tradition this event is. She thanked the committee and all Senators who helped plan such a great celebration this year. We also have about 6 costume characters now and the Star Wars Characters who attended this year were a big hit. President-Elect Trey Truitt mentioned that next year we may want to publicize how to find all the photos that were taken. Millican mentioned that there will be even more exciting things planned for next year. Treasurer Lowery announced that the committee will meet after the holidays to recap for next year’s planning.
President Millican reported that on December 2, she and Secretary Reonas attended the Administrative Process Improvement Committee Meeting. Reonas will summarize later during the meeting.
President Millican reported that on December 8, she attended the University Council on Gender Equity Committee Meeting which she will share about later during the meeting.
President Millican noted that on December 8, the Executive Committee met to plan for today’s meeting and set the agenda.
President Millican reported that on December 9, she attended the Closing the Gap Women and Minorities in Leadership Panel Discussion and lunch along with a few other Senators. This was a joint imitative with the Office of Diversity and the Women’s Center, and an incredible event. She will discuss later during this meeting.
President Millican reported that on December 11, Facility Services held their Christmas Party so she was unable to attend the Board of Supervisors Meeting but President-Elect Truitt attended and will report later during this meeting.
President Millican reported that on December 11, she attended the Governmental Relations Committee Meeting. Senator Lopez will present this report during the meeting today.
President Millican shared that on December 11, she also placed the ribbons for the winners of the Holiday Decorating Contest. Winners were very excited, which speaks a great deal to the success of that event, helping to raise funds for the Fee Support Scholarship Award. Some departments spent considerable time and were very creative. Sometimes it’s nice to do things like this which brings the campus together. When morale is low, you need to a fun project like this to bring people together in a fantastic way. President Millican thanked the Scholarship Committee for all of their work with planning this contest as well as the holiday Candy Grams, about which they will report later during the meeting today.
President Millican requested that committee updates be provided.
Staff Benefits, Policies and Development
Senator Godfrey announced that the committee will meet on January 6. There is nothing to report at this time.
Budget & Finance
President Millican announced that the Budget & Finance Committee met jointly with the Governmental Relations Committee on December 11. Senator Ramon Lopez will report later during this meeting.
President Millican announced that the Communications was asked to put together an article to include in the Finance & Administration Newsletter that will come out in January. She will share more later during the meeting.
Senator Lopez reported that the committee met on December 11, and he submitted his committee report this morning. Once approved and forwarded, there will be some attachments provided by Brad Spring regarding the 2016 Legislative Session. The committee discussed holding the LSU Staff Day during the 2016 regular session, instead of any special legislative session, that may be held sooner. President Tammy Millican discussed upcoming plans regarding talks about LSU’s optional retirement plans (ORP) contributions. The Government Relations Committee will collaborate with the Budget and Finance Committee to discuss participation and advocating for LSU Staff.
Senator Craddock mentioned that she was contacted through Jeffrey Roland who is a Professor in Philosophy who is working with LSUnited regarding the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). He is working on a petition for faculty and he was unaware that staff potentially could be affected as well. She will be facilitating a meeting with a few key employees who are trying to get some traction with the situation with the ORP and how faculty might be able to be an extended voice for staff because we are a little more cautious when it comes to employment security. There is a feeling within faculty that they don’t feel completely secure both which was brought up and she understands. There is a meeting scheduled tomorrow to have an exploratory conversation about potentially how Staff Senate would like to move on this. Whether it’s just letting faculty carry the voice for staff and what that will look like but currently faculty have a petition going around and they are going to bring it to the President and try to get system and administration top change the issues related to the ORP. Essentially since we do not receive or contribute to social security, the Teacher’s Retirement Plan which is a vested program after so many years and ORP is where you can take your plan with you but LSU only matches about 5% now but 2 years ago it had a floor as low as 3%. So if you think of the 5% that they are getting now, plus the match that the employee is making, it’s quite less than any social security that would be available to you. And if you add up that total it is far less than our peer institutions, one of which is Mississippi State which is at 13.25% contribution and it has a smaller campus population. When you think of those measures, LSU is far behind in this and it’s almost like you are getting hit twice because you don’t match or get social security. President-Elect Truitt mentioned and the fact that we are not getting raises, so for every raise that we don’t get, we get less retirement. The ORP contributions used to be at about 14% at one point. Craddock mentioned that it is greatly tied to the fact that LSU has to pay so much into retirement, so they are trying to look at how to pull out of that, in order for LSU to have its own autonomy, but at the same time what are we going to do with that money. Is it, in fact, going to be invested for staff and faculty in the OPP or will the system decide to do something else with it? So those are the conversations that are taking place. This has been an issue for the past few years now. She will report back once the meeting is held. President Millican mentioned that she thinks LSU is prepared to go back to the legislative session as they started last year. They never could get the dollar amount that we were subsidizing K-12 teacher’s retirement which is $86 Million a year. It is making it difficult for them to recruit and retain faculty and staff, so she agrees that this will be a big issue in 2016.
Long Range Review and Planning
Senator Steib reported that the committee met on December 7, and discussed the progress that has been made on the Strategic Plan and the two issues that kept coming up were Staff Senate’s ability to be a major player in decision making on campus at a high level. There have been multiple examples of that throughout the semester and as we continue to build relationships with Student Government and Faculty Senate. We are really seeing the power in unifying those voices in high level decision making on campus, so we will continue working on that, as well as raising our external profile on campus through events such as Holiday on Campus, Fall Fest and other events that we have held. As we move forward with the Strategic Plan, we need to try and keep ourselves grounded in the fact that it is a 3-5 year plan as we are trying to be overachievers. But the fact of the matter, is that we need to be more realistic about our timeline. One of the areas of improvement is our external communication and looking at ways that we can consolidate reporting and have a better flow of communication, especially utilizing the technology to do that. This committee is going to be looking at some various ways that we might be able to do that. To open and streamline communication internally as well.
SPECIAL AD-HOC COMMITTEES
President Millican requested committee updates be provided.
Holiday on Campus
Treasurer Lowery wanted to thank everyone, as we had the most volunteers this year than in previous years. The marketing that we had was amazing; a big “Thank You” to Senator Jacquelyn Craddock for all of her hard work on that. Treasurer Lowery thanked everyone on the committee who assisted with set up, as we were just overwhelmed with the number of people who came. And also thank you to our holiday character; we actually had one group and the second group did not show up, so the first group stayed and switched costumes. It was heartwarming to see the level of commitment from our volunteers. If you attended the event, she asked for any feedback, which will help with planning in the future. The committee will meet in the spring at least once or twice, to gather recommendations for next years’ committee.
President-Elect Truitt reported that the committee did not meet, however, they are in the process of moving forward with the apparel orders. He circulated the sign up for confirmation of style and sizes to order. The committee chose a long sleeve polo style shirt, a short sleeve polo style shirt and/or a vest option to purchase. The committee would like to place this order in January. The committee still needs to address exploring a staff event with LSU Athletics, particular Women’s Gymnastics. The Women’s Center will hold an event for staff with Women’s Gymnastics in March. Lowery mentioned that we also have the LSU Novelty Paw Chip Clips to hand out at events throughout the rest of the year as well.
Senator Hart reported that the committee received 17 entries for the Holiday Decorating Contest. She thanked Senators Poret and Craddock for judging the entries. The winners are for Best in Show, Communication Studies, 1st Place Tree was Accounting Services–SPA, 1st Place Entryway was Human Resource Management, 2nd Place Entryway was Accounts Payable and Travel, 3rd Place Entryway was the Office of Facility Services, 1st Place Door was Cox Academic Center for Student Athletes, 2nd Place Door was International Programs, 3rd Place Door was Budget and Planning, 1st Place Bulletin Board was Construction Management with the College of Engineering, 2nd Place Bulletin Board was Internal Audit and 3rd Place Bulletin Board was the Office of the University Registrar. The photographs have been posted on the Staff Senate Website. The committee also received about 300 candy gram orders and we need help delivering them. They have been separated by building and are ready for delivery after the meeting, if you can help. It really is a lot of fun delivering and needs to be delivered no later than tomorrow.
President Millican asked that liaison committee updates be provided.
Administrative Process Improvement
Secretary Reonas reported that the committee met and their charge was to create frequently asked questions and concerns about travel. Much of the meeting was focused on generating a list of questions. She thanked those who submitted questions to include in this listing. The committee had a long inventory of questions, many of which had to do with what kinds of receipts that you should keep, what kind of tip amounts not to exceed, how many bags you can check and so forth. Those FAQ’s will be posted or linked through the Accounting Services Website. There will be a comprehensive document prepared to make information easier to find. This may help cut down on the issues related with travel as well. It was also proposed to create a comprehensive LSU employee to do list or calendar. She welcomes feedback or items to include throughout the year. Faculty will have a slightly different universal calendar. The Staff Senate will hear from a representative regarding Workday in January since there has been much discussion on campus as well. Many of the complaints that have come through the APIC Committee are expected to be resolved through the implementation of Workday.
Black Faculty & Staff Caucus
There was report included in the meeting packet for review.
This week, there is a 20% discount being offered for all faculty and staff at the LSU Barnes & Noble Bookstore. President-Elect Truitt mentioned that during the last meeting that they are looking at possibly having another record selling year. There is a revenue threshold amount that the bookstore has to meet every year which is their baseline and as they move up, the university gets additional funding back which helps both partnerships. They discussed how successful athletic programs tend to drive people to come into the store and buying products.
Campus Committee on Sustainability
The committee has not met since their initial meeting but will be meeting again in the spring.
Senator Hendricks announced that Campus Communicators met on November 19. Stephen Moret with the Foundation shared information on LSU’s future philanthropic development. He discussed the impact of communications in supporting efforts to increase philanthropic giving at LSU.
Council of Staff Advisors
There was a meeting held on December 11. A report will be forwarded once received.
Senator Springstead reported that they have been holding a lot of focus groups to possibly make some changes. They are going to designate a gluten free and top 5 allergens free option at The 5 Dining Hall where those chefs have received training on food preparation and service, identified by purple plates and purple utensils. This will begin in the spring. The new regional Vice President for Dining is on campus and will official start on January 4. He will be touring facilities and asking random questions to get a feel of dining on campus. He will also be receiving the Dining Advisories suggestions that were discussed last semester. There will also be a new Marketing Manager hired but the allergy center is a big deal for the Compass Company and LSU. There will be new initiatives introduced as well. They are looking at Silos on campus which is being considered in the campus master planning as well. There may be further opportunities to participate in focus groups, which President Millican will disperse invitations for Senator participation, if she receives requests.
Diversity Action Team
Senator Steib reported that she attended the meeting on November 20. Dr. Rovaris provided some general updates and there was a discussion about some of the national events that have been going on regarding diversity.
Senator Hendricks reported that she attended the meeting on December 10. There was a discussion regarding local and national events regarding diversity and how the DAT can play a bigger role on campus. Dr. Rovaris spoke about a few initiatives that the Office of Diversity is working on. He also praised the great attendance for the Women in Leadership Panel Discussion that was held the previous day.
Facilities Design & Development
Senator Villien requested to be included on the meeting notices as the meetings have been moved and he was unaware of the meeting change. President Millican will request through Dr. Ralph Portier. NBBJ will be coming back to campus January 19 – 22 and they will be meeting with this group.
Secretary Reonas reported that the Faculty Senate meeting was held on December 9, President Cope gave his President’s Report and mentioned that Associate Dean Malcolm Richardson is creating a portal of biographical data for faculty including their accomplishments and when someone may pass away. This may be something we should consider for staff as well as a way to advertise and acknowledge our staff accomplishments, which the Senate has been seeking. There is a multi-administrative 8 member panel who will assemble in the spring to review all current policy statements through Academic Affairs. Some of those policies have started being looked at already. LSU has also finally confirmed that despite the addition of the Law Center, we will not have to go through SACSOC reaccreditation until 2024 which will save us quit a bit of money due to the cost of doing that. Also on November 30, a pre-judge panel in the 19th JDC overturned an initial ruling that the case against LSU regarding the diversion of Social Security funds was out of order. This basically clears the way for the actual trail to move forward, which was apparently an unexpected turn of events. Stephen Moret also presented on LSU’s Advancement Enterprise: Initial Perspectives. Some of the high points include his wanting to cultivate our out-of-state donors, and the approximately 44,000 Alumni who are capable of giving what they considered a major gift of $25,000 or more. Currently the development team is only cultivating about 4,000 of those people. So that’s a whole lot of money that can be donated. If anyone has any ideas about development, Stephen Moret is happy to hear them, so please send him an email. There was also some second readings of a few resolution, which were all passed with some minor amendments. Those can be found in the committee report.
Food Pantry Oversight
Senator Godfrey reported that thanks to President-Elect Truitt and Senator Gomez, the Olinde Career Center held a food drive for the Food Pantry, for the needed items mentioned last month. There is a small collection effort currently going on from Building Services and LSU Dining. The pantry is in pretty good shape as we head into the holidays. Treasurer Lowery announced that Student Life is also holding a collection now. She will follow-up with Jennie Stewart after the holidays for any additional needs. The pantry has a list of items that they don’t need such as green beans, corn and soup. There is a top ten list on the Food Pantry’s Facebook Cover Page.
There is nothing to report.
Office of Group Benefits
There is nothing to report.
University Council on Gender Equity
President Millican reported they are doing a pilot study looking at the College of Science and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences whereupon salaries, genders, position titles, using no names, will be compared, to see the gender pay gap exists as LSU. They are working with Human Resource Management to assist in that. They are also trying to get committees together, including Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate Benefits, Policies & Development Committee and University Council on Gender Equity to start looking at some leave policies. There will be questions submitted to clarify why the crisis leave pool is down the way it is. Some of the things on annual and sick leave may need legislative approval. They are going to continue working on that. They should receive that salary information towards the end of the year and use that for the pilot study.
The Closing the Gaps, Women and Minorities in Leadership Panel Discussion that Dr. Maria Fuentes-Martin, Dr. Stacie Haynie, Dr. Michelle Masse’, Dr. Kenya Messer and Dr. Cynthia Peterson spoke at was a wonderful experience. The women all spoke of issues that Moderator and Staff Senator Steib brought. She was excellent in keeping the conversation flowing and taking questions. There were a tremendous amount of students who attended. They had a full house. There will also be Women of Color Leadership Panel scheduled on February 16, at Hill Memorial Library from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Nikki Caldwell, Yvette Marsh, Sandra McGuire and Pallavi Rastogi. It will be a very good discussion. She encourages everyone to attend.
Board of Supervisors
President-Elect Truitt reported that he attended the meeting on December 11. Some of the highlights discussed were LSU exploring metrics and tools to use for analyzing improvements. There was a lot of discussion about the partnership agreements with the different LSU Health Systems in New Orleans and Shreveport. One of the bigger things that happened in the afternoon session was when first the Board went into Executive Session about 20 minutes into the meeting, then after about an hour an half, the meeting resumed and they were finished within about 10 minutes. He believes they were discussing the cooperative partnership agreement about the Biomedical Foundation of Northwest, LSU and the State of Louisiana and how those parties are going to come together. He mentioned that Dr. Alexander reported that this December graduation has produced some of the highest graduation rates for our minority population with 223 African American Students, 74 Hispanic Students, 69 Asian Americans with 444 Pell Grant Students who will be walking, and a 15 year high for veterans with 53 students with veteran status will receive their degrees. There is also a near record of women who are receiving advanced degrees with 152 receiving their Master’s Degree and 49 women will receive their Ph.D. All of these mentions are near record numbers for the December Graduating Class. Senator Doug Villian mentioned those are preliminary numbers, probably not far off the totals announced as long all degrees are conferred, once final grades are in.
Staff Senate Gift Fund (Reminder to Please Contribute at the Meeting)
President Millican encouraged senators to contribute to the Gift Fund. Voluntary contributions are $10 per year, per senator.
The guidelines for giving are:
· Death - send flowers ($50) upon death of a current senator or former senator, and for current senator’s immediate family members.
· Wedding - appropriate gift, cost not to exceed $30 (current senators).
· Babies - send flowers or gift - $30 (current senators).
· Retirement – send an acknowledgement for current senators as well as former senators.
Please make checks payable to LSU and memo the Staff Senate Gift Fund.
Senator Shirt Orders
The sign-up sheet to order Staff Senate shirts was circulated again for one last confirmation before the shirts are ordered. Please confirm your shirt preference during the meeting, so this order can be placed soon.
Senator Name Tags
President Millican announced that the name tags are in and everyone has received their name tag during the meeting.
Past-Presidents Panel Discussion
President Millican announced that the Executive Committee has discussed possibly inviting Staff Senate Past Presidents in the spring to a Panel Discussion with a lite reception to discuss events that transpired while they served on the Staff Senate. How do they see the Staff Senate now? What are some things that maybe we should work on? We also wanted to show our appreciation for them. Please let Millican know what you think about this idea so we can begin planning this for the spring.
Crisis Leave Donation
President Millican reminded everyone who will cap out on their leave hours to consider donating those hours to crisis leave before the end of the year. They do have a good amount in the crisis leave pool to date with over 1000 hours. When someone donates hours, their pay rate is converted and put into a bank. This really helps our fellow staff members, who are in need of leave hours due to a major event and they are out of leave hours. You can find the Crisis Leave Donation Form under Resources on the Staff Senate website.
Staff Senate Budget
Treasurer Lowery circulated an updated balance sheet for the Staff Senate accounts. She reported that:
Bursar Account (Gift Fund) - $178.61
LSU Foundation Accounts:
Fee Support Scholarship - $13,166.93
Holiday on Campus Support Fund - $2,635.47 – once this year’s transactions process, this fund will have a nice size balance available for the 2016 Holiday on Campus event.
Scholarship Award - $4,084.98
Support Fund – (-$59.07)
State Account (Operating Budget) $4,744.10
Total Budget: $24,751.02
President Millican announced that Senator Jennifer Gomez delivered a beautiful baby boy in November. The Executive Committee has sent her a gift card on behalf of the Staff Senate.
President Millican announced that the Staff Senate will have an article included in the Finance & Administration Newsletter due to be published in January. Millican thought about accomplishments and instead of singling out a person, she wants to announce what we have done since we started as Senators this year. We have worked with the administration to restore the Ombuds position on campus and now that we have a permanent Provost in place, we continue to work on that. Senator Steib announced that that position has been loaded in the Human Resource queue and the position should be posted in January. We have represented staff interests as committee members of the Administrative Process Improvement, Parking and Transportation Advisory, Dining Advisory, Bookstore Advisory, Parking and Transportation Appeal Committees, partnered with Student Government and Campus Federal Credit Union to provide an activity for students, staff and faculty at Fall Fest which was one of the most popular this year. We also just recently partnered with Student Government to provide additional tables and chairs in Middleton Library for students’ use during finals week. We sponsored a Lunch and Learn and had the opportunity to hear from LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri and tour Alex Box Stadium. We partnered with the University Council on Gender Equity and Faculty Senate to review and make recommendations for annual and sick leave, retirement and the crisis leave pool on which we are still working. We have provided feedback on proposed revisions to LSU Policy Statement (PS) 39 which is the performance evaluation for professional and classified employees and LSU PS 22 with regards to excused absences from class. We also joined with Student Government and Faculty Senate representatives to provide feedback on the new comprehensive and strategic campus master plan which will be happening for the next 18-24 months. We proposed the need and obtained a solution for alternate traffic plans to exit campus during home Basketball Games. We are currently organizing an LSU Staff Day at the Louisiana Legislature during the regular session. We will also work on a Proclamation for LSU Staff Day. We also composed and delivered a letter from staff to all legislative representatives during the 2015 Legislative Session in support of the LSU Students March at the Capital to protect Higher Education budget cuts. We are currently representing LSU Staff needs relating to enhancing the LSU Child Care Center. That is a lot but there is always this tendency to get back after the holiday in January and things may not get moving again which the Senate does not want to see happen. President Millican will be attending the first committee meetings in January for the year, so we can talk about what we have done and what we want to do. We still have a lot to get done for the rest of the year. She encourages everyone to come back in January to work as hard as the first part of the year. We have completed a lot of events so far, and we can really concentrate on making a difference in getting our names back out there. Millican has spoken to Provost Koubek, and he wants to make LSU one of the greatest places to work in Louisiana, which will not happen overnight, but we have to start somewhere. He has asked us and Faculty Senate to compile a list of the things that may not be so great about working here, and start addressing those things. Also looking for things our Administration can do to make this a better place to work. Please be thinking about that.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Millican announced that Senator Jennifer Springstead celebrated her birthday on December 13 and Senator Shelly Ortiz will celebrate her birthday on December 18. “Happy Birthday.”
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, President-Elect Trey Truitt moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Treasurer Michelle Lowery, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Barbara Reonas, Secretary