Minutes of HCSC Meeting: January 3, 2005

Present: Frank Werdann (presiding), Accordino, Avery, Beyer, Brunetta, Freeland, Gaynor, Georgia, Hammon-Card, Huneke, Losie, Miller, E., Moriarty, Pelligra, and Wyckoff

1. The meeting was convened by Chair Werdann at 9:05 am, whereby, he took a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
  
2. The minutes of December 6, 2004 were approved as previously distributed.

3. Cabinet has approved our recommendation to incorporate an additional sentence to the current policy that would provide an option for quinquennial recipients to donate to the United Way as an alternative to their receiving a gift or donating to a Hartwick College funding opportunity.  This action would allow recipients to contribute to one of the named non-profit organizations supported by the United Way.

 A message will be sent to all staff notifying them of the policy and its recent revision, and directed appropriately to the web site location for complete policy review.

4. A question arose as to whether or not Hartwick had a current staff handbook.  Ellen Miller responded that we have one but it is very outdated.  There have been recent attempts at revising it and she and Suzanne Janitz will continue to work on updating the previous version. 

5. Chair Werdann announced the names of volunteers that had responded to our request to serve as elected staff representatives by Staff Council on the Campus-Wide Assessment Committee.  As we had more than three volunteers, the committee voted on each volunteer and the following staff members were elected:

  • Nadine Carvin, Acting Director of SLCI Center for Interdependence
  • Zack McKenna, Director of Pine Lake
  • Bonnie Nobiling, Manager, Center for Learning & Teaching with Technology

This information will be reported immediately to President Miller for inclusion on his committee membership list.

6. Frank Werdann and Bill Beyer commented on their recent observations of a Faculty Council meeting.  As Faculty Council is the faculty counterpart to our Staff Council, they were invited to sit in on a meeting to familiarize themselves with Faculty Council's process.
 
7. Attention then turned to discussion of proposed benefit changes.  Ellen Miller, Executive Director of Human Resources reported on faculty recommendations made to the current proposal at the Faculty Meeting held on December 6, 2004.

a. Regarding tuition benefits, they request specific acknowledgment that family members of Hartwick College faculty and staff can also receive tuition remission for individual classes at the college, without becoming matriculated students (e.g. high school seniors who would like to take a class or two at the college, before graduation and admission).

b. They request that the tuition benefit not be limited to ‘permanent’ full-time faculty, in recognition of the college’s reliance on long and multiple term appointments or who serve in a term appointment before being hired for a tenure track appointment.  They believe this constructs a two-tier system, which is unfair and does not acknowledge the commitment of faculty who serve for multiple term appointments.

c. The faculty again requests that the Board raise the retirement contribution to 10% as part of the move toward equitable compensation.

8. A lengthy discussion ensued about tuition benefits and resulted in the following decisions being made:

  • A reminder that a statement be included noting that current employees will be grandfathered with current benefits regardless of any future revisions to policy.
  • Remove the word 'permanent' from all policy references pertaining to staff or employees of the College. 
  • High school non-traditional, non-matriculated students will continue to be eligible for benefits as stated under our current policy.
  • It was noted that the current document outlining the revised proposal for benefit changes is difficult to understand.  Ellen Miller agreed to rewrite the proposal in a more user friendly text and send it to the committee for their review before campus staff distribution prior to the Open Staff meetings.   
  • It was also decided that there should not have to be any assumptions made as to whether certain policy remained the same or not, but rather, that the complete policy should be clearly spelled out, leaving nothing for misinterpretation.

9. The agenda turned to discussion of vacation benefits.  The Committee decided that better planning is the key element needed for a successful vacation policy.  It was recommended that all levels of administration could benefit from a reminder that vacation time is a benefit that should be used by all employees and will prove to be beneficial to the College as well as the employee.  With proper advance planning (noting that there are times when exceptions will need to be made for short lead time), taking respective office schedules into consideration and without employee coercion to take vacation days that are not desirable, the Committee discussed whether a change in current policy was necessary or advisable. 

A motion was made to not change Hartwick's current vacation policy.  The motion was seconded, and it passed with all but one voting in favor.  

10. Discussion turned to the Open Staff meetings that will be held to allow for staff interaction on the proposed revisions to benefit changes.  The following two times were set for the Open Meetings:

Celebration Room, Shineman Chapel
Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

11. The Staff Council will then hold a special meeting for the purpose of consolidating our final recommendations to President Miller on Thursday, January 13, 2005 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. in Eaton Lounge.

12. Suzanne Gaynor respectfully requested that agenda items listed under "New Business" on the January 3, 2005 agenda be included on our next meeting's agenda.

13  The meeting was adjourned at 10:22 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Avery