System Governance

SAA Highlights November 2012

Statewide Administration Assembly

The SAA Highlights provide a brief overview of discussion items from monthly meetings of the Statewide Administration Assembly. SAA often reviews processes and decisions still under development, so discussions at meetings may not reflect the final or official views of the University of Alaska.  Consider these Highlights as informational in nature, not the final word on a subject.

November 14 meeting overview

The Statewide Administration Assembly met November 14. The following is an overview of the meeting. All meetings are open to the public, and statewide workers are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting statewide staff. If you have any questions please contact SAA president Monique Musick at .

The next SAA meeting will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 12.

FY14 Budget

Michelle Rizk gave an FY14 budget presentation. She discussed the various high demand program funding needs, as well as opportunities for the budget process to be molded by SDI. With the new make-up of the state legislature, and the oil tax break taking the main focus at the moment, it will be well into next year before it will be obvious how the legislature will prioritize university spending.

Coffee with the President

In discussing feedback from the October 18th Coffee with the President, two items came up in which the wording needed clarification. First, the statement that the Health Care Task Force was defined by staff would have more accurately been worded that Staff Alliance had recommended the formation of the Health Care Task Force, but the members of the task force were chosen by the administration.

Secondly, the statement that staff asked for performance evaluations to be used, was in reference to Staff Governance asking to be involved in the review process if a performance evaluation form was developed.

There was also a suggestion that in future coffees, it would be nice to have an audio link available for employees who are not located in Anchorage or Fairbanks.

Governance Office Transitions

Interviews have been conducted for the Executive Officer position, replacing Pat Ivey. The recruitment for the Coordinator position to replace both Kim Fackler, and Josh Luther, is still in progress. Both positions are open until filled.

Health Care

The Staff Health Care Committee supported the majority of the motions from the Joint Health Care Committee, which were in turn based on some of the options put forth by the Health Care Task Force.  Two of the nine motions were not supported by the Staff Health Care Committee, the removal of the option to Opt-opt and the Spousal Surcharge.  SAA members voiced concern about the privacy aspect of having to submit wellness biometrics in order to receive the wellness rebate.

Web Time Entry

The pilot for salaried employees began November 4th and will continue through the end of the year.   Complete roll-out for all employees will occur from January through March of 2013.

Longevity Awards

There was lengthy discussion regarding the administration’s desire to modify the Longevity Awards to no longer publically recognize those individuals who have less than 25 years of service. The proposal allowed that employee awards for fewer than 25 years would be handled at the department level. The change was mentioned to be related to the administration’s desire to emphasize performance.    

Parameters on longevity awards were set forth by the CHRO, and details for which were to be discussed in a follow-up meeting with the SAA committee organizing the award ceremony.

SAA members all voiced their opposition to this move. Many cited their concerns for lowered morale, and pointed out that in the current employment market, 5 year increments for longevity were considerable. Due to the evolving employment marketplace, many SAA members viewed this as a retention tool for the University, which was verified by spot research. There was a mention that the recognition at a 5 year anniversary was so common that the IRS has written regulations to the qualifications of taxable versus non-taxable awards for these awards. There was a consistent viewpoint that there was appreciable honor felt when receiving their award every 5 years and all took pride in displaying their award items. The recognition of the anniversaries in a Statewide public ceremony was also mentioned in regards to building a sense of community. Concerns about a lack of consistent recognition, as well as the real potential for inefficiency if departments do decide to recognize their employees individually, was also brought up by several individuals. The overall cost of the awards was also mentioned as being not a significant cost, especially if viewed as an investment in employee morale.

Performance Evaluations

The President and Paula Donson have developed a Performance Evaluation form. The release of the evaluation form to the governance groups is planned, after Statewide Human Resources performs a beta release of the evaluation on their staff. The SAA members presented their concerns that staff would be subject to an un-vetted tool.


The SkillSoft software will be undergoing an upgrade, as well as expanding implementation of social media capabilities. A new Learning Management System being released by Ellucian (formerly SunGard) that ties into Banner is being considered. Anne Sakumoto is compiling a report of SkillSoft usage for the Vice Chancellors.

Butrovich Gardens

Due to a lack of participation and support by staff, and harvesting done by those outside the building, the handful of gardeners who dedicated considerable time to the garden in front of the Butrovich building do not intend to commit to a vegetable garden next year. The potential for a flower garden, depending on the work Facilities Services has planned, may be more in line with the level of overall commitment from building employees.

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