System Governance

SAA Highlights May 2012

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.

May 9, 2012 meeting overview

The next SAA meeting will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 13

The Statewide Administration Assembly met May 9, 2012. 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, June 13.

Annual Service Awards
Judging by the size of the crowd in room 109 on April 24, the Statewide Annual Service Awards ceremony was a success. SAA President Monique Musick followed up the event with congratulatory notes to all nominees for outstanding employee recognition.

Staff Make Students Count Awards 2012
Letters to the winners of the Make Students Count Award will be sent this week from the President’s office. Announcement of the winners will be made at the June BOR meeting. One recipient is selected from each MAU and Statewide.

SAA Highlights
The SAA Highlights now reside on the governace site and are linked from the Statewide Voice as opposed to being shown as an article. The move was made to show separation between SAA, which is a governance group, and the Voice, which is a monthly publication for statewide employees. This way the SAA header will show up instead of the SW Voice header.

Staff Alliance
Staff Alliance concluded their Mar. 8 meeting with a one-hour meeting with President Gamble. Dan Julius has resigned, with plans to retire after taking a year-long sabbatical. UAF Vice Provost Dana Thomas is filling the position in the interim. There is discussion to whom governance will report – Carla Beam or Dana Thomas.

Staff Alliance President Juella Sparks has prepared a letter for the Regents outlining the hot topics of the past year, i.e. compensation, tuition waiver, code of conduct, impact of our health care changes, etc. She stressed the need for the Regents to recognize and value staff.

Tami Choquette asked about how the 360 degree review was going to work into the staff compensation plans. Musick replied that it could be a starting point for showing merit. It has been long discussed that we should have merit based raises. The standard “how is this employee doing” form just does seem to cut to the merit topic. Regents’ Policy P04.07.030 states that there should be an annual evaluation for each employee, that isn’t currently being done by all offices. The implementation of the proposed review will take care of that policy.

No edict for tobacco usage is going into effect in July. As of this moment, there is no forward movement on the topic. This does not mean that it is being dropped, it is just being tabled.

President Gamble apologized to Staff Alliance for the wording of the Code of Conduct. He admitted that it was poorly written, and that he rushed it through that system before getting it vetted through the proper channels. His intention was to open up a dialogue of discussion. Many members of SA thanked the president for the letter he sent out when he decided to pull the code of conduct.

Budget is being developed for the coming year. Numbers are being formulated with tuition rates being determined last. There are three scenarios being presented with tuition rates either at a 5% increase, 5% decrease, or no tuition change. President Gamble is asking students what they feel is a fair tuition rate. In the past, the Staff Compensation Committee has come up with a fair dollar figure for staff increases that the President appreciated.

SAA Elections
This was the first year that voting was entirely online. This process made tabulating the votes easier. With SAA Vice President Erika Kurowski resigning, the by-laws state that the next succeeding officer is to step up to the role. So Dory Straight has moved into the position. She will still take care of secretary duties since we have only one meeting before elections for new officers.
During the SW staff Strategic Direction listening session the point was brought up that there needed to be a more centralized search engine for personal across all of the MAUs. The project has been a 10-month process with Public Affairs and OIT. Employees will still be responsible for updating their information. The question was asked if this will eventually replace EDIR. Alex Taylor stated that there is work ongoing to revamp the edit database.

UA’s Strategic Direction
Listening session have concluded. The Strategic Direction team is now compiling, studying, and planning the next steps in the process. If anyone missed the opportunity to attend a listening session or feel that they missed a chance to speak, you are still encouraged to provide your feedback via an online survey:

Employee Tuition Waivers
A new draft of the tuition waiver is being discussed. Nothing is in writing yet, but it will be used in place of the proposed SAP. Tuition waivers will be governed by cumulative GPAs – 2.0 for undergraduates and 3.0 for graduates. If a GPA falls below the cutoff, the student will have one semester to pull their GPA to the cutoff. They are looking at the wording that will address withdrawals and incompletes. The question arose on how the waiver will deal with audited classes and withdrawals due to work commitments.

Open Enrollment
Reminder that benefits open enrollment ends May 15.

WIN Program
The request from JHCC to close the WIN program on July 1 has sparked debate within the hallways. Don Smith joined the group to address how to save the program. The loudest voice wins. Loud translating to more emails to HR stating favor of WIN. Smith stated that so far he had 634 individual responses in favor of WIN, 256 responses against the program. Linda Hall pointed out that WIN is listed as a benefit on our open enrollment materials. Ending it could void the open enrollment. SAA approved a motion in support of WIN.

Other governance groups have also sent motions forward showing their support of WIN.

Health Care Task Force
A Health Care Task Force is currently being formed. It will be an 11-member group, with members from JHCC, SHCC, and Chancellor’s nominees. A suggestion of having a rural campus representative on the panel was proposed. The task force is a temporary work group whose sole purpose is to look at alternatives to our health-care and wellness plans. This group is not a replacement for JHCC, but is helping JHCC with their “homework” of looking at alternatives to our health plans.

ASEA Unfair Labor Practice
There were 32 unfair labor practice charges filed by ASEA against UA. Of those 32 charges, 6 charges were found by the Alaska Labor Relations Agency to have probable cause for further review. The rest were dismissed. The charge that UA Staff Alliance (or any governance group) is a “company union” was found to have probable cause. The six unfair labor practices will go to hearing. Finding probable cause does not mean a guilty verdict. The hearing will consist of presenting before three hearing officers – one with a union bias, one with a management bias, and one that is neutral. If you wish more information, you can visit Labor and Employee Relations website at
Other Human Resources Issues

The performance evaluations are now in Don Smith’s hands. As of right now, they have a low priority and will be reviewed at a later date.

Staff Health Care Committee
Erika Van Flein explained to the group how the health care rates are calculated. She described how in the past the university had an over recovery period that offset the rise in premiums and had in effect masked the actual inflation of health care costs. The rate was calculated by looking at our July-December health care costs and compiling data to determine the next year’s rate.

An emergency meeting was held after JHCC announced their request to stop the WIN program. SHCC conducted a survey in response to the request, and then submitted a motion to continue the WIN program for another year.

Joint Health Care Committee
Discussion ensued on the representation numbers of JHCC. Concerns arose that 2/3 of employees are only being represented by a minority within the committee. There is a feeling of unfair representation for staff.

Since a request by JHCC to review all proposals (RFP) was vetoed by HR, a new motion was forwarded stating that a union member be fully involved in the RFP process. A motion to terminate WIN was forwarded to the President, along with a motion to discontinue the “Personal Best” newsletter.

Butrovich Indoor Sign
Erica Kurowski requested information on the cost breakdown of the Bragaw Building signage. As soon as Musick gets the information she will compile a request to Facilities Services for similar signs in Butrovich.

Butrovich Custodian Service
Musick has asked for input from the committee on drafting the letter to Martin Klein. She would like to draft a proactive letter, instead of a letter full of complaints. A request will be extended to Klein to attend the next meeting.

Other Butrovich Building Issues
A suggestion was made to send out a Google survey to gather input on how to repurpose the covered pavilion funds held within the Foundation.

Election results will be posted in the SAA bulletin board and via e-mail.

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