SAA Highlights

May 11 meeting overview

Upcoming Annual Meeting: Open to the public

The next SAA meeting is the special all-day annual meeting on June 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Board of Regents' Conference room. Anchorage members will be in Fairbanks for this annual face-to-face meeting. In the morning, SAA will be meeting with a variety of managers, directors, and executives to get an overview of issues that affect Statewide staff. Later in the day will be the business portion of the meeting, which will include officer elections for FY12.

Skillsoft Upgrade and Demonstration
Anne Sakumoto called to inform SAA members that the Skillsoft training software will be upgraded in June 2011. A Skillsoft representative will be in Fairbanks on May 19 to provide demonstrations of the new site. A three-year contract is currently under General Counsel review. Statewide employees were encouraged to attend the demonstration in Butrovich on May 19. Employees can log in to access Skillsoft training resources through UAOnline using the "Employee e-learning" link.

Performance Evaluation Pilot
The Performance Evaluation form has been thoroughly reviewed by governance groups and working committees and is ready to be piloted by interested departments. The form was sent to OIT management for review and to some groups at UAA. Statewide HR will be testing it too, but additional departments are needed for the pilot program.

Electronic Timesheets
Electronic timesheets are scheduled to be piloted for non-exempt employees in August and in November for exempt employees and faculty. HR will be looking for a representative group and are particularly interested in testing the timesheets on grant-funded employees. The exact role of PPAs in this process is also being reviewed. One of the advantages of electronic timesheets from a legal standpoint is that no one except the employee and their manager can make changes to a timesheet. Processees for employee training are being discussed.

Open Enrollment
Open enrollment will wrap-up May 16. There was a lot of communication about the process this year including open forums throughout the system. A few things  in the SAA review of the process involved points that were not clear regarding life insurance and some broken links on the web forms. 

Dependent Audit Results
Final information from the dependent audit and review should be given to the university from Consova at the end of May. Statewide HR will review their suggestions and communicate final results to statewide employees some time after that.

Annual leave cash in
The Staff Alliance requested a change to the annual leave cash in program to allow employees a second opportunity each fiscal year to cash in unused annual leave. President Gamble has reviewed the request.

Tuition Benefit
Tuition benefit changes continue to be discussed at the administrative level. There are some concerns about the proposed changes, such as including a six-month waiting period for new hires after July 1, or requiring repayment of tuition if a class is failed. Some concerns about FERPA rules apply to dependents. For employees tuition is managed like other benefits- not so with dependents. One suggestion is to have dependents meet SAP standards and be managed by student records. Another concern is that a six-month probation period could affect two semesters depending upon the employee's hire date. Flexibility in the management of this benefit will be an important part of the hiring process. SAA agrees with other governance groups that more time is needed to discuss these concerns before any changes to the tuition benefit are implemented.

ASEA Unionizing Update
Employees in the proposed bargaining unit have received e-mails from ASEA lately. The university will not interfere with this correspondence or respond unless there is an error in the information being distributed. ASEA recently filed an unfair labor practice suit against the university. The university has denied their claims and has requested that all charges be dropped. ALRA is handling the case. Information and related files can be viewed on the HR website.

Butrovich vegetable garden and flower beds
Paula Curtis, head of planiting for Facilities Services, gave an update on the flower beds in front of the Butrovich. SAA has requested that vegetables be mixed in with the flowers. Volunteers will assist with the care of the vegetables. It is hoped that with the combined work of staff volunteers and grounds crew workers the beds will look better this summer and receive more attention than in past years. Floweres will be intermixed with the vegetables. There will be hanging baskets and shade-friendly flowers in the urns in front of the building. Due to budget reductions and crowded greenhouse space some of the hanging baskets and other flowers will be cut back on campus this year. UAF planting day will be June 1.

Awards Events
Work is still underway to attain final approval of statewide longevity and recognition awards. A committee was established to clarify the criteria for outstanding employee and department awards. There will be a meeting between SAA officials and administration to discuss the event. The committee reviewing the criteria will go immediately into planning the event once final approval is obtained.

CPR Training Request
It was requested that a first aid and CPR certification course be offered for statewide employees. If staffing allows this could even be coordinated with Anchorage at the same time (assuming a certified instructor is available for both locations.) In a related topic there was a question raised about the servicing needs of the AED in the Butrovich. Both issues will be brought to the attention of emergency management.

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