SAA Highlights

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.

January 11, 2012 Meeting Overview

The Statewide Administration Assembly last met Jan. 11. The following is an overview of the meeting.

The next SAA meeting will be Wed., Feb. 8, at 10 a.m. All meetings are open to the public, and staff and administrators are encouraged to attend. Statewide workers are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting staff. If you have any questions please contact SAA president Monique Musick at mmusick@alaska.edu.

UA’s Strategic Direction

The community meetings with external groups are now complete. Listening sessions for separate internal stakeholder group; students, Alumni, faculty, and staff (at UAS, UAF, and UAA) are now in progress. Visit http://www.alaska.edu/shapingalaskasfuture/listening-sessions/ for a list of upcoming internal listening sessions.

Employee Tuition Waivers
A draft resolution stating SAA’s stance on the employee tuition waiver was reviewed. The final document with edits will be voted upon at the February meeting.

Non-Union Staff Salary Increases for FY13
The Governor has accepted the BOR figure for staff compensation, including the 3.5 percent salary increase for FY13, in his proposed state budget. The next step is passage by the legislature. SAA will seek updates from UA leaders as the legislative session progresses.

Other Human Resource Issues
Some duties have been re-shuffled within HR after the appointment of Erika Van Flein as Director of Benefits. Michelle Michel will now be handling Family Medical Leave, Workers Compensation, and Accidental Death & Dismemberment. Announcements will be forthcoming on any other reassignment of duties once the new structure has been determined.

Don Smith is the interim HR Director; Monique Musick asked if there was an ongoing national search taking place for a permanent placement. Tara Ferguson was unsure on the status of this search. Governance groups have a strong interest in being involved in the process of selecting a new Chief HR Officer.

A question arose on the timetable of the execution of the electronic timesheets. Each MAU is managing their own roll-outs. The deadline was to be the end of March. They are still defining what the deadline will be for SW since Vickie Gilligan’s departure.

A letter from HR addressing ASEA’s communications discrediting UA’s health care package was mailed on Dec. 28.  The letter was sent to all non-exempt employees. If you did not receive the letter, you can visit the HR website to read a copy as a PDF.

JHCC Update

With the announcement of Erika Van Flein becoming the new director of Benefits, and the likelihood of her and Vickie Gilligan’s positions not being filled, Patient Care looks like a viable option for medical benefit assistance. Patient Care is an advocacy company. They can resolve insurance issues, provide assistance with health reimbursement arrangement benefits, and mediate between health providers.
The budget for Patient Care comes from the Consulting line item, not from our health care line item. So having this service will not affect our health plan contributions. Also we can implement this service at any time; there is no need to wait for the beginning of the fiscal year.

Currently the annual health care cost reports provided by UA’s consultant only report the cost that the University of Alaska pays. JHCC passed a motion to recommend that all reports include employer contributions, employee contributions, and employee deductibles and co-pays to better reflect the true cost of our health care plan. JHCC has also recommended that Lockton Dunning Benefits Consulting work to negotiate primary care walk-in clinic rates that would be lower than current regular doctor’s visits.

It was announced that the tobacco surcharge will not be going into effect. What will go into effect is that all future new hires will have to be non-tobacco users. Current employees would not be affected. This would be part of the application process. This is a step in a direction toward a smoke-free workplace. Questions arose as to how this would affect transfers or internal hires.

IHP (Individual Health Plan) holiday health screening figures were reported. Current figures show that UAF has filled 70% of its availability, UAS – 100%, and UAA – 103%. This year’s goal was to fill 85% at each of the campuses. This is the 4th year of IHP’s being offered at UAS and UAA, while UAF has been with the program for 3 years.

First quarter utilization report shows that large claimants are down slightly, while emergency claimants are up slightly. The report shows that the emergency room claimants were true emergencies, not a substitute for a primary care visit.

Budget Brownbag

A sub-committee was formed to address the format for the Spring Budget Brownbag. Committee members: Monique Musick, Dory Straight, and Linda Hall.

Holiday Projects and Events
The Holiday Tailgate Potluck brought out an interesting array of food. The theme was a success. It was mentioned that having United Way there to speak was affective and a good idea. It was suggested that next year we could possibly invite someone from Love, Inc. or the Food Bank to come speak during the Thanksgiving potluck on the impact of our holiday giving programs.

Monique reported on the success of our Adopt-A-Family drive. With monetary donations she was able to fill in the gaps on both family’s wish lists. She was able to get new winter coats, boots, grocery gift cards and other gifts for both families as needed. Monique told of one young boy on delivery day that stayed quiet when bag after bag of presents were delivered, but exclaimed in delight at the sight of a Christmas tree of their own.  It was rewarding to see the impact of statewide generosity.

The second highest number of mugs ever, 186 in all, were donated this year according to Lisa Sporeleder. A total of 546 pounds was delivered to the Food Bank. That is the third highest weight we’ve collected.

Spring Service Awards

The date and time of April 24, 2 p.m. has been set for the Spring Service Awards. The nomination period for Outstanding Employee is Feb. 1 through Mar. 9. Catering for the event was discussed. Committee: Lisa Sporleder, Dana Platta, Erica Kurowski, and Monique Musick.

Governance Communication
Updates and changes to the Governance website have been pushed to the back burner. Homework was assigned to SAA members – to look at the SAA website and develop a laundry list of improvements. Dana suggested that SAA Highlights be a part of the website instead of just a link in the Statewide Voice. It was also suggested that the Highlights be posted on the SAA bulletin board.

Butrovich Building Issues

The Butrovich Garden Committee met last month. Excitement is growing with the seed selections made and plot maps planned. Facility Services has agreed to till the soil on both sides of the beds and provide the plants. A friendly reminder to gardeners, please be courteous to your co-workers and do not disturb the vehicles.

The list of comments was passed to John Renfro, Manager of Custodial Services. According to Mr. Renfro the building passed its last custodial audit. Snow removal was discussed. Rita Murphy stated that you could go to Parking Services to leave a comment if you have any suggestions or comments on snow removal.

December 14, 2011 Meeting Overview

The Statewide Administration Assembly held a monthly meeting on Dec. 14. The following is an overview of the meeting.

SAA President’s Report
SAA President, Monique Musick, reported on items raised by Staff Alliance including discussion of ASEA organizing, the proposed tuition waiver, employee health care benefits, and the importance of continuing to protect employees. Placing a list of ongoing issues on the Staff Alliance website was discussed as a reference option for constituents. It was reported that Staff Alliance’s motion in opposition to proposed tuition waiver was forwarded to President Gamble. More careful reporting on the web of minutes and agenda was suggested.

Monique and Juella Sparks, Staff Alliance Chair, met with Michael O’Brien, Associate General Counsel, to seek clarification about ASEA’s recent unfair labor practice allegations against the University of Alaska, which includes a reference to the Staff Alliance as a company union organization. They discussed that governance groups have no negotiating rights and operate independent from administration.

A bylaw change affecting constituent groups of Staff Alliance was discussed. As governance structure is setup right now, members of Staff Alliance must be president or vice president of their constituent group in order to participate. This involves significant workload to manage both the constituent group and Staff Alliance activities. The discussed change would accommodate experienced members who wish to participate in Staff Alliance but who do not wish to be an officer within their constituent group. This could reduce workload of individual members (promoting longer tenure) and could provide a wider pool of talent to ensure continuity of leadership.

UA’s Strategic Direction
Governance groups have been asked to help come up with questions for the staff listening sessions. There is a Staff Alliance working document on Google docs.

It was commented that the weekly e-mail with links to the Strategic Direction newsletters are not very effective. Earlier e-mails had little information, so most people stopped linking to the newsletters. Better summaries are included now, but people probably already stopped looking. Actual summaries of what is being learned would be better received.

Policy Review

Proposed policy changes will be sent to President Gamble by January 2012. The question was raised, when will SAA see the administration’s suggested changes? There’s greater interest in reviewing proposed changes than in proposing them. Monique wanted to know if there was a formal process for requesting the opportunity to review the changes. It was suggested that Monique raise the question with President Gamble about the form of communications desired. What often happens is the Staff Alliance receives the information and passes it on to constituent groups. Board of Regents policy “P01.03.020. Regulations,” which says that governance groups are to be included in the review of proposed policy changes, was cited and discussed.

In the past SAA received a lot of direct communication, in part because Beth Behner regularly attended meetings. It was suggest that we invite Don Smith to regularly attend and keep us informed of ongoing HR issues.

Employee Tuition Waivers
Discussion centered on the Staff Alliance motion in opposition to the proposed changes. It was pointed out that the SAP (Standard Academic Progress) is not necessarily an appropriate approach to assuring the state legislature that employees are good stewards of their university benefits. A request for a cost benefit analysis was suggested. SAA is not opposed to any change of the benefit, but do not feel that SAP is the best way of managing such a valued benefit. A resolution in support of the Staff Alliance resolution, with the additional concerns and perspectives of SAA, will be created. A draft motion will be reviewed in January.

Non-Union Staff Salary Increases for FY13
SAA members were reminded to use personal e-mail on their personal time to advocate to Governor Parnell to include the proposed university staff salary increase in his FY13 Operating Budget.

Joint Health Care Committee
Lisa Sporleder, chair of the JHCC, recapped the recent JHCC meeting in Seattle. The first meeting day was a year-end review with Premera. Day two included presentation of better online presence for wellness offerings. This involved an online weight-loss option. A vendor such as Weight Watchers could offer a lower monthly rate for staff to participate. This would provide wellness options that rural campus members could more easily participate in. Alere also made a presentation about their wellness options. This was considered as a more-interactive alternative to the existing Get the Point offering. A service called Patient Care was also introduced. Their service is twofold: patient access advocacy and guidance about being a better-informed healthcare consumer. Currently, Erika Van Flein is the statewide employee point of contact for benefit questions. However, because Erika works for Human Resources, she cannot offer HIPAA confidentiality. A provider like Patient Care could. The current offering of Best Doctors only provides an online medical second opinion, not patient advocacy. JHCC will research this further with Patient Care’s current client, Alyeska Pipeline. Initial impression of this service is that it would provide a cost effective benefit that would give staff peace of mind and better care.

Other Human Resources Issues
Non-exempt electronic timesheets will be available in February. Exempt employee timesheets are still in development. There has been a delay due to Vickie Gillian’s departure.

SAA moved to approve a Resolution of Appreciation honoring Beth Behner. A copy of the resolution will be sent to Beth.

Holiday Potlucks
The United Way has asked if they could set up a table at the December potluck.
Monique Musick will again chair the Adopt-A-Family gift drive, and Lisa Sporleder will organize the non-perishable food drive. To date 159 mugs have been donated. Collection boxes are out for non-perishable food donations.

Butrovich Building Issues
Kim Fackler has started a list of building issue comments for John Renfro, Manager of Custodial Services. John has been invited to the January meeting to discuss these issues. If after the meeting there are no improvements, it was suggested that SAA address the issues directly to Facility Services instead of going through the building manager.

The Butrovich Garden Committee are meeting on December 15, to make seed selections.

Bragaw Building Issues

The holiday party with President and Mrs. Gamble was well attended and enjoyed. The only complaint was that the venue was too small for the turn-out. Anchorage employees are looking forward to next year’s event.

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