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February 18, 1993

              VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

                                 STAFF SENATE

 

 

                        MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING

                          THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1993

                   ROOM 102 - PHASE II - VETERINARY MEDICINE

 

 

 

 

  SENATORS PRESENT:  Pat Ballard, Joyce Bohr, Clara Cox, Patrick Donohoe,

  Kathy Eschenmann, Betty Greene, Jane Harrison, Diane Kaufman, Margie

  Lawrence, Don Massie, Sherilyn McConnell, Margie Murray, Diane Patty, Fred

  Phillips, Carlile Price, Rocky Price, Bill Ranck, Peggy Rasnick, Widget

  Shannon, Buddy Shaver, Barbara Hise Shelor, Sonja Stone, Charlie Stott,

  Sherri Turner, Deb Williams

 

  ALTERNATES IN ATTENDANCE:  Terry Lawrence for Bhaba Misra

 

 

 

 

  CALL TO ORDER

 

  The meeting was called to order at 5:35 p.m. by President McConnell, who

  welcomed senators, alternates, and guests.

 

 

  ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

  President McConnell made several announcements:

 

  -Senator Donohoe will be serving on the building subcommittee for the

  Athletic/Recreational Sports Area Master Plan.

 

  -Bill Ellenbogen was contacted in the fall concerning complaints that the

  Ride Home of Va, Inc. busses were blocking cars in spaces in the Derring

  Hall parking lot.  In response to the complaints, Ride Home will be moving

  the location of its loading zone to an area immediately behind Squires

  along the eastbound lane of the Mall (going towards Main Street).  A

  Blacksburg Transit loading zone is located there, and the BT has agreed to

  share the existing space.

 

  -The Staff Senate-sponsored workshop on making presentations was beneficial

  for those who attended, and the Senate hopes to sponsor at least one a year

  for all new senators.

 

 

  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

  The minutes of the November 19 and December 17, 1992, Staff Senate meetings

  were approved. The minutes of the January 21, 1993, meeting were approved

  with the following corrections:  Lola Yelverton is an alternate instead of

  a senator, and Sherrie Turner was present.

 

 

  SENATE COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  *COMMUNICATIONS--Senator Cox, chair, reported the committee did not meet in

  January.  At its February meeting, the committee continued its discussion

  on establishing a team of literacy volunteers on campus to assist illiter-

  ate employees with forms.  The committee will be working with Personnel

  Services in pursuing the project.  The committee also has received an arti-

  cle on health and safety from Senator Aliff that will be considered for the

  shared governance column in SPECTRUM.

 

  *ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS--Senator Phillips, chair, reported the committee

  reviewed the election procedure at its February meeting.  There will be

  seven vacancies on committees, councils, and commissions from one-year

  terms ending.  Senator Phillips encouraged senators to nominate people who

  are willing to serve and to notify them prior to nomination.  Individuals

  should be aware they can submit their own name.  There will be four vacant

  positions on the Commission on Classified Staff Affairs; one position will

  be that of a non-senator.  One seat will be open on University Council and

  two on the Advisory Council on Human Rights and Social Responsibility; one

  position will be that of a non-senator.

 

  *LONG RANGE BUDGET AND PLANNING--Senator Ballard, chair, reported the com-

  mittee met with Kathy Johnston and should have a report within two weeks.

 

  *POLICIES AND ISSUES--Senator Murray, chair, reported officers of the staff

  associations had met and named the group the Council of Staff Association

  Officers.  The council will meet the first Thursday of each month.  Cur-

  rently it is collecting articles for SPECTRUM.

 

  Policies and Issues was asked to check on bone marrow transplants as speci-

  fied in House Bill #549, which was carried over until 1993.  No legislation

  is being discussed to mandate bone marrow transplants for coverage.  Sen-

  ator Murray said the committee has been talking with Doug Martin in Em-

  ployee Benefits to offer catastrophic coverage to interested employees.

 

  It has been confirmed there is a Sick Leave Bank that involves leave shar-

  ing.  It basically operates under the concept of direct share, which allows

  employees to donate their annual leave to specific individual.  Currently

  there are many concerns regarding implementation, and Personnel Services is

  having trouble deciding how to administer the program.  One of the diffi-

  culties is a confidentiality problem on how to identify people in need.

 

  Policies and Issues received a note regarding inability to access funds

  through ATMs on payday.  It was decided people experiencing this problem

  should contact their bank directly.  If several Tech employees are experi-

  encing problems, they should present a unified front with their complaint.

 

 

  UNIVERSITY COUNCIL, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  *UNIVERSITY COUNCIL--Senator Cox reported the council had approved minutes

  of commission meetings and had had a second reading of a new faculty griev-

  ance procedure, which needs some additional work.

 

  *HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY--Senator Eschenmann reported the

  council is scheduled to meet on Monday.

 

  *STRATEGIC BUDGETING AND PLANNING--President McConnell announced the Com-

  mittee was going over Phase II of the Budget Plan.  No allocations have

  been made at this time.

 

  *COMMISSION ON CLASSIFIED STAFF AFFAIRS--Vice President Stott deferred his

  report until the New Business portion of the meeting.

 

  *COMMISSION ON GRADUATE STUDIES AND POLICIES--Senator Patty, reporting for

  Senator Haney, told senators to note the handout on the front table con-

  taining a resolution on graduate student parking privileges.

 

  *COMMISSION ON RESEARCH--Senator Rasnick reported the minutes were avail-

  able on the front table; nothing in the meeting pertained to staff.

 

  *COMMISSION ON UNIVERSITY SUPPORT--Senator Donohoe stated that the meeting

  included discussion of who at the university level actually decides certain

  issues.  The Board of Visitors has to decide on many things.  Graduate stu-

  dent parking will probably go to the Board.  The electronic village was

  discussed.  Tom Head was a guest speaker who reported on a one-week PC

  training program for faculty.

 

  *EMPLOYEE BENEFITS COMMITTEE--Senator Massie reported for Steve Dehart that

  the minutes for the meeting would be forwarded to senators.  Discussion

  topics included a BC/BS update, Leave Sharing Program, and CommonHealth.

 

  *EO/AA COMMITTEE--President McConnell stated the minutes were available on

  the front table.

 

  *PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE--Senator Shannon stated the committee

  had met, with approximately forty graduate students attending as guests.

  The graduate student member of the parking committee made a motion that re-

  quested graduate students on assistantship be allowed to purchase

  faculty/staff parking permits.  After much discussion the motion failed by

  a vote of 11 to 1.  Another motion was put forward that requested the park-

  ing committee's support of the theory that graduate students on

  assistantship should be entitled to faculty/staff parking status.  The mo-

  tion received no second and did not come to a vote.  Senator Shannon indi-

  cated that she did not believe that graduate student parking was a dead

  issue.  Senator Eschenmann asked for verification of a rumor that a new em-

  ployee in the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs was hired to

  work solely in support of the graduate student parking issue.  Senator Cox

  made a motion that senate write an open letter to SPECTRUM concerning this

  employment.  The motion failed.

 

  *PRESIDENT'S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE--Senator Phillips stated the committee

  had completed its selection and candidates would be announced in the Found-

  er's Day edition of SPECTRUM.

 

  *SCHEDULING AND REGISTRATION COMMITTEE--Senator Murray reported DPT was

  charged with studying an Employee of the Year Award.  The state is realiz-

  ing it has morale problems.  Vice President Stott asked if this study would

  be completed without asking for staff input.

 

  *FACULTY SENATE--Senator Rasnick reported that Governor Wilder has re-

  quested a 2 percent raise for faculty and staff.  The House of Represen-

  tatives recommends a two to three step increase plus the 2 percent raise.

  The Senate is recommending 3 percent for staff and a one-half step in-

  crease.

 

 

  OLD BUSINESS

 

  Senator Greene reported the senate contributed a total of $252 for the

  Christmas project.

 

  Senator Shannon reported that Senator Aliff agreed to contact Delegate

  Boucher on the legal aspects of opening confidential mail.  She had not

  heard from Senator Aliff at this time.

 

 

  NEW BUSINESS

 

  Vice President Stott reported there was no hard and fast way to enforce

  openness of communications even if a policy were adopted.  He suggested the

  senate gather ideas and alternatives through the Council of Staff Associ-

  ation Officers.  He said the senate would like to create a smooth flow of

  communication, an environment that shares goals and respects the staff's

  right to know.  The Commission on Classified Staff Affairs can hold an open

  forum, but the forum would need to be well policed so it did not become a

  gripe session.  Senators should send suggestions for the open forum to John

  Ashby at SPECTRUM on VM2, or Pam Orcutt at CMVPSO on VM2 by March 19th.

  The faculty will be surveyed as well.  This information will be given to

  the commission.

 

  President McConnell asked if the Senate would want to adopt an inclement

  weather policy due to the problems incurred last month.  Senator Donohoe

  suggested the senate follow school closings.  Senator Williams suggested

  the decision be left to the president with notification via profs.  Presi-

  dent McConnell suggested a time frame be decided.  Since only two senators

  are without mainframe access, the motion was made, seconded, and passed

  that President McConnell notify senators via profs by 4 p.m. on the day of

  the meetings if the meeting is to be cancelled.

 

 

  OTHER

 

  Senator Shannon asked if anyone has heard about an increase in the cost of

  the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Insurance.  Senator Eschenmann said Doug

  Martin from Benefits had informed her there would be a price increase in

  July.

 

  Senator Shannon brought up the issue of the lack of publicity about recent

  rapes around campus.  The question was raised if more publicity was needed

  in order to protect ourselves.  President McConnell reminded senators to

  use the Escort Service.  Senator Williams said there has been an increase

  in crime overall on campus.  She also added the Escort Service is fast and

  efficient.

 

  Senator Cox said the Development and University Relations Staff Association

  has suggested that staff associations sponsor open houses for the staff ap-

  preciation day.

 

  Vice President Stott stated DPT is hiring a consulting firm to address is-

  sues that have arisen with Key Advantage.  Senator Williams asked who was

  absorbing the cost and why is DPT not able to sort it out.  Senator Stott

  stated the Task Force could inquire how the firm is going to get its infor-

  mation to ensure that the staff will be heard.

 

  Senator Phillips said he thinks the staff will be very pleased with the

  package put together for staff appreciation.

 

  Senator Stott asked if there were any formal safety training programs

  available.  Senator Shelor responded the Health and Safety Department had

  just started some for new employees regarding asbestos, hazardous waste,

  and radioactive materials.

 

  Senator Murray asked if others had read the injury report recently pub-

  lished.  During the discussion that ensured, Senator Murray pointed out

  that many were illegitimate claims.  President McConnell stated that we are

  encouraged to file a "report of injury" form no matter how small the injury

  may seem.  If no accident/injury is reported, the employee has no recourse

  if problems occur later.  Senator Williams said that many people lift boxes

  that are too heavy and that some people are allergic to carbonless paper.

  She said there should be training for staff.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

 

 

 

  Barbara Hise Shelor

  Secretary

 

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