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October 21, 1993

                                                    DRAFT

 

        Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

                           Staff Senate

 

                  Minutes of the Regular Meeting

                    Thursday, October 21, 1993

             Room 102 - Phase II - Veterinary Medicine

 

 

  Senators Present: Bill Aliff, Carolyn Alls, Pat Ballard, Sheila

  Blankenship, Janet Bryant, David Carper, Joann Craven, Judy Davis,

  Marge Dellers, Patrick Donohoe, Jamie Evans, Les Fuller, Leslie

  Graham, Betty Greene, Mary Holliman, Lisa Jansen, Roy Jones, Diane

  Kaufman, Julia King, Richard Lovegrove, Don Massie, Sherilyn

  McConnell, Bhaba Misra, Valerie Myers, Diane Patty, Mary

  Pennington, Carlile Price, Peggy Rasnick, Wyatt Sasser, Lynne

  Schaefermeyer, Widget Shannon, Chuck Shorter, Charlie Stott, Tony

  Sutphin, Sarah Wheeler

 

  Alternates Present:  Nancy Lang for Deb Williams, Karen Strickler

  for Patty Hall, Lorie Sumpter for Sherri Turner

 

  Guests:  Netta Eisler

 

  Call to Order

 

  Meeting was called to order at 5:40 PM by President McConnell.

 

 

  Announcements:

 

  President McConnell got a chance to talk with President James

  McComas before he left campus. She expressed the Staff Senate's

  appreciation for his efforts and support and wished him well in

  his fight against cancer.  She also talked to Acting President

  Torgeson and indicated to him that if there was any way that the

  Staff Senate could assist him, please call upon us. He

  indicated that he would do so.

 

  President McConnell encouraged senators and their constituents to

  exercise their privilege to vote.

 

  Committee appointments - President's Award for Excellence

  nomination forms have gone out and President McConnell has copies

  of the guidelines and the nomination forms.  Senator Massie will

  represent the Staff Senate on the Review Committee.

 

  President McConnell apologized for the error on the agenda, and

  stated that the correct date for the meeting is October 21, rather

  than September 16.  Also, Tony Sutphin's name should be deleted,

  and Deb Williams' name should be added to the Ad Hoc Smoking

  Subcommittee.  Senator Lovegrove has also been added to the

  subcommittee because Senator Bryant will be unable to attend the

  meetings.

 

 

  Approval of Minutes

 

  The Minutes of the September 16, 1993, Staff Senate meeting were

  approved with no additions or corrections.

 

 

  University Councils, Commissions, Committee Reports

 

  The Communications Committee met October 6.  Senator Sutphin has

  forwarded the updated list of staff senators and alternates to

  Personnel so that the information given during new employee

  orientation will be correct.  They revisited once again the

  question about the ongoing move to computer networks. Senator

  Lovegrove has talked to John Ashby about getting an article in the

  Spectrum. They discussed senators not communicating effectively

  with their constituents.  They are going to look at putting

  together a list of helpful hints or suggestions for senators.

 

  The Nominations and Elections Committee last met on September 11.

  There will be a critical mailing going out soon to provide an

  opportunity for classified staff members to have their names put

  into nomination for vacancies in the governance system.  Senator

  Patty stated that they received 55 names last year.  They have

  revised the document slightly from last year and the committee will

  send it to local associations and ask chairs to get it to all staff

  in their area.

 

  The document is lengthy, but the committee decided to give an in-

  depth description of the Committees, etc. to cut down on confusion

  and questions.  The nominations should be given to the association

  chair by the end of November, then the chair will forward them to

  the Committee.  This process should save a lot of nominations from

  the floor next spring.  Senator Patty asked senators to encourage

  their local association chairs to distribute and follow up on them.

 

  Policies and Issues - Senator Murray was unable to attend senate

  meeting.  No report was available.

 

  Parking/Transportation Committee - Senator Shannon stated that

  she has a concern as to why the graduate students were given

  special parking privileges when it was not approved through

  the senate. She questioned whether administration had made the

  decision without going through the governance system.  President

  McConnell stated that they did not get the privileges --

  Faculty/Staff stickers -- that they asked for.  Instead, they got

  special spaces in the commuter lots for the GTA's to park when

  they are teaching.  McConnell said she did not know who made

  the decision.  Senator Ballard added that this is for a trial

  period and that the situation is being monitored.

 

  Strategic Budgeting and Planning Committee - Senator Stott and

  Senator Greene accompanied President McConnell for two days of

  meetings at Mountain Lake.  The meeting covered all colleges and

  vice-presidential areas, the 1.5 percent reduction plan, Phase II

  accomplishments, and requests for re-allocated resources. The

  Budget Committee will meet again on October 22 and address

  these areas.

 

 

  Old Business

 

  Last spring, Senator Cox brought the issue of a Commission on

  Administrative and Professional faculty to the floor.  The issue

  was tabled and it remained tabled.  A motion was made and seconded

  to bring the proposal back to the floor. Senator Ballard asked for

  clarification of the purpose of this commission.  The proposal was

  to consider forming the commission and to offer support.  The 637

  administrative and professional faculty members currently have no

  form of representation.

 

  Senator Patty stated that Senator Cox's resolution that night was

  to ask for representation on the commission, not to establish a new

  commission.  Senator Patty asked for clarification.  Senator

  McConnell stated that it had already been voted on by University

  Council, even though we had not approved it. A motion was made to

  bring it off the table.  Motion was seconded and carried.  Motion

  was made to approve the formation of this commission.  The motion

  was seconded and carried with one opposed. Senator Aliff stated

  that he did not see a need for administrative faculty.

 

  Ad Hoc Smoking Committee - Senator Foster was unable to attend

  senate meeting. McConnell reported that had he been here he would

  not have had a formal report. Senator Donohoe commented that they

  have met several times over the past month. They have met with

  Harley Ashe and Zach Adams and discussed some of the problems.

  They are scheduled to meet again October 27.  The committee

  should have something to report by next senate meeting.  Senator

  Sutphin shared this issue with his association and received 57

  responses.  He was also given a petition signed by 37 people in

  Burruss concerning second-hand smoke. They also had very

  strong feelings that they wished to be passed along to the

  committee. President McConnell clarified that smoking was not the

  issue.

 

 

  New Business

 

  If we wish to do a Christmas service project someone will need to

  chair it.  Senator Holliman asked for clarification on what we

  mean by Christmas service project. McConnell stated that last

  year senate collected money and necessary items for an elderly

  lady and the year before they adopted a family with several

  children to help with needed items, Christmas gifts, etc.

  Senator Evans stated that he would rather see it done on a

  departmental level rather than to try to spread ourselves too thin.

  He suggested that we encourage our departments to take on a

  Christmas service project.

 

  A motion was made and seconded that Staff Senate encourage the

  smaller units to take on a Christmas service project.  Senator

  Evans asked if there was a source for the units to go for

  information. President McConnell stated that she could refer people

  to several agencies in the New River Valley that would be able to

  work with them to identify families in need. Senator Sasser asked

  what form senate's encouragement should take.  It will appear in

  the minutes of the senate, it might appear in the Spectrum, and

  senators should go back to their areas and support the project. The

  motion carried.

 

 

  Discussion of performance evaluation process -- President

  McConnell has received several profs messages from staff members

  who are concerned that the evaluation process did not follow the

  correct procedures. Apparently, in some areas supervisors were

  encouraged not to give exceptional ratings to their employees

  because higher-up supervisors wanted to give the exceptional rating

  to another employee, thereby guaranteeing, as much as possible,

  that that employee would get the three-step increase.

 

  Senator Sutphin wanted senators to be aware that there was a

  well-written article in the Spectrum concerning the evaluations.

  He stated that his association is looking at a two-way

  evaluation.  Jim Wolfe thought this was a good idea.

 

  Senator Fuller stated that he had a good evaluation process,

  but that he got the feeling that some supervisors believed

  employees should have to walk on water to get an exceptional

  rating.  Senator Donohoe said he heard that you not only had to

  walk on water, but do cartwheels and work a 60-hour work week.

 

  Senator Stott stated that there were several things that were

  brought to his attention. There were some departments that were

  giving a large number of exceptionals to give several employees

  a chance at the three-step increase.  The opposite side of that was

  that there are supervisors who think that there are no exceptional

  employees. Personnel services did a good job in trying to do

  training.  The good supervisors took advantage of it and the ones

  who didn't care did not. Stott would appreciate any input so that

  he can take it back to University Council.

 

  Senator Evans looked at the differences between last year's

  evaluation and this year's. The problem he had was that only a few

  of the people who got exceptional are going to be rewarded.  That

  was a problem in his area.  Not all the exceptionals are going to

  be treated equally.

 

  Senator Holliman stated that the Development and University

  Relations Staff Association discussed the problem. In one area, the

  supervisor rated them high last year because he couldn't give them

  anything else. This year there is money tied to it and the ratings

  went down.  The employees had a bad feeling because their job

  performance had not changed but their rating scale was different.

 

  Senator Lovegrove stated that people were getting downgraded from

  exceeds to meets expectations.  He would like to see some sort of

  statistical analysis.

 

  Senator Sasser stated that this is not the first year for the

  program, it is the third.  Things ran smoothly until money was tied

  to it. He heard that you won't be notified how many steps you got,

  you will just have to figure it out on your paycheck. Senator

  Greene said the dean's offices and the administrative offices will

  be notified the middle of November and they can contact the

  department heads.

 

  President McConnell asked if the check stubs would say

  "Congratulations, you got three steps."

 

  Senator Stott made a motion that we invite Personnel Services to

  come explain the statistics and changes.  The problem is that we

  don't know how quickly the statistics will be available.  They may

  not be available by the November meeting.

 

  Senator Misra felt that we should wait and invite them after they

  get the statistics, rather than them coming here without them.

  The motion was seconded.  Senator Holliman made an amendment that

  we invite them to come and explain the statistics after we have

  had a chance to review the statistics.  Motion was seconded.

 

  Senator Lovegrove stated that we are getting ahead of ourselves.

  It is fine to have the statistics for our associations to review,

  but we should wait to see if we have questions before we invite

  them.

 

  Senator Ballard agreed and said that after reviewing the

  statistics, we would have a better idea of what information we

  would need Personnel to bring.

 

  Senator Aliff questioned why they couldn't be published in

  Spectrum for broader access. The motion to ask for the statistics

  passed 20-10.

 

  McConnell asked if Stott had a month in mind for this meeting.

  Shannon stated that the December meeting a lot of senators will

  gone.  We can request the material in November before the senate

  meeting.

 

  A Senator questioned if those rated exceptional were going to

  be acknowledged publicly.  The Senator feels like a criminal because

  they are getting it and do not want the names published.

  Senator Schaefermeyer questioned whether they are going to

  acknowledge all exceptionals or just the exceptionals that got the

  3-step increase.

 

  Senator Craven stated that after we receive the statistics,

  that maybe there could be a committee

  formed to make the process uniform Universitywide.  President

  McConnell stated that the process would have to be modified

  statewide, not just at this University.

 

  Senator Ballard wondered whether the performance evaluation is

  disliked by the other state agencies.

 

  Senator Aliff heard a state police captain say that 15 percent of

  state police employees got three-step increases, and he questioned

  why Virginia Tech only got 8 percent.

 

  President McConnell stated that if we wanted a 15% increase, it would

  have to be funded locally and there just is not money available.

 

  Senator Rasnick asked how you were supposed to show your shared

  governance service for the evaluation.  McConnell stated that there

  was not a place to list committees, etc.  Employees should document

  their service and present it to the supervisor prior to evaluation.

 

  Senator Stott wondered how many people had comments on their

  evaluation that they did participate in the governance system.

  Nine people indicated that they did have some reference to their

  participation.

 

  Senator Shannon asked how many people got to rate themselves and

  give it to their supervisors.  Six indicated that they did their

  own evaluations for their supervisors to sign.

 

  Senator Supthin stated that he feels that we should table this

  until we have the statistics.

 

  Senator Rasnick expressed concern that the registration form she

  completed to attend the governance training activity requested

  her race.  She questioned why it was important. President McConnell

  replied that it was for record keeping purposes only.  She added

  that there was an orientation last year; the same will be conducted

  this year.  If you are a new senator this year, and you have not

  been invited to the session, please contact Cornel Morton.

 

  Misra stated that he believes there to be a misconception that

  staff members think that they cannot chair a committee. Stott

  responded that it is his understanding that the only one that staff

  cannot chair is the Commission on Faculty Affairs. Classified staff

  can chair any of the other commissions.

 

 

  Motion was made and seconded to adjourn.  Meeting adjourned at

  6:50 PM.

 

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