UofL’s Staff Senate met Monday in Chao Auditorium, with special guests John Elliott, interim AVP for HR, Patricia Benson, AVP for Health, Wellness and Disease Management, and Lee Smith, interim COO.

Report: John Elliott

Elliott provided a number of updates from HR, including:

The number of RIFs as of last week is 113. That includes 57 grant positions and 19 retirements. The RIF pool is now active and HR has received four applications so far. No hires have been made through this channel yet.

The COO search is underway, and the committee will have recommendations to President Postel by the end of November. The director of total rewards search is also underway.

A reboot of performance evaluations is on the radar for HR, though no actions are likely until 2018. Elliott said the evaluation process is a common grievance he hears throughout campus.

The HR department continues to reorganize and includes the hiring of additional compensation analysts to make that a more streamlined and efficient process.

Elliott said HR is looking to add more leadership development opportunities for staff employees, including skills training.

Finally, the grant-funded hiring process has been refined. It used to take candidates months to onboard. It should now take about two to three weeks.

Report: Patricia Benson

Benson provided an update about Get Healthy Now’s new $15-per-month fee going into effect Jan. 1. The fee is being implemented to cover costs of the GHN Wellness Center and its operations/classes, and it includes the use of the gym equipment, fitness classes and additional wellness resources.

Benson encouraged employees to take tours of the wellness center and host meetings in the facility.

“You will be able to see how dedicated we are to the health and wellbeing of the Cardinal family,” she said. “We want to keep you healthy and strong so you can achieve your goals.”

Benson answered a few questions about the new fee, and outlined the number of resources offered compared to a Planet Fitness-type of gym. For example, GHN recently partnered with UofL Health Management Services and now has a nurse and nurse practitioner on site to work with employees who have diabetes, COPD and hypertension. This service is done at no additional cost.

Report: Lee Smith

Smith said the search for a new permanent chief of police has kicked off. Also, the inaugural Veterans Day event for employees was a success, with about 60 to 70 people in attendance, and he hopes this becomes an annual celebration.

He also provided updates on the operations and procurement savings his department has been tasked with achieving. For the $10 million goal in operational savings, the university has identified about $5 million in savings through the first quarter, well ahead of schedule.

For the $10 million goal in procurement savings, the university has identified about $3.4 million since the end of Q1.

“Looking through October, however, the data suggests we may have lost some of that progress, so we’re asking that purchases be put on hold unless absolutely necessary. We also have new tools available to help you make sure you’re getting the best prices on procured items. These tools will provide quotes within 24 hours,” Smith said.

If an employee is making a purchase item of $25,000 or more, they’re asked to go through the bidding process.

Smith said his department has received a number of emails from SGA and other organizations requesting the availability of personal hygiene products on campus. He said tampon and maxi pad dispensers will be added to some buildings around campus soon.

Finally, Lee provided an update on safety initiatives that are underway. The blue light phones placed sporadically throughout campus were installed pre-mobile phone and are outdated. They also cost about $70,000 a year to maintain.

“Other than pranks, they are never used. The SGA has approached us about removing these and we will look at ways to reinvest that money for better lighting and more and better cameras. This is not a cost-saving initiative, but a reinvestment,” Smith said.

Also, a federal grant has been secured to further enhance the lighting on the L Trail. Pedestrian safety is also being looked at along Cardinal Boulevard, especially by First Street, and a traffic study has been requested by the university.

Finally, as the usage of the escort services increases, UofL is looking at ways to make this more efficient during peak hours and reduce wait times. Some ideas include looking at shuttles.

“These four safety initiatives add up to a $750,000 investment. Our campus safety statistics are good, especially compared to other campuses. The effort for us is to try and keep improving,” Smith said.

Other reports

Valerie Casey, director of the Women’s Center, announced a new UofL Women’s Network for personal and professional development and advancement. The group includes representation from all over campus and will host a meet and greet in December, along with events in the spring.

Avery Kolers provided a Faculty Senate report, which is available online

Will Armstrong’s Chair’s report is also available online

Senator Bonnie Dean proposed a statement from the Staff Senate requesting that the presidential search be open, or at least an open forum for the final candidates. She will draft that language and send it to the executive committee next week.

Vickie Tencer’s Vice Chair’s report is online

The Credentials and Nominations Committee reported two openings. If they are not filled, the at-large lists will be used.

Staff Grievance reported two grievances this month.

The Treasurer’s Committee reported that there is $17,605.09 in the general fund; $16,122.97 in the SHARE fund; and $1,674 in the technology fund.

The next Staff Senate meeting is Dec. 11 in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library.


Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at Forbes.com, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.