The University of Louisville’s Staff Senate met on the HSC Campus Oct. 10 for its most recent meeting. Senate Chair Will Armstrong opened the meeting with an action item, calling for the senate to draft a statement to be sent to Acting President Pinto and Interim Executive Vice-President and Unviersity Provost, Dr, Dale Billingsley. The intent is to affirm the resolution of the SGA and the statement of the Faculty Senate. The Senate’s hope is this information will be useful as University leadership works with the Governor to bring the university’s board of trustees into full compliance. The motion passed.

Vice Chair Vickie Tencer facilitated the committee reports, including her update on the budget process for 2018, which is starting soon. Other reports include:

The Credentials and Nominations committee announced it has filled eight seats and elections for two additional seats will be held later this month.

Policy, Economics, Development: Gary Southard said the committee will meet every second Thursday of the month moving forward and has set three goals and objectives for this year, including bringing a RIFF policy proposal forward, creating more staff training and development opportunities and in and out placement for staff. The committee has met with Jeanell Hughes, interim executive director of HR, to see how they could collaborate with her office on these initiatives. Members hope to have their proposals up for review by the next meeting.

Services and Facilities met Oct 6. Paul Eitel said there were a number of issues discussed, including:

  • Discrepancies in the RAVE alerts and how they’re sent to employees’ phones. He said recent incidents have not shown up on some devices. Some employees have also asked for “all clear” follow up messages.
  • A grant has been received to fund additional insulation and lighting on walkways throughout campus. This project will be facilitated through a partnership between UofL and LG&E.
  • There have been some problems at the Floyd Street crosswalk and confusion about who has the right of way.
  • Updates to the Chestnut Street parking garage have been put on hold due to changes at the 620 garage.
  • The committee is researching how to get more solar charging tables around campus.

Staff Grievances didn’t meet and no grievances have been reported. According to John Smith, January is the committee’s busiest time and they hope to put communication out about the grievance process prior to then.

SHARE did not meet. There are no pending or new applications for assistance. The committee would like to raise awareness and funds for SHARE so more employees know what it is and how to use it.

Staff Morale and Community Outreach met Sept. 22. Members would like to start acknowledging birthdays and perfect attendance. A proposal has also been made to the Executive Committee for the first outreach project with the Ronald McDonald House.

Secretary/Treasurer Sabrina Haug said the committee has met with Acting President Neville Pinto and CFO Harlan Sands about where the university is headed in its leadership transition. In the budget:

  • The SHARE balance is $11,895.70
  • The technology balance is $1,613
  • The general balance is $16,294.06

Report from Jeanell Hughes, interim executive director of HR

Hughes discussed five points:

  1. Open Enrollment is Oct. 17-Oct. 28. Employees will be receiving more information in the mail. UofL has two new vendors, one for vision and one for dental, and there will be a lower premium for both.
  2. The university is 90-percent verified as part of its Dependent Audit Verification. There are a few outstanding verifications and a few appeals due to the inability to produce the required documentation.
  3. All employees are receiving a “holiday premium” during November. That means anyone who is on UofL’s insurance will not have to pay their insurance premium for this month. More communication will be released about this soon from Dr. Pinto.
  4. The university is working on achieving salary equity adjustments with the $2 million set aside for this goal ($1 million for faculty and $1 million for staff). This should go into effect Jan. 1.
  5. The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) process is underway and each employee should have received communication about their status whether it is changing or not. Those employees going from exempt to non-exempt have until Dec. 1, a month later than originally scheduled. Four sessions have been held already with more information for these employees, and supervisor sessions are planned soon. A new online timekeeping solution is being rolled out for employees.

Report from Patricia Benson, AVP Health, Wellness and Disease Management

Benson also reminded senators about open enrollment and encouraged them to get a health assessment through Get Healthy Now. Assessments will be available through Nov. 17 and can help save up to $40 a month on insurance premiums.

There will be two benefits fairs for employees to get acquainted with our insurance vendors: Oct. 19 and 20 on the HSC campus, and Oct. 25 and 26 on the Belknap Campus, at Get Healthy Now Wellness Center.

Benson said Get Healthy Now has been around since 2005 and has been very successful because of employee buy-in, with an 84-percent participation rate. She encouraged employees to provide feedback and suggestions on programs that aren’t being offered.

Finally, she noted that Get Healthy Now has expanded its partnership with UofL Physicians, which began in 2008. The expansion includes a new hypertension program. 

Report from Dr. Bob Staat, Faculty Senate Representative

Dr. Bob Staat provided a report from the Faculty Senate meeting earlier in October. Senators voted to support a resolution drafted by the Student Government Association asking Governor Bevin to bring the board of trustees into full compliance. More information about the Faculty Senate meeting is available online.

SGA report

A report was read from Lauren Greenwell from the SGA, including the body’s aforementioned resolution, which passed, and the approval of longer hours at the Ekstrom Library. The SGA is also developing a new safety campaign.

Report from Chair Will Armstrong

Armstrong reported that he met with the budget advisory committee on Sept. 1; with two AVP financial/controller candidates in mid-September; and with President Pinto on Sept. 26 to learn more about his vision. He was also named to the executive committee of the board of trustees on Sept. 22.

On Oct. 18, staff senators are invited to the president’s reception at Amelia Place. Guests for the November meeting include someone from campus police and Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for Sustainability Initiatives.

Report from Ellie Fridell, University-wide Committees

Fridell noted that the community engagement steering committee met in late September to provide a 21st Century Initiative update and an update on engagement plans. A resource packet is being developed for faculty to get involved in community engagement. She will post all of the other reports online soon.

Other business

Finally, a few other business items were discussed, including:

  • There has been a discussion about implementing a new lecture capture system. The current agreement expires in April.
  • There is an RFP out for a new printing vendor. The current vendor doesn’t provide incentives to lower costs and that is a desired attribute with a new vendor.

The next Staff Senate meeting is November 14 at Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium.