UofL’s Staff Senate opened its February meeting with the introduction of about 15 new senators.

Shannon Rickett, assistant vice president of Government Relations, provided a report about the role of UofL’s Office of Government Relations. The mission is to “advocate on behalf of UofL and to provide elected officials and policymakers with information that conveys the scope and significance of the university’s work and the critical need for their support.”

Rickett, a UofL graduate, said she serves as a liaison between the university and the government and community, and coordinates faculty and staff interaction with the government. Her full presentation is available online

Jeanell Hughes, associate vice president for Human Resources, provided an update from her office. Several benefits contracts are up this year and UofL will put out a bid for all of them to ensure we are offering the best benefits options for employees. They include LTD/STD; FSA Administration; COBRA Administration; and Life Insurance.

Equity adjustments became effective Jan. 1, and all staff salaries are now at 81 percent of the market. The portion of equity adjustment from July through December 2016 will be made as a lump sum payment on the March paycheck.

It is performance review time. Any employees not receiving their performance reviews by the end of April should contact HR. Hughes said UofL is adding “360 reviews” this year, offering employees the opportunity to provide feedback about their supervisors.

Also new is “The Voice of the Customer” initiative, soliciting feedback from employees using an HR service through short surveys. Hughes hopes to launch the HR Strategic Plan/100-Day Objectives next month and will solicit Staff Senate feedback for those objectives as well.

David Adams, interim chief administration officer, provided an update about his new position, leading with a brief overview of his background. Adams, who also serves as the CEO for the Institute for Product Realization at UofL, is a first-generation college graduate. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Speed School of Engineering.

Adams spent a number of years in the private sector before moving to the public sector in 2005 as part of Indiana’s Public Employee Retirement System. That public experience led him to the opportunity at UofL. His objective in working with the IPR is to “connect more tightly with industry to get more industry dollars,” citing the GE FirstBuild partnership as an example.

Adams said his first priority in the new CAO role is to talk to the university community to create objectives. He also intends on incorporating shared governance as part of his team’s decision-making process.

“We will succeed through a collaborative approach,” he said.

Lee Smith, interim chief operating officer, provided an overview of his new role, which oversees four areas: Facilities, IT, Public Safety and Business Services.

Smith updated senators on the four major construction projects underway, including the SAC, Academic Building, football stadium and pediatrics building downtown. All four are on schedule with expected completion dates in the summer of 2018.

UofL has experienced several power outages since December. The initial outages were related to LG&E. The power outage earlier this month was related to construction and will take “about 12 weeks” for full restoration. Updates will be provided in UofL Today and through other communications channels as necessary.

The following reports were also provided:

Faculty Senate: An update on the most recent Faculty Senate meeting was provided by Dr. Bob Staat. Faculty senators are currently pushing for representation on the UofL Foundation board. “I hope the Staff Senate pushes for the same,” Staat said. A full Faculty Senate report is available online

SGA did not have a report.

Senate Chair Will Armstrong’s report is available online. Armstrong noted that Interim President Greg Postel is expected to speak at the March Staff Senate meeting

Credentials and Nominations: No report. The committee meets Feb. 22.

Policy, Economics and Development: The committee discussed staff development opportunities as part of the 21st Century Initiative. Members are benchmarking what other institutions do to promote staff development. The committee also updated senators on RIF policy revisions, a process that has been underway for years. Senator Gary Southard said the RIF policy has a negative connotation because people have misused it in the past. Suggested changes include a new name (Downsizing of Staff) to “start anew.” More about this committee report is available online.

Services and Facilities: Senator Paul Eitel said this committee has navigated a number of safety issue concerns, also noting that the police department is understaffed.

Staff Grievance: One grievance has been filed since the December meeting. Senator John Smith noted that the committee sent out a letter about the grievance process to raise awareness that it exists for employees

SHARE: The SHARE committee is also working on raising awareness and is currently designing a postcard to share to the campus community.

Staff Morale and Community Outreach: The committee is currently putting together a pamphlet to share with the campus community.

Treasurer’s Report: In January, expenditures totaled $1,562.03. The balance as of the meeting is $9,843.23. The technology account has $1,674, while the SHARE budget is $13,170.47.

Other business:

  • A parking subcommittee is being created and is tasked with helping develop a report with recommendations on how to enhance today’s parking and establish a plan for “what it will look like in the future.”
  • The University Police Advisory Committee report is available online
  • Community Service Day is scheduled April 21.

The next Staff Senate meeting is March 13 in the Dental School on the HSC campus.

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.