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Overview: Feb. 14, 2011 Staff Senate Meeting

by Brandy Warren, Communications and Marketing, for the Staff Senate last modified Feb 17, 2011 12:47 PM

The Staff Senate is part of UofL's shared governance system, which also includes the Faculty Senate and Student Government Association. Senators are elected by their peers.

The full body met in regular session Feb. 14 at Ekstrom Library. Chair Brent Fryrear presided.

Here is what happened:

Reports to the Senate

From guest Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin: Curtin gave a presentation that explained the status of the 2011-2012 university budget. Curtin showed senators the current budget scenario being considered. The budget includes a $3.14 million shortfall as of now, but would raise the salary increase pool to 2 percent. The budget must be balanced before it can be approved.

The latest scenario also included options for several other projects that could be funded, including raising the salary increase pool to as much as 3 percent, increasing faculty and staff posts for critical infrastructure/support services. Adding such initiatives would increase the amount of the projected shortfall to as much as $8 million.

Because of that possible shortfall under the scenario, Curtin said several groups are looking at options for budget savings initiatives that would allow for the salary increase pool and possibly fund the other initiatives. Discussed options include tightening up the employee and dependent tuition remission plan and changing employee vesting in retirement to five years.

No final decisions have been made on the budget and it continues to be in the discussion phase.

From Vice President for Human Resources Sam Connally:

Connally introduced Mary Elizabeth Miles, who joined UofL recently as the director of staff development and employee relations. She's is a UofL graduate and most recently worked for Louisville Metro government.

Connally also spoke to senators about the possible raises being considered in the 2011–2012 budget. He asked senators to consider making recommendations on how the salary increase pool should be allocated. Options could include a flat rate for employees, a percentage rate increase for all or whether possible increases should be tied to evaluations. He asked the senate to make recommendations by March 14.

Chair Fryrear said the Staff Senate soon would be sending an online survey to employees asking for input on how raises should be distributed. He said the results from that survey would be shared with university leadership.

Connally also discussed possible changes to the tuition remission program for employees and their dependents. Connally said that because there is a projected shortfall in the 2011–2012 budget, the university is looking for ways to save money to accommodate new items in the budget. In addition, Connally said the tuition remission program is $1 million over budget this year.

Connally said the Human Resources Advisory Committee suggested some cost savings measures, but the changes have not been formally endorsed. If eventually adopted, the proposed changes could save as much as $608,000.

Suggested changes include:

  • Employees and dependents would be required to pay student fees

  • Require employees to pay graduate tuition surcharges

  • Establish a credit hour limit of 140 semester hours for dependent tuition remission

  • Exclude distance education tuition charges for dependents

No decisions on the tuition remission policy were made.

The next staff senate meeting is 2:30 p.m. March 14, at the Health Sciences Center.

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