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Overview: September Staff Senate meeting

by UofL Today last modified Sep 21, 2011 10:55 AM

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

The full body met in regular session Sept. 12 at Ekstrom Library. Vice Chair Dhiane Bradley presided. The following are highlights from the meeting.

Action items

Christian Gamm, chair of the Staff Grievance Committee, presented human resources proposed changes to the grievance, discipline and appeals policies. The senate and other university groups have been working for more than one year to revise the policies. The changes include suggestions made at recent staff open forums. The senate approved the revisions to the policies.

Some proposed changes to the Disciplinary Policy:

  • Defines the purpose of disciplinary policy
  • Distinguishes between job performance and personal conduct
  • Establishes commitment to progressive discipline
  • Defines disciplinary standard and disciplinary authority
  • Creates pre-disciplinary conference
  • Adopts and publishes guidelines for pre-termination conferences.

Some proposed changes to the Grievance Policy:

  • Provides examples of grievable and non-grievable issues
  • Reduces the number of steps in the grievance process to a maximum of three
  • Provides that human resources notify managers of Step 2 & 3 grievances
  • Requires supervisors and managers to respond in writing to grievances within 10 days
  • Describes role of grievance committee and hearing guidelines

Some proposed changes to the Appeal Policy:

  • Move suspension without pay from appeal policy to grievance policy
  • Clarifies the role of personal advisers in appeals process
  • Codifies delegation of responsibility from president to VPHR to review hearing officer reports and adopt final decisions on behalf of the university.

The policy requires approval from the Board of Trustees. Read the executive summary (PDF).

Tammy Lawson, chair of the Assistance, Morale and Outreach committee presented the 2011 SHARE (Staff Help And Relief Effort) Friend of the Year Award to staff senator Brent Fryrear. Fryrear, who is the immediate past chair, encouraged senators to donate to the SHARE program because “it could really make a difference in someone’s life.”

Reports to the Senate

Connie Kidd, staff grievance officer

Kidd offered her annual report to staff senate. Kidd said that last year, 14 employees participated in formal appeals or grievances. Of those 14, there were 3 grievances and 11 appeals. Five of the cases were from Belknap campus and nine cases were from the Health Sciences Center campus. Some of the issues employees came to her about included discussing RIFs, terminations, suspensions and conflicts with supervisors.

Sam Connally, vice president for human resources

Connally spoke about health insurance issues.

  • HR doesn’t expect any plan design changes
  • Connally doesn’t expect there to be an increase in the total cost of the health plan options for the university.
  • HR has proposed that this year be a year to “normalize and rebalance” rates so employees pay a more equal dollar-share rate regardless of the plan they have. That means that people who have PPOs would pay $120-$300/year more for their plans and people with an EPO or HCA high or HCA low would pay slightly less than in fiscal year 2010. Connally asked the senate for feedback on the last point.

Connally also reminded senators that effective immediately, the UofL health plan covers reproductive health care under preventative care, with no deductible and no copayment. This applies to all services provided on or after Aug. 1, including well-woman visits (including mammograms); screening for gestational diabetes; breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling; birth control services or prescriptions (not over-the-counter products); and other services. UofL is an early adopter of these changes, which will be mandated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for plans implemented on or after Jan. 1, 2013. More information (PDF)

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