GCSU Staff Council Minutes August 26, 2008

Staff Council

These minutes submitted by: Joe Windish on 9/3/08 at 3:54 PM.
Next meeting: September 23, 2008, 3:00 pm, Bobcat Dining Room


Staff Council
August 26, 2008 Minutes

Attendance: Clyde Boone, Jr., Toi Franks, Karen Higgs, Erin Lineberger, Jen Maraziti, Stacey Milner, Mandy Peacock, Judith Sanders, Monica Starley, Lori Strawder, Lori Watson, Erin Weston, Joe Windish

Regrets: Liz Havey, Gina Peavy, Patti Weimer

Absent: Cindy Potts, Ed Tollison

Guests: Greg Brown, Dr. Paul Jones, Dr. Dorothy Leland, Barbara Monnett, Dave Terrell

Karen Higgs called the meeting to order at 3:03 • Agenda is reordered to accommodate guests. Karen introduced President Leland.

1. GUESTS

A. Dr. Dorothy Leland, President, began with thanks and emphasized the vital role of Staff Council.

In discussing the budget situation the university faces, she stressed that preserving jobs was a top priority. The state faces a $1.6 billion revenue shortfall. The state•s budget must be balanced. All state agencies face budget cuts. State schools have already taken a 6% cut this year; they have been asked to plan for another 2-4% cut. A 10% cut in a single year would be unprecedented, but we must be ready.

The university was able to handle the first 6% due to foresight and planning. We looked at economic indicators and saw it coming. We were able to use reserves and tuition carry-forward to absorb that. In order to be prepared for the additional cuts, the university instituted a freeze on hiring, an equipment purchase cap of $250, and a travel freeze. An exemption process is in place to ensure that mission critical spending can go forward. In addition, all divisions and schools have been asked to present plans for a 1% and a 3% across the board cut.

State policy makers are discussing a variety of strategies to make up for the budget shortfall. The situation is very fluid and we will not have clarity until the legislature votes. That vote will probably happen in February or later. The president stressed her solid commitment to: preserving jobs and, if allowed, preserving merit raises (the state may withhold merit funding, if allowed the university will uses its own funds and has included such funding in budget planning). The president further stressed her ongoing strong commitment to serving the students.

Q&A followed. Among the questions was whether building renovation and construction could be used against the state budget shortfall. The president explained that funding comes from bonds, a different pool, and would not help.

B. Barbara Monnett, Webmaster, explained that the printed directory would be discontinued in order to cut costs. An online directory will be maintained. She asked Staff Council delegates to gather feedback from their areas regarding whether or not the directory should include a photo, and whether to make it public or place it within myCats. Feedback should be gathered and forwarded to Karen Higgs no later than September 19.

2. Treasurer•s Report • the balance in the account is $7,619.73 (includes $1,500 being held back in reserve), the balance in the Foundation $2,545.25.

3. Chair•s Report
A. Given the financial situation we should consider a giveback of our budget of the same size all other university units are being asked to give back.

MOTION: Monica Starley moved that Staff Council return 10% of our annual budget ($1,000) in consideration of the budget cutbacks. Stacey Milner seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

B. It was agreed at the retreat that Staff Development Guidelines should be reviewed and recommendations for changes made to the full council. The following delegates volunteered to serve on a committee Chaired by Toi Franks: Erin Weston, Jennifer Maraziti, Bevan Burgamy (volunteer), Janey McDade (past treasurer).
C. With the travel freeze in effect, Staff Council applied for an exception in order for two delegates to travel to this year•s State Council conference. Attendance was justified because GCSU will host next year•s conference. This travel will be invaluable for planning. The exception was granted so Karen Higgs, chair, and Stacey Milner, vice-chair and chair of the 2009 State Staff Council Conference Planning Committee will attend. All other delegates are welcome to attend at their own expense.
D. Reminders:
a. Lunch with Dr. Leland in the Bobcat Dining Room is set for Thursday, September 11 at 11:30 a.m.
b. The Staff Open Forum with Dr. Leland is set for Thursday, September 25 at 2 p.m. in the A&S Auditorium. Delegates should solicit questions from staff and submit to Karen Higgs no later than 9/17. Stacey Milner agreed to coordinate campus communication for this event.
E. Absences and Regrets • there was discussion of the bylaws provision that states a delegate may be removed for •non-attendance (two (2) or more unexcused absences), unavailability of the delegate to the staff he/she represents, or conduct injurious to the Staff Council, the University, or the purposes of the Staff Council.• It was generally agreed that this provision should be enforced. Consensus was that contact regarding unexcused absences should be in written form. The executive committee will work to develop a template to be used

4. COMMITTEE REPORTS
A. State Staff Council • Stacey Milner reported on progress building the website. The site should be ready in mid-September. Other planning will follow attendance at the State Staff Council Conference in Kennesaw.
B. Campus Connections • Lori Strawder and Lori Watson reported that they are adjusting elements of the proposal in light of the current fiscal reality.

5. OLD BUSINESS
A. MidSouth update • Karen spoke with Kyle Cullars regarding concerns that MidSouth is not open during posted hours (late arrival, lunch, early close) and that limits have been reported on the amount of cash withdrawals permitted. Kyle was not aware of these issues and will take them to MidSouth for discussion.
B. Website • Joe Windish reported the updated interim website should be live by mid-September. He asked delegates to check the delegate listing on the web to ensure accuracy.

6. NEW BUSINESS
A. Committee restructuring and assignments • tabled.
B. Lori Strawder brought a request from Greg Brown regarding staff representation on the following committees. It was decided that Jen Maraziti and Maria Gordon will serve on the Parking and Appeals Committee; Lori Strawder and Patty Weimer will continue to serve on PTAC.
C. EMAIL LISTS • Monica reported that a number of recently hired staff have not been automatically added to the appropriate university listserves (Announce, Official, etc.). She raised the issue with Neil Jones, Jay Lancaster, IT, and HR, who will be meeting to resolve the delay. In the interim she asked that we be aware of new employees and if we find they are NOT on the appropriate lists, report it to Jay Lancaster.

7. Motion for adjournment at 4:35 p.m.

8. Next Meeting • September 23, 2008, 3:00 pm, Bobcat Dining Room

All regular meetings are on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m.
Delegates should extend regrets to the secretary, Joe Windish, or chair, Karen Higgs, if they are unable to attend any regular meeting of the council.


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