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Microsoft word - september 12 2006 usac summary.doc
September 12, 2006 USAC Meeting Summary
Submitted by Terri Weaver, 2006-2007 USAC Chair
Thanks to all who have submitted suggestions/questions/concerns to the University Staff
Advisory Committee. Please join us in our discussions by continuing to post messages
through the staff advisory council website: (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/staff/usac/request.html)
Members in Attendance:
Eric Beatty, Linda Caperton, Val Cemprola, Kerri Chapman,
Bettie Clarke, Denise Johnston, Tim Johnstone, Mark McGill, Barbara Melton, Bob
Plymale, Dianne St. John, Scott Tilghman, Bobby Walton, Terri Weaver, Bracela Wright,
Linda Acors, Carl Sorensen, and Laura S. Dietrick. Members Absent:
Dolores MacNeilly, Rick Neal, Barbara Terry.
Minutes from the August 15, 2006 meeting were approved, with one change. Mark
McGill will replace Tim Johnstone on the Website Submission Committee for 2006-
We started our meeting with a report from Dianne St. John, the Chair of the Website
Submission Committee. Dianne reported on the following web submissions:
Web Submission #1: (F/S Parking Stickers) Action: Sent to Herb Peterson and Resolved
In the USAC minutes of November 8th, 2005, in reply to a question about
several items, the reply included this statement:
“Parking does affect the entire population and next year all staff parking stickers will be the same.”
I took that to mean no more "F"s and "S"s on our parking stickers. Since there are no different parking regulations for staff and faculty.we all can park in all the same places.the only reason to have F or S is to separate the employee population by "rank." This practice, I thought, had been deemed a Common Ground issue, and abandoned. But I see the newly designed parking stickers for this year still contain the ranking F or S. Did I misunderstand what the statement in the USAC minutes referred to? Is there some valid reason for the "class distinction" designation of which I'm unaware?
Response to Web Submission #1: (F/S Parking Stickers)
USAC did make a recommendation to eliminate the separate F and S stickers last year
and senior staff concurred. However, we failed to present the issue to Faculty Council
and the separation continues for this year.
I am pleased to inform you that it has now been approved by Faculty Council and stickers
issued to faculty and staff next year will contain numbers only, no letters.
At the 9/12/06 USAC Meeting, the suggestion was made that we follow up with the appropriate
department in 2007 well in advance of parking decal distribution for a reminder of the change
Web Submission #2: (Viagra and Cialis) Action: Sent to HR/Laura Dietrick
This is a very serious suggestion, and I hope it is treated as such.
Please petition HR to add prescription coverage for drugs such as Viagra and Cialis.
These are Tier 3 medications in the Anthem plans, but UR has decided not to include
them in our coverage.
These medications have given me a more positive mental outlook than Paxil ever did; I'm
actually happier and more productive at work these days. But non-covered costs are
TRIPLE the covered costs and I just can not afford that on my meager UR salary.
This web submission question was addressed at the 9/12/06 USAC meeting. Laura
Dietrick will investigate this suggestion further and mentioned that company plans,
benefits, and costs, thereof, are dictated largely by company size. She also advises staff
members to view the benefit comparison online at Anthem.com. She reminded
everyone that open enrollment will be taking place in October and this is an excellent
time to ask questions and compare our options.
Response to Web Submission # 2 (Viagra and Cialis):
The University’s prescription drug plan is a standard plan. We do not exclude any drugs
that Anthem covers. Anthem covers all drugs that are approved by the FDA except for
smoking aids, weight loss drugs and drugs used for cosmetic purposes. Viagra and Cialis
are covered under our plan however under the prior authorization provisions there are
quantity limits on how many tablets a member may receive each month. Both these
drugs are on the third tier which has a $50 co-pay after the deductible is met.
Please let me know if you need further information.
Laura *USAC had an additional question: Does Anthem decide our coverage or does the
University have a say?
Laura Dietrick response:
The University does choose which prescription plan to offer. The differences are usually
co-pay and deductible structures. We do not have a choice when it comes to the
formulary (drugs covered), tier structure or preauthorization. This is usually consistent
with the market not just one insurance company.
Web Submission #3: (Hostile Intruder Safety Drills)
Action: Sent to John Sheffield (Safety and Risk Management) and Kenny Adcock
In light of the recent tragic events on the Virginia Tech campus, I was
wondering if UR will actually have employees stage "drills" so that we know what to do
in the event of an emergency? We received some sort of notice maybe 2 years ago about
what to do in the event of an emergency and each department was supposed to have a
"team leader" who is supposed to have a brightly colored vest to wear and is supposed to
make sure that all his/her people are accounted for (I believe that I am remembering the
details correctly, but not exactly sure). Anyway, we have never had any drills. I can not
even remember the last time we had a fire drill in our building. Also, in the event of an
emergency where employees could not leave the building and had no access to their desk
phones (they had to seek a "safe" place, for example) and had to rely on cell phones, what
is the phone number to call UR police when using an "outside" line? Perhaps we could
post signs in designated spots in the buildings on campus that show the "escape route"
(we do not have one of these in our building) and have the police department's full
telephone number. Better safe than sorry.
Response to Web Submission #3 (Hostile Intruder Safety Drills): Pending
Web Submission #4: (Busch Gardens Day)
Action: Sent to HR/Carl Sorensen
Every year the University closes down at 12 Noon for Busch Gardens Day
(or Kings Dominion Day). Would UR consider just giving employees the entire day off
to enjoy the amusement park? If we did this and had the buses leave the University at
8:30, then they would arrive in Williamsburg at approximately the same time that the
park opens. Also, it would allow for everyone to enjoy the cooler temperatures in the
morning hours at the park. We could then also have the picnics scheduled actually at
lunch time rather than in the late afternoon. With temperatures reaching into the high
90's and 100 degree range during August, maybe this is something that we should really
consider especially since most employees are bringing their children.
This topic received much discussion in the USAC meeting. Conclusion: Topic will be
submitted to HR Vice President, Carl Sorensen, for further review and response.
Reponse to Web Submission #4: (Busch Gardens Day)
Once we are fully staffed, I will look at all the programs supported by HR. I think any
one benefit, particularly one as costly as this one, should be considered in light of all the
benefits employees receive. It's too early in my tenure to say that another day off makes
sense for all involved.
Web Submission #5: (Hybrid Only Parking Spaces)
Action: Sent to Natalia Green, Director of Parking Services
It seems the new 'Hybrid Only' parking signs have appeared in the
Visitor/Staff/Faculty lots are causing a flurry of very negative comments. It did not
bother me when I first saw it (after zipping in and then out of that coveted spot) the other
morning, but after listening to complaints about it throughout the week, and speaking to
my husband about it, I concluded it's not a very fair practice. It seems that people who
really deserve such a spot would be those who carpool and for those who do not, perhaps
that would be an incentive to do so. People don't necessarily buy hybrid cars because of
the environment; they buy them because of the savings in gas money (which just happens
to help our air quality). People aren't going to rush out and buy a hybrid for a parking
place, and not everyone can afford, or want to buy anyway. Will we start penalizing
drivers of large SUVs by having them park farther away in a lot? I do not drive one by
the way, my aging Toyota fares well in the mileage department and I don't plan on
switching cars any time soon. How about special places for "Employee of the Year"
recipients, as another suggestion? Just my two cents worth; thanks for listening. Topic was discussed at 9/12/06 USAC meeting and we were advised by several Council
members that the “Hybrid Only” spaces are a direct result of Weinstein being a
“Green” building—meaning this is an environmental-friendly building, making
hybrid parking spaces are part of the total package.
Question concerning “Employee of the Year” designated spaces will be forwarded to
On the question concerning the hybrid spaces we feel we have a sufficient answer. We
were advised in the Council meeting these spaces are part of the total package of the
Weinstein Building being a “green” building. If there is another answer to this, please
include it. Response to Web Submission #5: (Hybrid Only Parking Spaces)
I think that statement answered the question. Also there is information found on the
Parking Services’ web site concerning Hybrid and Carpool spaces. The university must
maintain carpool and hybrid spaces for the Weinstein Building to be a “green building.”
It’s only fair to offer the same to all university members. Carpool and hybrid spaces are
added to the parking lot where the person normally parks.
Web Submission #6: (Human Capital)
Action: Sent to HR/Carl Sorensen
Please pass along to Human Resources that some of us (I suspect many staff
members) find it offensive to be referred to as "human capital." The VP of HR has used
this term in his last two Spiderbytes. I do realize this is current HR lingo. I, personally,
do not want to be reduced to a commodity.
Response to Web Submission #6 (Human Capital):
I take no offense to questions like these. People should feel free to ask me directly. We used "human capital" to maintain consistency with the Mercer Report. It's on page four of this document, http://hr.richmond.edu/benefits/totalrewardsphilosophy.pdf While I agree that the phrase is a bit "jargony", I interpret it, and use it, to convey something extremely important to the university. When I think of commodity, I think of soybeans or oil or text books. Something disposable. The term "capital" connects us to something much more permanent and structural like buildings or roads or football fields. The University of Richmond is committed to recruiting and retaining (investing in) the employees who make this place great. My job is to implement this commitment, ensuring that we are not commoditized - as employees have been in so many other industries.
Unfinished Business and Updates:
By-Laws Update: Scott Tilghman
As suggested at the August 15th meeting, Terri, Scott, and Val met with Herb Peterson to
discuss the adoption of the USAC by-laws and ask for an amendment to the University of
Richmond by-laws to include staff representation on University committees. Scott
Tilghman presented the following recommendation for consideration by the
Whereas the University of Richmond has adapted a policy of inclusive diversity to better
enhance the Richmond experience. The policy is spread equally across campus and has
been embraced by all three constituencies on campus--students, faculty, and staff.
Furthermore, in all current by-laws (copies available:
http://president.richmond.edu/board/trustee/handbook.pdf) there are multiple references
to the governance of committees with representation by Trustees, Executives, Faculty and
Let it be further noted that all three constituencies on campus have elected bodies:
Faculty Council, Student Government and USAC.
As a reminder recent events involving actions by the Trustees in governing the University
of Richmond required the involvement of and input from Faculty and Students.
The members of USAC requests that the by-laws of USAC be adopted to govern our
actions and guide us in supporting the mission and goals of the University of Richmond.
Be it further resolved that the by-laws of the University of Richmond be amended to
reflect necessary changes to included members of the staff on committees where faculty
and students are selected.
Herb Peterson agreed to take the above proposal to the administration for
Chair, Terri Weaver suggested that the USAC by-laws committee, Bettie Clarke, Scott
Tilghman and Dolores MacNeilly, meet to discuss strategies for updating and adopting
the USAC by-laws. An update will be given by the committee at the October meeting.
Tuition Remission Summary and Update – Gail Zwirner:
Gail Zwirner presented the proposed changes to the Staff Tuition Remission Benefits.
After much discussion, the University Staff Advisory Council voted in favor to present
the following Staff Tuition Remission Proposal to the administration for consideration
Proposal: Staff Tuition Remission Benefits
Web submissions and Staff Satisfaction Survey comments this year requesting USAC to
reevaluate the tuition remission program at the University for Staff, prompted USAC to
form a subcommittee to review the policy and make a proposal to USAC for changes.
The current policy
allows employees the following:
• 1 course per semester; 2 courses after one year of employment
• Approval contingent on available space
• Approval contingent on available space
Because of the contingency on available space and need for supervisor approval for credit
courses, we see no reason to limit the courses to 2 (credit) or 5 (non-credit). The
University’s unique programs such as the “Weekend College” currently are unavailable
to Staff because of the restrictions. Therefore, we propose the following changes:
• Supervisor approval • 1 course per semester; 4 courses or 2 six credit courses after one year of
employment (to accommodate any unique program requirements, such as the “Weekend College”)
• Approval contingent on available space
• Unlimited courses per year • No waiting period
• Approval contingent on available space
In support of this request, it is recognized that many area employers do not place caps on
the number of classes allowed per semester, nor do they limit the institution of choice.
Respectfully submitted to the administration on September 18, 2006,
Selling Vacation Time to 403B Plan Summary and Update – Gail Zwirner:
Gail performed an informal survey of ten local institutions to inquire whether an
employee is permitted to sell back vacation time as a contribution to a 401K plan. The
proposal would allow employees to sell back up to five days of vacation leave to be
directed specifically for TIAA-CREF contributions. No other sell-back plan is proposed.
After much discussion, this agenda item was tabled for further discussion and research.
Comments/Updates from Carl Sorensen, AVP, Human Resources:
Carl reported that the slotting process is now in triple digits. Entire departments have been completed. Laura Dietrick and Marc Melberg, our temporary compensation person, met with several departments for clarification.
The search for the Director of Organizational Learning and Development is progressing and the search committee met on September 7, 2006, to decide who to invite to the University for interviews.
Chair Comments and Announcements - Terri Weaver:
Staff Representation – Planning and Priorities Committee
– In researching the various University committees, the Chair noticed that staff was not represented on the University Planning and Priorities Committee. The Planning and Priorities Committee assists in shaping institutional priorities; establishes the direction of resource allocation; reviews university priorities and updates progress on the strategic plan on a regular basis and makes recommendations to the President regarding the budget annually. It was further noted that faculty and students currently have representation on this committee. The Council made a decision to pursue obtaining staff representation on the Planning and Priorities Committee and nominated the following representatives for consideration by the administration: Carl Sorensen, Terri Weaver, Scott Tilghman, Gail Zwirner, Barbara Melton, and Kerri Chapman. After a discussion, the Council asked the Chair to send a letter to the Provost, Dr. Cooper and Herb Peterson for representation consideration. The Chair submitted the following letter for consideration:
“The University Staff Advisory Council respectfully requests staff representation on the University Planning & Priorities Committee. We feel that the inclusion of elected staff members on the University Planning and Priority Committee is essential to ensure equitable representation for the 1,100 staff employees who contribute to the success and operation of our institution. Furthermore, we feel that the talent and diversity represented within our staff community would prove to be an asset to your Committee as it considers strategic plans, resource allocations, institutional priorities, and budget recommendations. The Council elected the following six staff members for staff representation on the University Planning & Priorities Committee: Carl Sorensen, Terri Weaver, Scott Tilghman, Gail Zwirner, Barbara Melton, and Kerri Chapman. This request is consistent with your current committee faculty and student representation, which includes seven faculty members and two students. We are requesting that each staff representative be allowed to serve a two-year term, and if our request is honored, we would hope to be included in your next Committee meeting. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to hearing from you. Terri T. Weaver USAC Chair
Response to USAC Chair from the President
: Terri, thanks for your request. Because
your proposal represents a significant change to a committee whose work has already
begun this year, my inclination is to pass your proposal to my successor for
consideration, along with more general considerations about the future of this committee.
An additional concern is that the next president deserves an opportunity to look at this
committee afresh in its entirety, from its mission to its composition, and I am reluctant to
take actions that decrease the next administration’s flexibility in so doing. Many thanks
to you and your colleagues for this proposal. Best regards, Bill.
Response to President from USAC Chair
Thank you for your response and consideration. My concern is that a significant amount of time will lapse if we wait for your successor to consider our request for staff representation on the Planning and Priorities Committee. It is important that the staff community be included in the University strategic planning process; therefore, we respectfully ask that you reconsider our request to attend the next scheduled meeting.
Response to USAC Chair from the President
Terri, I appreciate your concern. However, an additional concern is that the next president deserves an opportunity to look at this committee afresh in its entirety, from its mission to its composition, and I am reluctant to take actions that decrease the next administration’s flexibility in so doing.
Final response to President from USAC Chair
Although we are disappointed in the delay in the decision to include staff representation on the Planning and Priorities Committee, USAC will include this request in our September minutes for documentation and follow-up action with the new President.
USAC Brochure Update
The Chair stated that the USAC brochure was at the Print
Shop and would be ready in two weeks.
: The Chair announced that Glyn Hughes, Director of Common
Ground, was interested in attending a meeting and speaking to USAC. The Council was
very receptive to have Glyn as a guest speaker.
: UR in the Know – September 13th and Reception for Associate Vice
President, Carl Sorensen – September 18th
- The Chair encouraged everyone to attend the
“UR in the Know” program. USAC was asked to sponsor a table at the “staff fair”
before and after the “UR in the Know” sessions. Denise Johnston, Dianne St. John, and
Terri Weaver volunteered to help represent USAC at this event. Everyone was reminded
of Carl Sorensen’s reception on Monday, September 18, 2006 in the Jepson Faculty
Annual Holiday Letter to Staff
: The Chair asked for a volunteer to draft the annual
USAC Holiday letter sent to all staff members each year. Gail Zwirner volunteered to
draft the USAC Holiday letter for signing at the November, 2006 meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 2:50 pm. The next USAC meeting will be held October 10, 2006.
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