Operating Staff Council Meeting – August 17, 2004



Members in attendance: Stephanie Higgs, Jennifer Dube, Patrice MacNevin, Jim Layne, Gerri Sanders


Guests: Sharon Demers-HR, Lonn Sattler- OS SPPC, Denise Hart- Campus Journal



Next regular meeting: Thursday, September 9th, 8:00-9:00am, Board of Trustees Room, T-Hall


Update on Usage of Compassionate Leave Program (Sharon Demers):

Four OS and one PAT staff have received leave under this new program. Donors to the program include six OS staff and one PAT.


Update on Family Friendly Leave Policy Proposal (Stephanie Higgs, Lonn Sattler):
OS, PAT and EE Council representatives have met during the summer to continue to fine-tune the Family Friendly Leave proposal that would make it easier for staff to take a period of time off for bereavement and other family-related concerns. The proposal uses existing benefits (sick pool/leave) in creative new ways. No changes were made to the draft proposal at the last meeting and this version was shared with the OSC for feedback/input. OSC reps need to review the draft and provide this feedback before the System Personal Policy Committees (SPPC) meet in the fall.


Employee Suggestion Plan Update (Stephanie Higgs, Jen Dube):

An update on the proposal for an Employee Suggestion Program was provided. OSC reps will need to provide feedback by their next meeting. The program would provide cash incentives for employee-initiated suggestions that enhance quality, efficiency, image and/or produce cost savings. OS representatives and Demers discussed how the plan might work based on a meeting that OS Chair Stephanie Higgs and District 11 representative Jennifer Dube had with John Griffith, assistant vice president for budget and planning, PAT Chair Phil Hammond, and Demers. Higgs remarked that the proposed program would be campus-wide. The group discussed how the suggestions might best be routed and how to involve supervisors in the process. Demers offered to host the suggestion form on the HR website. Gerry Sanders, District 4, noted that a joint letter of introduction by key administrators and the councils would be a positive opportunity to bring staff and the administration together.


Adopt-A-Spot (Patrice MacNevin):

Patrice presented information about Adopt-A-Spot, a beautification program that a constituent suggested might be used to focus on campus “back areas” that do not get the same attention as the main campus. The program would encourage employees to clean-up and maintain their chosen campus area. MacNevin offered to speak with Guy Eaton, director of Buildings and Grounds about the program and also see if the Thompson School might have a discount or donation program for providing plants.


Constituent Concerns/Questions:

The council discussed ways to improve communication with OS staff that included continuing to update the website, posting and circulating minutes of council meetings, and updating the council’s brochure. Jim Layne, District 15, offered to look into setting up a listserv for OS staff. Higgs stressed that it will still be important to continue to provide copies of announcements to staff without computer access.


Improving communications between facilities management and staff affected by that department’s reorganization was discussed. As Facilities gradually privatizes some positions to an outside company as staff retire or leave, there have been some communication challenges. All at the table agreed the situation is complex. The OS Council sees itself as a vehicle for improving communications and in this role has invited Allan Braun, assistant vice president of facilities, and Candace Corvey, vice president for finance and administration, to the September council meeting. They will provide an update about the reorganization and discussing the issues with the council.


The next council meeting is Thursday, Sept. 9 from 8-9am at the Board of Trustees conference room in Thompson Hall. For more information about the Council, please visit:  http://www.unh.edu/os-council/.