Operating Staff Council Meeting – June 1, 2004
Members in attendance: Stephanie Higgs, Jennifer Dube, Shirley Norton, Patrice MacNevin, Toni Searles, Jim Layne, Gerri Sanders
Guests: Sharon Demers-HR, Gaynelle Pratt-USNH HR
Next regular meeting: Tuesday, July 13th, 8:30-10am, Board of Trustees Room, T-Hall
Overview of President’s Staff Meeting (Stephanie Higgs):
Stephanie shared some of the key information shared at May’s staff meeting, including the survey results from some questions UNH had included in this year’s Granite State Poll. According to the Poll, most of those surveyed had a strong belief that UNH provides a “very good” or “good” education. Of those who professed a lack of awareness about UNH, they stated that they had heard about UNH sports and the disturbances here. Of those who heard of the disturbances, most stated that they believed UNH had taken appropriate action. There was a general lack of awareness of specific programs of recognized excellence and of State of NH funding to UNH. There was discussion about communication improvement opportunities.
Another topic covered was an update on UNH’s financial situation. UNH expects to see a $1m loss in FY04 and is anticipated a $2m loss in FY05. Some of this is the result of lower-than-anticipated admissions acceptances (though admissions overall continue to rise over the years), the increasing financial aid needs of students (accounting for $500-700,000 of the anticipated shortfall) and increasing oil prices (budget called for oil at $34/barrel and current cost is $44/barrel). Many things are being done to achieve savings including units cutting operational costs (travel, phone, etc), units not investing in technological improvements, and in some cases, cutting staff. Other possible measures may be to cut back on some of the services like lawn mowing and building cleaning, lowering building heat in the winter and raising it (in A/C buildings) in the summer. In the academic arena, increases in class size are a possibility as well as allocating more teaching time for tenured staff (and reducing research and admin time) to make up for losses of adjunct faculty positions.
Overview of Salary Survey Process (Gaynelle Pratt):
Gaynelle reviewed the process by which job salaries are compared to the market. This is done on a regular basis to ensure our employee salaries are competitive with like jobs in other organizations. Gaynelle explained that depending on the job evaluated, the survey comparitors can be in the local area or national. She stated that we get competitive salary data from many sources, including other colleges and universities, professional associations, publications and periodicals, and local and national surveys. Range midpoint and average salary are both examined to determine whether or not our salaries are deficient relative to the market. Currently, overall OS average salaries are ~2.75% and overall PAT average salaries are ~4.4% deficient to the market. According to Gaynelle and Sharon Demers, deficiencies in this range do not warrant much, if any, action. When jobs show deficiencies of 6-8%+, more analysis is done and potential range movement actions are taken for those jobs.
Outcome of Cost Containment
Proposal Votes at SPPC (Stephanie Higgs):
At the OS and PAT SPPC meetings in May, the cost containment measures previously reviewed and voted on by the various campus Councils were voted on. In the PCP/Specialist Co-Pay arena, the SPPC voted to recommend an increase to $20 (from $10) for Specialist visits only (no increase to PCP co-pays). They voted against recommending any increase to the emergency room co-pays. They voted to increase prescription co-pays from $5/$15/$35 to $7/$18 (or $15)/$35. Regarding hospitalization co-pays (currently $0 for both inpatient and outpatient), they voted for a $200 inpatient and a $50 outpatient co-pay. These measures, in combination with the $125,000 anticipated savings from changes to retirement contributions while on LTD, should yield the ~$1m needed. The SPPC recommendations have gone to the Board of Trustees for consideration at their June meeting.
The Family Friendly and cost containment proposals remain on our website. Please email or contact your representative if you have questions, concerns or input.
Employee Suggestion Plan Update (Stephanie Higgs): Stephanie reported that she and the other Council Chairs were asked to a meeting with Gregg Sanborn (President’s Office), John Griffith (Financial Planning/Budget) and Sharon Demers (HR). At this meeting, they were asked to talk more about their thoughts for an employee suggestion plan and a total quality management/ continuous process improvement initiative. The group decided to move forward with a joint Council-initiated proposal for a suggestion plan and will be meeting in June.
HR (Sharon Demers): revised regulations from the Dept of Labor related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the regulation which drives the classification of exempt and non-exempt jobs) have been received by HR for August implementation. The DOL is recommending to all employers that they review all jobs for proper classification.