Salaried Staff Advisory Council
Minutes April 13, 2005
Please submit agenda items for the June 15, 2005 meeting to Julie Skeen by June 9, 2005.
The meeting was called to order at 2:32 p.m.
SSAC members present were:
Members Excused: Marlene Osborne (#10), Charlene Mylin (#15), Paige Seppanen (#17)
Others Present: Nancy Wallace, Julie Skeen
New members Kaci Madison-Beasley, Katherine Kuck, Maggie Brumit, Mark Ressler, Mary Ann Brown and alternate Sharon Webb were asked to introduce themselves and incumbent members reciprocated. Ms. Wallace extended a welcome.
MinutesThe February 16, 2005 minutes were approved as written.
Ms. Katz asked if the merit pool had been determined. Ms. Wallace replied that it had not. When asked when it might be known, Ms. Wallace said possibly within a week. She assured the group that Dr. Colm would immediately notify the appropriate administrators.
Ms. McCracken noted that, with SSAC meeting on alternate months, some upcoming events couldn’t be presented to the group in a timely manner.Ms. Hadden questioned the February minutes which noted that, on restricted parking times, “This issue is open to further discussion.” She wished to know if “discussion” referred to the Parking Committee or Public Safety. Ms. Focht replied that it referred to the Parking Committee. Ms. Hadden asked if the committee would provide a response to SSAC. Ms. Focht said she would follow up on the matter.
Ms. Kuck noted that increases in the cost of parking often equal the salary raises of some employees. She said this was “disheartening.”
A constituent of Ms. Hadden was concerned about whether treatment for a medical condition under current health coverage would amount to a disqualifying preexisting condition if the employee changed coverage. Ms. Wallace believed it would not but added that she will follow up with Louise Clothier, Human Resources.
Ms. Hadden said a One-Way sign had been installed to address the confusing lane configurations to and from the new UD Courtyard Hotel. She noted, however, that a stop sign is needed as drivers are turning onto the one-way road without first stopping, which is creating another traffic safety hazard. Ms. Wallace said she would pass this information on to Public Safety.
Mr. Elfers inquired whether toll-free Internet access might be afforded to employees who live in Chester County PA, much as it is to employees living in Elkton, MD. Ms. Webb also added that access would be welcomed by Lewes area employees who live in Salisbury, MD. Ms. Wallace will contact Susan Foster, Information Technologies, regarding feasibility.
Ms. McCracken’s constituent suggested increasing either the number of buses or the number of runs the buses make to and from blue lots and campus as a possible way to ameliorate the campus-parking crunch.
Ms. Madison-Beasley asked if there was any way to donate leave time to employees, similar to the state program. Ms. Wallace stated there was no such program. Ms. Kuck indicated her awareness of an employee in a situation for which such a plan would be a godsend. Ms. Wallace encouraged the employee to contact Chris Ulrich, Human Resources, to explore ways in which current UD benefits could be of assistance. She stressed that such contacts are held in strictest confidence. Ms. Hadden also suggested the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) as an excellent resource for helping employees and their supervisors work through difficult situations.
Mr. DeMauro asked if Senate Bill #14 (which would permit a service pension after 25 years of credited service, regardless of age, without actuarial reduction) would pertain to salaried staff or professional time or a combination of both. Ms. Wallace explained it would pertain only to creditable years while under the Delaware State Employees' Pension Plan which covers salaried and hourly (AFSCME) staff employees.
Ms. Poultney asked if retirees are eligible for free parking if they have never subscribed to paid campus parking. Ms. Wallace replied that they would be. Ms. McCracken asked if such permits were valid for downstate UD locations. Ms. Wallace replied that these locations offer free parking.
Ms. Hadden praised the Wellness Center for providing assistance for her spouse who is recovering from a cardiac event. When membership for private gym facilities was found to be too costly, Ms. Hadden contacted a Wellness Center trainer who planned an individualized program for him.
Ms. RoBison noted that it is difficult to utilize Wellness Dollars when programs are not publicized on an annual basis. Often programs in which she has more interest are publicized later in the year after all her Wellness Dollars have been spent.
Ms. Wallace then reminded the group that remaining Wellness Dollars could be used until June 30.
Ms. Poultney asked if Wellness Dollars stay with retirees. Ms. Wallace replied that they do.
Ms. Katz asked how much advance notice was appropriate for retirement preparation. Ms. Wallace said that three months would be a comfortable lead. She suggested that employees contemplating retirement should contact Chris Ulrich or Karen Smith, Human Resources, for individualized counseling.
Ms. Poultney indicated that some information on the Web regarding retiree benefits was misleading. Ms. Wallace will review the site for clarity.
Ms. Webb related the difficulty employees downstate encounter in locating a “full service” fitness facility that meets criteria for benefits. Ms. Wallace will explore the situation.
Ms. Poultney reported difficulty in obtaining a prescription refill when her medication was not included on the new Express Scripts formulary in January and no equivalents were noted. She asked if there was any way to make an appeal. Ms. Wallace indicated that UD could appeal on her behalf and asked that Ms. Poultney e-mail the details to her. Ms. Wallace stressed the importance of fully understanding the benefits provided.
Ms. Wallace announced that the annual open enrollment would start May 2 and continue to May 23. Information will be sent out as well as placed on the Web. She also noted that the annual Benefits Fair would be held in the Trabant University Center on May 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is an excellent opportunity to talk personally with representatives of our benefits providers.
Ms. Wallace announced that HR plans to formally review our Salaried Staff Classification System, much as it did several years ago. Hopes are to have the project completed by the end of the year. She asked if any SSAC member was interested in participating on a working committee and Ms. McCracken volunteered.
Ms. Poultney announced that she would be retiring at the end of May.
Parking Committee Report
Ms. Osborne kindly forwarded the minutes of the March 14 committee meeting. They can be found following these minutes.
The meeting adjourned at 3:37 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Thomas LaPenta Reviewed by Marge Hadden as authorized by SSAC.
TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Monday, March 14, 2005
In attendance: Charlene H. Benson, Dhiren Ponnanbalam (DUSC/RSA), Jim Crowe (Transportation), Shearee Moore (Transportation), Marilyn Prime (Student Centers), Charles Tarver (Student Centers), Jim Grimes (Public Safety).
Charlene opened by inviting everyone to introduce themselves. She also invited them to feel free to express any concerns or ideas they might have regarding University Transportation. A suggestion was made by DUSC/RSA rep to put the UD e-mail address on the buses. DUSC/RSA rep also suggested highlighting the web site on the bus schedules. Charlene stated that this could be considered.
She reemphasized feed back is vital to the Transportation Department. When we hear nothing we can only assume that everything is going well. A recent article in The Review expressing problems with the department was a case in point.
The DUSC/RSA rep asked about the Sunday bus service. He asked if daytime runs could be added between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. running north to south. At present the Express begins its run at 6:15 p.m. Charlene explained that her budget for 05-06 is already submitted but she can look into some changes for the 06-07 year. They will be looking at the routes. She reminded him of the Sunday shuttle between the Wilmington Train Station and Newark with a minimal cost of $5.00 per passenger. In November as many as 35 passengers used this service. Charles Tarver said that some students wait until early Monday morning to take train back to Newark. Shearee Moore commented that the Express bus goes to the train station early on Mondays. Charlene asked everyone if they would try to make sure the University population is aware that we offer this service. The numbers using this will help determine if it continues.
A question was asked regarding the opening of the George Reed House in the fall. Will we be adding more buses to service the students enrolled in the HRM? The George Reed House presently is expected to hold 500 beds. Charlene stated that there will be meetings regarding this opening, but thus far none have been held. She thought there would be a meeting next week. The street in front of the George Reed House is narrow so we don't know yet where we will be stopping. She told the DUSC/RSA rep that she would contact him regarding this concern.
Marilyn Prime asked how the new hotel will affect ridership. Jim Grimes said that students driving there now are realizing the difficulty of parking so they will probably be looking for transportation to the area. Charlene said we will have to check the counts. She also stated that people will probably choose to walk as the weather starts to improve.
DUSC/RSA rep asked if we could change the run times from every 8 minutes to every 10 minutes for Express bus run. Charlene explained that in years past when this was attempted, drivers who were ahead of schedule would pull over and wait. Students on the buses would become displeased that their time was being wasted waiting on the bus. She said he should encourage students to take the bus whether it says Express or Laird, etc. This would leave more room in the Express buses so that they wouldn't become so crowded. She also stated that there were complaints about the behavior of the students on the buses when this happens. Perhaps a Bus Boarding Etiquette 101 would be helpful. DUSC/RSA REP said that perhaps their organization could address this issue with the students. When it was suggested that there could be bus monitors, Charlene noted that the passengers were adults, not children. Jim Grimes asked if the schedule could read "Express Bus starts running from 7:30 a.m. and runs continuously (approximately every 8-10 minutes). This would leave us more flexibility. Charlene stated that that might be a good idea and would be considered for the new schedules.
DUSC/RSA rep asked what the policy was for skateboards or scooters on the buses. Charlene explained that this was a safety issue and should not be allowed. Jim Crowe stated that the bus drivers say "if you can fit it in your back pack you can bring it on". Everyone agreed that this makes sense.
Charles Tarver stated that five faculty members who come weekly from out of state asked if we would be advocates on their behalf with AMTRAK to try to get Newark as a "whistle stop". Rather than the train taking them all the way into Wilmington then having to come back on SEPTA to Newark. Charlene said she would do what she could, but doubted we would have much impact.
Marilyn Prime stated that there is a problem with students chartering buses from outside sources to go to concerts, etc. Since no department account is being charged, such charters are not sanctioned by the University. Problems have occurred when students have returned drunk and fights have broken out and the bus companies are looking to the University for restitution. The President wants the bus companies notified that unless this is done through ATO or Motor Pool, the University is not responsible for their actions. Shearee Moore stated that any charters for the University are done through Delaware Express. Charlene and Marilyn will work with Procurement to develop a letter for the local bus companies and do so with legal advice. All University sanctioned trips are arranged through Delaware Express.
Jim Grimes mentioned that the Early Learning Center staff claim there is no bus service to their building, and as a result many are being ticketed for parking illegally. Shearee Moore said that this was not the case and she gave him a copy of the schedule. She noted that Supporting Services sent two laminated large copies of the schedule together with 25 copies of the handout schedule to the ELC.The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 a.m.