Meeting Minutes: February 13, 2013
Location: 413 Academy Street, Room 261
SSAC Members Present
Marge Hadden (District 1)
Kathy Murphy (District 2)
Staci Truitt (District 3)
Laura Gleason (District 4)
Derrick Allen (District 5)
Susan Zarebicki (District 6)
Ladonna Miller (District 8)
Cathy Corsi (District 10)
Lisa Varnes (District 11)
Carol Brower (District 12)
Lisa Collins (District 13)
Kimberly Doucette (District 9), who has accepted a position in another district. District 7 is also vacant.
Tom LaPenta (Interim Associate Vice President, Human Resources); Jennifer Brown (Labor Relations), Hannah Messner (Benefits).
Tom welcomed everyone to the meeting, and said he invited Hanna Messner to attend the meeting.
December 2012 minutes were approved, after correcting for Tara Henderson and Susan Zarebicki being present.
Tom LaPenta asked for another member for the Parking Appeals Committee, per a request from Brenda Ball in Parking. Kathy Murphy has volunteered to be on the committee as the second SSAC member, along with Cathy Corsi who is presently serving.
Richard Rind had offered to check with Facilities about the lighting issue in the Wyoming lot regarding some lights being dim. Cathy Corsi offered to check with Richard and the result will be added to the minutes before being posted.
We have a new provost, which is the big news. Provost Domenico Grasso will start on August 15. Nancy Brickhouse will remain in her current role as acting provost until that date, at which point she will return to her deputy #2 provost position.
JJ Davis went to George Mason; Jerry Cutler went to a position in the Department of Justice for the State of Maryland.
People in HR are filling in as necessary. We are currently recruiting for a vice president for finance. There will also be an associate vice president for human resources. It will take about five months to fill the positions, or to find a final candidate. More and more universities are using search firms to find final applicants. Search committees will be set up for each position, at least 8-10 people on each.
Marge asked what will happen to the classification and compensation stuff now that Jerry is gone. We are still getting questions about when will the actual descriptions be up online. Tom stated everything is still in the pipeline, and everything is moving forward.
Derrick asked about the appraisal process. When he was in school and you took standardized tests and you filled out the bubble, it would give you a percentage score (top 20% or bottom 20%), but the idea was it gave you context to improve. He feels asking people to improve without telling them how to do better isn’t fair. Is there anything that stops or limits your department head from saying “You’re in the top 20% of our department” or whatever? Tom said there’s no rule, and it’s done for faculty in a certain way. It can get very complicated. We are not telling them to do that, so we’re not giving guidance on that. But there’s nothing wrong with a manager saying something like that. They can provide means and medians, nothing to stop them from saying that. It is quite fine for an employee to ask “How did I do in regards to the overall group performance?” Also, if an employee feels their raise doesn’t match when they feel their performance is, it’s okay to go ask your supervisor about that too. Hannah added that it is hard to gauge scoring overall because it can be subjective across individual departments. She said she wasn’t sure if Payroll had those reporting methods available. Also, she heard that there is discussion about doing a quarterly appraisal process. Tom added that this pool will be a lean year, and the number that is being looked at is very low. It was also discussed that the staff benefits from the faculty negotiations regarding raises.
Discussion ensued about statements made to employees by supervisors that UD is not in favor of handing out many 4s and 5s on performance evaluations. The feeling is if that’s their position, why put it on the form? Tom stated that in some instances over the years, some areas award all 5s to everyone on their staff. The problem with that is, if you all get 5s, there’s no differentiation and that’s unfortunate. HR is trying to stop that practice from occurring. There are some 4s and 5s on campus, and it is department or manager specific. We want people to be realistic and not just hand out a bunch of 5s to everyone—in reality, those people are not really looking at what you are doing over the year when that happens.
Lisa asked about the health care pool and benefits changes, but Tom and Hannah stated that those benefits come from the State and what we get will depend on what the State does. Hannah said that there may be some tweaking of copays and things like that, but as of now it’s not clear what will happen.
Hannah announced that the Benefits Fair will be on May 14 this year, and open enrollment will begin May 13.
Susan Zarebicki said when there are closings for weather, can we use UD Alert? A lot of people in her department live out in the country and it’s nice for when it snows. She said by the time the announcements are made her people are already on the road. Tom stated that it would not be possible. Inclement weather announces are made on local radio stations, noted on the UD home page, and you can call 302-831-2000. We can ask Marsha Nichol if there is anything else that can be done.
Susan also asked what will happen with the Pearson Parking lot when the new ICE lab opens. Cathy Corsi said she will take that up at the next parking meeting in May.
Tom stated it would be nice to get a tour of the ICE building for everyone.
Tom also stated that the next meeting should be at the [Big]Bob, he will contact Samantha to see if we can get the big conference room for our next meeting.
Susan talked about some RBB financial training for one of her employees who is still interested in training. Hannah said that Ellen Lepine is currently teaching those courses and there will be new offerings posted (if not already posted).
Kathy asked about FMLA rules. Someone who recently had a baby wanted to stay out beyond the FMLA. It was stated that it was not a faculty member. Tom said that generally, we’re not going to fire you; the employee wanted to extend her leave about five months. Hannah stated that the law allows for twelve weeks; but if you want it extended it has to be approved by the Associate VP for HR and then the Benefits Office would be involved. Hannah said she’d talk with Kathy later about this.
Staci asked about when job descriptions were going to be out because of upcoming appraisals. She wants to know specific descriptions about particular titles. Hannah stated that there are two things to identify which are job descriptions (which is what you do every day) and then you had job specifications (which is the state model which is by category). The idea was that HR wanted to offer some sort of general specification for each category, and that there would be overarching duties. HR wanted to identify some common themes among those positions. The idea was to develop both of those so it makes it easier in terms of reclassification requests. The problem was there were so many reclassification requests coming in when every little job detail changed; but when you have a job specification, it’s usually something more general this gives us a little more leeway and we’re not constantly having to revisit a job classification and changing it just because you’ve had one duty taken away or one added. At this point they’re working on the job classifications but she doesn’t know exactly where it is with HR staff changes. There shouldn’t be a negative impact, if anything it gives a better idea of what it is that people do.
Hannah said there were talks of moving certain classifications into working titles, but she doesn’t know where that is now.
Tom stated that they will add to the minutes where all this is, and at the next meeting we’ll try to take a more comprehensive look at all of this.
Staci stated that there were some employees that are fitness instructions and full-time employees, but they have to leave the parking lot to teach; unfortunately, often when they return they circle Lot 13 and can’t get a spot again. Parking will not be getting any easier, and if it’s a close location it is recommended that you walk instead of drive to your meetings or whatever.
Laura asked what was happening at the Blue and Gold Club. Tom said he heard that the international staff is going to the Blue and Gold Club building.
Laura asked for an updated list of the names for her district. Tom stated that Richard Wisk will be able to provide the lists, and we can get them pretty easily.
Laura noted that the website needed to be updated to reflect the changes that the group has gone through. Tom agreed and said HR is presently looking at things to bring them up to where they need to be now.
Minutes availability will be announced to all SSAC representatives by the HR office prior to the next NSAC meeting. Marge said she would try to meet an earlier upload so that minutes could be circulated and reviewed. As of this date, Marge was unable to provide the minutes any earlier. Sorry! )-:
Marge stated that when the recent shooting in Wilmington occurred, the UD Downtown Center went into lockdown mode because Del Tech said they had students in the area and told them to lock it down. It made her think “What disaster plans does the University have in place to protect the outlying offices who are facing a potentially bad situation?” Tom said we’ll bring in Marsha Nichol from crisis management to fill us in, she has a global plan in place.
Carol asked about a reclassification of a farm assistant whose title changed to a lower level, and was offended because of the downgrade after 15 years in the position and after assuming additional duties. Tom directed Carol to have the employee send an email to him, and HR will deal with him directly.
Tom stated we will shoot for the new addition at the [Big] Bob and meet there; he will contact Samantha and ask for a tour.
Meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.