STAFF ASSEMBLY EXECUTIVE COUNCILMINUTES
January 31, 2002 12:00 â€“ 1:00p.m.
CrosbyLarge Conference Room
Members Present: BillKostelec, Krystal Burns, Neva Bishop, Anne Thomas, Janice Resch,Brett Hendricks, Keith Gauthier and Theresa Castillo
Members Absent: BarbaraKolbet, Molly Spilker and Kim Gieber
Guests: Carie Schwede,Laurie Hanlon and Nancy Masingale
The meeting was called to order by PresidentBill Kostelec at 12:07.
Community Services and United Way Representativescame to our meeting to see how they could work together. Some of the issuesdiscussed were:
· Incentives to donate to United Way
· Need more awareness of the campaign oncampus
Seeking middleground, donâ€™t want community to feel pressured
· Possibility of reps in each building â€“Community Service committee to help with this
· Can donate to any non-profit through the UnitedWay campaign
Community Services Committee is going tomove forward on the welcome card program.
Mike Casey replied to us regarding the listof morale boosting ideas â€“ His response is below.
Father Spitzer sends many thanks toyour Executive Council for submitting eight well-thought-outsuggestions for making Gonzaga a better place to work. FatherSpitzer has directed me to have the suggestions staffed by HumanResources, stating that many look do-able. Steve Doolittle will becontacting you for any detail he needs to staff this project. Hewill also make sure there is a clear understanding ofsalary/benefits data which may be inaccurately stated in your memo.We can probably have some action in a matter of weeks.
Bill Kostelec is contacting Steve Doolittleto find out what data is perceived as inaccurate.
Following is the list of ideas as submitted to FatherSpitzer, via Mike Casey.
TheExecutive Council of the Gonzaga University StaffAssembly
The following is alist of suggestions offered to the President of Gonzaga University,Rev. Robert Spitzer, S.J., on the subject of what might be done inboth the short and long terms to address the problem of staffmorale at the University. This list of suggestionswas compiled at the suggestion of Mike Casey, Corporate Counsel andour Liaison with Fr. Spitzer, and through a process ofbrainstorming and discussion at several Executive Councilmeetings. They arebased on two bodies of information at the disposal of the ExecutiveCouncil, A.) the staff survey of last year and the comments whichwere transcribed from small group meeting notes and B.) regularcontact and conversation with fellow staff members by members ofthe Council. We havemade it our task to keep our ears to the ground and one of theresults of that is the recognition that staff morale at theUniversity continues to be low, that there is a good bit ofdiscouragement and discontent, and a rather pervasive mistrust ofthe administration to have our best interests at heart. With that in mind we havecompiled these suggestions to aid the President in what we hopewill be a whole-hearted effort to improve the workplace environmentof this University to which we are all committed and which we alllove.
1:A commitment from the President that staff members are significantstakeholders in the University
There is a generalperception, fortified, for example by early â€œWhy Gonzagaâ€presentations, that staff are discounted and consideredinsignificant. They are often left feeling as if they areconsidered by the administration as temporary, faceless andexpendable. Theirattitudes towards their work are crucial in forming the characterof the University and the experiences of students and visitors,however, and feeling like we are part of the â€œteamâ€ is importantfor all of us.
2: Bettercommunication from the top down
The â€œrumor millâ€ is such apart of the University culture that we have heard Vice Presidentsrelying on it as the conduit for information. It is, however, notoriouslyunreliable and a breeding ground for misperceptions andmisunderstanding. This has led to a fairly rampant mistrust of theadministration on the part of the staff. While budget presentationsin recent years seem to attempt to address the problem ofinformation, the flurry of numbers has, according to the feedbackwe get, only increased the sense of mistrust, in accordance with the generalfeeling that â€œnumbers and statistics can be used to say anythingyou want.â€ Staff often feel that they are waiting for the â€œsecretmeetingsâ€ to get over with so they can find out what the next yearmeans for them and their family budgets. There is also an apparentproblem with â€œfilteringâ€ information through VPs and Deans andSupervisors. We wouldlike more accurate and timely communication from theadministration, so that there is no confusion orsuspicion.
3: Compensation andBenefits
We need a commitment fromthe administration regarding the ending of the erosion of employeebenefits. Duringbudget meetings put on by Chuck Murphy and Fr. Spitzer it wasstated that staff could expect a â€œmodestâ€ increase in pay. But that doesnâ€™t reallytell us anything. Whatis modest?
In 1996, the administrationinformed the staff that they would start sharing the cost ofmedical insurance with employees. Over the next three years,(1997-2000), employees would be asked to absorb the followingincreases in insuring employee dependents.
THE SHARED PREMIUM BREAKDOWN FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS IS ASFOLLOWS:
1996 - 0%; 1997 - 10%; 1998 - 30%; 1999-To Date50%
In 2000-01 the three tiered prescription plan was enacted to onceagain help keep premiums down and we were asked to absorb thisadditional cost. Nowin January 2002, we have been informed that MSC will be changingsome prescriptions from the 2nd tier plan to the3rd tier thereby raising the cost of additional prescriptions from $15.00 to$30.00. Five years ago when we were informed that we would be sharing thesecosts, the administration said it would raise the institutionalretirement contribution from 5% to 6.5% or 7% . The retirementcontribution did increase. This increase affected only the staffwho qualified for Gonzagaâ€™s retirement plan. Those who did notqualify did not receive any benefit. The Administration alsostated it would raise salaries at a rate higher than normal to makesure we were not receiving a net loss. However,
THE SALARY INCREASES FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS ARE ASFOLLOWS:
1997-98 - 0%, 1998-99 - 2%; 1999-2000- 1% ; 2000-01- 2%2001-02-2%.
If morale is to be improved, then the downward trend of staffsalaries needs to be addressed effectively.
4: Community: Working to re-establish the feeling of community
Not very long ago, withinthe last ten years, on this campus there was a general andwidespread attitude among employees of being in a working,contented, and proud community. Plant Services folks andcustodians were always going out of their way to keep officesrunning and happy, and there was an easy camaraderie of staff andfaculty. Staff people walked an extra mile to get the job doneright, and were happy to do so. Many factors havecontributed to a break down of the sense of community and family,and staff turnover has increased significantly. One way to try toregain that special part of the Gonzaga experience is to return tocommunity gatherings, like the Oktoberfest, where it is all fun andrecreation, and not a time to be lectured to, as the Charrettesbecame. We would liketo see the President sponsor one or two events that would geteverybody together for some relaxed, fun time.
5: Mandatorysupervisor training
A lot of the complaints weget from staff seem to be related to clumsy and ineptsupervision. One badsupervisor can spoil a whole department and there are ways ofresolving such things. We think a program of professional trainingfor supervisors would eliminate a good deal of discontentment. Somedepartments on campus already have staff do supervisor evaluationsand this works really well in keeping everyone involved in settingthe tone of the department and feeling as if they are stakeholdersthere.
6: StaffRecognition Day
Harry Sladich did this asActing-President in 1996-97. This day would be inaddition to any vacation or personal days, specifically inappreciation for the extra duties and responsibilities the staffhas taken on to deal with the added enrollment.
7: Monthly Lottery Drawing
We have in mind a verypublic recognition of one staff member a month, to be awarded aprize. All full andpart-time staff would be eligible. With a budget of $1200.00,for example, we could offer such prizes as a $100.00 giftcertificate to one of the local malls, a gift certificate to alocal restaurant, tickets to an event at the Arena or theSymphony. Eachmonthâ€™s winner would be removed from the pool. The prizes would besignificant enough that staff would be excited about thepossibility of winning, an important psychological boost. Our CommunityService/Outreach Committee would be available to administer thelottery and the gathering of the prizes, but we think as thePresident's Monthly Staff Prize, a great deal could be accomplishedin solidifying the relationship between the Presidentâ€™s office andthe University working community.
Something more than aservice pin for the major anniversaries might be appropriate.Perhaps there could be a banquet for all those employees who havebeen here for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years, with a framedcertificate. Facultyand staff service could be addressed together. At this point, loyalty andyears of service (longevity) are not rewarded nor indeed,encouraged. The manner in which the pay scale is handled, in fact,almost makes long years of service counter-productive. We have to find a way torecognize and honor long years of loyalty, and recognize one of thefundamentals of the American work place for most of the20th century, i.e., seniority and the value of thelong-time and experienced worker.
Although the aboverecommendations are not listed in an order of priority, we stronglybelieve that the first is fundamental to all the rest. Turning the corner on staffconcerns and attitudes ought to be done simultaneously with turningthe corner on our financial situation, but the former is neithercontingent on nor dependent on the latter. We firmly believe that allour suggestions are directly embedded in the mission statement of aJesuit University and offer them without hesitation and with strongconviction as to the validity of our overall goals. The StaffAssembly has a mandate to take up the concerns and the complaintsof the staff and we do so fully convinced that the health andwell-being of the University are integrally tied to our issues andconcerns.
Scheduling of future meetings
Next Meeting will be held on February 6,2002.
Future meetings will be held each Wednesday in CrosbyLarge Conference Room from 12:00 â€“ 1:00. Since this is the lunchhour, please feel free to bring your lunch. All SAEC members will benotified if there is a change to this recurring meeting.
By virtue of the bylaws, all StaffAssembly meetings are open unless otherwise designated by theExecutive Council. Everyone is welcome to attend.