Submitted by Marti Hobbes, co-secretary;
APPROVED September 8, 2004
Present: Adrianne Andrews, Joseph Bialek, Karen Hebert, Chris Carr Hill, Janice Cole, Marti Hobbes, Patty Kimura, Linda LaFlam, Karen LeHouiller, Merrilyn Lewis, Laura Matta, Steve Monteiro, Sam Rush. William Sheehan, Xinh Spangler, Mike Washut
Excused: Kim Allen, Adrian Beaulieu, Suzanne Beaumier, Nancy Brady, Terrilyn Calloway Kate Kilpatrick, Jinny Mason, Linda Rainville (for summer). Patricia Rist, Tara Zidonik
Guest: Sandy Bycenski
Minutes were approved.
Movie Night was a success. Essex bus trip was cancelled. Upcoming events include Botanic Garden tour, participation with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Roger Williams Zoo/Pumpkin Festival trip, co-sponsorship of Lunafest Women’s Film Festival and will host a reception and have tickets available to staff for $5.
Forum will NOT feature the “fish movie,” but will feature remarks by President Christ (CTC), Lianne Sullivan-Crowley and Rick Myers on topics like Christ’s view of the future, a status report on the internal mobility program; and new ways for the college to draw from the endowment so as to cushion the effects of a volatile stock market.
Someone also suggested that CTC et al address what went well with the communication surrounding the budget balancing process and implementation and also what could have been done better.
Patty Kimura asked for some clarification on this suggestion.
Merrilyn Lewis said that the question is asking about the “process” aspect of communicating and implementing the changes involved in balancing the budget, not so much questioning the decisions the administration made. For example, the initial meeting for outsourcing happened too soon to be productive and so it was cancelled; then the rescheduled meeting was cancelled.
The Staff Community Forum is scheduled for Wednesday, September 22, from 2 to 3 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall.
Some ideas for the forum were presented, including playing a Charlie Chaplin movie in the background as people come into the hall, and having some staff present an Abbott and Costello skit about work.
Merrilyn Lewis plans to give introductory remarks.
Sandy Bycenski had e-mailed PPC members requesting their comments and reactions to how the layoffs went. Following are some of the responses:
"Smith did what it had to to balance the budget."
"President Christ should have been more visible after the layoffs."
"President Christ met with faculty about staff layoffs because it affected their administrative support. However, it was too late to weigh in on the shape the layoffs took."
"Some felt staff got the heartfelt support from faculty."
"Some of those who were laid off felt the notification could have been done in a timelier fashion -- suggested need for better manager training."
Discussion ensued on this last point. Someone asked what HR’s exact process was for notifying staff of their impending layoff. Patty Kimura said that most of the notifications took place in a confined (three-day) period. The very few that took place outside of that timeframe were not because of poor training of managers—some notification dates were affected by ffederal regulations.
"Someone remarked that COBRA insurance is expensive."
"Another commented that the Career Service Assistance Company that was out-sourced, made some staff feel out of place in the seminar because it was geared more toward upper level positions."
"Human Resources reps not as responsive as they had hoped, but since then, they feel like it’s been improved."
Most comments were directly from those impacted.
PPC was asked by a staff member to look into the short-term disability process for hourly workers. It appears that some staff are reluctant to use the sick bank program.
Staff Council is still short one representative; however, there’s one good prospect and the committee should get a decision from this person by September.
Changed the date of Family Heritage Celebration to tentatively Oct. 25. Randolph Bromery is on the Cape until the 20th, but the committee hasn’t nailed down the day he will come to Smith.
Committee had hoped to meet with Dawn Mays-Floyd, but she was on vacation. They need to re-schedule the meeting with her.
In advance of each monthly Staff Council meeting, Nominations & Elections will send excerpts via e-mail to representatives for their review for subsequent discussion at the meeting.
Instead of assembling an ad hoc committee specifically for charter review, it was decided that Nominations & Elections will be in charge of following up on suggested changes or addressing specific issues in the charter review process.
Everyone agreed that “building community” should be a stated goal of Staff Council for 2004-05, and that this goal should inform our decisions about projects we work on, what events we choose to sponsor, etc. Merrilyn will indicate this in the piece she writes for the next Council Chronicle.
Merrilyn will be presenting remarks on behalf of staff at the Convocation ceremony on September 6. She will mention how appreciative we are of their commitment to house and dining staff and that staff in general are grateful for the support of students.
Cindy Button, fomer Staff Council representative, will be moving to Vermont. She sends her regards.
Public Safety Director Paul Ominsky said he’s working on parking issues and said that he’d be glad to speak to us at one of our meetings.