Staff Senate

Staff Senate Meeting Minutes

December 19, 1996

Absent: Susan Babb, Charlie Black, Sam Brackstone, Kenneth Clark, Russell Hunt, Cornelius Stump

Excused: Hope Eubanks, Pat Green, Hazel Haywood, Helen Johnson, Flo O'Connor, Maurice Williams, Gloria Wyatt

  1. The meeting was called to order.
  2. President Rawlins addressed the Senate. The Senate was created to foster a sense of ownership, and he is pleased with our work this past year. He also brought up a couple of issues that are on people's minds:
    • The state budget currently has a $80 million shortfall, some of which is likely to come to us as an impoundment of our current budget funding. We currently have reserves of 1.5% ($1.9 million); if our cuts are less than this, and we're not required to replace the reserves, then it may have minimal impact for this year. However, budget cuts are also likely for next year. The University will be seeking a significant tuition increase for next year, intended to offset those cuts.

    • While the budget outlook for next year is bleak, there's a good chance that the situation will improve after that. The required K-12 funding will have been met, and the Governor has indicated to President Rawlins that some revenue increases will be targeted at higher education then.

      In the question and answer time after the President spoke, the question of higher education funding was raised. Much of the state's funding allocation for this year and next is court-ordered, leaving higher education as one of the few areas where cutbacks can legally be made. Our University also suffers from the way funds are allocated; the President indicated that if we were funded at the same rate as the University of Tennessee system, we'd be getting about $15 million more each year.

    • There are currently no plans for further outsourcing, though that should not be interpreted to mean that none will be considered in the future. President Rawlins has formed a task force on outsourcing and given them three charges:
      1. Recommend guidelines for employee protection. If an employee learns that they may be outsourced, they should know what that might mean in regards to continued employment, retirement benefits, etc.
      2. Recommend ways to ensure that whoever is being contracted to manage the outsourced area adheres to established University values.
      3. Recommend guidelines for what should be considered to even contemplate outsourcing. For example, if cost savings is the primary objective, should an outsourcing be considered if it will result in less than a 10% cost savings?
  3. Mary Ann Camp and Anne Carter of Human Resources presented a draft of the recommended new performance appraisal form. They requested feedback on which are the core factors and should be required for every employee. Once a rating system has been worked out and the new form approved, it will be presented to employees at their next review (Feb.-Apr.). The existing forms will be used for the actual review for 1997, but the importance ratings for factors on the new form will be established for use the next year, so that employees will always know in advance on what criteria they'll be evaluated.
  4. Roll was called.
  5. The minutes for the November meeting were approved as amended.
  6. Committee reports:
  7. Finance Committee:
    Our operating budget for this year has been approved. The base amount has been changed to reflect this, so that next year's Senate budget should be correct from the start.
    Election Committee:
    Nothing to report.
    Issues/Review Committee:
    The committee met with Jim Hellums of Physical Plant & Planning about the issue of keys not being returned. Further work will be done on this issue.
    Ad-Hoc Bylaws Committee:
    Nothing to report.
    Standing Committee Reports:
  8. Old Business: None.
  9. New Business:
    • Scott McClain has resigned from the Senate, as he's leaving the University to work elsewhere.
    • Senate President Lippy mentioned the outsourcing task force; he and Connie Diffee are the Staff Senate representatives on that committee.
    • The Staff Senate web pages have been updated. There is now a page listing all the senators and their term of office. The address is:
  10. The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for January 16, 1997. Merry Christmas!
Minutes respectfully submitted by Harry Flowers
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