Staff Senate
July 18, 1996

Absent: Kenneth Clark, Connie Diffee, Hazel Haywood, Scott McClain, and Vernon Spence

Excused: Bill Akey, Glenda Barton, Sam Brackstone, Barbara Charpie, Dianne Cooper, Lanelle Gay, Helen Johnson, Pat Melton, Marcia Taylor, Karen Thurmond, and Marty White

  1. Roll call was held and the meeting was called to order. Vice President Ginny Reed presided, as President Jim Lippy was also our invited speaker.
  2. The minutes for the June meeting were approved as written.
  3. Jim Lippy, director of the "Focus for Excellence Program" used in the Business and Finance Division, presented the program and some of its accomplishments. Some of the issues addressed in the program have helped outside their division (such as problems with the University's old inclement weather policy and exchanging Spring Holiday for Memorial Day next year). Mr. Lippy is optimistic about a similar program being implemented University-wide within the next couple of years.
  4. Committee reports:
  5. Finance Committee:
    Our budget for this year is still unclear. The amount budgeted would be insufficient to even hold elections this spring. The issue is being resolved with the President's office.
    Election Committee:
    Nominations for the three open positions were tallied, and the ballots are currently in the copy center. The Provost Division had 30% of the nomination forms returned, and the Student Affairs/Enrollment Services Division had 35%.
    Issues/Review Committee:
    Issues except for children of staff being admitted to the Campus School were deferred to Old Business. The Campus School was set up as a "drawing card" for pulling in faculty to the University. Children of faculty have priority, while staff members may petition a dean, Dr. Smith, or the Provost that their children be allowed to attend. All this must maintain a 60/40 racial balance set forth in a court order. A letter will be drafted to Dr. McPhee, VP of Academic Affairs, requesting that staff be included without requiring special dispensation.
    Ad-Hoc Bylaws Committee:
    No report.
    Ad-Hoc Election Procedures, Provost Division:
    No report.
  6. Old Business:
    • No more information has been obtained on the issue of salary caps. Jim Lippy is to meet next week with with Charlotte Knowles, Compensation Manager, to obtain clarification of how the system works, especially in regard to how it may penalize long-term good employees.
    • Raymond Pipkin responded in a 5-page memo to three of the issues raised at the last meeting.
      • The decision to offer the 401(k) plan was made by TBR. The General Assembly approved the matching of up to $20/month from January through June, 1996, although they did not appropriate the funds to do so within higher education. The University was forced to divert its own funds to provide the matching amount. After June, 1996, there was no mandate or funding for higher education for the matching contributions. Funding was provided for state employees not working for the UT or TBR systems. There will be no matching funds this year, though there is always a possibility that funds will be provided in future years. Without the matching funds, the 401(k) plan is very similar to the 403(b) Tax-Deferred Annuity which has been available to employees for many years.

      • In a separate memo to Jim Lippy from Mary Ann Camp about the 401(k) plan, she clarified that the funds may not be transferred to another plan unless you are age 59 1/2 or end employment. She also cautioned that, because of the 0.34% annual, minimum $3 per quarter fees on the funds, stopping contributions with a small account balance could diminish the account over time. It was recommended that anyone with a 401(k) plan be sent this information.

      • Check cashing will be discontinued at the Bursar's Office window tellers for employees on July 19, and students on August 9. [Since this June 27 memo, a memo dated July 12 was sent to all employees which changed the date for faculty, staff, and students to August 9.] The Bursar's Office salary budget was decreased $14,000 as the estimated cost of providing this service.
      • Direct deposit is required at the University's decision; it is not being mandated by TBR or the State of Tennessee. Acceptance of payment by direct deposit has been a condition of employment since July 1, 1992. To date, there has not been a issue of hiring or not based on acceptance of direct deposit. As of July 1, 1996, all employees are required to use direct deposit. No decision has been made about what might happen should an employee refuse to authorize direct deposit. Only about 100 employees are not currently using direct deposit. The University has never recommended or approved of one employee's payment being deposited in another employee's account.
  7. There was no new business.
  8. The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for August 15, 1996.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Harry Flowers.
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