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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: November 3, 2003
Volume 39, Number 8

Staff Council tackles list of issues from rights to rewards

Compensation and benefits, rewards, parking, university environs and employee rights were discussed at the October Staff Council meeting.

In session at the October meeting in Hokona Hall are, from left, Staff Council assistant Karin Retskin, Speaker Carol Hudson, President Alan Morgan and President-elect Steve Borbas. Photo by Laurie Mellas Ramirez.

Counselor Angela Ramirez, grade 10 representative, presented a report on behalf of the compensation committee. Among the issues the group continues to explore is rising health insurance costs. Health care costs are expected to double in the next five years, according to UNM and national estimates.

“The more retirees that go into the system, the more expensive it will get,” said Susan Carkeek, Human Resources director, adding that the amount UNM can contribute as an employer is state mandated.

The committee reviewed as one option a “cafeteria plan,” which allows employees to select from a pool of benefits. It was not viable for UNM, Ramirez said.

Counselor Theresa Everling, grade 8, presented the rewards and recognition committee report. More than 3,400 tickets were sold for the UNM Staff Picnic, down slightly from last year. The picnic has been held at the Rio Grande Zoo for the past few years. A new venue is up for discussion and a questionnaire seeking input will be sent to all staff.

Everling announced that three outstanding UNM staff members will be honored with the Gerald May Staff Recognition Award Wednesday, Dec. 3, at University House from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The award carries a $500 prize, up from $250 last year. The committee will submit an endowed fund proposal to the President’s Office. If additional money is channeled into the program, the committee will also propose the award amount match its north campus counterpart, the Health Sciences Center’s Dean’s Award, now at $2,500.

During the summer, council representatives surveyed constituent groups to identify issues the council could address. Roughly 168 issues came forth. Themes were later identified and new and existing committees have been assigned several issues to tackle. The rewards committee will look at benefits, including creating a staff development day as well as the possibility of increasing the tuition remission benefit from the current eight to nine hours per semester.

Other themes to be addressed by the council are career development, employee evaluations, parking and management.

A new university environs committee seeks members, reported Counselor Joe McKinney, precinct 14. The committee will write a charter and then focus on issues such as safety for women on campus, campus appearance, workplace conditions and recycling.

Counselor Tom Rolland, precinct 2, reported for the employee rights and policy review committee. Members revisited the need for an ombudsman. In 2001, the council passed a resolution in support of an ombudsman and presented it to then UNM President William Gordon. No action was taken, Rolland said. The committee is also reviewing UNM’s whistleblower policy.

The council passed two resolutions at the meeting – one drafted by the compensation committee dealing with salaries and a second, joint resolution, in support of a “Future of UNM” forum held in late October.

As the meeting concluded, Speaker Carol Hudson announced her resignation. She is on lay-off status from University Physician Associates.

The Staff Council has numerous openings for both grade, precinct representatives.

For copies of the resolutions or information on joining the council, contact Karin Retskin, 277-1532.