Meeting of the
Statewide * Administration * Assembly
Wednesday, October 13, 1999
10 am - Noon
Sherman Carter Conference Room, Butrovich Building
1. Call to order and roll call
Leafy McBride called the meeting to order at 10:20 am.
Leafy McBride, President
David Rohwer, Vice President
Connie Kramer, Past President
Art Greenwalt, Secretary
Betty Dupee, Past President
Carla Castro, Alternate
Sharon Gramstad, Alternate
Pat Pitney, SW Office of Budget and Institutional Research
Julie Benson, SWOHR
Mike Humphrey, SWOHR
2. Adopt agenda
In addition to the previously scheduled guests, Julie Benson (SW Human Resources) joins SAA today to give an overview on job classification. Leafy McBride suggested that Julie be added to the agenda following Pat Pitney's presentation.
MOTION: Moved by Rohwer, seconded by Kramer, passed without objection
"The Statewide Administration Assembly hereby adopts the agenda for its October 13, 1999, meeting as amended. This action is effective October 13, 1999."
6. Briefing on the six new educational initiatives - Pat Pitney
Pat Pitney, Director of the Statewide Office of Budget and Institutional Research, gave an informative presentation on the new program initiatives that have been developed this year. These initiatives were developed by the university to increase the university's responsiveness to state needs, to build partnerships with future employers and insure greater job placement for UA graduates. Planning sessions were conducted with various agencies and industry to determine the areas of need. The areas that are have been selected are health care; teacher education; vocational education; logistics; data retrieval and analysis; and natural resources management and development.
In FY2000 $1.7 million or 1% of the general fund was reallocated that to provide a jump-start in these programs. These funds were not diverted from existing programs but resulted from RIP (Retirement Incentive Program) savings. There were also some matching funds from industry and the municipality of Anchorage.
This money was allocated separately from the general budget request. The campuses and departments put forth proposals stating how they would address specific problems. Each of these proposals had a budget and a measurable set of goals. There were thirty individual program responses. Proposals were selected based on merit.
Some of the proposals that were selected are: increased teacher education and logistics at UAA; applied technology for rocket launches in Kodiak; nursing and training in early education at UAF; distance education at UAS; and early childhood development systemwide. These programs are moving forward rapidly for example: the Tanana Valley Campus is hiring nursing faculty this year; students can be take basic courses now and by next year the faculty will be available to teach more advanced courses. Pat Pitney discussed some other details of the initiatives.
President Hamilton will seek financial support from the state in January to continue developing these programs. He plans to go to the legislature with the university's state agency and private industry partners in the audience lending supporting to our program initiatives.
The plan is to have quite a bit of momentum by the time we go to the legislature to fund these initiatives. Hayden Green, the dean of the UAA College of Business, recently wrote a wonderful editorial piece about logistics in the Anchorage Daily News. Jim Johnsen, the President's Chief of Staff, and Paul Reichard, UAF Provost, met with the Faculty Alliance yesterday. Individual programs are responsible for advertised the new degree programs to perspective students.
The administration is optimistic about funding. There is no intention to reallocate money from current programs to fund the new initiatives. The President feels that the university needs to grow the number of programs we offer, not going to trade off. We're building on what we have and going forward with additional, responsive initiatives.
Classification Primer Presentation 1999 - SWOHR
Julie Benson, SWOHR (Statewide Office of Human Resources), was giving an overview of job classification for Janet Jacobs who could not be here today.
She went over the basics of how systems work and the reason for using classification. In the workplace, a classification system allows training, staffing, career ladders, appraisal, compensation, data analysis, and so forth. There are several reasons that UA is considering going to a new classification system. Some concerns that have been heard about our current compensation methods include the lack of career ladders, equity concerns, and so forth. It is also difficult to evaluate our recruitment and retention and to prepare a training plan. Julie Benson used two job descriptions, from the state and the City of Seattle, to illustrate different aspects of other classification systems.
There are numerous steps to designing a classification system. UA will need to design a classification format, identify job families, choose a numbering system, transition to specifications based on requests and needs, and to post finished specifications and an index on the world wide web. The timeline for accomplishing this will be determined by the staff resources in SWOHR and elsewhere.
There are concerns about the new classification system and several questions were raised. Will employees possibly get a pay cut? Are we going to try and classify jobs with the JEFs that are currently in place? Who will make the comparisons between job specifications and JEFs? What happens when you pick seemingly similar positions and discover they have widely different ranges? Are there good reasons for those range assignments to be different? For instance the duties of Administrative Assistants can vary widely. Will our steps for longevity in the current system be maintained in the new one? Julie did not know the answer to many of these questions in large part because the new system is just being developed and most of these aspects have not been determined.
A comment was made that the process that Mike Humphrey engaged in for selecting a new health care provider was a good one. He involved a lot of people who were interested and made time for their participation. Perhaps the model of involvement that Mike Humphrey used could be applied to preparing the new classification process.
Janet Jacobs will be able to attend our meeting next month and she may have more insight. She was one of the architects that designed the state of Alaska's current classification system and will doubtless be a key participant in designing the university's new system.
7. Award for the UA 2000 Health Care Plan and update on our new EAP provider - Mike Humphrey
Mike Humphrey announced that Blue Cross, our current health care provider, was awarded the health care contract for the next five years. The university goes through the bid process every five years to insure that we retain the best service at a competitive price. The contract is reviewed and renewed annually but is only let out for bid every five years.
A series of communications is being sent to every employee at their home address informing them of different aspect within the new UA 2000 health plan. They are all on colored paper and each discusses one topic. Two have been sent so far. The yellow introduces the health plan and the blue one explains some of the changes.
There will be incentive to use network providers. Those providers that are not on the network in Alaska will be approached by Blue Cross and the university and asked to join the network.
There is a new $400 individual preventative benefit. Some of the current preventive care benefits will now be covered under the wellness provision. For example Pap Smears. This benefit is separate from the 80-20 medical situation. This benefit is limited to standard medical diagnostic procedures but you do not have to have an existing condition to request testing. That is to say you can have blood chemistry work or a bone density scan preformed even if you are not requiring that information for treatment. This could be used is to establish a baseline state (for instance is heart trouble runs in your family, you may want to have an ultrasound done on your heart), preventative diagnosis (such as mammograms) or health physical. The employee and each dependent receive $400 in wellness benefits each year except for children less than one year in age. These dependents are covered under the well baby provision which is more extensive.
The vision benefit has been modified. It is now a flat $100 benefit.
There will be a new vendor for medical reimbursement accounts. The auto-roll feature that NCAS had will disappear for a while, but the new vendor can now do direct payment to your bank account.
There was a question about claims processing. Blue Cross already exceeds industry standards on claims processing; 80-90% of claims are processed within 30 days and 75% within 14 days. In contrast, Aetna is now running 90 days behind on some of its Alaska claims processing.
Dentists are not network providers. The network has really helped contain the costs of the university's health care plan, so that costs have not increased as fast as they would have without a network. A list of network providers is maintained on the benefits web site. You can also call Blue Cross and ask them if a particular physician is a network provider. Employees can encourage their doctors to join the network.
There is a new provider for the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), effective on September 1, 1999. They are called Magellan Mental Health. They may be doing some brown bag lunches on topics such as good parenting and stress management techniques.
There was a discussion regarding the EAP and some examples of using it. The employees have not used the EAP service very much. They may not realize that the EAP offers more than alcohol and chemical dependency services. Perhaps we can increase people's awareness of this benefit by featuring it in a future newsletter.
3. Approve September 8, 1999, minutes
The approval of the minutes was delayed until the next meeting.
4. Recap of the Staff Alliance Meeting of September 15 & President's Retreat
Leafy McBride said that many of the issues that were discussed today were discussed at the last Staff Alliance Meeting. She will recap some of the President's comments from the retreat at a later meeting.
5. Report on System Governance Council Meeting of September 23 - David Rohwer
David Rohwer said that the System Governance Council considered the new information technology policy proposal at its last meeting, among other issues.
10. SAA planned staff activity (Halloween Party or something)
It was agreed that SAA should host a Thanksgiving Potluck.
11. Bulletin board and suggestion box - We need to decide what we want in a general way, have a volunteer committee look into the details and come back with suggestions to vote on.
Leafy McBride said that she is forming a committee to work on a bulletin board. She appointed Michelle Rizk, Laura Letuligasenoa and Connie Kramer to be on a bulletin board committee.
12. Review first issue of e-newsletter
This item was postponed until the next meeting, since Art Greenwalt was not present.
8. Parking Issues (Cost of doing business)
This issue was postponed until the next meeting.
9. Employee Survey Results
This issue was postponed until the next meeting.
13. Other items of concern
Brian Brubaker said that we are still searching for a student assistant. He asked members to please assist in recruiting students to apply.
14. Agenda items for the next meeting - Wednesday, November 10, 1999, 10 am - Noon
Several items were postponed until the next meeting, including parking issues (cost of doing business); employee survey results; approval of the September 8, 1999, minutes; recap of the last Staff Alliance meetings and President's retreat; and the Thanksgiving potluck (social event). Janet Jacobs will be a guest at our meeting next month, at which point SAA members will have the opportunity to ask more detailed questions about the plan for a classification system.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:55 am.