September 2003 Meeting Minutes

Minutes of the Pleasantville/Briarcliff Administrative Staff Council Meeting

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Butcher Suite, Campus Center, Pleasantville

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:00am by Karen Geldart and Joe Kelly, co-chairs.  Introductions were made.

 

Announcements:

Council Web Page – Karen Desantis has completed work on the new website and it can be viewed on page.cfm?doc_id=8036

 

Approval of minutes from May 9, 2003 was postponed to the next meeting.

 

Committee Reports:

Benefits – No report. Phyllis Bradbury (and Barbara McCarthy?) will continue to serve on this Committee. She explained that the purpose is to discuss and recommend policies to Vice President of Human Resources and to President Caputo. Meetings are not held on a monthly basis, and when they are it is via videoconference.  Recommendations from staff are welcome for Phyllis to take back to the Committee.

 

PUAC (Pace University Advisory Committee) – No report. Barbara Cunningham will continue to serve.  She explained that it is chaired by the Provost.  It is unique in that it is the only committee with student, staff and faculty representation, and it is mainly comprised of administrators. She is hopeful that the new Provost will renew interest in this committee.

 

Faculty Council – No report. Deanna Vatan was not present due to an injury. Karen Geldart explained that, per the Council’s Constitution, a member of the Executive Board will serve as the Council representative this year.

 

Service Committee – No report. Christine Stephens shared how rewarding it was to serve on the committee and highly recommends it as a fun and fulfilling experience.

 

Picnic Committee – Susan Deigan and Maureen Doddy received a (well-deserved) round of applause from all present for a job well done. They will continue to co-chair the committee and are seeking volunteers to assist them.

 

Sign-up sheets were passed around for Committee participation.

 

Guest Speakers:

1. Yvonne Ramirez-Lesce, Vice-President of Human Resources

Yvonne thanked the Council for the invitation and opportunity to attend this meeting and answer questions regarding the union organization efforts currently underway throughout the University. She explained that The New York State United Teachers/American Federation of Teachers (NYSUTA/AFT) has been sporadically contacting faculty and staff since late April/early May 2003 in order to organize us to have them represent us in collective bargaining. It is believed that the Faculty Councils invited them in response to dissatisfaction with the new Post-Retirement Benefits policy.

 

The University and President Caputo maintain the position that everyone has a legal right to discuss this effort openly amongst each other.  It is okay for employees to speak with supervisors about this, but supervisors cannot interrogate employees.  Yvonne stated that while we are very open at Pace we should remember the Appropriate Use Policy for I.T. in using e-mail to discuss this with colleagues.  And while employees have the legal right to solicit each other it must be on our own time.  She also explained the University’s non-solicitation policy and Grievance Procedures. All of these can be found in the Employee Handbook available on the Human Resources web page. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding pay parity and compensation policies regarding merit increase system.  It was voiced that there seems to be secrecy around pay scales at Pace to which Yvonne replied that a new evaluation system has been implemented and HR has started listing position levels and corresponding salary ranges when posting jobs.  She reminded us that annual salary increases at Pace are merit-based whereas unions traditionally center on a seniority system. 

 

The union will try to obtain the requisite amount of support and once they have this will go to President Caputo for recognition or NLRB (National Labor Relations Board).  Even if we are opposed to the organization efforts and do not attend meetings, the union can still succeed because the election outcome is based on the actual number of people who vote.  If the union is voted in then the University and the union will be compelled to come and discuss the collective bargaining agreement. This can be a very lengthy process.  To note is that any staff in managerial or supervisory roles are not eligible for representation, and full-time faculty might also not be eligible based on certain criteria. 

 

Yvonne advised us that the most important thing to remember is that we do what we feel is right, but to make sure we get as much information as possible and to be mindful of what we are signing. 

 

2. Mary Lieto, Finance & Administration

Mary discussed the new OneCard system and also answered questions regarding activation and uses of the card. She stated that she has been working on this for 6 years.

 

It is beneficial to students especially because they can receive Financial Aid credits on it.  Mary wanted everyone to be aware that students can still received refunds to their account even if they have not yet received the actual card.  ATM machines should be installed by the end of the week on all campuses: In Dow Hall in Briarcliff; In Campus Center in Pleasantville and at the Law School in White Plains; if it becomes necessary one will be installed in the Graduate Center. If we have a ONE account, there will be no fee to use the ATM.

 

Faculty were scheduled to be the last group to receive the cards but due to problems their cards have not yet gone out.

The web site will soon have a tutorial and we can link to it from the Pace University Home Page. For now we can call ext. 2614 with questions and there is a toll-free Account Services number on the brochures sent out but it is hard to get through since there are 7 other Schools using the OneCard and all are experiencing similar issues. 

 

The cards must be self-activated by the individual. The best way to do so is to go online.  All can choose to use it as a Debit Card NOT a credit card. If we do not want to use the card we should not destroy it (as had been mistakenly reported), but just hold onto it and use our current Pace I.D. card. Security has been instructed to be understanding during this time and a system should be in place by October that will allow us to turn in the OneCard and have it cancelled altogether. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding fact that employees did not authorize release of our Social Security Numbers to the issuing company. Mary assured us that measures are in place to protect us from identity theft and that Mastercard may not solicit us according to privacy laws. 

 

Mary did not have time to show us her PowerPoint presentation so she will send it for posting to the Council’s web page.

 

 

Winner of the September raffle is Woodrina Harris.  Her prize is a Barnes & Nobel gift certificate.