January 2010 minutes

Westchester Administrative Staff Council Meeting

January 6, 2010

Butcher Suite, Kessel Campus Center


Co-Chair Peggy Caraccio called the meeting to order at 9:05 and welcomed everyone and wished the group a Happy New Year.



Weight Watchers meetings may be held again in Westchester beginning in late January.  Information is available on portal.pace.edu.  There must be 15 people signed up for the program to run.


Approval of Previous Meeting’s Minutes

Motion proposed by Fran O’Gara and seconded by Carol Turco.  December meeting minutes were approved.


Treasurer’s Report – no change.


Committee Reports:

Benefits Committee – discussion to come later in the meeting.


Faculty Council Representative:

Students from Student Association spoke about not wanting to have graduation away from their campus.  Value of PLV will be taken away.  Students in NYC did not even know about it.  SA meeting was unanimously against.

Provost Bracket spoke about Graduation:  Unanimous vote against by Student Association, Unanimous vote against be WFC.  GLB – one time opportunity to combine undergraduate and graduate ceremonies at Radio City Music Hall.  Survey results that there was strong support from NYC, mixed response from PLV (52% against). Combination of ceremonies saves about $100,000.  One year phenomenon.  Would like to proceed.  Concern of the identity of PLV campus is important and he will bring the concerns back to the President.

One Martine was under consideration for closing in summer.  Current analysis cannot include possible drop in revenue from closing the building.  We are aggressively looking at room usage in the building and have postponed the closure of the building at this time.  Thank you to Dean Connie Knapp for her work on this.  Building is highly underutilized at this time and the next year will be spent looking at how the building can be better utilized and become a revenue generating location.

A 360 degree review of the deans began with Joe Bazcko and every Dean going forward will be reviewed in the same way.  Dean Herrmann and Dean Feldman have been renewed (5 year contract) under the past evaluation processes. Much discussion followed.  The new process was created last year. 

Bill McGrath is now on campus 2 to 3 days a week.  Master Plan presentation was shared.  Changes include two entrances, new parking areas, new theatre building, new dorms, and fewer parking areas within the campus to make a walking campus.  Parking lots by Willcox and behind Kessel become grassy quad spots and some of the water areas will be opened up further.  Has a neutral impact on impervious surfaces.  Concerns about sustainability, energy consumption, and green areas – pedestrian campus.  Timeframe = after approval it could be as short as two years to build the buildings but could take as long as five years.

Staff affairs Faculty representative, Marie Werner has resigned.  Outreach has already been done and a new Faculty member will be appointed to take over this position.


Service Committee:

Dan Botting thanked everyone on behalf of Clout and the service committee for once again making this program a success.  Lynn Larkin would also like to thank everyone who participated in the program.

Karen Watkis reminded everyone that Daffodil Days are coming.  Orders in due to be returned by February 26th and delivery will be on March 18th.


Picnic Committee:
No report



Edyta Zych, Technology and Training Manager
Bob Lazer, Director for Organizational Learning and Development


Presentation PowerPoint


Individual basis review for people who have taken Learn to Excel classes to see which classes map to the new curriculum and which new classes could be applied to the Learn to Excel certificates.


Organizational Learning and Development site under HR website.  Technology training page /page.cfm?doc_id=33985 has online tutorials: Banner 101 and 201.  Edyta can create training tools for your departments.


Training at a Glance calendar /page.cfm?doc_id=35331 can be viewed for specific programs rather than looking at the calendar and searching for the particular program.

Susan Donahue and Bob will do any standup training necessary.

Advisory committee has been created including members of all areas of the university. 

                If you have a specific training program listed in your IDP, the committee suggested you be contacted directly with the dates for that training session.  Project Management class if scheduled for Feb 4 & 5.


To continue the wellness and vacation discussions begun in December:  Karen Robilotta, Vice President for Human Resources and Betsy Garti, Employee Relations


A 360 degree review for staff is on the radar but for the future as there are more important things to focus on at this time.

Every year we need to renew all benefits including Medical, Dental, Life, etc.  Just as you renew automobile insurance every year.  Everything is reviewed carefully since the costs are so high and these benefits are so important to the employees.

Some new things we are including this year:

                All programs are going to “market”.  Cigna, Delta Dental, etc are all in competition with the other key players – we want to look for the best value for our employees.

                Encourage carriers to offer packages if they provide more than one type of insurance such as life and disability.

                Benefits staff is also looking at the ease of use of each carrier as well.  Do they have info online and are they considered easy to work with?

                Allow voluntary insurance coverage if some of the carriers have options that we do not usually include in our insurance coverage.

                Cigna believes that part of the long term solution for affordable health coverage is to include programs to create a healthy workforce.  One reason for high costs is due to the age and high health claims of Pace employees.  We want to create a great place to work including lots of exciting wellness programs.

                Wellness committee was born from Benefits Advisory committee.  Will be briefing the president on what the committee is planning.  Survey has been created and there are some voluntary programs and assessments that employees will be made aware of in the future.


There have been exciting changes to the University’s employee recognition programs.  We have been receiving positive responses to the new programs, to include a change in timing, a new database with a choice of gifts and honoring all of the YES winners and process change graduates at the ceremonies.  We are also looking at a way to convert the YES program from a single select to a group or multi-select recognition.  We are working hard to make sure that those programs reflect and appreciate employee years of service and hard work.



Health Center hours and costs.  Why can’t employees have access to the building for free?  ---There is a specific number of members allowed and that will have to be taken into account.  KR will speak to Joe about the numbers.

Walking - can the free hours be extended?  On an individual basis, see Joe O’Donnell if you cannot make the specific 12 noon to 2pm hours.

What will the process be for this year?  Open enrollment must be completed in early May because of new Banner implementation later in that month and early June.  RFP process will begin   in February and all replies will be reviewed when items come back.  Negotiations begin.  Communication to the employees will begin in late March/early April.

Why don’t we include the retirees in the wellness programs such as walking in the gym?  KR will talk to Joe O’Donnell for that.

KR – including the retirees in our programs reduces our rates.

Are we atypical in terms of our aging and health?  Competitive.  Our demographics are not atypical.

What is the availability for staff to use BR facilities in Dow Hall?  It isn’t available to staff at this time.  KR will research.

A comment from December meeting:  How can we think about wellness when we can’t leave our desks at lunch and how can we take our vacations if the work won’t get done when we are gone?  KR – I can bring you options but you have to make the decision as to what you decide to fit into your daily schedules.  The wellness survey will be sent out as soon as KR has presented it to President Friedman later this month.  It will not affect your benefits as to whether or not you participate in the wellness program options.

Vacation accrual change is a problem.  With students returning, we need to be there to help with retention.  The generous number of vacation days, using 12 months vacation in 10 months, and the short staffing problems are all issues that need to be considered.  The situation is challenging for everyone.

How can we use the challenges we face for us rather than against us.  Fran’s option for taking a class to use up some of the time is one way to use the challenge in a positive way.  In the past, taking a class might be a problem for some employees but if you propose it to your manager, they may be more flexible with scheduling that time off due to the issues this year.

Vacation scheduling should begin with management level.  Managers must be more flexible and must understand that their employees are stressed and feel chained to their desks.  They need to help staff to take lunch and take vacations.

Being short staffed is the biggest stressor especially with departments such as Dyson who have only one staff person.

One of Pace’s biggest problem is that the staff is too dedicated.


Next Meetings

February 3rd – Christine Meola, Philanthropy and Alumni Relations

March 3rd – Rick Whitfield, Finance and Planning will be our speaker and Ravi Ravishanker, Chief Information Officer will introduce himself to the group.


Meeting Adjourned at 10:30 am