Health and Welfare Trust may gain faculty, staff representation

Faculty Council discusses possibilities at meeting

Members of Faculty Council and system administrators are pursuing the addition of faculty and staff representation on the University of Colorado Health and Welfare Trust.

During its May 10 meeting at 1800 Grant St., the Faculty Council discussed various calls for employee representation on the trust, which oversees the university’s self-funding of health insurance. Members of Staff Council earlier in the year called for such representation in light of administrators’ questions about the current role of the University Benefits Advisory Board (UBAB).

E. Jill Pollock, vice president of employee and information services, told Faculty Council that she has “no intent of getting rid of UBAB,” and that she’s “absolutely committed” to having non-voting representation by faculty and staff on the trust.

Because the trust had to be ensured of a good, stable financial environment during its first years, Pollock said, the initial structure and role of the trust focused heavily on financial and legal aspects.

Stuart Schneck, professor emeritus of neurology and the retiree member of UBAB, spoke at the Faculty Council meeting, saying that UBAB recently stressed to President Bruce Benson that because “CU employees participate in funding the trust, they should take part” in trust meetings without voting rights. UBAB members say their board could be a liaison between employees and the trust; he and UBAB Chair Bruce Neumann plan to meet with the president later this month to discuss the issue.

In other business at the May 10 meeting:

-          Pollock gave an update on the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS), which was hampered by technical problems during its first year. “We’re better than a year ago, but have a long way to go,” she told the council. “We have seen a significant drop in the number of issues, the severity of those issues and the duration of an outage or problem.” She said the ISIS system is stable, “but the ‘plumbing’ underneath is not stable. We have a lot of work to go yet.”

-          Outgoing Chair Mark Malone discussed the Faculty Council Ad Hoc Committee on Salary Issues and Equity, which is embarking on research about the equity of faculty salaries across the system. “This is partly an attempt to be proactive and assess where we are in terms of salary compression,” Malone said. The goal is to encourage the university to have a plan in place to reward “uncompensated merit” once economic conditions in the state and at the university improve.

-          Pollock said salary competitiveness also is being studied by administrators at the request of the Board of Regents. The university already examines salaries at peer institutions and will continue to do so; it also will look at pay at comparable private sector businesses. A faculty adviser will take part in the study.

Malone and incoming Faculty Council Chair Melinda Piket-May stressed the need for new committee chairs and members of the various Faculty Council committees in the coming year.