University of Colorado Staff Council members received a variety of updates during their final meeting of 2014, conducted via video conference on Dec. 18.
E. Jill Pollock, who turned over the role of vice president for employee and information services to Kathy Nesbitt beginning this month, told council that CU President Bruce D. Benson this month will announce the results of the examination of retirement vendor options for university employees. A university task force studied and ranked the top vendors, then sent a recommendation to Benson. Pollock said the group set out to pare down the options – some 800 choices – to a number that will eliminate overlapping products and ensure employees receive optimal rates of return on their investments, ease of access, excellent customer service, and low fees.
In addition, Pollock said the University of Colorado Health and Welfare Trust is working to reduce prescription drug charges for employees enrolled in the health plans through the university, and also is working with committees and other groups to find a way to add benefits related to gender reassignment. Because there currently are no Colorado doctors who perform the necessary surgeries, the university is hoping to team up with an insurance vendor to find providers in other states – most likely California – who are able to provide the necessary health care.
Pollock said the Office of Policy and Efficiency (OPE) is reviewing a comprehensive sexual misconduct and harassment policy for the university that is scheduled for final approval in July. The draft of APS 5014 - Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures is available for review at http://www.cu.edu/ope/efficiency-and-effectiveness/presidents-task-force-efficiency/aps-5014-sexual-harassment-policy
In other matters:
- Council members discussed ongoing concerns about university staff members being discouraged by supervisors or others from participating in campus governance bodies. Nancy Sicalides-Tucker said that Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Leonard Dinegar recently sent out a memo to campus chancellors that reiterated the importance of employee participation in governance boards.
- System employees who work at university campuses rather than the system office have reported they have been unable to participate in campus activities, and some were told the reason was because of budgetary issues. In some cases, these employees were unaware of activities because their email addresses are not included in campus-wide distribution lists. Council members said budgets were not a problem and that any system-employee exclusions were misunderstandings. Council members agreed to ensure that system employees are added to event notice lists and allowed to participate in campus events.
- The Colorado Springs campus staff councils continue to consider a proposal to merge, a move that would help unify the campus and eliminate duplicate efforts by the governance groups. The proposal would allow separate subcommittees to speak to pay and benefits issues for staff and exempt employees. At CU Denver, the staff council and EPA Council voted 10-2 to merge and the group is revising its bylaws.
- Faculty Council continues to examine tuition benefits, which are different at each campus. One consideration for parity is to allow employees a certain dollar amount to use toward tuition, instead of giving employees a certain number of credit hours. UCCS is concerned that such a policy would not be a “one-for-one trade” and unfairly impact the campus budget since costs at Boulder, for instance, are higher than tuition costs at Colorado Springs. It is likely that more employees from UCCS would take classes in Denver or Boulder than the other way around.