February 2003 Minutes

 

INFORMATIONAL STAFF ASSOCIATION
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, February 5, 2003, 11:30 a.m.
Athletic Department Conference Room 3695


Informational Staff Association President, Connie Smith, called the business meeting to order at 12:05.

ISA Council Members present: Debbie Copp, Dan Hough, Susan Lauterbach, Debra Levy-Martinelli, Johnnie-Margaret McConnell, Sophia Morren, Bill Moakley, Dawna Nelson, Marilyn Nicely, Annette Schwiebert, Marko Sherbon and Connie Smith
ISA Council Members absent: Grettie Bondy, Kevin Blake, Judy Cain, Anna Launer Love and Jon Lunardi.
ISA Members present: Lenore Arlee, Derek Arndt, Chris Fiebrich, Joan Goth, Susie Skaggs, and Krsiti D. Wright.
Guests: Jackie Farley, Staff Senate Chair and Barbara Perry, Staff Senate Office.

1. Introduction of members and guests - Each person was asked to introduce himself or herself.

2. With a motion by Debra and a second by Johnnie-Margaret, the minutes were accepted as presented.

3. Reports -
Presidential, Connie Smith.
1. Connie reminded everyone that nomination forms for staff awards were due to the Staff Senate Office Monday, February 10, 2003.
2. Programming Ideas. Connie asked for future programming ideas from the group. Annette recommend a spring campus walking tour and Jackie offered a Huston Huffman tour, which the group seemed interested in.

Treasurers Report, Sophia Morren. No report at this time.

Staff Senate, Connie Smith. Connie shared with the group comments made by Julius Hilburn and Nick Kelly at the Staff Senate meeting. Basically, this year employee contributions for health care insurance will be $37 million but based on the first five months of usage, costs will be around $45 million. Past shortfalls in health care funding had been supplemented with reserves, which are no longer available. A consultant has been hired to examine OU's benefit options and a series of briefings by Nick Kelly will be offered. Connie recommended that staff try and attend one of these briefings to become aware of the health care situation. Health care costs will be increasing so be aware, informed and prepared. To view the entire Staff Senate meeting minutes, please see http://www.ou.edu/staff_senate/minutes.html.

Faculty Senate, Susan Lauterbach. Two major issues were discussed, the ITC-proposed Security and Acceptable Use Computer Policies and the Faculty Compensation Committee Report concerning budget cuts. For the full minutes from the meeting, please see http://www.ou.edu/admin/facsen/minutes/103jrn.htm.

Staff Week Art Show Committee, Lenore Arlee. Lenore reported that the committee met on February 3 and had made decisions on the types of acceptable art, display methods for the art (easels, etc.), the contestant prizes, alternate notification methods for the call for entries, and food to be served. The judge will be Pam Bradford, a faculty member from the School of Art. The show will be held on Monday, April 28. The committee will meet again in two weeks to develop the call for entries.

Constitution Committee Report, Debbie Copp. Debbie provided a handout of the ISA constitution with recommended changes indicated. This was provided today because of constitutional rules concerning the timing of changes (60 days). Primary changes include updating the organizational name from Professional Staff Association to Informational Staff Association and altering the description of membership, which is controlled by Staff Senate and subject to change. The changes in by-laws will be put on the agenda for discussion in March and approval in April.

5. Old Business

Information Technology Council (ITC) Information Systems Security and Acceptable Use of Information Resource Policies, Dan Hough. The latest version of the policy (Dec. 16) is available on the ITC web site at http://www.ou.edu/committees/itc/ and can now be found through the OU search engine. Staff Senate has approved these policies but Faculty Senate approval has been delayed one month. The ITC is now working on an email policy and will meet again the 3rd week of February.

6. New Business
Discussion of OU's health care situation. Connie had invited Nick Kelly to be the guest speaker for this meeting but because the Employee Benefits Committee was scheduled to meet the day after our meeting, he would be in a position to offer more information at a future ISA meeting. Connie opened the floor to member comments.

Suzy mentioned how in the beginning of the Schaller-Anderson option, payments to providers had been delayed and that any future consideration of vendors should address this problem.

Debbie indicted that the situation Suzy referred to was caused by the company being overwhelmed with the data entry function of accepting such a large number of employees into the plan.

Suzy said that we should convey to future vendors that they not enter data by hand, as was done by Schaller-Anderson

Debbie mentioned that with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, new charges that were effective in July were not implemented until December, which may have contributed to the health care cost overage.

Lenore said that she experienced a problem with dependent dental payments to providers being made in a timely manner.

Debbie theorized that the problem with Shaller-Anderson and birth dates (mentioned in a recent ISA meeting) could have been the result of errors inherent in data entry by hand.

Connie described the inconvenience she (and the pharmacists) experienced because of the short-notice of the extended winter shut-down, which meant that the Goddard Pharmacy would be closed yet insurance did not allow for early filling of prescriptions that would run-out over the shut-down.

Susan pointed out that Schaller-Anderson offers OU good information on exactly where and how health care costs are occurring.

Suzy asked if this information was reported on the individual level, but it is not.

As an example, Sophia said that she had heard that the increase in sleep studies was increasing costs but that the names of individuals participating in these studies was not revealed to administration.

Speaking of the high cost of medical tests, Debbie mentioned hearing radio advertisements that St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City was offering patient-prescribed diagnostic tests. This brought up the issue of marketing costs that are passed onto the consumer, which is especially an issue in the pharmaceutical industry.

Connie asked Jackie Farley, Staff Senate Chair to comment on this issue. Jackie said that OU has offered a good health care package at a lower cost that other institutions. OSU, for example, has been on the State of Oklahoma health care plan, which has higher out-of-pocket costs than our plan. OU staff has been insulated from problems (like Am Care going under) experienced by others in our state. Jackie believes that more emphasis on wellness is needed. What increases costs the most are catastrophic illnesses and OU is on a high cycle of these. Jackie echoed Connie's suggestion that everyone attend the Benefit Forums and gave the upcoming dates and places. She indicated that no speculation on changes would be offered at the forums but that benefits staff would be only sharing what they know to be true.

Debbie added how important it is that administration is talking with staff and sharing what they know, even if the decisions have not been made yet.

Connie added that the Benefits staff does take into consideration the staff input contributed at the Benefits Forum. For example, during the last round of major changes, catastrophic coverage was not considered and included until a staff member attending a forum mentioned it.

Jackie reminded everyone that increases in health care costs are not a problem only in Oklahoma and that 15-17% increases are expected nationally.

Derek said that his family had personal experience with catastrophic illness and that the service provided by HR and Benefits had been excellent.

Jackie was glad that Benefits had contacted retirees about the health care situation. Those present agreed and Debbie reminded us that we would each be a retiree someday, some of us sooner than others.

Joan indicated that at age 65 health care costs decrease because of eligibility for Medicare.

For a bit of comic relief, Connie offered a parable on health (see appendix).

7. Miscellaneous & Announcements
Jackie urged everyone to read President Boren's message in yesterday's paper. We need to think about budget problems and tuition increases. Both she and Ed Cline, Faculty Senate Chair, had recommended a resolution of support for tuition increases from the representative Senates because 30 days of furlough would be required to raise the money a tuition increase could provide. The new Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Paul Risser and recommended deregulating tuition and a bill presented by Oklahoma State Representatives Nations and Balkman does just that, but also increases funds for scholarships to reduce the burden on financially burdened students. If passed, the OU increase in tuition and fees will be 27.5% or an average of $900 per student. Connie recommended that staff contact their legislators in support of the bill.

Lenore indicated that her feeling from students is that they are willing to pay the increased amount of tuition.

Debbie suggested that staff support the financial need-based scholarships funded through the Campus Campaign.

Jackie said that $0.29 of every dollar spent at OU goes to scholarships.

It was the group consensus that ISA support a Staff Senate resolution in support of tuition increases.

Johnnie-Margaret said that the 27% increase will only over the budget for this year and asked what the future projections were.

Jackie clarified that increased tuition will only affect new students. She also said that staff had questioned her about where the $6 million from the Reach for Excellence campaign was spent. Items include campus museums, endowed chairs (which are matched by the state), and building improvements. Operations are traditionally not funded by donors. The administration is currently in the process of visiting with students groups to give them the correct information on OU's budget picture.

Dawna, who works directly with students, said that students have not been complaining about increases in tuition but have been complaining about budget problems like the lack of funding for needed classes.

Jackie said that until now, students have been insulated from the budget problems that staff have know about for quite some time, especially auxiliary units.

Bill added that for those who did not have yesterday's newspaper, President Boren's letter could be found from a link at the top of the OU web site. The budget outlook is not bleak just in Oklahoma. The University of Texas, historically immune from budget woes, is losing $19 million from their budget this year and $30-40 million next year.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sophia Morren, ISA Secretary

NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, February 5, 2003.

Appendix

In the beginning God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts. Satan created Ben and Jerry's and Krispy Kreme. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And man said "Yea." and woman said, "And another one with sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthful yogurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane, and combined them. And woman went from size 2 to size 6. So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing and garlic toast on the side. And man and woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them." And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then brought running shoes so that his children might loose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And man and woman laughed and cried

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald's and it's 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" and man replied, "Yea!
And super size 'em." And Satan said "It is good." and man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.
And Satan created HMOs




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