Vice Chair Testimony to the BOR April 3, 2014

I wanted to share a transcript of my testimony to the Board of Regents on April 3. Many great things happened at the meeting including the approval of the Shaping Alaska’s Future Effect Statements and deadlines for a common calendar and GER’s across all campuses.

For more information about the meeting read the release here:

If you have an issue you would like to bring to Staff Governance please contact us.
Monique Musick
Staff Alliance Vice Chair

Good morning madame chair, Regents, President Gamble thank you for this opportunity to speak today. I am Monique Musick Vice Chair of Staff Alliance. Chair Carey Brown was unable to come today and I am thrilled to be here instead.

Staff Alliance held a two day retreat in March up in Fairbanks. Twice a year we meet in person and have the time to more thoroughly discuss important issues than our regular monthly business meetings allow.

During the retreat we passed a resolution in support of the university’s position against SB 176. The sensible restrictions currently within policy and regulation strikes a balance between our right to bear arms, and the university’s mission. Staff governance groups have shared the briefing sheet, legal analysis and other resources with staff throughout the system and are encouraging them to write to their legislators with their stance on this issue.

There is a lot happening in Juneau that has our attention. Budget reductions, cost savings measures, and the growing need to accomplish more with less fall heavily on staff. We will be watching closely as this session nears closure to see what happens to our operating and capital budgets and will be advocating as we can for funding the Board’s priorities. Governance representatives will continue to work with administration at all levels to help address the funding shortages and adjust accordingly. For the opportunity to be involved in shared governance I would like to express our sincere gratitude.

Vice President Dana Thomas was able to join us during the retreat to provide an update on Shaping Alaska’s Future. We’ve offered our input throughout the process and are excited to see the Effect Statements before you today. This incredible transformational effort is exciting to be involved in and will be (and already is) so beneficial for the university and the state.

In addition Associate General Counsel Mike O’Brien came to a retreat session to discuss the workplace bullying training effort. Staff Alliance passed a resolution encouraging the other MAUs to also offer this training during our fall retreat and were interested in knowing how that was progressing. The feedback from the sessions held at Statewide has been very positive, and not surprisingly correlates to quite a few bullying claims coming to HR. The impact on HR is part of what is being considered now by the other campuses. I attended a session myself and found the clear definitions, examples and discussion very insightful. I’d like to thank Anne Sakumoto, Mike O’Brien, Rhonda Ohms and everyone who has worked to put this training together and help address this issue.

The Confidential Hotline was also discussed during the retreat in the context of both workplace bullying and the expanded fraud waste and abuse policy. As a member of the implementation team I can say I am excited to see this resource coming online soon and support the new policy.

The Compensation working group has reconvened and is working with HR to revise our proposals regarding leave, flex time, geographic differential, bonuses and other matters of high interest to staff as well as beginning to look at FY16 compensation, especially in light of anticipated budget restrictions.

We discussed some bylaw changes that will be introduced at our next meeting to add Secretary and Treasurer positions. Taking more responsibility for our own records and budget will help take some pressure off the system governance office.

Lastly we discussed the new wellness vendor Healthyroads and the rebate incentive for using the wellness program. We discussed in general the new plan rates, and are happy to note that the wellness incentive will have a real impact for everyone on the UA Choice plan that chooses to participate.

Nominations have been received for the 2014 Staff Make Students Count Award and we look forward to presenting the honored staff members at a future meeting.

Note that in a follow-up question it was clarified that staff were asked to use their own time and resources for contacting their legislators, and that it was made clear in communications that staff on both sides of the issue (CSSB 176) are encourage to share their stance.


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