STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES September 21, 2011
President Kristie Galy presided over the September 21, 2011, Staff Senate meeting held at Peabody Hall, Room 225, on the LSU Campus at 10:30 a.m.
P Torres, Donna (’12)
P Exner, Patti (’13)
P Chaney, Carolyn (’13)
P Dixon, Evelyn (’13)
P Matkovic, Igor (’14)
P Carruth, Holly (’12)
P Chiasson, Denise (’12)
Pr Fields, Tim (’12)
P Frazier, James (’12)
P Kimball, Lynn (’12)
P Thibodeaux, Seth (’12)
P Verma, Lisa (’12)
P Galy, Kristie (’13)
P Guillory, Michael (’13)
P Landry, Carolyn (’13)
P Thomas, Joseph (’13)
P Winchell, Blake (’13)
P David, Emmett (’14)
Pr Gothreaux, Chad (’14)
P Millican, Tammy (’14)
P Moreau, Scott (’14)
P Perkins, Julie (’14) Skilled Crafts
Pr Heil, Mark (’12)
P Adedeji, Funmilayo (’13)
Pr Pierce, Renee (’13)
P Sirman, Karen (’13)
P Love, Donna (’14)
P Brown, Ruby (’12)
P Cooley, Judith (’13)
Pr Magee, Betty (’13)
P Collins, Judy (’14)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Vice Chancellor Eric Monday, Finance and Administrative Services
Tiah B Alphonso, Department of Educational Theory Policy and Practice
Derrick Angelloz, Finance and Administrative Services
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Galy at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with five proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Millican led the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Galy introduced guest: Vice Chancellor Eric Monday with Finance and Administrative Services, Tiah B. Alphonso with the Department of Educational Theory Police and Practice and Derrick Angelloz with Finance and Administrative Services.
GUEST SPEAKER – Vice Chancellor Eric Monday with Finance and Administrative Services
Staff Senate President Galy thanked Vice Chancellor Eric Monday for coming to speak to the Staff Senate regarding the budget situation at LSU.
“Good morning, I was asked to come and speak today about our budget situation for fiscal year 2012, as well as talk about La Grad Act 2.0. So I’m going to take you through those two items. Please feel free to stop me at any time during this presentation, and we’ll take questions as they come up. But we’re going to walk through the budget of fiscal year 2012, which is the year that we’re in, and then we’re going to talk about La Grad Act 2.0. So when we talk about fiscal year 2012, which is July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, we have a term that we use called the DSI for Direct Student Impact. And what that means is at the end of the day, how much money do we have, or in a lot of cases don’t have, to fund the institution, to put back into the classroom, to fund what we’re all about, in creating an environment for student success. So this year when you look at July 1, we have a $22.5 million dollar problem. So how did we get to a $22.5 million dollar problem? Well we had to cut state funds, funds of about $1.8 million dollars, so if you look at how much appropriation can come from the legislature and the executive budget, we are down about $1.8 million. We also have something called unfunded mandates. You probably heard me and others talk about that before. So, every year we’re told by the legislature and by the governor’s office how much more funds we have to come up with for retirement, for health care, for risk management and other required mandated costs that we participate in, and in some ways they consider us a state agency for those services. So when we talk about, let’s say, the retirement system LSU puts aside 23.7% of anyone’s check each month in the teachers retirement system or in an optional retirement system. It’s a little bit different for LASERS, the state’s retirement system; it’s a little bit more accurate. So that rate which continues to go up every single year is called an unfunded mandate, even though that gets additional funds from the State of Louisiana, we have to fund that ourselves. So this year we had $9 million dollars in unfunded mandates. We also had $7.2 million dollars in additional scholarships and exemptions. So why did we have that? What the state did is they said we’re going to take $25 million dollars away from you as state funds, but we’re going to allow you to go up on your tuition and fees by 10%, which happens to be exactly $25 million dollars. When we get that $25 million dollars though, we’re going to charge that debt to the students. But students are also on scholarships; we have something called the Pelican Promise, which means if you meet certain criteria you don’t pay or you pay very little to come to LSU and are exempted for those fees. So the difference between what we assess and what we collect is $7 million dollars. So that’s a cost, an additional expense, to the institution. And lastly, we have institutional obligations every year. For example, we’ll be bringing on at least two large buildings in this fiscal year. We also have faculty promotion and tenure, where we still go through the process where a faculty member qualifies and gets promoted from an assistant to an associate professor, or an associate professor to a full professor which we still fund. So when you total all of those up, it’s about $4 million. So that’s our problem, $22.5 million dollars; that’s what we were looking at when we did this fiscal year. So how did we solve it? The first thing we do is we look internally. What are things can we do differently in this enterprise to reduce that DSI or negative DSI in this case, so 56% was internal.
Our enrollment services group has been doing an amazing job recruiting students for this institution. Our freshman class ended at 5,290 which is the second year in a row above 5,000; total enrollment just a little under 29,000. Last year, our freshman class was 5,481. We’ve had solid freshman classes as well as a large percent of non-residents. You may have read the article in the Reveille in the last couple of days talking about it’s the largest percentage in recent memory of non-residents. Well a non-resident pays more to come to LSU than a resident, so that helps increase revenue. $8 million dollars came from that increase alone. Additionally, we have $4.7 million dollars in temporary adjustments. What I mean by temporary is that they’re one time. So, if you’re in a non-academic area, let’s say like Facility Services, we have natural turnover. Where people leave and we bring them in, there’s always a month or two or even a few months where it takes us to hire a new person. Well we have what’s called salary savings, right? We’re not paying someone for a couple months. But what we did in this year’s budget is we actually budgeted for that. That’s not a good practice, but it’s one where we’re trying to close the gap; so, we have a negative in the budget of a couple million dollars that we think we’re going to generate in the course of this fiscal year to recover those funds. We did a couple other institutional adjustments somewhere to that. That’s $4.7 million. So, we immediately took that $22.5 million down and we have a $9.8 million dollar problem. So, the Budget Crisis Committee, which is a committee that is led by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jack Hamilton who had a plan of how we would cut $9.8 million dollars from the campus and it would harm the campus greatly. But before we implemented those cuts, we went back to the LSU System and said we believe there are some funds that should be transferred to the institution – that, in all of these movements of money from school to school, all of these cuts, we believe that the system should look and see the funds available for LSU. They came back and created what is called The Flagship Excellence Fund which was approved at the last Board of Supervisors meeting; and this year, it has approximately $7.9 million dollars in that account that’s going to be transferred to LSU. So, our $9.8 million dollar problem immediately went to down to $1.9 million. So how did we cut the $1.9 million or how did we address that? Two main areas: we’ve reduced some scholarships primarily in the College of Music and secondly, we are requiring certain units to be self-supported. What do I mean by that? So right now, Greek Life is funded by General Funds Revenues; the general budget of the institution funds the Greek Life department. In the course of this semester, that will transition into institutional dollars where the students who participate in the Greek Life system pay a charge each semester to fund that office. So, the students will pay for that service. So if we look at where we started at $22.5 million, we immediately got to this $9.8 million, we got the Flagship Excellence Fund – good thing about this Fund is it helped us not cut things really, but once again that’s just this one time wonder. It goes away the next fiscal year and then we cut a little bit more than $1.9 million dollars out of the budget. So that got us to a balanced budget for this fiscal year – no cuts across the board were implemented on July 1, there are no funds in the current budget, of course, for pay raises but we have a balanced budget for July 1 and what we’re operating in this fiscal year.
Before I talk about these next couple points, any questions? I gave out a lot of numbers here. So if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Q: When we reduce scholarships, do we see any kind of negative impact that may occur on our enrollment?
A: Yes, I think we probably will, if we had to do it over again, and what we’ll do next year, is not take too much out of the music scholarships. We saw the music enrollment go down. And we’re going to have to put a few hundred thousand dollars back into that scholarship program; it did have an impact on it.
Okay, so fiscal year 2012, I think we’ve had either four or five mid-year cuts now in the last three years. We are planning for that possibility and what I mean by planning is that there is proof and it is something that we always need to be prepared for. I don’t mean planning in a sense that each department has been asked to perform any type of review or scenario as we have done previously. You remember last year, we did a scenario for 23% budget cut and then we came back with a scenario for 32% budget cut. As an institution we always need to be prepared when resources may disappear or adjust. There are different views on this – some people feel like it’s not going to happen; others feel like it will most definitely happen. You could read in the Advocate what we read. I don’t have a crystal ball or any information to give you other than that, that’s something we need to be prepared for and that we need to be aware of. The challenge we have as an institution, and this is a legitimate challenge not one that’s just what you hear other say or maybe what other institutions say is that we have very few left from what we can cut without going vertical. Right, you can shave horizontally all that you want; you can take 2 or 3% - if you look at that average department that’s 75-80% people, they have 20% support dollars. You can’t take much more of those support dollars. We are already operating at the bare minimum. So what happens at some point, if we continue to have an experience in budgetary cuts, is you’ve got to cut vertically; you’ve got to take entire programs or entire departments out and that’s the impact. We’ve spent years looking at this, and it is very different to find a function at this institution that is not providing some value to the institution and not some positive outcome that helps to be the institution which we are today. So it’s just very devastating when you have to cut growth, and that’s not something that we want to do. I’m more of an optimist, I’m hoping that this is the worst and that we’re going to start to see and have the ability to grow. What I mean by that is if you look at the operating budget of the institution, it’s been around $440 million dollars for the last few years. We have an expenditure problem, inflationary increases, mandated costs, we want more students, and our costs are going up where that revenue is staying the same. We’ve got to grow the revenue. We’ve got to be able to be where when we increase tuition, that’s more money that comes to the institution that we’re able to use that to at least sustain ourselves if not be a better institution. Students are paying more, the more they want and demand, as they should, better services. We’ve got to grow that $440 million, we’ve got to start growing that again and that’s one thing we’ve got to start doing in fiscal year 2013. Many of us are very hopeful that that’s going to be the case. The focus, always, is how do we protect the core? The Chancellor has talked about that consistently, all the decisions and focus of the Budget Crisis Committee is on the core, and how we continue to always remember that our primary purpose is academics; that is our primary vision, and how do we protect that to the bare minimum? You may be aware of the conversations that continue about reorganization? There’s been a good series of articles in the Advocate as well as in the Reveille about that, and the Provost has spoken openly about that. Those discussions are proceeding, and those are things that we will present to the Board of Supervisors at the appropriate time in the coming months. That will help us operate differently as an institution, more efficiently as an institution and still provide the same value for our students in what we believe will be better outcomes for our students and those academic programs. I’m about to transition into La Grad Act 2.0. Any questions about the budget?
Q: What’s the impact on retaining faculty? Has there been any effect on retaining faculty?
A: It’s devastating. We just lost one who went to the University of North Carolina. So, it’s devastating, and that’s one of the reasons why the Chancellor wrote a narrative that accompanied the fiscal year 2012 budget to the LSU Board of Supervisors and in that narrative, the Chancellor said we have to determine a way to provide a change in composition, a pay raise for our faculty staff in fiscal year 2013, if not before and that’s a challenge. We are going on three years without any change in compensation for faculty and staff. It is a challenge on recruitment as well. We’re back open for business, right? We’re hiring an Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost this year, we’re hiring a Vice Chancellor for research this year, we’re hiring a Chief Information Officer for Information Technology Services this year, and faculty hires. I hope you’re sensing in your departments, I know I can speak for a number of you that I know well, that we’re hiring again in those departments. It’s time to start since we’ve had a tough couple years; it’s time to start seeing the future. We’ve got enrollment looking good. We’ve got our retention rates going up, graduation rates are up and have never been higher. The graduation rates I think we are going to see next year are going to be unbelievable. We’ve got some really good things going on. But, the faculty is a real challenge, as well as I’d say on the staff side. Think about the Deans that we’ve lost; I would consider them more of administrative staff and faculty. We’ve lost some good people. Are there any other questions?
Alright, let’s talk about La Grad Act 2.0. So in these challenging times, there are some positives as well. We have a governor that is very supportive of our education. The governor helped lead an effort to pass Grad Act 1. What did La Grad Act 1 do? It allowed the institution to receive permission to go up 10% on tuition and fees each year, provided we sign an agreement that said we meet certain performance targets primarily with retention, graduation rates, and number of degrees, there’s a couple other factors, but things that we’re already doing that we wanted to do anyway, and it assigns us certain numbers we have to achieve. We have to achieve those numbers in order to have the authority to go up 10% in tuition and fees. We received that authority again this year, and as I mentioned we did go up 10% on tuition at least for our resident students. The non-resident fee went up 15% this year as it did last year. So La Grad Act 2.0 was passed in this legislative session. It is transformational. It will transform this place and has the ability to transform higher education in the State of Louisiana, because it says what flexibilities on autonomies do other flagships have; what do other institutions that are competing against LSU have that we could have here at LSU. So we went through a process – nothing that you’re going to hear is novel, maybe novel to us, but it’s already happening at other institutions in higher education. It’s acting more focused on the outcome, it’s acting in a more entrepreneurial way, it’s protecting – this is not about accountability or transparency; that stays exactly the same if not greater- this is about the ability to get to the lowest price, it’s about the ability to put more dollars in the classroom, this is about the ability to do things differently and to achieve better outcomes. So there’s four areas in La Grad Act – I’m going to mention some of those just briefly. So, procurement, risk management, investments, and facilities. So this is the legislation, HB 1171 which talks about La Grad Act 1 and then it talks here in the end about the autonomies; and it talked about procurement and construction regulations. So this year we had HB 549, La Grad Act 2.0, and there are three levels: base, intermediate, and high. You qualify for those certain levels based on performance criteria. You qualify for high if your graduation rate is within 5% of your peers – at LSU, our peer institution is 62-63 and we’re at 61, so we’re within 5 points. So the high level gives you the ability to participate in the Pilot Procurement Code, the ability to get out of the state’s risk management program, authority to administer certain self-generated and other funded facilities projects, as well as make changes to the investment plan. So let’s talk about the Pilot Procurement Code. What does that mean? We modeled this off of the University of Kansas – this is what they did in the state of Kansas – and they did something very similar where they had a three-year pilot. There’s one institution that will develop the Pilot Procurement Code; we have asked for that to be LSU and we have actively been developing this Procurement Pilot Code. We have engaged a consultant to help us write this Pilot Procurement Code. We have looked at about every other state we can get our hands on. We have looked at all the models out there. We’ve looked at something called the Module Procurement Code which is built by the American Bar Association; and that will be the basis of our new Procurement Code. We will go through a process over the course of this year, building with the expectation that we will begin July 1 of next year, and it will be a three-year pilot. At the end of the three years, we’ll evaluate it and then see if it’s successful, see if it’s approvable by the legislature to make it permanent for not just LSU but for all of higher education in the state that qualify. Today, we do not have the ability to get to the lowest price, simple as that. So we can talk about the beaker we paid three dollars for that through the ability to strategically source it we can pay two dollars for it. We can talk about the lab coat where we’re not going to a faculty member and saying that we want something that’s a substitute – this isn’t the no name brand, this is the same brand as that faculty member or staff member with the brand specific and it’s their decision what brand to use, we can save 25%. It depends on the product, of course, but I’m giving a couple examples. I think the number one saver now, if I recall is light bulbs. We can save tens of thousands of dollars buying the exact same light bulbs. So we’re not going to facilities saying hey we’re going to go through some new procedure and let’s retrofit every light bulb and we’re going to save the money in year 2012. We’re talking about saving that money in year 1. It would also include something called an E-Procurement System, which is, imagining, like an Amazon. Everyone knows what Amazon.com is. An Amazon for LSU purchases, where you’d be able to load up what you’ve purchased. Let’s say in your department, the thing you need more than anything else is office supplies every month, and you have a list, add what you want, and one person each month pulls it together and orders. Well, you’d be able to go in there and see what you ordered last month or what you ordered a year ago at the same time, and you want the same order, press a button, done, pay with your Procurement card, and it’s coming to you. It just makes things so much easier, your ability to get to comparables, your ability to understand if you like this, other people who bought this also bough x, y, and z, and you don’t have to worry about the price. The great thing about the E-Procurement System is it then goes out and it searches all these contracts that we have loaded and it finds the best price. So if you want a 3M post-it note, well that may be this cooperative purchase agreement in the western states of the United States, or it may be an Office Depot contract that we have loaded just for LSU, or it may be the state contract, or it may be a local company that happens to offer the best price on that. So, we don’t see a mix between local versus national material chaining; that’s not what we see, that’s not what we understand from others. But we are working through a very involved process with as many stake holders as we can to get input from. We have a consultant on board, we have internal focus groups that are happening and will continue to happen, external focus groups; but this is big and how big: first 5 years, over $20 million dollars in savings – real money. So that’s money that goes back into the classroom; that’s money we use for raises, that’s money that we have available to make this institution better. Any questions about this?
Alright, insurance, last year, we paid $13 million dollars of our $443 million dollar operating budget to Risk Management – that’s the state. And, if we had 400 workers’ compensation claims or 200 workers’ compensation claims, we pay the same. And if we took a million dollars of the university money and we said we’ll eliminate this workers’ compensation – we’re going to try to reduce the slips and falls, we’re going to fix that concrete where 3 people have slipped, we’re going to do everything we can to attack it – maybe one day we would see some savings. The point here is that we want the authority responsibility and we have the size and the scope where we could source it much better, much more inexpensively, something that could truly be managed. We are moving from a Risk Management Organization that reports risks to Risk Management Organization that manages risks. That’s what companies do, that’s what flagship institutions do. We’re not just a reporting agency where you fill out three pieces of paper and make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed; it’s how do we manage and mitigate risk? If we have more productivity, we have a better environment to work in; all we’re doing now is work. Brian Nichols, who I hope many of you know is also serving right now for the next few months as the interim Chief Information Officer, is managing and taking the lead in this unit and is doing a fantastic job. So this allows us to look at what other institutions are doing, it allows us to look at is it truly going to save us money. We’ve looked at one line of insurance workers’ compensation; we looked at about 12 institutions and what they pay versus what we pay. We paid over $3 million dollars, the others paid a low of $900,000 and a high of $2 million: the ability to save a million dollars on one line of insurance – and maybe that’s high, maybe we’re wrong. Maybe it’s $250,000, but that’s a lot of money - $250,000 pays for seven instructors.
Q: So you’re saying La Grad Act 2.0 allows us to develop our own and not go through the state?
A: So what we’re doing on risk management is we just released a request for information where we’ve put it out there. It’s a competitive non-binding process. We’ve allowed all these companies to come back and say this is what we would charge, how we would do it, this is what we’re thinking just to get some more landscape of what’s out there. We would build a plan over the next six to seven months of how to move away from the state’s insurance program and then it would need to be approved and adopted. There are of course various levels of approval. You’ve got to go to the Board of Supervisors, we’ve got to go – in the case of procurement – in front of the legislative committee on budget; there are various levels of approval and that’s what we’re trying to work on in the course of this year. So, we see procurement code and risk being a fiscal year 2013 implementation.
The next two that I’m going to talk about are actually going to be implemented in this fiscal year. We would build a plan and if that plan shows savings and is something we felt we could manage, understanding what other institutions are doing, but it doesn’t require us to. So we have kind of the better of both worlds. We could do fact-bonding but the autonomy exists.
Q: Ultimately the state has to approve?
A; Yes, the state, the divisions are going to have approval influence at a minimum if not approval rights on these. Any other questions?
Okay, the third is facilities. This is something that I believe is a game changer, so let’s talk about the parking garage. 40 years ago, we started talking about a parking garage – some of us didn’t work here yet – and now, we are actually building one. So we were able to borrow the money back for the parking garage this previous summer but we could not get a contractor on board until December. So for six months, we paid interest on money – we’re not talking about $100,000 right? We’re talking about tens of millions, that’s sitting in the bank that we can’t touch because there’s no need because we don’t have a contractor. That’s just one example. This will allow projects that are using self-generated revenue such as bond money where we go out and sell bonds in the auxiliary or cash. So let’s say athletics wants to do an upgrade, to Alex Box and they have cash, then we can manage those projects. When I say we, I mean Facility Services. What we do now is we get the money, we do all the work primarily in the facilities’ arena, and we send that money downtown and have to work with downtown to make that happen. We can do those things on the campus; we have the capabilities to do those things on the campus, and that transitions us in a way to where we believe we can save a lot of time. This is not going to save us millions of dollars in real money. So, in that example of the parking garage, would that have saved us tens if not hundreds of dollars? No doubt about it. But what I’m talking about how this is going to save us, going to move us into a different environment where we can manage and do these projects faster. Not a lot of dollars here in real money; in soft cost, huge. So this is really one of those things that produces better outcomes, we shave time off, and it does save money institutionally, but there’s not a number that I can give you that says it’s going to save you $20 million dollars. So $20 million dollars was procurement, risk management somewhere around $5-10 million dollars is what we’re estimating, there’s a few dollars in facilities – not big money. Any questions about facilities?
Last one, investments. This is big. Over $20 million dollars in revenue for the institution is what we estimate. So what we’re talking about here are things that the first five years of implementation will either generate or save the institution greater than $50 million dollars. It starts small and works big, so you can’t take 50 divided by 5 and say $10 million a year. It will be more than $10 million a year in year five and six; it will be less of course as we start up with year 1. So right now we have operating cash; our students pay their tuition and fees in July and August, and we collect that cash in, but we pay the bills as they come in – our employees’ salary is one of the largest expenses we have. Obviously, we don’t get paid twice a year; we get paid over the course of a month. So, that allows us to have excess operating cash. We invest that, and Senator Donna Torres and her team manage and work that along with the grateful assistants of the LSU Foundation Chief Information Officer. That is a sizeable amount of money depending on the time of the year. Auxiliaries, like athletics, also generate a lot of excess cash at certain times when fans pay for their tickets or pay their tradition funds. So all those funds are pulled together and those are invested. Right now, we are very limited in how we can invest those funds. We cannot invest those in municipals; it’s very prescribed how much money we can put into each little segment, or each little pot, as well as the time for maturity for those investments. So this flexibility allows us three things: to invest in municipals – and municipals are a lower risk than corporate based over the last couple decades and they pay, you think why would a tax organization want to be in municipals, because they’re paying 2.75% and the other investments are paying in the ones – it allows us to adjust the allocations and adjust the term. So we want to get into, let’s say, some mortgage-backed securities, you can’t buy a 2 year mortgage-backed security, right? Most of us have an 18, 20, 30 year mortgage. So we may need a 10 year mortgage security, we may want a 15 year mortgage security. We have certain investments that we’re holding for the auxiliaries that are 30 year investments – they can’t call that money for 30 years, so maybe we want to put that in 15 year money or 20 year money. It gives us more flexibility. So this autonomy, we’ve finished all the work, we are going to be up in front to the Board of Supervisors at the October board meeting, requesting the authority to implement this autonomy in January or as soon as possible. So, procurement plan, risk management, we’re going to finish working on this year is the plan, if we’re going to implement July 1st, the facilities, during the first quarter of next year and investments, now. Any questions about those four? Any thoughts, suggestions, things we haven’t thought about, or things for the future? Feel free to let me know.
We’re going to talk about Civil Service. We’re working on not necessarily a La Grad Act 3.0, but we’re working on what additional autonomies and flexibilities we need in the future and we have an administration and a group of leaders in the community called the Flagship Coalition – if you’ve not heard of them, it’s the business community leaders throughout the State of Louisiana, led by Sean Reilly, who’s the president of LAMAR, and Lane Grigsby who’s the former CEO and president of Cajun Contractors who is working with the institution on these types of flexibilities, these types of autonomies. We wouldn’t have Grad Act 2.0 if it wasn’t for the great work of the Flagship Coalition and of course the support of our government. Lastly, we had had some discussions about Civil Service, and I think at one time there was a discussion about where are we even going to be in Civil Service, do we want to get out of Civil Service, what’s for the best for this institution and how we can move this thing ahead and continue to improve as an institution? Well, there’s not anything in the La Grad Act about Civil Service. What we have is we are in ongoing discussions with the Civil Service Group – Shannon Templet who is the director of Civil Service – to look at greater flexibilities for the campus. There’s a wide range for these things. Everything from broad-banding positions to where there’s some more scope of positions where we’re not talking about we have a clerical operator one, clerical operator two, clerical operator three, clerical operator four, is there a way we can broad-band those positions? A lot of the reports and processes that we have to go through with Civil Service - if we had to file a Lay-Off Plan, certain paperwork would have to be signed, certain streamlines, those kind of processes. A lot of the discussion is around compensation. Maybe we don’t want a fixed 3 or 4% every year. Maybe we want a range – and you’ve heard Civil Service talk about this, the same way we look at the administrative staff and the academic staff, the way we look at the classified staff. So, when we look at a range-pull for the next year on the faculty and the administrative staff, what we may say is that it can be as low as a 0 and as high as a 6 with an average of 3; now that’s something we’ve said before. I don’t know if we can achieve that next year, but that’s an example. Why couldn’t we do the same thing for the classified staff? So, we’re looking at those types of things and Shannon has been talking about the pay for performance and other pay elements, not just for LSU; we want to be a pilot for some of these things. We’d love to pilot for a year and see how they’re working and see if they are successful.
Q: With the La Grad Act 1 and 2, is that our way out of budget problems, with more programs and more changes with autonomy? Or, are we going to need to rely on next year the state not cutting more money out of our budget?
A: We need to have some level of predictability on state appropriation. Everything propels – that’s your base, right? – Everything propels from that. So yes, if we want to grow that number I told you about to 440, we’ve got to have that state appropriation. We can have that stabilized and not be concerned with how that may go as high as $240 million a couple years ago and go down to the low hundreds; we’ve got to have a higher level of predictability on that. That is your base. You look at our total budget of the institution: $850 million dollars is our total budget, you look at that total budget and you look back at about 20 years ago, 40% of that was coming from the state. It was a different number, right? It wasn’t $850 million. You look at it today, and we’re in the low twenties, high teens. So, we’re in the right direction when we talk about peer institutions being in the 25%, that’s where we are; we’re already there. But the formula – we have a funding formula – that can be supported, that can be continued, that can funded to the best of the capability of the state and gives us a base of operations so then we know, as enrollment either stabilizes or grows – it has been very clear that we’re going to grow LSU into the low thirties, we’re going to get back somewhere between 31 and 33 – and as that grows, that’s going to bring in more revenue for the institution; that’s an addition. So, if we can grow enrollment, we can have some stability on the state appropriation and still have the ability to go up on tuition and fees, and lastly to implement these autonomies that save us money. You add these four things together; you start to see a different enterprise; you see where we have a little bit more control. Long-term, there’s no doubt LSU wants at the appropriate time and needs the ability to control our price. What other institution, or what other entity in the world, doesn’t control their price? So we have the ability to control our tuition and fees – it’s great to have the 10% flexibility, but in tough times – especially when we know we’re the greatest deal on Earth right? – over 90% of our freshman live in state or are on TOPS. Last year, a freshman on TOPS paid about $853, a semester to go to LSU. It’s a little bit more this year, but that’s the greatest deal on Earth. We have the ability to go up on the cost factor, and it’s not a cost factor sustained by enterprises, it’s a cost factor to grow an enterprise, to be a great institution. Are we happy being 128th in some ranking system put out by some magazine? Of course not. We’re going to have a plan and place to move that up and not be 128th. We’ve implemented that we’ve come a long way. The LSU story is an amazing one. You look at 1988, first year we put admission requirements in, so you look at 1987 that was the year right before that, our six–year graduation rate was 39%. Today, 25 years later about, we’re 62%. That’s an amazing story. There’s only one other institution we can find that’s gone up similar to that. So I mean that’s great, but 62 isn’t where we want to stop. Our peers are somewhere in the 63 maybe 64 range. And then our flagship peers, the institutions we inspire to be like, are 70. So I mean, a 6-year graduation rate, we’re not going to stop until we get to 70. Our first to second year retention rate, unfortunately, you’re over at Student Life and you know some of the things we get at Student Life, is that it’s still stacking; it’s not moving. We’ve got to move that first to second year retention rate. 84% is not going to cut it, we’ve got to be at 87% and we’ve got to move that to 90. Dr. McGuire is leading an effort to move us in on that more than we’ve done previously. There are a lot of good things here, and I really think we’re right there on that tipping point, I really do believe that and I think we can see that propel. I think what we’re going to see in our six-year graduation rate, and what we announce a year from now, and hopefully on the retention rate, we’re going to see some amazing jumps.
Q: I think when the Chancellor puts in his – in the dialogue when he talks to the system about really we need to look at the increases for faculty and staff, and I think you hear that in the paper, and I think there’s a lot of hopes that we will grab on to that, that’s a possibility. But could you tell us just a little bit about what that takes – let’s say we have the money, what does it take to make the approval? Can LSU, I mean it’s not just simply LSU saying we have the money and now we’re giving it. Who gives us the authorization to say we’re doing that? I think that would be a surprise to someone saying we want to get there and do that, and somebody else says they’re not letting us do it. And they’re going to say that I’m holding on to the fact that LSU is hoping to get to the place where there are increases, because I mean that’s a huge concern right now I know at least within staff and I’m sure within faculty.
A: Ideally what you would do, is when we start planning the budget for next year which begins January, February, March, and we’re planning the budget – and one thing that happens next year is the legislative session impermanently moves up, then we don’t have a budget until after the fiscal year begins. We don’t want to follow the motto of the federal government which hadn’t had a budget in I don’t know how long, right? We need to, we moved up which is going to help us, but to answer your question: January, February, March we will build that budget – we build it in. So we build in at whatever percent we think we can afford, understanding that there’s some stability on the state for appropriation. Once it’s built in, then it goes to the approval processes, approved by the Board of Supervisions; a board approves it. But, what we do have for this fiscal year, as you and me know, there is an executive board that does not allow permit changes in compensation. Civil Service for another year – this fiscal year, the employee permits are not getting raises. And the governor put in a government order that said the professional staff as well as the faculty aren’t getting any type of compensation savings unless you openly compete – there are a couple of exceptions – openly compete for a position, and there’s a couple other exceptions: material change in duties and responsibilities. So if there happened to be funds this fiscal year, let’s say in March or April, and for in this fiscal year that we wanted to consider some type of adjustment, that would take various additional approvals – ideally, you build it in the budget, we talk about it, everyone knows about it, Kristie’s at the table, her leadership is at the table talking about this, and we approve it together and then it goes to the board, and the board approves it. Response: I just think it helps sometimes to understand the process of what it means, what it takes to get to the end. Thank you."
Any other questions?
Q: With the great increase in our state, we attracted something, we’re doing something right, and others are looking at us. Do we think that – we know it has to be the beautiful grounds of the facility – what else demographically did we find out about that increase. Was it a dollar value? Is there proof, what caused that flux?
A: A couple things. That’s a very good question. The value proposition – what you pay versus what you get – the value proposition is very high for LSU. The more we talk about academics, the more we use athletics as the front door, all that’s wonderful; we’ve done that pretty well. The tipping point, the differentiator, for the last two years is that we built a true enrollment plan. Enrollment, there’s a little more science than art in recruitment and enrollment. Mary Parker, before she left, did a good job. And I think Dave Kurpius – we all know that Dave has taken the lead on that position now and is going to help us sustain it and grow it. But there is a science to it, and what I mean by that is we use different technologies to target individual students; we get into high schools that we’ve never been in before, especially out of state. The key of that, I’m not an expert; I’m telling you a little bit about what I’ve been told, is that you go into a Houston market place and there’s four private schools within two miles of each other, we never got one student. Well now we go to the four private schools; we placed someone in Houston, we placed someone now in Atlanta, and we’ve placed someone down in New Orleans. It’s all relationship-based. Those counselors play a huge role in where those students go to school. In Louisiana, what you fight candidly, is that a Southeastern or a ULL or a Tech, they’ll buy us figures, they want the 25 – we want the 25, but we’re going to try to pay a lot more to the 30 and the 32 and the 33, right? Well what we give for a 25, which is TOPS, versus what they may give to a 25, are two different things. We’ve got to in some way – the Nick Saban philosophy; even the DiNardo philosophy, you know that you’ve got to take care of the base. There is no doubt that we need to make sure that every single student is qualified in the State of Louisiana. We want buyers to come to LSU. If we want them, we have a responsibility to the citizens, right? If we want the best opportunity for them to be successful, where are they going to get it? They’re going to get it coming to LSU. I’m not saying that they won’t be successful at other places, but they’re going to have the best opportunity here. So, to answer your question, is next year we need to do a better job inside the state. Outside of the state, we’ve done a better job because we’ve done the size, we’ve done the other institutions, we’re buying lists, we’re targeting individual students, we’re doing the appropriate follow-up, we have a chain of communication campaign, that the Office of Communications and University Relations plays a huge role in it, they do a great job from students calling to students coming on campus. Students come to the spring invitational – the number of those students who enroll at LSU is 90%. It’s a guarantee, it’s a check box, it’s a grow student invitation. I served as the Interim Director of Student Life for about 18 months and we had a challenge over there. What I would tell parents, they’d come and they’d ask, I want my Johnny to be successful or my Sue to be successful, and what I told them is here’s what you do: they live on campus, they join an organization, candidly the Greek organization is a real good choice, and you get to know what the Center for Academic Success is all about. You do those three things, and the retention from the first to second year is off the charts. We could count on our hands how many people don’t come back. So, those are the kind of things that we have to focus in on. But to answer your primary question, I got off on a tangent – sorry – is we started doing it more scientifically and now, it’s like recruiting for student athletes, you get to a base, it’s easier to remain at that base than to pop up. We’ve got to do a better job on transfers. We’re doing a good job on freshman; we’ve got to do a better job on transfers. We know 6,700 students – that’s what we need – no, 6,500: 5,000 freshman, 1,500 transfers, that’s 6,500 students. We bring in 6,500 students, we grow the graduate enrollment to 20% and that’ll yield about a 32,000 student population at this institution.
Q: I know that we’re not looking forward to fiscal year 2013, but are we going to look auxiliary side as we look at the academic side merging departments to kind of save money? And also, what auxiliaries, such as the Student Union and Residential Life, are we making a push more for them to go out of the box in generating, in self-generating preventatives and things like that?
A: Yes, That’s a good question. At LSU we have to be committed to investigate all opportunities, whether we’re in sourcing, doing things differently – you’re right; it’s not just the academic side. On the administrative side, as I’m sure many of you are aware, we closed an auxiliary this last fiscal year. There was a procurement auxiliary service that primarily ran our print operation that we closed because we got out of the business. We determined that it was costing us money. The story about that is that we had a number of LSU employees in that operation. At the end of the day, the number that we had to lay off was a couple because we worked with Mary Stebbing who led that operation helped to find locations on this campus for almost every one of those employees. But, we have to be committed. We have to be committed on all sides to look at the best way to achieve the outcome. And, that department – it’s not a function of the people; it’s a function of the time. You know, print operations are just not what they used to be. Think of what you do in your offices – we just don’t print very much anymore. So, that’s one. Secondly, we made the decision that University Auxiliary Services and the Student Union are merging; two units are coming together as one. In reality, what it used to be, because many of those services were in the Student Union at one time. So, we’re going through a process right now – Shirley Plakidis, long-term director of the Student Union, is retiring. So it gave us an opportunity in Finance and Administrative Services to look if there’s a better way to do it. So I asked Shirley and Jason Tolliver who runs our auxiliary services group to get together and to explore – nothing’s off the table, let’s think out of the box to other institutions, what are they doing? Here’s a clean slate, come back with a plan and they both came back in agreement that this was the best plan to merge those two units together. Short term, not going to save a little bit – maybe 50 grand – but we think that in the first three to five years, we’re going to save $300,000 dollars a year. So we don’t have to have a business and assistant business manager here – we can look at taking that as an example as things evolve, we’re not going to fire anyone; as people transition we can probably run that same unit in this example in three. Does that answer your question"? Response: Yes.
Vice Chancellor Eric Monday thanked the Staff Senate for being able to present today.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – August 17, 2011, Staff Senate Meeting
Page 2, Paragraph 7, line 7 reads:”Unplug” which about is should read:”Unplug” which is about
Page 4, Paragraph 2, line 15 reads: the future there looking should read: the future they are looking
Page 10, Paragraph 4, line 2 reads: President’s Report? should read: President’s Report,
A motion to accept the minutes as amended was made by Senator Collins. The motion, seconded by Senator David, carried.
President Galy reported that on August 17, she attended her first University Council on Women Committee Meeting. It was an introductory meeting and Provost Hamilton came and said a few words. The members were asked to pick a subcommittee group to work with which would be Childcare, Reorganization, or Staff Mentoring.
Galy reported that on August 26, she attended the Board of Supervisors Meeting with President-Elect Gothreaux. The Board approved the operating budget.
Galy reported that on August 29, she was selected to be on the subcommittee reviewing the letter of application and job description for the Provost search. They made some minor changes and it moved forward to the larger committee.
Galy reported that on August 30, she attended the Provost’s breakfast. LSU Brand Ambassadors was discussed by the Office of Communications and University Relations. Each department/academic unit will have a “go to” person in CUR. Dr. Gil Reeve and Dr. Bobby Matthews discussed the Degree Program Assessment Cycle and the critical dates.
Galy reported that on August 31, she, President-Elect Gothreaux, and Past-President Verma met with Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope. They discussed trying to develop a state-wide staff governance network…with the help of President Cope and his faculty senate colleagues. The next Statewide Summit is on Saturday, September 24 at LSU Alexandria at 10am if anyone would like to join them and become a part of those discussions.
Galy reported that on September 6, was the monthly executive committee meeting.
Galy reported that on September 14, she attended the Provost Search Committee meeting. The committee was notified that the search firm has been selected. Also, on September 14, she had an introductory meeting with Eric Monday. They discussed many of the items he spoke about today and she relayed Staff Senate’s willingness to help and work with the administration.
Galy reported that on September 15, the first Communications Committee meeting was held. The committee went through the website and made a few changes/suggestions for Melonie Holden, Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator to make on the website. The committee discussed the newsletter and the Facebook page.
Galy reported that on September 16, she attended the University Council on Women Committee meeting. The sub-committee she will be working on is Staff Mentoring. Galy sees a lot of collaboration potential with this group and the professional committee. Later that day, she was interviewed by Tiger TV about the Chancellor Service Spotlight Award. Earlier that month, they were interviewing the Chancellor and he mentioned the Chancellor Service Spotlight award. They spoke with the two winners, Ms. Winnie Netters and Senator Igor Matkovic. It aired yesterday and Galy hopes to get the link so we can show it at one of our meetings, link it to the Facebook page and the new website. Congratulations to Senator Matkovic!
Galy reported that on September 19, the Provost Search Committee met and they were introduced to the search firm. The Chancellor’s Executive Staff meeting was cancelled.
Galy reported that on September 21, she met with the Provost Search Committee. They are in the process of finalizing the advertisement and letter of announcement.
President Galy reported that the Communications Meeting was held on September 15, 2011 and the report was attached to the meeting packet. The committee discussed the fall Staff Senate newsletter. Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope will contribute an article on the State-wide Staff Governance from the faculty’s perspective and President Cody Wells will also contribute an article on what the Student Government is doing. Senator Torres will do an article on past Staff Senate President’s and what are they doing now. A few other articles were mentioned and hopefully the newsletter will be ready for circulation in October.
Senator Thibodeaux reported that the Professional Committee met on September 14, 2011 and the report was attached to the meeting packet. The committee discussed holding the New Staff Reception this fall but when the new hire list was received, the committee noticed there were only about 60 new hires, so that may change how the committee plans this event this year since it has been about 200 new hires in the past. The committee discussed possibly some personal Senator outreach as our goal.
The Lunch & Learn is scheduled on October 24, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. in the Lawton room in the LSU Stadium. We will have Verge Ausberry, Senior Associate Athletic Director and Nikki Caldwell, the new Women’s Basketball Coach Guest speak. There will also be a tour of the facility as well.
Holiday on Campus
Senator Kimball reported that the Holiday on Campus committee met on August 31, 2011 and September 14, 2011. The committee discussed moving the date of the event from following the Candlelight Celebration on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving as this seems to be a very long day for parents. The committee explored moving to that following Friday but the problem that came up is that concentrated study starts on the Wednesday following Thanksgiving. It would not be possible to get Mike the Tiger, the Golden Girls, etc. So, the committee decided that the struggles of the long day don’t out weight the school spirit which the committee strives to have present. Holiday on Campus will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at University Recreation. The committee is now focusing on expanding activities and updating our logo for publicity purposes. The committee will update Senators periodically about ideas for volunteering and donations. Senator Kimball encouraged Senators to please consider donating leftover Halloween candy or purchasing at least two bags on sale for the goodie bags that will be given to the children who attend.
President Galy reminded everyone that Staff Senate will be participating in Fall Fest again this year, which will be held on September 30, 2011, by handing out sno-cones. She encouraged everyone to sign-up to help volunteer. A sign-up sheet was circulated for participation.
Senator Carruth reported that the Scholarship Committee met on September 15, 2011. President Galy attended and gave an overview of the committee. The committee reviewed the previous year’s proposed amendment to the current criteria for the undergraduate GPA requirements for the Staff Senate Fee Support Scholarship to change from 2.75 to 2.0 and that has been put into place. The committee will award two scholarships awards in the fall and two in the spring under these new guidelines. The committee also discussed the Holiday Door Decorating Contest. The theme of the contest will be determined at the next committee meeting.
Council of Staff Advisors
Past-President Verma reported that the Council of Staff Advisors met on August 26, 2011. Dr. Rasmussen gave an overview of the August Board of Supervisors Agenda to the council which included some amendments to some of the coach’s contracts. The council recently elected the new officers. The council discussed some of the issues that they are facing on each campus which includes motivation. The council discussed some ways to increase motivation among each campus. The State-wide Summit was discussed and council members were invited.
Senator Sirman reported that she attended the Campus Communicators meeting on September 8, 2011. The report was included in the meeting packet. Sirman highlighted that the Office of Communication and University Relations is working on how they approach their communication requests. Each department will have an account manager that will work directly with the Office of Communication and University Relations on these requests. There was also an idea presented on the LSU Brand Ambassadors who champion the LSU brand and promote its importance. There is a new tool called SCVNGR “Scavenger Hunt” which is a social media and gaming application which will be used to promote student retention and recruitment. Students will discover facts, find hidden resources, and win prizes. They plan to highlight at Fall Fest.
Office of Group Benefits
President Galy announced that Shanteal Baker with Accounting Services submitted a liaison report from the Office of Group Benefits meeting on August 17, 2011, which was included in the meeting packet.
Staff Senate Shirts
President Galy announced that the Staff Senate t-shirts have been ordered and will be delivered before Fall Fest and asked that all Senators who volunteer to wear the new shirt at the event. The Staff Senate will also offer some other options beside the free t-shirt available for purchase which are the polo shirts, cardigans, button down shirts, dri-fit shirts, or vests. Melonie will gather orders and place with Dream Silk Screens. She will also circulate a link to view the products on line before ordering.
Frequently Asked Questions/Web Site
President Galy encouraged Senators to submit any common frequently asked questions that the Senate should post on the newly designed web site which is set to launch soon.
Benefit of the Month
Senator Torres announced that the Benefit of the Month is a reminder that the Student Health Center will offer flu shots to staff for a very good price and is also conveniently located. Torres also announced that the Faculty Club is an organization that any staff member can join for $75 a year. Some of the benefits are 15% off of meals at the Faculty Club, a continental breakfast every morning, and every Friday from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., there is a “TGIF” where wine and beer is served for $1 each.
Staff Senate Gift Fund
President Galy reminded everyone to please donate to the Staff Senate Gift Fund which is used for flowers or donations upon death of a current or former Senator, a wedding of a current Senator, newly welcomed babies of a current Senator, and retirement of a current or former Senator.
Committee Meeting Schedules
President Galy encouraged Chairs to begin setting their schedules and forward those to Melonie Holden as she attends for additional support. Galy mentioned that she will attend as many meetings as she can as well.
General Circulars No. 2011-024, 025, 026, 028 & 029
President Galy announced that the September meeting packet included General Circulars No. 2011-024, 025, 026, 028 and 029 for review by Senators.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Galy announced that Senator Tim Fields celebrated his birthday on September 3 and Senator James Frazier celebrated his birthday on September 6. “Happy Birthday”
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Senator Carruth moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Senator David, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Blake Winchell, Secretary