STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES November 16, 2011
President Kristie Galy presided over the November 16, 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)
A Chaney, Carolyn (’13)
A Dixon, Evelyn (’13)
A Matkovic, Igor (’14)
P Carruth, Holly (’12)
Pr Chiasson, Denise (’12)
P Fields, Tim (’12)
P Frazier, James (’12)
P Livingston, 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)
Pr David, Emmett (’14)
P Gothreaux, Chad (’14)
P Millican, Tammy (’14)
P Moreau, Scott (’14)
P Perkins, Julie (’14)
Pr Heil, Mark (’12)
P Adedeji, Funmilayo (’13)
Pr Pierce, Renee (’13)
P Sirman, Karen (’13)
P Love, Donna (’14)
Pr Brown, Ruby (’12)
P Cooley, Judith (’13)
P Magee, Betty (’13)
Pr Collins, Judy (’14)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
Dr. Katie Cherry, Department of Psychology
Dr. Priscilla Allen, Social Work
Marie Frank, Office of Purchasing
Cynthia Payton, LSU Union
Felecia Jones, Student
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Galy at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with six proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Carruth led the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Galy introduced guests: Dr. Katie Cherry with the Department of Psychology, Dr. Priscilla Allen with Social Work, Marie Frank, Director with Office of Purchasing, Cynthia Payton, LSU Union, and Felecia Jones, student.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – October 19, 2011, Staff Senate Meeting
A motion to accept the minutes was made by Senator Landry. The motion, seconded by Senator Guillory, carried.
GUEST SPEAKER – Dr. Katie Cherry, Department of Psychology and Dr. Priscilla Allen, Social Work
Staff Senate President Galy thanked Dr. Katie Cherry and Dr. Priscilla Allen for coming to speak to the Staff Senate regarding the study on Ageism that they are working on.
Dr. Katie Cherry is a Professor in the Psychology Department and she mentioned that she has met some of the Senators in other settings. She introduced Dr. Priscilla Allen who is an Associate Director with LSU Social Work. Dr. Cherry and Dr. Allen have been studying how people relate to older adults, which actually began in 2004. She and Allen are studying adult development and aging, and they have been working on this project for the past couple of years, and are in need of research volunteers to complete a survey. Dr. Cherry mentioned what they are doing and why and pointed out that they’ve brought a stack of campus mailers along with her if you’re interested in being a survey participant. “It would just be a matter of picking up the envelope, or picking up two or three if you want to share with your colleagues, and completing a survey which takes approximately fifteen minutes or so and then just dropping it in the campus mailer that’s pre-addressed back to me.” Dr. Cherry explained that in the mailer, “you’ll find two things: first a cover letter from her which explains the project and provides some background and clarifies what they are doing and why, and then the second thing is the actual survey itself. There’s a cover sheet on the front that just collects background socio-demographic information. You do not have to put your name on it if you don’t want to, that’s voluntary, but the rest of the information helps us understand who our final sample is. This sheet will eventually be removed so that there won’t be any record of background information relative to responses. There are a total of three of these papers and pencil check the box surveys, the first one is simply a measure of how we relate to older people in our everyday life. There is no right or wrong answers. There’s a series of statements and a place to check never, sometimes, or often in terms of how we interact or relate to older people. The second is a measure of attitudes towards older people, and there are a series of statements to react to. The choices are strongly disagree, disagree, agree, or strongly agree. And again, there is no right or wrong answers. We’re just interested in learning what people’s attitudes are towards older people, so we can study how one’s attitudes might influence, how they interact or relate to older people. And by older people, we’ve operationally defined that as 65 and older, realizing that that is a very arbitrary distinction, but that is consistent with how social security views an older person. And then the very last item is more about attitudes towards self or people’s own perception towards themselves, and there are about ten, true or false in terms of how you think about yourself, because when we’re trying to understand how we think about and how we interact with others, it’s important to account for how we also view ourselves.”
Dr. Cherry would be most grateful if each Senator would be willing to complete this survey and drop it in the campus mailer sometime within the next week or so which would be very helpful. Dr. Allen added that this is an ideal group to hear from, and she doesn’t know if they have used the staff enough. Allen mentioned that they work with students so much. “We ask them so many questions and Allen is in Social Work, so some of them get a little weary of surveys and so forth. We’re studying healthy aging across the lifespan in our life course and aging center, so your input is very valued and will be a part of our study. “
Q: Could we take some back to our departments and have our co-workers fill out?
A: Yes, that would be very helpful.
Q: Could we give it to some of our students?
A: Dr. Cherry would prefer a non-student employee, simply because she and Dr. Allen have been sampling our classes and “we have, actually, very good representation in the 20ish age group. What we’re missing is the 30 plus segment of the lifespan.” Cherry also had the pleasure of serving as the keynote speaker for the Retirement Employees of Louisiana Organization in Lake Charles this fall. So, naturally, she had them complete the survey as well – never miss an opportunity to collect data. So she’s very confident that she’s represented the 65 plus folks with the surveys that she did this fall, but the big piece of the puzzle that is missing is the currently working 30, 40, and 50’s of the lifespan. So, she would prefer to have a non-student sample if possible.
Q: Are you looking solely for campus feedback?
A: Cherry mentioned if they’re working, if they have a state job, it doesn’t have to be an LSU employee.
Q: You just want state employees?
A: Cherry mentioned that this gives them a nice comparison because the other people she mentioned from Lake Charles were retired state employees, and by having current state employees, we can make a cleaner comparison.
Dr. Cherry prepared 60 envelopes in the assumption that you can take two or three back to departments and of course, this is voluntary.
Q: If, for instance, it looks like several people are taking several packets, can copies be made to give out?
Dr. Cherry’s contact information is in the letter, so if anyone has questions or needs more information, please don’t hesitate to contact her.
President Galy also thanked Dr. Cherry for the candy she has donated for Holiday on Campus!
Dr. Cherry mentioned that they would be happy to come back and present the data once the surveys are completed. Dr. Katie Cherry and Dr. Priscilla Allen thanked the Staff Senate for being able to speak today.
GUEST SPEAKER – Marie Frank, Director with the Office of Purchasing
Staff Senate President Galy thanked Marie Frank for coming to speak to the Staff Senate regarding the new procurement system at LSU.
Marie Frank, Executive Director of Procurement and Property Management introduced herself and mentioned that they have some exciting things going on with procurement. She feels very fortunate to be able to give some of this information to the Staff Senate today. We’re calling this procurement transformation because actually this is what is happening for procurement at LSU. Many of you have probably heard, multiple times about the LA GRAD ACTS that passed in the last couple of sessions. Frank gave a quick summary of what they are and when they happened; Act 741, which was effective June 2010, granted LSU the autonomy and flexibility to exchange commitment to meet some defined state-wide performance goals and it was supposed to give the university some flexibility, but it really didn’t give much. It was the opening of the door in regard to hearing LSU’s concerns and the challenges it faces in regard to the budget and the way the staff have to operate here at LSU in regard to the processes that go on through the state. More closely aligned to the operational autonomies was LA GRAD ACT 2.0 which was just passed this past spring, and it was effective July 2011, it focused basically on operational autonomies. There were at least four, maybe five, big initiatives and LA GRAD ACT 2.0 procurement only being one of them. Investment, insurance, facilities, and civil service basically were in there, but Frank is only going to talk about procurement.
“For procurement, it was a huge step forward, as far as letting us do something that could actually make some changes in some of the rules that the laws have caused us to have to stay within the confines of very bureaucratic processes. It basically granted three levels of autonomy: base, intermediate, and high. The base and intermediate are very specific to very specific things, such as professional contracts or information technology purchases or cooperative purchasing agreements which I didn’t plan on talking about because I’d like to talk about the high level, which is probably the most significant portion of the LA GRAD ACT 2.0 for LSU. It actually gave us the authority to participate in a pilot procurement code in lieu of going to the state and following the state procurement code. That’s a huge step forward. Basically, there were five institutions that were qualified to participate at a high level, LSU being one of them, ULL, Louisiana Tech, Southern, Shreveport, and McNeese. Frank is not sure how the state came up with these five schools. LSU has applied to initiate the pilot procurement code because LA GRAD ACT 2.0 actually dictates that there would be initial qualifying institution to develop promulgate rules for a pilot procurement code, and that is us. So, we’re going to be the leader of this. This is going to be a long, drawn-out process as you can see. We have to go through multiple levels of approval. The Board of Supervisors must approve this which we are hoping it will be heard at the February’s Board of Supervisors Meeting.”
“Then it will have to go to the Division of Administration for their approval. Then it will have to be promulgated in regard to the pilot procurement code; it’s going to actually be the pilot procurement code in the rules and that is a long, drawn-out process which includes public meetings and multiple levels of approval within the promulgation rules. If you were into the political processes, this is where the Louisiana Administrative Code is actually developed and approved by the legislature. So we’re hoping that this will be approved by May of 2012. Then we have to go to Joint Legislative Committee on the budget, and that was actually put in LA GRAD ACT 2.0 because they wanted to make sure whatever we came up with, they would bless. So, we have to go through another legislative process, which is sort of disheartening, but hopefully it will be the end of that particular process. Then we’ll be able to execute the pilot procurement code, and Frank is hoping that will happen by September 2012.”
Marie Frank explained that E-Procurement is the initiative that is parallel to the pilot procurement code and, if any of you attended the Business Management Meeting, we had a huge presentation on e-procurement, and Frank talked a little bit about e-procurement.
“It is a very robust way to buy things electronically. We are in the process of purchasing the software that will actually allow us to do this, to do electronic bidding, electronic signatures, electronic shopping; the whole way to do business. But the only way that we can do that, is to have a pilot procurement code that allows us to do that. So, those two things are parallel with one another and we will go live September with both e-procurement and the pilot procurement code which is their goal. Frank mentioned some of the things they’ve been doing which is very important as we understand what we spend here on campus, because before you can make decisions about what you’re going to do, you have to really know what you’re buying. Frank mentioned that we spent a total of $320 million in 2010; purchase orders represent $275 million whereas the procurement card purchases are about $45 million. So as you can see, most of the big purchases are done through purchase orders, small purchases are on the procurement card. When you look at transactional data, there are about 160,000 transactions; purchase orders only represent 12,000 which is a very small number of transactions: 148,000 transactions which is a lot of transactions going through the procurement card. It’s very important that we understand how we spend on campus, because none of this will work if we replace processes that people like. We can’t come in here and say we need to stop using your procurement card. We want to make sure how people like to buy, what they’re comfortable with, what they’re successful with. This is the type of data we use to make decisions. The pilot procurement code will do these things.”
Q: The spending, that’s all sources of funds, right?
A: All sources of funds.
“The pilot procurement code will give us the freedom of the bureaucratic processing that obviously slow the procurement processes down. All of us know that these processes take a long time, and it’s no one person’s fault. Sometimes we get caught up in; it’s your fault, it’s my fault – whatever – we have to get out of that; we have to get back into let’s figure out what is the best way for us to buy things, what’s the easiest way, and trust each other that we’re going to follow those processes. So, the pilot procurement code sort of does that. It gives us some freedom to make decisions and to write a pilot procurement that includes competitive limits that make sense. The procurement processes will be acclimated to a research and academic institution. The Louisiana Procurement Code is written for all agencies in the state; it’s not written for higher education. So, obviously, when we say we need something very specific but we need to buy it in a very specific way, the state is not sympathetic to that. We are hoping our pilot will actually deal with how we have to buy here in the educational institution and a research institution. We will have more selection at first dollar of spin, and what does that mean? Right now, though you saw $45 million dollars are being bought on procurement card which is all being bought noncompetitively and probably no basis. Some people are very careful that they actually go and get prices, but in most cases they don’t. They just go buy wherever and from whom ever; the easiest way, because that’s what the procurement card is all about: convenience. With the pilot procurement code and e-pro, we’re hoping to be able to put a method in place that you can actually do that just as easily, and yet there will be some strategic contracts that are put in place that you will be buying, also and unknowingly, in a competitive manner. Remember the procurement, the approval process you have to go through, the minute we start hitting the state or the legislature or the public that we’re going to double our competitive limits, what do you think they’re going to do? Well, there’s going to pushback. Frank believes there will be pushback, and so we have to be prepared for that and to be able to defend it; we have to be sure that we’ve done a lot of analysis to defend the decisions that they were not arbitrary decisions like the competitive limits are now; that we’re able to say that many research institutions have these limits and we are following the trend of the rest of the nation. Also the convenience of one stop shopping, where we add all of our items to a shopping cart to buy everything in one place and then click a button, putting your credit card, even your credit card being stored in there, and go on your way, and its delivered to you. We need something very similar to that, and Frank is hoping we can do that with procurement and to have the ability to strategically source here at LSU, we do very little strategic sourcing. Many of you buy the same things, but the process doesn’t put that together in an easy manner that purchasing could go. With this pilot procurement code and e-pro and spend analysis, this will be able to allow us to do that and make some strategic decisions, put some contracts in place, load it into an e-procurement system so that when a professor goes in there and buys a beaker, he can be assured that he is getting the best price, because that is how it’s based on the spend for the entire university, not just on his little spend.”
Marie Frank mentioned what the pilot procurement does legally is combines the laws that govern procurement: materials, professional services, and data processing. “Currently, they are three sets of laws that govern those. We’re hoping that the pilot procurement code will actually put all those together and no longer will we have to decide, is this a professional service, is this a consulting service, what limits, what are the differences in all these limits? We need to simplify those processes, and we need to say that competitive limit is $50,000, that’s it. These are the services you need. Let’s see what kind of processes you need to follow. So, no more separate processes for different types of contracts which creates less confusion.”
Q: Does this include construction?
A: Construction is not part of this.
Marie Frank explained that they’re hoping that the e-procurement codes will actually have the templates in it.
“You won’t have to guess the contract or what the contracts look like, you will actually be able to see them; they will be visible, transparent to all of you. We have that in “pro” to some degree if you really know how to maneuver in “pro” and you have a way to look up via vendor what purchase orders are issued and then go into the attachments and open the attachments which takes about three or four steps. Well, not so in e-procurement. We’re hoping that they will all be very visible, you’ll be able to click on it, and you can see the contract for the entire university; there won’t be individual contracts. More selection through strategic sourcing and that will result, obviously, in lower costs, because what am I going to do? I’m going to attempt to compete at dollar one, not compete at dollar fifty thousand and that’s kind of scary, but that means you have to know what you’re buying, what the departments are buying out there, put it together in a contract, not wait for you to tell you’re going to buy it again but to go out there and strategically source a contract, put it in place so the next time someone wants to buy it, it’s there, and it’s there at the lowest cost. So, they can use their procurement card to buy it, but unknowingly to them, they’re buying it under a contract at the lowest price. So, it will result in lower cost. Just think, if you could reduce your spending, we’re buying from procurement card for 10%. You saw it cost $45 million dollars, that’s a lot of money. What else the pilot procurement code will do is it will give us new competitive methods that are not available to us now. Reverse auctions is something that’s very new to the procurement industry in that it will allow a vendor to put a bid out, and we actually have the bidders bid against each other. Right now, we put a bid out, they bid on the specifications, we do an opening, and they’re bidding for lowest cost, and they don’t know each other’s lowest price, and they don’t have the opportunity to try to beat each other. If you’ve dealt with any of those online auction sites, that’s how reverse auctions are. Naturally, the vendors don’t like it, because if they set prices visible, they have to beat each other. For the first time, they have to beat each other, and they don’t always like but can drastically draw the cost down. Best and final offers, it’s sort of the same kind of thing in that it’s a more formal process in that it’s usually done for a request for proposals, where it’s not awarded for lowest cost only; it’s awarded from a weighted criteria that could include qualifications or experience or methodology or whatever is important to that solicitation and then, the bidders are allowed, after a proposal is provided, then you go to them and say this is what the bids we got and the proposals we got, do you want to come in and revise your proposal? So, it’s kind of like a reverse auction in that they’re bidding after each other again, but it’s a little bit different in that it’s not just lowest cost, because it may be that you just don’t like how they actually propose their methodology; you wanted a little bit more or a little bit less in what they were going to do. So, it gives them an opportunity to fix their proposal. We never had that opportunity to do that, but that’s how the business world does it and that is the best practice. Frank mentioned solicitations for offers which are actually for revenue-generated contracts, and we do those now, but there is no law that governs it. So, it’s time for us to put something in the law that will allow us to do it in the right way, and so it cannot be protested on or somebody file a lawsuit against LSU. Cooperative purchasing agreements is a huge thing in that LSU has never been able to participate in cooperative purchasing agreements like other states do. Other states actually have huge consortiums where they allow a competitive process that includes multiple governmental entities, they put a competitive process out, and they drive its industry into the lowest cost. You have this, to some degree, with your Dell Contracts. Your Dell Contracts are under a Cooperative Purchasing Agreement that we can participate in, but we’re not able to participate in all of them. Once we’re able to participate in all of them, then we’ll be able to drive the cost down to the lowest price, because it’s not only our spending; but it’s the spending of a number governmental entities grouped together to drive that price down. Career Services, alone, dropped 50% by us participating in a cooperative purchasing agreement and there are many others out there that we haven’t even had the chance to look at, to see what it’s going to do. Electronic procurement will allow us to do that. So, e-procurement is going to be the little driving force to make this all work. The pilot procurement code makes it possible; e-procurement makes it happen. E-procurement is going to give us an easier way to do it, to do it on a web-based system that we’re not afraid of, that looks like something we’re used to seeing, that we’re used to shopping for on the web, with no more of this trying to figure out what screens are what. It’s going to be much better, and it will be real-time competition. The software that we’re buying is called SciQuest and it’s actually a service, so it will not be hosted here at LSU. They specialize in higher education procurement, and they have partnered with multiple institutions across the nation and multiple, hundreds, thousands probably, vendors that they actually already have set up. So, when you send, prepare something that you want to buy, you are actually searching over a mega dose of information, not just LSU’s information. So, it will automatically help the procurement people to compete with a much greater audience than we are now. We started this to save money; we started this to save jobs, to save our faculty and staff here. We did not want to lay off people; we did not want to jeopardize the mission of LSU by closing colleges and all that. So, procurement became a way to find ways to save money so we could redirect the funds that are saved to other things, such as personnel. So we want to make sure to come up with ways not to compete in an easier way.”
Q: How does this save money – university money and university-wide?
A: “That is a valid question which would be for Finance and Administrative Services who makes those decisions. But, there are some other opportunities here. There are, in the strategic sourcing, there is a mechanism for us to actually request that a contract actually include a rebate. So, for instance, if you know we are going to spend $3 million in office supplies here at LSU, if we can go out for a bid and ask the vendors, we want to spend, we’re telling you that we’re going to spend $3 million in office supplies, what are the best prices you can give; the best discounts you can give on a per item basis, and we want you to give us a five percent rebate on the amount we spend. Well, 5% of $3 million is a lot of money, and that chunk will go to operating services. So, that can happen and those decisions will be made. But, for right now, we’re interested in where we can all save.”
Q: “So LSU is looking more at saving on a departmental level, also as well as the rebate being the savings going back to the university as a whole but both sides?”
A: “That’s right.”
Q: “To clarify, there isn’t any intent for Finance & Administrative Services to recoup any of the savings the departments make, or the intent to give you more buying power with dollars that you have. As we’re faced with more and more budget cuts, if we can spend what we have more wisely and more productively, it helps our budget dollars go farther?”
A: “And there’s no doubt, and this is across the board, because this is going to affect grants also, because you know Frank had a professor ask her well why are you worried about how much money you’re going to spend on office supplies or whatever on a grant when that amount has been dictated for that? Wouldn’t it make it much easier if, first of all, I’m hoping that e-procurement will also provide a mechanism for a professor to get more information for what it will cost in the future, because it also has that aspect. Right now, you have no planning tools in “pro” none whatsoever, whereas a professor now will be able to go in there, from a real-time market, will know how much a piece of equipment will cost him. It will be a better planning mechanism, and that way, you have that savings which can go to something else, such as salary or whatever, student workers or whatever. This was not done for us to take money away from departments; that was not the intention, never has been and has never been said to her. However, she doesn’t make those decisions.”
Response: “Oh I know it’s a bit of a squeeze, and if there are additional cuts, it would still be good, so. I just wasn’t sure because I heard something before about rebate and wasn’t sure if it was just something that would save the departments money or something in the form of a rebate or if it’s a combination of both of them.”
A: “It will be a combination. If we do a rebate on any one commodity, it will be done from the point of view. Frank has no intention of it costing departments more so we can get a rebate; that is not going to happen. It will mean that we’ve driven the prices so low, that now we can take advantage of a rebate and gear it towards operation.”
Response: “Some existing cooperative contracts already had the rebate built in. That’s something we’re making them do and the price is already better than what we’re paying right now.”
A: “Now that’s not to say that we won’t have to change our thought processes, here. If we go the direction of a vendor to do office supplies, we won’t have forty vendors we’re buying office supplies from. That means we’re buying it from one vendor. And so, we have to be sure that we can sell that to those people that are buying; that they will no longer just get in their car and drive to Office Max or drive to a Wal-Mart and buy office supplies. They’ll go into e-pro, they’ll order it, and it will be here in 24 hours. And they’ll charge their procurement card, and it’s going to the lowest vendor whose cost they could buy it for.”
Marie Frank mentioned spend analysis to continue to use your procurement card.
“That’s the whole thing about an electronic procurement system, you can actually go in there, put in a requisition, go in and we can do an electronic bidding process without having all these that are missed, for us to get an ad into the Advocate, which is required by law, we have to wait a week. So a week is loss. Then we have to do a ten-day bid, so, a lot of the time is lost. With electronic bidding, its real time with no time lost. Frank showed the group what SciQuest looked like, and what it is, is you can shop everything; you can shop multiple things, you can put in there, specific things. Frank demonstrated how a professor could go on, opened up e-pro, and said okay I definitely want to buy something with Dell, they could just click on Dell and bring up a contract and whatever items we have up, we have put on contract. There will actually be a punch-through to the Dell site, similar to when you go to Dell and order from Dell now; it’ll actually punch through to it. What if someone was looking for a blue-file folder, all the choices of blue-file folders that we have put under contract would come up with the prices, and you see where it says “Add to Cart,” you would click on it, add it to cart, and it would go in a cart. He doesn’t have to worry about it being with one vendor; he can do it with multiple vendors. It brings up multiple vendors. Every price we ever had or that is in SciQuest for blue-file folders. Now obviously, you want to see much more specific, because if you do pencil, you’re going to have so many choices. So, people, as they get more comfortable with this and understand how it works it’ll give us information about suppliers that are available, how many items are coming from those suppliers; a lot more information. You will see the difference with this and “pro”. Once they have chosen and shopped, then it goes out and creates purchase orders for each of the vendors in one hit, electronically, if it’s below a threshold, it will automatically send the purchase order to the vendor; no interaction with purchasing. It takes us out of the easy transaction. We don’t need to be fooling with the easy transactions that the departments and faculty can do on their own; they’re used to buying things, and you’re used to buying things.”
Q: “So, what you’re saying is instead of purchase order under a certain amount, there is no fee required; it’s going to be the contract fee?”
A: “Yes, but you’re going to have to rethink your whole way of doing purchase orders, the department will have the ability and authority to issue a purchase order to the vendor directly under a certain dollar amount and for contracts we’ve negotiated already. So the benefits of the pilot procurement code and e-procurement are reducing operating costs, because it’s going to be hosted technology; we won’t have to worry about keeping this technology up. The license will automatically include two upgrades a year which they will automatically do. They have a whole staff of people that will take care of the technology, so it takes us out of having to worry about how the technology works, how the software works, and more on how we’re going to use the software. The pilot procurement code will give us so much freedom and will save the users time.”
Q: “Should we continue to get supplies through University Stores?”
A: “They will be a retail outlet just like all the other. They will be a store just like the others and their pricing will come up as well.”
Q: “So, are they prioritizing, or do we know? I mean they’re not going to be bidding?”
A: “No. We will strategically source codes for some university stores, such as Paper. They are going to continue to be the supplier of paper on campus because it’s central delivery. But, otherwise, they will have contracts just like everyone else, and you can procure. It may be a little higher cost and you can choose to buy from University Stores because you may need it right away. University Stores is also trying to figure out what their role is going to be in all of this, so they may decide that they’re no longer going to carry some things; it may not be worth it, the campus can get it in twenty-four hours, delivered to their desk. We have to rethink how we do business here because you can get more for less, and that’s going to come from getting better supplier contracts. We don’t have enough good supplier contracts. With the cooperative purchasing agreements, we’ll be able to participate in very large contracts and get very competitive pricing and more selection by connecting the users to the suppliers. The suppliers in SciQuest actually load their catalogues to the site, so when you’re looking for something, you’re actually looking at their entire catalogue that they have. And remember, we negotiated a gigantic discount on the front end. So, what is going to happen on the transformation of purchasing is that we are going to go from a transactional department to more of an analytic department; someone that is strategic and analytic, because what we’re going to do is we’re going to look at the spend, decide campus wide or per department. For instance Veterinary Medicine which is kind of a little city of its own, it might be important to look at how they spend, what their needs are, what special needs they have in a clinical environment. We might need to look at that and decide what we need to do to help them in particular. We’ve never had the chance to do all that and, it’s going to be nice for a change to be able to do that, to make much better decisions based on the information that we find out and then, after the spend happens, you put the contracts in place, everybody buys, you can continue to analyze through the life of the contract so at strategic points in the life of the contract, you can look and decide if you need to renegotiate the contract or not.”
Q: “What’s the cost of SciQuest?”
A: “The initial cost will be $500,000 for the implementation, and then the license will be about $800,000 per year”.
Q: “Are they adding in our suppliers, or will we actually have someone on staff doing that?”
A: “We’re going to strategically source, so we’re going to decide on many suppliers. So for instance, there’s one cooperative purchasing distortion that includes ten companies already; that’s called E&I. So when we say we’re going to participate in the E & I contortion, it automatically adds ten categories, ten catalogues to our site – one of them being Granger, Dell, and Fisher Scientific. We can load them all in and find out which one has the lowest price. So, it’s not a matter of where we have to make a choice and just go in with one. We can actually, once we are able to participate with the pilot procurement code, because the current code does not allow us to do that.”
Q: “So would local vendors have the opportunity to put their catalogues in there as well?”
A: “Yes. It doesn’t stop us from bidding; the process will still be there.”
Q: “We can still bid…and load it. That can always be done?”
A: “Yes, we can always do that at any time. We’ll still have a certain amount of staff that will do pure commodity procurement, but don’t you think it is going to be reduced dramatically? Because, when they’re able to go online and see that they can buy a Dell computer for $500, you know, whereas they got a quote for $1500, they’re probably just going to buy it for $500 and not going to go I want to form a bid on this.”
Q: “How about the quality of the specifications?”
A: “The same problems that exist today are going to exist in the future. If you do not write the specifications in the way you need or to reflect what you want to buy, you’re going to have the same problems. Specification writing is one of the, probably, weakest part we have here on campus. We haven’t had the time really to spend with departments. Hopefully this will help us to do that, and people will write better specifications.”
Q: “If Dell is on contract, you just chose to purchase it even if it doesn’t meet your requirements. Can we find another option or do a competitive process?”
A: “If you bid it out, it will go to the lowest bid but when you were looking at item it doesn’t require you to select the first item that comes up. You can select the one that meets your needs it doesn’t have to be at the lowest cost. The department will have the freedom to do that.”
Marie Frank thanked the Staff Senate for being able to speak today.
President Galy reported that on October 19, she attended the University Council of Women meeting. Members broke into committees and discussed the goals of each committee. Members will be presenting at the next Provost’s meeting on November 30. Galy is on the Staff Mentoring Committee and they are researching other institutions to see if they have policies and how we can begin one here.
Galy reported that on October 25, she met with the Chancellor and Rachel Henry to give him an update of the Staff Senate. They discussed him attending the New Staff Reception and briefly speaking as well as Holiday on Campus on Nov 29th. Galy also gave him an update on the Lunch and Learn with Nikki Caldwell and Verge Ausberry. Galy reported great news, he agreed to put the President’s plaque in the Chancellors office somewhere.
Galy reported that on November 1, the Executive Committee met and Dr. Katie Cherry who discussed the Ageism study presented on her study and her request to survey the Staff Senate Group.
Galy reported that on November 3, she attended the Long Range Review and Planning Committee meeting. She will let the Chair report later during the meeting.
Galy reported that on November 7, she chaired the communications meeting. The website is live and looks great. Galy mentioned a big “Thank you” to Melonie for doing a great job. The committee is in the process of compiling the newsletter, hopefully next week it will go out. The committee decided that we want our constituents to go to our new website so we will direct the resources to the website. Galy also attended the Quality Enhancement Plan Meeting for SACS Reaffirmation of accreditation. It was an informational meeting where we looked at the charges and the members introduced themselves, more to come in the spring.
Galy reported that on November 8, she was honored to attend lunch with the Chancellor, Senator Igor Matkovic and his supervisors for his Chancellor Service Spotlight Award. It was awesome and Galy was so excited to be included. Galy reported that she also attended the Budget and Finance and Governmental Relations Committee meeting. She will let the Chairs report later during the meeting.
Galy reported that on November 9, the New Staff Reception was held. There were about 60 people who attended. It was a great event. Thanks to the Professional Committee and our vendors for such a great showing.
Galy reported that on November 14, she met with Student Aid and Scholarship with Senator Torres and Chair of the Scholarship Committee, Senator Carruth and have ironed out some issues we were having with the Staff Senate scholarship. There will be a report by Senator Carruth to follow.
Galy reported that on November 16, she attended the Provost Search Committee meeting. We will not meet again until January 25, 2012.
Budget & Finance/Governmental Relations Joint Committee
President-Elect Gothreaux reported that the Budget & Finance/Governmental Relations Joint Committee met on November 8, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. Tommy Smith, Director of the Office of Budget & Planning gave an update on the budget. The big issue is whether or not there will be a mid-year budget cut. The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference has not yet scheduled their meeting to revise the revenue forecast for the current fiscal year, but it is expected sometime in December. In the meantime, the Deans have been asked to hold back funds in anticipation of possible midyear budget cut. Senator Torres provided a finance and administrative update on the University. She discussed the proposed recovery of tuition and fringe benefits on all graduate assistant charged to restricted fund accounts. Jason Droddy, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications and External Relations provided an update on the University’s governmental relations efforts and the implementation of the LA GRAD Act 2.0. On the federal level, the White House’s Office of Management & Budget is looking closely at F&A rates. It is also likely that there will be some decreases in research funding. Next week, the Senate will take up a House bill on net neutrality with implications for students’ IT access from off-campus. Gothreaux mentioned that the committee is still reviewing the initiatives for the year.
Long Range Review & Planning
President-Elect Gothreaux reported that the Long Range Review & Planning met on November 3, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. The committee has identified some initiatives for the year which are in the report one of which is to explore the possibility for staff pay raises. There are obstacles with the Governor’s Executive Order which prohibits any type of pay raise through June 2012. The committee will explore the particularities with regard to the order for a possible option of pay raises. The committee will also explore the drafting of the strategic plan for the senate. Last year, the committee collected procedural information from various committees to compile into a procedure manual. The committee is also looking at working with other state institutions where staff governance bodies may not exist to develop a state-wide network. Question: Is Staff Senate represented on the University Strategic Planning Committee? Answer: We are represented on the University Planning Council which is reviewing all the strategic plans for the university.
Senator Thibodeaux reported that the Professional Committee met on November 9, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. The committee members present assisted in the seventh annual New Staff Reception in the Atchafalaya Room of the LSU Student Union. Thibodeaux thanked all who helped especially Donna Love who was instrumental in having some vendors participate. We invited over 300 new staff to join us for this event to meet with Staff Senators and campus-wide vendors and departments. The event was a success but hopefully in the future there would be more participation. The committee should continue to look at ways to improve this event overall. The vendors and departments who participated were also listed in the report.
President-Elect Gothreaux reported that the Bylaws Committee met on November 10, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. The committee discussed expanding the purview of this committee which includes review and amendments to the Staff Senate Constitution. The revised charge will read: Reviews and amends the Staff Senate Bylaws and Constitution as needed with approval from the Executive Committee, full Staff Senate and Chancellor. The committee reviewed a report received by Leigh Bonfanti with Human Resource Management who will be serving on this committee as well. She provided some information through a report which included a detailed listing of all the LSU employees and sorted by the seven EEO categories. The report also identified the faculty, professional or classified category of each employee. Senator Gothreaux compiled a summary report which identified the number of each employee category (i.e., faculty, professional, classified) as a percent of the both the total employees in that respective EEO category and the university as a whole.
The committee also reviewed a historical perspective of the composition of total university employees for Fiscal Years 2005, 2008 and 2011. It appeared that the data included employee figures for other campuses in addition to LSU, thus clarification will be sought from Ms. Bonfanti. It was also determined that clarification needs to be obtained to identify which employees are represented by the two governance bodies at LSU, namely the Faculty Senate and the Staff Senate. The committee also took action to identify the appropriate timing for determining the official staff census in order to advise the Staff Senate general elections each spring. It was recommended that the Bylaws Committee collect EEO data from Human Resource Management as soon after the university finalizes employee census data at the end of October. The Bylaws Committee will provide the Executive Committee, for its January meeting, the university EEO census numbers and recommended Staff Senate representation levels based on the university employee census data. Staff Senate representation levels will be certified by the Executive Committee and provided to the full Senate for ratification at the January Staff Senate meeting. The committee also identified some initiatives for the year. Gothreaux mentioned for all Senators to review for further suggestions.
Holiday on Campus
Senator Livingston reported that the Holiday on Campus committee met on November 9, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. The event is almost here which will be held on November 29, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. in the Basketball Court area at University Recreation. The entire LSU Community is invited. We are moving right along with our procedures. We are doing well with volunteers. Senator Millican mentioned that you may see a “Save the Date” go out soon. We have also created a Facebook event for everyone to view. There is a new flyer that was created and circulated to all Senators to post in their area. There will also be an announcement sent out before the event to remind everyone of the date and time. There will also be a PowerPoint that will be displayed at the event to “Thank” the vendors who participated.
Senator Carruth reported that the Scholarship Committee met on November 10, 2011. The scholarship recipients will be invited to the December Staff Senate Meeting to be awarded their certificates. She, President Galy, and Senator Torres met with Amy Marix with Student Aid & Scholarships to solidify the criteria that is used to select the recipients due to some confusion within the past year or so.
Senator Sirman reported that she attended the Campus Communicators meeting on November 10, 2011, the report was attached to the meeting packet. There is a lot going on right now with recruitment. Highlights of the Love Purple Live Gold! recruitment campaign, including details of how University Relations is working with the Admissions Office to recruit students in minority areas, in high achieving student areas (the North shore), and in strategic areas of the state. An update was given on LSU Brand Ambassadors and information on the process for obtaining graphic design services. There will be a web-based survey going out soon which will give current LSU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and prospective graduate students the opportunity to share their impressions on LSU.
Pot Luck Luncheon
President Galy circulated the sign-up sheet to participate in the December Pot Luck Luncheon. Please let Melonie know what you would like to bring.
Benefit of the Month
President Galy announced that the Benefit of the Month is a reminder of discounts at local vendors. We get a 10% discount at the Bookstore and a 20% discount at the Sport shop.
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.
Holiday on Campus Volunteer Sign-up
Senator Perkins circulated a sign-up sheet for Senators to volunteer before the event begins to help pick up food and to help set-up at University Recreation. Your help is much appreciated.
General Circular No. 2011-034
President Galy announced that the November meeting packet included General Circular No. 2011-034 for review by Senators.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Galy announced that Senator Holly Carruth celebrated her birthday on November 14 and Senator Renee Pierce will celebrate her birthday on November 18. “Happy Birthday”
Staff Senator’s Wedding
President Galy announced that Senator Kimball was married on October 15, 2011, and is now Senator Livingston. President Galy presented her with a gift from the Staff Senate.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Senator Thomas moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Senator Carruth, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Blake Winchell, Secretary