STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES September 18, 2013
President Lynn Livingston presided over the September 18, 2013, Staff Senate meeting held at Peabody Hall, Room 225, on the LSU Campus at 10:30 a.m.
P Torres, Donna (’15)
P Collins, Lorita (’14)
P Matkovic, Igor (’14)
P Williams, Elmer “T” (’14)
P Baker, Sheantel (’14)
P Gothreaux, Chad (’14)
P Millican, Tammy (’14)
P Moreau, Scott (’14)
P Perkins, Julie (’14)
P Carruth, Holly (’15)
P Lede’, Robert (’15)
P Livingston, Lynn (’15)
Pr Loveless, Kathryn (’15)
Pr Sasser, Leigh (’15)
P Silver, Jon (’15)
P Craddock, Jacquelyn (’16)
P Davis, Anaiah (’16)
Pr Hale, Robert (’16)
P Hart, M.E. (’16)
Pr Heil, Mark (’15)
P Adedeji, Funmilayo (’16)
P Love, Donna (’14)
A Jones, Patrick (’16)
P Collins, Judy (’14)
P Bennett, Casey (’15)
P Joseph, LaToya (’16)
A - Indicates Absent
P - Indicates Present
Pr - Indicates Proxy
D’Ann Morris, Emergency Operations Center and the Student Health Center
Marylee Williams, Reveille Radio
Lauren Duhon, Reveille Photographer
Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez, The Daily Reveille
Carolyn Chaney, Building Services
Mark Foretich, University Information Systems
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Livingston at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with four proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Moreau led the Pledge of Allegiance.
President Livingston welcomed all of the guests listed above who were in attendance.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – August 21, 2013, Staff Senate Meeting
Page 2, Paragraph 7, line 11 reads: their probably should read: they are probably
A motion to accept the minutes as amended was made by Past-President Gothreaux. The motion, seconded by Senator Moreau, carried.
GUEST SPEAKER – D’Ann Morris, Interim Director with the Emergency Operations Center and Executive Director with the Student Health Center
President Livingston welcomed D’Ann Morris for coming to share some information with the Staff Senate about the Emergency Operations Center.
D’Ann Morris thanked the group for the invitation to speak and she was honored to come. She began by asking the full Senate who did not know what the Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) is. No one indicated that they did not know. Morris explained that LSU has an Emergency Operating Center (EOC) which became operational in January 2006. “Which was after Hurricane Katrina because we did not have one at that point in time. So we credit our former Chancellor Sean O’Keefe who was also the Administrator of NASA, Secretary in the Navy and he also worked for the Department of Defense, with establishing the EOC. O’Keefe came to several of us during the aftermath of Katrina and said, ‘Where is the EOC?’ after he had only been here for two months. And our response was, “what are you talking about?’ because we didn’t know what that was. So, O’Keefe dedicated some funding, he got some people from Homeland Security to come from Washington to help us establish it. Morris presented a Powerpoint slide with a photograph of one part of the EOC. It is located in the Public Safety Building. The same building that houses LSU Police, Risk Management, Parking and Transportation and a couple of other environmental health and safety offices. So our concept of operations: we have an EOC Core Committee and then we have multiple teams and no one is compensated for their participation with the EOC. For several years, we had some people who falsely believed that the EOC consisted of the Chancellor, Eric Monday, and D’Ann Morris. Yeah we were a part of it, but there are actually 47 people who are on the EOC. There is a Core Committee that consists of 9 individuals from across the campus and we meet every other week, every other Tuesday at about 10:30 a.m. for about an hour and a half. And we talk about lots of things, not just Hurricanes, we talk about litigation, we talk about safety, we partner with the police over safety initiatives and promotions. We also recently partnered with the Dean of Students office to create the infamous red folder that talks about students who are in crisis and the Care Team. We are working with the Police on a Threat Assessment Team.” Morris distributed the red folders to all Senators present. “If you haven’t seen these and feel that your department could benefit from it, please contact the Dean of Student’s Office for additional copies. It’s also helpful when you pass these out to encourage them to read them.” The committee also talks about preparedness. In the spirit of preparedness we also have three teams of members on the EOC. We follow the Incident Command Systems, so if you Google ICS, it will tell you all about the FEMA classes that our team members have to take online. We do some regular training with our teams. This allows us to have three –eight-hour shifts for 24/7 operation during an event of an emergency.
For Hurricane Gustav, Morris thinks they were housed in Public Safety and due to some other challenges for about 3 weeks. “We literally lived there on air mattresses. Not a lot of glamour in the EOC. We had all these plans set up to use the Residence Hall but when the weather got to the point where it was difficult to travel and keep a shelter in place, she could not very well put our team members in danger. So it gives you a little bit of flavor. Our physical center is located in Public Safety. Our teams are staff members from around the campus. So we get a lot of feedback about why don’t we have a lot of people from Student Life when we’re talking about the preservation of life that has to do primarily with the students. Well the challenge comes in that you don’t want to take people away from their day job who would benefit us in the field, if you will. So we wouldn’t pull people away from Residential Life to come to us because we need those individuals physically in Residential Life to deal with the issues at hand. So we have members from Purchasing, Research, LSU Police, Facility Services. The point of the EOC is not necessarily just because we like to have control but to offer a clearinghouse for information. We want information to come in and information to flow out. One message, one voice. We have learned for many many years that this campus has well over 4,000 very well intentioned employees; however, sometimes every employee doesn’t know what the policy, the procedure, or what the thought process of the Administration is during a time of crisis. So, although there is good intention, sometimes the activity and effort goes into certain things that they want to do. And then we find out that we have four different Departments duplicating efforts, splitting up resources and not understanding that if they would simply come through the EOC and ask the question that we can help guide the process and benefit our faculty, staff and students much better. So that’s the point of being a Strategic Coordinator.”
Morris explained that the EOC doesn’t just focus on Hurricanes, they do lots of things. “The EOC is scalable and what that means is, at any point in time there can be a crisis on campus and we may or may not need the entire Core Committee or all three teams. We may actually just need a handful of people. So in the event of an activation such as the 2006, when we had a major sewer leak by the railroad tracks, the challenge that came with that, is not that we as an EOC needed to tell Facility Services what size pipe to buy, no, we had to coordinate with the railroad to not run at that time. If a train would have come during that sewer leak the vibration of that could have caused a major issue. People think of sewer and it makes their nose go up but think about no water flowing, no flushing, and things coming up. So when you have a residential community that houses over 5000 people not to mention all of the classrooms that we have on campus, that would be a major challenge. So at that point in time, there were only 4 of us who were activated for that and our responsibility was to work with the subject matter experts who were in Facility Services and Communication and University Relations to send the information out, to let the campus know, what is happening and determine whether or not we need to shut down operations.
“In 2007, in December, we had a double homicide, two international students in Edward Gay Apartments. It was probably the worst experience, of course for those families and for our campus but for herself as an individual. She learned things during that process that she never anticipated learning and wished that she never had to due to that circumstance. The EOC only activated 6 people and part of our responsibility during that was not just communication with the police about the criminal activity but communication to the campus, and nationwide and beyond. We had diplomats who actually flew in from India, the FBI showed up, there was a question whether this was a random act of violence or was this is a targeted agenda. In addition to that, these two students, neither of them had the insurance required for preparation of their remains. So we had to work with several entities to make that happen and due to some cultural issues and cultural requests, there were certain things that the families of these individuals wanted done in the United States and certain things they did not want done before the remains were returned. And so learning those pieces and communicating with these individuals was very difficult.”
In 2008, the EOC responded to both Hurricane Gustav and Ike. “And for those of you who were on campus at that time, we had a shelter in place for a couple of days. We had approximately 2,700 students who remained with us in residence. So we were responsible for making sure they were fed and sheltered and taken good care of. There are a multitude of things that go into the management of a hurricane situation when you’re on a college campus. Especially when you have lots of parents who are very worried about their student and never experienced a hurricane. We had lots of people who were from out of state or international who have no idea what’s happening so they are constantly calling and trying to get information which of course we respond to.”
In 2011, they had the Mississippi flood stage monitoring. “So we had an activation of the EOC which was primarily just the Core Committee. A lot of people were worried about the water coming over the top of the levee which was never a concern for us. For us it was the water coming up from the bottom. For any of you that have ever been near the Veterinary School when it rains pretty heavy, water rising is from underground is a regular occurrence. They employ their own pumps, they have individuals who man those and so we thought we were ready. Well, there were lots of issues as it related to the rising water and lots of concerns that the Veterinary School had not had an opportunity to explore all of their options. So they called the EOC which met with them on a regular basis. Some of the decisions that had to be made were where to move the small animals that were in the facility. Now we have an agreement with Pennington that we would move them there if needed in the future. When do you pull the trigger to move them and how do you do that? Who moves them? A lot of these are research animals so it’s federally funded property if you will. So it’s lot of pieces that go into that. When do you move the large animals, as there are cattle,horses, and a llama. Generally, the time that you would take to move these animals should be well in advance before the water rises because when that happens, your police and EOC teams to be focusing on that crisis not the animals. You don’t wait! So we had to put some plans in place to help the Veterinary School understand that moving some of the animals ahead of time is important and then after the crisis is over, be able to explain why they were moved , animals were not harmed, as opposed to waiting till the last minute and we lost all of the animals.”
“In 2012, we had two fantastic events back to back, we had Hurricane Isaac, and it was a short term event, but she would like to give us a little bit of flavor of what happened. During Hurricane Isaac, we had a shelter in place, we fed students in the dining hall that morning, at lunch and we had an early supper. We know that students eat four meals a day, so we prepared with the dining halls to make sure we could send additional food to the residence halls, but it wasn’t going to be boxed lunches. It was going to be jars of peanut butter, loaves of bread, crates of apples, etc. Residential Life does a great job of providing us with a daily census, sometimes more than once a day so that we know where people are. So we send the food, we communicate. Residential Life does a great job at communicating, they are probably the best department on campus as it relates to response to any type of emergency. We have three Public Information Officers on each team in the EOC. One person focuses solely on correspondence, one focuses solely on the media and the other solely on the web. So the web person is sitting there checking all these different social outlets.” Social media is one of the most dangerous ways of communicating any message because people exaggerate. It is very frightening to her that people use that as a mode of communication and her biggest issue is with most things is trust but verify. It is so important that before we send out a message and before we say this is truth and this is how we respond, we better know that it is the truth. We have a responsibility to this place and for this place so she is very serious about that.
Morris also mentioned that we also had a creditable bomb threat. “Yesterday was our one year anniversary since that happened. She will be happy to answer any questions about the bomb threat when we get to the end. So the gist of the story of is, the gentleman who placed the call, called into a 911 center not LSU. Morris stated that she wanted to make sure everyone understands that we have bomb threats all the time, this is not unusual. “We have probably 1 or 2 a semester. Typically, people call LSU Police and they say, that there is a bomb in the Life Sciences Building. Well there’s a list of questions that you ask if you are trained to respond to someone who is calling in a bomb threat and typically you can diffuse the situation very quickly. It is not just the dispatcher who is working on it at that point, there are several others who are looking up the phone number who’s calling in, they look up the caller’s schedule if they are a student and see that person has a class in Life Sciences in about 10 minutes then they contact the department and find out there’s an exam in that building. So of course, we have evacuated buildings before, but we have never had an incident before last year where we had to evacuate the entire campus, everyone knows how difficult it was, but the most important thing was that no one got hurt. Why did we do it? We did it for several reasons, one was the information that we had at the time warranted an evacuation of the entire campus because we did not have information as it related to specific buildings, the caller inferred that there were 3 buildings where bombs were placed. The caller inferred that he would detonate in 2 hours and if you recall we were number 2 in a list of 7 universities and colleges around the country who had this experience. So when you’re the second one you pay a little more attention than if you were the first one and if you are the third one (Texas A&M) you pay even more attention and you learn from each other’s mistakes. The first thing we did when we got that phone call was of course to call the President and Chancellor at that time which was Bill Jenkins and I told him that it is our recommendation that we evacuate.” Morris mentioned that this is her sixth year as the Interim Director of the EOC. “So the next thing we did after we said we were going to evacuate was to get our explosives K-9 on campus to sniff out areas for about 30 minutes then he needs about an hour’s rest. For a K-9 dog, that 30 minutes is the equivalent of running about 15-20 miles because the sensitivity of the smell and in addition their attention span is very short.. So you know you only have 30 minutes and no offense but you are all adults and if the EOC tells you to leave, they expect you to leave. So the first thing we did was send the K-9 to the Laboratory School to sniff out their new gymnasium. We evacuated all the children into the gymnasium and we got a lot of criticism about the traffic flow as to why we didn’t do contra-flow like with football games. One of the reasons we did not do that was so that parents could go and pick up their children, not to mention if you go down Dalrymple there are multiple churches and daycare centers in that area, we also have a Child Care Center on campus. You can tell a classroom of five year olds to stand up and follow me and they’ll do it, now if you’re in a crib certainly you can’t do that. So it was raining, we have a bomb threat, one dog who can sniff for about 30 minutes, small plan, you would think it would work out according to the plan but it didn’t. One of the challenges we have as human beings is that we are creatures of habit, so if we come to work the same way and leave the same way every day, then we are going to get on Highland Road to get off of campus. There are only three main arteries out of campus and if everyone gets on one then no one is going anywhere. The important thing to remember is that we got everyone out of the buildings. We have worked with Baton Rouge City Traffic, the police, two traffic engineers, and of course this is spearheaded by LSU Police. And sometime in early October, we will be releasing a plan that hopefully some people will read that gives some suggestions that just because you typically go home on Highland Road, if you had gone out on Nicholson Drive and headed north and figured out another way home, smooth sailing. From the State Police helicopter that we employed when this happened, they took aerial photographs that you can view if you’re interested. Highland Road was backed up, heading south on Nicholson was totally backed up but if you were heading north, the traffic flow was fine. We feel it’s our responsibility to educate our faculty, staff and students on other ways of doing things. So we have to constantly be thinking about the education piece knowing that not everyone is going to listen and is not suggesting that we have all the answers because we don’t, but we are going to do something-right, wrong or indifferent.” She got the release yesterday from the Traffic Engineer to release to the campus, once the Core Committee meets, we will decide how we are going to do that.
“Our primary mode for emergency communication is the emergency text messaging system which she hopes everyone is registered with. The most commonly asked question that we receive during orientation is from parents asking if they can sign up too because University of Alabama and the University of Nebraska and some other peer schools let the parents sign up. We will not allow parents to sign up until the technology has surpassed what it is now. And what I mean by that is, at this moment in time, we have 33,482 people signed up for that messaging. It takes approximately 11 minutes for that message to get out to all those people. If we add mom and dad and so on, we could exponentially increase that number into the hundred thousand and exponentially increase the amount of time it takes for that message to be sent out. So until the technology can catch up with the time and the push, our response is sorry but your child is the most important thing to us and we know that your child is the most important thing to you. So if you would like to receive these messages, we strongly encourage you to have your student forward those to you, it doesn’t interfere with the initial push or timing, you will still get the information. So what happens when you get a text message, you get a text message and it typically says at the end of the message to go to the website. So we have a system called RAVE, you get the text, you go to the website, and at the top of the site there’s a red ribbon and it says exactly the same thing that was on the text message unless there’s more information we can share at that time. Once we push the button to send out, you get the text message, the red ribbon and a desktop alert. So in all multi-media classrooms, if you’re in a class room and an emergency message goes out, something will pop-up on a screen and it would give the same information that was sent as a text. The reason we went to that method was because we have so many faculty who tell our students you can’t use your cell phone in the classroom and the faculty’s phone is turned off, so then what method do you use, not all classrooms have multi-media, so then you use your Building Coordinators. We use whatever we can to get the information out. We also use broadcast email and broadcast voicemail for LSU telephones that are subscribed to voicemail. And when the technology is such that it doesn’t take more time to do this, we are going to add that piece to RAVE to where you will get a voice message on your cell phones, but it is not sophisticated enough, we have done some tests and it just doesn’t work very well. It’s a computer voice and the message comes across very broken. We of course use social media and external media outlets.”
D’Ann Morris opened the floor for any questions.
Q: Getting back to the bomb threat and there were so many different variables that happened during that time frame, and understanding that you received a call and that there was only one dog, but was it the State Police or LSU Police that was conducting the searches for the bomb? The magnitude of this college, it’s very big, why would they only send one K-9?
A: There were multiple agencies. There are only 3 K-9 explosive sniffing dogs in the state. LSU Police owns one, State Police owns one and the other one is in Shreveport at an independent agency. So you got one dog in house and the most important thing was those children.
There was a delay from the 911 call center to us when this threat came in. They did not share with us that they had the GPS coordinates of the phone that made the call until a day later. There were lots of different pieces that we were not in control of. Morris is certainly not stereotyping bomb threat callers, however, if you want to blow something up and you’re serious about it, are you really going to call to say you are? Probably not. And given the time frame that individual had told us about, we had very good reason to believe there was no bomb an hour in to the event. But we certainly want your safety, and your safety is more important to us than whether or not this person is telling the truth. Morris is not privy to every detail, but she is privy to a lot of information that made that incident make sense.
Q: What was the timeframe that you all knew whether or not there was a bomb on campus?
A: An hour after we had reason to believe that there was no bomb but that did not prove anything. There were multiple hours between the evacuation, we never said all clear, you never say all clear in the event of a bomb threat. We did say for the next day that is was reasonable to assume that everything was safe. We called in our Building Coordinators and unfortunately, we didn’t manage that situation very well. We allowed State Police who are not accustomed to working with people on a college campus to explain what needed to happen next and she thinks that that message, in her opinion, was not handled well. She is not blaming anybody, she thinks that they were just using the standard message that they use in every unit. If Morris is involved in the EOC in the future, she will be the one who is assisting in communicating that information in the future so that it is crystal clear. There’s lots of things that happened that we learned that we could do much better. But once again, nothing blew up and no one got hurt. That’s the most important thing. We got the information and we responded with your safety in mind, that was our primary responsibility.
Senator Torres pointed out the Campus Police’s diligence in finding out who did this and going all the way through to prosecution, sends a strong message that LSU has zero tolerance for this type of nonsense. The caller created havoc on our campus, showed a lack of concern for our students and their parents and we are not going to tolerate it. Morris mentioned that out of seven universities and colleges that this has happened to, LSU was the only one who caught the person with the threat. Morris mentioned that he got 24 years in prison for doing this and we are not sure of his motive but his response recently was that he thought it was really cool to watch on the news to see all the different agencies and police cars that responded. He had no idea that LSU was so connected.
President Livingston thanked D’Ann Morris for coming to speak to the Staff Senate today.
President Livingston reported that on August 23, she attended the University Council on Women Meeting. There was a report included in the meeting packet. They are working on some planning.
Livingston reported that on August 26, she along with the Executive Committee attended the meeting regarding the consolidation of the AgCenter and the College of Agriculture. It is important to mention that we were involved prior to it becoming public but were told not to mention until everything became public. President/Chancellor Alexander, Provost Bell and Chancellor Richardson were there along with members from the Faculty Senate and the AgCenter’s Faculty Council. At this meeting, they unveiled the plan to move the AgCenter and the College of Agriculture together. It was explained to us this was to strengthen the “A”(Agriculture) in A&M. It was clear in this meeting that this was not the first meeting regarding this consolidation. They definitely had meetings with the College of Agriculture and AgCenter, multiple parties. So Livingston feels like in a time of transition, she was reassured that a lot of communication was happening. So, for those you don’t know, Chancellor Richardson as of October 8 will become Vice President for Agriculture and the Dean for the College of Agriculture. In terms of his Dean’s responsibilities, he will answer to Provost Bell, in terms of his Vice President responsibilities, he will answer to President Alexander. So it is a merged position. It was formalized at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on September 6. After it was finalized, Livingston followed up with Provost Bell to let him know that we are ready to assist in this process in any way possible. It looks like it will be a nine month process. There are people on this Senate who can offer a lot of guidance in terms of LSU policies and procedures that she is not sure everyone is aware of. We will continue to monitor the progress on this especially when the plan starts to take form. President-Elect Perkins had a great idea for us to be targeting the staff from the AgCenter and the College of Agriculture for representation now that this is sort of a move towards LSU main campus. So as we absorb those staff, we want to make sure they are represented. So that is something that definitely needs to be on our radar for the spring. Livingston mentioned that the unveiling of the plan and our elections will probably be very close together, so we may be able to move on AgCenter representation in the Spring.
Livingston reported that on September 5, she attended the Council of Staff Advisors Meeting in Past-President’s Gothreaux’s place. It was a brief meeting where we received an overview of the Board Meeting the following day and she gave a report on behalf of LSU to the other campuses who attended. Later that afternoon, Livingston lead the Executive Committee Meeting. We finalized the agenda for today’s full Senate meeting. We also had an in depth conversation about the unfunded accrued liability which has come via Faculty Senate and Senator Love has brought it to our attention as well. There are some situations for those enrolled in the Optional Retirement Plan that you need to understand what is going on with your retirement. Out of Senator Love’s suggestion and Senator Torres’ tutorial, we will ask A.G. Monaco to attend the October Senate Meeting to give us the information on the unfunded accrued liability situation for those of us who may not know. What to keep our eyes on, what we can get involved in, what we can advocate for. This is a big deal, so we will try and get some answers.
Livingston reported that on September 6, she along with President-Elect Perkins, attended the Board of Supervisors Meeting, where they approved the budget, the consolidation of the AgCenter and the College of Agriculture, elected a new Chair-Elect for next year who is Ann Duplessis, approved the pay increases and in the midst of the meeting and passed out a press release that the Transition Advisory Team report was final and that is was available. If you have not seen that report, Livingston suggest that you take a look at it.. You can find it on the LSU website and the System’s website. The Staff Senate also sent it out to the full Senate. There are some very specific good ideas in that report and some very broad suggestions, but that is what has come out from the last nine months of this Transition Advisory Team, so if you are interested in where LSU 2015 is heading that would be your number one source right now. There have been multiple meetings since that has been released where Livingston has heard that we are already doing many of the things suggested already.
Livingston reported that the week of September 9, she attended the first meeting of most of the committees that were held. She doesn’t plan on attending all of them but wanted to attend the first meeting to show her support. Livingston thanked all the Chairs for having great first meetings. Everyone was organized, they were ready to hit the ground running, your reports reflect some great ideas. Livingston thinks that we have a lot of work ahead of ourselves but some great ideas are happening and she is excited to see all the work that is going to be done on the committees.
Livingston reported that on September 17, she lead the Bylaws Committee Meeting and this morning lead the Communications Committee Meeting.
STANDING AND AD HOC COMMITTEES
President Livingston announced that we are going to do something a little different this year, one of which is on the agenda, all of the committees will be listed whether they met or not and the other which was the result from the SWOT analysis we did last Spring, is that we don’t have to rehash these reports every month. They are attached to the meeting packets for everyone to read but if there is something noteworthy or a question, you can ask it during this time other than that, we will just rely on those reports that the Chairs submitted.
Livingston asked if there was anything additional for Standing Committee reports or Special Ad-Hoc Committee reports. Senator Millican announced for the Marketing Committee, they are working on some sponsorships for the Staff Member of the Month, so if you have connections to a department who may be able to offer something or even a business outside of LSU who is willing to donate something once a month, the committee would like to put something together like a prize package for staff members, please let her or one of the committees members know, the committee would really like to honor our staff members when they receive this award.
President Gothreaux had a suggestion that the Staff Benefits, Policies and Development Committee or the Executive Committee may want to consider, one of the Resolutions that Staff Senate passed last year was advocating staff raises and the exploration of expanding benefits and since there has been some action on that, we may want to consider some follow-up gesture to the Administration recognizing that it was appreciated although some of that may have already been in the works.
President Livingston reported that the Bylaws Committee Meeting was held on September 17, there is a lot of follow-up that needs to happen with what we talked about. We had two sets of questions that were submitted to us about some of our procedures, particularly as it applies to committees but what we may do in October is provide a presentation of the questions and answers that we developed so that we can update everybody in the room.
President Livingston announced that the Liaison reports that the Executive Committee receive will be listed on the agenda instead of listing all of the liaison assignments.
President Livingston announced that Fall Fest will be held on Friday, October 11, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the LSU Parade Grounds. We plan on doing sno-cones again this year. Thanks to Senator Loveless, we have secured a generator needed for electricity. Livingston mentioned that we need Senators to volunteer. She circulated a sign-up for Senators to fill out, to help support the Staff Senate at the event. She encouraged everyone to wear their Staff Senate T-Shirts.
President Livingston announced that one of the things that we do to get our information to our fellow staff members is to attend the Benefits Fair and have a booth/table to answer questions, to meet people, and give out some Staff Senate cups. We will need some help with that as well. The Benefits Fair will be held on October 22, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Livingston circulated a sign-up sheet for that as well.
Benefit of the Month
Senator Torres announced thanks to Senator Millican we have two this month. One is that Nissan is offering a special lease deal to LSU faculty and staff on the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. LSU has two EV charging stations on campus for students, faculty and staff to charge their electric vehicles free of charge. Melonie Milton, Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator will circulate a copy of the flyer via email. The second benefit is to make sure everyone knows about the Geaux Box offered by Cox Communications to all faculty and staff. The Geaux Box is the combination of both Cox High Speed Internet and a secure connection to the LSU Network. The cost of the Geaux Box for a discounted rate is $39.95 per month. All eligible students, faculty, and staff can go to myLSU to order the Geaux Box service, or order in person at the Cox Service Center located in the LSU Union on the bottom floor. Your current LSU ID is required to sign up.
Senator Torres wanted to remind everyone that October 1 starts Open Enrollment and there is going to be a new provider for LSU First Administration. We have been using Cigna, it went up for bid, there is a new vendor who was successful at winning the bid but there is some controversy over the bid. The protest period ends on Friday so if there isn’t any further action then the new vendor process will take place. Human Resources will be sending out information about Open Enrollment in the near future. Senator Baker mentioned that there will be some plan design changes this year, so for those of you with LSU First, you may want to attend the informational meetings that will take place during the month of October. Those are not very well attended but since there will be some changes, you may want to attend those meetings. Senator Torres mentioned a broadcast message will be sent out once everything is in place, she suggested that Melonie Milton re-send that out to all Senators to help with the reminder.
Staff Senate Gift Fund
President Livingston reminded the group of the Staff Senate Gift Fund that we do use and we are in need of donations. If you have $10 to donate, it would be very helpful as we continue to support our Senators through good or bad.
Staff Senate Appointments
President Livingston announced that the Executive Committee has approved some Senator appointments in a few categories on the roster. Livingston announced that Wendy Overton has resigned from LSU today which created a vacancy in the Professional/Non-Faculty Category. Kandie Saucier also in Continuing Education was the last runner-up to fill a vacancy in the last general election. She was unable to attend today but we will try and get her here for the October meeting. In the Clerical/Secretarial Category, Debra Collins with Facility Services would like to serve and she will have her seat until 2016. In the Service/Maintenance Category, Carolyn Chaney would like to continue to serve, so she will have her seat till 2016 as well. So we are making some head way with our vacancies.
President Livingston mentioned the parking concerns and wanted to check in with everyone to see if anything else has come up. We haven’t received any new concerns through the Staff Senate email.
Senator Millican wanted to let everyone know that there will be some construction on Governor Claiborne either tomorrow or the next day, they are going to be cutting a line and putting out some limestone and she knows there is some parking there. So they will have to move that parking and not even allow people to walk through there due to the lime dust. Facility Services is working with University Relations to get a broadcast message out to everyone. They will include a map of where that is in the broadcast message.
Former Staff Senator Retired
President Livingston announced that former Senator Karen Sirman has retired from LSU after about 35 years of service. We were able to have some Staff Senate representation at her retirement party. The Executive Committee approved sending her a card with an Amazon Gift Card included.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Livingston announced that Senator Lorita Collins will celebrate her birthday on September 28 and Senator Robert Lede’ will celebrate his birthday on September 30, “Happy Birthday”.
Senator Retirement “Thank you”
President Livingston announced that we sent former Senator Exner a retirement gift and she sent a thank you card which was shared with the group.
Senator Torres announced that this morning the forms were released on HRS for the classified raises, so that is good news that it is moving along at a brisk pace. The process for faculty and staff went very well considering that we had a new HRS system that has been in place for a while but we had never processed raises on that system. At our last meeting, we discussed our new Performance Evaluation System, we reached out to Civil Service and they sent Torres some cd’s on training but the plan is for each employee to go through Human Resource Management to actually do the training and you have to get a number assigned to you to do the training. Torres was hoping we could simply take the cd she received and put it out on the system and you could pull it up whenever you want but unfortunately it’s just not that simple. Torres encouraged everyone to contact Patricia Mitchen with Human Resource Training to get that number assigned to you. It gives you access to the Comprehensive Public Training Program (CPTP) classes. You may want to take a look and see how the process works for yourself. Donna Dewailly, her co-worker uses that training all the time to answer questions she has, so it is a good source of information. Torres has the cd if anyone is interested in using it, just contact her but she encourages everyone to get that number and take advantage of that training. Torres mentioned that if employees would like to see their new salaries, you can look under MyLSU under benefits and they should be posted by the end of October.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Past-President Gothreaux moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Senator Bennett, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Holly Carruth, Secretary