September 1998

Staff Advisory Council Minutes

Thursday, September 10, 1998

LaFortune Student Center - Notre Dame Room
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Present: Amy Belke, Deb Bennett, Jan Blazi, Dan Brazo, Emily Cassidy, Tammy Chapman, Janet Dillon, Deb Fox, Toby Green, Rita Grontkowski, Linda Hansen, Pam Jobin, Jeff Korros, Don Newsom, Sue Penrod, Diane Schlatterbeck, and Melodie Wise. 
Absent: Rhonda Barkley, Rachel Boyd, Victoria Cotton, Gina DeLaruelle, Mike Manijak, Norma Mezykowski, Michael Purnell, Doris Smuda, Fred Sonneborn, Joshua White, and Deanna Zukowski. District #5 and District #18 were not represented due to the election process being conducted in those areas. 
HR Liaisons: Denise Murphy, Rich Nugent, Rita Winsor, and Pam Zarazee.
Dan Brazo, Chair called the Council meeting to order at 1:13 p.m. Dan welcomed Melodie Wise from District #24 to her first Council meeting. 
I Approval of the August 13, 1998 Minutes 
Jeff Korros made a motion to accept the August 13, 1998 minutes. Amy Belke seconded the motion. A vote was taken and all Council members present were in favor of the motion.
II Election Results from District #5 
Deb Fox shared with the Council that there were no self-nominations from District #5. Deb sent out a second notice to District #5 non-exempt staff asking for a self-nomination or the District would go unrepresented.
III Election Update for District #18 
Deb Fox shared with the Council that Phyllis Campbell, Vice Chair was promoted to an Exempt employee and is no longer eligible to remain seated on the Council. Deb stated that self- nominations are currently being sent out for District #18.
IV Elections to fill open Vice-Chair position on Executive Committee, Elections Committee, and Women's Committee. 
Dan Brazo stated that Phyllis Campbell's position of Vice-Chair on the Council will have to be replaced by a Council member. Jan Blazi read the responsibilities of the Vice-Chair for the Council. Diane Schlatterbeck volunteered to serve as Vice-Chair until elections take place in January. 
Dan stated that due to the changes in the Council a vacancy also exists on the Elections Committee. Debbie Bennett volunteered to serve with Gina DeLaruelle and Deb Fox on the Elections Committee. 
Dan also stated that one vacancy remains on the Women's Committee. Melodie Wise volunteered to fill this vacancy. 
V Spending Account Presentation 
Rita Winsor thanked the Council for inviting her to the meeting to discuss Spending Accounts. Rita explained that the Spending Account has been in existence since 1990. The Spending Account benefit allows an employee to save dollars on a pre-tax basis for medical or dependent care expenses that have been incurred. Participants of this plan set aside a predetermined amount of money and it is deducted from their paycheck. The University has approximately 1100 faculty, exempt and non-exempt participants. Karen Innman is responsible for administering the reimbursement of Spending Accounts from Human Resources. The Spending Account reimburses employees for expenses not covered by medical or dental insurance on the 2nd and 17thof every month. This schedule can change based on holidays, weekends, etc. 
The Spending Account must be budgeted carefully by participants because if the predetermined amount of money is not used by the end of the year it is not refunded according to IRS regulations. The advice is to plan conservatively and prepare for known expenses. Rita handed out a worksheet that interested employees can utilize to plan how much should be contributed to the Spending Account. Rita stated that the overall amount of dollars in the Spending Account is roughly about $1.5 million. Rita shared with the Council that after a reconciliation was done on the balance of the Spending Account in 1996 -1997, $26,000 balance remained. This balance is used to offset the medical benefits available to qualified employees at the University. 
If an employee uses the Health Care Spending Account to be reimbursed for prescriptions, the participant must have the Rx label. The receipt is not enough. The original receipt is necessary to be reimbursed. 
Rita explained that the Dependent Care Account is an alternative for those who have children in a daycare, before and after school programs. Tuition for private schools like Stanley Clark and the Montessori Academy is not covered. Again, the employee can set aside pre-tax dollars to be reimbursed for dependent care expenses. If an eligible participant uses the Dependent Care Account, the facility utilized must have a tax id number or the individual provider's social security number.
The maximum amount that can be set aside for the Health Care Spending Account is $2,500 per calendar year and for Dependent Care Spending Account is $5,000 per calendar year (including a married couple who both work.) 
Rita shared many examples with the Council of the benefits of this program. If you are interested in more information on Spending Accounts please contact your Human Resource Generalist or Denise Murphy in Human Resources at 1-9718.
VI Community Service Project Presentation 
Linda Hansen shared an idea with the Council regarding departmental community service projects. Linda shared that the Development Division had the opportunity to work for a day on a Habitat for Humanity House. The Council discussed this idea and stated that many departments do have special charities that they do things for at the present time. Rich Nugent, Director for Human Resources shared with the Council that the University supports only two charities, United Way and 3rd World Relief for payroll deduction contributions. He added that it would be hard to make sure each charity that employees might choose to volunteer at is consistent with the values of Notre Dame. A Council member stated that the University does allow employees to use personal days or vacation time for volunteering.
The Council held a vote to see if the idea was worth pursuing at this time. One employee was in favor of this idea and 17 were against the idea. 
Dan thanked Linda for bringing this idea to the Council.
VII Women's Committee Update 
Rita Grontkowski shared with the Council that the Women's Committee will be sponsoring another brown bag lunch at the end of October entitled,"Balancing Home and Career." Day and evening sessions will be scheduled.
VIII New Business 
A Council member asked about the parking situation across campus. Rich Nugent stated that he could ask Phil Johnson from Security to come to the October Council meeting and update the Council on parking. The Council agreed that Rich would arrange for Phil to attend the October Council meeting.
Rich responded to a Council member who was asking about the mandatory drug testing the University is using. Rich explained that the mandatory preemployment drug testing is currently being done only on exempt and non-exempt staff new hires. The University is using a company named Psychemedics and the test is done from a hair sample. Pam Zarazee will send a copy of the letter that was sent out regarding this new policy with the minutes.
IX Set Agenda for the October 8, 1998 meeting
I. Approval of minutes from the September 10, 1998 meeting 
II. Parking update for campus
III.Review Council Priorities & Plan for Future Meetings
IV. New Business
V. Set agenda for the November 12, 1998 meeting
Rita Grontkowski made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Deb Fox seconded this motion. A vote was taken and all present Council members were in favor of the motion.
Respectfully Submitted, 
Communications Committee