Office of the Vice President
for Administration

Salaried Staff Advisory Council

Minutes: February 15, 2012
The meeting was called to order at 2:30 PM

SSAC members present:
Member District Member District
Margrit Hadden 1 Ladonna Miller 8
Staci Truitt 3 Kimberly Doucette 9
Nancy Proctor 4 Cathy Corsi 10
Susan Zarebicki 6 Theresa Henderson 11
Linda Nimtz 7 Carol Brower 12

Members excused:  Karen Murphy, Lisa Collins, Mike DiMauro, Sr.
Others Present:  Tom LaPenta, Judy Allarey

Meeting called to order by Mr. LaPenta.

The December 14, 2011 minutes were approved as written.

Old Business
Mr. LaPenta announced that the ad hoc subcommittee on Employee Merit Awards composed of Cathy Corsi, Marge Hadden, and Lin Nimtz met and the group came up with a lot of great ideas on how to recognize special achievements by employees. Mr. LaPenta will define the criteria, as discussed during the committee meeting, and make recommendations to HR.

Constituent Concerns
When new major projects are launched on campus, would it be possible to learn about them before roads, lanes, sidewalks, and/or parking lots are closed and out of service?  The constituent added that the courtyard just north of Perkins Center is closed until August and no official notice has been issued yet. According to Facilities Planning and Construction (FP&C), the area in question refers to the Perkins to Russell Underground Steam project (fencing between Thompson/Lane/Russell).  The Project Manager clarified that a notice was sent to the occupants of Perkins/Russell/Thompson/Lane facilities. They also had two separate meetings with Housing and the Perkins end users concerning the project. 
FP&C encourages students and employees to visit their current project map on its website.

Facilities removed a stone stairway next to the Water Resources Agency in March of 2011. Fence posts were put in and yellow tape cordoned off the walkway.  Constituent would like to know if this is a temporary fix.  It looks bad and people just walk around it, still allowing for a hazard. According to Grounds Services, the area in question was identified last year as a safety hazard. Due to the slippery bank and close proximity to the fire lane Grounds staff removed the stepping stones that created an unsafe path for pedestrians and resodded much of the area.  Mulch was placed where the shade is too dense to sustain lawn.   Caution tape was installed as a temporary measure to keep traffic off the sod and out slope.  Grounds staff will remove the caution tape but it should be noted this is not a walkway. Staff and students need to use the established walkways. 

UD caps sick leave accumulations at 960 hours. Under the state pension plan, state employees can cash in up to a year of sick leave when they retire which counts as credit towards their pension calculation.  Since UD caps sick leave accumulations, employees are not able to take advantage of that rule even though they participate in the state pension plan.  According to the Office of Human Resources, the Delaware Employees’ Pension Plan includes a “sick leave buy-in option” offered to each new pensioner based on the number of unused sick days the employee had accrued as of their last day of employment. (This option does not include any unused sick days for which payment is received at retirement.)  For each 21 days of unused (unpaid) sick days, the pensioner is offered the option to purchase one extra month of pension service. The sick day maximum at UD (120 days) equates to 5 months possible purchase, as no partial months are included. This buy-in option, if taken, will increase the dollar amount of the monthly pension, but it does require a one-time up-front payment by the newly-retired employee.

Is it possible for miscellaneous wage employees who wish to work more than 1000 hours to sign a waiver that they do not want benefits? Mr. LaPenta responded in the negative.
Constituent would like to know the new hourly fee for the four pay lots.   Garage parking fees for Center for the Arts, Perkins and Trabant and the Visitor Center is $1.00 per ½ hour or part thereof. Additional information is available online at Parking and Transportation Services website.

Constituent heard on radio that the University will be starting large scale layoffs.  Mr. LaPenta responded that this is not true.

Is it possible to have a crosswalk from the Visitors Center to Morris Library?  The Office of Government Relations has submitted a letter to the City of Newark requesting for a recommendation to Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to review the intersection.

The Center for the Arts (CFA) garage office was unoccupied after 5 pm during January 2012.  Several people were looking for help and some used the blue light phone and had to wait at least 10 minutes for help to arrive.  According to Parking Services, the attended hours at all the pay to park lots was changed in January. CFA did not have attendants scheduled for Winter Session, which was announced at the garage and on Parking Services website. Parking Services is aware that some people had problems with the change and are currently working on a solution for the summer, when hours will once again be reduced.

A constituent is inquiring about the 4% increase for faculty this year, and would like to know if salaried staff will receive the same increase? Mr. LaPenta responded that the merit pool has not been announced.
Are there any plans to build a bus stop shelter to protect riders from the weather near the Morris Library/Admissions building area near Winslow Road and South College Avenue? According to Mr. Rind, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, there are no current plans for a bus shelter in this location.  Mr. Rind also encourages all riders to use the various tracking methods for UD buses which provide very precise information as to when buses are due to arrive which minimizes the amount of time spent waiting outdoors. 

Constituent heard on the news that Delaware is in the process of increasing the minimum wage by a $1 over the next 2 years and would like to suggest that UD increase the hourly rate for all salaried staff employees by whatever the actual increase is and when it is effective.  The Office of Human Resources is moving forward with its review of compensation practices and policies leading to implementation of a revised compensation system.  They are striving to most effectively balance any needed structural improvements to the system with the financial realities we all face in challenging budgetary times.

A constituent inquired about the computer purchase program. Mr. LaPenta responded that Dr. Roselle started this program 15 years ago to encourage people to purchase computers and learn how to use them. The program was discontinued because prices of computers have gone down and computers have become more affordable for employees to purchase.

Constituent would like to know if it is possible to have the following added to UD Benefits:

  1. AFLAC
  2. Roth IRA contribution thru payroll deduction
  3. Allstate instead of Liberty Mutual

According to the Office of Human Resources, the University provides a number of voluntary benefit options through the convenience of UD payroll deduction.  These include auto/homeowner insurance, 529 College Savings Plans, commuter benefits, long-term care insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts (for health and dependent card expenses), dependent life insurance, and the option to contribute on a voluntary basis to the 403(b) retirement savings plan.  These voluntary benefits complement a rich array of other benefits to which the University also provides a significant contribution (health, prescription drug, dental, vision, life and disability plans). Please see the online publication Get the Best From Your Benefits for more detailed benefits information.   The Office of Human Resources welcomes employee feedback on any specific benefit options that may be of interest to University faculty & staff.

Constituent is requesting that UD consider offering a one-time payment of $1000 towards the purchase of hearing aids, electric wheelchair or other durable medical equipment not covered by insurance. According to Human Resources, Hearing Aids and related expenses (such as fittings, exams to put them in place and batteries) are all eligible for reimbursement through the Flexible Spending Account which is funded by employee pre-tax contributions.  The health plans currently cover durable medical equipment that is prescribed by a doctor, useful to a person only during an illness or injury, and deemed by the health plan vendor to be medically necessary and appropriate (ex. orthopedic braces; wheel chairs; orthotics; hospital beds).

Other Business:

Ms. Truitt said that parking at Carpenter sports Building (The Little Bob) will go away as construction begins on a new 50,000-square-foot addition.  Plans for the three-story expansion include new workout areas, group exercise rooms, offices, a student lounge and an indoor track. 

Meeting adjourned at 3:50 pm

Respectfully submitted,
Judy Allarey

Reviewed by:
Marge Hadden

SSAC Minutes Index
University of Delaware Home
VP Finance & Administration Home