Staff Association Executive Committee: 10/14/20 Meeting Minutes
Minutes of the Staff Association Executive Committee meeting held on October 14, 2020
SAEC members attending via Zoom: Sherrie Borowsky, Joanne Brown, Bruce Bumbarger, Noemi Fernández, Sara Goddard, Bob Harper, Dave Harrower,Erin Haughee, Nikki Millas, Julie Miller, Karen Ward, Ben Roma, Schaf Schafsnitz, Kelly Wilcox, Louis Wilson, Elana Wolff
Guests: Jesse Lytle, Vice President/Chief of Staff, Wendy Raymond, President, Linda Strong-Leek, Provost, Mitch Wein, Vice President for Finance/Chief Administrative Officer
Meeting agenda outlined
What has worked well over past year?
- President Raymond addressing both staff and faculty in combined sessions during the summer
- SAEC solicitation of ideas/concerns through anonymous comment board, followed by those concerns being addressed at monthly all-staff meeting
What can be improved
- Is there a way to standardize policies, particularly as they relate to the current work-at-home environment, job flexibility, &c, so that all supervisors are following the same approach when working with staff on these issues, and so that everyone gets the same information in a timely manner
- Wendy opened discussion on whether it is effective to have Jesse always be seen as the main point of contact for SAEC. While she has seen communications with her office improve over the past year, having Jesse act in this role may mean that questions/concerns that could be better addressed by other campus offices, particularly Human Resources, get funneled through the President’s office. Jesse noted that it is important to be clear about what the President’s office can address, and that communications could be improved if some thought is given to identifying to whom particular issues should be directed.
- As Jesse has taken on the role for coordinating the SAEC role in monthly all-staff meetings, over time he has come to be seen as the de factocontact for much that may not be presidential level issues.
- Given the importance of senior staff understanding the totality of the Haverford staff experience, at times it can be worthwhile to “go to the top.”
- It was noted that SAEC members are appreciative of the opportunity afforded staff for participation in College governance
- Need for wider representation on SAEC and College committees – how can senior staff help with this - perhaps managers can encourage their staffs to get involved. It is difficult to get volunteers from some parts of campus, particularly hourly staff and those on fixed schedules. There is concern that staff who aren’t able to be involved may feel that their voices don’t matter. Could a survey of staff help to elicit unvoiced concerns?
- Agreement that allowing staff to consider college service as part of their work-related responsibilities helps to encourage participation.
- Could Workday be used as a communication tool?
Compensation Advisory Committee
- Wendy expressed thanks for the comments submitted by SAEC. Both she and Mitch feel that some of them may have reflected misinformation that can be cleared up through a forthcoming response.
Equity and Inclusion
- Wendy noted that work directed at anti-racism should figure prominently in this. She noted that it is less than ideal that as President she is also designated chief diversity officer. She looks forward to the appointment of a permanent chief diversity officer, but realizes for now that she is the point person for these discussions. It is hoped that questions of equity will surface in the discussions held by the CAC.
Working with Senior Staff
- The question was raised as to how senior staff would like SAEC to partner with them. Linda Strong-Leek mentioned her preference for specific, concrete ideas, with details.
- Wendy reiterated the importance of identifying who is the best point of contact in a specific situation. It was acknowledged that our small size leads to a need for both formal and informal communication, which can sometimes make it difficult to figure out the most effective avenues for this work.
- Vice President Mitch Wein appreciates the wide representation of staff found on the SAEC; hopes that everyone can work together in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding – working toward shared goals.
(Senior staff members leave meeting at this point)
Working with Human Resources staff
- Discussion of need for better sense of where communications should be directed
- Need to more fully utilize links with Human Resources; particularly given appointment of a new head of the department
- When bringing issues/ideas to H.R., we should document requests and responses
- Need nominations of non-exempt staff to fill seat on Safety Committee
- Schaf Schafnitz and Carly Valenzuela will serve as staff representatives to the Dean search
Comment board questions
The following comments were received from 9/3/–10/14/2020 through the anonymous comment board accessible from the Staff Association webpage (https://www.haverford.edu/staff-association).
- With students leaving campus earlier than usual, will staff be granted more time off especially as many have been working non-stop since March? Would the College consider granting additional days off during the week before the current scheduled Winter Break?
- I would like the Staff Association to find out why faculty are allowed to run the search and be on the committee to choose a new Provost who is clearly their supervisor, but those under the Dean of the College umbrella cannot be on the Dean of the College search committee. This is inequitable treatment and hypocritical of the College as well as demeaning. Others are also frustrated and angry at this arbitrary rule. If administration does not want a direct report on the committee that might make sense, but to say no to individuals who are not a direct report seems to be an arbitrary barrier. Again, faculty were on the search committee for their direct supervisor. The administration is not upholding the College's values. 70+ employees are excluded because of this inequitable rule.
- When we returned to work here at HC, we needed to contact HR if your department was returning but you needed to work remotely. Once I contact HR, I was told to work a schedule out with my supervisor (which I did). The first time that I put "worked remotely", I did not get paid and was told that I needed a Dr.'s note if I wanted to get paid for working remotely. (I never received back pay)
Now that HC has their feet wet, I see others in my department working remotely with approval from their supervisor. Which is it, Supervisor's approval or Dr.'s note?
HC needs to come up with a clear policy for working remotely regardless of being exempt or non-exempt.
Will the employees here at HC be able to continue to work remotely after December 31, 2020 and get paid?
Submitted by Bruce Bumbarger