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Senate Council Minutes - October 6, 2003

The Senate Council met on October 6, 2003 at 3:00 pm in The Gallery of the W. T. Young Library and took the following actions:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 3:00 pm.


The Chair introduced Dick Siemer, the new Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration. The Senate Council members introduced themselves to Siemer.

Approval of the Minutes from September 29, 2003

The Chair asked if any corrections to the Minutes were needed. After brief discussion the Minutes were approved without dissent.


The Chair invited Siemer to make some opening comments. Siemer said he has assembled a committee that will be involved in analyzing issues that arise when planning capital projects. The committee will examine issues pertaining to tree removal, building placement, building size, aesthetics, sign design and placement and the like. Siemer hopes the committee will take into account the overall look and feel of the campus when it makes its recommendations. The Chair noted Siemer's interest in working with the Senate Committee on Academic Facilities, which will look at classroom space, condition and utilization during the next year. Siemer said he had recently asked Henry Clay Owen to compile a small presentation pertaining to the budget cycle to present to the Senate. In response to questions from the Senate Council members about fund balances and budget cuts, Siemer voiced his hope that the presentation would help exhibit what processes are followed during a budget cycle.

Retiree Benefits Task Force report

Retiree Benefits Task Force report (DOC)

The Chair introduced Brad Canon, who was the Senate Council's representative on the Retiree Benefits Task Force. Canon presented his summary of the task force's investigation and findings. Canon expressed concern over employees having their benefits capped, different plans being provided for employees who retire either before or after the implementation date, and the difficulty these changed benefits will present when recruiting new employees. Cibull voiced concern over the lack of benchmark comparison data in the report. Siemer said many colleges are not yet confronting the problem, but will have to eventually. Cibull asked what would happen to retirees who reached their aggregate spending limit. Canon replied they would no longer have coverage. Cibull noted the departure of good faculty would likely occur from such a change in benefits. The Chair asked Saunier to comment on the retirement situation for LCC employees in the event of LCC's separation from the University. Saunier said that when the other community colleges separated from UK in 1997, their employees had the choice of remaining in the UK benefits structure or taking KCTCS benefits instead, so LCC employees might have the same choice if LCC became part of KCTCS.

The Chair asked Canon what step was next in the process. Canon said the various recommendations would be presented to Siemer, Provost Nietzel and President Todd who would reject, modify or accept the recommendations. They would then bring the matter to the Senate sometime this fall. Siemer said the appropriate body to receive the report is the Employee Benefits Committee since they have authority within the Administrative Regulations to review such issues and make recommendations to the President. Canon suggested the issue be heard by both the University Senate and the Staff Senate before a final decision is reached. Siemer agreed. The Senate Council members expressed concern regarding short amortization rates, lack of benchmarking, and being among the first Universities to address this issue.

The Chair said the matter would now go to the Employee Benefits Committee. He will send a letter to both the chair and the Senate's representative on that committee. Siemer said he will ask the Committee to discuss the issue but to refrain from making a decision until both senates have discussed it. It will be discussed at the November Senate meeting. The Chair will ask Joey Payne, Chair of the Retiree Benefits Task Force, for a copy of the full report so the Senators can review it on-line prior to the November meeting.

The Chair noted Siemer's interest in working with the Institutional Finance and Resource Allocation Committee and thanked Canon and Siemer for their time and information.

Other Business

The Chair asked the Senate Council members how they would like to organize this year's annual Board and Senate holiday party. The Senate Council members suggested scaling back the amount of food purchased this year. Debski and Cibull felt it was appropriate to invite the Staff Senate to join the festivities this year. Jones said he would work with the Trustees to try to encourage their attendance. Edgerton suggested picking a more convenient location. The Chair suggested having the party on the eighteenth floor of Patterson Office Tower. Ms. Scott will investigate the various options.

The Chair informed the Senate Council of the pending review of the Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. The Chair asked the Senate Council members if they would prefer to address this type of item at the Senate Council meetings or if it could be circulated on the web. The Senate Council members agreed that Graduate Certificate reviews could be circulated on the web if the review was positive but should be heard during Senate Council meetings if the review was negative.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:32.

Respectfully submitted by Jeffrey Dembo
Chair, Senate Council

Members Present: Lindsay Block (for Rachel Watts), Mike Cibull, Liz Debski, Jeff Dembo, Lee Edgerton, Davy Jones, Braphus Kaalund, Michael Kennedy, Peggy Saunier, and Kaveh Tagavi.

Guests Present: Brad Canon, Dick Siemer.

Prepared by Rebecca Scott on Tuesday, October 07, 2003.