Montana University System Staff Association

MUSSA Conference Call, May 11, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.

Conference call participants included Shelley Hiniker UM – Missoula, Heather Ireland UM – Helena, and Joan Ford, Jeannette Radcliffe, and Kevin  Thane from MSU-Bozeman.

Board of Regents (BoR) meeting May 27th and 28th in Great Falls:

  • BoR attendance:  Shelley will arrive Thursday a.m.; she may or may not be returning for the Friday session.  Heather, Kevin, Jeanette, and Joan will arrive Thursday a.m. and will stay through both Thursday and Friday sessions.
  • MUSSA is scheduled to speak at the BoR at lunch time Friday the 28th.
  • Topics under consideration for discussion during MUSSA time slot:
  • Staff recruiting and retention, at both Bozeman and Missoula, are seeing lower than normal turnover, fewer vacancies, and a larger number of applicants.  We need to focus on retaining current employees to prevent an exodus once the economy turns around.
  • Budgets remain an issue with impact assessed after BoR budget decisions.
  • Missoula is having staff appreciation / staff awards to acknowledge the contributions that staff members make on campus.  MSU-Bozeman had its Employee Recognition Awards presentation April 27th.  MUSSA may want to highlight staff accomplishments to support the fact that the campuses have top notch employees.
  • Benefit Choices concluded in Bozeman on May 1st.  Several Bozeman employees expressed concern that the Choices re-enrollment software would not allow them to apply the waiver for Dependent Premium Waiver for health insurance.   This means that they will actually have less take home pay because they got a raise.   Missoula, whose Choices deadline is May 29th, noted in the past they direct individuals to the Benefits Specialist to resolve this issue.
  • New West Health Insurance may have a software problem that is disallowing the annual physical benefit.  Some claims have been denied.  Further checking will be done.
  • MSU-Bozeman is in the search process for President Gamble’s replacement.
  • VEBA (Voluntary Employees’ Beneficiary Association) is affecting retirement payouts by removing individual choice.  Payouts are decided by a majority of the eligible people who vote (age 55+), not just the people who are retiring that year.  MSU-Bozeman has a committee studying the issue

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