The unexpectedly ambiguous issue of exactly what constitutes a University retiree led the Senate to vote at its Feb. 27 meeting to table discussion of a proposal from the Fringe Benefits Committee to recommend adoption of a formal list of benefits available to retirees.
Senate President-elect Luke Johnson (filling in for President Rick Letz) asked Fringe Benefits Committee Chair Sid Stein and University Secretary Gary Hauk to study the issue further with Vice President and General Counsel Joseph Crooks and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Alice Miller, and report to the Senate at its March meeting. Johnson said the Senate needs a clear definition of what criteria faculty and staff must meet before they can be considered retirees.
Access to EmoryCare proved to be the most complex issue in the discussion. The University traditionally has continued health care coverage to faculty and staff who meet the criteria for retirement outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Extension of those benefits, however, is made with the understanding that the University is not obligated to continue providing retiree health benefits indefinitely. Stein said the health care issue was added to the Committee proposal after it was presented to the Faculty Council on Feb. 20. He characterized the other proposed benefits (nearly 20 in all) as having no significant cost implications for the University in comparison to health care coverage.
In other business, the Senate approved a proposal from the Campus Life Committee that urges the University to: 1) strongly encourage the use of e-mail as the preferred form of campus communication and 2) moderate the use of paper as a means of campus communication. Committee Chair Judy Raggi-Moore said that Information Technology Division staff continue to work toward two goals to make implementation of the proposal possible: 1) appointing a moderator to serve as the "postmaster" for a system of campus-wide e-mail communication and 2) create a set of guidelines to assist the moderator in determining which e-mail messages get sent to the entire campus. Raggi-Moore said the Senate will have a chance to offer input into the process of creating the guidelines.
Nominations for 1996-97 officers have been opened. William Cody of Oxford College's political science faculty, was nominated for president-elect, and Ann Rouse of Emory Hospital's radiology department was nominated for secretary. Nominations will remain open until the Senate's March 26 meeting, when elections will be held.
An idea proposed in the Council's Special Issues Committee to allow employees to pay P.E. Center fees on a per-pay-period basis through payroll deduction is not feasible under the P.E. Center's financial structure, according to Director of Athletics and Recreation Chuck Gordon.
Gordon addressed the Special Issues Committee during the Council's Feb. 21 meeting.
The P.E. Center's budgetary structure, Gordon said, is designed to favor long-term employees who renew their memberships over a number of years, with short-term, casual members effectively subsidizing the fees of long-term faculty and staff. The P.E. Center budget is dependent upon the full $60 annual fee from each member, which would be compromised under a plan allowing employees to pay $5 a month if the employee leaves in the middle of the year and the remainder of the fee is lost.
Payroll deduction would be feasible, Gordon said, if the annual flat fee were raised to offset losses from employees who drop in and out of the program during the year. Rather, Gordon said, he would prefer to retain the current financial structure and keep the flat fee as low as possible.
Gordon also announced that the P.E. Center will be closed to community access at the end of the day Wednesday, July 3, to allow the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) to begin its Olympic activities there. The building will reopen to the Emory community Monday, Aug. 5. Gordon said faculty and staff who have paid their annual P.E. Center fee will have two options for that period: receiving a voucher that can be applied to next year's membership, or placing the voucher into a fund that will be used to buy new equipment such as stationery bikes and stairmasters.
In other business, the Council elected officers for 1996-97. They include: Erick Oliver, Carter Center, president-elect; Ann Rouse, radiology, Emory Hospital, secretary-elect; Wayne Barnes, bursar's office, treasurer; Stan Taylor, medical school, parliamentarian; and Sonia Williams, law school, historian. All terms begin April 1, when President-elect Joy Burnette of Emory Hospital becomes president, and Secretary-elect Jackie Langham of Facilities Management becomes secretary.