Issues in Progress

Employee Council

Newly elected President Erik Oliver opened the meeting by reiterating his goal to foster a sense of Emory community between the main campus and the University's off campus divisions. He said the Council is likely to sponsor five town hall meetings in 1997 at Oxford College, The Carter Center, Grady Hospital, Crawford Long Hospital and the main campus to foster administration/employee dialogue and a sense of the larger Emory community.

Vera Rorie of the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities addressed the group and asked members to suggest ways in which the Council could interface with the Commission on various efforts throughout the year, such as joint sponsorship of events, etc. She also asked whether a member of the Employee Council could sit on the Commission and vice versa to foster more interaction between the two bodies. Oliver affirmed that Council bylaws offer an ex-officio seat to a Commission member.

Past President Joy Burnette briefed the Council on the University policy concerning sexual harassment panels, which are the official bodies assigned to decide unresolved sexual harassment cases on campus. Participation on sexual harassment panels if called upon is part of Council members' responsibilities, she said.

The Council's committees on special issues, communications and Membership held caucuses, then reported on their discussions. Ron Foust, chair of the special issues committee, reported that members will begin dealing with employee concerns about the United Way campaign on campus. Committee and council members were asked to poll coworkers on both their concerns about the campaign and ways to improve its implementation. Other concerns to be examined by special issues include: administration and efficiency of employee Flexible Spending Accounts; notification of the entire campus community in the event of bomb threats in particular buildings; communication with employees who have no access to computer technology; elimination of chiropractic care from EmoryCare coverage; expansion of allowable course hours in the Courtesy Scholarship Program; and notification of the University community when a staff member has died, as is done with members of the faculty.

Karen Fain, chair of the membership committee, announced that Council members will wear special name badges during this year's Staff Fest on Thursday, May 15. The badges are a way of encouraging employees to give feedback on their ideas and concerns to Council members, she said.

Oliver, who reported for Communications Committee chair Candy Tate, said that committee would be publicizing the expanded schedule of employee town hall meetings, publicizing two employee blood drives on campus and communicating about other employee issues through Emory Report.

Burnette, chair of the university senate committee, reported on the senate's resolution proposing that employees be offered the opportunity to purchase long-term care insurance for themselves, their spouses, parents or children through an employee-paid, group-rate plan.

Jay Harris, one of two Council members on the senate's parking and traffic committee, reported on the doubling of ticket fines for next year and the proposed equalization of parking permit fees. Over the next three years, he said, the fee structure will change with the goal of having employees parking in decks paying the same as those parking on the street.

Gretchen Patton of Human Resources informed members that the department has developed an automated system to link applicants to open positions across the Emory campus. After filling out a detailed skills assessment form, applicants will be matched with all available openings for a six-month period; Emory employees' applications will be held and automatically matched with promotion opportunities for one year. Applicants can apply for positions at any of Emory's three human resource offices, she said, and applications will be held in a common database for all openings. She also announced that the membership kick-off drive for the employee wellness center will begin May 15 during Staff Fest. Memberships will be $23 per month, which also will include membership in the Woodruff Physical Education Center.

-Elaine Justice

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