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March 25, 2002

Employee Council approves benefits letter

By Eric Rangus

The Employee Council finalized its letter to President Bill Chace regarding the administration’s proposed benefits reduction. The council unanimously approved the language at its March 20 meeting in the Luce Center.

Calling the administration’s solutions to budgetary issues “extreme,” the letter expressed the opinion that reducing benefits was not the best way to solve any University cash flow problems.

“The administration has proposed dramatic, unexpected and permanent reductions in employee benefits rather than requiring itself to limit growth in the short term,” it reads. “We believe it is important for the University to honor commitments made to members of the Emory community. The distress of current and retired employees in response to the proposed reductions is clear and the retention of current and recruitment of new employees will be impacted negatively if these reductions are adopted.”

Generally, the council’s letter stated it did not support any changes to the benefits of current employees or Emory retirees. It did, however, endorse the expansion of the retirement plan to employees 21 and older (currently the age limit is 26).

The council did not oppose changes to the benefit package offered to newly hired employees. For the full text of the council’s letter to President Chace, refer to the council website at

As part of the council’s discussion of benefits, Judith Miller and Pat Marsteller of the newly created Budget and Benefits Working Group came to discuss their efforts in drafting the group’s own resolution.

Not all of the meeting’s activities focused on the benefits debate. Wynell Lauver, chair of the planning committee for Staff Fest, said she is looking for slogan and logo ideas for this year’s celebration, which will be held May 17 on the Quadrangle.

The event will have a tropical theme and will include activities such as a “Tsunami Slide” and limbo and hula contests. The deadline for slogan ideas is Friday, March 29, and the person who comes up with the winning slogan/logo will receive a $25 gift certificate.

This was the final meeting presided over by President Bill McBride. His final act as president was to hand off his office to President-Elect Cheryl Bowie, who will lead the council for the next year.

The next Employee Council meeting is Wednesday, April 17, at 2 p.m. in the eighth-floor conference room of the Rollins Building.

If you have a question or concern for Employee Council, send e-mail to Cheryl Bowie at