December 1, 2003

Employee Council to investigate merit pay

By Eric Rangus

Building on the discussion at the Employee Council’s Nov. 11 town hall meeting with President Jim Wagner, the council’s special issues committee will further explore the topic of merit pay increases, the council announced at its latest meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Woodruff Library’s Jones Room.

At the town hall, Wagner said he supported true merit pay increases for staff. Special issues chair Susie Lackey said some employees—including members of the council executive committee—do not receive yearly performance reviews, which tie into merit-based pay increases. "Evaluations make you better," Lackey said. "They only make you improve."

Council members expressed strong support for looking into the subject of merit pay, and Lackey said special issues will take up the task.

At the meeting, several guest speakers made presentations. Charcella Green, vice president of program services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, spoke about volunteering for her organization. More than 20 council members took applications.

Yvonne LeVelle, Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) compliance manager, invited council members to take part in an online pilot training program for preventing sexual harassment. LeVelle said the focus of the 40-minute online test, developed at the University of California-Berkeley, will not be an individual’s results but rather an evaluation of the program itself and whether the training information is understood by the user.

LeVelle said updates about how to access the site will be forthcoming; the test will be available through March 1, 2004. If the pilot is accepted, online training will supplement, not replace, face-to-face sexual harassment reduction training.

Employee Council is one of five entities (the others are College Council, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, and staff in the EOP and Human Resources offices) invited to take part in the pilot.

John Hammond, senior lecturer in the Goizueta Business School, director of the Evening MBA Program and chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities’ (PCSM’s) staff concerns committee, discussed the climate for diversity on campus. He said that PCSM would provide a letter of support for Assistant Professor of Anthropology Tracy Rone, who has asked that an EOP investigation into alleged acts of intolerance in her department be reopened.

Hammond said that students and African American faculty members have spoken publicly about the subject on campus, but not much had been heard from staff members. He invited council members to attend an emergency meeting between PCSM and Wagner later that day (see story, page 5). "We need to underscore the importance of a pluralistic community to [Wagner]," Hammond said.

In other council business, communications chair Melodye Moore reviewed the Wagner town hall meeting, which, with more than 150 attendees, was the largest in the event’s 12-year history. In particular, she praised Wagner, who after his first time facing town hall questions from staff members told her he was "encouraged and inspired" by the meeting.

"I appreciated his willingness to answer questions," Moore said.

Membership chair Cheryl Sroka distributed nomination forms for 2004–05 officer elections. Open offices include president-elect, secretary-elect, treasurer and historian. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 18, 2004.

The next Employee Council meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 17, at noon in the Jones Room.

If you have a question or concern for Employee Council,
send e-mail to President Don Newsome at