FINAL REPORT OF THE FACULTY SENATE
FACULTY/STAFF BENEFITS COMMITTEE FOR
The Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee met four times this past year--October 12, December 7, February 1, and April 11.
- We began the year working with Chancellor Snyder to continue efforts to reduce the salary compression/inversion problem at the full professor level. For a second, consecutive year, Chancellor Snyder made funds available for tenure, merit, and equity raises. Four hundred and forty seven faculty members received $1,910,797 in raises. However, these raises have been frozen until further review is conducted. On the brighter side of the picture, we have President Gilley's commitment to match the salary levels of our peer institutions. Our peer institutions' average salary for full professors is $77,649. UT's full professors' average salary is $67,354.
- A second point of focus is our continuing effort to obtain the 100% "cashability" option of our retirement funds. We met with Ed Hennessee, Director of TCRS, and Deanna Hanna at our February meeting to discuss his and the State's position on the subject. While the State is open to increasing "cashability" above its current 10% level, Mr. Hennessee and his colleagues are opposed to the 100% option. Our resolution, which the Senate passed in 1999, was used to support Senate Bill 0453 sponsored by McNally and House Bill 0522 sponsored by Baird. We have been working with the Faculty Senates of the other UT campuses, which have passed similar resolutions supporting the 100% lump sum distribution of retirement funds option. Efforts to pass these bills will continue.
- President Gilley met with a sub-committee on February 16, 2000, to discuss four insurance issues. As a result of this meeting, Emerson Fly, Vice President for Business and Finance, met with the total committee in April to discuss what could be done with each of the four issues.
ISSUE #1: Expansion of the State Medigap Insurance subsidy to cover Plan J which includes better pharmaceutical coverage and home health care which the two current plans (D & H) do not. Additionally, we wanted to explore how to obtain coverage for pharmaceutical mail order service. The Senate passed our resolution on including Plan J in the subsidy program. Fly reported that a bill is pending in the Legislature that would increase prescription coverage for retirees. The bill has no opposition. However, the bill falls short of providing the subsidy for Plan J. The Benefits Committee will continue to lobby for the Plan J subsidy next year. The Benefits Committee will request that the State Insurance Committee (SIC) examine a National Education Association's Medigap Plan which appears to be superior to the State Plan.
ISSUE #2: We are requesting that the SIC consider eliminating the 30-day limit on prescription drug purchases. We believe a 90-day limit would benefit the State as well as the individual who may be traveling or working out of the country for extended periods of time. Neal Wormsley, our representative on the SIC, will raise the issue at the next SIC meeting.
ISSUE #3: The Benefits Committee is interested in having a campus advocate who will help us settle faculty and staff problems with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Wormsley reported that we have people in place in Payroll and Human Resource Management who know how to handle problems with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Jamie Wilson @ 4-5251 is one such person.
ISSUE #4: The final issue raised with President Gilley was developing closer contact with the SIC. He appointed Neal Wormsley for another term as our University representative to the SIC. Neal will attend all meetings of the SIC and report back to the Benefits Committee on issues covered and actions taken. Wormsley issued an open invitation to have members attend these meetings with him.
- The Benefits Committee has continued an effort to look at long-term health care options. Mr. Fly commented that the University would be able to provide payroll deduction service if a group plan for long-term care was in place.
- The final issue considered by the Benefits Committee was working with AAUP to form a State Faculty Association similar to Pennsylvania's Faculty Association. Such an association would provide a greater, unified voice in the governance and administration of higher education in our State. The association issue will be continued next year. A first step may be to build on the cooperative efforts we have initiated with the Faculty Senates on the other State campuses.
CHARLES THOMPSON, Chairperson
FRANKIE GORMAN, Secretary
Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee
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