FACULTY/STAFF BENEFITS COMMITTEE
7 DECEMBER 1999 MEETING
MEMBERS PRESENT: Thompson (Chair), Anderson, David, Fribourg, Gorman, Hirst, Jost, Leadbetter, Leuthold, Peterson, Pursley, Roth, Schaefer, and Yoder.
NEW MEMBERS PRESENT: Alan Chesney and Bill Fisher
MEMBERS ABSENT: Baskette, Callcott, Cleland, Creel, McConnell, Medill, Welborn, Wormsley
Minutes of previous meeting approved with minor corrections. (M-Pursley/2d-Peterson)
REPRESENTATION ON STATE INSURANCE COMMITTEE: Hirst reported that he and Roth had met with Neal Wormsley and had spoken with the current higher education representative to the State Insurance Committee (SIC), Ms. Linda Cooper of the Board of Regents. The SIC is basically a political committee and any changes to the actual make-up of this committee would have to be accomplished by the State Legislature. The University of Tennessee will assume the higher education representation position in July. Emerson Fly appoints this person. Neal Wormsley has served in this position for many years. Hirst reported the sub-committee presented two concerns to Wormsley and he addressed both issues. According to Wormsley, the powers that be won't sway on the make-up of the SIC. Wormsley also said that, in his opinion, splitting the vote was not a good way to go. This would also have to be approved by the State Legislature. Wormsley told the Sub-Committee that the Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee could find out what is going on with the SIC through their minutes. He also said if any employees had any issues they wished the SIC to address, he would be glad to bring the matter up before the SIC. Wormsley also said that he attends all the meetings and would be happy to take someone from our Committee with him to the meetings.
Bill Fisher stated that this was not a new issue. This debate has been going on for many years. He said that the representative to the SIC should be someone who is very motivated and willing to serve for a long time. Continuity is very important.
Chesney volunteered to attend SIC meetings and bring back information to our Committee and carry our concerns to the SIC. The Committee gratefully accepted his offer.
INSURANCE CLAIM APPEALS: Thompson indicated that President Gilley is willing to set up a meeting with our Committee to discuss this issue. The meeting will be scheduled in January. Thompson said President Gilley had indicated he would be glad to have meetings with any of our sub-committees to discuss any issues that are of concern. Thompson expressed his appreciation for President Gilley's willingness to work with us.
LONG-TERM CARE ISSUE: This is another area President Gilley is willing to meet with the Committee to discuss. Pursley indicated that he had reviewed all the information the Committee had acquired to date about this issue and asked what steps the Committee wanted to take beyond the Faculty Senate Resolution. Pursley said that all demographic information indicates that the need and demand for long-term care will be increasing. However, the information available also indicates that there is very little demand for long-term insurance because of its high costs. Also, with the current financial picture, State support for providing this coverage for its employees will not be there. However, an employee-withholding plan could be put in place.
Pursley suggested that possibly the Committee should re-direct its efforts toward an issue that would affect a larger group of people (e.g., prescription drug provision in the State's Medigap plan). Committee members seemed to favor this recommendation. Chesney said that the issue of Mail Order Prescription Plans has been presented to the SIC had been dismissed. Chesney believes that this is something that needs to be brought up time and time again to the SIC. The Committee requested Fribourg and Pursley to draft a Resolution regarding this issue for presentation to the Faculty Senate. The Resolution will be submitted for approval/disapproval to the Committee members via e-mail.
Leadbetter said that Dick Chapman has stated that the bidding process will be taking place soon for 2001 and that he wants to hear from state employees about any issues/concerns they have with the current plan.
FACULTY ASSOCIATION: Jost reported that Al Burstein has volunteered to be the AAUP representative to our Committee for this issue. According to Jost there is nothing in State law to prevent the formation of an Association. There is a law against collective bargaining and strikes by State employees. Jost reported that he is having a lot of problems getting together with the AAUP sub-committee and was beginning to believe that nothing was going to happen with this issue.
REITREMENT FUNDS ROLL-OVER ISSUE: Thompson distributed a number of handouts he has received from Senator McNally. Chesney asked if the University has taken any kind of official position on this issue and suggested that the Committee contact the University's new legislative liaison, Tom Ballard, to ascertain just exactly what the University's position is on this issue. Thompson indicated that Ed Hennessee was willing to come and speak to the Committee about this issue and the Committee asked Thompson to invite Hennessee to the first meeting of 2000.
ARAMARK DISCOUNT: Thompson reported that he has lost this battle. Aramark is not willing to reinstitute the food discount that was available to faculty and staff before they assumed control of University Food Services (i.e., pay $200 to get a $220 worth of food credit).
NEW BUSINESS: Bill Fisher explained what was going on with the East Tennessee State University benefits committee and expressed his willingness to work with our Committee.
Next Meeting: 1 February, 2:15-4:00 p.m. in Room 203 of the University Center.
Charles Thompson, Chair
Frankie Gorman, Secretary
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