COM-FSM > SENATE > Minutes of Senate Meetings > [N] 2013 August 14

[N] 2013 August 14

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    Committee  or Working Group:Faculty Staff/Senate Executive Officers (National Campus)
    Date:  August 14, 2013
    Time: 1:00 p.m.
    Location:  Assessment Officer & Assistant ALO’s office
    Members Present:
    President, Christopher Ross Perkins 
    Vice President, Francisco Mendiola
    Secretary, Rafael Pulmano
    Treasurer, Morehna Rettin-Santos
    Additional Attendees: None
    Agenda/Major Topics of Discussion:
    I. New Business
    1. Upcoming elections
    2. Document inventory
    o FSS bylaws
    o FSS minutes/Campus minutes
    o FSS BOR Report
    o Senate Announcements
    3. Bylaws update (Teresa Filepin – Chair, Ad hoc Committee)
    4. Update from staff meeting (Ankie)
    5. Other matters
    Discussion of Agenda/Information Sharing:
    1. Faculty/Staff Senate President Christopher Ross Perkins started the meeting by thanking the officers for taking the time from their busy schedules to attend the meeting. He announced his new position as Assessment Officer and Assistant Accreditation Liaison Officer. Everyone congratulated Ross for his new job. 
    2. DOCUMENT INVENTORY. Ross skipped the first item in the agenda (SEE #6 below) and explained that he is part of the communication group that has been tasked to identify the documents in which each division is going to be responsible for. So he went ahead and listed the following documents that the senate must publish.
    o FSS bylaws
    o FSS minutes/Campus minutes
    o FSS BOR Report
    o Senate Announcements
    Rafael inquired if by “document” Ross meant PDF files. He said yes. Rafael then asked whether html documents published in the senate wiki do not constitute “document”, and to this Ross replied that they are still working on this. Rafael suggested that perhaps complete documents in PDF format may be considered as official documents, and excerpts or summaries from these files may be published and shared in wikis as html pages but will not be considered as official documents.
    Ross explained that documents may refer to reports, publications, announcements, and miscellaneous. Rafael then asked: What about comments posted by faculty and staff in the wiki, or email messages sent to senate officers and representatives – do they not constitute “documents” that should be part of the inventory?
    3. BYLAWS UPDATE. Ross said due to internet-related issues, he has not been successful in contacting Teresa Filepin, Yap Campus staff representative and chair of the ad hoc committee that was tasked with revising the senate bylaws. Working with Teresa in the committee are Debra Perman (Pohnpei Campus), Maika Tuala (Chuuk Campus), and Maver Jonathan (Kosrae Campus). Ross will try and contact again/follow up with Teresa.
    4. UPDATE FROM STAFF MEETING. In mid-July, Ankie informed National Campus senate officers and representatives, via email, about his wish to call a meeting of all staff to announce on going efforts of the Staff Senate and to provide opportunity to discuss staff concerns. He said he wished to also encourage the staff to nominate and vote for staff senate representatives to assist in addressing staff and faculty concerns. Ross said this was an excellent idea and expressed his full support.
    In his update, Ankie reported that the general staff meeting was held at the college cafeteria dining hall on August 2, 2013. It was coordinated by Morehna and himself. It was well-attended (48 staff present). President Joseph Daisy, who had been invited, expressed his thanks and appreciation to the staff for their contribution to accreditation. Ankie, for his part, encouraged all staff to get more involved, to have faith in their representatives, and to use them by sending their concerns. He also gave an update on the ongoing efforts of the college to move affected personnel from special contracts to full-time employees. He said most positions have been filled and some are still in process. Ankie suggested to have more frequent staff meetings such as this one, observing that in most cases discussions during senate meetings are dominated by faculty.
    a. Scholarship Funds. Ross explained that certain scholarship funds, such as the Gene Ashby Scholarship fund, were traditionally under the responsibility of the senate. He noted that a suggestion was made in a previous meeting to transfer both custody and responsibility for these funds to the Financial Aid Office. Rafael reminded everyone that the treasurer’s report which he himself helped develop, when Ketiner Kenneth was the senate treasurer, showed how much of these scholarship funds were co-mingled with the senate’s bank deposit account. Ankie mentioned that there is also money for Benson Moses, and wants to know if the senate has to be involved. Rafael will email copies of the treasurer’s report to Ross, Morehna and Ankie. (SEE NOTE below) 
    NOTE: When transcribing these minutes, Rafael went over previous minutes and found the following: 
    • Management of scholarships (Timothy Jerry, Gene Ashby and future proposed scholarships) should be turned over to Financial Aid.
    • Senate can help with creating criteria and so forth but everything dealing with the scholarships should be turned over to the College Financial Aid office.
    • Senate President will draft a letter to Spensin James expressing the need to turn over the responsibilities of scholarships to Financial Aid Office.
    b. Housing Benefits. Ross said a second issue that was brought to the senate’s attention was of a sensitive nature and a serious concern. He said if someone is hired from off-island, that person is entitled to housing benefits. However, if a Ponapean is hired from off-island, that person is not entitled to the same benefits. Examples cited were those of Casiano Paul and, previously, Kenneth Welles. Morehna said these were not the only cases. She added that even in Pohnpei, if the person hired is from the outer islands (for example, a Pingelapese), he or she is qualified to receive housing benefits. Discussions also cited instances where a Ponapean who is hired in other state campuses are given housing benefits. The rule, it seems, is that if a person’s place of residence is within commuting distance, that person is not entitled to housing allowance. But if it is not within commuting distance, there is housing allowance. Ross pointed out that job announcements indicate whether or not positions advertised are entitled to extended benefits, which included housing. (NOTE: The job announcements carry this notice: “The College of Micronesia–FSM is an equal opportunity employer. FSM Citizens are encouraged to apply.”) It was observed that there appears to be no consistent application of policy, and this in turn may have the effect of discouraging, rather than encouraging, FSM citizens based outside the country to apply and work for COM-FSM. It was agreed that the senate would endorse this concern to the HR Committee.
    c. Concerns from Kosrae Campus. Rafael read the contents of two emails sent by Murphy Ribauw, faculty representative of Kosrae Campus, portions of which are reproduced below:
    As the incumbent Faculty Senate Rep for Kosrae Campus, I am forced to
    query the status quo of the first payment for our Special Contract
    which was meant to be paid last week June 24th. For satisfaction of
    each Faculty member,it would be appreciated if each could be given
    his/her status quo.
    The other query that I was bombarded with was the formula given for
    Part time Instructors for I persoally thought the work we did prior
    the Summer semester was to replace that computation used since Spring
    1997 in Appendix C & D, and replace it with one that all Faculties
    voted in favor of ?? Please elaborate ??
    The senate officers observed that the delay in payment of special contracts was a repeat of the same issue brought to its attention last summer. Ross explained the process involving special contracts and pointed out the cause of delay. It was agreed that this is an administrative matter, and Ross said he would bring this to the VPIA’s attention.
    As to the formula for part-time instructors, Ross explained that the same formula recently approved for adjunct faculty would be used, except that part-time instructors, who are not full time with COM-FSM, would use a baseline hourly rate that will be developed by HR. This rate will be based on the 20th market percentile. The reason, according to Ross, is that these part-time instructors do not have established hourly rates unlike regular full-time instructors. Rafael will forward Murphy’s email to Ross, and Ross will respond directly and explain the formula to Murphy.
    6. UPCOMING ELECTIONS.  Ross said there were not enough nominations and declaration of candidacies, so no senate elections were held at the close of the previous semester at the National Campus. He announced his plan to call a general assembly of all faculty and staff on August 30, 2013. Rafael suggested that the gathering could also serve the purpose of entertaining nominations and declarations of candidacy for the senate, as well as the election by secret ballot, so the results can be known by the end of the day. As in the previous election, nomination papers have to be signed by the candidate being nominated. Rafael further suggested that the proposal to amend the senate bylaws to increase the term of office of senate officers and representatives to two years be included in the ballot for the faculty and staff to decide. Everyone agreed with these suggestions. Snacks and refreshments will be served. Morehna estimated the budget for the snacks would be $200.00. Since the senate stopped collecting membership dues pending amendment of the bylaws, it was recommended that the budget for snacks and refreshment be requested from the Office of the President. Ross said that there would be a faculty lunch with the President and Vice Presidents on Friday, August 16, from 11:30 - 2:00 in MITC. He said he would make an announcement to the faculty and staff about the August 30 senate general assembly.
    7. Meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm. The next meeting will be a general assembly, scheduled for 30 August 2013 at 1:00 – 2:00 pm, MITC.
    Handouts/Documents Referenced:  1.Printed copy of July 2 and 4, 2013 emails from Murphy Ribauw
    Prepared by:Rafael PulmanoDate Distributed: 8/15/2013
    Approval of Minutes Process & Responses: 
    Submitted by:  Rafael PulmanoDate Submitted:8/15/2013
    Summary Decisions/Recommendations/Action Steps/Motions with Timeline & Responsibilities
    1. Ross will follow up with Teresa Filepin on the senate bylaws, asap.
    2. Ankie will call more frequent staff meetings, no date specified yet for next meeting.
    3. Rafael will email copies of the treasurer’s report to Ross, Morehna and Ankie.
    4. Ross will endorse housing benefits issue to HR Committee, asap.
    5. Ross will bring to VPIA’s attention Kosrae Campus’ concern on late payment of special contract, asap.
    6. Ross will respond to email of Murphy Ribauw and explain the formula for part-time employee’s compensation, asap.
    7. Next meeting: general assembly on 30 August 2013 at 1:00-2:00 PM, MITC. Nominations, declaration of candidacy and elections (by secret ballot) will be held during this meeting.
    8. Ross will announce the August 30 general assembly during lunch with the President and Vice Presidents on August 16 at MITC.
    Click here for PDF copy of the minutes.
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