Meeting Minutes of the Health System Academic & Research Employee Council October 17th, 2002
Sharon Heyka, Chair, began the meeting by thanking Mary-Leigh Thacker for doing the minutes last month and Jim Stork for contacting the guest speakers for Sharon. She was very thankful for the help she has received from all the council members.
Sharon recently went to a talk given to the Executive Employee Council by John Lord that inspired her to think of the council in a different light. We as a council need to decide what we want out of the council. We need to get active and decide what would make us excited and interested in the employee council.
Louise Dudley addressed the council concerning the bond issue that is coming up for a vote on November 5th. The issue is an important one to the university. Louise is not allowed to campaign for the bonds, but is coming to us only to inform us of the issues on the bond referendum. The concern of the university and the legislatures is that because there are very few contested elections on the ballot that people will not make the effort to vote. We will be voting on whether or not the state should borrow money for parks, colleges, and museums by offering general obligation bonds. There are very important funding issues at stake for community colleges and universities throughout Virginia. The important issues at UVA include $24.4 million for MR-6, $14.3 million for a new Arts & Sciences building, $7 million for a new nanotechnology and materials science and engineering building, $5.7 million for renovation to the teaching labs in Gilmer Hall, and other support services improvements (chiller plants, a sub-station, etc.). PVCC also has important projects at stake that are desperately needed. A total of $203 million has been designated for projects in central Virginia. For more information, please refer to the web page (www.virginia.edu/gobond). Virginia as a state has a great credit rating and these bonds will not harm it. Investors are happy to buy these bonds especially with the volatility of the current stock market. If any of us would like to spend our own time to support the bond issue, we can get involved in a group called Foundation 2002. This group is a non-partisan group to promote the bonds. If any of us are interested in helping promote the issue we can encourage people to vote, write a letter to the editor, or ask for a yard sign to display.
Anda Webb from the Provost Office was the next to address the council. The budget cuts have been determined. UVA has been assigned a 12% cut for this year and a 14% cut for next year. The UVA budgeted round 1 reduction will be effective June 1st and will total $25.4 million. If the student tuition is raised 9%, it will generate $12 million. The new cuts total $16 million so there are still more cuts to be made. When the Board of Visitors met on Oct 2nd, they approved a mid-year tuition surcharge. They didn’t set a limit but suggested a limit of $500. To date, UVA has not made decisions on where money will be cut. They will decide where the cuts will be made in the next couple of weeks. UVA took a higher percentage cut than other universities in the state. This is only the first phase of the budget cuts. The next budget discussion will occur around December 20. In early January the General Assembly will reconvene and make those difficult decisions. The cuts to date cover $800 million and the budget deficit $2-4 billion.
UVA does not plan to have any layoffs or furloughs. That will be avoided if at all possible.
Taxes may be increased by the General Assembly. The Assembly of Professors met and they published a “doctrine” which encourages the university to increase tuition to make up for the lack of funds. The state is only supporting around 10% of the cost of student tuition but the in-state students get a greatly reduced rate. By increasing tuition, the university could avoid cutting other important university programs. Capital projects like the rare books library and the Aquatic Fitness Center are fully funded and are not affected by the budget cuts. No state money is being used for the parking garage or the basketball arena projects so they will proceed as planned.
Old Business: Megan Lowe has asked us to name representatives for the Parking committee and the Safety committee. June Wade volunteered to remain on the parking committee and Tammy Snow will remain on the Safety committee.
What do we want to do as a council? Ideas proposed by other councils:
We determined that day trips are already being organized by the hospital. There was a good deal of interest in adopting a family for Christmas. Lolita Bland is going to organize this project. She wants us to bring to her a few names of families that we know of in the community that need help. We can begin asking people in our departments for donations and we will discuss this further at the next meeting.
Mary-Leigh Thacker next addressed the council in reference to the Health Care Open Enrollment that will occur between November 4th and December 6th. Instead of sending out a mailing to all employees, they are doing the open enrollment on-line. We need to get the word out to our departments so that people who are not regularly on e-mail get the information. The deadline for opting out of the VSDP is November 28th, the Wed. before Thanksgiving. In the past they have done a 2nd mailing for flex spending accounts, but this year there will be no mailing.
Changes made to the health plan: (http://www.hrs.virginia.edu/openenroll.html)
Other things discussed at the Benefits meeting:
The meeting was adjourned.