Classified Incentive Awards Announced

By , December 16, 2011 12:51 pm

The College has authorized a one- time, non-base building 3% incentive award to Classified employees who received a performance rating of 2 (meeting expectations) or 3 (exceeding expectations) during the 2010-2011 performance management cycle. This incentive award is equal to 3% of the eligible employee’s annual base salary as of May 1, 2011 and will be paid in one lump sum payment on the December 30th pay date.

I am a current employee who was in a regular (not temporary), classified position (full or part-time) on April 1, 2011. Will I receive the incentive award?

Yes, as long as you received a performance rating of 2 (meeting expectations) or 3 (exceeding expectations) during the 2010-2011 performance management cycle.

I am a current employee who was hired on or after April 1, 2011. Will I receive the incentive award?

No. The incentive award is to reward classified staff who received a performance rating of 2 or 3 during the 2010-2011 performance cycle.

 What is a one-time, non-base building incentive award?

This is a one-time payment that will not change your current, ongoing monthly base salary. It will increase your pay for this one month only.

 How will the 3% incentive award be calculated?

It will be calculated based on the regular annual base salary you were earning on May 1, 2011.

 I have two part-time positions. How will my 3% incentive award be calculated?

It will be calculated based on each of the base salary amounts you were earning on May 1, 2011.

 I’ve done some supplemental work, or I am currently working with an M.O.U which pays me more than my base salary. How will my 3% incentive award be calculated?

It will be calculated based on the regular annual base salary you were earning on May 1, 2011. Amounts paid for supplemental work, or under the MOU will not be considered for this incentive award.

 I have been promoted or changed my FTE status since May 1st. Will my new salary be considered in the calculation of the incentive award?

No. The incentive award will be 3% of your annual base salary on May 1, 2011.

 Will the dollar amount from my incentive award be taxed?

Yes. It will be taxed according to your current W4 elections.

 Will the dollar amount from my incentive award count toward my PERA earnings?

Yes. The College will withhold the appropriate amount from your award to submit to PERA; and, the College will make its appropriate contribution to PERA on your behalf.

Meeting Minutes for 12/1/2011

By , December 1, 2011 9:47 pm

In attendance: Barb Powers, Dana Shinn, Fabio Wen, Yujean Shockley, Dawn Widen, Connie Rauen, Darren Mathews and Trish Grogan

I. Blog Update:  Blog was initiated on 11/16/2011 and information and the link was sent out to all Classified    Staff via email

  • Barb suggested the blog should have a “cyber suggestion box” and Dana said she would check into the possibilities of that.
  • Dawn passed on the suggestion that classified employees would like to see more specific detail on topics like the possible incentive bonus and Darren commented that when it was possible, he would do so and it was decided that if it was not possible to provide specific detail, a comment would be made to that effect to keep the transparency.
  • It was agreed that there would be another meeting set up in EBH040 to train Panel members on how to use the blog with Dana and Fabio and that if a Panel member wanted administrator rights, they needed to send an email to Darren
  • Dana made the suggestion that we should limit administrator rights to one or two people to avoid duplication and errors.

II.  Possible Incentive Bonus: Due to the sensitivity and nature of this topic and on the advice of our legal counsel, the following information is as detailed as allowable at this time. Darren provided updated information on a possible incentive bonus detailing the process that CU used  to initiate their bonus plan and also mentioned that Western had initiated a longevity bonus. He also provided information on what FLC is looking at and the process the College needs to go through to get an incentive bonus approved. Details were provided on the legal aspects of a bonus plan and Darren stressed that while the College would certainly like to initiate a bonus, research and planning is still ongoing and a bonus is not approved at this time.

III. Classified Panel updates: Trish asked the Panel if they would like to make the Panel a permanent entity and it was unanimous that the Panel would like to continue.Trish then asked the Panel to come up with ideas on what criteria they would like to see for someone to become a Panel member, how they would like to address initiating officers, would they like to open the Panel meetings to visitors and if so, what rules would be set into place for visitors? Trish asked the Panel to bring their ideas to the next meeting.

IV. Feedback Panel members have received from Classified Staff: Dawn asked if the College would consider setting up Question & Answer meetings every month for employees to get updated information from the College. Darren asked if design of such a forum would be like a town hall type meeting where all employees could attend.Dawn stated that employees wanted the meeting to be more specific to Classified Staff and Exempt Staff. Darren mentioned that it might be valuable for interested Faculty, since many are not aware of the issues facing Classified and Exempt staff. Darren agreed to look into the possibility of such a meeting. Note: Having faculty at those meetings could be helpful towards raising awareness across campus.

V. Information from Human Resources to Classified Staff: Trish wanted to let everyone know about the new Work Injury section on the HR home page that gave information about work injuries and the two designated workman’s compensation providers that the College uses. She also stressed the importance of how employees shoud report “administrative leave”.

Administrative Leave can only be designated by the appointing authority, Steve Schwartz. If an employee is receiving training, or attending a business function that is related to the College, the employee reports that on their timesheet as regular time, not administrative leave. The employee still must have their supervisor’s approval to attend a college event or training.

VI. The next official Panel meeting was set for January 5, 2011 at 2:00 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:24.

The Panel encourages all Classified employees to feel free to contact Panel members for additional information or leave questions and/or suggestions on this blog site.

Interesting Article in Denver Post

By , November 18, 2011 10:27 pm
The following is the complete text from a recent article in the Denver Post:
Hickenlooper pursues big changes in Colorado hiring, firing
Posted: 11/04/2011 09:09:18 PM MDT
Updated: 11/05/2011 09:44:04 AM MDT

By Tim Hoover
The Denver Post

Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to attempt what would be the most sweeping changes in 40 years to the state’s personnel system, which now is governed by regulations that rigidly dictate how state employees are hired and fired.

Fundamental changes would take a constitutional amendment, a heavy lift politically, while others could come in the form of legislation or revisions to state rules — still likely to be controversial.

Any change is uncertain; previous efforts to reform the system in recent years have failed.

But Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the goal is to make it easier to attract and retain talented state employees.

“At this point, everything is in discussion,” Hickenlooper said, “but our effort is to make sure that we take advantage of the experience and talent of our workforce, but at the same time, we create the flexibility within agencies that we can manage the enterprise — whatever it is — for maximum success.”

“I think there’s a sweet spot in there someplace where we can get the interests of the workforce and the interests of the state” to align, he said.

The level of chatter about the potential changes is high among state employees, who haven’t gotten a raise in three years and who wouldn’t get a raise next year under Hickenlooper’s proposed budget. Meanwhile, their share of pension and health costs has steadily increased.

“We take these proposals extremely seriously,” said Scott Wasserman, executive director of Colorado WINS, a union with several thousand dues-paying state workers who, however, don’t have collective bargaining rights. “Our goal is to work in partnership with the governor to improve state services, while also maintaining” the current system’s integrity.

Wasserman said the union would take any specific proposals to its members for input.

Hickenlooper’s administration hasn’t outlined specific proposals. It is looking at issues ranging from existing limitations on the number of candidates that can be considered for a job to “bumping rights” that guarantee senior employees who get laid off can push less-senior workers out of their positions.

“Colorado is somewhat unusual in that its human resources management authority is embedded in the constitution rather than in just statute,” said Leslie Scott, executive director of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. “That can create some challenges in implementing some change.”

The state’s personnel system was born in the Progressive Era, first added to the constitution in 1918 and intended to create a merit-based system for hiring employees, free of cronyism and political patronage. The system, last revised by voters in 1970, also includes various laws and personnel rules that further interpret constitutional provisions or expand upon them.

The rules apply to about 30,000 “classified” state workers, including some at universities who are not faculty or administrators. Employees of the judicial and legislative branches are not covered.

The “Rule of Three,” for example, is in the constitution and requires that any classified employee be hired only after it is determined they are “one of the three persons ranking highest” for the job.

Kathy Nesbitt, director of the Department of Personnel and Administration, said the way the rule works under the current system applicant screening is separated from hiring. Often, an agency has a panel, made up of people from inside or outside the agency who review job applications.

The panel selects three applicants from among the pool, and sends them on to the manager who will do the hiring. Nesbitt said that in one recent hiring situation, she personally saw how only interviewing three candidates was limiting.

“When I interviewed them, two individuals, while they may have minimally met the qualifications, the position would have far exceeded their capabilities,” she said. “So I was left with just one person.

“I’m thinking that a pool should at least be 10 or 11 applicants.”

If an agency doesn’t like any of the three final candidates, it has to wait six months to re-post the job, Nesbitt said.

“Basically, what’s happened is we’ve taken fitness out of the equation for the position,” she said. “We’ve basically drilled it down, and it all goes into minimum qualifications and experiences. That’s only half of the equation.”

The constitution also requires that classified employees be Colorado residents, so hiring qualified workers outside the state requires a waiver from the State Personnel Board.

“Let’s say you’re looking for maybe a person that specializes in water rights or a person that has certain qualifications in mining,” Nesbitt said. “Only looking in Colorado really limits the pool of applicants for a particular position.”

Still, Nesbitt said the administration was unlikely to pursue major changes to the residency requirement because of the number of unemployed Coloradans. Instead, she said, a change might be targeted only toward management and principal positions.

Most controversial might be the administration’s effort to change “bumping rights” that now allow senior employees to move into positions occupied by newer employees in the event of layoffs.

“Basically, this rule bumps out a person who is otherwise performing satisfactorily, or in an even worse case scenario, someone who is a stellar employee,” she said.

The administration wants to limit bumping to only vacant positions for which a laid-off employee meets minimum qualifications.

Wasserman said employees themselves are divided on this issue, adding, “If you’re very senior, you have a different perspective on bumping rights.”

Nesbitt said the issue of temporary employment, which is constitutionally limited to six months, is another sore spot. The prohibition frequently hamstrings agencies that want to hire employees for a specific project, such as an information technology upgrade, that might take closer to a year, she said.

The result is these services sometimes must be outsourced, Nesbitt said.

Criticism of the state personnel system dates even back to 1938, when a report under then-Gov. Ralph Carr opined, “the purpose of securing for the state the best and most efficient service possible has been defeated by inability to change the outmoded machinery.”

A 1993 blue-ribbon commission report blasted the personnel system as outmoded, saying, “Colorado’s highly professional and dedicated state workforce is not well-served by the current system, and if the state expects to attract and retain quality employees in the years to come, reform is necessary.”

But a 2004 statewide ballot issue to overhaul the personnel system failed, with 60.8 percent of Coloradans against and 39.2 percent in favor.

Nesbitt said the last update in 1970 was too long ago.

“If you think about what the workforce looked like 40 years ago, you can imagine just in technology alone going from now we have iPhones and iPods and before we had rotary phones,” Nesbitt said. “I think 40 years for a policy review is overdue.”

Read more: Hickenlooper pursues big changes in Colorado hiring, firing – The Denver Post
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First Panel Meeting (October 27, 2011)

By , November 4, 2011 3:48 pm

At the first meeting, the Panel discussed the charge and agreed that it captured the role we would intially address. We also identified what the Panel felt were the biggest challenges facing a classified employee at Fort Lewis College, and what the biggest advantages of being a classified employee at Fort Lewis.

Biggest Challenges

  • Raising morale
  • Low pay and making ends meet
  • Upward mobility-promotions-lateral moves
  • No voice /communication
  • Lack of options to make changes within the classified system
  • Decisions are made at the state level
  • Insurance & benefit options
  • Overworked/job creep
  • Budget allocations and how they are determined

Biggest Advantages

  • Job security
  • Some flexibility as Higher Ed (more than other State agencies)
  • Good work environment
  • Benefit package/options
  • Seniority protection

Members of the panel noted that CU had announced an incentive plan for their classified employees. Darren Mathews stated he was aware that CU was working on a plan, but was unaware that the plan had been finalized or announced.

Next meeting: Tentatively, December 1st.

Classified Employee Panel

By , October 30, 2011 7:57 pm

Fort Lewis College recently established a Classified Employee Panel whose charge is to explore employment and compensation possibilities within, and limitations to, the State Classified Personnel System. This panel will also collect, evaluate, and communicate ideas or suggestions regarding how the College can implement the State’s employment and compensation directives.

Classified Employees representing the major areas and disciplines across campus were chosen through a combination of direct appointments or suggested appointments from supervisors. The members of the Panel are: Dawn Widen, Barb Powers, Yujean Shockley, Connie Rauen, Fabio Wen, Ed Webb, Dana Shinn, and Rick Irwin. Ex-officio members are Trish Grogan and Darren Mathews.

An initial meeting from 10:00-11:00 on Thursday, October 27th in EBH 240. During the initial meeting we worked on clarifying the scope of the panel, set the agenda for future meetings, and address lines of communications to the campus regarding the panel’s discussions.  

If you have particular concerns or comments that you feel the Classified Employee Panel should address, please seek out one of the members of the Panel and ask them to bring your interests forward, or leave a comment here so the Panel can address it through this forum.

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