19 November 2008

Staff Advisory Council
Meeting Minutes for November 19, 2008

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) of Swarthmore College was called to order at 9:35 am on Wednesday November 19, 2008 by Moderator Mary Marissen.

The following members were present: Pat Hearty, Lynn Grady, Tami Gura, John Dukes, Joe Deasey, Lois Falzone, Terry McGrath, Anna Headley, Val Gibson, and Mimi Weiler. Representing Human Resources was Melanie Young and representing the Equal Opportunity Office was Shar LaMar.

The following items were discussed:

Meeting Time and Day

  • SAC meeting time and day may need to change in the first half of 2009 due to a commitment by one of the committee members.
  • Several alternative days and times were discussed, each with potential issues.
  • Mary Marissen will send an email to follow up.

New Member

  • John Dukes from Public Safety was introduced as a new member representing Magnolia Circle.

Employee Suggestion

  • An employee suggested that reflective material be places on the base of the light stands in the DuPont parking lot. John will talk to Grounds about this possibility.


  • SAC members are urged to contact their circles before meetings for suggestions and issues.
  • Mimi can provide an initial list of people within a circle for representatives. Cathy Wilson in Human Resources sends updates to representatives as employees are added or leave.
  • Several departments have recently relocated on campus. Employees in departments that move physical location are to stay with their payroll area circle and are not added to the circle in which their building is located.

Winter Gathering

  • Melanie told the group that Lang will be used again for the Winter Gathering. Changes will be made to the set up of the refreshments to relieve congestion in that area.
  • Employees attending the Winter Gathering will be encouraged to move away from the refreshments once they have filled their plates. Gathering areas with seating will be added.
  • Another venue may be used if these changes are not successful.
  • Dining Service employees are encouraged to attend the event but often choose not to come.
  • It was decided not to announce the winner of the Judy Lord Award at the Winter Gathering as suggested by an employee. Employee Service is the main focus of the Winter Gathering awards and the Lord Award targets a very specific group of employees.

Memorial Day

  • Having Memorial Day as a College holiday poses a problem as the holiday falls between Graduation and Alumni Weekend and it would be creating a holiday that not every College employee could take advantage of as the College cannot close and many departments would still need to be on campus such as Public Safety and Dining Services.
  • Memorial Day as a floater holiday is problematic as tracking it is difficult (known from experience with the MLK Holiday.)
  • The trade-off for not having the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays is the week off between Christmas and New Years.
  • Melanie will check with Bryn Mawr College to see how they implemented the Memorial Day holiday with the restraints mentioned above.

Time Reporting

  • Improvements are being made within Payroll to automate timekeeping for employees.
  • Several groups of employees are now using an automated time keeping system whereby they swipe a card through an electronic time clock, their supervisor approves the time electronically, and the time is fed directly into the Payroll system.
  • Student employees will be moving to a web based time collection system by the next academic year.
  • In the future, non-exempt employees will use some similar web based system in which time cards and data entry are not necessary. The new system could involve a login in from the employee work computer. There may be capacity for making adjustments and there will be supervisor approval of the time. Alternative methods of logging into the time reporting system will be considered. A new method of time reporting will be implemented by 2010 at the earliest.
  • A planning group for the new system is not yet formed, and HR will seek input and communicate with staff as they proceed.
  • Compatibility with MAC computers will be considered.

Emergency Preparedness

  • The first trial fire drill was held in McCabe Library and the drill went well.
  • Public Safety performed the non-employee evacuation. Employees in McCabe were notified about the drill.
  • The Swarthmore Fire Department participated and time and count statistics were taken.
  • More fire drills will be done in Sharples and Parrish.

Diane Chapman Walsh Meeting

  • Members of SAC met with Diane Chapman Walsh, head of the Middle States evaluation team, on November 14th.
  • Some members of SAC would like to review the Middle States report done 10 years ago to see if SAC could take a more active role.
  • The Self Study report on Staff will be part of the Middle States evaluation. However, that report, in draft form, has not been released.
  • A group from SAC will be formed to review the Self Study report when available. To evaluate the current report, the prior report will be reviewed. The prior report can be found on the web site. Melanie Young will coordinate.

Holiday Giving

  • The Adopt-a-Family program is a charity program that employees can participate in to provide gifts for needy individuals at Christmas.
  • Tami will meet with Lee Robinson today about getting The Giving Tree program going again for this year in addition to Adopt-a-Family. Tami has several coworkers that will assist with preparing the tags.
  • Having both options on campus is nice as Adopt-a-Family works best when people come together in groups, and the Giving Tree is a good alternative for individuals who want to participate but do not have or want to join a group.

Shift Differential

  • Shift Differential can be a method to compensate individuals who typically work the second and third shifts. The College does not currently use this method of compensation due to software limitations.
  • With the implementation of Attendance Enterprise, Melanie thinks that this software limitation can be removed.
  • The expected tight budget for next fiscal year is a major consideration in moving this idea forward.

State of the Economy

  • Mary asked Melanie for a budget update since the last SAC meeting.
  • Melanie replied that the College is continually monitoring the situation and realizes that the College will need to be conservative.
  • It is not expected that funds will be available next fiscal year for new initiatives or positions.

Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:48am.

Respectfully submitted,

Beth Baksi
SAC Secretary