Staff Council

The University of Hartford's Staff Council represents the rights, needs, interests, and goodwill of all non-union staff at the University of Hartford.

The Staff Council seeks to work collaboratively with other members of the University community to foster a greater sense of shared community.As advocate and contributor, the Staff Council collaborates with colleagues in the campus community to co-create a greater sense of shared purpose and respect.This commitment to a shared learning community at the University serves to inform and guide our work.

The Staff Council serves as an advocate for University staff members and is committed to a culture of respect in an environment that fosters professional success in accordance with the mission of the University.

Dates and Agendas

All meetings are held in GSU 335 from 1-2 p.m.

June 12, 2019—Speaker
July 10, 2019—Speaker
August 14, 2019—Speaker
September 11, 2019—Speaker
October 9, 2019—Speaker
November 13, 2019—Speaker
December 11, 2019—Speaker


March 13, 2019

March 13, 2019

Attendance: Lauren Goldman, Christina Lapierre, Pam Masi, Rachel Yacouby, Sandra Stevens, Lynn Thibodeau, Lindsay McKeegan, Ellen Levasseur, Sean Parke, Donna Fleischer, Donna Clarke, Carla Fuller, Kelly Anderson, Laurie Fasciano, Barbara Dessureau, Allison Ponlin, Katrina Mill, Laura Heemskerk, Joseph Van Gilder, Ben Ide, Christine Ringuette, Betti Viereck, Lisa Wollenberg, Stacie Wentz

Discussion of minutes from February 13, 2019 general meeting. The minutes from February 13, 2019 were approved.

University Committee Reports

  • Budget Advisory Team–Randi Ashton-Pritting/Laura Heemskerk
    BAT met on March 7, 2019. Great strides are being made to reorganize and rename BAT and make the budget process more effective. While the University is looking at the FY20 budget, they are also trying to make the budget more: 1.) Manageable; 2.) Accurate; and 3.) Provide clarity. There are many challenges to the current budget with: 1.) Layers of overlap, 2.) Tracking (Banner and billing lag; requires manual adjustments, 3.) Modeling (relies on much conversation and discussion; needs much data, and marketing analysis). The next BAT meeting will be March 28, 2019.
  • Wellness Committee–HRD, Lindsay McKeegan / Barbara Dessureau (on hiatus)
  • Benefits Taskforce–Cindy Oppenheimer/Lynn Galvin:
    Report from BTF – February 21, 2019
    Update on the Impact of the Spousal Exclusion. Chris Monroe still waiting on so information/figures–discussion moved until the next meeting.
    Recap of the Aetna Implementation. Kudos to all–overall transition went smoothly with few issues. Encourage all to attend upcoming Town Hall Meetings.
    • Open Discussion
    • Wellness discussion–will continue looking into options–incentives discussed
    • Silver Sneakers for Retirees–Chris Monroe will bring this back to United as many of our retirees are unhappy. That being said, there are discounts offered at other gyms.
    • Life and Disability have moved from Aetna to Reliance, calls should be directed to Reliance.
    • Dedicated customer service line–Encourage members to call 866.275.9086
    • Next meeting is March 21, 2019.
Presidential Commission on the Status of Women–Donna Clarke
  • The Presidential Status on the Commission of Women (PCSW) has been working on events for Women’s History Month. Please see UNotes dated 3-6-19 that outlines some of the work.
  • April 3rd PCSW is co-sponsoring “One Night. One CommUNITY, Many Voices". It is an Open Mic night event in Hawks's Nest. We are looking to confirm about 5 participants (students, staff & faculty) to start the event and others can participate once the event gets started. If you or you know of others who are interested, please contact either Kenna or Karen. Participants can perform anything (poems, songs, etc.) that fits with the theme of celebrating & supporting women! Again, it doesn’t have to be you but we need you all to ask around, spread the word and encourage your colleagues to participate in this event that is open to all. Contact Karen Schermerhorn at or Patricia “Kenna” McKenna at
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Task Force: Christina Lapierre
    • The D&I Committee met on 2/28/19 and discussed how the “onboarding” process for new employees can be improved. It was discussed that instead of only meeting with a new employee for 1-2 hours on day 1 of employment, instead HR should be meeting with this new employee quarterly for “check-ins”, provide a campus tour on day of new employment as well as provide resources to the new employee throughout a new employee’s first year of employment. This will also help new employees to bring any concerns/issues to the forefront with HR early on instead of never hearing about a potential concern. This allows HR to be more hands-on with new employees.
    • There will be a Professional Day on campus for all staff on Thursday, April 25, 2019 with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions. The PD day allows all staff to attend and has been approved by the President. Posted in UNotes to register.
    • Next meeting will be Monday, March 18, 2019.
Staff Association Reports
  • Web Advisory Committee–Barbara Dessureau
    • The new University web site will now launch May 29, 2019. It was rescheduled because OMC did not want to deliver a rushed, incomplete site, but rather one of a greater quality. It is also less confusing to students to access a site at the beginning of the semester rather than midway as they start projects and research.
  • Faculty Senate–Ben Ide
    • President Woodward spoke about future plans for improvements on campus. His four year, $10 million plan for enhancing buildings, repairing and upgrading furnishings and infrastructure, and new construction was presented to the Board of Regents. He also said that the contract with the adjunct union is done except for salary negotiations. He'd like to review our decision to exclude spouses with their own healthcare and find out if it was real savings for the University or if it just hurts people. Meanwhile, our healthcare claims are down from last year.
    • Provost Fred Sweitzer provided an update on the CETA Dean search and mentioned the gradual restructuring of the Provost's Office as well as the need to juggle space on campus to accommodate new and expanding academic programs. He also spoke again about his request to move the rules about short-term disability procedures for faculty out of the Faculty Policy Manual in favor of the ones in the Staff Employment Manual. The request was later voted down by the Faculty Senate.
    • The Faculty Senate voted to grant the status of faculty emeritus to individual who have left the University without being granted tenure. Additionally, this designation can also be granted posthumously.
  • Treasurer’s Report–Cindy Oppenheimer
    • Balance has not changed since January meeting, still at $1,090.89.
  • Membership Director Report – Ellen Levasseur
    • Membership report has not changed, still at 134 members/constituents.
  • Fundraising Committee (on hiatus)
    • Human Resources Department–Lynn Thibodeau:
      There are a few interesting training opportunities on the horizon in March and April.
      The ePAF for Originators classes run throughout the month of March, typically on Mondays and Tuesdays. “The electronic Personnel Action Form (ePAF) is an online process completed when a new employee is hired, a change is needed for an existing employee, or a termination of a position/employee is needed. The originator inputs all the required information before sending it over to the approvers until it is ultimately applied electronically to the appropriate BANNER screen(s). Come learn what information is needed and how to process an ePAF from start to finish, how to check status on existing ePAF, and finally there will be time to answer specific questions you have regarding your specific situations. Bring your own examples and questions and a zest to learn. All classes are held in the Computer Center, room 114.”
    • Beginning Access class is scheduled for March 15th.
    • On April 25th, the University of Hartford will be hosting its first annual staff Professional Development Day with the theme of "Inclusion Matters: We Are All Breathing the Same Air”. This half-day experience for staff will focus on educational opportunities on various diversity and inclusion topics. The day will consist of an opening keynote session and two breakout workshops. It is designed and intended for all staff members of the University. More information will follow, and there will be an online registration form for your convenience, as the event comes closer. As always, please remember Space is limited, and seating is first come/first served. E-mail for more information or to sign up for a class. For our full calendar of classes, please visit us at

Old Business
Ben announced that most of the community representatives have been identified and he is still looking to fill the last few open areas.

New Business
Presentation: Matt Blocker-Glynn, Director, Center for Community Services
Matt mentioned the upcoming helping hawks event on April 5, 2019. Staff do not need to use personal time to volunteer. Registration is live, there are 20 active community service sites, looking for more volunteers. The goal is to build relationships with staff, faculty, and students outside the classroom and encourage students to become more involved in community service. The volunteer day will involve about 2.5 hours of volunteering, followed by barbecue and raffle.
Partnering with alumni in the local area that will come to volunteer with the group.

Review of the revisions to the Constitutions and Bylaws for Staff Council:
Summary of the changes to the existing Staff Association Constitution and Bylaws:

  • Change of name from Staff Association to Staff Council.
  • Staff Council shifts to a representative body for all non-union staff, and no longer a membershipbased, opt-in organization.
  • For the purposes of voting, one Community Representative will be sent from each of the 19 defined University communities plus four (4) At-Large Representatives, (2) two Non-Exempt, and (2) two Exempt.
  • Membership Director shifts to Communications Director.
  • Staff Council allows for a greater dissemination of information to University staff via Community and
  • At-Large Representatives, and Communications Director.
  • Question by Staff: Several staff members were not satisfied with the current language of the bylaws regarding community representatives. How will they know the community representative will actually be representative of the staff without rules or regulations?
  • Question by Staff: A staff member asked whether staff members can still send communications and questions directly to the chair if they don’t want to go to their community rep. Ben assured that staff members can still communicate directly with the chair. Friendly Amendment Proposed by Staff: A staff member proposed a friendly amendment that language should be drafted to amend the proposed bylaws to stipulate the responsibilities of the community reps to include terms, job description, designation of meetings, how they’re elected and if they send proxies. Motion was approved to amend language.
  • Approval of constitution and bylaws will be held off until community representatives have met and
    discussed possible changes to the language in the bylaws.
  • Vice Chair, Christina Lapierre offered to draft up language for the community rep section that covers the concerns raised by staff in the general meeting for review and approval at the April 10, 2019 meeting.
  • Comment by Staff: A staff member was frustrated that the first professional development event was scheduled on the same day as another big university event, making it impossible to attend both. Vice Chair, Christina Lapierre had reached out to the Diversity Office to 1) record the event for those who cannot attend, and 2) scheduling future PD for staff to not conflict with other University events where staff are needed moving forward.
  • Next General Meeting: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

Minutes are submitted by Recording Secretary, Lauren Goldman.