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January 2007 Board Notes


NEW
DIRECTORS

Directors unanimously passed two motions that confirmed the appointments of John Cole (Hawaii CC) and L. Thomas Ramsey (UH-Manoa) as members of the UHPA Board of Directors.  Their terms begin immediately and will end on August 31, 2007.  John Cole fills the Hawaii CC Board position that was occupied by Lou Zitnik, who is the Interim Director for West Hawaii.  L. Thomas Ramsey fills the UH-Manoa at large Board position that was occupied by Lawrence Nitz, who is on sabbatical leave.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Directors met in executive session from 8:38 until 9:25 a.m. to consider a settlement proposal by Attorney T. Anthony Gill on a personnel matter.  Directors confirmed the motion to approve the personnel action discussed during executive session.

 

CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS

Directors were requested to return to UHPA confidential documents that were discussed in executive session.  Director Jerome Comcowich announced that he preferred to retain those documents because he was named in them and the documents contained material errors of fact.  After much discussion, Directors passed the following motion, which had more than two-thirds of those present (16-for, 3-against, and 1-abstention): 

WHEREAS at its last meeting the UHPA Board of Directors (BOD) instructed Director Comcowich to discontinue his use of the UHPA name on his listserv and he immediately defied the BOD.

WHEREAS today the BOD agreed that all Board members would turn in confidential documents and he openly defied the BOD.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this BOD censures Director Comcowich for his disregard for BOD actions.

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

o     President Mary Tiles reported that she attended two Hawaii AFL-CIO legislative meetings.  The AFL-CIO is recommending that the Legislature fund extensive repair and maintenance programs at both the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii.

o     She, Executive Director J. N. Musto, and Associate Executive Director John Radcliffe met with Speaker of House Calvin Say and other public sector union representatives to discuss issues before the 2007 Legislature.  The Speaker favors a minimal tax rebate rather than the Governor’s tax relief proposal package for Hawaii residents.  The Speaker is concerned that the Governor’s revenue projections will not be sufficient to cover all contemplated expenditures.

o     She reported that the P-20 Council is excited about the success of the Gear Up Program, which can be found at http://gearup.hawaii.edu/.  Director John Wendell reported that a colleague, Dr. Shirley Daniel, from the School of Accountancy has done an excellent job promoting the Gear Up Program at UH-Manoa.

o     President Tiles attended a joint Faculty Senate/UHPA meeting at Leeward Community College.  She credited UHPA Vice President Joseph Chernisky for putting together a very productive meeting.

o     She and Director Ruth Horie attended the January orientation for new faculty at UH-Manoa.  Although there were less than twenty new hires in attendance, she was pleased that these orientation meetings are represented by members of the Faculty Senate, UHPA, and the UH administration.

o     She attended the January 11 Board of Regents meeting that was held at UH-Manoa.  A report was made to the Regents on the centennial project.  The goal is to reach $250 million.  At the end of December 2006, $159 million has been raised.

o     Members of the Legislative/PAC manned the UHPA table at the State Capitol on UH Day, January 19.  Chair Thomas Jackson and President Tiles also had an opportunity to converse with Representative Tommy Waters of the House Ways and Means Committee on the CIP budget.

 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT 

  • Executive Director J. N. Musto gave public testimony at the January Board of Regents’ (BOR) meeting regarding changes to executive/managerial salaries that are considered in executive session.  He informed the Regents that the public needs to know what changes are being proposed so that proper testimony may be made.  He was informed that executive/managerial salary information is not for public disclosure until they have been approved.  Executive Director Musto informed the Directors that UHPA would propose modifications to HRS Chapter 92 that would require prior disclosure before executive and managerial salaries for new hires, or special increases, are approved by the BOR during this legislative session.  
  • Since December 2006, Executive Director Musto has been monitoring the legislative higher education hearings and will continue to do that during the duration of the legislative session.  He indicated that the base budget that came down from the Executive Branch of government includes the negotiated salary increases for next biennium.  The UH budget is based on faculty salary increases of 9% and 11% over the next two years. 
  • He reported that all other public sector unions are currently negotiating new contracts.  Except for one UPW unit, all these negotiations are subject to interest arbitration.  We have heard that other public sector unions are utilizing the negotiated increases approved for the faculty as the basis of the proposals being made. 
  • UHPA has received questions about faculty travel during the 9-month duty based on various campus administrative notices being sent out.  Faculty may take the time during the winter break and spring break for personal travel, if they choose, and “make up” those days by extending the duty period in May.  The expectations on faculty, however, remain the same as if they had remained on campus during those periods when classes were not in session. 
  • The Collective Bargaining Committee will meet on Saturday, January 27, at the UHPA office. 
  • Executive Director Musto reported that he continues to work with Attorneys T. Anthony Gill and Jeff Piper on the Constitution and By-Laws, discussing what will be necessary to bring them into compliance with the changes in the Hawaii not-for-profit law.  A presentation will be made showing what the By-Laws would potentially look like if we continued as a not-for-profit corporation or move to an unincorporated status.  When a proposal is finalized by the Board of Directors, a general membership meeting will be held to vote on the proposed changes. 
  • Executive Director Musto attended a meeting with Employment Training Center (ETC) faculty members regarding reorganization of the unit.  He provided a brief history of the ETC (formally ETO) and the prior efforts of UHPA to make ETC a permanent part of the UH System.   The ETC program is unique and the proposed reorganization is directed in part at assisting ETC becoming fully integrated with Windward Community College. 
  • Executive Director Musto reported that he has made inquiries on Director & Officer liability insurance for the Board of Directors.  He has asked the NEA to evaluate the Association Liability Insurance that UHPA purchases from NEA with respect to D & O coverage.  He has checked with other insurance firms, but the majority of them have recommended that unions go to the international affiliate for coverage.

 

TREASURER’S REPORT

Treasurer Ming-Bao Yue reported that UHPA is in its fourth month of the fiscal year.  She referred Directors to significant expenditures made last month and reported that UHPA is in good financial standing.  Directors passed a motion to receive the financial reports for the fiscal periods ending November 30 and December 31, 2006, and to refer those reports to the Finance Committee

Treasurer Yue announced a change to the UHPA Reimbursement for Travel Policy.  Personal automobile travel for Assembly business is based on the IRS standard mileage rate.  Effective January 2007, the mileage rate is $0.485.

 

WOMEN’S COMMITTEE REPORT

President Tiles reported that Teresa Bill, Chair of the Ad Hoc Women’s Committee, will probably have a report on the joint UH/UHPA Pay Equity Study sometime either in February or March.

 

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE REPORT

Chair Thomas Jackson reported that the Legislative Committee had a successful UH Day.  All the politicians who stopped by the UHPA table were supportive.  Suggestions were made how to improve UHPA’s exhibit for next year. 

The Legislative Committee met with UHPA Executive Director J. N. Musto and Associate Executive Director John Radcliffe.  They reviewed bills, and discussed strategy and issues that would impact the University and the union.

 

NEA HIGHER EDUCATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

NEA Higher Ed Director Sally Pestana shared promising news regarding financial aid for higher education students.  U.S. House Democrats recently unveiled a bill that would cut interest rates on federally subsidized loans to college students by half over the next five years.  The $6 billion measure would be paid for by increasing costs that lenders pay to the government and reducing the largest lenders’ government-guaranteed profits.

Student debt has grown exponentially in recent years, in tandem with college costs that routinely outpace inflation. The average college student now graduates with nearly $18,000 in debt. This proposal would benefit the 5.5 million students a year who receive subsidized Stafford loans.

A typical borrower with a $13,800 subsidized student loan debt would pay about $22,100 in interest and principal over 15 years at the existing rate. When cut to 3.4 percent (from the current 6.8), that same borrower would pay $17,700 — or about $4,400 less.

In addition, Senator Clinton introduced legislation that would increase the maximum Pell grant from $4,050 to $12,600 over the next five years and would allow students to receive these grants year-round.  This bill would also increase the percentage of education expenses eligible for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit from 20 percent to 50 percent. This credit would be refundable for low-income, non-traditional students and be provided in advance of the school year when tuition is due.  

Other programs reformed in the legislation include, creating a pilot program to provide more financial aid to less-than-half-time students enrolled in a degree program, increasing the income protection allowance to benefit working students and allowing students to exclude certain tax credits from financial aid determinations. Additionally, the legislation would authorize $50 million to improve the quality and quantity of remedial education classes and allow for an increase in on-campus child care funding to $75 million for fiscal year 2008.

 

NEW BUSINESS

1.  Committee Appointments

Directors unanimously passed a motion to confirm the appointment of Duane Stevens (UH-Manoa) as a member of the Collective Bargaining Committee

Directors unanimously passed a motion to confirm the appointments of Adrienne Valdez (UH-West Oahu) and Charles Weems (UH-Manoa) as member of the Personnel Committee.  

Directors unanimously passed a motion to confirm the appointments of Joseph Chernisky (Leeward CC) and Joshua Cooper (Maui CC) as Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Special Projects Committee 

Directors unanimously passed a motion to confirm the appointment of Amy Anderson (UH-Manoa) as member of the Nominations and Elections Committee.  

The above appointments begin their terms immediately, which will end on August 31, 2007.

2.  National Education Association (NEA)

Director Adrienne Valdez announced that the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly (RA) will be held from June 30 to July 5, 2007 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.  Directors were encouraged to attend.  Persons interested may go to http://www.nea.org/annualmeeting/index.html for more information. 

NEA Higher Education Director Sally Pestana informed Board Directors that NEA’s 25th Annual Higher Education Conference will be held March 2-4, 2007 at the Hilton San Diego Resort on Mission Bay.  The theme this year is “The Academy at Work.”   The agenda, registration, and other information on the Higher Education Conference may be found at http://www2.nea.org/he/conf.html.
 

3.  John Radcliffe

Directors unanimously passed a motion to thank Associate Executive Director John Radcliffe for his long service to the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.  John has served UHPA for 18 years, and led the organization in the evolution of its political action and lobbying programs.  He has also been a tireless advocate on behalf of many faculty members with both contractual grievances and general problems beyond the scope of the contract.  Over the years he has spearheaded UHPA’s efforts to provide faculty housing.  Currently, he is serving on the Employer Union Trust Fund that offers health insurance to all public employees.  He is leading the fight to expand the EUTF premium structure from a two-tier system to one that has separate rates for single, two-party, and full family coverage.  His work with the Legislature has assisted UH in its efforts to increasing the general fund budget, as well as addressing specific concerns of departments, colleges, and schools that include topics from importing of biological samples for research to accountancy standards.  John was one of the original members of the P-20 Committee, which is the collaborative activity between the DOE and the University promoting life-long learning.  During the strike of 2001, John coordinated the strategic and logistical efforts of UHPA that resulted in the settlement of our current contract.  From the time of Governor Waihee, John has been a creative and constructive force in helping UHPA achieve its goals in collective bargaining and at the Legislature.  We will miss John’s expertise that has spanned over 40 years of organizing and representing public education and educators.  We will also miss his good humor and sharp wit.
 

4.  Special Election for Executive Committee

A special election was conducted by the Nominations and Elections Committee for the at-large position on the Executive Committee that was vacated when Lou Zitnik resigned from the Board of Directors.  Nominated were L. Thomas Ramsey, Amarjit Singh, and Duane Stevens, all from UH-Manoa.  Director Singh withdrew his nomination. Directors voted by secret ballot.  It was announced that L. Thomas Ramsey has been elected as the at-large member on the UHPA Executive Committee.  His term begins immediately and will end on August 31, 2007.