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Lori Nicol, chair of the CSC Rules Subcommittee, with the soon-to-be-phased-out Civil Service Rules book.

Lori Nicol, chair of the CSC Rules Subcommittee, with the soon-to-be-phased-out print version of the Civil Service Rules.

Civil Service Committee update December 2004

Spotlight on the rules, pay increase coming January 5, supporting the U

By Gayla Marty

From Brief, December 8, 2004

It's a slim book that governs the University's civil service personnel system--72 pages, 16 rules, 54 definitions, and an index. Although last published in 2000, it is really a living document and work in progress.

That's why the coming move to publish Civil Service Rules officially on the Web, in PDF format, may better reflect the rules' true nature. Nevertheless, the decision to forego print publication was driven by budget constraints and the number of related online systems. Online publication will allow for departments and the Office of Human Resources to print formatted copies for those who don't have easy access to the Web.

Publication on the Web is planned for the next major revision of the rules, due out this year, according to Lori Nicol, chair of the Civil Service Committee (CSC) Rules Subcommittee.

MORE CSC NEWS

Watch for a 1 percent salary increase

The 2004-05 civil service pay plan includes a 1 percent salary increase for eligible civil service employees. The increase is effective Dec. 13 and will appear on Jan. 5 paychecks. Eligibility is based on having an appointment in active, leave, or paid-leave status on Dec. 13, 2004, and having been continuously employed in any civil service classification since Dec. 13, 2003. Employees are eligible only for the portion of the pay increase that brings their pay to their salary range maximum; no employee may be paid above the salary range.

December CSC meeting
The next CSC meeting will be held Dec. 16, 9 a.m. to noon, 225 Kaufert Lab Lab, St. Paul campus. An agenda will be published on the CSC Web site.

Supporting the U
You have an opportunity to ask the governor to support higher education by completing his online survey! Go to the Legislative Network Web site for more information.

Stay informed by reading the e-mail Legislative Update, which comes out weekly when the session begins in January. Legislative Update #1 is already posted. Go to the Legislative Network Web site and check under "News and Blog Updates."

About 50 staff members from many employee groups attended when the Office of Student Finance recently hosted a Legislative Network representative at its monthly in-service meeting. They heard about the budget and asked questions. To invite a representative to your departmental meeting, contact Peg Wolff.

Plan to attend the Legislative Briefing Jan. 27. Register by Jan. 20 on the Legislative Network Web site, above.

The subcommittee meets monthly and is moving a batch of rules--all proposed last year--toward approval and final publication. Five to ten people attend each meeting. If a change up for discussion would involve a policy change, a representative from the Office of Human Resources attends to participate and accept or reject the proposal, sometimes leading to further discussion.

So far this year, discussion has focused mostly on language in Rule 11 (authorized leaves of absence) and Rule 14 (U grievance policy).

The benefits of rules

Nicol, a principal accountant in the Department of Plant Biology, was in the bargaining unit assembly the year it wrote its first contract.

"We pulled from the Civil Service Rules book and looked at contracts from other universities and said, 'How do we want to write ours?'" she says. "That's when I saw how benefits and rules are interrelated."

Nicol enjoys the work. "I just like the detail and working with words," she says.

She praises former subcommittee cochairs Carla Volkman-Lien, Twin Cities, and Kathy Chalupsky, Duluth, who stepped down June 30 after several years of service.

"I thought, 'Somebody from the committee needs to be here,'" says Nicol, "so here I am."

The long path to change the rules

The path from idea to official entry in the Civil Service Rules is long. New rules are rare. Most proposals are for changes to existing rules, and even they move slowly.

During all of 2003-04, only one rule was changed. That was a provision to allow civil service staff members to take vacation time the same week they earn it, and to require that they be working 50 percent rather than 75 percent time to do so. The change put the policy for civil service workers in line with bargaining unit workers. It was possible to move quickly because of software changes in the Human Resources Management System.

Changes and additions usually take much longer. Revisions now on the table have been in the works for months or even more than a year.

The way that rules are approved is determined by the CSC bylaws:

Working goals for the 2004-05

The Rules Subcommittee has four working goals this year. The first is finishing all revisions made by August 6, 2004 (see below), making sure they are approved by the Office of Human Resources, and publishing them on the Web so they are available to civil service employees U-wide...all that while continuing with hearings and other regular procedures listed in the CSC operations manual.

The Rules Subcommittee also answers questions related to rules that come to the CSC and directly to the subcommittee, accurately and quickly. In meetings, they discuss issues raised by civil service staff members that may lead to a change in the rules. Changes are added to the rules Web site as a draft in progress until the next official rules publication.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the CSC Rules Subcommittee will be Wednesday, January 5, 2-4 p.m., 240 Donhowe, Twin Cities campus. Any civil service employee who wants to participate should come to meetings.

Meetings are posted on the CSC Web site at http://www.umn.edu/csc/calendar.html. Agenda for upcoming meetings include dates, places, procedures, and publicity for civil service public hearings of the rules.

Send questions about the civil service rules and the approval procedure to Lori Nicol at l-nico@umn.edu.


RULE CHANGES NOW UNDER DISCUSSION

The following rule revisions would mean changes in policy.

RULE 3 Section 1: to increase the size of Civil Service Committee membership (previously approved on a temporary basis by the Office of the President); role of alternates; role of immediate past chair

Section 4: to add employees' right to a respectful and safe work environment

RULE 4 Section 2: to require the effective date for job evaluation questionnaires (JEQs) to be the first day of the payroll period after the employee submits a signed JEQ to the supervisor with no variations in date

Section 2: to change the number of days from 35 to 25 for a ruling from the Office of Human Resources (to speed process)

Section 2: to change the number of days to file a JEQ appeal from 10 to 30 days to match University Grievance Policy

Section 3: to change the number of days to file a Periodic Survey appeal from 10 to 45 days to match University Grievance Policy

RULE 5 Section 3: to establish that the Vice President of Human Resources is responsible for establishing U-wide in-range adjustment and outstanding service award policies

Section 3: to allow for a salary increase for employees making a lateral transfer

Section 3: to allow for units to give more than 4 percent for temporary salary augmentations for employees working temporarily in a higher classification

RULE 6 Section 2: to increase from 5 to 7 the number of calendar days that can elapse between the initial posting of an announcement concerning a vacancy

Section 6: to decrease from 3 to 2 the number of consecutive calendar years of service at which time a temporary appointment will become a continuing appointment

RULE 7 Section 4: to require use of either a standardized or alternate performance appraisal form that has been approved by Office of Human Resources and reviewed by the Civil Service Committee

RULE 8: to encourage supervisors to approve professional development activities

RULE 11 Section 3: to allow employees at their vacation maximum to either be allowed to use or be paid out for up to one week's vacation

Section 4: to add siblings for use of sick leave for provision of care during illness

Section 5: to continue the Vacation Donation Program

Section 8: to allow employees to vote at any time on election day

RULE 12 Section 3: to change the written layoff notice to 28 calendar days rather than two weeks to give employees longer notice

Section 3: to add wording regarding layoff for broad-banded classifications

This detailed list can also be found at http://www.umn.edu/csc/rules.html.

This article is based on a report of CSC Rules Subcommittee activities by Lori Nicol.

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