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UW Staff Senate Ushers in New Officers and Holds First Meeting for Academic Year 2009/2010

July 18, 2009
Vice President for Aministration Doug Vinzant spoke to the Staff Senate.

By Diana Marie Waggener -- UW Staff Senate President Chris Clements (Human Resources) presided over her first full senate meeting, July 8. New officers are Tod Scott, vice president (Waste Stream Management Waste Services), Lori Lewis, secretary (College of Business), Angie Bules, parliamentarian (Senior Auxiliary Services) and Al Emmons, member-at-large (Paint Shop). Clements said she wants this year to be one in which Staff Senate becomes more visible to UW staff and looks at new .ideas for fundraising and public relations.

"My main vision is for Staff Senate to have lively discussions and debates about ideas and/or resolutions without fear of speaking their minds," said Clements. "I want senators to communicate with their constituents to get a sense of what UW staff members want the senate to address."

Doug Vinzant, the new vice president for administration,  told senators that  he is interested in working with and assisting Staff Senate to ensure that its meetings are a forum for addressing staff concerns and issues.

Senator Brandi Brewer, College of Agriculture (seat number 1), requested clarification about a rumor that accounting functions throughout UW will be centralized. Vinzant noted that conversations have taken place to determine how to "centralize activities that are performed repetitively across departments." He said at this time, there is no specific plan to centralize accounting functions, but all division vice presidents are considering how they might improve efficiency, while maintaining high-level service to both internal and external constituencies.

Joe Montolongo, interim director of Human Resources, reported that a formal communication process between Staff Senate and Human Resources recently was established. This action was initiated by the Compensation Committee chaired by Jamie LeJambre, College of Arts and Sciences (seat number 5).

"The meetings began in May to improve mutual communication between Staff Senate and UW HR," said LeJambre. "Many employees are either unaware of rights and resources available to them or are confused because they hear conflicting information."

For the first six months, the plan is to meet with each area of HR, become familiar with HR employees and establish correct contacts for specific questions.

"These meetings allow for input, discussion and clarification of HR policies, procedures and awareness of coming changes with the ability to contribute to discussions and help to shape policies," said LeJambre. Members of the Compensation Committee are participating in these meetings, and other senators and non-Senate staff are invited to attend. To learn more about these meetings, e-mail LeJambre at

Montolongo also discussed proposed changes to the UW Employee Handbook, which was last revised in 2007. He indicated that proposed changes intend to make policies more clear and the handbook "easier to read" for employees and supervisors/managers. Montolongo said that he made a recommendation to remove "procedure-related wording" from the policy manual because he believes procedures should be contained in a separate document.

UW's Office of General Council is reviewing proposed changes and final approval will be made by Vinzant. Revisions to the UW Employee Handbook are no longer required to be distributed to UW employees for comment or discussion. Clements said. She hopes Staff Senate will look at proposed changes and have an opportunity to raise concerns.

Two new senators were elected to fill senate seats. Kathy Norris, Physical Plant Operations, was elected to seat number 23, and Linda Waggener, UW Libraries, was elected to seat number 36. Several seats remain vacant in the following units: College of Agriculture, Office of the President/Athletics, Office of the VP for Information Technology, Office of the VP for Student Affairs, Physical Plant Operations, School of Law/Outreach and the Offices of Administration/Budget Planning/UW Police. Interested staff members eligible to serve as senators are encouraged to e-mail Stacy Lane, chair of the Credentials and Elections Committee, at

UW Staff Senate meets in the Union Senate Chambers at 1:15 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 12. Any and all classified staff members, exempt and nonexempt, are welcome to attend meetings and communicate with their senators. A list of current senators and the units they represent, official meeting minutes, committee reports and current and upcoming events can be found on the UW Staff Senate Web site at

For more information, call the Staff Senate Office at 766-5300 or e-mail

Diana Waggener is chair of the Staff Senate Communication Committee.

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Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009

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