Board approves merger of professional and staff councils

Written by Muleskinner Staff

by CASSIE SLANA
Senior Writer

(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The University of Central Missouri Board of Governors unanimously approved the dissolution of the professional and support staff councils to form a single advisory council.

The newly formed Staff Council consists of exempt and nonexempt university employees who are not represented by the Faculty Senate or the Bargaining Unit, according to a proposal presented at the March 17 board meeting.

Barb Hicks, Support Staff Council president, and Carmen Binder, Professional Staff Council president, brought the proposal to the board for approval. The merger was first introduced during a President’s Cabinet meeting in September, according to the proposal.

“We noticed that the Professional Staff Council and Support Staff Council overlapped in several efforts,” Binder said. “The university was moving forward with FLSA-related changes and staff members were going to be re-classified. We thought this would be a great time to merge the two councils.”

The 2016 reclassification of employees from exempt to nonexempt status increased the advantages of combining the two staff governance groups into one, according to the proposal.

Binder said the decision to merge councils consisted of an ad hoc committee researching what other institutions were doing and a six-question survey sent to members of both councils. A majority of the respondents favored the merger, according to the proposal.

“We came up with by-laws and had both councils vote,” Binder said. “We also gave the entire staff an opportunity to vote on whether or not to merge.”

Separately, the professional and staff councils had an annual budget of $1,000. With this merger, the board of governors approved combining the budgets so the Staff Council will have $2,000 to work with each year.

Although the new staff council is in its infancy, Binder said she believes the council will overcome challenges as they arise.

“We are still very new to this. We had our first joint meeting in April,” Binder said. “However, we anticipate this merge bringing people together as well as streamlining our resources.”

Binder said the Staff Council will have elections during their meeting in June.