Staff Advisory Council

May 2015

Staff Advisory Committee
Meeting Minutes
May 13, 2015
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
HR Conference Room

Present: Kim Altiere, Bonnie Bresett, Miguel Gutierrez, Rachel Louis, Jessica Nairn, Donna Richardson, Doug Rydell, Tony Sinico, Martha Tetrault, ex officio, Kevin Thomas, ex officio, Helena Warburg

Absent: Tom Aliberti

Next Meeting: June 10, 2015, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

I.        Cadillac Tax Under Affordable Care Act

Donna Richardson raised a concern about the so-called “Cadillac Tax” under the Affordable Care Act, which would tax employers if the amount they spent on employee healthcare benefits exceeded a certain amount. Although there are some exceptions, the policy generally imposes a 40% excise tax on each dollar of health insurance premium beyond $8,000 for an individual or $21,000 for a family.  Premiums at Williams are currently below that number.  Some employers are already planning to reduce benefits so that their plans are under the proposed threshold, and she wondered whether Williams would do the same.  Martha Tetrault presented an outline of the provision and its possible impacts.  Since the provision will not go into effect until 2018, and there are elections intervening, the College has decided not to take any definitive action for the time being.  Martha continues to stay abreast of developments and is in discussion with BlueCross about the legislation as well.

For reference, an explanation of the provision for the lay person can be found at:

II.      Appreciation Day Input

Martha asked for feedback on Appreciation Day events from members of staff that attended this year or recently.  She began by giving some context and background for the discussion, as there have been some recent changes.

Those with 5, 10, 15, and 20 years of service are invited to a lunch at the Williams Inn where Adam Falk and Fred Puddester speak, they are given a gift, and they are individually publicly acknowledged.

Those with 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service as well as retirees are invited to a dinner at the Mill on the Floss.  Those with 25 or 30 years are offered a watch or a clock.

In past years, retirees could invite 3 guests and everyone else could invite one guest.  As a result of the limited space at the Mill on the Floss, retirees now are asked to limit guests to one. This year those with 30, 35, and 40 years were not allowed to bring a guest, because of growing number of honorees in both the 25 year and this group. Many employees were disappointed about this change and chose not to attend. Martha posed the question to the Council about considering other alternatives so that this might now be the experience in future years.

Overall Council members found the lunch at the Williams Inn to be a good event.  Many enjoyed the food and the impression was that staff did feel honored by the experiencel.  Some Council members on the other hand found the food at the Williams Inn to be lacking and registered complaints they had heard about it.

There were some logistical difficulties with the gift tables, and those that came without RSVPing did not have gifts prepared for them.  There was some debate about whether those who did not RSVP should have been turned away at the door.  Several attempts were made by to contact each person who was invited by phone and email.

The majority of Council members were not completely attached to the Mill on the Floss despite it being a long standing tradition, favoring a venue that could accommodate the greater numbers required with each passing year.  Some suggested Mt. Hope as being an especially coveted place that would be considered an honor by staff.  It would have to be tented and possibly heated in May.  There was some debate about whether it would be comfortable.

Assigned seating at the dinner was also raised as a concern since there is always a chance that the chemistry of a particular table may not lend itself to conversation.

Some members felt that 5 years is a long time to wait for any event that formally recognizes staff.

Council members discussed communications of the various community picnics and events and the limitations of daily messages and their lack of integration with the Williams event calendar.

III.    Next Month’s Agenda Items

The following agenda items have been proposed:

  • Overview of supervisory training program
  • Sick Leave legislation
  • Continued discussion of Appreciation Day , including discussion of gifts
  • Continued discussion about communications, esp. Daily Messages and the event calendar
  • Continued discussion of Sexual Misconduct Investigation and Adjudication Process

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