Staff Advisory Council- March 1

February 24, 2000

Judith Zwolak

Retirement Boost
As part of Tulane's continuing effort to equalize the retirement benefits of faculty and staff, the university will increase its contribution to a staff member's retirement by .25 percent starting in July, said Yvette Jones, senior vice president for planning and administration. With this change, Tulane will contribute an amount equal to 7.75 percent of a staff member's gross annual income to his or her retirement plan.

Faculty members will continue to receive an amount equal to 8 percent of their salary. Tulane also matches faculty members' personal contributions to retirement funds up to 2 percent of their annual salary. Staff members currently don't have the matching option. The .25-percent increase will cost the university approximately $150,000 annually, Jones said.

Parking update
Efforts to improve parking on the uptown campus are moving along, said Tony Lorino, senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer. Tulane held a trial run of a shuttle service from Uptown Square (see story, p. 7) and is continuing efforts to create parking space between Freret and Willow streets on the eastern boundary of campus that abuts Calhoun Street.

Lorino said the university is meeting with neighborhood groups and trying to buy the four remaining properties needed to create the new parking space. Even if Tulane owned all of the properties in the area it wants to convert to parking, Lorino added, the city would still have to approve a zoning change.

"This is not a given," he said. The university is also researching the possibility of adding parking on the northern side of the Reily Center by constructing another parking garage, Lorino said. The garage could be a part of a multi-use facility to accommodate the expansion of the medical center's Institute of Sports Medicine, which resides on the first floor of the Reily Center complex.

He added that the Student Health Center could also be part of the new facility, putting all health-related services on the uptown campus in one area. Another way the university is looking to increase parking spaces is by redesigning the parking allotments along Law Road and Newcomb Place, Lorino said.

Pay stub redesign gives more info
A redesign of Tulane's paycheck stub will allow the payroll office to list accrued vacation and sick time on the stub of each staff member this spring, Jones said. Health insurance changes,In the next fiscal year, the university and its employees will pay more for health insurance coverage in both the UnitedHealthcare HMO and the Tulane Preferred Health Plan (TPHP) to cover an increase in the number of claims filed for doctors' visits and prescriptions, Jones said.
Although the final numbers for the UnitedHealthcare plan won't be available until later this month, Jones reported that the employee's monthly premium for the TPHP will increase from $10 to $20. The university's contribution to the plan will also increase by $10, she said, adding that dependent coverage in the TPHP will not increase in the next fiscal year. Inside Tulane will report on these changes in April.

Merit pool process in the works
Jones said she would be unable to discuss how this year's $1.5-million additional merit pool will be distributed until senior officers meet on Feb. 23 to iron out details. In terms of staff awards, Jones said high levels of performance reflected in an employee's annual performance evaluation coupled with the employee's location within his or her pay grade will determine the amount of individual awards. Look for a future article on the merit-pool allocations in Inside Tulane.

Strategic planning committees
Jones also spoke about the importance of staff representation on strategic planning committees, particularly those dealing with compensation, administrative process and staff satisfaction. Jones is currently assigning volunteer council members to individual committees. The next SAC meeting is Thursday, March 9, in Room D-264, medical center conference center. All staff members are welcome. To speak at the meeting, contact Suzanne Lossi, corresponding secretary, at least 48 hours in advance at 862-8558.

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