Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting Minutes

September 28th, 2009, 9:30 – 11:00


Present:   Bettina Cothran (chair), Wayne Book, Richard Dagenhart, Clint Demetriou, Chuck Donbaugh, Dave Millard (new member), Sharon Ray, Teresa Snow.

Absent:   Barry Sharp.



Minutes from 5/5/09 and 8/24/09 were reviewed and approved.

Dave Millard was introduced as the new executive board liaison for the faculty benefits committee.


Annual Report

A copy o f the annual report was e-mailed to the FBC committee members.  Bettina Cothran asked that each member review the report and e-mail any necessary changes to her.  The report will be sent to Ron Bohlander along with the 5/5 and 8/24 meeting minutes.


Unused Vacation Time—Bettina Cothran

Bettina Cothran shared with the FBC committee an article from the Wall Street Journal which highlighted the Obama administrations recent approval of transferring unused vacation or sick leave days into a 401(k) or profit sharing program.  The program currently does not apply to nonprofits and excludes    403 (b)’s.  However, this may change in the future.

Chuck Donbaugh stated that the status will be monitored.


Donated Sick Leave Update—Bettina Cothran

Based on Barbara Henry’s e-mail, Bettina Cothran updated the committee on the shared leave program proposal. The latest draft of the program excludes vacation time from donations.  It also states that no individual may receive more than 320 hours (8 weeks) in one calendar year, which is consistent with the GTRI policy.  In contrast to short term disability which only covers employee illness, this donated leave plan also covers the serious illness of an employee’s spouse or dependent child.


Questions/concerns raised by Barbara Henry which were shared with the FBC committee included the following:

1) Can a recipient be designated? 

2) Should supervisor be required to approve employee’s request for donated sick leave?

3) How will program be funded?

4) How will program be administered?


After discussion, the committee voted that the designated option would be removed, and that supervisor input would be part of an employee’s application.

The funding issue was the subject of much discussion.  Chuck Donbaugh stated that funding could present a challenge especially to small departments.

Using GTRI as a model, it was noted that their bank of hours has grown over time since they have not had a lot of applicants.  Chuck Donbaugh stated that the situation for the Institute as a whole may be different, as departments including housing, facilities, etc. will be part of the pool.  Therefore, a funding mechanism, such as possibly increasing the benefit rate, needs to be in place. 

Sharon Ray asked how the benefit rate increase would be determined.  Chuck Donbaugh stated that GT could use GTRI as a model but a better approach would be to survey the individual units about sick leave to assess potential need and estimate usage.

Administration of the program also needs to be decided.  The reporting of vacation and sick leave hours needs to be improved.  It was felt that this was more of a software issue and that the process could be more automated in order to lessen the administrative burden.

The FBC committee decided that those two issues notwithstanding,  the proposal could still move forward to the executive committee.


Action Item—Bettina Cothran will incorporate the committee’s suggestions into the draft and send out for review/comments.  The donated leave programs will be placed on the October agenda for further discussion.


Benefits Update  —Sharon Ray

OHR is getting ready to send out an e-mail outlining the changes to open enrollment.

Open enrollment begins Oct 26th.  The enrollment guide is still being revised but should be ready and sent out 1-2 weeks prior to the beginning of open enrollment. Faculty/staff will have the option to meet with advisors or have a telephone consultation.

Chuck Donbaugh anticipates some resistance to the changes in the open enrollment process.  It is important to stress that this is necessary due to the large number of changes in benefits this year.


Schedule of Upcoming Meetings

Meetings will occur in the OHR Conference Rm (220) from 8:25-9:55 on the following dates:

            Monday October 26th

            Monday November 23rd