UI Staff Council updates: December 2018 meeting

Here’s a brief synopsis of key points from the December 2018 Staff Council Meeting.

Health benefit review

Joni Troester, assistant VP for Human Recourses, updated Staff Council on the Health Benefit Review currently underway. The UI health benefit structure was last reviewed in 2010. Since then, there have been numerous changes in the health care industry and federal legislation. Locally, the most recent change is the transition of AFSCME covered Merit staff to UI self-funded health plans.

The review process includes a campus advisory group, consultations with the Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee (FRIC), a faculty/staff survey, and consultations with outside experts (Aon).

The process includes reviewing UI Choice, Delta Dental 2, and flexible credits. The goal is to plan a strategy that promotes recruiting and retention, and is fiscally sustainable. Final recommendations and decisions will likely be made early next year, with implementation in 2020 at the earliest.

In summary, the key takeaways are as follows:

  1. An overview of the review is located at hr.uiowa.edu/health-benefits-review
  2. The review process included assessment of data from multiple sources including historical plan information, actuarial analysis and benchmark data (from Aon, our benefit consultant) and feedback from faculty/staff through a survey administered to all benefit eligible staff in September 2018
  3. Recommendations are currently under discussion and will be made during spring semester 2019. Any changes as a result of the recommendations will be implemented at the earliest in calendar year 2020.

Office of the Ombudsperson update

Krystal Gibson and Cynthia Joyce, from the Office of the Ombudsperson, presented their 2017–2018 annual report to the council. Highlights of the report include:

  • 98 consultations, up 10 percent from the previous year
  • 31 percent of the consultations involved disrespectful behavior
  • 60 percent involved perceived organizational risks, including loss of productivity and policy violations
  • Visitors were 69 percent female and 30 percent minority

The Office of the Ombudsperson is a resource for any member of the university community having problems or concerns with policies or procedures. They provide conflict resolution, mediation services and advocacy for fair treatment, in a confidential, neutral, informal and independent manner.

Young Professionals at Iowa

UI staff members Kelsi Ludvicek and Spencer Stumpf informed the council about Young Professionals at Iowa (YPI), an organization they recently founded to help UI professionals advance their careers and better support the university’s missions. The goal of YPI is to promote professional growth within the university, help recruit and retain great people, and drive innovation. Activities include professional development workshops, mixers, and networking events. YPI also helps find mentors, and shares resources such as podcasts, books, and UI training opportunities. If you are interested participating, visit YPI’s Facebook page, or contact Kelsi or Spencer. There are no age restrictions to participating with this group.

Clothing Closet

UI student Joshua Bolen, spoke to the council about the Clothing Closet at Iowa. Located in the IMU, it provides free, formal, professional clothing to UI students. This non-profit group accepts used clothing in good shape, and monetary donations. Please consider donating your unused business attire.

In summary, the key takeaways regarding Clothing Closet are:

  1. Clothing Closet is a non-profit on campus serving the student body by providing professional wear.
  2. Clothing Closet needs the help of donors such as staff and students to continue to provide the clothing.
  3. When donating to the closet, tax deductible forms are available.