ASURA Board Meeting - November 18, 2009

Board Members Present:  Gary Anderson, Jim Fordemwalt, Elmer Gooding, Jo Madonna, Connie McNeill, Carolyn Minner, William Moor, Eric Sloan, Bill Stasi, Mary Stevens, Rojann Alpers, Lou Weschler

Absent: Bob Barnhill, Sheree Barron, Joyce Hartman Diaz (excused), Rose Minetti (excused), Robert Muscari, Lonnie Ostrom, Val Peterson (excused)

Committee Chairs Present:  Jerry Aronson, Sue Blumer, Alan Johnson, Joan Leard, Wilma Mathews, Dick Murra,

Committee Members and Guests:  Barbara Eschbach, Doug Johnson, Bob Mings

I.                   CALL TO ORDER

President Mary Stevens called the meeting to order at 10:00am.

II.                PRESIDENT'S REPORT AND WELCOME TO GUESTS

President Mary Stevens gave special mention and thanks to Jerry Aronson for coordinating the Tri-University Legislative Liaison Meeting and to Jerry, Jim Fordemwalt, Alan Johnson and Dick Murra for arranging for representatives from ADOA and ASRS to speak at that meeting.

She also reported that Bill Stasi and Jim and Beth Fordemwalt very successfully organized and hosted the Verde ValleyRailroad/Jerome trip.  Mary thanked them for such a good trip that was well planned and executed.

III.             REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE 9/09/09 MTG.

Bill Moore motioned that the minutes from the October meeting be approved and Connie McNeill seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

IV.              EX-OFFICIO REPORTS

  • Emeritus College - Lou Weschler reported that the Emeritus College has new quarters in Old Main.
  • Human Resources - No Report
  • University Club - Jim Fordemwalt said that the University Club Board has not met since the last ASURA meeting so there is nothing new to report at this time. Jim will work with Mary to see if arrangements can be made for the January ASURA meeting to be held at the University Club.
  • University Liaison - Eric Sloan reported that the State Legislature is in a special session now. It is anticipated that the Science Foundation Arizona funding will be restored. He reports that the University does not anticipate more cuts to the University baseline budget because in the opinion of the Governor ASU has reached the maintenance of efforts money level. In this special session that there will be no discussion of raising revenue. The focus is on cutting expenses. They plan to cut $500 million dollars during this session.
    In moving forward the University's position is that there is a structural deficit that will not go away and that additional revenue is needed.  The University does advocate for putting all revenue options on the table.
    The University has three main legislative priorities for the future.  They are: 
    1. No budget cuts in baseline funding;
    2. Funding for enrollment growth because ASU is currently funded at the 1988 level; and
    3. Funding for a stadium district, which would be used for stadium renovation.
  • University Senate - Rojann Alpers distributed a written report (attached). The Senate is looking for ways to return to multi-year contracts for non-tenured track faculty. At the January ABOR meeting the Faculty Senate will push for a tuition increase but no increase in faculty salaries. The Senate Curriculum Committee is looking into ways to offer new course options without additional costs. Rojann also reported that the transition to an ASU-wide Faculty Senate is now going well.
  • University Staff Council - No Report

V. STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS

  1. Community Outreach Committee - Sub-Committee Reports
    • Adopt-A-Family - Joan Leard reported that she made up Halloween baskets for the family that we adopted this year. It included items such as sweatshirts, seasonal flashlights, and house decorations. She reported that they were very appreciative of the gifts and the 4 children sent thank you notes. In addition to this family she has also identified 2 families of ASU students from among the 37 applicants. These two families will be receiving some gifts for Thanksgiving. Joan explained the method she used to identify the 2 recipients. She was thanked for the fair method she developed for this process. The Board also thanked Joan for all the care and time she invests in this project.
    • Scholarship Committee - Sue Blumer reported that the scholarship announcement is on-line and the deadline is in March.
    • Video History Project – Connie McNeill reported that she is making arrangements to lease 3 terabytes of server space from ASU for 5 years. This includes the space as well as automatic backup. Another significant benefit of this is that it will allow multiple users. The cost will be $4,500 for the 5 year term of the lease and this is within our budget projections. Connie explained that this lease of space, rather than purchasing server space from another vender, is of benefit because none were able to offer the same level of service.
    • Prime Times - Wilma Mathews
      Wilma Mathews said that Prime Times will come out in December and she needs to have articles by Thanksgiving. She asked for extra information about Retirees Day for the issue beyond what Val sent her. Sue Blumer provided her with a list of speakers. Wilma also reminded us to take photos of our activities so that she can include them in the publication.
  2. Events Committee - Sub-committee Reports
    • Luncheons - Jo Madonna
      A Holiday Pot Luck will be held on December 17th in CSB 330, 11:30am -1:30pm. She asked that some Board members come early that day to help set up the room.
    • Retirees Day - Val Peterson
      Val was unable to attend the meeting but he submitted a written report.
    • Travel - Bill Stasi and Gary Anderson
      Bill reported that 38 people were on the Verde Valley/Jerome trip. The committee was very pleased with the success of the trip. 50% of the travelers had not previously gone on an ASURA trip. The next trip will be in the spring to the Olive Mill in Queen Creek and the Dolly Steamboat ride at Canyon Lake. The Alumni Association has expressed interest in partnering on some activities in the future. He also reported that Eric Sloan will pursue setting up a link to ASURA on the ASU Public Affairs website.
       
      Gary reported that 20 people have signed up for the China trip and there is still room for 8 more. The trip dates will likely be May 18 to June 8th and the all inclusive cost will be about $4400.
  3. Finance Committee/Treasurer Report - Joyce Hartman Diaz
    Joyce was unable to attend the meeting but Connie McNeill went over this month’s report. The budget will be reviewed again in January in case any revisions need to be made. A report on this review will be prepared and any recommended revisions will be presented at January Board meeting. Connie does not anticipate that radical changes will need to be made.
     
    Carolyn reported that she has found that some donations are being made to the ASU Foundation on behalf of ASURA. The donors did not specify how to apply the money. If Carolyn finds that the donors have already paid their dues and have filled out the membership renewal forms, she assumes that this money should be applied to the Operations Donations category. She would, however, like Board approval for handling the donation in this way. Bill Moor motioned that this type of undesignated donation be applied to Operations Donations. Connie McNeill seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  4. Government Liaison Council
    • ASRS General - Alan Johnson

      Alan distributed a written report (attached). Beginning in January the ASRS Board will make decisions about the legislation that ASRS is now preparing. Alan is trying to study the changes in depth. One of the changes being considered is the part of the ASRS plan which addresses the money given back to an active employee who leaves his/her job and gives up membership in ASRS. ASRS wants to do reduce the 100% return of the employer contributions to 25%.

       

      A discussion was held about what vesting means and whether it includes employee and employer contributions. Alan said that he is, at this point, not taking a position on the question but rather just reporting on the discussion and legislation. IRS Codes and AZ State Law need to be examined. Alan plans to do some research on this and hopes that others will research it as well. Alan would like to have more information when he talks to Paul Matson at ASRS. This is just the type of technicality that needs to be examined before decisions are made.

    • Legislature - Jerry Aronson

      Jerry thanked Carolyn Minner for her work in getting the room reservations made for the Tri-University Legislative Liaison Meeting. At that meeting Paul Matson from ASRS said that although the investment fund took a sizeable hit in the recent stock market crash. There are still sizeable resources and ASRS is sufficiently funded to meet its obligations to retirees for a number of years and there is no need to worry. He also said that members of the old System will receive their 13th check this year but what will happen next year is not known.

      The group agreed to schedule this meeting a year in advance which will be of tremendous help to Jerry who by tradition has been responsible.

      ASURA has the closest relationship with the university than NAURA and UARA. NAURA reports that they have not been receiving any material support from NAU but they are in discussion to become a closer part of the university family. They hope to use the ASURA model as part of their discussion. It appears that UARA prefers a bit more separation from the U of A. All three groups agree that it is imperative that the retiree associations be free to operate independently from their universities.

  5. Health Insurance Liaison Council
    • ADOA - Dick Murra
      The delay in the delivery of latest open enrollment materials for ADOA was caused by a protest by United Health Care. Dick does not know why United was originally left out of the contract. The delay was very upsetting to a number of people, especially those who were remaining within the extended health insurance plan. Because there was such a long delay between the ASRS and ADOA mailings, people were very confused and did not know what to do to ensure continued coverage. Dick was able to help by making referrals to the correct person at ADOA and/or the ASRS website.
    • ASRS - Rose Minetti
      No report.
  6. Membership and Communications Committee
    • Membership Update - Elmer Gooding
      A membership report was distributed. We currently show 652 members and this is only 8 shy of the total that we had in May 2009. 118 people still have not renewed. He also thanked Connie for all her work on the database.
    • Website and Database - Connie McNeill
      Connie reported that although she does not mind maintaining and managing the ASURA website, we might want to eventually look into a service to do it for us in case she is unable to do it in the future. This may be something to look into after this fiscal year once we have a better record of our expenses and income.

      Connie McNeill reported that she is making arrangements to lease 3 terabytes of server space from ASU for 5 years.  This includes the space as well as automatic backup.  Another significant benefit of this is that it will allow multiple users.  The cost will be $4,500 for the 5 year term of the lease and this is within our budget projections.  Connie explained that this lease of space, rather than purchasing server space from another vender, is of benefit because none were able to offer the same level of service.

VI.              OLD BUSINESS

Parking Decals for Non-Faculty Retirees Update - Mary Stevens
Mary reported that the Sun Card will work as verification of retirement status for the purchase of a parking decal.

VII.           NEW BUSINESS

Proposed Activities for Members - Barbara Bradford Eschbach
Barbara reports that she is working with Dillards at Chandler Fashion Square for a fashion show and brunch at their store on January 12th.  She asked the Board to discuss how much to charge for the event and whether it should be a fund raiser.  It was decided that the event should not be a fund raiser but rather an event to attract members out for a new type of activity of relative low cost.  The cost should be kept at about $15 - $20 if possible.  It was also decided that this event should be open to non-members. Barbara will send invitations to the Faculty Wives and the Emeritus College.

VIII.        NEXT MEETING DECEMBER 9TH, 2009.

The December meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 9th.

IX.              MEETING ADJOURNMENT        

Bill Moor motioned that the meeting be adjourned and Bill Stasi seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.