DETAILED SUMMARIES:

RECOMMENDED REVISIONS REGARDING ABSENSES

 

Replace current Article IV Section 1F. ABSENCES

"An Assembly member who misses more than one quarterly meeting per year will be removed from the Assembly and replaced in accordance with Article II Section 3e." ;

 

with the following :

 

Article IV Section 1F. ABSENCES –

“An Assembly member who misses more than two of the six scheduled meetings per year will be removed from the Assembly and replaced in accordance with Article II Section 3e. Representatives are encouraged to enlist a substitute to attend any meetings missed in order to provide for continuity of communications.”

 

Rationale: 

Before June 2005, the A&P Constitution required four scheduled meetings of the Assembly per year, with a representative being allowed to miss only one scheduled quarterly meeting per year. Since June 2005, the Constitution was changed to require six scheduled meetings per year, with a representative being allowed to miss only one scheduled meeting per year.  As a result of this change to the Constitution, it is appropriate that there be more flexibility regarding absences from scheduled meetings.  It is recommended to increase allowed absences from one to two scheduled meetings per year.  On recommendation from the Executive Committee, the representatives of the Administrative and Professional Assembly recommend replacing Article IV Section 1F.  ABSENCES.

 

RESOMMENDED REVISION REGARDING THE AU GRIEVANCE POLICY:

 

Inconsistencies in the Grievance Policy, as provided in Article VI of the A&P Constitution, and the official AU Grievance Policy for Administrative and Professional employees have existed since, March 1, 2006, when the AU Administration approved a single Grievance Policy for all non-faculty employees.

 

On recommendation from the Executive Committee, with input from the Ad hoc Committee, the representatives of the Administrative and Professional Assembly recommend removing the current Article VI – Grievance Policy from the Constitution, and replacing it with the following:

 

Article VI -- Grievance Policy

The Administrative and Professional Grievance Procedures can be found in the Auburn University Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual, Section 8.6, March, 2006, or in such location as deemed appropriate by University Administration. It is understood that Administrative and Professional employees will be afforded the opportunity to review, comment, and endorse proposed changes to the Grievance Policy and Procedures prior to such changes taking effect.

 

The text of the proposal can be found in a resolution at the following URL: http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/ap/grievance_resolution.htm

 

Chronology of Events related to the Grievance Policy:

 

1.       If one examines the history of the A&P Assembly, there are a number of references to difficulties with the Grievance Policy and Procedure. The references frequently include some statement that “any change in the policy will also require a change in the constitution.” In August, 2000, there was a discussion about removing the Grievance Policy from the Constitution. You can read the minutes of that meeting at the following URL: http://www.auburn.edu/administration/governance/ap/minutes/000802.html. Four options were presented by the Grievance Committee at that meeting. When a straw vote was taken the majority of representatives wanted to remove the policy from the constitution at that time.

 

2.       In April, 2004, a committee composed of representatives from A&P Assembly (Kathy Harmon and Jan Thornton at the time), University Staff Council, and Human Resources began working on drafting a new Grievance Policy and Procedure. Because of this committee work, the A&P Constitution Revisions Committee, chaired by Tony Ventimiglia, chose not to propose any changes in Article VI in November, 2004.

 

3.       In June, 2005, Kathy Harmon presented proposed Grievance procedures for A&P employees to review. (By this time Cindy Selman had replaced Jan Thornton on the representative committee.) There was discussion at the meeting and the information was posted on the A&P Website. A&P employees were informed via email and encouraged to provide input.

 

4.       In August, 2005, Cindy Selman, Kathy Harmon, Jenny Swaim (Staff Council Chair), and Lynne Hammond (Asst. VP, HR) discussed pending changes in the grievance procedures and answered questions from Assembly representatives and members of the audience. The proposed changes had been posted for on the A&P web site for the previous month for review by the A&P membership. The following points were noted:

a.       The objective is to have one consistent policy that applies to all non-faculty employees.

b.       Current grievance policy is confusing to all parties.

c.       Changes will also include clarification as to what is grievable.

d.       A streamlined policy will enable both groups to handle grievances in a timely manner.

e.       A process for forwarding all records to Human Resources for retention will be included in the policy.

f.        Changes clarify that the fact that grievance is an “internal peer review process” and the influence of outside advisors should be limited.

g.       Mediator training is desirable. Human Resources will be involved in the mediation process. See the minutes of that meeting for more details of the discussion.

h.       The final version of the proposed policy will require the approval of the University president because it is in the Policy Manual. A Grievance Policy is finally approved by the President. A&P employees through their representatives are allowed input and participation in developing policy. These proposed changes to that policy can only be presented to the University President as a recommendation. Because the Grievance Policy is included in the A&P Constitution, if the President approves the policy then A&P will need to change our Constitution. Any changes we make to the policy in our Constitution are not binding if not also approved by the University president. The policy is not defined by the A&P Assembly.

 

5.       Also, at the August, 2005, meeting a proposal to remove the Grievance Policy from the A&P Constitution was presented and approved by the Assembly. An additional motion “That the A&P Executive Committee be empowered to form a committee which will include the Chair of the A&P Grievance committee and Kathy Harmon, charged with recommending a single grievance policy on behalf of the A&P Assembly; and that the committee formed by the A&P Executive Committee will disseminate their final version of the policy to the membership and solicit their feedback prior to submitting it to the President for approval, also passed unanimously.

 

6.       At the October 20, 2005 meeting the proposal to remove the Grievance policy from the Constitution failed. Discussion was held regarding replacing the Grievance Policy and procedure with the revised policy, but a vote could not be held without 30 days notification. A vote was taken at the December 1, 2005 meeting. The vote recorded as 26 yes and 11 no. This motion supported by a simple majority (even a 2/3 majority) failed to pass because a ¾ majority is required for any Constitutional change.

 

7.       March 1, 2006, a revised Grievance Policy and Procedure which applies to both A&P and University staff employees became effective. The effective policy is not the same as the policy and procedure that appears in the A&P Constitution. This situation has potential for harm if an employee acts on a grievance using invalid information. There must be a change in the A&P Constitution.

 

8.       A&P employees were actively involved in developing the policy adopted by the Administration. Discussions were held in public meetings, in the Discussion board on the A&P website.  There is no record of opposition to the policy itself, only with its place in the A&P Constitution.

 

9.       The administration has demonstrated its commitment to including all governance groups in discussions of policies and procedures related to each group. There is no reason to assume any change in that commitment.

 

10.   According to Robert’s Rules of Order, newly revised, 10th ed. (2000), “…the constitution or the bylaws—or both—of a society are the documents that contain its own basis rules, relating principally to itself as an organization,….” The constitution establishes the society; prescribes how the society functions, and includes all rules that the society considers so important that they (a) cannot be changed without previous notice to the members and the vote of a specified large majority, and (b) cannot be suspended (with the exception of clauses that provide for their own suspension under specific conditions. The typical constitutions or bylaws of an unincorporated society contains the following articles: (1) Name of the organization; (2) its Object; (3) Members; (4) Officers; (5) Meetings; (6) Executive Board (if needed); (7) Committees; (8) Parliamentary Authority; and (9) Amendment (Prescribing the procedure for making changes in the Constitution or bylaws).

 

11.   In October, 2006, an ad hoc Committee appointed by the chair recommended  language replacing the Grievance policy in the A&P Constitution with the adopted policy. This means than any future changes in the Grievance Policy and procedure would have to go through the process of constitutional change with the extended notification procedures for amendments. Grievance is a personnel issue and personnel law is constantly changing. In order to be able to respond and make recommendations for policy changes in a timely manner, it would be more expedient if policies are not in the constitution.

 

12.   There is no denying the importance of the Grievance Policy and Procedure to all employees of the University. The question is “What place should it have in the Constitution?” The proposal before the A&P employees recognizes its importance by keeping a statement about Grievance in the Constitution in a way that does not have to be amended continuously with each change in the policy and/or procedure.

 

13.   Recognizing that Grievance Policy and Procedure is important for the well-being of all parties (one filing; one filed against; and the University) the October, 2006, proposal includes a fluid statement about where to find the current policy. It also contains a statement including A&P in any discussions about changes in policy.