Q: What is the salary grade of the Accounts Payable Coordinator? Why wasn't the position posted for all current employees to have an equal opportunity to apply?
Answered by Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources
A: Anyone can look to see at what level nonexempt positions are classified. Here's the link: http://documents.kenyon.edu/humanresources/nonexempt_salary_grade_positions_121808.pdf The position of Accounts Payable Coordinator is a level 5.
While in most cases regional searches are done for nonexempt positions, there may be occasions where internal promotions are appropriate to meet the needs of the department and serve the best interests of the College.
Q: Why are the summer hours at the KAC so short on Fridays? Many employees work out during lunch. Closing at 1pm makes it very difficult to work out during lunch, shower and change clothes to be back on time, especially if you don't start lunch right at 12 or take a later lunch.
Also, why is it closed almost the whole week of Memorial Day? According to the Kenyon Fit page "ALL KenyonFit classes will be over for the semester as of May 7, and will resume on Tuesday, May 26 on the summer schedule." but the athletic center may schedule says its closed the 23rd-28th.
A: The hours for the Kenyon Athletic Center have been carefully determined based on use patterns from the past three summers. Since the KAC has been open, we have always had reduced hours on Friday since many people take off for the weekend and do not use the facility. On the weekends we have only been open on Saturday for 3 hours and had an average of 8 people using the building in those 3 hours and the users were all community members.
During the summer, we all have a chance to move our workout outdoors to run, walk, bike, etc. enjoying the Bike Path or other fields and opportunities that Gambier has to offer. Also, many of those that are on campus during the summer have had success working with their supervisor to
have the flexibility to adjust their schedules to utilize the KAC's summer hours.
Answered by Doug Zipp, Associate Athletic Director and Director of KAC
Q: What is the status of search for the VP of LBIS position? Will there be a new search? Or will we continue with the temporary arrangement?
A: According to President Nugent, her response to this question in October, 2008, is still accurate. Essentially, Ron Griggs will continue as interim VP for Library and Information Services and a search for a permanent VP will get underway in the Fall of 2009.
Q: With the way everyone is having to really stretch already tight budgets, would the college consider — again — letting us get paid twice a month instead of once? I realize that for the upper echelon it doesn't make much of a difference, but for those of us on the low end of the pay scale, that last week before payday is a bear. Which do you want — gas for the car or food for the table?
Answered by Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources, and Shirley O'Brien, Controller
A: Moving all the monthly payroll to a bi-weekly basis would require hiring additional help in the payroll office. There is no budget to do that at this time.
Q: Will employees see an increase in insurance again this year? If so, how much of an increase and what will be the effective date of the increase?
Answered by Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources
A: That information will be published after the board approves the final budget at the February board meeting. I'll make sure PACT is given the information as soon as it's available.
We recently received two questions on usage of college vehicles and the expense involved. Because they overlap, both sets of questions and answers are posted below.
Q1: I was wondering how much the College spends monthly on gasoline for work vehicles. I see work trucks idling while the employees are in a building working. I realize that it is cold and they want to keep the vehicles warm, but wouldn't it be more cost-efficient to turn off the vehicles when they are not being driven?
Answered by Mark Kohlman, Interim Chief Business Officer
A1: The budget for 08-09 for gasoline is $126,666.00. That breaks down to $10,555.50 per month. We are currently paying $1.50/gallon for gas, which is much lower than last year at this time. If there are other questions or you would like more information I would be happy to meet and discuss.
Regarding vehicles idling while employees are in buildings working, that's not supposed to be happening. We do give some latitude for pick-ups and deliveries that are an in and out type of situation. I have asked Ed Neal to report this to the supervisors who in turn will ask the workers to have a heightened awareness to the cost of gasoline and not let vehicles idle for extended periods of time.
Q2:Due to the economic pressure and tight budget Kenyon is under, why don't Maintenance employees drive to and from work like everyone else? This would save gas, tires, vehicle mileage, and maintenance, as well as wear and tear on vehicles.
Answered by Joe Nelson, Vice President for Finance
A2: All skilled trades personnel drive their own vehicles to and from work. We own the fleet and they pick their vehicle up when they arrive. On the other hand, we do provide vehicles to maintenance department supervisors and they do drive them to and from work. Unlike union personnel, supervisors do not get any extra compensation for being called in during off hours. It is not unusual for supervisors to be called in to deal with emergencies at 2, 3 or 4 a.m. etc. Given our expectations for their availability, it seems fair to use a college vehicle and, I think, puts the campus in the best position to be protected in the event an emergency condition develops.
Q: We just had dinner at Peirce Hall and noticed all of the local food signs and information. We've heard that 40% of the food served there is "local food." As we looked around it was hard to see anything close to 40% being local. What is the definition of "local food?" Does it mean that it is purchased locally or is it really grown locally?
AVI's Dennis Bean and Damon Remillard met with Amy Williams, member of the PACT Communications Sub-committee, and provided the following information addressing the questions about local foods.
AVI works with local farmers and businesses at all stages of production. For meat and pork, this means raising, slaughtering, and processing. Rittenburgers (Zanesville) processes pork from Fowler Farms (Amity) and beef from Conard Hill Farms (Utica). Turkey comes from Coopers Farms (Delphis) and chicken from Park Farms (Canton). Milk is purchased from several local dairies: Hartzler, Dairy Mens, and HD Organics (Utica). Deli cheeses are obtained from Pearl Valley Farms (Fresno), though Pearl Valley does purchase some of their products from around the state of Ohio. And jams come from Yoder Farms. Some produce, like apples, cider, and peaches, are from Valley Fruit Farms (Howard). AVI is working with the college to purchase another freezer for storage of fresh local produce to use throughout the winter.
The local food initiative at Kenyon focuses first on what can be obtained in Knox County, then Central Ohio, and then greater Ohio (through Ohio Proud Naturally). Through the good work of John Marsh, who now provides counsel for AVI on local foods, Kenyon can track over 40% of its food as local. This does mean grown locally. Dairy products, meat, and most produce is local; highly-processed things like pop, ketchup, and mustard are not.
Another part of the initiative at Kenyon also includes utilizing local suppliers, like Lanning Foods for staple products. Although the product may not be local, AVI is able to support local businesses and the Knox County communities. As a long term project, AVI wants to work with their other main supplier, Cisco Foods, to target brands of foods and products that are made in Ohio.
AVI is working toward better informational signs. Just recently, large posters were hung that highlight the businesses and families from whom food is purchased. More labels will be placed throughout the cafeteria to help identify what is local and from what farms the foods are purchased.
The October 30, 2008 edition of The Kenyon Collegian also has a nice article about local foods at Kenyon; however, it states that only 35% of total food purchases are local. Dennis Bean clarified that we are actually at 40%, and that number is expected to increase.
Q: For the past 5 years or more, employees have received a 20% discount for meals at the Kenyon Inn — both dinner and lunch. When we requested the discount at the end of a recent dinner, we were informed by our waitress that her manager had told her that the discount did not apply to dinner, only to lunch. Has the College, indeed, changed its policy? If so, it might be a good idea to explain this in an "employee info" announcement. For many of us, the discount is a significant factor in our decision to dine at the Inn. Thanks much.
Answered by Tera Gore, General Manager of the Kenyon Inn & Restaurant
A: I would like to take some time to clarify the 20% discount policy at the Kenyon Inn. There was some miscommunication between management and the wait staff about our discount policy. The policy as it stands is the same as it has always been, which is 20% off any menu: breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This applies to personal or business. Tables of eight or more are treated as a catered event and would be exempt from the discount. In order for a guest of a Kenyon employee to receive the discount, the employee must pay the entire bill, no split checks. This discount applies to retired faculty as well. If you need any additional clarification on the discount policy, please feel free to call me at 427-5944.
Q: I was wondering how LBIS disposes of old computer equipment. Is it trashed, recycled, sold, or what?
Answered by Ron Griggs, Interim Vice President for Library and Information Services.
A: The college disposes of old computing equipment in three ways: by sale, by donation to charitable organizations, and by contracting to dispose of equipment that cannot be sold or donated. When we contract to dispose of equipment, we require a zero-landfill, "green" disposal process, which can be costly. Sales of old computer equipment covers the cost of these disposals.
We have sold equipment in three ways: through direct bulk purchase, through individual sales on e-Bay, and through occasional sales to the community, like the one we conducted in June. In all cases, the money generated by these sales comes directly to Kenyon.
Our e-Bay sales were the least successful, because of the amount of staff time required to prepare the equipment, work through the e-Bay advertising process, and communicate with the buyers. As of last year, we stopped doing direct e-Bay sales. Instead, we contracted with a young man who took our equipment on consignment—he did all the work and we split the returns on the sales 50/50. All equipment to be sold is approved by the VP of LBIS prior to any agreement for consignment. A paperwork trail is maintained for each piece of equipment to satisfy the audit requirements of the Accounting department.
It should also be noted that the determination of which equipment to be removed from service (and when) is made at the highest levels in LBIS, balancing the need for frugality and curricular needs for the latest equipment. The decisions on the ultimate destination of obsolete equipment (by donation, sale, or disposal) are also made by the VP and directors. In general, most of our equipment is donated to educational or charitable organizations. We have long standing relationship with an organization in southern Ohio called ReuseIT, which is dedicated to providing low cost computer systems to Appalachian families.
Q: Can we get an estimate of where we are on search for a permanent VP for Library and Information services division?
Answered by Georgia Nugent, President
A: I announced at the Trustee meetings this weekend that I have asked Ron Griggs to continue in his role as Interim VP for LBIS for another year, and have delayed the LBIS search till next fall. Ron has been doing a fine job, and I believe there are a number of reasons why it would be preferable to hold this search next fall. The LBIS staff will be able to move forward, implementing the many changes on which they are working without the disruption of a search process and with greater continuity in leadership. The Senior Staff will experience less turnover next year, as a new Provost joins. The need to staff so many simultaneous searches (thus drawing on faculty and staff time) will be lessened. Ron has generously agreed to stay on in his current role, and I believe this will be a benefit to the whole community.
Q: What is the policy for retiring union workers as far as their accumulated sick days are concerned? How does this compare with the policy for non-union staff? This staff person believes that the policy for a retiring non-union employee is that they get paid for 30 of their accumulated sick days plus 1 for every year they've worked. If the policies differ is there any plan to bring whichever policy is less generous up to match the other policy?
Answered by Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources
A: The policy for non-union staff is stated in the Administration and Staff Handbook. Staff can accumulate up to 130 days of sick time and, if available, may be compensated for 30 days plus 1 additional day for each year of service at retirement.Trades union members may accumulate up to 200 days of sick time and, if available, may be compensated for up to the same at retirement. Custodial union members may accumulate up to 200 days of sick time and, if available, may be compensated for up to the same plus 1 additional day for each year of service at retirement.
You'll note that to accumulate 200 days would take almost 15 years if you never took a sick day and obviously longer if you did use annual sick leave. It's unlikely that anyone would accumulate that much time. Accordingly, this benefit is not one that often gets used to its full advantage. That being said, the accumulated sick time paid at retirement policy for nonunion, nonexempt staff has not been reviewed for a while. I will pursue this issue with the President and Senior Staff.
Q: I'd like to know why employees are not eligible for the GLCA tuition exchange. MVNU now offers a master's program in Social Work and am wondering why it is not possible for employees to take advantage of this service and obtain a masters' degree if we already have our bachelor's degree.
Answered by Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources and Shirley O'Brien, Controller and current Tuition Remission Exchange Officer for Kenyon.
A: The GLCA Tuition Exchange Program is specifically designed for children of eligible employees who are full-time, degree seeking students of one of the participating institutions. MVNU is not a member of the GLCA and accordingly, does not participate in the program.
For more information see the GLCA Tuition Remission Exchange website.
Q: I would like to know if some statement is going to be made (if I missed it, I apologize for the redundancy of this comment...) regarding the parking situation for employees, with all of the construction going on. How will the parking "regulations" be enforced? It appears that the parking across from Peirce may be utilized by the offices affected by the Lentz House and Art facilities construction, even though it has been said that these offices are supposed to be using the Ralston/Palme parking lots. Where are employees who work in Ransom and Stephens Hall supposed to park? The lot behind Edelstein is not as large as before, either... Please advise! And PLEASE explain how students will be penalized for parking in employee parking places—they do it and few, if any, tickets seem to be written out for these vehicles... Many thanks.
Answered by Bob Hooper, Director of Campus Safety
A: Until we truly begin getting fence up and the construction projects gets in to full swing, I don't anticipate many changes. Once we get going we will work with individuals on parking. We have parking available in the lot behind the Horwitz House for additional parking for people in the Ransom/Stephens buildings. We will keep people informed of changes as we go through this next building construction.
Q: What are the criteria for employee-info emails? I thought it was for official college business. Over the past year or two, and again this week, emails about religion and politics have been sent through employee-info and therefore have been delivered to all employees. Since these messages have been approved by the moderators, it looks like these emails are official Kenyon business.
Shouldn't these type of emails be sent to allemp so people can individually subscribe and unsubscribe to emails not relating to official college business?
Answered by Ron Griggs, Interim Vice President for Library and Information Services
A: The primary criterion for employee-info e-mails is that the messages should relate to official college business, but there is some leeway for interpretation of this, especially because not all groups at Kenyon are formally recognized, yet their activities are—more or less—part of the college. We also have specific negative criteria: no for sale/wanted messages, no rides offered/wanted messages, and no lost and found messages.
I know of no employee-info messages on the subject of politics that have not been associated clearly with college business. There have been announcements of common hour panels on the election and (though not this last week) messages associated with voter registration, both of which are assuredly college business.
The September 30th message from Vernon Schubel regarding the movie "Obsession" is clearly more questionable. It documented a community experience and a professor's attempt to place the experience in an educational context, but it would be possible to see this as a personal issue and not an educational effort.
In general, we expect moderators to act assuming they have some leeway and are empowered with some individual judgment. We also ask moderators to err on the side of openness and freedom of expression. Kenyon is both a business and a community, so "official college business" will inevitably, perhaps messily, skirt the edges of the community. And the "harm" of an occasional message being released that is questionable is very small.
Q: Do the luncheons always have to be on a Tuesday? This day may not fit in with some people's work schedules and they never get to attend. Is it not possible to pick a different day once in awhile?
A: We're pleased to announce that PACT luncheons this year will be 11 am-1 pm to accommodate college employees who are on different lunch schedules.
The only future lunch date that is confirmed is the Halloween Luncheon scheduled for Tuesday, October 28. With Gund Commons going off-line and Peirce Hall, as of now, unable to be reserved, the rest of the dates for this year's luncheons have not yet been set. With your suggestion, we will look at scheduling a variety of days throughout the year. Stay tuned for dates to be announced.
Q: When a position is filled, would it be possible to post this information on the web of Human Resources—with the person's name? It would be helpful.
A: Jennifer Cabral, Director of Human Resources, has indicated that they will look into doing this.
Q: On the new Kenyon website in the bottom there is a section on "Meet Kenyon people". Who is responsible for the section on Kenyon Webpage. What is the criteria as to who "Kenyon People" are. Why are administrators/staff excluded from "Kenyon people". Is there a plan to include them (and if so what is it)? Or does college not consider administrators/staff relevant to be on "Meet Kenyon people"?
Answered by Patty Burns, Director of New Media
A: Thanks for the question about the new Kenyon Web site. Although we hope the entire Kenyon community will enjoy the Meet Kenyon People profiles that appear on the Web site, they are primarily directed toward prospective students. Our research indicates that prospectives are more likely to read content about current students and faculty, so that is where we are currently directing our time and resources. Of course, reading the minds of 17-year-old students is not an exact science, so as the year progresses we'll continue to review our web traffic and adjust our strategy as needed.
Q: Considering the continuing rise in gasoline and health insurance, has the College thought at all about a 4 day work week with employees staggering days?
A: According to Jennifer Cabral, Human Resources is looking into such possibilities and will keep PACT posted. Employees interested in working 4 day work weeks during June and July should note that the employee handbook does allow modified summer hours for benefit eligible employees in some departments at the discretion of an employee's supervisor.
Q: Now that the transformation of the bookstore is complete, how is business? How do sales figures compare for the past 5 years using December 31 as the anniversary date? Is the place making any money? How much was invested in the transformation?
Answered by Dave McConnell, Chief Business Officer
A: The bookstore transformation is not yet complete. There are still lighting issues to resolve and the completion of the side room with a new beverage cooler and some work that will be done this summer to put in hand dipped ice cream and some baked goods. In addition to the
physical environment which is pretty close to completion. We still have a great deal of work to do on improving our book selections, and programming of the store with readings, author signings, etc.