Faculty Benefits Committee

Minutes/Meeting of November 8, 1999

  

Members Present: Marc Goetschalckx (ISyE); James Higgins (GTRI-ATAS); Jackie McGill (GTRI-ITTL); Christina Shalley (MGT); Rajiv Wanasundera (Grad Stu); Marilyn Williamson (Library)

Ex-Officio Members: John Grovenstein (OHR); Nile Hartman (GTRI-EOEML)

Minutes: Joni Gober (GTRI-ATAS)

  1. Jim Higgins called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. (the minutes of the previous meeting, July 8th, had been reviewed and approved via e-mail.)
  2. Jim Higgins identified the principal purpose of the initial meeting of this academic year to be to identify the issues and agenda on which the committee wished to focus during the upcoming year.
  3. The following issues were identified and discussed by all:

a) Parking

- Georgia Tech’s long range plans to become a "Green Campus" were discussed.

- Deck parking cost predicted to be $1000 per space

- Should parking be a fringe benefit?

- Possibly subsidized Marta usage to reduce parking needs

- Paycheck withholding for parking permits will potentially be available in April 2000

b). Child Care

- Must be both high quality and affordable

- Possibility of partnering with the Federal Reserve

- Refurbish HUD homes could be used for facilities

- Only for children four years of age or younger

- Employees (or students) would pay for routine services

- Tech would subsidize emergency childcare services

c). TRS/ORP

- Accounting of GT funds for both programs needed including paid absences

- Inequity of benefits for employees changing from classified to research status

- Currently no legislative activity regarding reduction of early retirement penalty

d). Tax deferred annuities

- Need to limit the number of tax deferred accounts because of potential audits

- Reason for the audits is the rules [particularly regarding MEA (max. excludable allowance) computations] are not being adhered to (caps at $10,500 or 25% of salary)

- IRS has established a special task force to audit schools

- May ask vendors to sign a contract to accept liability for enforcing rules

- Looking for best and most fair way to implement (transferring benefits – minimize problems)

e). Guidelines for 12 vs. 9 month academic contracts

- No guidelines exists regarding contract assignments

- Benefits issue because vacation leave is available for 12 month contracts but not for 9 months contracts

- Issue has been raised before and was ignored

f). Potential merge with state employees for fringe insurance benefits

- Cost may increase due to the demographics of the larger pool of all state employees

- Need to adopt a proactive stance rather than reacting after the fact to avoid an irreversible condition (such as the transfer to ORP)

- Check with Chuck Donbaugh (and Blair Funderburk?) with regard to staying on top of this issue

g). Representation

- The observation was made that input from the faculty and staff to the Faculty Benefits Committee proceedings was somewhat arbitrary. If you happen to be in the same GTRI Laboratory or Academic School as a current FBC member you are more likely to be aware of the issues and to have an input into the agenda of the committee, otherwise you maybe unheard and uninformed.

- Since "spaming" campus with redundant e-mail was deemed undesirable, no resolution to this dilemma was identified.

h). Flexible benefits

- Full flex benefits programs allow employees to choose benefits based on a dollar allowance

- Usually employed to cap the cost of benefits to employers

- John Grovenstein views this to be undesirable under current circumstances

i). Domestic Partners

- The State Attorney General’s position regarding the City of Atlanta has been overturned

- IRS does not recognize domestic partner benefits

- Randy Norton to discuss this issue

j). Voluntary Insurance Benefits

- Adding additional voluntary (employee paid) benefits such as accident, cancer and intensive care insurance. (AFLAC would be willing to make a presentation)

4. Jim Higgins explained that the late meeting time was the only time available that was compatible with every ones schedule unless the meeting was to be postponed until after Thanksgiving and that this was contrary to Edward Thomas’ directive to have our first meeting early in the Fall. Future meeting will be held before noon.

5. A motion to adjourn was made and seconded. The motion passed and the meeting adjourned at approximately 5:20 p.m.