Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting

Monday, January 23, 2012 8:25 – 9:55 AM


Present:   Bettina Cothran (Chair), Amy Heron, Debbie Lee, Tommy Little Dave Millard, Barry Sharp, Teresa Snow, Darlene Wright (Dir. Benefits)


Absent:   Wayne Book (retiree rep.), Stella Richardson, Amy Laviers (student  rep.)




Minutes from 12/05/11 were reviewed and approved.


Dave Millard:  Faculty/Staff Recognition

Dave Millard welcomed the representatives from GTRI, Connie Masters and Suwana Murchison, who were present to give the FBC an overview of GTRI recognitions practices.  Overall, the GTRI has a very impressive structure in place to honor and recognize its employees; the sheer number of which, along with the financial resources GTRI can set aside for this endeavor, set it apart from most units at GT.

GTRI’s Awards and Honors selection process bodies are comprised of a performance awards selection committee and an awards council. The council encourages qualified staff to pursue recognition and will assist with nominations or serve as nominator when necessary. The selection process is clearly structured, has a distinct timeline, and a well articulated process at every step.

The service recognition includes GTRI service awards (15, 20, 25 and 30+ years of service), individual and team awards in various categories, professional society awards, GIT honors, GTRI finalists and distinguished performance awards.

The Award Luncheon is an elegant and memorable event, with a distinguished guest speaker and a catered luncheon. The award recipients also receive sizable cash prizes.  It was emphasized, however, that the recognition itself seemed to outweigh the monetary benefit.  As part of the year-long recognition, distinguished performance award posters, identifying recipients with a photo and by name, are displayed in prominent locations throughout GTRI facilities.

Bettina Cothran emphasized that, while other units will likely not be in a position to have such an elaborate process, recognition is a most important part of workplace satisfaction, and much can be learned form GTRI in this respect. She stated that the FBC would like to encourage recognition across campus. OHR and the FBC plan to work together to encourage appropriate policies across campus.


Action Item—Debbie Lee will check to see who in the President’s office is working on this and will report back to the FBC.

Action Item—Dave Millard will bring this item up before the executive committee.


Darlene Wright:  2011 Open Enrollment Update


The changes in healthcare numbers were as follows:

112 people left HMO

135 people left BOR PPO

223 people moved to HSA


Overall, there were 24 fewer enrollees—some may have been part time due to enrollment changes.


Currently OHR is looking into online calculators which could help employees make informed decisions regarding benefits in a convenient way.


Darlene Wright:  Child Care Center Update

Second childcare center has been approved and funded.  Center will be housed in the graduate student complex, and will be run by Bright Horizons.

In the interim, Darlene Wright is meeting with internal legal representatives to see if GT can obtain/offer discounts to GT employees at various childcare centers in Atlanta.

In addition to the much- needed second center, other helpful resources were discussed.

Emory has a great site with childcare options:


Emory also uses the Bean Work Play Café in Decatur—The site functions as a work center as well as childcare center.  A member can leave children there between the hours of 9 and 1.  Non-members have to stay at center.  Center is equipped with workspaces, internet, wireless printers and conference room.  More info can be found at


This may also be an option for GT to explore.

Bettina Cothran stated that a Family Friendly Taskforce has been established which will study all such benefits - already existing as well as desirable ones-   in a comprehensive way.

Action Item—Darlene Wright will provide further updates as they become available.


Darlene Wright: Hearing Aids Update

Mandates by BOR do not offer a lot of flexibility with respect to optional coverage. Darlene Wright has raised hearing aid issue with BOR.

Currently Kaiser does not offer discounts. 

Discounts are available through BC/BS of Ga.  There are links on their website to access hearing aid discounts, such as the HearPO discount.  This discount, in some instances, is matched by the providers.

Action Item—Darlene Wright will provides updates as they become available.


Darlene Wright:  Long Term Care Update

The John Hancock Long Term care plan will no longer allow new enrollees but will continue to honor the plan.  Bettina Cothran stated that she received information on long term care through Ga. United Credit Union.

Action Item—Darlene Wright will look into offerings and update FBC.


Darlene Wright: Flexible Spending Account Update

FSA will change in 2013.  The allowable amounts will decrease to $2500 for an individual and $5000 for a family due to healthcare reform.

The HSA amounts are not changing.

Darlene Wright: ExpressScripts Update

Walgreens is not participating in program.  Info has been posted on OHR website.  In addition, employees affected by this change have been notified directly.


Bettina Cothran:  Question regarding EyeMed vendors

Question was raised regarding vision coverage:  Are EyeMed vendors listed on back of card the only ones that provide coverage?

Darlene Wright stated that the vendors listed on the back of the card are based on the zip code in which you live.  More venders are listed on the EyeMed website.  Also, you can use the vision center at GT.


Darlene Wright:  Update on BC/BS open access plans

Blue Choice PPO network was eliminated in CY 2012.  Employees enrolled in BOR PPO and HSA PPO defaulted to the Blue Open Access Network.  Initially, it was supposed to have a minimal impact. However, the impact inside and outside Metro Atlanta is actually higher than anticipated, giving rise to concerns among those whose doctors have decided to leave the plan.

If doctors are not in network, they can join under the condition they accept the BC/BS fee structure. Information may be send to Darlene Wright and she will pass it on to USG.


Other Business:


(1)  OHR is putting a committee together on volunteerism. 

Action Item—Updates will follow.


(2)  Wellness—Darlene Wright is joining the GoTECH (Teams Encouraging Campus Health) Policy Workgroup.

Action Item—Updates will follow.


 (3) Tommy Little brought up issues with salary compression for internal employee promotion.  Salary seems very different from that paid to external hires.  Promotion is limited to 15% ceiling internally. 


Debbie Lee made the statement that it is very hard to recruit when trying to make it equitable for incumbents.

Action Item—Darlene Wright will bring issue up with Dir. of Compensation.




Upcoming FBC meetings for Spring 2012 Semester


February 27th

April 9th


Meetings will occur in the OHR Conference Rm (229) unless otherwise noted.