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Fifteen members of the 2006-07 Civil Service Committee standing in two rows.

The 2006-07 Civil Service Committee. Left to right, back row, Gary Willhite, Margaret (Peg) Wolff, Karen Tschida, Diane Parker, Cathy Marquardt, Susan Rose, Nancy Fulton, Karen Lovro, Rick Densmore; front row, John Felipe, Linda Olcott, Heather Powell, Lori Nicol, Susann Jackson, Christopher Bucksa. Not pictured: Sharon Beckford-Babu, Karen Ellis, Kathryn Olson, Michael Allen, Susan Cable.

2006 retreat review

Civil Service Committee reviews first year in the U Senate, plans for 2006-07

By Peg Wolff

Brief, August 9, 2006

As I prepared for the 2006-07 Civil Service Committee retreat last month, I thought back to last year, when I accepted the nomination for the vice chair position. Becoming the chair seemed a long way off. Now it was here.

It was a beautiful July day when we arrived at the Continuing Education Center on the Twin Cities campus in St. Paul. After taking a little meet-and-greet time, the 15-member Civil Service Committee and four alternates got down to work.

Representing approximately 5,000 civil service staff members across the U system, whose jobs range across categories such as lab scientist, library manager, editor, associate administrator, and many more, is a big responsibility.

Like many organizations, we do most of our work in our subcommittees. At each full committee meeting--usually the last Thursday of the month--the subcommittees report on progress towards their yearly goals. Some of the issues we follow involve benefits, compensation, communication, advocacy, professional development, and more.

At the retreat, we talked about what had been accomplished last year--our partnership with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) on recommendations for merit pay and performance management guidelines for civil service staff, and our revised Web site that uses the University templates. We also talked about priorities for this year:

For the afternoon session, we invited the civil service senators to join us. We talked about the first year of civil service staff representation in the University Senate, just concluded. In addition to the CSC chair and vice chair, civil service staff members now elect 23 senators. About 15 more seats on various U senate assemblies have traditionally been filled by civil service staff.

Over the past year, we discovered that we needed to develop strategies so the CSC and civil service senators and senate assembly reps can better communicate on issues that affect civil service staff at every level of University governance. We added this as a goal for the coming year.

The day was full of animated discussion, and we left the retreat ready to begin the year's work. It was a great start.

Margaret "Peg" Wolff is a principal public relations representative at University Relations, Twin Cities campus, and 2006-07 chair of the Civil Service Committee. She has worked at the U for 20 years and her jobs have included assistant to the director of the Nash Gallery, managing Coffman Union's Studio, and supervising prospective student tours and planning U-wide events in University Relations. Currently, she works with neighborhoods adjacent to the Twin Cities campus in community relations.