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April 2014 Meeting at Metropolotian State University of Denver

Statewide Liaison Council held their April meeting at Metropolitan State University of Denver. On the day before the meeting, we scheduled a trip to the Colorado State Capitol, where we viewed legislative sessions and met with various lawmakers.
During our regular meeting, we had several speakers visit and educate our council on higher education issues within the state.
The first speaker was Richard Kaufman, chair of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Mr. Kaufman spoke about the need to get more Colorado high school students into post-secondary education. He spoke about the current status of Pell Grants, and how efficient Colorado is at educating student in higher ed, sustaining our numbers with less than ½ the funding of years past. He spoke about recent legislation proposed that would tie higher education funding with performance and completion rates. He also spoke about SB1, a $100 million one-time funding increase for higher education.  
We had Kim Burgess from the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration give a two hour presentation on DPA, answering our questions and providing very helpful information. Below is a synopsis of the Q&A session.

  1. DPA seems to be developing a more customer service oriented focus?  Yes – Kathy Nesbitt’s leadership is determined to raise HR management to the 21st century & improve the focus on our employees, both technically and in benefits.
  2. With the passage of amendment S last year – are agencies finding the hiring process easier and more successful?  This is a developmental process for everyone who is involved in hiring new employees.  The assessment of the candidates is improving, and engagement with the applicants seems to be greater than before.  Applicants state it is easier to go through the process and we are hopeful this streamlining will allow DPA to compete better for quality personnel against the private sector.
  3. There are many changes taking place with regard to recruitment & retention.  Do you foresee changes to the current CS leave system? PTO (personal time off) has been a difficult dialogue with CO WINS. This improvement which DPA attempted 3 years ago – creating a bucket of leave for annual and sick time fell apart.  There were many concerns about how this would affect folks needing to go out on FMLA.  We do not intend to readdress this issue in the near future.
  4. Performance Evaluations – is the state pushing for a 5pt. ranking instead of the 3 pt. one we currently have?  This will not be changed for calendar year 2014-2015.  DPA is working on an entire HRMS upgrade, which they hope they can implement in late 2015, but budgeting for this project has not been approved yet (in the long bill). Performance changes are being delayed pending inclusion in the new system, though a switch to a 5pt. performance evaluation may be pursued on a supplemental process if the upgrade takes too long.
  5. Will there be more range increases to accommodate the JBC COLA & Merit increases of 3.5% total?  The ranges for this year were set during last year’s survey results, with maybe a few later adjustments. This year’s survey, currently being completed, will provide the salary ranges for next year’s review cycle.
  6. Updates on the System Maintenance Study for General Professionals & Program Assistants series of job classifications?  The GP system study is moving forward and will be piloting a different classification system.  The old GP series wouldn’t allow for a good assessment of salary against current market conditions.  The new GP system will allow non-supervisory positions which were non-promotional paths; but which are based on increases in knowledge to become promotional paths w/o requiring supervision.  The initial recommendations will be completed this summer to feed into the spring 2015 legislature & be ready for 2015 implementation. 



The Program Assistants (PA) system maintenance study has not been started yet.

We held officer election with the following results:
President remains Tamara Oxworthy as it is a 2 year position
VP remains Sara DeVries as it is also a 2 year position
Treasurer: Sylvia Whiteman
Secretary: Jerah Dickson
North Representative: Diana Reagan
Central Representative: Agnes Romero-Moore