Office of Finance Staff Advisory Council
The Staff Advisory Council (the “Council”) will ensure that employees have a voice in support of creating a welcoming environment, recognizing excellent employees, through sustainability, without fear of retaliation. The mission of the Council of the Office of Finance is to represent employees on issues that relate to staff and provide a forum through which staff members can discuss any concerns or offer suggestions for improvement. The Council will make recommendations to the Associate Vice President for Finance.
The Council can present ideas/suggestions, from staff members, to the Associate Vice President of Finance and address topics such as the following:
- Revisions to staff policies and/or new policy initiatives
- Work environment
- Diversity, sustainability & retention
- Continuous quality improvement (develop best practices)
- Better utilize resources / encourage interdepartmental communications
- Customer service
- Professional development
- The Office of Finance unit/department staff awards and events
The Council shall be composed of one staff representative from each department within the Office of Finance; with two representatives for those departments having 14 or more employees. All full-time staff employees are eligible to serve. Council representatives will be elected from the following units:
- Accounting Operations / Systems & Procedures
- Central Office - Office of Finance
- Cost Analysis
- Financial Information Systems (2 representatives)
- Financial Reporting
- Office of the Bursar (2 representatives)
- Payroll and Tax
- Property Inventory
- Research Accounting (2 representatives)
- Risk Management
- Student Financial Services (2 representatives)
- University Financial Officers - University Park (2 representatives)
- University Financial Officers - UP Administrative Units
- Office of Finance Diversity and Inclusion Team Representative
Terms of Office
Council members shall serve for three (3) consecutive years commencing on July 1. Council members may serve more than one term, but not consecutive three-year terms. Former members must sit out for one year before being elected again. When a member resigns or completes their three-year term, a new representative will be
elected within Office of Finance departments. Members must be willing to serve, subject to their supervisor’s approval. Member representation should be structured so that each year one-third of the elected members are replaced. Time served for Council work should be considered as part of a member’s job responsibilities and not as personal time.
Member Application / Election Process
Staff employees interested in serving as a member of the Council should complete the online application form available on the Office of Finance website. The application deadline each year will be April 30. Completed membership applications will be forwarded to those departments whose representative’s term will be expiring. Voting within each of these Office of Finance departments will be held in May, and the employee applicant with the most votes will be elected to serve. The person with the second highest vote will serve as representative if for any reason the employee elected resigns or fails to complete his/her three-year term. An orientation meeting with new Council members will occur during the June meeting.
The Council will meet at least monthly, or more often if necessary. Council meeting time will be a designated day/time each month. Each representative is expected to attend all meetings. The Associate Vice President for Finance plans to attend meetings at least quarterly and the full Office of Finance Diversity and Inclusion Team will be included in attendance for the March and September meetings. Attendance will be taken, and advance notice of absences must be given to the chair. Excessive absenteeism will be addressed by Council, possibly resulting in replacement. A quorum of one-half the voting membership plus one must be present in order for any official actions to be taken in the name of the Council. All motions will be passed by a simple majority.
Officers / Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of the Chair, the Chair-Elect, the Past Chair, and the Secretary. Activities of the Council shall be coordinated through the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may appoint ex-officio (non-voting) members as appropriate. No individual member or ex-officio member shall take any action on behalf of the Council unless specifically delegated to do so by the Executive Committee acting on behalf of the full membership.
Chair - The Chair shall be the presiding officer of the Council. The Chair shall be elected for a three-year term commencing on July 1, serving the first year as Chair-Elect, the second year as Chair, and the third year as Past Chair. (Note: A person who is elected to the position of Chair-Elect may serve the full three-year rotation, regardless of the years he or she has left in the term of membership.) The duties of the Chair are to preside over all meetings; to have general and active management of the business of the Council; to see that all orders and resolutions of the membership are carried into effect; and to respond to and initiate communications with the Associate Vice President for Finance and with any external constituencies on behalf of the Council. The Chair shall represent the Council and attend the Office of Finance Operations Staff meetings.
Chair-Elect - The Chair-Elect shall automatically succeed to the position of Chair during his or her second year in office. During the first year, the individual shall serve as Chair-Elect, assuming the role and duties appropriate to that office in the absence of the Chair. The Chair-Elect shall also serve as parliamentarian of the Council. In the event that the Chair resigns or is unable to serve, the Chair-Elect shall move into that position immediately. The Executive Committee shall schedule an election to fill the position of Chair-Elect as soon as practical.
Past Chair - The Chair shall automatically succeed to the position of Past Chair during his or her third year in office. This individual shall chair the Nominating Committee and participate in Executive Committee activities. In the event that the Past Chair resigns or is unable to serve, the Executive Committee shall appoint a third-year representative from its membership to serve the remainder of the year.
Secretary - The Secretary shall be elected for a one-year term commencing on July 1. The Secretary shall record and distribute the minutes of all meetings, shall keep the attendance roll of all meetings, and shall keep the ballots of all elections and official records of memberships and terms.
A Nominating Committee shall be convened in May of each year to solicit nominations for new members to fill seats of those ending their terms (if no applications have been received for unit representations). The Nominating Committee shall be chaired by the Past Chair, along with three additional members appointed by the current Council Chair at the April meeting.
The Nominating Committee shall also coordinate the election of the Chair-Elect and Secretary positions, which will be held by closed ballot at the May meeting. No person shall be nominated for more than one office. Upon finalization of the slate, a ballot shall be sent to all voting members for the May Council meeting.
Ad Hoc Committees
The full Council shall establish Ad Hoc Committees based on the topics to be examined. Members may then select at least one of the Ad Hoc Committees on which to serve. The Coordinator of each Ad Hoc Committee (a voting member of Council) shall be selected by the members of that Committee. Any staff employee of the Office of Finance may be invited to join an Ad Hoc committee as a “volunteer” on the basis of his/her interest or expertise. All Ad Hoc Committees are encouraged to seek advice or consultation on particular questions or concerns as the need arises; including a liaison from other University groups or committees.
Each Ad Hoc Committee shall address concerns at hand, investigate possible improvements if necessary, and develop recommended action plans and initiatives to be presented to the full Council, in writing, prior to a regularly-scheduled meeting. A written status report shall be presented to the full Council at the May meeting if the topic has not been brought to closure. Upon approval of the full Council, the final report and recommendation shall be forwarded to the Associate Vice President for Finance.
Awards, Recognition & Activities Committee
Various award/recognition programs and activities are held throughout the year within the Office of Finance. Some are division-wide, and others are unit-specific. (Please see the attached “Activities Spreadsheet” for a complete listing.) Council members serving on this Committee will meet on a regular basis to evaluate the current state of the programs and activities occurring within the Office of Finance. The Coordinator of this Committee shall be selected by the members of the Committee. Ongoing monitoring and management of the programs, activities and “Office of Finance Activities Spreadsheet” will be the responsibility of this Committee and possible revamping could be recommended. This will be accomplished through benchmarking, focus groups, and conversations with Office of Finance leadership and employees.
Office of Finance Division-Wide Awards and Activities:
- Chamber’s Award - annual customer service award given to both an exempt and non-exempt employee to recognize and encourage excellent customer service. A cash award is given to recipients at an open awards ceremony.
- Years of Service Awards - this program recognizes service of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35+ years. Any new employee in the Office of Finance during a given year becomes eligible for service awards when reaching the next five-year anniversary relative to their University employment. Managed by Office of Finance organization’s Central office staff.
- Office of Finance Inclusion and Diversity Team - this group represents the multicultural staff of the Office of Finance and also has representation from all the units of the Office of Finance. It was created to provide a forum for multicultural employees within the Office of Finance unit to gather and share experiences in enhancing the welcoming environment within Office of Finance. This group organizes speaker series, community service events and luncheons for all Office of Finance employees to enhance their understanding of diversity.
Office of Finance Department Activities:
- Accounting Operations – Coordinated theme luncheons to promote a positive work environment, which also includes birthday lunches
- Bursar’s Office – Sponsored Forum Luncheons: PSU speakers series
- Bursar’s Office – Organized events and activities for employees by their Motivation and Celebration team to promote morale and motivation
- Office of Finance's Central Office – Monthly employee self-paid lunch gatherings organized to create a positive work environment
- Financial Information Systems – Annual Managers’ Tailgate to create a positive work environment
- Financial Information Systems – Impromptu PSU building tours to provide expanded knowledge of the University
- Financial Information Systems – Various speakers invited to staff meetings to provide educational opportunities for development and retention
- Research Accounting – Coordinated theme luncheons often coordinated with holiday and/or to celebrate birthdays, which encourage a welcoming and collaborative environment
The Events Committee shall be responsible for working with department personnel in the planning and administration of Office of Finance events. Council members serving on this Committee will meet on a regular basis to consider and implement events and activities for Office of Finance staff.
- Office of Finance's Picnic at Spike’s baseball game at Medlar Field - two events were combined fiscal 2016-17 and held in August timeframe. The Office of Finance covers the cost of the picnic and pavilion seating for the game for employees and family members (children up to and including age 26).
- Office of Finance's & Connect events are periodic gatherings, hosted by the SAC and employees within the event location building. This occasion provides the opportunity for staff to meet face to face, share information, exchange ideas, and establish positive working relationships among the Office of Finance's Units.
The Outreach Committee shall be responsible for determining the best ways to reach out to employees within the Office of Finance’s Division to motivate, encourage, and retain our employees. Council members serving on this Committee will meet on a regular basis to consider and implement new outreach strategies and manage these programs on an ongoing basis. Such programs may include: appreciation gifts, a monthly Staff Advisory Council newsletter to keep employees informed and an on-line “suggestion box” where employees can submit ideas/concerns to the Council for consideration.
Budget for Office of Finance Staff Advisory Council
On an annual fiscal basis, the Executive Committee will work with the Office of Finance's Financial Officer and the Office of Human Resource Strategic Partners to propose an estimated budget of costs for the next year’s Council sponsored-events (recognition awards, outreach events, Council newsletter, Idea Central submission box for employee concerns, ideas, etc.). The proposed budget will be submitted to the Office of Finance for funding approval at the regularly-scheduled May meeting.