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Staff Council executives want unified voice

BY LISA BRAHM | APRIL 15, 2010 7:30 AM

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Newly elected University of Iowa Staff Council executives said they hope to reshape the group, making it more prevalent on campus and promoting a unified voice.

The council elected four at-large members to its Staff Council Executive Committee during a meeting Wednesday.

Eddie Etsey, one of the newly elected executive members, said he’s concerned that certain sectors of the UI staff aren’t well represented on the council.

“Right now, it seems that most of the staff councilors are from the academic side from across the river,” said Etsey, who works in health-care information systems. “There is not a lot diversity from the hospitals.”

Currently, almost 60 percent of the Staff Council’s 56 members are academic and administrative staff. Approximately a quarter are from health-care and nursing areas, and roughly 12 percent come from special services.

The council represents around 5,700 UI staff members — or one councilor per roughly 100 staff.
Etsey, who was the head of the 2009 Staff Council Diversity Committee, which worked to promote diversity on both the council and the UI campus, said after being elected that he hopes to create a more balanced council in the next year.

Earlene Erbe, another new executive member, said she’d like to see the council develop a unified voice over the next year.

“There is a history of shared governance here at the University of Iowa, and I would like to see us become one voice again,” she said.

In the past year, the Staff Council has been involved with revising the UI’s sexual-assault policy, as well as budget issues. The group’s Executive Committee met in closed session with President Sally Mason to discuss budget issues earlier this year.

Erbe also hopes the Staff Council can revisit some of its core issues, noting the council was formed to focus on human-resources issues.

Etsey agreed with Erbe, saying he wants to see councilors to work together more on issues concerning staff members.

As a new executive at-large member, Etsey said the Staff Council can have better contact with more UI staff through its website and other technological resources including Facebook.

During their tenure, each of the newly elected executive members will take on various responsibilities.

Their projects will include controlling the Staff Council website, managing advertisements in The Daily Iowan, acting as Charter Committee liaisons, and acting as the local shared governance advisory representative.

The Staff Council also encouraged UI students, staff, and faculty to nominate staff members for annual awards sponsored by the council. Nominations will be accepted through May 7.

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