If you have attended one of MGEC’s recent member meetings, you may recall one of the items included in the presentation was “MGEC helps ensure our members receive uniform application of contract language.” MGEC represents members in multiple State agencies; not every office or District interprets contract language in the same way. While MGEC can’t usually influence which discretionary/optional requirements are applied by the Agencies or Districts, such as whether to require meal receipts or not, we do try to make sure our members are treated fairly and reasonably and respond to members’ concerns.
Earlier this year, in mid-April, MGEC member Kristoffer Langlie helped MGEC set up a meeting with the MnDOT Rochester District Engineer, Administrative Manager, MGEC President, and others to discuss two main topics: meal receipts and combining meals. Following these discussions and additional meetings and correspondence with HR and MnDOT Central Office, MGEC received word in August that MnDOT D6 operating procedures were updated. The updated operating procedures allow for receipts from smaller “Mom and Pop” establishments to be accepted more easily, and for meal combinations to be reimbursed consistent with MGEC’s interpretation of the contract (meals can be combined even if an expense was not incurred for a meal- such as one large early dinner meal if travel included both lunch and dinner periods).
As part of the discussions in Rochester, MGEC indicated that we would encourage our members to act responsibly when incurring and submitting expenses. Please remember that the Employer can decide when receipts are necessary and that, per current contract language, the reimbursement is for the actual cost of the meals. Basically, both parties want to be treated fairly and with respect.
Members are reminded not to inflate costs or attempt reimbursement for ineligible items such as adult beverages. MGEC acknowledged that there may be occasions moving forward where additional documentation or an affidavit may be required if, in payroll employees’ professional judgment, a receipt is not sufficient to be sustained in an audit. From our discussions, most issues stem from problems where employees appear to be taking unfair advantage, which then leads to consequences in policy which make it more difficult for other employees, who have reasonable and appropriate expenses, to be reimbursed efficiently.
It is MGEC’s understanding that the meal reimbursement process in Rochester has improved, and that less time will be spent filling out affidavits so that members don’t feel it is a waste of time to be appropriately reimbursed for eligible expenses. We look forward to hearing feedback from our members at MnDOT in Rochester after they’ve enjoyed lunch at Bubbles Café or other local establishments.
We are working to establish better relationships with management and with our members. Please let us know how we are doing by providing feedback to Kari Torkelson, our Member Services Manager, at email@example.com
Your membership makes small but significant achievements possible, like improving the meal reimbursement process for our members in the MnDOT Rochester District. Thanks to all of our Full Members and Supporting Members for your investment in your MGEC member community. We are now in our election cycle, if you are interested in running for office, please contact us quickly- nominations will close shortly (October 11th). We value diversity on the board; are you a younger member? non-licensed member? or Land Surveyor? Do you work somewhere other than MnDOT? Please check out our website or call or e-mail us for more information if you are interested in representing your fellow union members. Our monthly meetings are now conducted in-person and by Skype, making it easier to participate and collaborate from anywhere in the state.