|President Forrest Hasty||Vice President Corey Mathisen|
|Past President Mohammad Dehdashti||Treasurer Gene Hicks|
|Secretary Laura Lyons||Director Heather Gardner|
|Director Jason Hedeen||Director Kevin Joyce|
|Director Mike Kruse||Director Blake Nelson|
|Director Steven Oswald||Director Jason Radde|
|Director Mark Trogstad-Isaacson||Director Victor Vasas|
|Executive Director Dana Wheeler|
Call to order
Meeting was called to order by President Forrest Hasty at 3:32 pm.
Motion to approve the edited agenda by Heather Gardner, Steven Oswald seconded the motion. Motion passed by unanimous Teams vote.
Secretary’s report (approval of prior meeting minutes) (Laura Lyons)
The minutes from the June meeting were reviewed. Heather Gardner made a motion to approve the June minutes, Steven Oswald seconded; motion passed by unanimous Teams vote.
President’s report (Forrest Hasty)
- MGEC Board news
- Executive Committee met on June 2 to discuss face-mask policy for the building. Decided to follow CDC guidance.
- Annual Meeting
Dana sent an invite to members for the virtual meeting scheduled for Monday, August 30.
- MMB STEM panel
MMB reached out to all the unions to look for folks in STEM-related fields to talk on three panels to high-school students – 1 hour long during lunchtime, describing how we picked our STEM field. Blake, Corey, Forrest, Heather, and Laura expressed interest and will see if the three dates fit in their schedules.
Action items: Forrest to forward the panel dates.
Communications/Social Committee (Corey, Gene, Heather)
- Dana sent golf outing invite to general membership now that the golf outing date is set.
- The Committee restarted reviewing member communications emails prior to them going to membership. One draft email was sent on a Friday evening to work emails, so we realized it’s unclear if the 48-hour review window established in the June meeting refers to work days or calendar days.
- Committee will decide a Chair, and Co-chair if desired.
- Once hired, Kari’s backfill will draft written member communication for review by Dana and/or the President prior to being sent to members.
Promotional/Recruiting Committee (Kevin, Blake, Corey, Mohammad, Victor)
- In addition to the ‘new-to-MGEC’ information new hires receive from Kari, the committee is still establishing roles for more “face-to-face” interaction with new hires.
- Committee will split a list of new represented non-members up by which board member or local representative will contact them. (This may require routine Committee meetings to follow-up on outreach progress and assign new represented non-members outreach as hiring picks up again.)
- Kevin is working with MnDOT HR to set up a meeting with the MnDOT grad engineering development committee.
Technology/Education Committee (Corey, Heather, Jason H., Kevin)
Action items: Continue reviewing P.E. class reimbursement requests as they come in.
Legislative Committee (Laura, Forrest, Jason R., John Siekmeier, Mark, Dana)
- Continue updating other policies to reflect current practices.
- Jason R. to lead efforts to update the lost time policy to better reflect current board practices and norms.
Member Advocacy Committee (Dana, Forrest, Mark)
Negotiations Committee (Dana, Corey, Forrest, Blake, Jason R., Jeff Southward, John Siekmeier, Kevin, Mike, Mohammad, Thomas Villar, Victor)
- Committee met twice since last board meeting to prepare opening proposals (scheduled for July 28). AFSCME & MAPE reached a tentative agreement with MMB the week of July 19; see ‘Bargaining Update’ below and MAPE’s website for details.
- MGEC currently has negotiating scheduled for July 28, August 10, August 31, and September 2. MGEC lawyer, Jim Michaels, is available all four of those days.
- Insurance bargaining was resolved as part of the tentative agreement with AFSCME. Exact insurance specifics are not yet known but will be discussed at the August board meeting.
Finance Committee (Gene, Mohammad, Blake, Laura, Victor)
No meeting this past month but some updates (see Treasurer’s Report).
- Meet to discuss MGEC investment strategy. Decide a recommendation to bring to the board for next steps for continuing to responsibly manage MGEC finances.
- Reach out to financial resources, such as the MN state employee who manages MN-state finances and investments.
- Consider calculating how long health insurances for non-covered members could be financed. MGEC last ran those numbers several years ago. It was suggested that this exercise could/should be done annually or biannually.
- Also discuss and bring recommendation to the board on whether MGEC should provide a ‘kick-back’ to members after MGEC ended the FY with a considerable surplus.
Executive Director’s Report (Dana Wheeler)
Reviewed action items
- Removed resigned board members (Alex and Bridget) from their respective email groups and committees.
- Added new Representative Position Description to MGEC website.
- Asked Kari to put directions on MGEC website for what to do if members are not receiving MGEC emails.
- Constant Contact email update to members using a bland subject line to see if the subject line had been flagging SPAM filters. Several board members still did not receive this Constant Contact email, indicating the subject line is not the cause.
- All bargaining team members have signed their appropriate Position Descriptions.
- Reviewed MAPE’s Tentative Agreement details highlights likely to impact MGEC: 2.5% COLA (both years), maintaining current insurance plan design. The employer plans to increase health care premiums by 3.6% (MMB went over their budget forecast with unions week of July 19 and had estimated health insurance costs are increasing 7%). Juneteenth holiday added without losing floating holiday. See MAPE’s website for more details.
- We’re considering other options in the MnDOT District 3 arbitration. Given the nature of arbitrations, not all details are publicly available. The arbitrator may split it into two arbitrations, steps and District 3 issues.
- Dana calling and emailing affected members for a third time this week to try to confirm how many hours they’ll need to resolve depending on the arbitration result.
- COVID arbitration case: staff could not accrue vacation and sick leave while taking COVID-leave. (MMB modified the contract without first reaching an agreement with the unions. They didn’t have the authority to do this, and this action shouldn’t set any kind of precedent.) Options to resolve/settle the arbitration are being considered. One option would settle the grievance and retain the rights to use the grievance in future similar cases (“settlement with prejudice”).
MGEC Building update
No update provided.
- Bob Haag resigned as a part-time Labor Relations representative for MGEC to be able to fully retire. If we need his assistance during an investigation or grievance crisis, he may still be available to help.
- Minimal progress was made to hire Kari’s backfill this month. The most promising candidates have been in Executive Assistant-type positions, but then they are requesting compensation closer to $100k per year, well outside our budget for an Administrative Specialist. Because we had a posting for admin to labor relations, and accordingly a wide salary range, admin-type applicants are requesting salaries we’d intended for a labor relations specialist, if one were to apply.
- Dana to post two new Position Descriptions, one Administrative with applicable salary range, one Labor Relations with its applicable salary range.
- Dana will forward all job posting responses to Corey so he can help review them as well for qualified candidates.
- Dana, Forrest or Corey, and Laura or Heather will conduct interviews once candidates have been found.
- If Agencies find out an unvaccinated employee is not following the MMB policy of wearing masks indoors if unvaccinated, the Agency may take disciplinary action against said individual.
- Renewing request with Commissioner to change the overtime guideline, and to discuss equity issues within MnDOT and that wages are lower than those of other public employers.
- Discussed the recurring problem of MGEC Constant Contact emails going to people’s junk and quarantine folders, similar to what happened two years ago. See June minutes for a summary of lessons-learned from two years ago.
Additional actions that have been taken on this issue since June:
- BizzyWeb (MGEC’s website designers) reviewed our recently-sent emails for what could be flagging State SPAM filters. They suggested another email program that might be a little more effective but more costly (hubspot.com). They said our email open rates of about 26% is much higher than some of their other users.
- Dana is waiting to hear from MMB Commissioner and the lead Negotiator after he requested their assistance with the state revising its SPAM filters to make that communications partnership happen.
- Dana reached out to all the unions we work with and heard back from two (MAPE, MMA). MAPE is using MailChimp. MMA uses Union-ware, a proprietary system.
- Other options to take moving forward:
- We could go back to MyEmma for a trial period ($89/mo now), since that worked. MyEmma does not let us ballot, survey, and communicate all through one platform like Constant Contact.
- Action items:
- Dana to ask MAPE if Mailchimp lets them do balloting, surveying, and see open-rates on sent emails.
- Dana will reach out to AFSCME to see what program they use to communicate with their members.
Jason H. made a motion to move member communications to MailChimp and stop using Constant Contact, Victor seconded. Motion passed by majority Teams vote.
- Communications committee to meet to go through prices and different vendors and make recommendation to the board if MailChimp is not the best option.
Treasurer’s Report (Gene Hicks)
- Review monthly finance report and approve of a budget for FY2022.
- Monthly Financial Update
- In 2020 the board set a goal of investing $100k of MGEC savings in mutual funds rather than the Certificates of Deposit that all MGEC’s savings were previously invested in. The last $10k to meet this goal was invested in July.
- FY21 ended with surplus of $64k. See Finance Committee section above for action items related to this.
- How submitting for lost time works – members who use vacation to work on MGEC-related work can submit the date(s), time(s), and description of the MGEC work. Then Dana goes back and confirms that people were present at said meeting or event.
- Dana to send final FY2021 budget to the Executive Board.
- Gene to determine why Dana’s salary was reported as $10k higher in June than other months, according to the year-end financial report.
Past President’s Report – (Mohammad Dehdashti)
Mohammad wants to ask the State what they saved by people working from home in limited electricity, removed equipment, etc. over those 16 months, and what they will save going forward if we lease smaller buildings. They told staff the hiring freeze was due to decreased funding, but they were realizing a lot of savings. Mike asked MMB what caused the $1B surplus in their Feb. budget meeting, and they said ‘We won’t know until Sept., we didn’t budget for inflation’ rather than explaining.
Vice President’s Report (Corey Mathisen)
Discussed MGEC’s link to MAPD:
- It was started by Jerry and Mohammad (MGEC Board members), and Dana. It is not simply a money pass-through; it has offered trainings, networking events, etc. State reimburses MAPD membership and then MAPD reimburses other organizations’ membership fees. Acts as an umbrella organization to allow more professional development memberships. MAPD started the ethics training that it now partners with MGEC to pay for and offer to members. Anywhere from 50-125 members per year, with around 100 getting their P.E. licensure paid for by MAPD.
- MnDOT resisted paying for MAPD memberships, but after seeing benefits it provided in the first year they allowed it for members. MDH encourages staff to sign up for MAPD for continuing education credits.
- Money from honorariums, sometimes given for speaking at conferences or trainings (but can’t be accepted by State employees), can be donated to MAPD since it is a nonprofit.
- MGEC board does not have oversight of MAPD since it is a separate organization.
Steve Oswald left at 4:40pm
Jason Radde left at 5:38 pm
A motion was made to adjourn by Blake Nelson, Victor Vasas seconded. Passed by voice vote at 5:59 pm.
Laura Lyons Dana Wheeler
Secretary Executive Director