Jan 252004
 
Authors: Erin Frustaci

A new bill being considered in the state Senate could allow CSU

and other state schools to opt out of the state personnel

system.

This would give university governing boards the authority to

adopt an alternative system.

“I support this bill if it will lower the cost of insurance for

state classified staff,” said Pete Seel, an associate professor in

the journalism and technical communication department.

In October, Seel organized a protest against the rise in health

insurance costs for state classified employees.

These employees are those who are employed by the state of

Colorado with job descriptions that vary. They include police

officers, computer programmers, dinning hall workers, researchers

and administrative assistants.

This might be good news for employees like Kevin Nolan, a state

classified employee in the Academic Computing and Networking

Services.

“I’m encouraged some change is taking place. Hopefully it will

be positive,” Nolan said. “If the bill is enacted it could allow

more flexibility and put us more in a position to handle

costs.”

One disadvantage is that there is a strong retirement program

currently under the state system, Nolan said. If a new system is

put into place, employees could potentially lose their Public

Employees’ Retirement Association accounts.

Because the bill is still in its early stages, not all of the

details have been worked out yet. The Classified Personnel Council

(CPC) is in the process of deciding what the new plan would

include. This involves looking at each part of the state system and

deciding what should be kept in the opt-out system.

CPC represents state classified employees at CSU and serves as

the liaison between employees and the university as a whole.

Deanna Adams, chair of the CPC, said the scary thing is the

unknown. An opt-out system has never been put together in

Colorado.

“Change is hard, but when you are put into change and thrown

into the unknown, it is even harder,” Adams said.

One concern is that the creation of alternative plans could

cause PERA’s cash flow to decrease. Current employees, however,

would be given the choice to stay with the current plan or switch

to the new one offered.

The board could potentially come up with another alternative

retirement program and any new employee would automatically go into

the opt-out plan. Professors are exempt from the state classified

system.

Adams encourages state classified employees to become informed

about the new opt-out system if it goes into place and to share

their opinions on the system.

“It’s going to be a long road yet,” Adams said.

For more information on the civil service reform visit

href=

“http://www.colostate.edu/orgs/CPC”>www.colostate.edu/orgs/CPC.

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