UM Staff Senate Bylaws

Mission Statement:

University of Montana Staff Senate facilitates communication, cooperation, and engagement between the administration and staff of the University of Montana. Staff Senate promotes and works to improve the working conditions and professional welfare of UM's staff – “The Heart of the Grizzly."

This organization shall be named the Staff Senate of the University of Montana-Missoula, hereinafter referred to as Staff Senate.

Staff is defined as all permanent staff members whose FTE is .5 or greater and who are not contract administrators, contract professionals, individuals on Letters of Appointment, or faculty; hereinafter referred to as Staff. If a current Staff Senator accepts a temporary position with the University of Montana, the Senator may continue to serve on Staff Senate until the end of the Senator’s term or until the Senator leaves University of Montana employment.

The membership of the Staff Senate is derived from Staff representatives who have completed six months of continuous employment at a University of Montana - Missoula campus on or before June 1 of the year in which his/her term shall begin.

Staff Senate members will review the by-laws and mission statement at least every two years.

Staff Senate shall:

  • Work to enhance the visibility of Staff on campus and within the community; 
  • Provide a forum whereby opinions of Staff can be collected and expressed on issues facing the University and higher education in the State of Montana; 
  • Act as liaison to express the views and concerns of Staff to the administration of the University including the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board of Regents;
  • Provide a mechanism for supplying voting representatives to all University and applicable State committees to assure shared governance of the University;
  • Collaborate with administration, faculty, students, and staff to create a spirit of unity, pride, and cooperation;
  • Support professional development opportunities for classified staff. “Professional Development” is defined as the ongoing process of improving and increasing capabilities and advancing skills and expertise of staff in order to enable enhancement or advancement in a chosen career. Professional Development may also include improving wellness, personal growth, and opportunity to build a network of mentors within the university system in an effort to implement co-development among staff. Professional Development may extend beyond job classification and currently assigned duties.
  • Provide active representation in the Montana University System Staff Association (MUSSA);
  • Participate in other goals and activities as the Senate determines to be consistent with the overall purpose of Staff Senate.

SECTION 1 - STAFF SENATE MEETINGS:

The Staff Senate shall meet at least once each month. Senators shall be released from normal work duties for the purpose of attending Staff Senate meetings and for additional time to serve on Staff Senate or University committees and other duties as noted in Article X. This release time shall not be charged against their annual leave and shall be considered regular work time. Supervisors shall be notified by the President’s Office of their employees’ appointments to the Staff Senate and to University committees. A majority of Senators constitutes a quorum for the purpose of elections, voting and decision-making.

SECTION 2 – SPECIAL STAFF SENATE MEETINGS:

Upon a majority vote at a regularly scheduled meeting, or as a written request signed by a majority and submitted to the President of Staff Senate, a special meeting shall be called.

  • The Staff Senate, as the representative body of the staff, shall have the power to act and speak for the Staff on all matters concerning Staff. 
  • The Staff Senate may examine all matters related to the professional welfare of the University Staff and is charged with protecting the professional welfare of the Staff. 
  • The Staff Senate shall be available to meet with the University administration, faculty, students, Commissioner of Higher Education and/or Board of Regents for advice and consultation and shall disseminate information to the Staff. 
  • The Staff Senate shall have the power to adopt such standing rules as are deemed necessary.

The Staff Senate shall consist of 40 members proportionately representing each Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Category. Representative categories are defined as follows:

  • Category C – Professional Non-faculty
  • Category D – Technical
  • Category E – Clerical
  • Category F – Skilled Crafts
  • Category G – Service Workers
  • Missoula College – All Categories*

*The Missoula College Representative agrees to represent all Missoula College staff regardless of EEO Category.

If a Senator changes employment category during his or her term, that Senator shall complete his or her current term in his or her original category

Nominations for Senate positions shall be called for and thoroughly disseminated among the University classified staff in March for a minimum of two weeks. Petitions will be submitted to the Chair of the Bylaws and Resolutions Committee. Candidates may nominate themselves or may be nominated by any classified staff person; however, the nominee must accept the nomination. All Senators who are at the end of their term of office face re-election.

All classified staff members are eligible to vote for candidates within their employment category. Regular elections shall be held for a minimum of a two week period before the Staff Senate meeting in May. The election results will be announced at the May meeting.

All Senators have the following responsibilities: 

  • Attend monthly Staff Senate meetings. A member may be excused for the following reasons: sick or annual leave, or professional obligations. A Senator who expects to be absent must notify the Staff Senate Secretary before the meeting. 
  • Represent Staff’s viewpoints on issues to ensure fair representation of all Staff. 
  • Communicate the issues discussed in the meetings and any correspondence received with Staff. 
  • Serve on at least one Staff Senate committee. 
  • Senators are encouraged, though not required, to serve each year, as assigned, on at least one University committee as approved by the University President. They must provide a written monthly report from those committees to the Staff Senate. Only one monthly report per committee need be submitted.

SECTION 1 - TERM:

Senators shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. Newly elected Senators assume official Senate duties immediately prior to the election of officers at the June meeting.

SECTION 2 - LIMITATION:

A Senator shall not serve more than three (3) consecutive terms. Re-election may take place two years after the expiration of a Senator’s term. Exceptions may be granted by a majority vote of the Senate.

SECTION 1 - DECLARATION OF VACANCY:

A Senator's seat shall be declared vacant following three (3) unexcused annual absences at regular monthly Staff Senate meetings. Excused absences include: sick leave, annual leave, and professional obligations.

SECTION 2 - FILLING VACANCIES:

With the consent of the Staff Senate at a regular meeting, the Staff Senate President shall fill vacancies. The appointee shall serve until the expiration of the vacated term.

SECTION 3 - APPOINTMENT QUALIFICATIONS:

The appointee shall be from the same EEO category as the Senator whose seat has been vacated. Exceptions may be granted with a majority vote of the Staff Senate.

SECTION 4 – FAILURE:

A Staff Senator’s failure to perform the duties and contributions listed in Article X shall be brought to the attention of the Executive Committee for action. The expected duties include (a) participation in Staff Senate meetings, (b) participation in the work of assigned University and Senate committees, (c) communication with Staff, and (d) notification of absences to the Senate Secretary. After such review, the Executive Committee may recommend to the Senate that the Senator be replaced. Any officer or Senator may be removed by two-thirds vote of the Staff Senate at any regular meeting or special meeting called for that purpose.

SECTION 5 – RESIGNATION:

If, for any reason, a Senator cannot fulfill his or her expected duties, the Senator shall give written notice to the Senate President. Resignations shall take effect upon receipt of such notice

SECTION 1 - OFFICERS:

The Staff Senate shall elect from its membership an Executive Committee comprised of a President (Chair), Vice-President (Chair-Elect), Secretary, and Finance Officer at its regular meeting in June of each year.

SECTION 2 - NOMINATIONS:

Position descriptions for Staff Senate officer elections will be disseminated in April. Nominations for Staff Senate officers shall be called for at the May meeting and new Senators not yet seated on Staff Senate will be notified at that time. Officers will be elected at the June meeting.

SECTION 3 - ELECTION OF OFFICERS: 

  • Elections shall be held by paper ballot with a majority of Senators present at the June meeting or by proxy vote in advance of the meeting.
  • Incoming, current, and outgoing Senators who attend the June meeting may vote for officers.
  • Only Senators who are beginning their two-year Senate term shall be eligible to serve as Vice-President (ChairElect).

SECTION 4 - TERM:

  • Officers shall serve for one (1) year and will assume official duties immediately prior to the adjournment of the June meeting.
  • Any President (Chair) in the middle of his/her two-year Senate term shall continue to serve as a Senator.
  • The Vice-President (Chair-Elect) shall serve a one-year term and then shall move into the office of President (Chair) for the following term.

SECTION 5 - VACANCIES:

A vacancy in the Office of the President (Chair) will be filled by the Vice-President (ChairElect). Other Executive Committee vacancies will be filled by appointment of the Executive Committee and majority approval of the Staff Senate.

SECTION 6 - LIMITATION:

No person shall serve simultaneously as an officer of the Staff Senate and as an officer of a labor union.

SECTION 7 - DUTIES OF OFFICERS PRESIDENT

(CHAIR) SHALL:

  • Act as the chief staff representative in matters of University governance and campus activities;
  • Act as staff advocate in all University matters;
  • Convene regular meetings of the Staff Senate, set the agenda, invite special guests, and conduct the Staff Senate and Executive Officer meetings;
  • Serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet;
  • Serve on the Shared Governance Committee;
  • Represent Staff at the University commencement ceremony;
  • Serve as the University of Montana-Missoula co-representative and liaison for affiliated campuses on the Montana University System Staff Associations (MUSSA) committee and attend Board of Regents meetings as designated by the Commissioner of Higher Education Office or, if unable to serve as MUSSA representative, may appoint an appropriate Staff Senator to serve;
  • Act as Staff representative in matters before the Commissioner of Higher Education and Board of Regents;
  • Participate with other Staff Senate elected officers in ongoing strategic planning for Staff Senate activities including planned expenditures;
  • Supervise the Staff Senate Administrative Associate;
  • Meet monthly with the University President, the President’s cabinet, and the Staff Senate Executive Committee to provide updates regarding Staff Senate activities and concerns;
  • Recommend appointments to University committees when applicable.

VICE-PRESIDENT (CHAIR-ELECT) SHALL:

  • Understudy the President (Chair) in conducting meetings, official business, and supervision of the Staff Senate Administrative Associate;
  • Assume the duties of Staff Senate President (Chair) when the President (Chair) is absent;
  • Participate with other Staff Senate elected officers in ongoing strategic planning for Staff Senate activities and planned expenditures;
  • Attend, with the Staff Senate President (Chair), monthly meetings with the University President to provide updates regarding Staff Senate activities and concerns;
  • Serve as Missoula co-representative and liaison for affiliated campuses on the Montana University System Staff Associations (MUSSA) committee and attend Board of Regents meetings as designated by the Commissioner of Higher Education Office;
  • Serve as a representative on the University Planning Committee;
  • Serve on the Shared Governance Committee;
  • Correspond with Senators to enforce absentee policy;
  • Welcome guests to Staff Senate meetings.

FINANCE OFFICER SHALL:

  • Establish Staff Senate budget in collaboration with the Executive Committee;
  • Be responsible for maintaining Banner accounts and keeping accurate records of all Staff Senate funds for reporting and auditing;
  • Serve as a representative on the University Budget Committee;
  • Submit fiscal reports identifying balances and financial concerns at Executive Committee and to the Senators before Staff Senate meetings;
  • Receive monies, make deposits as required, and pay invoices;
  • Participate with other Staff Senate elected officers in ongoing strategic planning for Staff Senate activities;
  • Participate on the Fundraising Committee.

SECRETARY SHALL:

  • Compose draft minutes of monthly meetings within two weeks after each Staff Senate meeting, survey Staff Senators for clarification and editing of minutes, and finalize a revised draft of the minutes for broadcast to the campus community one week prior to the next Staff Senate meeting;
  • Notify Vice President (Chair-Elect) of any absentees to ensure absence abuse is addressed promptly;
  • Maintain attendance roster;
  • Serve on the Assessment and Accreditation Committee;
  • Participate with other Staff Senate elected officers in ongoing strategic planning for Staff Senate activities.

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

shall provide Staff Senate leadership as the Executive Officers Committee (XO) to assure timely and effective work of the Senate.

The Executive Officers Committee:

  • Consists of the President (Chair), Vice-President (Chair-Elect), Secretary, and Finance Officer 
  • Carries on the interim business of the Staff Senate between regular meetings, calls special or emergency meetings and represents the Staff Senate at meetings with the University administration, ASUM, Faculty Senate, the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board of Regents;
  • Forms ad hoc committees and task forces. Solicits and selects the members for those committees;
  • Calls emergency meetings of the Staff Senate when necessary;  Serves as the Budget Committee of the Staff Senate;
  • Investigates, analyzes, and informs Staff Senate of all legislative actions relevant to the University and of specific interest to the Staff.
  • Acts as a liaison between Staff Senate and other committees working on legislative issues. 

THE STAFF SENATE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSOCIATE

is a University of Montana staff member hired to support the programs of the Staff Senate. The Administrative Associate reports to the Staff Senate President (Chair) and provides direct administrative support to the Staff Senate Executive Officers. The Administrative Associate performs the day-to-day tasks of the Staff Senate office.

The Staff Senate Administrative Associate shall:

  • Communicate with the campus community by disseminating information regarding issues affecting the classified staff;
  • Gather information and coordinate with the Public Relations Officer for Staff Senate newsletters and the Staff Senate website;
  • Coordinate logistics for Staff Senate-related meetings and special events (room scheduling, invitations, catering, materials preparation);
  • Attend Staff Senate committee meetings, as needed and available;
  • Support the Communications and Visibility Committee’s marketing, event planning and fundraising efforts;
  • Coordinate New Employee Orientation efforts;
  • Create marketing materials;
  • Process travel arrangements and reimbursements;
  • Maintain the list of Senators, their contact information and committee affiliations;
  • Facilitate the Historian’s information-gathering and record-keeping duties;
  • Send meeting agenda to Staff Senators one week prior to Staff Senate meetings;
  • Serve as public relations liaison for all Staff Senate activities including media notification of classified staff activities and/or accomplishments;
  • Send meeting schedules to News ForUM and appropriate news agencies in a timely manner;
  • The Administrative Associate will also support MUSSA when the University of Montana or a UM affiliate campus staff member chairs MUSSA.

STAFF SENATE SURVEY AND ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE

This ad hoc committee is responsible for conducting surveys of UM staff on issues of importance as identified by the Staff Senate. Consultation with Assessment and Accreditation Committee is highly recommended.

HISTORIAN

THE HISTORIAN is a volunteer position appointed by the Staff Senate Executive Committee for a two year term. The Historian will collect copies of all Staff Senate records (minutes, correspondence, reports, photographs, etc.); organize and maintain the Staff Senate archives; and produce Senate historical reports as necessary.

UNION REPRESENTATIVE

A UNION REPRESENTATIVE will be appointed by the Staff Senate to serve on the University Budget Committee. The Union Representative will report the activities of the University Budget Committee to the leadership of the unions following each meeting of that Committee.

STAFF-AT-LARGE

STAFF-AT-LARGE are volunteer positions selected by the Staff Senate President for the standard term of the respective University committee and approved by the University President. Staff appointed to committees are required to provide a written monthly report from those committees to the Staff Senate. Only one monthly report per committee need be submitted. 

 

SECTION 1 - UNIVERSITY AND STATE COMMITTEES

The Staff Senate shall provide each year, or as vacancies occur, representation on all committees as requested by the University administration. Appointments shall be made by the University of Montana President upon the recommendation of the Staff Senate for the standard terms of the respective committees.

UNIVERSITY BUDGET COMMITTEE

The Staff Senate Finance Officer will serve on this committee.

UNIVERSITY PLANNING COMMITTEE

The Staff Senate Vice-President (Chair-Elect) will be the representative on this committee. The Staff Senate President (Chair) will attend in the absence of the Vice-President (Chair-Elect) or if requested by the Committee.

UNIVERSITY ASSESSMENT AND ACCREDITATION COMMITTEE

The Staff Senate Secretary will be the representative on this committee.

SECTION 2 - STAFF SENATE COMMITTEES

Only Staff Senators are eligible to serve on Staff Senate Committees.

Appointments to Staff Senate committees shall be for one (1) year or as necessary, with appointment or reappointment at the discretion of the Executive Committee. The chairperson of each Staff Senate committee shall provide regular written communications to the Staff Senate via the Committee Report Form on the Staff Senate website and a brief oral report at the next Staff Senate meeting.

Committee chairs ought to be filled by a currently serving member of that committee.

Staff Senate Committees are:

BYLAWS & RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE

  • Shall guide actions, including resolutions, taken by Staff Senate to ensure compliance with these bylaws and shall review and revise the bylaws and resolutions to ensure timeliness and consistency with University and State policies. In the event a resolution fundamentally affects another Staff Senate Committee, the Bylaws & Resolutions Committee shall refer said resolution to that committee for review and approval. All committee-reviewed resolutions shall be presented to the full Staff Senate for a final vote.
  • The Committee will conduct nominations and elections for the Staff Senate. The Committee shall determine which members of staff are eligible to run for Staff Senate, and the number of Senators to be elected from each EEO category. A list of nominees for Staff Senate positions will be proposed at the April Staff Senate meeting. The committee will notify the University Administration and Finance Office of newly elected Senators requesting the Senators’ supervisors be notified of their staff member’s election and encouraging the supervisors’ support of the new Senator. The committee shall also conduct the election of new Staff Senate executive officers. A list of nominees for Staff Senate executive officers will be circulated to the members prior to the June meeting. Nominations from the floor will be accepted at the time of the election of officers. The Committee notifies the University President of the names of the elected Staff Senate Executive Officers.

COMMUNICATIONS AND VISIBILITY COMMITTEE

  • Shall promote the visibility and contributions of classified staff to the on-campus and off-campus communities by spotlighting staff in publications and activities. Activities will include coordinating Staff Senate public relations, social programming, Outstanding Staff Awards, Kudos Awards, and fundraising to support these activities and recognitions.
  • The Committee will consult and collaborate on a campus internal communication plan.
  • The committee shall select the winners of two Outstanding Staff Awards: the Excellence in Job Performance Award and the Campus Interaction and Meritorious Job Performance Award. Three Senators from this Committee and the four most recent recipients of the Outstanding Staff Awards shall make up the sub-committee to select these two Awards.

SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE

  • The committee of five Senators shall solicit funds for the awarding of annual scholarships to be given to dependents of University of Montana Staff members. A dependent is defined as child, grandchild, spouse, or adult dependent, as currently defined by Human Resource Services. A University of Montana staff member is defined as a permanent staff member who is not a contract administrator, contract professional, individual on a Letter of Appointment, or faculty. The committee selects the scholarship recipient(s) from qualified applications based on established criteria. The awarded scholarship funds shall be used only at University of Montana, Missoula College, or Bitterroot College. Unclaimed or returned funds shall remain in the Scholarship Fund for use the next fiscal year. Scholarship recipients are honored at the April Staff Senate meeting

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

  • The committee will enhance and promote campus activities to improve the professional development of staff.
  • “Professional Development” is defined as the ongoing process of improving and increasing capabilities and advancing skills and expertise of staff in order to enable enhancement or advancement in a chosen career. Professional Development may also include improving wellness, personal growth, and opportunity to build a network of mentors within the university system in an effort to implement co-development among staff. Professional Development may extend beyond job classification and currently assigned duties.
  • The committee will collaborate with campus entities to create certificate programs and training programs benefiting classified staff. The committee will conduct fundraising, as needed, to support the efforts of the committee.

OTHER

  • Any other committee as designated by the Staff Senate.

The rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the Staff Senate meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws.

SECTION 1 - PROPOSALS:

Amendments may be proposed by a majority of the Staff Senate or upon a petition signed by at least ten (10) percent of the Staff and presented to the Staff Senate President (Chair).

SECTION 2 - ADOPTION:

Within 14 days after an amendment has been proposed, it shall be posted on the Staff Senate web site to allow time for review and comment from staff. The Staff Senate shall vote on the amendment at the Staff Senate meeting immediately following the review and comment period. Upon approval of two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast by the Staff Senate, the proposed amendment shall become effective as of the date set forth in the proposal.