December 2009

Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 -- Annual leave cash-in question

QUESTION

Is it true that if an employee is in "out-of-class" or "acting" pay status and chooses to do an annual leave cash-in, the hours cashed in will be paid at their lower "base" rate? If so, could you please add this note to the Annual Leave Cash-In Guidelines on UAOnline advising employees how to do a leave cash-in because this is not clear at all.

RESPONSE

Yes, it is true.  Employees who receive an "out of class" amount under University Regulation for temporarily performing duties of a higher grade position, are paid at their base rate of pay when they request annual leave cash-in.  This has consistently been the practice since annual leave cash-in has been permitted.  If employees are approved to take annual leave during a period of "out of class" work, they receive the higher "out of class" rate.

Additional language will be added to the Annual Leave Cash-In Guidelines on the UA SWHR website to clarify this. 

Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 -- Gold decal lots

QUESTION

Don't want to sound whiney, but why aren't gold lots monitored early in the morning?  Since employees pay a premium for the priviledge to park in these lots, I think they should be available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. as the signs state. However, janitors and others take the best spots during the evening and many are still there until after 8 a.m.  

RESPONSE

Yes. Gold decal lots are monitored. If you have a gold decal and notice something unusual in the lot, please call 474-PARK (7275) and report the issue so that Parking and Transportation Services can address it. You now also have the option of chatting with a staff member during business hours at http://www.uaf.edu/fs/parkingservices.html

Monday, Dec. 7, 2009 -- Why have campus police and fire?

QUESTION

Why does campus have its own police and fire departments?  As departments are are asked to slash budgets, has the elimination of these departments been considered?

RESPONSE

From Chief Edie Curry, University Fire Department

The University Fire Department is unique in that most of the funding comes from the University Fire Service Area as well as an ambulance contract with the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The university serves a large area around the campus and benefits from fulltime emergency services and the associated student-training program.

In addition, life safety is critical when a large number of people are co-located in place. Universities are protected by either their own fire department or by local fire departments. When protection is provided from outside the university, there are still a number of duties provided by other university departments with associated costs.

The University Fire Department, which has been in existence for more than 53 years, has 11 fulltime staff and 45 student firefighters. This student-oriented training program provides students with hands-on training and preparation for careers in emergency services. Our students are all required to be UFD students, maintain a minimum grade-point-average and are paid firefighters and EMTs.

RESPONSE

From Chief Sean McGee, UAF Police department

There have been discussions about eliminating of the University Police Department over the years . However, the current view is that the police department provides a level of service, which is expected, and could not be provided by contract security or local law enforcement.

The basic mission of the UAF police department differs from their public police counterparts in that UAF police officers--besides having the law enforcement and public safety responsibilities--have an additional function of security, covering areas such as loss prevention and facility security.

UAF is a community on to itself. Communities require the services that the police department is capable of performing. In a day-and-age where the college campus faces potential violent threats, we must continue to have a police presence on our campus at all times.

Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 -- Is loud napping allowed?

QUESTION

Are employees allowed to sleep at their desks during their lunch break? What if the supervisor doesn't know/care and they snore super loud?

RESPONSE

Employees may quietly nap at their desks during lunch time or breaks as long as there is no safety issue with doing so. If the snoring is a distraction perhaps mentioning it to the individual or the supervisor would be prudent. You could approach the employee directly and say something like, “I thought you might want to know that your snoring can be heard by others in the office.”

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 -- Construction parking on West Ridge

QUESTION

Parking on campus is always a contentious issue, and gets more so in the winter when plug-ins are at a premium, when its cold, and when the actual size of a "parking space" becomes unclear with snow on the ground.

We are told that there is no "free" parking on campus, and that faculty, staff and students all pay equally by buying a parking sticker.

With the ongoing construction on West Ridge, premium parking spaces with plug-ins close to the building have been reserved for the construction company.  Many additional premium spaces, are occupied daily by construction workers, who display laminated temporary parking permits issued by the university.  

Were these parking privileges payed for by those occupying the spaces, or did the university provide them free of charge? Was this part of the contracted cost of construction?

I can't help feeling resentful when the amount of parking available has been reduced by construction, and it appears that construction personnel get for free what the rest of us have to pay for.

RESPONSE

From Martin Klein,  Parking and Transportation Services

During construction the contractor or the project funding in Facilities Services pays for the space at the Gold decal rate. Whether the project or the construction company pays is determined by the contract negotiated with the university. Employees of contractors and other businesses doing work on campus are also required to have a parking decal. Some businesses pay for their employees' parking and others require their employees to purchase their own parking.

Plug-in parking on West Ridge is tight, however, many people overlook the large amount of available parking in the museum parking lot. The lot has 174 paved parking spaces with plug-ins available for use by all UAF decal holders. Don't hesitate to take advantage of these spaces.

While parking during construction projects can be frustrating, these projects have long-lasting benefits for the entire university. 

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 -- Blue recycling containers

QUESTION

Our office has a whole lot of blue 'Recycle White Paper' bins -- is this paper actually being recycled, or does it just end up in the landfill?

RESPONSE

UAF is not recycling all of the campus' paper yet.  We had been sending the paper to Eielson Air Force Base for paper pellets, but the plant burned and UAF no longer has a place to send the collected paper.  We are currently recycling paper from a few campus buildings for composting. But we're developing a plan to recycle all campus paper beginning next year. We would like to continue the habit of separating paper into the blue recycle bins, so that it is a smooth transition when the full paper recycling program is up and running. 

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