November 2010

Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 -- Closure and leave decisions

QUESTION

Looking at people's (UAF employee's) Facebook posts, it's very, very clear that there's widespread anger about the mandatory day off on Tuesday where we have use our own leave. Our other options are to risk our own safety and make the trip into campus, work on a holiday which many people plan travel and large family events around (and it's unclear if that means that holiday pay will be transferred to Tuesday, then), or risk our families' financial stability now or in the future when we don't have enough leave to cover other eventualities.

Could the decision makers please explain their decision in passing the cost of this closure from the university onto the individual staff members (some of whom cannot afford it), and if employee morale was at all considered in the decision making process.

RESPONSE

The university took a variety of factors into consideration when making decisions on this issue as a result of the unusual circumstances this week. First and foremost, the safety of our students and employees was our top priority. Following that, we wanted to present employees and their supervisors with a range of options to accommodate employees' needs, as well as taking into consideration the need for us to maintain critical services as well as overall budget impact.

Those options offered to employees are as follows:

• If employees can travel from home to work safely and have access to their workspace, they can work a normal day.

• Employees can take annual leave for all or part of the day.

• Employees may work all or part of the day from home if workload and department needs allow this option. This work can also include taking SkillSoft or other online training from home. Supervisor approval is required.

• With supervisor approval, employees who do not have adequate leave, may stay home and use flex time to make up some or all of their missed hours.

• Employees who do not have adequate leave may stay home on Nov. 23 and work on Friday, Nov. 26 to make up missed time. Friday, Nov. 26 is a regularly scheduled campus holiday closure.

• Employees may elect to take leave without pay.

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 -- Life sciences facility contract

QUESTION

I heard that the life science facility project will most likely be constructed by an outside contractor. Is this true? 

RESPONSE

From Cameron Wohlford, UAF Facilities Services

The Life Sciences Classroom and Lab Facility contractor selection is currently underway with proposals due Dec. 8, 2010.  Any licensed contractor who meets the requirements as set forth by the State of Alaska can submit a proposal. If the project were traditional low-bid, the project's contractor could be from outside of Alaska. But we have chosen a procurement process takes into account not only the price of the project but also the technical capabilities of the contractors.  In the request for proposals, we are allowed to give weight to contractors from Alaska, ones that have worked in the Fairbanks area, and ones with home offices in the region.  In the price proposal, contractors are allowed to claim a 5 percent preference if their home office is in Alaska, which gives them a slight advantage.  Unfortunately though, under the State of Alaska procurement regulations, there is no legal requirement that would allow the university to only award a contract to an Alaskan based contractor. In other words, the university can't exclude outside contractors as long as they meet the licensing requirements. Nevertheless, the university recognizes that there is a core group of Alaskan based contractors that qualify technically and have the advantage of local knowledge which can provide a competitive advantage overall.


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