Inside Iowa State
Dec. 12, 1997
Council: Separate affirmative action, human services duties
by Anne Dolan
After much discussion at its Dec. 4 meeting, the Professional and Scientific Council recommended to President Martin Jischke that the positions of human resource services director and university affirmative action officer be separated. Jischke asked for a recommendation from the council. Carla Espinoza has been wearing both hats since August 1996 (the affirmative action hat on an interim basis).
While council sentiment is very favorable to Espinoza's performance in both roles, some council members said it's critical to consider the positions, not the personalities filling them.
Some argued that the skills required for each of the positions are similar; therefore it's reasonable to expect other individuals could serve in both capacities as well. They also argued in favor of keeping both titles with one person to "accomplish more with less resources."
Council President Rob Bowers said Espinoza's recommendation is that she continue to serve in both capacities.
But others argued that it's important to separate the two to avoid potential conflict of interest situations -- or even a perception of conflict of interest -- and to maintain a system of checks and balances. Council member Tamara Bloomer said a separate affirmative action position may positively impact student and employee recruitment and retention efforts. Iowa State should separate the two positions and send the message that affirmative action, which is under attack across the country, is important on this campus, she said.
The recommendation to separate ISU's affirmative action leadership from the human resource services director position passed by a 23-5 margin.
Following are other meeting highlights:
The next P&S Council meeting begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, in the Memorial Union South Ballroom.
- In her monthly report to the council, Espinoza said the Board of Regents office has sent word it intends to enforce "more rigorously" the university policy against red circling employees. A red-circled employee is one whose salary exceeds the maximum in that position's pay matrix. Espinoza said ISU has about 60 red-circled employees, most of whom are beyond their pay ranges for market equity reasons. She said those who are red-circled will receive raises only when the pay ranges are adjusted higher.
- Espinoza also reported that the focus groups have been completed in the P&S classification study headed by Dorothy Sally. Espinoza said an overriding issue that emerged from the sessions is that P&S employees don't have enough information about their own positions or the classification system to know how they can improve their situations or seek promotions and other positions at Iowa State.
Next, Sally will prioritize the issues raised in the focus groups. By Jan. 1, she hopes to name teams to do in-depth studies of the issues. Team members will be P&S employees with expertise in the issue.
- Council member Bob Basham, representing external affairs, has resigned from the university. Monica Porter, ISU Foundation, will fill his council spot until the regular election in March. Council member Stephenie Elliot, representing academic and research, was elected to fill Basham's at-large spot on the council's executive committee.
- Sally is developing an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section in human resource services' Web site for P&S employees. More questions are sought and can be sent to council member Danette Kenne, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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