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Minutes of the Benefits Committee meeting

November 18, 1998

Present: Paula Ebbitt, Greg Finnegan (notes), Malcolm Hamilton, Beth Holmes, Amy Kautzman, Emily Moss, Laurie Taylor-Teran, Ann Whiteside (chair)

Absent: Elaine Fadden


Meeting was called to order in Widener 88 at 9:16.

The group decided that minutes (by rotating recorders) would be distributed to the group by the recorder, and would then be posted on the committee's webpage.

The presentation planned for this meeting, by M. Nadaff from the Center for Training and Development, was cancelled due to her being out of town. Ms. Nadaff will instead meet with Ann Whiteside, who will summarize their discussion for the committee.

1. Committee website:

Elaine Fadden's message of Nov. 13 to the committee about possible links from our webpage was discussed. Some additional sites to link were proposed. Malcolm suggested Employee Benefits Reserach Instititute ( EBRI) in Washington DC, which has a website with many good links, at Harvard is a member, so access should be possible. Also, (which we may already link to?); Malcolm will supply data [].
2. Training:
As background for Ann's meeting with Margie Nadaff, the group discussed experiences and desiderata. Malcolm will attend today's university workshop regarding workers compensation, by the Labor and Employee Relations/Disability Claims Unit Staff; it will be repeated on the 20th. He will provide further details by e-mail to the committee. In February, state laws will require Harvard to modify usual practice in this area; it becomes illegal to *not* report anything covered, which includes Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) and back problems. A new booklet is being issued for Harvard.

We talked also about the ongoing questions of who at Harvard is responsible for what aspects of training and development, and how individuals connect with such opportunities.

Malcolm noted the utility of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), which in its role of assisting people in difficulties goes beyond counseling to an ombudsman-like function, while maintaining complete confidentiality.

It was suggested that Personal Financial Planning training was something HUL staff would appreciate, perhaps especially if it could be 'age-graded' so that those at differing points in life and career could focus on their most immediate concerns.

Amy suggested we include information about education options for staff, including any specific to HUL or particular faculty library systems. Malcolm noted the Librarian Job Family Program this Friday (20th), one of a series, was relevant. [CTD Careers at Harvard: Malcolm Hamiliton, Susan Lee, HCL, Raquel Ortiz, HLS Library, Peter Cohn, KSG Library, and James Matarazzo, dean of Simmons SLIS.]

The group wondered about possibilites, and expenses, of taping, whether video or audio, such programs so that those unable to attend would be able to hear or view them. We also noted the necessity of scheduing panels and workshops and such to avoid calendar choke points for library staff.

Amy suggested we give first priority to sponsorship of a program on personal financial planning. Malcolm noted that a pilot program is being presented to HR staff in December and that a follow-up presentation for us could be possible for the semester break.

3. Other business:
A point was raised about 'meta-data' issues within the whole Harvard web complex; how could staff be best aided in finding links appropriate to their needs? A new HU webmaster has been appointed, Elaine Benfatto. who previously worked for HUL, where she ran VINE, and is therefore aware of these needs.

General maintenence issues, both for web links, and web contents, and who is best able to oversee them, were discussed. Malcolm thought that insofar as the University Benefits Committee website will maintain links to a great array of internal and external resources, if we link to them, our maintence problems will be many fewer. And, apart from our links from our page, we can promote the UBC site via e-mail on the various HUL and Harvard library listservs and distribution lists.

We considered rotating among ourselves responsibility for replying to a possible web-based query line, to enable us to receive suggestions for our work. When Harvard benefits offices have question or feedback capabilities on their web pages, we should link to them from our page. We should get an FAS e-mail address so that our own e-mail is kept distinct from that directed to the group.

Finally, Greg asked about whether we should mount pointers to resources like CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION overview articles on trends and developments in this or that area of benefits. The range of sources for such overviews is sufficiently large, with the CHE far from the only only, that we would be in a difficult situation of not being able to track, much less forward, everything of potential interest, and we would not want to have an incomplete and misleading alerting system. Instead, the group felt that forwarding such citations, when found, to the committee itself, for our mutual benefit, was more useful.

The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 16, location and agenda TBA.

Gregory A. Finnegan, recorder

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