University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association
Minutes of October 22, 2003 Meeting

(These minutes are preliminary, subject to approval by the membership)

The annual Fall meeting of the University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association was held on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 in the University Memorial Center, room 235.

President Carl Kisslinger called the meeting to order at 10 AM and welcomed all members and guests in attendance. 

President Kisslinger read the names of our recently deceased colleagues.  In addition to the names listed in the packet, he added the name of Virginia Hammond, wife of  Ken Hammond of  the Department of  Psychology in Boulder.  A moment of silence was observed in their memory.  President Kisslinger asked that anyone who learns of the death of former colleagues, especially those away from the Denver-Boulder area, please let one of the officers know.

The minutes of the Annual Spring meeting of the RFA on April 16, 2003 were approved with minor corrections.

President Kisslinger gave a brief report on activities of the RFA, referring members to the newsletter for more details.  He regretted that the mailing arrived so late; we may have to allow more time next year.  The board was busy this past summer with the campaign to raise funds to endow the Graduate Student Awards program.  The RFA had another successful and entertaining TeaTime Talk held in September at the Academy. The speaker,  Payson Sheets of Anthropology, spoke on “Following in Their Footsteps: Archaeology andRemote Sensing in Costa Rica.”  We extended thanks to Chuck Howe for setting this up.  The president encouraged people to attend the next Tea Time Talk, which will be next April.  He mentioned the two proposals for discussion included in the packet mailed to the members, to be taken up under New Business.

Treasurer Rudy Schattke gave a report on our finances.  The total balance is now $10,032 but this includes  $4380 which is held by the C.U. Foundation for the Graduate Student Awards program.  In addition there is the luncheon to be paid.  This leaves about $4000 balance.  For the year to date we have had income of $7,126 and expenses of  $6,210, so income minus expenses would be $916.  However this income included about $1954 in new contributions held by the CU Foundation. After we pay for the luncheon we will have a deficit of about $2500 for the year. President Kisslinger mentioned that some dues are still coming in.

Assistant Secretary for Membership Stewart Strickler reported on membership.  There are about 600 people on our membership list.  209 have paid their dues for next year so far (more dues payments continue to arrive each day).  There are also 58 complimentary memberships for the new retirees.  There are 136 people who paid dues last year but  haven’t renewed their dues this year, but we expect many will be paying up soon.  Also 27 complimentary members from last year haven’t yet paid up.  There are a few who didn’t pay last year but are kept on the membership list  (some of them have paid this year).  If they go on too long without paying they will be taken off the list.

Our liaisons with UCD are Donna Bogard and Joel Salzberg. The members were referred to the packet for a report from Donna Bogard.  Natalie Hedberg and Oliver Ellsworth are our two Boulder Faculty Assembly representatives; it being early in the academic year, there was nothing to report.  Johann Stoyva, our UCHSC liaison, reported briefly on meetings held by the Health Sciences Center Retired Faculty Association, on the Fitzsimmons campus in the new Ben Nighthorse Campbell Native American Center.

Bob Fink, our ombudsperson, gave a report.  Since the last meeting he has had 20 consultations with retired faculty.  We’re still working on e-mail access for all retired faculty and surviving spouses.  He also gets questions on benefits.  There is a proposal being developed for RTD Eco passes for working retired faculty.  (David Cook was scheduled to report on that but didn’t attend the RFA meeting).  Prof. Fink has also been consulted by faculty in the process of retiring and he would be happy to talk with others in that situation.

Stuart Schneck reported on UBAB (University Benefits Advisory Board).  Some amazing good news: the Medicare supplement for singles will go down 22.5% while those for retiree plus spouse will go down 10.6%.  He also reminded the group that everyone must re-enroll this year.   He commented on a conversation with a young retiree from Colorado Springs, concerning “medigap” programs, which seem to be less expensive.  However these often don’t cover prescriptions (this person took only one medication but most of us average 7 medications) and they are usually age-rated with rates going up considerably as you get older.  Concerning life insurance (for those who originally took out life insurance while being an active faculty member), in the benefits information booklet there were some paragraphs omitted, which might make one mistakenly think that the rates go up as you age rather than being frozen.  Carl Kisslinger asked whether Great West Medicare Supplement pays for medicines from Canada.   Roberta Martinez, from the PBS, said she will find out.

Franz Roehmann reported on the Faculty Council Personnel Committee.  They have been looking into the situation of untenured (usually honorarium) faculty.  Also a technical problem regarding benefits for those who teach at Colorado Springs but live outside the area.  Another topic was paid leaves: it has been decided that those under indictment can be given paid leaves for extended periods of time; otherwise paid leave can only be given for short term periods  (3 hours, 12 hours etc.).

Roberta Martinez from the Payroll and Benefits Service (PBS) addressed the group.  She reminded everyone to enroll even if they’re not changing plans. She brought enrollment forms, highlights pages and schedules for open enrollment question and answer sessions.  When you enroll in the AMP (Alternate Minimal Payment) the first time you need a W-4 form as well as a bank direct deposit form.

Old Business

President Kisslinger introduced Oliver Ellsworth, our new representative to the Boulder Faculty Assembly  (our other representative is Natalie Hedberg).  Rudy Schattke was officially elected to a full term as Treasurer, by acclamation. 

Eric Doepel from the C.U. Foundation spoke briefly on the planned endowment for the Graduate Student Awards.  The executive board has already solicited donations to the endowment from a small list of members, and although we unfortunately don’t have the current figures available for the amounts donated so far, we have had a generous response.    More information will be available when the C.U. Foundation sends out a general appeal to all RFA members in January.  He is confident we can raise the $50,000 needed.

New Business

There were two proposals submitted for discussion but not as formal motions.

  1. A suggestion has been made that the RFA could perform a service by volunteer members providing information to prospective retirees concerning life after retirement.  The interactions would take the form of conversations between the RFA member and an individual faculty member.  The RFA member would not, and should not, provide legal or financial advice.  The emphasis is to be on the “human” side of retirement: post retirement activities, continued interaction with the university and with former colleagues, community service, well-earned freedom from specific responsibilities, and other related topics that come up.  If enough members are interested to warrant the organization of this effort, we could work with Anne Costain, Associate Vice president for human Resources and Risk Management, and the officers in charge of  faculty affairs on each of the campuses to publicize the availability of this service.  When this idea was presented as a possibility to the new ad hoc Committee on Faculty Retirement Options, it was received enthusiastically.

There was much discussion pro and con.  It was emphasized that the word “advice” should not be used, and some raised the question of being sued for bad advice.  The idea would be to discuss what “life after retirement” is all about. Some wondered if the prospective retirees don’t already have friends and colleagues to discuss this with already.  On the other hand some people may want more privacy and even want it kept secret from departmental colleagues that they are contemplating retirement.   Should we just have an informal list of those who RFA members who are available, or would this be a more formal arrangement coordinating with the Office of Human Resources and Risk Management?  President Kisslinger asked for a show of hands of those favorable to volunteering.  Enough hands were raised to indicate that there is sufficient interest in this proposal to make further consideration worthwhile. A suggestion from the floor called for a mail poll of the membership, seeking not only an indication of their willingness to take part in this “preparing for retirement” effort, but also information about related aspects of their own lives as retirees. He mentioned that an ad-hoc committee is developing some new options for faculty retirement. The result may be that more younger people will be thinking about retiring and would find our help useful. Also, he will invite Anne Costain, Associate Vice President for Human Relations and Risk Management, to address the spring meeting on these new options.

  1. It is evident from the favorable response to the Tea Time Talks that RFA members welcome the opportunity to get together in addition to the two meetings each year.  The suggestion is for the Association to facilitate the formation of interest groups that may meet as they like to share common interests.  Any member who wants to start such a group then takes responsibility for organizing it, recruiting members, and planning activities.  As a start, Johann Stoyva, UCHSC, has proposed a group devoted to discussion of the ideas and intellectual controversies of the past 100 hears.  As Johann says, “A prime requirement of the project is that it be fun—and not too much work, at least not of the bureaucratic type!”  The role of the RFA would be mostly to provide e-mail and address lists and publicity to assist the organizers of such groups in getting started.  The question is whether there is enough interest to make this a recognized program. 

There was a short discussion.   We would want to use the RFA e-mail list to publicize and recruit people for these discussion groups, besides using the Newsletter which only comes out twice a year.  President Kisslinger said anyone interested in starting such a group should contact him or others on the Executive Committee with information about the subject and we could publicize it by e-mail. Secretary Roth mentioned in this regard that if members haven’t received the two e-mails he sent out in August they should let him have their correct e-mail address.

Stewart Strickler announced that parking stickers were available for those who don’t have regular campus parking permits.

The meeting adjourned at 11:30 AM.  It was followed by a short “punch and conversation” break outside room 235, while the UMC staff prepared the room for the buffet luncheon. which began at about 12:15 PM.  The luncheon program was given by Prof. Mary Conroy , Department of History,  University of Colorado at Denver.  The title of her talk was “The Trials and Triumphs of the Soviet Pharmaceutical Industry in the 1920’s and 1930’s.”

The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Richard Roth, Secretary