University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association
Minutes of October 19, 2005 Meeting
The annual Fall meeting of the University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association was held on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 in the University Memorial Center, Boulder Campus, room 235.
President Charles Howe called the meeting to order at 10:10 AM and welcomed all members and guests in attendance. It was regretted that the second mailing which contains the agenda and other materials related to the meeting had not yet arrived in the mail. He read the names of our recently deceased colleagues and a moment of silence was observed. The following names were added to those listed in the agenda materials:
Francis J. Geck, Fine Arts, UCB
Roy Shore, former Regent
Since the minutes of the annual Spring meeting, April 20, 2005, had not arrived in the mail prior to the meeting, members were invited to notify the Secretary, Richard Roth of any corrections, after they receive the minutes.
President Howe gave a brief president’s report. He had a nice chat with President Hank Brown on Sept.6, discussing RFA activities, and Pres. Brown will address our group in the spring, scheduling permitting. He also had a chance to talk with the new Athletics director Mike Bohn, who suggested that the Athletic Department might be able to “cut some deals” with the retirees.
The group then heard a presentation by Michael Mauer, Lead Economist of the Legislative Council, on Referenda C and D, coming up in the November 1 election. Referendum C would allow the state to keep all the revenue over the Tabor limit for the next 5 years. There are 19 ways of refunding that money back (income tax, sales tax, vehicle registration,…etc.) No tax rates are changing and normal individual income tax refunds are not changing. Without Referenda C there will be many cuts all over. The question of who benefits if C is passed is complicated but essentially can be answered by saying that who you believe will be cut in the next 5 years (if it doesn’t pass) is who will benefit from Referendum C. Mr. Mauer summarized arguments pro and con. In response to questions he noted that the arguments made in the TV ads on both sides are sometimes exaggerated.
Stuart Schneck, CURFA member who serves on UBAB (University Benefits Advisory Board) addressed the group. It is time to see if the dental benefits can be improved, hence an RFP (Request for Proposal) is being sent out. Of great interest is the new Medicare prescription drug program, also called Medicare D. Members will have received the new booklet in the mail. There is no rush to make a decision since there will be a 6 month period from Nov. 15 till May 15 for enrollment. Dr. Schneck presented Gina Trujillo, Director of Benefits, to explain the program. She explained that the Payroll and Benefits Services (PBS) will be sending out notices this week s to everybody explaining how the University’s medical plan compares with Medicare part D. In fact those on the current Great West Medicare supplement plan will find that it is equal or better than the Medicare part D for prescription drugs. However those who have dependents who are under 65 and are on the “consumer select” program will find that this program is not equal to Medicare part D. This will be explained in the letter. There are penalties for those who don’t sign up in time for Medicare part D; however for those staying on CU’s medicare supplement, there is no penalty if someone later decides to switch to a Medicare D program (during a 63 day period allowed for doing this.) Part D will be offered by private sector companies, so you’ll be receiving lots of advertisements. Even if you have the Great West program it is also possible to sign up for an additional Medicare D program. In making comparisons of prescription plans, unfortunately there is no breakdown to estimate how much of the Great West plan’s cost is for prescription drugs. For much useful information, check the website www.cu.edu/pbs.
Past President Carl Kisslinger addressed the group concerning two projects. Concerning the Graduate Student Awards program, the article in the Newsletter is now out of date: as of October 11, the total raised for the endowment is $26,305. Since this is more than the minimum $25,000, we are able now to set up an endowment fund. Nonetheless in order to cover our awards, we need an additional $15,000. He also discussed the retirement guidebook program. A committee has been set up with representatives from all 4 campuses (Richard Blade, UCCS; Franz Roehmann, UCD; Stuart Schneck UCHSC; Bob Fink UCB). Prof Kisslinger will be the coordinator and Anne Costain will be liaison with the administration, (see Newsletter, p.7).
Next there were reports from our liaisons with the UCHSC, UCCS, and UCD campuses. (See Newsletter pp. 2-3). Bill Marinereported on the Health Sciences Center. The annual luncheon will be Nov. 15 when there will be a report on the tenure issue. Some good news this week: the Colorado Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeals that upheld the use of COPs (Certificates of Participation) for educational construction at Fitzsimmons, so we can finally go ahead with these projects. And Bruce Schroffel has been named president of the UC Hospital.
Richard Blade reported on Colorado Springs. Being a young campus, there are only about 150 people who have retired. They have had an informal retiree organization for faculty and staff. There were 45 attendees at the last luncheon meeting. At the next meeting coming up Oct. 25 they will discuss a more formal structure and elect officers etc. They will discuss whether they want the organization to be a portion of the RFA or an independent organization with a representative on the board of RFA (like HSC). Franz Roehmannreported on the Denver campus. Faculty and staff retirees are commingled and no one has separated the list. They recently had a meeting which was sparsely attended. They are looking to have an ombudsperson.
Rudolph Schattke gave the treasurer’s report. Copies of the report were distributed. We are in pretty good shape because the CU president gave us a gift of $5000 (rather than $1500 as in the past) and we have also raised the dues. It is now $20 for a faculty member (and spouse) and $15 for the spouse of a deceased faculty member. The newsletter expense is substantial but this year’s cost ($2586) it is considerably less than the last year’s ($4147) because last year we were picking up expenses we owed from before. The current balance is roughly $6000. Prof. Schattke stressed that we are looking for someone to replace him. The membership gave him a major vote of thanks for all his work.
Oliver Ellsworth, representative to the Faculty Council noted that his report was included on the last page of the recent mailing.
Prof. Robert Fink, our ombudsperson, reported to the members. Jack Kelso is our associate ombudsperson. There were nine contacts since the last meeting, including 5 concerning benefits issues, two requesting e-mail privileges, and two who are not yet retired but planning retirement soon. Prof. Fink is happy to consult with faculty contemplating retirement.
Stew Strickler reported on membership figures. We have just under 600 people on the list. About 250 are paid up for next year or received complimentary memberships (for new retirees). Not quite 200 are paid up for this past year but have not yet paid dues for this coming year. (We expect half of these will pay). About 80 have never paid for this year either. A few more have not paid for even longer and they will be taken off the list.
President Howe reminded the group that we still don’t have a nominee to be Treasurer, to replace Rudy Schattke. (In fact technically we should really be voting to approve a new treasurer at this meeting.) We really need a volunteer to help us out.
The group expressed its gratitude to Alan Kirkpatrick, who edits the Newsletter and to Neil Ashby, who is our webmaster, for their excellent work.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30 AM and was followed by a “punch and conversation” break outside room 235. The buffet luncheon began at12:15. This was followed by an excellent talk given by CU history professor Fred Anderson on the topic “The Dominion of War: Empire and Liberty in North America, 1500-2000.”
Respectfully submitted, Richard Roth, Secretary.