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Communication Guide

Communication Guide

When the Council Chair learns of concerns, inquiries, or suggestions on any issue affecting staff—or when administrative departments request the Staff Advisory Council (SAC) to become involved in soliciting staff input on a campus issue—s/he should determine, with input from the Executive Committee and/or Steering Committee, how to proceed on discussing this topic. Examples include forwarding the issue to one of the SAC committees, discussing the issue at a regularly scheduled SAC meeting, discussing the issue via the SAC listserv, or calling a special SAC session to address the topic. In unusual circumstances, or when the topic concerns the SAC Constitution, the chair may create an ad hoc committee to address it. The complexity of the topic, and the time available to discuss it (if facing time constraints for meeting external deadlines), should serve as guides in making the decision on how to proceed with discussions.

When committees learn of concerns, inquiries, or suggestions on issues affecting staff—whether through the chair, other staff members, or from administrators—they should discuss these issues in their committees, and give periodic reports to the Steering Committee and the full Council on their progress. Committees should seek input from—and solicit the involvement of—the appropriate campus administrator(s) when discussing topics related to current or prospective campus policies, procedures, programs, and other resources.

Each committee's leaders should draft procedures about that committee's operations and activities, and should archive these documents in the central SAC files in the Employee Relations area in Human Resources.

If a committee would like to take action—such as seek passage of a SAC resolution—on a campus issue, the committee chair(s) or the liaison to the Steering Committee should inform the Council's Executive Committee and Steering Committee of this desire. The committee should prepare a draft resolution for the Executive Committee and Steering Committee to review, discuss, and (if/as necessary) revise.

After the Executive Committee and Steering Committee deliberate over prospective SAC resolutions, the chair and Executive Committee should decide whether and when to put the resolution on the agenda for a full-Council meeting. The Council should discuss the issue and the resolution's wording. The Council can then decide whether to vote on the issue. A vote to adopt a resolution should include information on the action steps, which the Council or its chair should take to notify the relevant administrators of the Council's action. In the cover letter used when forwarding these resolutions, the Council Chair should request a response or feedback from the involved administrators.

When pending issues involve possible amendments to the SAC Constitution, the chair may form an ad hoc committee to discuss the topics and deliberate over any amendments. As with Standing Committees, the chair and/or Steering Committee liaison of any ad hoc committees should report periodically to the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee. Both the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee should review and discuss any possible amendments to the SAC Constitution before they are presented to the full Council. After these steps are completed, follow the guidelines in the SAC Constitution on how to present Constitutional revisions to the Council for discussion and possible approval. (Currently the Constitution calls for presenting amendments at one regularly scheduled SAC meeting, then discussing them again at the next regular meeting, before seeking Council approval to hold balloting via mail to approve the amendments.)

If Council members receive comments or requests from fellow staff members, they should help direct this information to the appropriate Council committee, Council officer, and/or administrative office.

When Council officers or committee chairs wish to spend Council funds, they should contact the Office of Employee Relations in the Department of Human Resources for assistance. However, if funds are needed for a new project, rather than typical annual activities, seek feedback from Council officers (directly or through the Steering Committee) before making these expenditures. Committees should annually examine any anticipated expenditures and share this information with officers, to assist with budget planning.

Council members are encouraged to use their consigned constituent e-mail lists by sending only Council- or University-related business to their constituents. Members are required to exercise discretion with regard to the content of the messages. Personal business is to be excluded when e-mailing constituents. Reference CWRU Staff Employee Handbook on Standards of Excellence in Communications, Computing Ethics and Solicitation.

Adopted by SAC 6-7-2001, Amended by SAC 6-5-2003
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