Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Alternative Service Committee and what is the role of the members?
The Alternative Service Committee is comprised of a group of Kansas State University employees whose charge is to research and recommend enhancement of employment for classified employees by providing an option to move out of the State Civil Service. The committee will prepare white papers and all classified employees will have an opportunity to review them and then vote on whether to stay in the state civil service system as classified employees, or vote to move out of the state civil service system as University Support Staff (USS). The plan for employment administration will contain all affected aspects of employment for USS, including personnel policies and procedures. Although all the committee members have donated their time and energy to this process, only classified employees are able to vote on becoming USS. Each classified employee will have one vote.
The university committee was created in 2007; however, when the state’s new pay plan with market adjustments was created to address compensation issues, the committee decided to suspend its work to see how the plan would be implemented. Since the state has not fully implemented the pay plan with market adjustments, the committee was reconvened to give classified employees a choice, stay with State Civil Service or move to USS.
What are White Papers?
White paper is the term used to describe the proposal that covers the different areas of employment that can be changed under USS; compensation, discipline/protection system, performance review, layoffs and furloughs.
If University Support Staff are no longer Classified Employees, are they Unclassified Employees?
If the classified employees vote at Kansas State University to leave the state civil service system, they will be referred to as University Support Staff (USS). USS employees will not have contracts like unclassified employees at Kansas State University. All USS would be on regular permanent positions with the only difference being that the administration of employment will be handled at the university level, not the state.
Some of the confusion between USS and the term unclassified may be associated with several reasons. The first reason is USS employees will be categorized as unclassified for the purpose of the State of Kansas Workforce Report simply because there is no other category to place them. The second reason is the terminology of classified and unclassified. Classified is a term only specific to civil service employment; positions are put into classifications and employees in these positions are called classified.
Can Classified Employees trust Kansas State University administration more than the State of Kansas?
It is impossible to say what the future of Kansas State University administration will be, just like it is impossible to say what the 125 House of Representative members and 40 Senate members from all around the State of Kansas will look like in the future. Each individual must answer this question for themselves.
What is the process for moving from State Civil service to University Support staff?
The statute 76-715a requires that this statute cannot be implemented by the state board of regents at any state institution of higher education unless an election has been held. Classified employees affected by such a proposal must vote at an election. An official announcement, providing at least 90 day notice of the date, time, and place of the election shall be given. While a date has not been selected at this time for the classified employees to vote, the anticipated date of the vote could be late-Fall 2013. After a majority vote of approval, the state educational institution shall provide all affected employees with opportunities for input into the development of the plan that is to be presented to the state board of regents.
Will Classified Employees get a salary increase if they become USS?
There is no guarantee that a salary increase will be allocated if the vote passes for Kansas State University classified employees to become USS, as those decisions are based on the availability of budgetary funds, which is unpredictable. What USS will offer is flexibility for administration to have the authority to grant salary increases to USS employees, similar to the authority given to increase salaries for faculty and unclassified employees. If classified employees vote to remain with the State Civil Service as currently in place, all salary increases will continue to be decided by the state legislature.
Will my pay go down or can I be laid off as a result of the conversion of classified positions to USS?
The statute 76-715a states that implementation of USS shall not cause a salary reduction or layoff of any classified employee. Therefore, your pay can not go down and you can not be laid off as a result of moving to USS.
What will the pay structure look like if we become USS?
The decision on which pay structure is best for Kansas State University USS will be based upon input from administration, and USS employees. Many pay structure options exist; similar to what is currently being used by the state or, pay ranges with broad bands that would give departments flexibility to compensate USS employees for additional responsibilities assigned or experience an employee may have.
Will my longevity bonus be affected? (HB 2325 may change this)
The ASC will recommend continuing the longevity bonus.
How will my health benefits and/or retirement be affected?
Classified employees whose positions are converted from classified to USS status will retain all group health insurance, flexible spending accounts, leave and retirement benefits provided to them under the state civil service system, as required by statute 76-715a.
Will collective bargains agreements be affected?
The Kansas Statute 76-715a explicitly states, “Nothing in this act shall affect the representation rights of collective bargaining organizations that represent the employees of a state institution of higher education, nor shall the provisions of this act affect any term or condition of any collective bargaining agreement in effect on the effective date of this act.”
Has classified staff at other Kansas Board of Regents institutions converted positions to USS?
The only institution that has completed the transition to USS is the University of Kansas. To learn from KU’s experiences, the ASC traveled to Lawrence in December 2012 and met with a panel of University Support Staff (USS) who played a key role in bringing the USS option to KU. Current members of KU USS Senate leadership joined the discussion as well. A summary of this visit can be read on the Alternative Services web page at: www.k-state.edu/altservcomm/communications.
What are the steps involved in development of the white papers (proposal)?
Classified employees will have an opportunity to take part in discussion groups during the months of April and May to help ASC gather input from classified employees about the white papers being developed. Once these discussion groups have been completed, classified employee recommendations will be considered in a final proposal, known as white papers. At least a 90 day notice will be given to announce the date, time, and place of the election. During that 90 day period, town hall meetings will be conducted to present the final white papers. An election will be held on whether to become University Support Staff (USS). After a vote of approval, Kansas State University administration will present the white papers to the Board of Regents. If the proposed white papers are approved by the Board of Regents, a University Support Staff Policies and Procedures Manual will be created by K-State administration with input from affected employees.
Will Faculty Senate Represent USS?
No, Faculty Senate will not represent University Support Staff. Classified Senate will be consulted to provide representation for USS.
Is what the legislature is trying to do in abolishing civil service the same as USS?
No. If the legislature abolishes civil service then all classified positions would be the traditional unclassified positions, like the current unclassified positions on campus with contracts, which is not like university support staff.
Is Alternative Service the same term as University Support Staff?
No. Alternative Service (ASC) is the name of the university committee that has been charged with researching and recommending enhancements of employment for classified employees by providing an option to move out of the State Civil Service, under the provision of statute 76-715a. The term university support staff is what the statute says that the converted classified positions shall be referred to.
What will be different about the compensation system for USS than the state market adjustment/pay plan system?
The university has seen the problems created by the lack of properly implementing the state market adjustment/pay plan system. It would be directly detrimental to the university if they did not properly implement a new compensation system.