McMaster University Retirees Association
1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4L8, Canada
Minutes for COUNCIL MEETING of McMaster University Retirees Association
December 10, 2008, 1:30PM
Student Centre Room 220
Cliff Andrews, Helen Barton (chair), Beth Csordas,
Evans, Helen Dietsche, Al Fraser, Mike Hedden, Margaret Jenkins, Joe
Laposa, Michele Leroux, Kathy Overholt, Wayne Rouse, Kathy Ryan, and
Marianne Van der Wel
Joan Parker, Pam Penny, Anne Sinclair, Allisan Noble
1. Welcome & Regrets:
Helen Barton expressed regrets from Joan, Pam, Anne and Allisan. Helenalso congratulated Geoff Evans for 50 years in the medical professionand presented him with a bottle of aspirin signifying his pioneeringcontribution to research showing the benefits of taking a daily dose ofaspirin in the more senior half of the population. He also received autility knife, signifying his career as a cardiovascular surgeon!
2. Minutes of Previous Meetings
a) The following correction was made to the Council meeting minutes forNovember 12, 2008:
Page 6, section k) Add a right bracket, “)”, after .ca
- Geoff Evans motioned
that the minutes be approved with the above
-Mike Hedden seconded
3. Business Arising
(a)Scholarship Endowment Fund (Beth Csordas): Beth reported theendowment fund amount as of December 1/08 was $20,270, a slightincrease since the November report. Murlis Cooper wrote a letter forfundraising regarding “Why I give to McMaster”, which was mailed to allretirees by the advancement office at the end of November. The letterwas mailed a little later than desirable, delayed by activity caused bythe Brandon Hall fire. Next fall, we’ll aim for October.
(b)MURA Cards (Kathy Overholt): The Bryan Prince Bookstore in Westdalehas taken 10 note cards on consignment. In addition, Kathy sold 20cards through the mail and 36 at the Christmas luncheon.
(c)Volunteer Network (Helen Barton) The web site is currently beingworked on by the advancement office. Fifteen volunteer roles have been
documented with 2-3 more coming from the new registrar. Theannouncement of the pilot project for the volunteer network will bemade in January 2009. Helen has the job descriptions developed to dateif anyone is interested in seeing them. She will bring copies orprovide access to them for the next council meeting.
(d) Clinical Faculty Pension Surplus Distribution Helen Barton and LesRobb met with representatives of the Regional Medical Associates (RMA)and the Clinical Faculty Association. Helen and Les have now talked toboth sides in ths dispute and will now write a report of their findingsand recommendations.
Geoff Evans thanked Helen and Les for their superb efforts in trying tofind a resolution to this dispute.
The amount of money involved in this dispute between the university andretired clinical faculty who retired in 2000 or earlier could be asmuch as $1 Million; the number of retirees involved is 88.
e)Prospective Mad Lappers Walking Program (Joan Parker) Helen Bartonreported for Joan. A survey was sent out by Helen via muramembs-l onDecember 7, 2008, to find out retirees’ interest in a “sampler”programof athletic activities. To date we have received 37 responses with allbut one indicating either a “yes” or a “maybe”. Strength and Cardiofitness programs were the most popular; Tai Chi was a close second. Dance was less popular, but swing and Latin rated high in this group. At least 20 people need to participate to make this program viable.
f)Review of Recent Retirees Reception (Helen Barton) We had a good turnout and this year the reception went well.
e)Telecommunications Online Directory (Helen Barton) Helen hascontacted Julia Kraveca of UTS, who has not yet had a chance tocontinue work on this project. We will continue to follow up.
- We had an enquiry from Anne Wynne, a retiree, asking about CARPdiscounts. Pam is investigating the current situation.
- Anne Wynne also provided a list of discounts available to seniorsprovided by her condo group. This list was passed to the MURAnewscommittee to investigate if some of it (and other similar information)can be passed onto MURA members as “tips for saving money”.
- We received an enquiry from a faculty member about carryingprofessional development funds into retirement. Helen referred him tothe policy statement on the University web site, as well as to hisformer department chair, Dean and MUFA for more information and help.
- Academics for Higher Education & Development (AHED) contacted us. They are looking for volunteer(s)at McMaster to act as a liaison toassist in finding volunteers for their projects in Canada and abroad. (See http://www.ahed-upesed.org/ for more information on AHED). Council suggested contacting Richard Stubbs (MUFA president) and UTS.
- The October/November MUFA newsletter is now available. Helen Bartonhas a copy or you can see it online on the MUFA web site at
- We received a nice thank you card from Alison Christie, our 2008Scholarship winner.
- Geoff Evans mentioned that a retiree had enquired about researchgrants that some retired faculty continue to obtain. The universityinvests the grant money and earns interest which the university keeps. However the university then charges transaction fees when the grantmoney is used. Is this double dipping? As liaison with MUFA, Geoffand Wayne will discuss this with Richard Stubbs, MUFA’s president.
5. President’s Report
(Helen Barton) -
: All positions are now filled. Our private web site has beenupdated. Please check the navigational tab “Contact Council Members”for this updated information.
The Dec. 3/08 Pre-Retirement Seminar Provided by Human Resources:
HelenBarton attended and found this seminar dynamic and excellent! Theseminar leader, Mr. Greydon did a great job providing both lifestyleand financial information for preparing for retirement. His company,not affiliated with any financial institution, provides a web site fullof excellent financial advice that is available to the seminarparticipants and may be able to be made available to MURA members uponrequest. The university pays an annual fee for each person registeredfor the site. Council was given an ID and password to access the site.
Parking has not yet put in the mechanism to charge retireeswith parking permits for parking before 12:30pm, so this is still free. Parking will notify us when charging before 12:30pm starts.
6. Treasurer’s Report
: (Beth Csordas)
The reported Christmas lunch expenses to date were under $300 with $114spent on guests’ lunches, which is well within our budget. We havemoved money from our ING Direct account to our credit union account tocover current expenses as the year’s funding from our supporting groupshasn’t come in yet, leaving a balance of $24,000 in the ING Directaccount. Invoices are sent to our supporting groups (MUFA, CAW Local555 and the President’s Office) in January.
7. Information Reports From Committees
(Pam Penny) - no report
(Helen Dietsche) - There were no reported deaths hence no cards were
sent out. The two deaths reported last month six months late were
because Human Resources received the notices six months late.
(Chair: Vacant, Joan Morris Consultant) - no report
(Pam Penny) - Helen Barton reported for Pam.Membership figures:
We have five new members for a total of 1877. See
membership reports at:http://mura.mcmaster.ca/justcouncil/reports/membership/membership.html
The next lunch is January 9, 2009. Each lunch is attendedby about 15-20 people. Marianne will feature the lunch bunch on theweb site for January and will add it to ‘features’ on a regular basis.
(Joan Parker) Helen Barton reported for Joan.
- The committee met December 5, 2008 at Joan’s home to plan the nextissue- The committee has revised the portfolio statement to include a lotless detail than what was there in the past. (A “tasks” document hasbeen written to document the details.) The revised portfolio statementwill be reviewed at the 2009 January Council meeting.
- The committee has also made suggested revisions to the MURAnewsPolicy and Guidelines, which will be submitted for review and approvalto Council in January.
- Allisan Noble, MURAnews editor, will be contacting council membersand other writers to encourage them to submit their articles for theWinter 2009 issue by January 14, 2009 (our next council meeting).
(vacant) - no report
g) Pension & Benefits
The committee held a meeting at Geoff’s home on Dec 2, 2008. For newmembers, they reviewed what has been worked on in the past, thecommittee mandate and their liaisons with other committees and people. The prime mandate is to keep the MURA membership informed aboutPensions and Benefits and any changes that affect members and/or futuremembers. The committee also wants to be proactive on matters dealingwith benefits and perks as well as helping resolve any disputes orshort comings that may arise from time to time.
The committee will meet again in March after Les Robb’s report from thenext Salaried Pension Trust Committee meeting.
Michele Leroux is writing an article for the next MURAnews on thesecurity of our pensions in light of the recent difficult financialtimes.
h) Special Events
February 10, 2009 will be the RBG “Glass Under Glass” event with lunchat the RBG. We will publicize this event again in MURAnews if it’spublished earlier than Jan 26. Margaret will publicize via muramembs-las well.
A Planetarium visit with afternoon tea at the University Club isscheduled for March 31, 2009. The showing is for just MURA andfriends.
Please send ideas for special events to Margaret!
(Joan Parker) - no report
j) Christmas Lunch
(Pam Penny) - report deferred to the February council
meeting since Pam will be away until then.
Council did make the following comments:- service was good; food was hot; East Side Mario’s doesn’t take cheques,even from MURA for our guests’ lunches- while the larger room was far less confining than the room last year,the atmosphere wasn’t cozy. The booths with coats hanging at the sidesfelt isolating. - for next year, we should look for a different location and considerPeter George’s offer from last year of subsidizing an on-campus lunch. Ifon campus, we may need to consider a buffet style lunch.
- Peter George’s and Allisan Barrett’s daughter, Jiao Jiao, stole theshow.
k) Web Site
(Marianne Van der Wel)
- CIRA: Helen and Marianne are working with Nicholas Solntseff to change
the registration to MURA. Nicholas has been the administrator of record,
and supporting the site financially to this point.
- Marianne will be working on stage 1 of our web site redesign overChristmas. Council, please help check it when you receive an e-mail fromher.
8. Information Reports from Liaisons
a) University Board of Governors
(Lorraine Allan): Lorraine Allan alerted us to a
new monthly publication called “McMaster Update”. It will be distributed
to all McMaster employees. It contains university news items of interest
to McMaster people. Copies of the first issue were distributed to Council
(blue paper). Helen Barton pointed out the article in this first issue
stating that the university plans to make executive compensation contracts
more transparent. Helen will also enquire about a link for this
publication on the McMaster web site to distribute to our on-line members.
We may also feature some articles or summaries of articles in MURAnews.
The next Board of Governors meeting is next week hence no new report atthis time.
b) Colleges & Universities Retirees Associations of Canada (CURAC)
(Helen Barton) -
As in the November minutes, the CURAC Board has negotiated with “Waterloo
Insurance” to offer home and car insurance at group rates, with
potentially substantial savings, for members of CURAC member associations.
CURAC investigated for two years before accepting Waterloo Insurance.
We have received information from Waterloo Insurance but it is verygeneral without any specifics. The information also arrived just before adeadline for entering a contest to entice new customers. Helen Bartonwill ask CURAC if they have any type of information comparing WaterlooInsurance with other insurance companies, comparing not just rates butalso service when a claim is made and what happens to fees after a claimis made. No decision was made about passing information about thisprogram to our members.
(Geoff Evans) - Geoff spoke to Richard Stubbs, MUFA president, at the
Christmas lunch, and since then has requested a meeting to discuss items
such as finding a dispute resolution process for retired faculty and the
transaction fee for grants.
(Kathy Overholt) - Kathy will request a meeting in the new year.
e) Hourly Staff Liaison
(Al Fraser) - Al requested we send a thank you to “John
Hemmer and Sam Scime from the maintenance department, for providing a
sound system for the Christmas lunch, saving us $250. We all agreed.
Helen/Marianne/Pam will take care of this.
10. Other Business
11. Next meeting
Wednesday January 14, 2009 at 1:30PM in the Student Centre, Room 220
Mike Hedden motioned to adjourn the meeting at 3:16PM
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