The Word - 2006/05/30



The Word from CSEA

Columbus State Education Association Newsletter of May 30 , 2006


Last Thursday's member meeting focused primarily on a discussion of Work to the Rule, what it has achieved, and whether to continue it or not.

The most noteworthy point to come out of the exchange was the lengths to which administrators have gone to pretend that the faculty's reducing of voluntary activity has had no effect. Despite the stagnation of numerous committees and both governance councils, a host of complications for department chairs, deans and staff, and a range of stalled initiatives both on and of campus, the administrative response has been to steadfastly ignore what has happened. The message from the top has been unmistakable and revealing: "We don't care."

Do you? The question before us is whether to continue Work to the Rule. Please reply to this email by this Friday, June 2, with a simple YES (continue) or NO (discontinue, and return to past value-added activity).

Only responses from CSEA members will be tabulated. We will report the results and the Executive Committee's proposed course of action at the beginning of next week.


The May 23 statement issued by Columbus State Board President Dr. Susan Finn offered a startling take on the results of the employee vote that, by a considerable margin, expressed no confidence in the leadership of President Dr. Val Moeller: "As we understand it, more than two-thirds of the college's full-time employees voted confidence in the President's ability to continue leading Columbus State Community College or [emphasis added] chose not to participate."

Where does a thinking person begin a response to such nonsense?

Eight hundred ballots were mailed, along with stamped return envelopes, by a disinterested third party. Seventeen that lacked current addresses were returned, leaving 783 possible votes. A total of 370 (47.2%) were returned, with four unmarked, leaving 366 votes cast. Of these, 252 (68.8%) voted NO, and 114 (31.1%) voted YES. Non-participants numbered 413.

The simple fact is this: by any tabulating method the Board chooses, a majority of full-time faculty voted NO CONFIDENCE in the College's leadership.

Every employee who wished to express confidence, or lack of it, in the President had both means and opportunity to do so. (The most interesting statistic is that nine of 21 academic administrators abstained when given the opportunity to express their confidence in the President.) The Board, however, apparently believes that non-voters can be assumed to support the loser in any balloting. By this logic, Democrat John Kerry won the 2004 election, and several local school levies passed (or failed) in the recent primary. Non-voters are never considered in the reporting of any vote for which every eligible elector is allowed to cast a ballot.

A Columbus State student who analyzed the outcome of a vote using the Board's method would fail any elementary course in logic, statistics, composition or ethics. In issuing such a transparent denial of what the numbers show, the Board fiddles with numbers as the college burns. Its statement ignores uncomfortable truths, sets a terrible example for students learning critical thinking and suggests that some remedial education-and action-is in order.

The Association will release the accounting firm's formal letter and tabulations next week.


A front-page story in today's (May 30) Columbus Dispatch examines how economic factors and rising health care costs are putting considerable strains on all public-employee retirement systems. Solutions range from increased contributions by both employees and employers to increasing the retirement age to eliminating subsidized health care for retired public employees.

This issue will affect the future plans and expenses of every faculty member as well as every other employee. The story is worth checking out.


State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) Ohio members participating in the Defined Contribution Plan or Combined Plan have the option of allocating their contributions to the STRS Total Guaranteed Return Choice. This option provides a guaranteed interest rate on contributions and transfers made in a given year.

In exchange for this protection against any possible negative returns, you must "lock in" your contributions and transfers for a five-year term and is credited to the account on a daily basis.

For the STRS Total Guaranteed Return Choice 2011, which begins on July 1, 2006, the STRS Board has approved an interest rate of 5.5%. This represents a premium above the current five-year Treasury rate.

If you are uncertain which Plan you are currently in or have other questions about this option for your retirement planning, contact STRS at 227-4090 or visit their website

The Word is produced by the Communications Committee of the Columbus State Education Association. We welcome your comments, news, and insights.

Steve Abbott, President / x5096
Karl Rieppel, Vice President / x2500
Amy Brubaker, Secretary and Association Representative / x5068
Greg Goodhart, Treasurer / x5431
Darrell Minor, Parliamentarian / x5310
Bill Mundy, Association Representative / x5176
Dr. Jane McDowell, Association Representative / x2656 
Dave Busch, Association Representative / x5079
Dr. Charlie Gallucci, Association Representative / x5499
Leslie Smith, Association Representative / x5302
Dr. Wendy McCullen-Vermillion, Association Representative / x2693
Lisa Schneider, Association Representative / x5124

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