PPSA Notes from the May 7 Meeting

Officers for 1996-97

At the May 7 annual meeting, attended by some 225 voting members, James Bean of Mail Services was chosen as chair-elect and Thomas McCoy of Telecommunications as vice chair-elect. With three new members at large (below), the coming year's leadership of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly will consist of:


Chair, Marie Witt, director, support services, Business Services

Vice Chair, Janet Ansert, assistant University registrar for academic records

Chair-Elect, James Bean, manager, Mail Services

Vice Chair-Elect, Thomas McCoy, operations supervisor, Telecommunications

Past-Chair, Ira Winston, executive director, SAS and SEAS Computing

Past Vice Chair, James Beerman, business administrator, School of Medicine

Members at Large

Newly elected:

Sheila Armstrong, assistant to the director, Afro-American Studies Program

Thea Diamond, director of education, Annenberg Center

Mark West, manager, administration and finance, SEAS


Cathy Di Bonaventura, staff assistant, DCCS

John Keane, director, administration and finance, Library

Gerald Leddy, lieutenant, Police, Division of Public Safety

Update from Administrators

Some highlights of presentations by the five senior administrators who spoke at the meeting:

Reengineering: Executive Vice President John Fry indicated that present reengineering projects are highly dependent on technology procurement, computing, research administration and public safetyand reminded that all project reports are appearing in Almanac [see this week's insert on Research Administration] .

He cited the Barnes & Noble bookstore venture as an example of perhaps "half a dozen" such outsourcing ventures, using the external market to improve the quality of service through a partnership that leverages capital. In each instance, Penn will seek a partner with a "world-class reputation...so they have something to lose if they don't perform" and "progressive human resources practices."

Internally, he expressed disappointment that managers are not taking full advantage of vacancies to restructure workloads, noting that that there are 700 to 900 vacancies a year which pre-sent opportunities for restructuring through internal promotion. He reiterated a commitment to staff development and training as part of reengineering, citing his area's plan to conduct training via the Wharton School. In conclusion, he said that the monthly sessions that he has with the leadership of PPSA are "fruitful."

Finance: Vice President Steve Golding said Penn is "out front" with its conversion to FinMIS. He advised that the July 1 conversion will be followed by a period of training and adjustment, and that anyone who has questions about the transition should call his office at any time. He said encumbrances will be closed out rather than rolled over into the new system.

Facilities: Vice President Art Gravina recapped major capital projects: IAST's Phase I, slated for fall occupancy; BRB II, which will take about two years to build and is the last of the major construction on the old PGH site; and continuing work on College Hall (toward a 1998 completion date). Logan Hall's exterior is finishedand has won state awards, to be announcedand the interior is expected to be finished next year. The Perelman Quad will involve reconfiguring the interior of Irvine Auditorium to improve the acoustics, eliminating side wings but maintaining the main chamber's height. An upcoming project will be the replacement of all of Locust Walk's bluestone, which has deteriorated many years ahead of schedule. Hastings paver, the stone used on the 38th Street Bridge's surface, has been chosen as a "better stone" that is also less costly. Mr. Gravina commended the landscaping crew who did "an enormous job of clearing large amounts of snow from the campus in the winter."

Benefits: Dave Smith, manager of employment, explained two major redesign projects: the Classification Study and a Benefits Study, being done concurrently. The Classifications project will use new methodology to classify jobs which have not had a systematic look since 1981. "No staff will have their salary reduced as a result of the project," he said. The Benefits project is an attempt to make Penn "market competitive" in total compensation, he stressed. He also said Penn is looking into trends such as flexible hours and telecommuting, in the interests of "pursuing broad-based reengineering to move toward a family/friendly environment."

Public Safety: Managing Director Tom Seamon called for input on the Public Safety Strategic Plan published in Almanac March 26. He said that one of Public Safety's goals is to strengthen investigative capability, especially where crimes against people are involved. He specifically asked for feedback about proposals to use closed-circuit television in public areas.

Expanding on issues in community interaction, he said Penn should be getting better service from the City government, and that the University is in an exploratory phase to determine whether or not the area is right for a "special services district" comparable to the Center City District, where economic development is a concomitant of safety planning. Such a district would include other institutions in the area such as Drexel, CHOP, the Post Office, Amtrak, and PCP.



Volume 42 Number 32
May 14, 1996

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