A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CLASSIFIED STAFF SENATE
The Classified Staff Senate, originally known as the Classified Employees Personnel Advisory Committee, was established on June 6, 1971 as an advisory committee to the President of the University of Maine at Portland-Gorham. The twelve members of CEPAC, as it was better known, represented approximately 200 classified employees. The newly elected members were Gertrude Cuddy, Diane Shaw, Marty DiMauro, Emily Gordon, Jackie Irving, Virginia Arsenault, Jean Soule, Electra Brown, Phil O’Connor, Bill Webber, Alice Boothby and Viola Smith.
Their purpose was:
“To establish communication with the administration and to work for the betterment of the classified employee.”
Their goals were tougher. Their immediate goals were to establish a personnel policies manual. Some critical issues were parity between the two campuses, holiday and insurance benefits, reclassification of jobs and salary parity with the State of Maine employees.
The first Red Letter Day happened just seven months later. Two CEPAC members were appointed to include UMPG Personnel Policy Review Committee and one CEPAC member was appointed to the University Council.
Key issues addressed during the 1970’s included a request to have the Governance Document reconsidered to include classified employees, March,1971; a request to administration for a campus-wide smoking policy, May, 1972 (not established until 1985); first classified employee newsletter, THE P-G CONNECTION, August, 1974; copies of job descriptions placed in campus libraries, July, 1974; wage reclassification, January, 1979 and income protection plan option, August, 1979. In 1979 the Senate
initiated a Secretarial Orientation Program for new employees. This program included other classified staff positions such as record technicians, bookkeepers and library staff. At the present time this program continues under the Division of Human Resources.
Major changes occurred between mid-1979 and late 1980. The name Classified Staff Senate first appeared, the Logo contest for CSS letterhead was won by Barbara Willey, and new By-laws were drafted and approved, spouse and dependent tuition waiver benefits also became policy, all in 1979. The First Annual Recognition Breakfast held in February, 1980, and a distinguished employee of the year award was suggested (later becoming fact in1991).
The 1980’s saw a shift in the Classified Staff Senate goals though the purpose remained constant. The goals no longer hinged so directly on personnel issues. The Classified Staff Senate worked more closely
with the USM community on such projects as the Annual USM Christmas Party, the Boston Bus Trip, Blood Drives, Campus Awareness Day, the First Annual CSS Craft Fair, and various other seminars and workshops.
In 1978 CEPAC explained to the classified staff that they were an advisory committee to the President and had no power. Since that time we have truly come a long way when no organized group of classified employees existed, to today, when we can meet during a time period appropriate to our issues. USM is the only campus in the University of Maine System with a Classified Staff Senate. We now have a voice in University governance. Presently it is our right and privilege to insure that we continue the further professional growth of classified staff and the University.
To quote from the UMPG Classified Employees’ Newsletter (original title) Vol. 1, No. 1, April, 1974:
“You may have noticed in the article on CEPAC (pg. 3) that every member thinks better communication is one of the most important issues at UMPG. We hope you’ll agree and communicate with us.”
Researched and submitted by Robin Day, 1993