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March 17, 2011

SAC elects new vice president/steering

Jon-Paul (J.P.) Matychak has been elected Staff Association Council (SAC) vice president of steering. Matychak, who ran unopposed, succeeds Rich Colwell, who resigned from the position effective Feb. 28. Matychak will serve out the remainder of Colwell’s two-year term, which runs until June 30.

In accepting the position March 9, Matychak said, “I can say from my time here at SAC that I believe in this organization. I may not agree with everybody all the time, because we have many different personalities, but one of the things I’ve liked is that we’ve always welcomed each other’s opinions, and that’s something that I’d like to see continue. I do look forward to working with all the chairs and the committees to help them as much as possible. Let’s face it: That’s where the real work gets done for this organization.”

Under SAC bylaws, the vice president of steering also serves on the grievance committee. Matychak will continue to serve on the marketing and communications committee, but has stepped down as its chair.

SAC also announced at its March 9 meeting the acceptance of three new associate members:

Lindsay Evanish, Office of Medical Education, School of Medicine; Randy Oest, University Marketing Communications, and Anna Sangl, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health.

New members serve for six months as non-voting associates who sit on one or more of SAC’s standing committees.

Michael Semcheski, who accepted a job outside the University, and Fred Schiffer, whose employment was terminated, are no longer SAC members.

In other SAC business:

Libby Hilf, vice president for marketing and communications, reported that the SAC members-only online community has been launched.

SAC hopes to hold officer elections via the new online community, but will be prepared to conduct them via paper ballot if problems develop, elections committee chair Barbara Mowery said. She noted that the bylaws also must be adjusted to reflect the online balloting process.

Mowery reported that officer elections will begin with nominations in writing accepted at the April 13 SAC meeting; voice  nominations will be accepted at the May 13 meeting, and results of the elections will be announced at the June 8 meeting.

Due to a lack of a quorum at the March 9 meeting, SAC postponed a vote on changing the status of its committee on diversity and inclusion from an ad hoc committee to a standing committee. The council expects to vote on the proposal April 13.

SAC President Gwen Watkins reported that a campus-wide blood drive will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 22 in the William Pitt Union lower lounge. For more information, contact Watkins at 4-7702 or

Student conduct officer and SAC member Deborah Walker said the Office of Student Conduct is recruiting Pitt staff to serve as volunteer hearing officers. For more information, contact Walker at 8-7910 or

Vice chair Natalie Blais reported that the benefits committee is looking at Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) issues as they affect staff. Her committee is soliciting anecdotal input from staff with experience negotiating FMLA regulations. Blais can be reached at 4-3107 or

—Peter Hart

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