One of those hairy little spiders that polarizes people into “for” and “against” camps is a discussion about a Paid Time Off plan, a PTO. It’s come up at UTMB a few times and has caused some ripples with one of our sister institutions at the Texas Medical Center. The short story on a PTO is that it lumps all your paid time off into a single bucket and gives you more flexibility in using it. Like everything, it has its pros and cons. If you were gnashing your teeth and losing sleep over this one, your can rest well tonight. It sounds like PTO is off the table for us anytime in the near future. I’ll be back with details and we’ll get a writeup together for Impact.
Archive for December, 2006
I updated the rumors site Wednesday. Belly up to the buffet and enjoy. For those that have already visited and dropped me a note, thanks for the comments and words of support.
A document came across my desk today with some numbers I though might interest my readers. It broke down UTMB employees by where we live. For a place that very often sees itself as campus-based and Galveston-centric, the numbers echo what we hear from folks beyond the causeway: there are a bunch of y’all out there. A snapshot taken early this month: 4,211 of us live on the island; 4,395 live on the mainland (defined to include north Galveston, south Harris and east Brazoria counties); 4,001 of us live in other parts of the state. Many of our communication and outreach efforts this year center on trying to be more inclusive of our far-flung flock; you saw a little of that with the SECC this year.
I’m working on a slightly overdue update to Rumors Trumors and had to laugh at one of the submissions, something about Kid Rock and Britney Spears and secret lives. The goal on rumors is to get something posted this week, but I am hoping to start winding down the site. It feels old and tired, and there are some other communication-related projects and ideas I’d like to bounce off my blog readers. You’ll have to stay tuned for details—and I’m not ruling out Britney and Kid Rock pics…
We tried the trolley for lunch again and had another successful foray. It’s running on time and it is pretty easy to get down to the Strand and back in an hour. Four of us went down—lunch was unimaginative but not bad, burgers at Fuddruckers. Unfortunately, they are not among the businesses participating in the trolley token discount program, so I paid full pop and came back to campus with my token. Next trip I’m going to try some Christmas shopping. I’m so sure my wife would love surplus Russian Army ear muffs from Col. Bubbies.
Once a month or so I attend a meeting of the “Parking, Shuttle & Wayfinding Advisory Group.” I’m not sure if I’m an actual member or an interloper, but the meetings show up on my calendar so I go. They’re always at the end of a day and always chock full of info. I learned, for example, that the express trolley service running through Dec. 22 has had almost 400 riders since it started a few weeks ago, and that downtown merchants have been warmly receptive to UTMB employees and generous with their trolley token discounts. Try it for lunch or a little shopping. You may like it.
I was also reminded that the fences are gone and the east entrance is open to the Administration Building. That led to another question, one I’ve heard from several people: is there a plan to put stairs in connecting the loop road to the sidewalks along the Administration Building? The short answer is yes.
The issue, and the long answer: If you are walking along the loop road now from the Field House or the Sealy & Smith Garage, as examples, and need to get to the Administration Building you have three options: 1) Exit the stairs or tunnel by Waverley Smith, 2) walk up the sidewalk to Market Street and double back, or 3) go “offroad” across that nice new grass, risking muddy shoes and a sprained ankle. Stairs were in the plans originally, they were scrapped when another project was going to impact that space; now that project is off and the stairs are back, along with a tunnel that’s already built but needs to be connected to the building.
The work still being done on the east end of the plaza is for some green space, a fountain and artwork, the result of some generous philanthropy. Most of the work should be wrapping up in about two weeks. We hope. And answering the question once and for all, yes, real live vines will cover the rib-like frames on the second level of the garage, making a natural, heat absorbing roof. Yes, there’s a plan to address the birds. I’ll be cheering for the vines; they’re about 18″ tall and have a long way to go.
I’m still parking in my trusty old surface lot, but I am happy to have these spaces open up and get green.
Today was a good day. It’s Friday and it feels good. We passed $600,000 today on the last day of the charitable campaign. In our office we had our annual SECC Cajun lunch–we’ve been doing it for several years, alternating between red beans, gumbo and this year, jambalaya. The weather was perfect for a steaming spicy bowl and it was good to eat with friends.
This weekend is Dickens on the Strand and I can’t think of better weather for a black & tan, roasted chestnuts and those Victorian classics, turkey legs and funnel cakes (wink).
I cruised through the new University Plaza garage yesterday. I never thought I’d say this about a garage, but it’s beautiful. If you haven’t been on that side of campus, go through the newly reopened Waverley Smith Pavilion doors and check it out. Don’t miss the tunnel on the lower level. Also, remember the fences are supposed to come down—and the east-facing entrance to the Admin Building (by the Benefits Center) opens—Monday afternoon.
We posted the December Personal Best newsletter late this afternoon. I always enjoy it and find something interesting.
I hope you stay warm, enjoy something/someone you love, and have a great weekend.