December 2018

Message from the Chair

Christopher Maier, Staff Senate. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

‘Tis the season to be thankful for all that has come together in 2018. There is no shortage of effort provided by the staff in all things Mason. Everything you do every day—we’re thankful you’re here. Don’t let anyone or anything lead you to believe differently. With this, I wish you the very best holiday season and a happy, wonderful New Year!

I am thankful for the senators we have on our team. Just like the year before, the methods of organization and flow have improved dramatically. Behind the scenes, your elected Staff Senators are re-imagining who we are for you, for us, and for Mason. Our Education and Outreach Committee is looking at everything posted on our website, social media accounts, and the format of our monthly newsletters. Our Events Committee is already discussing the Winter Staff Appreciation Events and how we might be able to assist with Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day. The Awards Committee has presented at each Employee of the Month event and improved the grading criteria for selection of the Outstanding Supervisor Awards.

Keep in mind that these activities are above and beyond the Employee Work Profile of any senator, and these accomplishments happen because there are many staff here at Mason that truly care about who we are as an establishment. Staff Senators willingly serve to improve the lives of all staff. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with every one of our senators and our administrative assistant. They are truly amazing people.

The Staff Senate was recently invited to interview the final candidates for senior vice president (SVP), to replace outgoing J.J. Davis. The Staff Senate participated in final interviews this past week, and we provided the administration and their hiring consultant with feedback regarding each candidate. While we cannot divulge more (in order to protect the confidentiality of the candidates), we can say that there appears to be a thorough process for selecting the next SVP. Hopefully, other small groups that have interviewed the final candidates feel the same. Only time will tell.

As you’ve probably heard, Amazon will be moving part of its new corporate headquarters to our area. The downside for those looking to buy a home? Property prices skyrocketed overnight. Yes, I do understand what some of you are dealing with. You work at Mason for five to ten years, saving up for a down payment, and your dream of home ownership seems to fizzle right before your eyes. But rest assured, there are still ways to make it happen. Human Resources has contracts with Moving Services from different vendors in the area: There are additional aspects to these “relocation” services, beyond just hiring movers. For instance, check out the Mortgage and Home Finding Assistance from these vendors. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn of different mortgage packages that will allow you the opportunity to purchase a new home. Check out the link above, call one of the providers on the list that offers these services, and let them know you are a Mason employee. And, no, you do not need to purchase their moving van services. This is only one portion of what they offer to Mason employees.

At our December General Meeting, Dave Farris, executive director, safety and emergency management, had an in-depth conversation with the Staff Senate about what goes into deciding inclement weather policies and the snow call process. Check out the video recording here.

There have been a couple brief outages of the 911 phone service on campus recently. I suggest we all memorize the Mason Police non-emergency number, 703-993-2810, in case we ever need it. 3-2810. Or better yet, download the RAVE Guardian phone application (recommended highly by Dave Farris), at Rave Guardian, the leading personal safety app, can help you build positive community relationships by engaging directly with your people through texting, confidential tips, location sharing, a call directory, and a content portal.

Congratulations to our graduating students, who will be leaving Mason in pursuit of professional careers and further studies. May you look back on your alma mater whenever you’re in need, and we look forward to your continued support of this great institution. Good luck in your future endeavors!

And last, but not least, please join us at Mason’s Faculty and Staff Holiday Party on Tuesday, December 18, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in Dewberry Hall. Stop by the Cinema to drop off toy donations to support INOVA Children’s Hospital and food/toiletries/school supplies for the Patriot Pantry. We appreciate your generous support of our community!

Thank you!

Very Respectfully,

Christopher J. Maier
Chair, Staff Senate
George Mason University