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March 2006

 Teresa Rivas and Nancy Wade
Delphi Coordinators Teresa Rivas (left) and Nancy Wade.

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators (Teresa Rivas, left, and Nancy Wade). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.

Delphi Questions: Toilet paper; professional memberships

Delphi Question #547 (received November 4): I work at Foothills Lab and I have noticed that the custodial staff apparently throws away a half-full roll of toilet paper at least twice a week. The dispensers are designed to completely use up the first roll before the second rolls drops down into place. For some reason, the custodians remove the first roll when it is still half full of paper and the backup roll is never used.

They also replace the paper towel rolls when not nearly empty, usually leaving the half roll on the counter nearby to get wet and wasted and to be in the way.

I don't know how much these supplies cost but it seems to me that the current practice is very wasteful. It would be so much more helpful if custodians would only replace the paper towels when they are completely empty or nearly so. I don't think they should throw away half-empty rolls of toilet paper; they should just let the backup roll fall into the primary spot as soon as the primary one empties (which it does automatically) and put a new, full one in the backup roll spot.

I'm sure the custodial staffers are trying to do a good job, but it appears they are wasting supplies and money.

Response (January 11): Physical Plant Services is concerned with minimizing waste, and this concern extends to washroom supplies. We are also committed to having washrooms stocked and available at all times. Our procedures call for replacing toilet paper and towel rolls only when they are too low to last until the next scheduled custodial visit. With restrooms stocked twice a day, this should mean replacement of only empty toilet paper rolls. Occasionally, very short towel rolls need to be replaced, with the remaining towels used by the custodians for general cleaning. Short rolls are not to be left in the washrooms.
I have reviewed these procedures with the custodial service site manager, and she will review them with all janitorial staff.

Thank you for your concern, and for taking the time to pass it along. Please feel free to contact maintenance (ext. 1120) or me (ext. 1134) with any building maintenance issues, including janitorial concerns.

—Dave Maddy
Maintenance and Construction Manager

Delphi Question #550 (received January 9): It is difficult or impossible to get UCAR/NCAR to sponsor membership in professional organizations or societies.

According to the "Guidelines for Sponsored Memberships," found here, approval for individual memberships will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate member of the President's Council. This is a process most people will choose not to undergo. Thus, one has to pay for these professional memberships out-of-pocket. When I attend a conference sponsored by the professional society to which I have purchased a membership, a discount is typically given on the registration fee. Since I purchased the membership out-of-pocket, it would seem that I should be reimbursed for the registration discount. This apparently is not the case. UCAR/NCAR is the beneficiary of the discount. For example, last year I attended both the AMS Radar Meteorology Conference and the AMS Annual Meeting for a total registration discount of about $150. Membership to AMS costs only $80.

I do not wish to make money on my professional membership, but I do think that I should be reimbursed discounted registration fees up to the cost of the membership when I attend these conferences.

Response (February 1): Employees are expected to pay for membership in professional societies and organizations. This is the policy and practice at most, if not all, institutions such as UCAR. There are many benefits that accrue to employees as a result of their memberships in professional societies.

The fact that an employee's membership may save his or her program a small amount in registration fees in no way hurts the employee. The savings of program funds, which can then be used to support the program, including travel to professional meetings by the employee, should be viewed as a plus.

Finally, rebating all or part of the savings on registration fees would be a costly administrative process and increase overhead costs to the organization.

—Rick Anthes,
UCAR president


Also in this issue...

The atmospheres of cities
Sidebar: Urban heat islands

Remembering Andrew Crook and Diana Josephson

Let it snow

AGU, AMS presidencies

Delphi Questions: Toilet paper; professional memberships

Just One Look


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