December 2004/January 2005
  • Quote of the Month
    • "You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." --Kalil Gibran

University Closed for the Holidays!

The University will be closed for the holidays from Friday, December 24, 2004 thru Friday, December 31, 2004.

As a reminder, the 2004-2005 TAMIU Holiday Schedule can be accessed at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/holiday.shtml.


2004-2005 TAMIU State Employee Charitable Campaign a Success!

This year's TAMIU State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) was the most successful campaign ever!  For their diligent work on this campaign, thank you to the SECC campus coordinators, Mary Trevino (Associate VPAA) and Pat Martinez (Executive Secretary to Associate VP).  Through the SECC, employee donations will help various charity organizations in Laredo and the surrounding area.  Good going, TAMIU!  Just look at your impressive statistics this year!

  • The total contribution was $38,409.  This is a 3% increase over last year's total contribution of $37,284.
  • There was a 6.1% increase in participation over last year with 315 participants this year.
  • Twenty-five offices posted 100% participation.



Reminder to all TAMIU Employees About Drug/Alcohol Abuse and HIV/AIDS in the Workplace

Texas A&M International University is committed to ensuring the safety and health of its employees and students. System policies prohibit the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of illicit drugs or alcohol on System property and/or while on official duty. In addition, workplace guidelines are available to protect the rights of HIV-infected individuals. To ensure that you are aware of and understand the policies in place regarding drug/alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS in the workplace, please review the following System Policies and Regulations:

In addition to reviewing the policies and regulations, you may also review the following educational materials:

Lastly, additional information is also available at the following websites:

If you have questions regarding the policy on drug/alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS in the workplace, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.


Employee Educational Assistance Program Applications Being Accepted

The HR Office is now accepting Employee Educational Assistance Program (EEAP) applications for the 2005 Spring Semester. Applications are available online at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/forms.shtml. Application deadline is the 12th class day of the semester (January 26, 2004 by 5:00 pm).  Please ensure your application is submitted by the deadline as applications received after the deadline will not be processed. The EEAP was established to support the development and continued education of TAMIU employees.  The EEAP reimburses full-time, benefits-eligible employees for tuition and fees for educational courses, according to the following guidelines:

  • Reimbursement is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Reimbursement is provided at the end of the semester, after grades have been verified, and is subject to availability of funds.
  • Reimbursement is provided for 3 in-state credit hours per semester, not to exceed 6 credit hours per academic year.
  • Employee must maintain a GPA of 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduates) per semester.
  • Employee must have a full-time, benefits-eligible status.
  • Employee must have worked for TAMIU in a full-time position for the 6 months prior to the 12th class day, if applying for Fall or Spring semesters, and the 4th class day, if applying for the Summer Sessions.
To check the status of your application or if you have questions about the EEAP, please contact Gracy Buentello via email or at ext. 2365.

Reminder to all TAMIU Employees About Ethics Policy

Each employee is responsible for ensuring that s/he complies with all ethical standards of The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS). To ensure that you are aware of and understand these standards, please review System Policy 07.01 "Ethics Policy, TAMUS Employees" which is available online at http://sago.tamu.edu/policy/07-01.htm.

In addition to reviewing the ethics policy, you may also review the online training module entitled "Ethics" which is accessible via HRConnect under the TRAINING tab.

Lastly, additional information about ethics is also available from the System Office of General Counsel at http://sago.tamu.edu/legal/Ethics.htm.

If you have questions regarding the ethics policy, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.


Construction Update
Despite the rain having slowed some of the progress, the Science Building remains on schedule and should be finished by the end of the year. Planetarium equipment will arrive the first week in December and will be installed in January. This equipment includes the projection dome, speakers, projectors, and other electrical equipment to make the system function. The outer dome of the planetarium has been installed and will be painted shortly. The pyramid frame is prepared to accept the glass which should be installed early December.

A meeting was held with architects on November 19 in San Antonio to review the final master plan. Corrections were made, and TAMIU should receive the final version in the near future. The master plan should provide an excellent road map for campus development over the next 10 years.

On November 16, a meeting was held with architects in Dallas to review the kinesiology expansion. Currently, plans are at about 50% of the design stage and are progressing very well. Another meeting will be held in early January to review the plans at 90% of the design stage.

There are more construction updates to come in the HR News & Views!

Single Sign-On Web Page is Scheduled to Debut Next Month

If you have used HRConnect and LeaveTraq, you probably appreciate the convenience of accessing your benefit, payroll, and leave information online, but you could do without having to keep track of the multiple passwords you need to access both online tools. Fortunately, that’s all about to change!

Before the Christmas holidays, you will be able to access HRConnect and LeaveTraq—as well as other online tools that are currently being developed—through one point of entry. This new web page will give employees and retirees one point of entry into their online tools such as HRConnect and LeaveTraq. And one point of entry means only one password to remember! However, to log in, you will need to use your Universal Identification Number (UIN), rather than your Social Security number. You can currently find your UIN each time you log into HRConnect or LeaveTraq. For active employees, your UIN can also be found on the front of your TAMIU employee ID card (the TAMIU OneCard).

A full-length article introducing the new Single Sign-On web page will be included in the December issue of A&M System News Online. The article will explain how to use the site and include a snapshot of the main log-in screen. In addition, you will be receiving an email from the HRConnect system announcing the change.

If you have questions about the new Single Sign-On web page, please contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362. (For information regarding the TAMIU OneCard, please contact the OneCard Center at ext. 2877 or visit their office in SC 128).

Tips on Using Your Health Care Spending Account Debit Cards

To cut down on complications or confusion while using the Health Care Spending Account debit cards, participants should keep the following things in mind:

  • The debit card will be denied if the provider has an ineligible merchant code. For example, if a participant uses the card to purchase eyeglasses at Sears Optical, the merchant code will indicate a department store rather than an optical store. In this case, the participant cannot use the debit card and will have to file a paper claim with Tax Saver Plan. Tax Saver Plan has no control over merchant codes.
  • A participant who uses the card will receive an email notification from Tax Saver Plan only if further documentation is needed. The notification will include the date of purchase, purchase amount, and name of merchant for the transaction needing documentation. It will also indicate whether the message is the first, second, third, or final notice. The first email notice will be sent within 24 to 48 hours of the transaction and it will state that the participant has 45 days to submit the receipt. The second notice will be sent 15 days later and state that the participant has 30 days to submit the receipt. The third will be sent 15 days later and state that the participant has 15 days to submit the receipt. The final notice will be sent 15 days later and state that the card has been deactivated. Once Tax Saver Plan has received the appropriate documentation, the participant will receive an approval notification via email, and, if his/her card was deactivated, the card will be reactivated.
  • Participants who use the debit cards should not send receipts to Tax Saver Plan until they have received email notices or until at least 2 days after their debit card transaction. This will help avoid miscommunications between Tax Saver Plan, the bank, and the participants.
  • A participant can monitor his/her account balance and activity by going to Tax Saver Plan's website ( http://www.taxsaverplan.com) and clicking on the "account balance information" button. The participant will be asked to provide his/her Social Security number and last name. The debit card information is located at the bottom of the page under the headings "Debit Claim" (shows the amount of the swipe), "Date of Swipe," "Claim Status" (indicates whether a claim has been completed or is pending), and "Date Received" (shows the date on which Tax Saver Plan received any necessary documentation). If "Claim Status" says "pending," it means an email has been sent to the participant requesting further documentation. Once Tax Saver Plan has received the receipt and approved the claim, the claim status will be changed to "complete."
  • If they prefer, participants can use paper claim forms to submit claims and receipts at any time during the plan year.
  • Participants who have questions about the debit card should contact Tax Saver Plan at 1-800-328-4337 and select option 2.

For additional information regarding the Tax Saver Plans, please contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362.


2005 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Social Security and Medicare are Announced

For the 2005 calendar year, the IRS has increased the maximum amount of annual income (wage base) on which employees have to pay Social Security old age, survivors, and disability income tax from $87,900 to $90,000.

In addition, the IRS has made changes to certain Medicare provisions. The following chart shows what those on Medicare paid for coverage under Medicare in 2004 and what they will have to pay in 2005. These changes will take effect January 1, 2005.




PART A (hospital insurance)

In-patient hospital deductible



Daily co-insurance amounts

  • 61st to 90th days in benefit period



  • More than 90 days



  • 21st to 100th days in skilled nursing facility



PART B (physician/medical)

Monthly premium







Welcome, New Employees!!
Frances E. Betancourt, Staff Assistant
Department of Special Populations (ACP)
KL 328 ext. 2691
Talia Gutierrez, Staff Assistant
Office of Student Activities
SC 226 ext. 2281

Melissa L. Compean, Office Coordinator
Student Health Services

SC 125C ext. 2237
John C. Pena, Technical Coordinator for the FPAC
College of Arts and Sciences (FPAC)
CFPA 102 ext. 3078
Olga Verduzco, PEIC Facilitator
College of Education (Leadership Project)
SC 233 ext. 3092

Sylvia S. Alaniz, PEIC Facilitator
College of Education (Leadership Project)

SC 233 ext. 3093
Ernest Trevino Jr., PEIC Facilitator
College of Education (Leadership Project)
SC 233 ext. 3091
Dalia G. Trevino, PEIC Facilitator
College of Education (Leadership Project)
SC 233 ext. 3090

Melissa Garcia BCH 102 ext. 2926
FROM: Part-Time CDC Educator
             Department of Special Populations (CDC)
TO: Full-Time CDC Educator
       Department of Special Populations (CDC)
Noemi Sifuentes CFPA 217B ext. 2654
FROM: Staff Assistant, EMSR    
TO: Staff Assistant, Dept of Fine & Performing Arts    
Jacqueline O. Benavides WHTC 222B ext. 2545
FROM: User Services Coordinator, CTS    
TO: Data & Information Specialist, TCBEED    
Heather Corti KL 333 ext. 2435
FROM: Half-Time Project Rio Coordinator (Recruiter)
             College of Education (Project RIO)
TO: Full-Time Project Rio Coordinator (Recruiter)
       College of Education (Project RIO)
Dr. Richard R. Tansey WHTC 217C ext. 2537
FROM: Associate Professor/Interim Chair
             Department of Management, Marketing & IB
TO: Associate Professor
       Department of Management, Marketing & IB

Analiza Perez, Library Assistant I
Killam Library (Reference/Texas Documents)

University Rules and System Policies & Regulations on the Web!

The TAMIU Rules and the TAMUS Policies and Regulations are available on the internet for your reference. You can access them from the TAMIU HR website by clicking on "System Policies & University Rules." The TAMUS Policies and Regulations site even offers a search feature to help you quickly find the item you need.

If you have questions concerning the TAMIU Rules and/or the TAMUS Policies and Regulations, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.


Military Leave


The Texas A&M University System supports its employees' service in state or national military units and provides military leave to eligible employees. Below is an overview of the types of military leave available; however, more detailed information can be found in the System online brochure called "A Call To Arms: A Guide to Military Leave." If you have questions or need assistance with military leave, please contact Xochitl Kladis, HR Assistant, by e-mail or at ext. 2364.

Paid Leave for Training and Duty:
You are entitled to 15 work days of paid military leave each federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). This leave may be used when you are engaged in National Guard or U.S. armed forces reserves training or duty ordered or approved by proper authority. The days may be consecutive or scattered throughout the year. If you are appointed to work less than 12 months each year, you are expected to arrange your military duty for the months when you are not scheduled to work. If this cannot be done, you must explain the reason(s) in your leave request. To cover monthly training obligations without using your 15 days of paid leave, your work schedule will be adjusted, whenever possible, so that 2 of your non-work days each month coincide with 2 days of military duty.

Paid Leave for Emergency Military Duty:
If you are a member of the National Guard and are called to active duty by the Governor of Texas because of an emergency, you will receive leave with pay. This leave will not be charged against your 15 days of military leave.

Unpaid Leave for Authorized Military Training or Duty:
After using the 15 days of paid military leave, you may use accrued vacation or be placed on leave without pay for up to 5 cumulative years.


Let's Review Time Card Rules

By following these instructions, you will assist the HR Office and the Payroll Office in efficiently processing timecards and accurately maintaining your records. For questions related to timecards and leave requests, please contact Xochitl Kladis via e-mail or at ext. 2364.

Timecards Must Be Maintained Daily
To avoid errors, we suggest timecard entries be made daily. To correct an error, draw a line through the error, enter the correction, and initial the change. Timecards must be completed in ink, and correcting fluid should never be used.

Timecards Must Be Totaled
All hours (hours worked, hours paid, coded hours, OCT, SCT) must be totaled and entered in appropriate sections. Also, OCT and SCT balances must be carried forward onto your new timecard.

Timecards and Leave Requests Must Match
If your timecard indicates time off for any reason, a corresponding leave request should be submitted via LeaveTraq prior to taking leave or immediately upon return from leave. Do not wait until you submit your timecard to submit your leave request(s).

Timecards Must Be Signed
Timecards must be signed by the supervisor and the employee prior to submitting to the Payroll Office.

Timecards Must Be Turned In On Time
Timecards for full-time and part-time classified staff, as well as student workers and work studies, are due in the Payroll Office, KL 159, by 12:00 NOON on the due date. The Payroll Office has furnished supervisors with a red inter-office envelope to submit timecards and the HPPR (Hourly Payroll Preparation Report). For a schedule of the bi-weekly pay periods that includes due dates for timecards and HPPR's, call the Payroll Office at ext. 2376.


Attention International Employees

If your visa status changes or is about to change, please notify the HR Office immediately. A change in visa status requires updating your HR records (I-9 Form) and may affect your tax withholding rate (W-4 Form).

If you have any questions regarding international employee issues, please contact Sandra V. Pena via e-mail or at ext. 2361.


Updating Your HR File When You Get Married

It is important that personal data in HR records are always up-to-date as such data is tied to the benefits of the employee and eligible dependents. In the case of marriage, personal data must be updated immediately. The following is a helpful checklist of items to take care of in the HR Office when there is a "Family Status Change" due to marriage:


  • Notify your local SS Administration Office of any name change. Name changes cannot be made in HR with out official documentation from the SS Administration.
  • Within 60 days of marriage, notify HR if you plan to make any changes to your health, dental, or optional coverages.
  • Inform HR if you want to update your beneficiary(ies) designations under the following optional coverages and retirement plans: Basic Life, Optional Life Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Teachers Retirement System, and Optional Retirement Program.
  • Complete a new W-4 Form to change your tax withholding status and to record any name change.
  • Complete an "Employee Personal Data" form to update HR records with a name change, address change, telephone number change, etc.
  • Complete a "Request for ID Card(s)" form if you wish to obtain an ID Card for an eligible dependent.

Conducting Interviews and Checking References
As supervisor/interviewer for your department, you have the critical responsibility of selecting the best-qualified candidates for vacancies in your department, while adhering to all applicable laws and regulations. By implementing a proper pre-employment screening practice, you can increase the chances of selecting qualified, motivated, and dependable workers for your department. The following helpful tips for interviewing and checking references can guide you during your selection process. (You can also refer to the System online training called "Conducting Effective Interviews" which can be accessed via HRConnect under the TRAINING tab).


  • Ask only for information that you intend to use to make hiring decisions.
  • Know how you will use the information to make that decision.
  • Recognize that it is difficult to defend the practice of seeking information that you do not use.


  • Review the job description
  • Draft and agree upon the interview questions to be asked.
  • Review the candidate's resume/application.
  • Agree on the format of the interview.
  • Ensure that you know and can identify the indicators of the candidate's ability to perform the job.
  • Introduce committee members (if applicable).
  • Describe the format of the interview.
  • Ask open-ended informational, situational, and behavioral questions.
  • Let the applicant do most of the talking.
  • Keep the interview on track.
  • Observe non-verbal behavior.
  • Take notes.
  • Leave time for the candidate to ask questions.
  • Ask if you can check references and pursue references not listed on the resume.
  • Describe the remainder of the search process and the time it will take.
  • Thank the candidate for his or her time.
  • Evaluate the candidate.
  • Document the interview.
  • Check the same number of references for all candidates.
  • Ask if there is anyone you should not contact and why you should not contact this person.
  • Ask the candidate to notify individuals whom you will call for a reference.
  • Ensure that all references are individuals who have worked with the candidate in a professional capacity and who are not relatives or friends of the candidate.
  • Ensure that at least one reference is a former or current supervisor of the candidate.
  • Ask the candidate if he or she worked under any name other than the one given you.
  • Consult with the HR Office if there is need to check credit reports, criminal records, and/or driving records.
  • Review (or seek) letters of recommendation.
  • Verify dates of employment, titles, and periods of time in each position.
  • Verify salary (if applicable).
  • Verify education and licenses.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask references how well the candidate works with others.
  • Obtain opinions about how the candidate would perform in your position.
  • Ask about the candidate's work ethic.
  • Ask why the candidate left the position in question.
  • Ask the candidate's former supervisor (if identified as a reference) or the HR office of the candidate's former employer if the candidate is eligible for rehire.
  • Document all reference-checking activities.

Getting to Know U!

Oscar Reyna


Oscar Reyna is the new University Registrar for TAMIU. He comes to us from Kingsville, Texas where he was employed with TAMU-Kingsville for seven years as the Assistant Registrar and Assistant Director of Admissions. He is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. Oscar is married to his beautiful wife, Denise, and has two wonderful kids, Angela (4 years old) and Andres (1 year old). On his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and shopping for Mexican Folk Art.

TAMIU, we want to get to know you! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself, and we will feature it along with a photo in this section of the newsletter. Submit your information to Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.

Mug O' The Month
Priscilla Pena is an Admissions Assistant in the Office of Admissions. She joined TAMIU in March 1999.

She received a prize for being the first to identify the TAMIU employee in the "Who is This?" section of the previous issue of the HR News & Views.

Priscilla Pena

Who is This?  
Who Is This?

The first person to email the HR Office and correctly identify this TAMIU employee by name and title will win a prize!

The identity of the employee who appeared in the last issue of HR News & Views can be found in "The Answer Corner" section of this newsletter!

The Answer Corner
The following are frequently-asked questions received in the Office of Human Resources. To ask us questions, use the "Ask HR" button on this newsletter.


Who was the baby in the "Who is This?" section of the last issue of "HR News & Views"?


That was Roberto P. Hernandez, Staff Assistant in the Office of Special Programs (CAMP). TAMIU employees who wish to submit their picture for the "Who is This?" section may contact the HR Office via email or at ext. 2365.

What are a paying account, ADLOC, PIN, and title code, and where do I find this information for a position?

Here are the definitions:

Paying Account the account from which a position’s salary or wages are expended
ADLOC identifies the department head in charge of a paying account
or “Position Identification Number” is the ID number assigned to a position
Title Code a 4-digit number assigned to a title (i.e., 0010 is the title code for the title “Staff Assisant”)

Position information such as the paying account, ADLOC, PIN, and title code is found on the copy of a department’s operating budget or on the copy of the position’s most recent Form 500. The Form 500 is distributed to department heads by the Office of Budget/Payroll/Grants & Contracts to confirm a personnel or budget action on a position. As for titles and title codes, they can be found in the TAMIU Pay Plan which is available online at the TAMIU HR website.

That Extra (S)Mile!
This section describes the deeds of TAMIU employees who have been observed going the "extra mile" for our University.
Thank you to Physical Plant for their support during our annual Study Abroad Fair. They are instrumental in placing our banners, fair announcements, and setting up and breaking down the fair arrangements. No matter who is assisting from Physical Plant, everything gets done with a happy face and in a timely manner. Without their assistance, our fair would not have been the success it was!
Kudos to the Print Shop for their continuous support and creativity on projects! Tony Bernal, Duplicator Assistant, has been especially helpful in preparing banners for our annual events, some of which require detail work that is time-consuming and demands a good eye for design. Tony has always been there for us and often completes the projects well before our timeline request. Thank you very much, Print Shop!
I want to express my appreciation to Danny Martinez, System Specialist I in CTS/PAIS, who is always going above and beyond the call of duty to help us with our endless requests. He is available and willing to help us in any way possible. We at the University Registrar's Office appreciate his professionalism and his excellent service.
I would like to commend 6 TAMIU women for their steadfast support of a noble cause: Ruby Gonzalez (Staff Assistant, Admissions Office), Xochilt Kladis (HR Assistant, HR Office), Elia Rodriguez (Staff Accountant, Office of Budget/Payroll/G&C), Nora Lerma (Payroll Specialist, Office of Budget/Payroll/G&C), Tonie Garza (Police Records/Communications Coordinator, University Police Department), and Jessica Rocha (Staff Assistant, Student Counseling Services). This past month, a Pre-K student in my son's school had a terrible accident which severed 4 of his fingers, and the family was in need of donations to defray the cost of a very expensive nerve reconstructive surgery. These magnificent, good-hearted women didn't think twice and sent in a donation to help with the costs. Thanks to the donations that are still being raised, this child had his surgery and, with therapy, is expected to have full mobility of his fingers. It's people who give from their heart, like these women, that make TAMIU a great place to work.
If you know of any employee performing in such a way that deserves mention in this column, send their name and details of their deeds to the HR Office via email.

Phone: 956.326.2365
Fax: 956.326.2359
Location: Killam Library 320