(a) There is hereby continued the state advisory council of classified employees.
(b) Election of members and terms of office. --
(1) During the month of April of each odd-numbered year, each president of a state institution of higher education, at the direction of the classified council and in accordance with procedures established by the classified council, shall convene a meeting or otherwise institute a balloting process to elect one classified employee from each institution of higher education to serve on the classified council.
(2) Terms of the members are for two years and begin on July 1, of each odd-numbered year. Members are eligible to succeed themselves.
(3) For the year two thousand four only, each president of an administratively linked community and technical college shall consult with the classified council during the month of July to establish procedures and convene a meeting or otherwise institute a balloting process to elect one classified employee from that institution to serve on the classified council. Members so elected take office upon election and serve until the next regularly scheduled election held pursuant to this section; thereafter, classified employees elected to represent administratively linked community and technical colleges serve a regular two-year term.
(c) The classified council shall meet at least once each quarter and may meet at such other times as called by the chairperson or by a majority of its members. One of the quarterly meetings shall be during the month of July, at which meeting the classified council shall elect a chairperson from among its members. The chairperson may serve no more than two consecutive terms as chairperson. A member may not vote by proxy at the election. In the event of a tie in the last vote taken for the election, a member authorized by the classified council shall select the chairperson by lot from the names of those persons tied. Immediately following the election of a chairperson, the classified council shall elect, in the manner prescribed by this section for the election of a chairperson, a member of the classified council to preside over meetings in the absence of the chairperson. If the chairperson vacates the position, the classified council shall meet and elect a new chairperson to fill the unexpired term within thirty days following the vacancy.
(d) The classified council, through its chairperson and in any appropriate manner, shall communicate to the commission or the council, as appropriate, matters of higher education in which the classified employees have an interest.
(e) The commission and council each shall meet annually, between the months of October and December, with the classified council to discuss matters of higher education in which the classified employees or the commission or council have an interest.
(f) Members of the classified council serve without compensation, but are entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses, including travel expenses, incurred in the performance of their official duties. Expenses are paid from funds allocated to the state institution of higher education which the member serves.
(g) The classified council shall prepare minutes of its meetings. The minutes shall be available, upon request, to any classified employee of a state institution of higher education represented on the classified council.