February 21, 2017 Executive Committee minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Bryan Andregg, Bonita Brown, Clare Counihan, Phillip Edwards, Shayna Hill, Natiaya Neal, Deborah Norton, Kelli Raker, Kathy Ramsey, Ricky Roach, Greg Smith, Kewana Smith, Charles Streeter, Ben Triplett

Excused Absences:  None

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m.  He called for a motion to approve the consent agenda for the meeting, which included the January minutes.  Shayna Hill asked that her name be removed from the text of the January minutes.  With this change, Bonita Brown moved that the minutes be approved, seconded by Bryan Andregg.  The minutes were approved by acclamation.

Shayna Hill and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly budget report.  Banks noted a difficulty in obtaining reports from Human Resources Accounting to aid in budget tracking and planning.  Gena Carter asked that Banks submit a list of immediate and long-term concerns to her.  Shayna Hill said that as Forum Treasurer, she still needs access to a program code for Forum expenses in InfoPorte.  The Chair noted that the Forum currently expects some surplus at the end of the fiscal year and will need to decide how to use these funds.  The Chair asked that Banks put together a list of needs for the Forum Office.  The Chair said that he would request funds for the Carolina Family Scholarship and other items.

The Chair noted that the Chancellor’s Cabinet had discussed the Forum proposal for a Rebecca Clark Award for Moral Courage.  He said that the Cabinet would like to do an award for staff but wanted to remove the “Moral Courage” designation to have something more open.  He noted the Cabinet’s preference that the Award not be completely under the Forum’s direction.  He asked the committee its feelings on this matter, given the fact that the Award will likely not be approved for University Day without the Cabinet’s changes.  Clare Counihan asked if only the Award’s name is to be changed.  The Chair said that the specific criteria for the Award would also change, relegating moral courage to one of a series of criteria.  Shayna Hill asked the objection to the “Moral Courage” title.  The Chair said that the Cabinet felt that felt that label would be limiting and preferred a different name.

Bonita Brown said that a title change should not be accepted unless the Executive Committee makes this decision.  The Chair said that he very much wanted staff recognition at University Day.  He said that the Forum could do its own moral courage award apart from the University Day recognition, but could not combine the two.  Clare Counihan asked if the Forum is OK with this exchange.  Ricky Roach said that he did not think employees in his area would normally qualify under the “social justice” criteria of the revised guidelines for the Award.  The Chair noted that “social justice” is only one of several criteria that could be used to qualify for the Award.  Ben Triplett said that possibly the mention of students should be left out as many employees do not have everyday interaction with this population.  Clare Counihan said that she relates to students as anything other than “customers.”

The Chair asked if the categories are missing something.  Natiaya Neal said that the categories for the Award were very general which may make it difficult to decide who had won.  She recalled difficulties with the similarity of nominations for the Forum’s peer recognition awards, which also featured very broad criteria.  Phillip Edwards asked if the Award would still recognize someone who was willing to challenge the administration, as this was the original focus of the Award.  The Chair said that this quality is represented in two of the categories.  He noted the difficulty in appeasing both the Chancellor’s Cabinet and the Executive Committee.

Members had other suggestions for the exact wording of the criteria, basically to collapse some of the criteria.  Winners of the Award will need to excel in two of the listed categories, among them excellent personnel interactions, initiative, public service, moral courage, and personal integrity.  Shayna Hill said that she had seen socially engaged employees annihilated by supervisors through subjective performance reviews.

Gena Carter noted that a vetting process for the Massey and other University awards is now in place.  Ben Triplett asked if performance reviews are now off the table in considering nominees.  The Chair said that this was not the case, as Human Resources would already be involved in the review process.

Shayna Hill suggested that the criteria distinguish on-record performance reviews from other types of feedback.  Gena Carter said that this part of the criteria sounds like recognizing exemplary achievement.

The Chair welcomed Benjamin Haynes to discuss a proposal for a campus-wide Unsung Heroes Award organized by students.  Haynes said that the effort began at Georgetown University and had grown into a nationwide effort.  The idea behind the award is to bridge a perceived rift between students and campus workers.  He said that the UNC effort will use social media to advertise this effort by asking workers to tell their own stories.  He recalled meeting previously with Darius Dixon, the Executive Director for Facilities Services.  Haynes thought that the purpose of the Unsung Heroes award aligns with the Forum’s mission.  He also noted a second approach to appreciate workers based in kindness and generosity, provided by students giving special meals or events for University staff.  He asked the committee’s thoughts on this idea.

Clare Counihan asked what exactly Haynes wanted from the Forum.  Haynes sought to speak with staff groups to obtain insights about ways to help.  Natiaya Neal asked whom else Haynes had consulted.  Haynes said that he had also met with Carolina Dining Services leaders.  He sought to generate positive word of mouth about the idea.  The Chair advised that Haynes speak with mid-level administrative staff as well to obtain their perspective.  He suggested speaking with employees in Public Safety and Information Technology Services, among other areas.  Kathy Ramsey suggested that Haynes seek feedback in the Forum newsletter InTouch.  Bryan Andregg asked about the faculty sponsor for the effort.  Haynes said that Jane Fruehwirth, a faculty member in the Economics department, is the group’s adviser.  The Chair said that April 26th is Administrative Professionals’ Day.  Kewana Smith said that Haynes might seek to discuss these ideas with Forum delegates.

At this point the Executive Committee took a break to salute outgoing UNC employee and Forum delegate Kelli Raker with cake.

The Chair said that the Forum still needs to find sponsors for the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament.  He noted that the Forum will receive 20% of all funds raised back in unrestricted funds.  Ben Triplett suggested contacting new businesses in the area for support.  He also said that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce could be a good source of leads.

Kelli Raker gave her last report as Communications and Public Relations committee chair, thanking Greg Smith for his work with the transition.  She said that a new edition of InTouch will go out the following week.  She noted that the committee had publicized the call for new delegate candidates for the upcoming Forum elections.

Ricky Roach noted that the Community Service committee had met February 15th to discuss the Habitat for Humanity initiative.  He noted that the Forum would participate in a build on April 12th and would need to poll its delegates and other committees for participants.  Roach said that Habitat for Humanity is asking for $10/volunteer to offset costs associated with the build.  He noted that Heather Lewis and Katie Musgrove were working on this project.  Kathy Ramsey asked if volunteers who could not pay the $10 fee would still be welcome.  Kelli Raker suggested that the requirement be phrased as a “suggested donation.”

Roach said that the Carolina Blood Drive committee wished to have Chancellor Carol Folt attend the June 6 blood drive event.  He also said that the committee plans to approach UNC System President Margaret Spellings about attending the drive.  The Chair said he would see what he could do to help.  Clare Counihan suggested making a video to encourage donors with these dignitaries.

Clare Counihan reported that the Education and Career Development committee had finalized its application for the Carolina Family Scholarship.  She praised Becky Butler for her work on transferring the final document.  Counihan said that the Higher Education Career mini-conference will likely take place at the end of the spring after the students have left.  She asked delegates for suggestions for possible panel members.  She also said that the committee was looking at the Student Union or one of the nicer classrooms to host the event.

The Chair noted that the Membership & Assignments committee will close new delegate nominations March 7th.  The committee will support the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament on May 17th in Sanford.  The committee will also plan the July Forum retreat as well as the 25th anniversary event this fall.

Deborah Norton reported that the Personnel Issues committee had discussed supervisor evaluations at the School of Pharmacy.  These evaluations were put into place as part of the five-year plan for the School.  There was a general concern about the cost of doing these evaluations and a need for buy-in from departmental administration.  She said that there is no magic bullet to implement this idea.  She noted reports from the School that the contracted company had not provided what was promised in the first round of evaluation.  She said that the School had a budget of $4,000 for this proposal.  Norton noted that many departments have nothing set aside for similar proposals.

Bryan Andregg said that it had been difficult to collect feedback, with many employees not trusting the anonymous process and fearing that feedback would get back to their supervisors.  Norton said that this problem is exacerbated generally in smaller departments.  Clare Counihan observed that the climate survey seemed to have similar difficulties with data collection.  Bryan Andregg noted that the process did not evaluate supervising faculty.  Ricky Roach said that employees are generally wary about providing negative feedback about their supervisors, as some are great and some are extremely vindictive.  Kewana Smith recalled that in the ULEAD program, vindictive supervisors are seen as outliers in the overall scheme of an organization.  Roach thought it difficult to take this chance in units with only a few employees per supervisor.

Bryan Andregg said that the committee also looked at the Legislature and possible employee raises given the existing State surplus.

Natiaya Neal said that the Recognition & Awards committee will warm up in the springtime with the Forum peer recognition awards process.  She said that the committee will conduct a ceremony at a time and location to be determined.  She asked that an article be placed in the April edition of InTouch directing employees to nominate others for the award.

The Chair noted that the UNC System Staff Assembly will meet March 13-14 at UNC General Administration.  He said that the Forum plans to invite C.J. Stephens and Herb Richmond of Housekeeping to speak at the March meeting.

Ricky Roach asked why equal time off (ETO) is not allocated similar to vacation days in TIM.  Instead, an employee must wait for their supervisor to provide the appropriate data in TIM.  He had lost 4.5 hours in the last year of ETO due to difficulties with the TIM system.  Gena Carter said that Human Resources would likely give a report on this subject at the March 1st Forum meeting.  She noted the difficulty in taking these hours off.  Members asked about the prospects for a presentation on Carolina Service issues at an upcoming meeting.  The Chair thought that this could occur in some form at the April Vice Chancellor’s meeting.

The Chair reported on his meeting with the new Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Clayton Summers.  He said that Vice Chancellor Summers will bring a unique insight into the Legislature to his duties with UNC-Chapel Hill.  He noted that Vice Chancellor Summers is now the new Secretary of the University and will also appoint the University’s new legislative liaison.  He hoped that Summers could address the Forum in April or May.

The Chair reported that he and Katie Turner had attended the first meeting of the Student Stores Advisory Committee.  He said that Student Stores plans to host a town hall in March or early April.  He noted that a committee to oversee the Bull’s Head Bookshop includes staff and is seeking feedback on store changes.  The Bull’s Head will soon move to the third floor as renovations take place to modernize the store and expand the coffee shop.  Natiaya Neal confirmed that the Print Shop will still exist in the Student Stores building headed by former delegate Chuck Sockell.

Ben Triplett asked if there were any word about the climate survey data.  Clare Counihan said that the contracting company seems to have had some difficulty with housing this data.

Ben Triplett asked why the Chancellor’s Cabinet does not want the Forum to choose the recipient of the Rebecca Clark Award.  He thought that this question was worth pushback on behalf of the elected representatives of campus staff.  The Chair said that this pushback had been communicated to the Cabinet.  Triplett thought that a different means of communication could make the distinction more explicit to decision-makers.  The Chair said that the issue could be discussed at the upcoming Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting but if the Forum insists on protracted deliberations, the Award will not happen.  He hoped to have an announcement ready at the Forum’s 25th anniversary event.  He also sought to elevate staff through high-level public recognition such as a University Day award.

Triplett thought that the Forum was not receiving the same respect as faculty in this matter.  Clare Counihan suggested that the full Forum vote on these proposed changes.  The Chair said that the Executive Committee needs to make this decision due to pressing time concerns.  Triplett suggested that there could be some compromise, but the Chair said that the offer was the proposal he had shared with the group.  Ricky Roach suggested that the committee take a vote on the matter.  Shayna Hill noted the cumulative effects of having a staff award with Rebecca Clark’s name given every University Day.  Clare Counihan asked if she or her family would respect the award as revised.  Hill hoped that they would given the verbiage about moral courage that was still a part of the award’s criteria.  Kelli Raker suggested that the Forum make sure that the Clark family is OK with these changes as a courtesy.  The Chair said that the Forum had not reached out to the family initially.

The committee voted on whether to accept the changes to the Rebecca Clark award as proposed by the Chancellor’s Cabinet.  The committee voted to proceed and accept the changes.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

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