July 21, 2015 Executive Committee minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Gena Carter, Clare Counihan, Phillip Edwards, Shayna Hill, Arlene Medder, Kathy Ramsey, Charles Streeter, Ben Triplett, Katie Turner, Barbara Williams

Excused:  Jim Fuller

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:34 a.m.  He noted that the Board of Trustees would meet the following day and has decided that it will not hear presentations.  He said that discussion of the recent events involving the “Silent Sam” memorial.

The Chair noted that the Carolina Family Scholarship fund committee will meet the following day to decide on recipients.  He noted that eleven students have signed up for renewals.  He thanked Vice Chancellor Matt Fajack for allowing gap funding for the scholarships.  He said that the Forum needs to conduct fundraising to make the Scholarship sustainable.  The Chair also said that the Forum needs to communicate to applicants that the scholarship will be awarded on one-year intervals with renewals, not as a four-year scholarship as has been done previously.  He said that the lack of funds available makes this change necessary.

The Chair noted that he would grant an interview along with Bruce Cairns to Gary Moss of the University Gazette on plans for the upcoming year.  The Chair said that one of his initiatives would be to revive the Task Force for a Better Workplace to reflect on progress made in the ten years since the first Task Force took place.  He proposed that the Personnel Issues committee should take on pursuit of this task.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the June minutes.  Clare Counihan noted that Bonita Brown’s name had been misspelled, and had one other grammatical correction.  Katie Turner made this motion, seconded by Barbara Williams.  The motion was approved.

The committee discussed the Forum’s monthly budget report and budget proposals from committees.  The Chair noted that the Personnel Issues committee has requested $700 for programming needs associated with the upcoming diversity survey this fall.  The Chair noted that the Forum’s Staff Development fund is limited to the interest borne on an allocation from the Coca-Cola Foundation.  He said that remaining funds go into a non-interest bearing account.  The Chair emphasized that a request for $1,000 to go to the University Garden should come from this non-interest bearing account, along with holdover commitments to recipients of the Forum’s Professional Development grants.  The Chair noted that the Forum funds notary public training classes in the spring and fall through the Staff Development fund.  He asked that the Forum put printing of another round of brochures on its budget list.

From the Forum’s trust fund account, the Chair asked that the fund support purchase of a Thin Client personal computer for the Forum conference room.

Katie Turner requested a $200 honorarium per social media class.  The Chair thought that this amount might be too high.  Members debated the merits of raising the fee from its current level of $100 per course.  The committee eventually settled on granting the Communications and Public Relations committee an $800 overall budget for this purpose to be spent as the committee would like.

The Chair asked for a meeting on administration of professional development grant funding to come to a meeting of the minds on the systematic and organized handling of this project.

Clare Counihan asked about the possibility of increasing the peer recognition awards from $35 per recipient to something higher.  It was noted that a higher figure would be susceptible to tax liability.

Kirk Montgomery asked about involving University Managers’ Association members in competition for the Forum’s professional development grants.  The Chair said that managers are eligible for these grants as well as the grants offered by the UNC System Staff Assembly.  The Chair proposed that the Forum conduct a beginning of the year social with the University faculty to bridge the gap between the two groups.  Montgomery preferred that the professional development opportunities be spread out for all to use.  Clare Counihan noted that the grants are meant to be a last resort after departmental funds.  There was a question as to whether faculty should pay for a joint event with the Forum.  The Chair said that there might be other avenues to funding this event.

Bonita Brown asked about the level of professional development grants, noting that the Forum had budgeted $5,000 last year but paid out only around $3,000 to recipients who had completed paperwork for the grants.  The Forum discussed this point and finalized its budget for the year.

Katie Turner proposed changes to the Forum Bylaws following on discussions two years ago on this subject.  She planned to offer changes in small chunks to align with the current practice of the Forum.  The Chair proposed that the Forum Bylaws change the retreat date to July to allow the incoming Chair the opportunity to plan the event.  The Forum elections would still take place in June.  Katie Turner confirmed that the Forum Orientation for new delegates does host current Forum officers, but does not feature annual reports from these people.

Turner thought that the Family and Medical Leave Amendment requirement to obtain an excused absence for Forum delegates.  She thought that contacting the Forum Assistant with a notice that the delegate would not be able to attend should be enough for an excused absence.  She also thought that an absence due to vacation should be enough for an excused absence, along with work absences.  She noted that absences would not be excused if they are not communicated to the Forum Assistant.  Phillip Edwards noted a redundancy in the Bylaws language involving Section VIII. H.

Gena Carter asked whether the Forum was now calling the bimonthly Vice Chancellor meetings “high-level administrative meetings.”  She asked if the Forum is establishing an expectation that delegates attend two of these meetings during their term, should the University increase the hours allotted for delegate service.  [Matt Banks found later that the current letter from the Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement to delegate supervisors does not refer to these meetings.]

Parliamentarian Phillip Edwards noted that the Forum has the option to consider proposed Bylaws changes item by item or as a whole.

The Chair noted that resolution 15-03 honoring former Forum Vice-Chair Brenda Denzler would come up for second reading in August.  He hoped that James Holman would be present to speak on this resolution.

The Chair asked to move strategic planning discussion to August’s Executive Committee meeting.

Arlene Medder noted that the Carolina Campus Community Garden committee had suffered a setback in a requirement for new permits for its greenhouse design.  The Garden will celebrate its five-year anniversary this year.  The Chair proposed a celebration for the Garden.  Medder noted that the Forum’s Earth Day event had led to an uptick in staff participation in Garden activities.  The Chair envisioned making a Garden celebration part of a University Week celebration either following or preceding University Day.

Katie Turner noted that InTouch will likely be published at the end of the month.  She said she needed pictures related to the Carolina Family Scholarship.  The Chair proposed sending these pictures to the winners’ institutions.  Turner updated the committee on collections for the scavenger hunt and preparations for the book club readings in July and August.  The Chair thought that the Forum could possibly avail on someone to purchase books for book club participants.

Clare Counihan noted that the Education and Career Development committee had met the previous day and organized itself into subcommittees.  The committee is considering dates for its careers in higher education symposium.  The Chair suggested that the Forum combine with the NC State and NC Central University staff organizations to increase the visibility and perhaps the budget for the event.

Kathy Ramsey reported that the Membership & Assignments committee will conduct the Forum’s next breakfast social in September.  The committee will work to straighten up membership rosters.

Clare Counihan noted that the Personnel Issues committee will work to review the 9.9% salary limitation resolution as well as several other goals.  There is an interest in increasing UNC employees’ access to higher degrees here in Chapel Hill.  The committee also hopes to commission meetings to discuss the campus diversity climate survey.

The Chair noted that the UNC System Staff Assembly will meet in Asheville August 4th and 5th.  He noted that the Forum needs to mention the need for new Assembly representatives in August and vote on candidates in September.  Kirk Montgomery asked if he could become the Assembly alternate again even though he has now taken office as Forum Vice-chair.

The Chair noted that the Forum will discuss the Denzler resolution August 6th.  He asked for suggestions for other agenda items.  Katie Turner noted the possibility of a resolution regarding staff and social media.  She also suggested that the Forum invite a representative from Diversity and Multicultural Affairs to update the Forum on the campus climate survey.  Clare Counihan suggested that the Forum make sure to notify the community about the meeting change of date and location.

The Chair asked Matt Banks to issue a call for agenda topics for the August 13th Vice Chancellor representatives meeting.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:28 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,  Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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