August 1, 2001
Agenda —August 1, 2001
9:30 a.m.— Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
· Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Nancy Suttenfield (to be confirmed)
IV. Special Presentations
· Pam Barkett, New Director of Employment
V. Human Resources Update
· Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VI. Capital Improvement Update
· Karen Geer, Facilities Services
VII. Employee Presentations or Questions
VIII. Approval of Minutes of the July 11, 2001 meeting P
IX. Unfinished Business
X. Stretch Time 6
XI. New Business
XII. Forum Committee Reports
· Career Development: Fred Jordan
· Communications: Suzan deSerres
Þ Forum Newsletter
· Employee Presentations: Sheila Storey
· Nominating: Tracey Haith
Þ Forum Elections
· Orientation: Suzan deSerres
· Personnel Issues: Mary Ann Vacheron
· Recognition and Awards: Karen Jordan
· University Committee Assignments: Lee Edmark
XIII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): John Heuer
XIV. Task Force/University Committee Reports
· Pedestrian Safety Committee— Sheila Storey
· Transportation & Parking Advisory — Chris Barfield Anderson/Joanne Kucharski
P = Included in Agenda Packet
August 1, 2001
(Wilson Library Assembly Room)
Chris Barfield Anderson
Joanne Kucharski “
“ = Ex-Officio
Mary Ann Vacheron
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests
Chair John Heuer called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m. He welcomed Delagates, guests, and members of the media Scott Ragland and Eric Ferreri. He then welcomed Provost Robert Shelton to provide opening remarks.
Shelton noted that the budgetary activity in the State Legislature had been extraordinary in the last few days. He said that the University is working closely with the Governor’s budget office and the Legislative fiscal staff, as well as General Administration.
Shelton said that the proposed budget cuts should not present a surprise to anyone who has observed the current situation. He said it had been clear from the beginning that the University would absorb its fair share of cuts. Shelton said that because the University is so heavily invested in people, it will probably lose positions this year. However, the University would work to direct these cuts itself rather than have the Legislature make these choices.
The Senate and House recently approved a continuing resolution to keep money flowing to State activities. The Legislature’s current goal is to preserve the State’s fiscal status , and so avoid creating new obligations. This resolution will not allow funding for salary increases or changes in employment which lead to salary increases. The resolution hurts the University when faced with competing offers from other institutions. The University’s ability to fill positions remains viable, however.
In addition, Shelton noted the Governor’s executive order which has had an indeterminate effect on the University’s operations. At one point, it was thought that the University had to implement immediately either a 2% (Senate version) or 2.8% (House version) cut in SPA and EPA non-faculty Employees. Later, the University received a memo from UNC System President Molly Broad which relates how to interpret these legislative signals. That morning’s newspapers also carried information on reduced-in-force (RIFed) employees. A communication from the Office of State Personnel called for immediate official notification to RIF employees which have been specifically targeted with State agencies. These cuts will presumably take place when the Legislature has finalized the 2001-2003 budget. Thankfully, the Office of State Personnel has acknowledged the University’s special status and has not required the campus to issue official layoff notices.
Shelton said that the Office of the President had set up a conference call with University chancellors and vice chancellors for finance and administration today. Shelton would communicate the results of this call to the Forum Chair, among others. The University would strive to maintain its flexibility to make cuts where it feels they are best warranted. There is the strong possibility that the University would cut unfilled positions to make up the budget shortfall.
Shelton said that the continuing resolution and the Governor’s order indicate a strong concern over the State’s financial situation. University administrators feel somewhat frustrated that the State has not generated a budget from which the University could develop a comprehensive fiscal plan. Shelton thought that the longer the Legislature goes without completing a budget the more pressure will grow on the Governor to act through executive order to alleviate the crisis.
The University will continue to coordinate with the Office of the President, and also continues discussions with legislators, their staff, and the Governor’s staff. The University’s will present the argument that the campus should not receive an exemption from cuts, but rather should receive the flexibility to deal with the cuts as it can. Once the University administration receives its legislative figures, it will provide numerical guidelines to deans, directors and department heads to make their decisions. Shelton said that South Building would avoid micromanaging its units as much as possible.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest had more detail about layoffs resulting from the cancellation of State contracts. Charest said that these layoffs had affected no more than a handful of Employees, although any layoff becomes painful.
Shelton offered to receive questions from the Forum. Lee Edmark asked if approval of a tax increase would reduce or eliminate staffing cuts. Shelton said that even with a tax package the University would still face a total cut of 2-4%. The University had received instructions to prepare for this eventuality last March. If the Legislature does not approve a tax package, the University will face a more difficult budgetary situation.
The Chair asked if the University Priority and Budget Advisory Committee (UPBAC) would play a role in determining areas for cuts. Shelton said that South Building had in March asked deans and unit leaders to prepare departmental actions in case of a 2-4% budget cut. The administration will share these reports with the UPBAC and the council of deans and vice chancellors. Once the University receives its budget figures from the State, the UPBAC should be prepared to meet at the drop of a hat to provide counsel and recommendations in parallel with the deans and vice chancellors. The administration cannot set a date for these meetings because of the indeterminate date for finalization of the State budget.
Tommy Griffin asked if salary adjustments are prohibited under the current rules governing the University. Charest understood that the University cannot process in-range adjustments. She did not know whether the University would be able to handle salary adjustments retroactively once the State had lifted its restrictions.
Keita Cannon asked how the University could justify filling $50,000 positions when it cannot support salary adjustments. Shelton said that the University faced difficult times and had to find ways to complete its work with limited resources. He encouraged all departments to study their options carefully before spending additional money, given that cuts are coming.
The Chair noted media reports of 270 State employee layoffs. He asked where these layoffs would take place. Shelton said that he had seen a similar article in the News & Observer and he did not know from where these cuts would come. He assumed that the cuts would first come from other State agencies, since the University had not received instructions to lay off employees based on the current resolution.
Shelton thanked the Forum and noted the difficulty of this process. He said that the University values each of its Employees and could not do its work as well without any of its staff members.
The Chair introduced the new University Employment Director Pam Barkett to make a special presentation. He noted that Barkett had attended the previous month’s Forum meeting, and welcomed her once again.
Barkett thanked the Forum for the opportunity to speak. She came to the University from the University of Maryland, after receiving a degree from Towson State University and a masters from Johns Hopkins University in organizational development and business management. She also was a single mother during the time of earning her degrees.
Barkett had worked to develop a paperless on-line recruitment process at Johns Hopkins, and found it a sort of shock to return to the paper system at UNC-Chapel Hill. She looked forward to working through the challenges of converting University hiring to a paperless system, from applications to offers.
Barkett noted that part of Human Resources’ action plan is to find strategic partners to provide better customer service to departments by reducing time needed to fill positions and getting applicants to departments quicker. She would investigate the entire employment process to find ways to improve the system, incorporating Office of State Personnel regulations and UNC policies into her approach. Some of these efforts will coordinate with the Human Resources Information System and Administrative Information Services to take requisitions for hiring officials. As these areas change, Human Resources will become able to transfer hiring to departmental assignments. In addition, as Barkett becomes more aware of departmental missions and goals, Employment would become more of an asset in filling vacancies.
Employment will also investigate alternative ways of finding candidates, such as attending professional association meetings and alternative ad placement strategies.
Soon, University applicants will become able to specify the particular jobs in which they are interested. Barkett had heard of departments receiving applications for people who do not work in their area, or whose programming skills are not appropriate. With a requisition application system, Employment will be able to pull in targeted applicants and become a better resource for hiring managers.
In addition, Employment will now implement a different closing date system for positions. Now, the University’s close dates occur when a hiring official receives enough applicants for a position. Employment plans to set up certain closing dates based on Office of State Personnel requirements which will expire after 14 days. This time limit will allow Employment to put positions on the web and give applicants a chance to submit their resumes, but also allow the University to make employment offers faster.
Barkett noted that her action plan would help applicants, departments, recruiters and the University as a whole. However, without a pool of applicants, Employment cannot assist in its mission to assist the University. She asked Forum members and Delagates for their suggestions and ideas on the employment process. She referred groups to the University website for contact information.
The Chair asked how in a paperless application process Employment would invite applications from those people without computers. Barkett said that at Johns Hopkins, computers are available for those without immediate access to print out applications which Employment would then scan into the system.
Robert Thoma asked if the Johns Hopkins system required applicants to fill out a certain application or if the system could screen employees from resumes. Barkett said that prior to the interview process the applicant can submit either a resume or the application. After the employment interview, the applicant must fill out an application with its accompanying waiver to allow verification of employment and education information. Barkett said that applicants generally will apply for a position if all that it requires is submittal of an on-line resume. These applicants will not generally stand for a 15-20 minute on-line application process. She believed that the Office of State Personnel would allow the University to delay receipt of an application until after the interview process.
Ramona Kellam asked if Employment planned to better its perceived poor record of turnaround on applications. Barkett said that information technology positions typically take six months to fill, and administration positions take at least three months and typically four. Kellam noted that one applicant had been hired on at Duke in the time it took UNC-Chapel Hill to acknowledge receipt of this person’s application. Barkett agreed that information technology professionals have become accustomed to extremely fast turnaround times in the private sector. She said that the sooner Employment can get applications to hiring officials, the more effectively it can compete for these professionals.
Tom Rhyne noted Barkett’s focus on recruiting from outside the University. He wondered if Employment planned to emphasize transfer options for those within the University system such as Employee training. Barkett said that with the Triangle’s low employment rate, the University had been forced to find ways to grow workers on its own. She said that a department progression plan represented one excellent way to accomplish this task. An Employee working through their training progression could meet the need for a position that hypothetically took two years to fill.
Elaine Tola asked if Barkett planned to change the TOPS process. Barkett said that she did not plan to take the TOPS option away from Employees. She said that TOPS applicants can submit applications for specific positions or generally movement.
Robert Thoma noted that some newly-hired Employees seem to use the University as a technical school, obtaining training for a few years before moving to the private sector. He said that this tendency had become aggravating to those left behind. Barkett granted this frustration, but noted that workers generally tend to change jobs every two to three years. She noted that Johns Hopkins had implemented a system which requested employees receiving training paid for by the university sign a contract saying that they would stay with the university for a certain period of time.
Thoma thought that the combination of slow salary increases and parking difficulties had caused Employees to leave campus. He did not think that younger Employees were as invested in the campus as older ones were. Barkett said that at Johns Hopkins, a person had to stay in a job for six months upon hiring, and had to stay in a job for one year before becoming eligible for transfer. Johns Hopkins required exempt staff to provide 30 days notice, and non-exempt staff two weeks notice. She said that employees desiring to transfer before they had finished their probationary period raised questions about their commitment to their current position. She thought that it would be good for the University to implement similar rules governing transfers.
Ramona Kellam asked about the use of temporary employees to fill positions on a more or less permanent basis. She asked if this practice had to do with budgetary issues. Barkett said that the University employs Tar Heel Temps and other outside temporary employment companies. Kellam asked about temporaries who have served in a position for two years or more without obtaining promotion to permanent status. Barkett said that she was unable to address this question. Kellam said that a temporary employee in this situation feels somewhat exposed without regular staff benefits.
The Chair thanked Barkett for her time and remarks, and welcomed her to the University. He wished her every success with her new position.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest gave her customary update. She noted that Human Resources would accept applications for the University Management Development program through September 7. Applications are available on the Human Resources website.
Secondly, descriptions of class specifications are now available on the Human Resources website. Charest noted that some of these descriptions go back decades. These descriptions do not include temporary grade positions or OSSOG specifications. Interested Employees can find these descriptions at http://www.ais.unc.edu/hr/pmd/specs
Charest thanked Jerry Howerton and Chris Chiron for their work in scanning in descriptions for this project. She hoped the descriptions would be of interest.
Charest noted that the Board of Trustees had approved the EPA non-faculty leave policies at its meeting last week. This policy is available at the Human Resources website at http://www.ais.unc.edu/hr and Human Resources will also communicate the policy individually to affected Employees soon.
Charest noted that the Board had also approved a revised grievance procedure for EPA non-faculty, which contains no substantive changes.
As of July 1, State health insurance changes have had a profound affect on the University workforce. The first source of discontent has been the increase in prescription drug coverage. Charest encouraged Employees to communicate their stories to legislators.
Charest said that the University expects an annual enrollment period to begin in August, however it has not yet heard details about the process from Raleigh. Unfortunately, Employees will not know their plan premiums until the Legislature passes an appropriations bill. Employees must complete their enrollment changeover from Wellpath to the State plan in September to obtain coverage. The University anticipates a 30% increase in premiums for Employees using the family coverage option.
One piece of good news is that the Legislature has appropriated $36 million to assist State plan’s cash difficulties which will keep payments going to medical providers on a timely basis.
Concerning legislative increases, Charest said that the current budget situation has called the proposed $625 salary increases for SPA and EPA non-faculty Employees into question. Again, the final outcome awaits action by the House, Senate, and Governor.
Charest noted that the Chancellor’s cabinet has approved a compensatory time policy for SPA exempt Employees, at the suggestion of the Employee Forum. SPA Employees who are not subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act fall under this policy, effective September 1. This new policy will allow wage-hour exempt SPA Employees in exceptional circumstances working in excess of 40 hours in a particular week to build in compensatory time.
This policy will require these Employees to work these hours as expected. However, with advance written notice before times of exceptional circumstances such as cyclical work, these Employees can use hour for hour compensatory time over the next six months. Employees cannot receive payment for this time and cannot transfer this time from one department to another. This policy change does not in any way affect existing overtime rules for non-exempt Employees, who still receive overtime pay or compensatory time off on a 1.5:1 hour ratio. Charest said that this policy also does not change the fact that exempt SPA Employees do not have to take leave to attend doctor’s appointments in weeks they work more than 40 hours.
Robert Sadler said that some Employees who must work excessive hours in times of adverse weather might have difficulty obtaining these letters for circumstances beyond their control. Charest said that Employees could request that supervisors store a draft letter covering these exceptional circumstances for future use. She said that the letter would not have to go to Human Resources for approval; it would merely be used as a source of reference.
Elaine Tola was confused about the difference between exempt and non-exempt SPA Employees with regard to overtime compensation. She said that some people doing the same job that she does receive 1.5 hours of compensation for every hour of overtime worked, whereas she would only receive one hour of compensation for the same hour of overtime. Charest said that people doing the same job should hold the same classification. She said that if Tola’s situation was not the case, she should consult with Human Resources staff.
Charest noted that federal law bases the difference between exempt and non-exempt Employees on the duties of the particular job. Tola said that some computing consultant IIs fill out time sheets whereas others in other departments only fill out vacation and leave sheets. Charest said that this situation should not exist since the two jobs hold the same status.
Charest said that the equity between exempt and non-exempt Employees remains difficult to define in the public sector. In the private sector, federal law establishes overtime provisions to protect line workers from excessive working hours. Supervisory employees in the private sector are expected to receive freedom to leave the workplace when their duties are completed for the week, with no minimum time at work expected. Private sector employees also generally expected to receive more compensation in the form of a salary instead of an hourly wage.
However, in the public sector, the government expects all employees, supervisory or not, to work at least 40 hours a week. In addition, the Legislature has not provided large differences in salary or benefits between supervisory and line workers. In addition, federal law does not require the University to provide compensation to supervisory employees for hours worked over 40 a week. In contrast, the University must compensate line employees at a rate of 1.5 hours paid or compensatory time off for one hour of overtime worked.
Over the years, as the University has taken budget cuts to staff, it has asked supervisory, FLSA exempt Employees to do extra work that it cannot ask non-exempt Employees to do without providing mandatory time off or overtime compensation.
Fred Jordan asked how the University establishes exempt or non-exempt status for particular positions. Charest said that federal law establishes a set of guidelines for positions based on type of work, degree of decision making, and type of education needed to fill a position. Jordan asked if federal law required the University to follow these guidelines. Charest said that the University interprets federal law in consultation with the Office of State Personnel. If the University misclassifies someone under federal law, it can be required to compensate that person appropriately.
Lee Edmark found it difficult to understand the difference between non-exempt Employees’ rate of compensation (1.5:1) and exempt Employees’ (1:1). Charest said that the University cannot treat exempt and non-exempt Employees in exactly the same way for fear of breaking federal law. The University saw the 1:1 compensatory time off benefit for exempt Employees as creating a benefit which did not heretofore exist. She thought that the policy represented an important step forward.
Charest said that the University’s administrative flexibility study committee awaited Forum appointments, and planned to meet for the first time in late August.
Charest offered to take questions. An Employee noted the difficulty that some Tar Heel Temporary employees face in obtaining permanent employment, in spite of strong qualifications. Charest said that employment rules often create difficulties in matching prospective employees with positions. The Employee said that sometimes temporary employees work for years in the same position without obtaining permanent employment, when both sides desire that person obtain the employment. Charest said that no temporary employee should work longer than one year in a job without a 30 day break in service.
Keita Cannon asked what alternative the University would have other than taking away State-supported positions to deal with the current budget situation. Charest said that units must await the Provost’s direction telling what cuts will occur. However, hopefully departments will have the best chance to make the determination of best cuts. She assumed that every department would cut vacant positions first, but said that filled positions also faced some hazard.
Joanne Kucharski said that the University had communicated information about budgetary situations to deans, directors, and department heads. Charest hoped to have something more definitive to these campus leaders soon. All campus decision makers had hoped that the Legislature would have approved a budget by this time.
John Meeker praised the revival of the University Managers’ Development program. Charest said that the Kenan-Flagler Business School had housed this excellent program. Now, administrators have stretched the program to a yearlong basis, providing feedback to the 30 participants from instructors, classmates, supervisors, and subordinates. Current class members are taking elective classes for the fall semester after general courses in the spring. The University is taking applications for the January class which will include five participants from North Carolina Central University. Charest said that this program fills up quickly. She also said that class administration is somewhat expensive, but represents the University’s commitment to future internal managers.
Rachel Windham asked if the program would continue to use a salary grade cutoff when sorting applicants. Charest said that the program had removed the salary grade limit, but the participants must have received supervisory resources and interaction management training. Admission for the program remains competitive.
Tom Rhyne asked if Drake Maynard had more details on the internal in-range salary adjustment program. Charest said that Maynard is scheduled to bring these figures to the September meeting.
The Chair said that Karen Geer had elected to defer the capital improvement report to another meeting. He noted that Facilities Services had submitted a development plan to the Town of Chapel Hill on Friday.
The Chair noted the resignation of Freida Rosenberg. Dianne O’Connor replaces Rosenberg from Division 1, EPA non-faculty.
At this point, the Forum took a short stretch break.
Approval of Minutes
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the July minutes. Thoma noted that the section of the minutes dealing with the blood drive should not have mentioned traffic accidents.
The Chair asked Thoma to report on the blood drive’s progress. Thoma said that the blood drive had collected 998 units, short of the goal of 1150 but still considerable. Eight to ten percent of all donors gave for the first time. Drive feedback was that the donation process had gone smoothly and that the canteen was better than ever. Thoma said that drive organizers had discussed extending hours into the evening, adding volunteers or advertising in the general community. He thanked all who participated or volunteered time to help, including the Red Cross, Heels for Health, and Student Stores.
Given the one correction, Robert Thoma made a motion approving the minutes, seconded by Tom Rhyne. The motion was approved by acclamation.
Fred Jordan said that the Career Development committee had not met that month due to excessive commitments. The Chair noted that the Chancellor had approved the Forum’s rendition of the staff training brochure. Jordan said that the committee would meet again August 30.
Suzan de Serres said that the Communications committee had met last month to discuss InTouch. The group would meet again August 2 at the Ye Olde Waffle Shop.
A member of the Employee Presentations committee said that group had discussed holding another community meeting in October or early November.
Matt Banks of the Nominating committee said that the group had sent out second ballots for Divisions 8 and 9 following an unforeseen error in ballot printing.
De Serres said that the Orientation committee was working on finding a motivational speaker for the January retreat, and on finding a caterer for the October orientation. The committee will next meeting August 15 at the Jade Palace.
Tom Rhyne from the Personnel Issues committee said that the group had met July 31 and discussed issues related to its report. The group will next meet with Laurie Charest and Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield to discuss the committee’s findings. He said that some items in the report would require simple fixes and others need more attention.
Karen Jordan said that the Recognition & Awards committee had not met in July but had done a lot of work via e-mail. The committee was still working on the October 4 social event under a new budget set by the Executive Committee. The committee had received a quote on a Forum flag which it had submitted to the Executive Committee. The committee also hoped to include information about Prize Patrol winners in the August 15 issue of the University Gazette.
Jordan said that the committee had received over 500 names for the Forum recognition program. The committee will continue to receive nominees until August 17. The committee also asked Delegates who have recent accomplishments to notify the group for special recognition. The group will next meet August 13.
The Chair asked committee chairs to check the monthly calendar to insure accurate recording of committee meeting times.
Lee Edmark said that the University Committee Assignments committee had met July 18 to discuss strategies for an on-line catalog and reorganization of the Forum page. The committee also discussed efforts to collect University committee information from those who had not responded to a previous mailing. Edmark noted the need to find representatives for the licensing advisory board and the personnel flexibility study committee. The committee will next meet August 8 to discuss selecting from among the twenty or so volunteers for the latter committee.
The Chair noted that the Forum officers had hoped that the Forum could select from a broad cross-section of representatives to the flexibility committee. He planned to invite those other volunteers not selected to serve on an auxiliary committee to serve the main group.
The Chair had completed his work chairing the Housekeeping Director’s search with the appointment of Bill Burston, the formerly interim director. Burston has received high marks for customer service and a strong endorsement from current housekeepers.
Anna Wu will serve as interim director of Facilities Planning following Gordon Rutherford’s move to UNC General Administration. The University will begin a national search to fill this position permanently.
The University will hold a presentation in Carroll Hall September 10 at 5:30 on the University campus development plan.
The Chair has participated in interviews for the four finalists for the director of Historic Preservation. Vice Chancellor Suttenfield will make the final selection for this position.
The Chair noted that the North Carolina State Staff Senate had drafted a resolution to follow the recent salary study recommendations. He said that the Executive Committee would investigate following the Senate’s lead.
The Chair noted the recent administrative reorganization which would move facilities planning and construction administration under the purview of Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning Bruce Runberg. Other Facilities Services functions such will move under the aegis of Carolyn Elfland, who becomes the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services.
The Board of Trustees has installed Tim Burnett as its new chair. The Chair hoped to have Burnett visit a future Forum meeting.
The Chair noted Walter Davis’ $35,000 donation to the UNC-Chapel Hill Green Games. He noted that sustainability coordinator Cindy Shea was scheduled to attend a statewide environmental conference that month. He also noted that the NCSU Staff Senate had approved a resolution favoring campus-wide environmental sustainability practices.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:24 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary