August 7, 1996
Agenda — August 7, 1996
9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests
III. Opening Remarks
* Chancellor Michael Hooker
IV. Employee Presentations—Kay Spivey
* Orientation Letter to Newly Hired Employees
V. Special Presentations
* Outsourcing Coordinator Bruce Runberg on the University Privatization Process
* Counseling Service Director Joe Totten on University Grievance Procedure and Exit Interviews for Departing Employees
VI. Approval of Minutes of the July 3, 1996 meeting
VII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Ann Hamner
* Executive Committee Meeting with N.C. State Staff Senate Executive Committee July 9
* Privatization Appointments, Process
* Greensboro Citizens’ Forum: Report from Tommy Brickhouse
* Model In-Range Salary Adjustment Plans in Routing File, Available On-Line at http://www.unc.edu/staff/forum/issues/inrange.html
* Employees’ Ratings of Forum Effectiveness (Survey at Appreciation Fair)
* Follow-up on Eddie Capel’s Question Regarding Distribution of Recognition Programs Among Academic and Health Affairs
* Follow-up on Poetry, Literature Postings
VIII. Unfinished Business
* Academic Calendar Recommendations (from Personnel Policies Committee)
* Recognition and Awards Committee’s Recommendation to Leave Community Award (3-Legged Stool) Name Alone
IX. New Business
* University Grievance Procedure Recommendations (from Personnel Policies Committee)
* Permission to Film “Mock” Forum Meeting for Video?
* Battle of the Network Stars: Forum/Faculty Council Challenge Bowling or Volleyball Game?
X. Committee/Task Force Reports
* Nominating—Dianne Crabill
=> Nomination Process
* Orientation—Leon Hamlett
=> Orientation of Newly Promoted Delegates
* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn
* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse
* Public Affairs—Helen Iverson
* Recognition and Awards—Nancy Klatt/Pamela Shoaf
=> Letters to Departments Without Recognition Programs
=> Possible Booklet on Awards & Recognition
=> Nominations for Community Award (3-Legged Stool)
* University Committee Assignments—Vicki Lotz/Jennifer Pendergast
=> Minutes from University Committees in Routing File
=> Nominees Provided for Privatization Review and Student-Faculty Calendar Committees
* Career Development—Sharon Cheek
* Pan-University Task Force—Ned Brooks
* Video Production Task Force—Frank DiMauro
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington
* Long-Range Land Use Planning—Margaret Balcom
XI. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
Don’t forget our August bag lunch near the Fordham fountain just after the Meeting! (Rain site: Forum/Faculty Council Conference Room, 202 Carr Building)
August 7, 1996
Tommy Griffin, Jr.
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Marshall Wade, Jr.
” = Ex-Officio
Chair Ann Hamner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. and welcomed the many new guests present, with the hope they would find the discussion informative. She then welcomed Chancellor Michael Hooker to give opening remarks.
Chancellor Hooker bid the assembly `good morning’ and began by addressing the subjects of the budget and the Legislature. He was “overjoyed” at the University budget approved by the Legislature. “What happened is that we ended up with all we asked for and then some. I am heartened, more than anything, that as a result of the conversations I had in Raleigh during the short session with both parties and both chambers of the Legislature, we have experienced a kind of sea change in the perspective that the Legislature has on funding education. The sea change is a recognition that if North Carolina is to enjoy in the 21st century the kind of robust economy that it now enjoys, it will do so only because it has chosen to invest in education.
“I am probably more heartened than anything by the commitment of the Legislature to public school teachers’ salaries. I have said time and again that there are many problems with the public schools that have nothing to do with money, but there is a big problem that has only to do with money, and that is in order to attract and retain the brightest and best people in the teaching profession, we simply have to pay competitive wages to public school teachers. For this reason I am enormously pleased with what the Legislature has done.
“I am also particularly pleased that they saw fit to give for the first time in many years flexible dollars, the academic enhancement (matching) dollars, that we will be able to use for strategic investments in areas I think are absolutely crucial if the University of North Carolina is going to enjoy in the 21st century the position of leadership it has enjoyed for the past 200 years in American higher education. This is particularly true in the area of technology.”
The Chancellor felt that the University is “way behind the curve” on investing in technology and obtaining sophistication in its use in comparison to other universities. He found it ironic that the University has one of the highest rated computer science departments in the country, and has faculty who are on the cutting edge of technology in their own areas of research, but is behind in using computers in a fully integrated way throughout the campus. He observed a particular deficiency in making computer networks available to our students in the residence halls, for example.
Chancellor Hooker was pleased the University now has the flexible dollars available to make investments in these areas. He worked closely with the leadership of the Legislature in discussions about how the University would spend these flexible funds, and felt “morally committed to spending in the areas that I promised that we would, one of which is providing health insurance to graduate students.” This provision should make the University more competitive with its peers in the area of graduate funding, though funding levels will remain far below the national average. Previously, however, the University ranked last among the top 20 public universities in terms of the level of support given to graduate students. The Chancellor said this year’s budget will help “substantially” in this area.
Also, the Chancellor promised the Legislature that the University will spend some of its flexible dollars in extending our resources to the public schools of North Carolina. He is already looking ahead to the next budget cycle and the next year’s legislative session.
Regarding the academic calendar, the Chancellor felt that there had been some misunderstanding on the issue as it had pervaded campus. He regretted this and did not know how the conversation had gotten off track. Chancellor Hooker recalled that the University was mandated by President Spangler and General Administration to add 4 teaching days to the upcoming academic calendar, a move he applauded. Yet, the addition created internal challenges for the University in how it readjusts its calendar to accommodate these extra days.
The Student-Faculty Calendar Committee made a recommendation accepted by the Provost to add two days to the fall semester, by teaching on Labor Day and cutting a day from Fall break, and two to the spring semester, by beginning one day early and eliminating the holiday that falls on Good Friday.
This is the plan with respect to teaching courses, but does not speak to the issue of Employees who are not involved in teaching courses, and what days they will work or not. The Chancellor noted the Provost is awaiting the recommendation from the Employee Forum and from Dr. Floyd, to whom the Forum’s recommendation will be sent. Thus, this is an issue has not been settled yet.
The Chancellor felt there had been a misunderstanding that Employees will be required to convert an existing holiday to a work day and take a holiday on some other day. That could happen, but only if Employees resolve this is the best approach to take. Chancellor Hooker noted that the Hospital utilizes a similar approach, and thought that as the Hospital has had to be flexible with regard to holidays to serve the public, the University should be also. He reminded the group that the University is a public institution that exists only to serve the public. Sometimes, the Chancellor said, we must be willing to inconvenience ourselves in order to serve the public and that we accept that as a moral imperative, as part of taking taxpayer dollars to pay our salaries.
Concerning privatization, the Chancellor noted the Administration has appointed Bruce Runberg as Outsourcing Coordinator, following the mandate of the Legislature, the Board of Governors and General Administration requiring the University to study cost savings from privatization. The Chancellor felt that the touchstone of all the changes instituted in the University’s administration is to better serve the public –with higher quality, faster–in less time, and cheaper–less expensively. The Chancellor reiterated that it is a “moral imperative” when taking public dollars, the University is obligated to spend them as well as we can in returning the fullest value to the public.
The Chancellor recalled the controversy concerning the road near Coker Hall that will require felling trees in Coker Woods. He noted that the plan to build this road had been approved by the Board of Trustees long before he or Dr. Floyd had arrived on campus. Dr. Floyd was convinced that the Coker Woods road could be built by felling fewer trees that had been intended. Chancellor Hooker asked Dr. Floyd to examine the matter further and was pleased to report that the road could be built by felling 60% fewer trees than had been originally designated. He praised Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd for his willingness to take on the issue and his creativity in resiting the footprint of the road in order to save these trees in Coker Woods.
The Chancellor reported that a Substance Abuse Task Force had been appointed to examine strategies the University can employ to reduce the amount of alcohol consumption and other forms of substance abuse on campus. William Jordan, a University Trustee and a physician from Fayetteville, will chair the Task Force. Chancellor Hooker thought that this is a societal problem that begins in junior high school; it permeates American culture and is not unique to Carolina. The Chancellor felt the University obligated to “think globally and act locally” to address the problem. He looked forward to the Task Force’s recommendations to see what we can meaningfully do in this area.
The Chancellor was also heartened that the Intellectual Climate Task Force will get fully underway this fall, having organized itself over the summer. He looked to this Task Force to address issues of undergraduate education in general, including those associated with alcohol abuse.
Looking forward to the beginning of the school year, the Chancellor thanked Employees for their hard work in preparing the University to receive its students. In addition, he thanked Employees for their hard work over the past year. He enjoyed coming to know many Employees over his first year in office, and looked forward to working with the Employee Forum in the future.
Chancellor Hooker felt the Administration had established a good working relationship with the Forum, and he particularly enjoyed working with Chair Ann Hamner and the Forum’s leadership. “Part of the strength of this great institution comes from the pride that we as North Carolinians take in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its tradition of quality and excellence. This pride brings us all to work in the morning and leads us to put forth an extra effort, which may be sometimes unacknowledged or unrecognized,” the Chancellor conceded. He wished he had the opportunity to recognize the good work that each Employee does. In the aggregate, collectively, however, “the University is the quality of institution it is because of the individual efforts of each of us.”
Concerning his calendar for the upcoming year, the Chancellor noted a gap between what Carolina does for the State and people’s perception of this contribution. In his conversations and travels to the Legislature, he noted a widespread view of the University as a source of State pride and world renown, but accomplishing little for “individual constituents,” as one legislator put it. The truth is that there is not a member of the Legislature who does not have a large number of constituents benefiting directly or indirectly from the University; directly, in that the University has students from all one hundred North Carolina counties.
The Chancellor recalled the day before he had addressed Craven County leaders and Rotary Club members, none of whom knew that there are presently 147 students from Craven County enrolled at Carolina. (Most guesses were much lower.) Chancellor Hooker felt that an important job of his office and the University is to get a message out to the State about the many benefits the University provides. He noted even AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) beneficiaries are not aware that program is a product of the University’s School of Medicine.
As a result, the Chancellor has decided to travel to each of North Carolina’s one hundred counties to meet with leaders of towns and cities to explain what the University does for them and their constituents. Thus, it should become easier to convince legislators that investing in the University of North Carolina will benefit their individual constituents directly, not just indirectly. The Chancellor looked forward to dedicating himself to this task in addition to working with “all of you here at home,” and asked if there were any questions from the assembly. Since there were no questions, the Chair thanked the Chancellor for making opening remarks.
The Chair noted Vice-Chair Kay Spivey had been called out of town and asked to delay business in this area until the Forum’s next meeting.
The Chair welcomed Bruce Runberg, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management and University Outsourcing Coordinator, to give a special presentation on the University privatization process. Bruce began by noting an article would appear that day in the University Gazette on the privatization process which would provide additional background on his remarks.
Bruce emphasized that no decisions have been made concerning outsourcing of any University functions and that he simply is the coordinator or administrator of the process. Bruce said the Administration wished to have an inclusive and open process with good communication throughout the University. Clearly, no one has all the answers about this “massive and significant undertaking that has already caused some frustration and concern for some number of our Employees. We will insure that it is an open process.”
As the Chancellor said, General Administration has directed each System institution to develop a plan for evaluation of 51 campus identified services which are referred to as “functions” in privatization vernacular. Bruce added that General Administration had hired a consultant, MGT, to provide a report on privatization which was available from his office, the Forum Office, and the Physical Plant, as many initial functions identified for study are in the Physical Plant.
The Outsourcing Steering Team roster was provided to the assembly, and includes the following appointments: Vice Chancellor for Administration, Wayne Jones (serving temporarily, 962-3798); University Outsourcing Coordinator, Bruce Runberg (962-7248); Forum Representatives, Ann Hamner (966-7291) and Bennie Griffin (962-1517); Faculty Representative to be named; Student Representative, Aaron Nelson (962-5202); Special Assistant for Minority Affairs, Harold Wallace (962-6962); and Public Relations Representative, Michael McFarland (962-2091). Bruce noted that Forum Chair Ann Hamner has been briefed and is well aware of the magnitude and import of this process as it relates to Employees.
Bruce noted the group had met only once but was working to establish a sound structure to participate in this privatization process. The Team has proposed appointment of several support teams, including an Employee Relations Team (to be chaired by Laurie Charest, 962-1554), a Technical Team to evaluate competition and contracting of functions (Howard Gorman, 962-3777) and an Accounting Principles Team (Roger Patterson, 962-7242). Based on conversations with the Chair, Bruce hoped to appoint a Forum representative to each of these subgroups.
The University has not yet received the formal directive from General Administration to begin the privatization process, but this directive is expected presently. It will require the University to develop a three year plan to review the 51 functions identified in the MGT report. This process will potentially evaluate, potentially study and potentially recommend competition in these functions. Bruce thought it would be foolish to think that none of these functions would eventually be competed, but the University does not yet have any decisions or directions on the process yet, as it is still in the early stages.
Bruce noted that if the process reaches a point at which the University must compete a service, the University will have the opportunity to bid on performance of that service. This is a means again for the University to look after those Employees involved in providing these services.
The Steering Team reports to Dr. Floyd and will conduct general, open meetings for Employees in September and is working now to set these meetings up. Bruce offered that he is available at 962-7248 if Employees have specific questions for him; they may also contact other Team members.
Bruce emphasized that the process was just beginning and that no decisions have been made yet. He noted there are several Employees with experience in the federal sector, where outsourcing has become very common over the last twenty years. He thought these people would be very helpful in undergoing this process properly. Bruce offered to answer questions.
Sue Morand noted a rumor that the Physical Plant will be completely shut down by this time next year. She asked how Bruce intends to stop these rumors from current and former Employees. Bruce noted rumors are a common occurrence and may only be dealt with through sound, solid communication. Part of this communication is underway through the Gazette article and through meetings with the Forum and other groups; also, the Physical Plant has begun sessions with Employees focusing on efforts in the facilities area. He urged the Forum to work hard to communicate and to dispel rumors.
Sue asked if Employees will be invited to these open forums via letter. Bruce replied these letters would be sent out. In the absence of further questions, the Chair thanked Bruce for addressing the Forum. Bruce said he would keep the assembly informed of further developments.
The Chair presented Joe Totten, Director of Counseling Services, to make a special presentation on the University Grievance Procedure and to address an issue left over from the March 1995 meeting. She asked that members hold any questions regarding the grievance procedure until the new business section of the agenda, during which she hoped Joe would be available to address members’ concerns.
Joe distributed a draft of the revised grievance procedures that we hope will go into effect October 15. He noted that members already had a copy of the revised procedures but that several further drafts have been produced since that version’s distribution.
These revisions were proposed to comply with State policy which specifies that each State agency must have procedures adopted by the Office of State Personnel prior to October 15, 1996. Human Resources has adopted its revisions to comply with State policy. He cautioned members that these revisions will be in effect only eight to twelve months, after which additional revisions will be necessary.
Like most State agencies, the University has not previously had a time limit on completion of a grievance. However, State policy now requires that all grievances excluding dismissal and demotion must be completed within 120 days from the date filed. Dismissal and demotion procedures must be completed within 90 days under State policy. In response, Human Resources proposes to complete all grievances within 90 days. Joe said this reduction is because most Employees who have been through the grievance process have said that the procedure takes too long.
Another major change under State policy is that Employees will have only eight hours to prepare a grievance. Human Resources will request an exemption from the State Personnel Commission to grant Employees up to 12 hours to prepare a grievance.
Joe Totten emphasized that Human Resources and the Counseling Service received productive input from the Forum’s Personnel Policies Committee in producing these grievance procedure revisions. He thanked that Committee for its work and for its suggestion, incorporated into later drafts, that the University seek an increase in the amount of time granted to Employees to prepare their grievance.
Grievances and all responses may be filed electronically. All grievance forms will be placed in the Human Resources Manual and on the Human Resources Web page. As always, the Counseling Service office is available to answer any Employee questions. Respondents also may find forms in the Human Resources Manual. These changes will take place once approved by the State Personnel Commission, effective presumably October 15, 1996.
In order to complete all grievances within the 90 day time frame, Human Resources proposes to reduce all time frames within the overall process. For example, in Step 2, the respondent will have 10 days (previously 15 days) to respond to a grievance. At Step 3, the Grievance Panel will have 21 days (previously 30 days) to make a recommendation to the Chancellor. The Chancellor will have 10 days (previously 15 days) to issue a final decision on the grievance.
Effective July 1, 1996, the Legislature changed the definition of career status in State Government. Now, in order to gain career status, an individual must be employed with the State 24 consecutive months. Prior to July 1, the requirement was 12 months for an Employee in a primary position, 24 for an Employee in a secondary position, and 36 for one in a managerial position. Now, the requirement is 24 months for all Employees.
The State Personnel Commission decided to give sexual harassment special recognition in processing a grievance. Sexual harassment charges may be filed at any step within the procedure. This is one situation in which a grievant may bypass their supervisor, especially when the supervisor is directly involved with the case. This provision has been around for quite a while, as sexual harassment is considered a form of sexual discrimination which may be filed directly under Step 4 of the procedure. The current revision makes this provision explicit, though the University has long had the provision in place.
Normally, the Panel advisor in Step 3 is responsible for filing paperwork involving the Panel Chair and members. In order to save time, the assignment of the Panel Chair and members shall be done through the Counseling Office and the Panel Advisor will need merely to assist with grievance administration.
Joe lauded a suggestion from the Personnel Policies Committee in the eventuality that a Panel member or Chair is unable to continue hearing a case. It was noted that there was no legal stipulation that the grievance continue in that panelist’s absence. Now, a new member will be selected to replace the stricken individual and the grievance will continue.
The University will have to request a special provision from the State Personnel Commission to allow continued use of support person within its grievance procedure. A support person normally assists the grievant or department in presenting their case at Step 3. This person does not attempt to practice law, but is merely present to keep up with documents and provide personal support. The new State policy eliminates this role, but since the support person has played a vital function in the University’s policy, Human Resources will request an exemption. He thanked the Personnel Policies Committee for providing the context for these two recommendations.
The policy will be communicated to all Employees through the Web, the Human Resources Manual, handbook distribution and attachment of the procedure onto all disciplinary action documents.
The Chair asked if Joe would be available to answer questions in the new business section of the agenda. Joe Totten asked to give his response on the concern about the Counseling Service’s exit interviews at the September meeting.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the July 3, 1996 meeting. Mona Couts made this motion, with George Sharp seconding. Mary Woodall asked that her comment on page 7 inquiring whether the “General Assembly was really aware of little had been done for State Employees over the years” be changed to “the public was really aware of how little….” There was no further discussion, and the minutes were approved. Members agreed unanimously to accept the minutes as amended.
The Chair reported the Executive Committee had met with the NC State Staff Senate Executive Committee July 9 and decided to put joint energy into the Employee salary issue for the next legislative session. The two groups discussed privatization, domestic partner benefits and methods of further cooperation between the two Executive Committees and organizations. The groups hope to expand their work to more Employee organizations within the University System, including the group at North Carolina Central University. The Chair thanked Faculty Council Liaison Peter Schledorn for accompanying the group to speak on the domestic partner benefits issue, and noted that more information on the meeting was available within the Routing File.
The Chair noted the privatization process was underway and that she and Bennie Griffin have been appointed to the Outsourcing Steering Team. Other nominees to that Team will be considered for membership on the subsidiary Teams mentioned by Bruce Runberg. She hoped the Forum and Employees would be represented throughout the process and she believed the Administration had a commitment to this representation.
A number of senior administrators travelled to NC State to meet with their Outsourcing Coordinator and attend one of their open meetings on privatization. Laurie Charest and the Chair had learned a lot on administration of the privatization process and the structure of open meetings.
The Chair recalled that Tommy Brickhouse had represented the Employee Forum at the July 3 Citizens’ Forum held by the Governor in Greensboro to discuss the legislative adjournment. She asked if Tommy would file a brief report on that meeting, excerpted here:
“Gov. Hunt opened the Citizen’s Forum this morning at 9:55 to a standing-room only group. He said that the present budget gridlock was not good for North Carolina. There are 12,500 new students set to enroll across the state and no teachers to teach them. There are not enough regulators for the hog industry. He also said, “Our economy is so strong we can afford to cut taxes”. North Carolina is 42nd nationally in teacher salaries. SOUTH CAROLINA IS 38TH, VIRGINIA IS 25TH, AND TENNESSEE IS 26TH. The Governor concluded his opening remarks by saying that public universities are slipping and that the Comprehensive Pay Plan must be implemented.
It was mentioned that the state of Georgia is implementing a 6% pay raise for state employees EACH year. A lot of this money comes from the State Lottery.
There were five Chancellors from the UNC system and they all had remarks. Chancellor Hooker talked about how failure to take advantage of the primary public school system would ill prepare our children for today’s factories and industry, which now depend on educated and computer literate college graduates. There are no decent jobs for high school graduates any more. He recounted a visit to an iron smeltery where impurities are removed from pure metal. At every stage of this process computers were in use. Not the picture commonly associated with a blast furnace.
The open mike was then turned over to anyone with comments. Nearly every person who went to the mike spoke about some facet of education. Over half of those spoke about Smart Start. These teachers spoke passionately and intelligently and now I know why they are an effective political influence. Finally, someone spoke for the rank and file state employee. His point was a good one that I rarely hear. He feels that state employee raises should be considered FIRST, instead of after everything else has been funded and we are forced to mobilize for what scraps are left. Major public relations campaign, to be sure. At the end, the Governor came back to the mike to implore everyone in the room to go back and call their legislators this week and all next week. What went on in Greensboro this morning doesn’t mean squat. The people who need to know how irritated we are that they left town without a budget weren’t there. It’s the Howard Brubackers and other House Republicans that need to know how we feel. Maybe someone can publish that list again. To end, I did manage to grab one of Gov. Hunt’s aides and give him the 15 or so letters I carried. I want to thank those who did write and maybe suggest that they send a copy of their letter to certain House Republicans. WE WILL PREVAIL BECAUSE WE ARE RIGHT!
To follow up on his February presentation to the Forum, Tommy noted also that University Mail Services have recently hired a Mail Clerk to deliver mail to University housekeepers. He was glad to report that a special process to provide mail service to housekeepers like any other department has now been put in place, in spite of the logistical challenges involved in serving these Employees. He expected that mail service to housekeepers would improve. The Chair thanked Tommy for these two informative reports.
The Chair reported that Jerry Howerton has provided copies of the Model In-Range Salary Adjustment Plans to the Forum Office. These are included in the Routing File and can be obtained from the Forum Office. She noted that most departments have received copies of these plans. Also, she reported that Jerry’s workshops explaining the plans have been very effective and she recommended those administering the plan to contact Jerry’s office for information on further workshops.
The Chair noted a handout in the August agenda packet describing the Appreciation Fair Survey Results. The Forum Office tabulated responses to the question ranking the Employee Forum’s effectiveness in addressing and resolving issues. Another part of the survey asked Employees what concerns they wished the Forum to address. (N.B.: Items mentioned (in no particular order) included parking, stress management, flexible scheduling, salary compression, tuition waivers, library borrowing privileges, child care, bureaucracy, 28 year service with full retirement, work related injuries, manager/employee relations, adverse weather, morale, domestic partner benefits, building projects, and privatization.) The Chair hoped next year’s Forum would find this survey helpful, stating that this year’s Forum found its plate quite full.
The Chair followed up on Eddie Capel’s question about whether there are more departmental Employee recognition programs in Health Affairs than in Academic Affairs, the implication being that Health Affairs departments have more resources to conduct such programs. She learned from Patti Smith that the distribution of these programs between Health Affairs and Academic Affairs is roughly equal, and that almost 100% of Employee recognition programs have some monetary component. The Chair thanked Patti Smith for providing this information to the Forum Office.
Finally, the Chair reported that the idea to post poetry and literature placards in areas of “dead space” on campus and on Town buses has received a recent boost by the informal agreement of Chapel Hill Transit to provide space free of charge as a public service. The question now to go before the University Council is how these literature excerpts will be selected. She thought the Intellectual Climate Task Force would be involved in making the selections. The Chair hoped also that eventually these placards would be placed in the Student Union, in Lenoir Dining Hall and the libraries to provide “mental food for thought.”
Welcoming the many guests present, the Chair moved on to the academic calendar issue. On July 10, she had posted a message to the Forum and Human Resources Facilitators listserv describing the three options presented on the calendar issue and soliciting Employee responses in order to formulate a recommendation. She had received 132 responses, some representing the views of staff within an entire office and in one case an entire school, which she shared with the Forum’s Personnel Policies Committee. She noted that a petition circulated by Margaret Swezey asking the Calendar Committee to reconsider its decision to hold instructional days on Labor Day and Good Friday contained 815 Employee signatures.
The Chair asked Personnel Policies Committee Chair Peter Schledorn to address his Committee’s recommendations to the full Forum. She would then ask Human Resources Director of Administration Drake Maynard to provide information on the issue since the Personnel Policies Committee had worked with Human Resources to formulate a recommendation to Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd. She noted the recommendation from the Personnel Policies Committee was included in the August agenda packet.
Peter Schledorn reiterated that some of the e-mail responses the Chair had received came from an Employee representing the views of their office or department. One communication was forwarded from a group of 50 Employees. He was amazed at the amount of interest and concern the issue generated around campus.
In its report, the Personnel Policies Committee’s recommendation appears in bold face type: The Committee recommends the Forum urge the Chancellor direct the Calendar Committee to revise the 1997-1998 academic calendar to schedule added instructional days on days which are not State and University holidays. By implication, this would not be done in future years, also. The rest of the document contains reasons for the recommendation.
The Committee spent two meetings discussing the issue, particularly the implications of the many e-mail messages received. One thing noticed was a change in tenor of the responses to the Chair’s request for advice on the three presented options. In the first wave of messages, people advocated one or another of the options presented: paid holidays, floating holidays or moving the holidays within the schedule. More and more as time went on, respondents came to see all three options as unsatisfactory, for different reasons. Altogether, this dissent was very convincing to the Committee and played a large role in its decision to recommend that the calendar be redrawn so as to avoid holding instructional days on these two holidays.
One impressive factor noted was that there are only 11 weekdays a year in which staff Employees are not on campus. The Committee felt that even on short notice a calendar could be created that avoids having instructional days on these 11 days.
The Personnel Policies Committee implied no criticism of the Calendar Committee and its work, and has offered its services to that Committee, if requested, to revise the academic calendar.
The Chair asked Drake Maynard to comment on the issue. As a preamble to his remarks, Drake noted that Human Resources conducts quarterly meetings with all of University Human Resources Facilitators. At each of these meetings, Laurie Charest asked what the sentiment was in departments regarding the academic calendar question. Repeatedly, respondents felt that the holidays should be left in place and departments that needed to be open should receive holiday premium pay.
Following up after Dr. Floyd asked Human Resources to work with the Forum on the concern, an e-mail was sent out to all departments asking whether they will need to be open if Good Friday and Labor Day are designated as instructional days, and if so, how many Employees will be required to work. Human Resources received a disappointingly small number of responses, 45 out of a possible 300 departments.
Out of these 45 departmental responses, 16 said they would need to be open on Labor Day, 18 said they would need to be open on Good Friday. Drake took the average salary of SPA Employees, multiplied that by 2.5 (for holiday premium pay), then multiplied that by 8 hours of work. From these calculations and the number of Employees reported to Human Resources, he arrived at an estimated cost of $47,000 to the University for both Labor Day and Good Friday holiday premium pay.
Spread over the entire University, Drake did not consider $47,000 to represent an unreasonable or excessive cost to keep doing business. At this point, Human Resources’ would recommend to departments needing to be open Labor Day and/or Good Friday that they bring a minimum number of Employees in and pay them holiday premium pay (Time and a half for hours worked plus hour for hour paid time off for time worked up to eight hours). The Administration would evaluate this situation after a year to determine total cost, inconvenience and other factors to determine if this is a satisfactory response.
Peter Schledorn recommended that the Forum accept the recommendation of the Personnel Policies Committee: that the Forum urge that the Chancellor direct the Calendar Committee to revise the 1997-1998 academic calendar to schedule added instructional days on days which are not State and University holidays.
The Chair asked if Peter would accept a friendly amendment to have the recommendation address Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd, rather than the Chancellor. Peter indicated that the Committee felt that the recommendation was to go to the Chancellor, and Laurie Charest indicated the matter was essentially irrelevant. The Chair withdrew her friendly amendment. Chien-Hsin Wagner then seconded Peter’s motion.
Eddie Capel, noting he had missed the last Forum meeting but had read the comprehensive minutes on the discussion, thought that the three options presented did not make much sense to him. He had posted to the Forum list about the number of possible instructional days available without infringing on State holidays:
For your consideration:
365 days per year
<104> Sat & Sun
< 11> Employee Holidays
250 Days the University is OPEN (Weekdays)
150 academic days needed
5 spring break
2 fall break
10 exam days for both semesters
4 reading days for both semesters
52 summer school (exams & reading days) for both sessions
223 Academic days (weekdays)
That leaves 27 weekdays for semester/session breaks and other academic
needs. Even with 160 academic days needed, that still leaves 17 weekdays
Under different circumstances Eddie could see the sense in spending $47,000 or more to keep the University open on these days. Yet, since there is an ample amount of space available on the Calendar to add two, four or even ten more days, it does not make sense to “monkey around” with vacation days to create a lot of unnecessary administrative issues and unneeded State expense. Why not add instructional days to when the University is already open and staffed?
Mona Couts thought that the calendar for 1997-98 was set, and what the Forum had been asked to do was to determine how to treat these holidays. So, if the Forum decides to send forward the Personnel Policies Committee’s recommendation, that would be fine, but the Forum thereby may be opting out of what will occur if the University does not revise the calendar. She concluded that the Administration would adopt the recommendation of Human Resources about how these days would be treated.
Eddie Capel replied that the Chancellor had said that it was not a fixed issue. He thought the Forum’s recommendation not to change the two holidays was the appropriate choice.
Peter Schledorn recommended that the Personnel Policies Committee’s entire statement on the issue be sent forward along with the Forum’s recommendation as supporting documentation. In that statement, there is consideration of the merits and drawbacks of the three options. He felt that floating holidays and moving the holidays to other dates have significant drawbacks that would make them undesirable choices. He wanted to clarify that the Forum would have a good fallback position described in the statement’s supporting notes.
Sue Morand asked if the University pays holiday premium pay to those who are required to work these holidays, where will departments that do not have extra dollars find funds to pay this overtime? Many departments have a set policy that they cannot pay overtime. She asked if the University will supplement these departments.
Peter hoped that if the final decision of the Chancellor will require that instruction take place on these holidays, he would deal with the problem of departmental funding by providing some form of centralized assistance to departments that cannot afford to pay these workers overtime. Sue agreed that this would be the ideal solution, but wondered if this would actually happen.
Former Chair Rachel Windham cautioned the Forum not to assume anything about dollars coming to departments budget. Flexibility has now become the mechanism for funding most everything at the University and she believed the burden for this overtime would fall on schools and departments. She proposed that the Forum, if it feels that instruction will take place on these holidays, recommend creation of some mechanism be found to supplement the budget of areas supplying workers for holiday pay. She did not think the Administration would create this mechanism without a direct suggestion from the Forum.
Peter noted that since the Personnel Policies Committee was not making a recommendation that the University pay holiday premium pay on those days, it did not feel it appropriate to address the issue of funding for this option. He would hope that if the Chancellor felt there was no option but to hold class on these days, he would return the subject to the Forum for further discussion. A recommendation on this issue could be made at a further time. The Committee’s recommendation is to bypass the problem entirely by reconvening the Calendar Committee to revise the 1997-98 calendar.
The Chair was encouraged that Dr. Floyd had asked the Forum to appoint a Delegate as a member of the Academic Calendar Committee. She noted that Drake Maynard has been appointed to this Committee, and felt that staff concerns certainly will be addressed should the Calendar Committee reconvene, and in future deliberations.
Laurie Charest cautioned that the Committee may not reconvene. She agreed with Rachel’s assessment that there is no known intention to provide supplements to departments, recalling the Provost’s decision that the vast majority of departments did not need to be open. She thought that there would be little consideration of supplements to affected departments. She assumed and discussions with Human Resources Facilitators and the Forum indicated is that departments will have to make the decisions necessary to fund premiums for those chosen to work these holidays.
Peter Schledorn thought a statement from the Provost indicating that departments that feel they do not need to remain open would have great weight.
Norm Loewenthal thought the Personnel Policies Committee’s report was an excellent one and supported its recommendation. One of the report’s strengths is that it addresses the three options considered earlier. He thought that the final recommendation should note that the Forum has carefully considered the three options presented, found them in each case difficult for departments and Employees and therefore, urge the Chancellor to reconvene the Calendar Committee to find a schedule free of instructional days on State holidays.
The Chair asked if Norm meant that the Personnel Policies Committee should revise some of its notes to take account of the discussion held today. Norm felt mentioning the work of the Forum in evaluating these options would be sufficient. The Chair asked if Norm meant to include the comments about departments’ difficulties in funding of holiday pay. Peter did not think it would be a problem to make this amendment.
Ellen Hill from the Law School questioned the Calendar Committee’s decision make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a non-instructional day. She was confused why the Calendar Committee, while scrounging for days, had chosen to make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a non-instructional day while taking away staff holidays on Good Friday and Labor Day. Ellen asked if this inconsistency had been addressed.
The Chair agreed it had been mentioned. Laurie Charest thought that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving had been made a non-instructional day this year due to a number of reasons and the Committee did not want to reverse this decision. She noted there had been many questions about this day and others.
The difficult thing here is that we are criticizing the Calendar Committee for making its decision without involving Employees. Laurie did not know the Committee’s rationale because she was not present. Instead, the groups are not talking with each other, and are instead talking about each other. The Chair hoped the Forum could coordinate with the Calendar Committee and that by securing representation on that Committee we can get around this. The Chair repeated that Ellen’s concern had been voiced by other Employees.
Ellen conceded that the University probably decided to make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a non-instructional two years ago when this wasn’t an issue. Yet, in light of these new facts she felt the Calendar Committee should be asked to reconsider the 1997-98 schedule.
George Sharp asked Peter about a paragraph within the supporting notes dealing with floating holidays. Was it assumed that under floating holidays there would be total substitution for staff having Labor Day and Good Friday as holidays? Peter understood that Employees under floating holidays can choose these or other holidays as their time off, but some departments would need to stay open. Helen Iverson asserted the appeal of the floating holiday option is that departments would not have to pay holiday premiums.
Eddie Capel asked if under a floating holiday schedule departments may have to hire temporary staff to support operations. Helen felt that this decision and responsibility would be in the hands of supervisors creating schedules.
Eddie thought the issue is a matter of “common sense and logic” since there are plenty of extra, available days that are not State holidays on which the University can hold classes. He felt a refusal to revise the calendar will cost the University and cost Employees additional money for child care and other concerns. The Chair thought that the motion on the floor supported Eddie’s point of view and asked if the Forum were ready to take a vote on the motion.
Janet Tysinger worried that if the Forum voted in favor of the motion without providing additional information about contingency funds for needy departments there would be a danger that its message would be misconstrued. The Chair replied that the motion on the floor was strictly the bold print recommendation which would be sent forward with comments revised to reflect the day’s discussion.
Peter Schledorn asked permission to table his motion temporarily to draft a substitute motion reflecting the day’s comments, and Chien-Hsin Wagner allowed Peter’s suggestion with her second. The Forum agreed to Peter’s request.
At this point, the Chair noted the Recognition and Awards Committee’s recommendation that the Community Award (3-Legged Stool) not be renamed. There was general consensus that the Forum would accept the Committee’s recommendation.
Returning to the Academic Calendar issue, Peter presented this revised motion to the Forum: After careful consideration, we have concluded that the three staffing options presented to the Forum are unsatisfactory, therefore, we urge that the Chancellor direct the Calendar Committee to revise the 1997-1998 academic calendar to schedule added instructional days on days which are not State and University holidays. Chien-Hsin Wagner provided a second to this motion.
The Chair called for a vote on Peter’s motion. The motion was approved with Marshall Wade voting in opposition. The Chair thanked Personnel Policies Committee and Human Resources for their hard work in this concern.
The Chair moved on to the first item of new business from the Personnel Policies Committee, proposed changes in the University grievance procedure. Peter Schledorn noted that Committee had extensive discussions with Drake Maynard and Joe Totten on the proposed changes to move the University into compliance with State policies.
As background, he recalled the question of House Bill 1139 which would have changed the State grievance procedure significantly. This Bill essentially died when the Legislature adjourned in June, but Peter anticipated that it would be reintroduced in the long session. The revisions under discussion are part of the State’s requirement that every agency submit its grievance policy for review every two years.
After conversations with Human Resources, the Committee produced three pages of comments on the grievance procedure, addressing not only the revisions in question but also general concerns about the procedure. Sections on the first page and the top of the second page are specific recommendations about the procedure; a number of these have been adopted by Human Resources.
The final two pages contain general recommendations about specific problems within the procedure and ways to make it function better as a whole. He felt the first recommendation had been incorporated by Human Resources. The second recommendation that there be some written record of the request for mediation included in the process (a “paper trail”) was included. Nothing was included about a program for Employees using mediation services after pursuing a grievance.
There were some changes in the panel advisory role about which the Committee had some reservations, particularly the number and variety of roles given to the Counseling Service. The next recommendation in the report was also accepted.
Peter was disappointed that the revisions did not address the limitation of support persons to those UNC Employees who do not practice law. The Committee felt this limitation unwise because the limitations put on the support person during the procedure are more than enough to answer concerns about legal representation during this Step. Rather, it was felt the option should be given for Employees to utilize any support person desired. The support person is not allowed to do or say anything except speak quietly to the grievant during the hearing; the person cannot ask questions of the panelists, provide evidence or cross-examine. These limitations on behavior are more than enough to insure that a lawyer is not being brought into the hearing.
One other question the Committee had from the last version seen in Section G dealing with the ability to strike panel members. The Committee recommended disqualification of panel members be a general privilege, at the grievant’s option, for any reason felt appropriate. The most recent draft limited this right to one person disqualified which is a change from the July version seen in Forum members’ packets. The disqualification request now would have to be reviewed for “appropriateness,” a requirement the Committee felt was unwise also.
Peter said a feature of the ideal grievance procedure is to make the Employee feel they have been treated fairly, which includes allowing what outsiders may see as making meaningless or unnecessary strikes from the panel. Strikes should not be seen as a reflection on the personal integrity of those strikes. Other panel members should not necessarily know that a member has been striked, Peter said.
Peter made a motion that the Forum accept the document as written to be forwarded to the Chancellor as its short- and long-term position on the University grievance procedure. Chien-Hsin Wagner seconded this motion.
Janet Tysinger asked if the document in question should be revised to reflect Human Resources’ incorporation of different suggestions, or at least be sent with notes of the day’s discussion. Peter thought that a cover letter noting that some of the recommendations in question have already been incorporated by Human Resources would be sufficient. He offered to provide a list of the items that have already been incorporated.
The Chair called for a vote on the motion in question. Mona Couts asked to make a friendly amendment that the document be sent to Human Resources as well as the Chancellor. Peter said he had already sent a copy of the report to Drake Maynard. The motion was approved without opposition.
Anticipating the need for additional grievance panel members, Joe Totten asked the Forum to recommend some panel candidates to Human Resources. He also asked that members bring word about the grievance procedure to their departments, noting his office would be available to conduct meetings on the subject within the University community. The Chair asked that the University Committee Assignments Committee take on the charge of finding Employees to serve on grievance panels.
Helen Iverson asked Joe why the State Legislature had chosen to eliminate the support person role from the grievance procedure. Joe replied that the Office of State Personnel indicated the role had been abused within agencies to the point where a support person had taken over meetings, argue their own personal agendas or practice law without a license. Thus, the Office of State Personnel decided to eliminate the role of the support person.
The University has found the support person role vital to the continuing health of the grievance procedure, and will request an exemption to continue the support person within the procedure. However, in order to gain the exemption, the University may be forced to limit support people to University Employees. Joe said that Human Resources is in agreement with the Forum that the support person role should continue.
In the absence of further questions, the Chair thanked the Personnel Policies Committee and Human Resources for their hard work and collaboration on examining the procedure revisions.
Frank DiMauro, convenor of the Video Task Force, presented a motion to receive permission to film scenes of the Forum at work. He noted that the script called for three filming sessions: moments before the Forum’s Fall Community Meeting; a “mock-up” following the Forum’s September Meeting; and “live” shots of the Forum in session at its October meeting. Helen Iverson seconded Frank’s motion.
Eddie Capel asked jokingly how much the videos would sell for and who would see the royalties involved. The Chair interjected that she had seen the script and felt the Task Force would do a great job. The Forum unanimously approved Frank’s motion.
The Chair, noting that the Forum did not have many opportunities for social interaction with the Faculty Council, noted a suggestion to hold a challenge bowling match with the Council in the Student Union. She thought this suggestion was a good one. Members joked that bowling shirts would be required and asked if touch football had been considered. There was a general consensus that this idea be pursued and the Chair said she would be game, even though she had never picked up a bowling ball in her life.
The Chair noted that Vice-Chair Kay Spivey had phoned in from out of town to report that the week of October 7 has been chosen as the week for the Fall Community Meeting. Also, the Employee Presentations Committee has chosen to hold a strictly “open mike” session for the Fall Meeting.
Chair Dianne Crabill of the Nominating Committee reported that group had been hard at work on the Forum’s nominating process. At that point, the Forum has received around 133 nominations, with a shortfall in Divisions 1, 2, and 3. The Committee will gather after the meeting to develop a strategy for these three Divisions.
Chair Tommy Brickhouse of the Compensation and Benefits Committee said that group had not met due to lack of forwarded issues.
Chair Helen Iverson of the Public Affairs Committee reported the group had not met that month but noted that member Tommy Brickhouse had reported already to the Forum about the Greensboro Citizens’ Forum. She thanked all Employees who called, wrote or visited their legislators, asserted they had made the difference between the 4.5% raise given this year and the 2% raise given the previous year. The Committee will meet next week to plan strategy for November and the legislative long session.
Co-Chair Pamela Shoaf said that the Recognition and Awards Committee’s minutes were in the August packet and detailed the Committee’s plans through the end of the year. Nomination forms for the Community Award will be included in an upcoming agenda packet.
Co-Chair Jennifer Pendergast of the University Committee Assignments Committee noted the two nominees for the Outsourcing Steering Team have already been identified. She reported that Stuart Bethune and Caroline Truelove were the two Forum nominees for service on the Academic Calendar Committee. These names have been forwarded to Dr. Floyd.
Eddie Capel reported for the Career Development Committee, stating that the group’s minutes were included in the August agenda packet. The Committee is in the final stages of approving its education survey to be sent to 500 randomly selected University Employees. He hoped these results would be ready in the next few months.
Frank DiMauro, convenor of the Video Production Task Force, reported the group had met twice in order to finalize its shooting script. Once finalized, a production and post-production schedule will be arranged, and the Task Force is searching for existing footage of prominent Forum supporters as well as commissioning Delegates and Employees willing to speak and appear on camera. Shooting will begin probably in September.
Peter Schledorn, Liaison to the Faculty Council on Partner Benefits, reported no action from that Committee but said the group would soon undertake conversations with the University Insurance Committee.
Laresia Farrington, Liaison to the Faculty Council on Legislative Affairs, said that group had not met that month.
Human Resources Update
Laurie Charest reported on the structure of the recently approved salary increases:
* All SPA Employees with a “Below Good” performance rating or better receive a 2.5% cost of living increase.
* SPA Employees with a “Good” performance rating or better and are not at the maximum of their salary range will receive a 2% career growth increase.
* There is a 2% one-time bonus (not added to base) to persons who would otherwise be eligible for career growth but are at the maximum of their salary range.
* SPA Employees within 2% of the maximum of their salary range will get a base salary increase up to the maximum of their range and a one-time bonus for the portion not included. (For instance, an Employee 1% below the maximum will receive a 1% base increase to reach the maximum and a 1% bonus.)
Laurie reported that no Employee in the final stages of disciplinary action will receive any of these increases until the action is resolved. Plans are to include these raises in the September 27 paychecks, as the raise is effective September 1. September 1 falls on a Sunday this year and is the very last day of a pay period. Only those who work on that Sunday, September 1, will be affected and will receive a raise for that day along with a full pay period increase. Human Resources believes it will pay bonuses in the September 27 paycheck.
Sue Morand asked about Employees who have not been in their position long enough to be rated. Laurie replied that Employees who have not been in their position long enough to be rated will not receive their bonus until they are rated. Employees must be under a work plan four months in order to be rated; after four months they can be evaluated and thus receive career growth.
Helen Iverson asked hypothetically if an Employee due for longevity pay September 1 would receive the new salary or the old salary. Laurie did not know the answer to this question.
Charest did not know what would occur next year, but recalled that in some previous years raises have been made retroactive while once a pay raise was delayed until January of the next year, though this increase would not be retroactive. Scheduling of raises is a budgeting tactic, Laurie said.
Archie Phillips asked who would receive solely the 2.5% increase. Laurie replied that all SPA Employees with a “Below Good” or better and are not in the final stages of disciplinary action would receive the 2.5% cost of living increase. They would receive an additional 2% career growth increase if they achieved a “Good” on their performance ratings, according to the formulas described above.
Human Resources has sent out an e-mail to departments describing these instructions in brief and would provide more information as it becomes available. The bonus was different than anticipated but the rest was based on the Comprehensive Compensation System, as expected. The work involved in producing performance ratings will pay off for Employees and Human Resources has worked to gather the names of all Employees involved in disciplinary actions as well.
More details about trainees and Employees on leave will be worked out as available. She expected everything to be ready for the September 27 paycheck.
On the EPA side, Laurie had fewer details but reported a 4.5% salary increase pool which will be distributed according to instructions from the Board of Governors. She anticipated this distribution would take place according to merit, as in the past. Out of the academic enhancement matching funds there is expected to be a .5% pool available for teaching faculty only. She did not have instructions from General Administration or know the dates for processing, so it was not known if these determinations would be done by the end of September on a current basis. Laurie will keep the Forum up to date on this information.
Laurie thanked those who participated in the University Blood Drive, either as donors or volunteers. The University did not meet its goal of 1,000 pints, but did receive over 800 pints. Generally it took donors no longer than an hour to give blood. She was encouraged by the improved efficiency over last year and she hoped next year more Employees would respond.
Laurie announced that August 7 is the final exam day for the Certified Nursing Assistant program sponsored by the University. The University began the CNA training program as part of its housekeeping initiatives. Laurie expected that 17 University Employees would participate in a pinning ceremony at Durham Tech to signify their completion of the program. Sixteen of those seventeen Employees are housekeepers.
Laurie thanked the School of Nursing for providing lab and classroom space to these Employees as well as a great deal of personal encouragement. She thanked Hillhaven for allowing these Employees to work on the practical portion of their program.
Announcements & Questions
As a final figure, Patti Smith reported that the University had gathered 875 pints at its Blood Drive.
The Chair noted the Forum was scheduled to hold its Relax & Chat around the Fordham Fountain, or, if the weather becomes inclement, the group can meet in the Forum/Faculty Council Conference Room, 202 Carr Building.
The Chair thanked each and all of the Delegates present for their hard work in getting through the day’s full agenda. In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Peggy Cotton made this motion, with Frank Alston seconding. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:31 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary