December 5, 2012
Employee Forum Agenda
December 5, 2012
9:15-9:45 a.m. —-Holiday Social Potluck, Wilson Library Lobby
9:45 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order—Vice Chair Dan Barmmer
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Special Presentations
- Chair Jackie Overton’s Speech on University Day 2012
- Charles Streeter on Forum’s New Website
IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
V. Special Guests: Dr. Altha Cravey, Dr. Joseph Jordan, and Mr. Jacob Lerner from NC Vision Coalition (10:15 a.m.)
VI. Approval of November minutes
VII. Old Business
VIII. New Business
IX. Forum Committee Reports
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
- Communications and Public Relations: Alia Wegner
- Education and Career Development: Charles Streeter
- Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
- Personnel Issues: James Holman (November)
- Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Danny Nguyen/John Gullo
- Executive Committee: Dan Barmmer (September, October)
December 5, 2012 Employee Forum minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Teri Augustine, Dan Barmmer, Ellen Donna Brooks, Tiffany Carver, Marilyn Couch, Tammy Cox, Kenneth Davis, Sharon Glover, John Gullo, James Gusler, George James, James Holman, Todd Hux, Christina Lebonville, Carleta Long, Valerie Madill, Avia Mainor, Matthew McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Jillian Molee, Jessica O’Hara, Myra Quick, Koyah Rivera, Patricia Robinson, David Schwartz, Tara Smith, Charles Streeter, Alpa Vaghani
Vice Chair Dan Barmmer called the meeting to order at 9:45 a.m. following the holiday potluck social at 9:15 a.m. He noted that Chair Jackie Overton was currently recovering from surgery and doing well. Barmmer praised Overton’s optimism and said that he appreciated the good fortune that the Forum has enjoyed these past years. He said that Forum members should be mindful of how they advocate for positions, acknowledging the good while criticizing the bad. He noted a recent meeting of the Executive Committee with Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone in which Malone recalled a newspaper article that unfairly claimed nothing has been done in the Housekeeping division this past year. Malone thanked Barmmer for the acknowledgement and for the impulse not to divide things into “us versus them.” She hoped that the future would see more partnership and less division. Barmmer led the room in a round of introductions. Barmmer then introduced a video presentation of Jackie Overton’s remarks during University Day 2012.
Charles Streeter presented the Forum’s new web page redesign, which he said would be officially launched this month. He said that employeeforum.unc.edu would soon replace the old forum.unc.edu address. Streeter directed the Forum’s attention to the carousel of events on the front page and the photo albums page. He said that Forum members who have pictures posted that they do not want can petition to have these removed. He noted that the main site is not yet complete but will be brought on-line because it is easier and more manageable for users and administrators alike. Streeter said that the Forum’s use of Sharepoint for documents would increase through 2013 as he has the opportunity to conduct trainings. He thanked all who signed up for the holiday social via Sharepoint.
Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone gave the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She thanked Barmmer for his opening comments. She hoped that there would be more appreciation and less denigration in the future. She also thought there was not enough focus on the positive. She looked forward to working with the Forum to continue to make the University the best place ever to work. Malone noted that the Board of Trustees has approved a new salary structure for EPA Tier 2 employees, namely those with broad administrative responsibilities. She said that a formal salary range was not in place previously for these employees. Malone said that Human Resources had done a lot of work to develop these ranges, which will take effect January 1, 2013. There will be an informal process to let these employees know where they fall in the range, as well as the minimums and maximums for their positions. Malone said instituting a formal structure tied to the market will allow the University retain and recruit appropriately. David Schwartz asked if there will be money available for out of cycle ranges. Malone said that would not result, but the reform will create a range for future raises. These employees will be lifted beyond their maximum only in extraordinary cases.
Malone noted that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares effort had cracked $805,000, a great sum but short of the University’s goal of $1 million. The effort had been extended to December 7. She encouraged listeners to work with their colleagues to secure more funds for the effort, which will benefit people across the state and nation. Senior Director for Human Resources Communication and Talent Development Kathy Bryant reported that her office would provide new class programming in the spring. Interested employees should consult training.unc.edu for more details.
Drs. Altha Cravey and Joseph Jordan and student leader Jacob Lerner rose to speak on the NC Vision Coalition’s response to the UNC advisory committee on strategic directions. Jordan spoke about the possibility of the advisory committee making the University subject to a nebulous efficiency agenda. He said that the NC Vision Coalition was looking for regular and substantial exchanges among students, faculty, and staff. He worried that the concerns of these groups has too often been shunted to side processes and are not considered central to majority issues. Jordan shared concerns about language used in negotiations, particularly calling for more efficiency and emphasizing increased tuition revenue. He noted North Carolina’s tradition of low public tuition in comparison to a state like Michigan. He also deplored the approach of Texas to run its public higher education system like a business, with students treated as customers.
Cravey hoped that the Forum would join the Coalition. She noted that faculty, staff, and students are largely not involved in committee descriptions or work. She noted descriptions of government workers as overpaid and lazy. She recalled UNC President Tom Ross’ statement that he would like to pay UNC employees more but that he cannot due to government red tape. She bemoaned the departure of the four day, ten-hour work week in Facilities Services and the cut in tuition waiver classes from three per semester down to two. She noted the scores of abuses in Housekeeping. She said that those who understand the problems are not the ones making the decisions. Cravey said that approaching the committee as individuals would be fruitless, but that the University needs space to discuss these issues and to value the relationship with others. She said that the University community needs to show the right to be included in the process of change.
Lerner said that he felt not adequately represented during the process of change governed by the advisory committee. He said that a combination of students, faculty, and staff is powerful, as all groups will be affected by the decisions of the advisory committee. He noted that Forum delegates have attended meetings of the Coalition Mondays at noon in the Campus Y. He said that the Coalition is attempting to contact other groups on other campuses. Koyah Rivera asked if the Coalition has reached out to the UNC System Staff Assembly to pursue its goals and to explore mutual aims. Lerner said that the Coalition had not explored this avenue as it had formed only two and half months ago.
Vice Chair Dan Barmmer called for a motion to approve the November minutes. Arlene Medder made this motion, seconded by Chris Meinecke. This motion was approved by acclamation.
Barmmer noted that the Provost search committee had begun work alongside that of the Chancellor search committee. Tammy Cox will be the Forum’s representative on the Provost search committee.
Christine Lebonville and Arlene Medder presented on the work of the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Lebonville said that the fundraiser at Tallulah’s had experienced a large turnout and served delicious food. Medder said that she had deposited a DVD of documentaries about the garden in the Forum office. She said that the garden will have winter crops to harvest in the coming months.
Charles Streeter noted that the Communications and Public Relations committee had been busy with the creation of the new Forum website. Streeter said that the Education and Career Development committee had been charged to conduct a survey on what kind of services are needed by the University employee community. He noted that the dormant computer loan program had been funded by Chancellor Emeritus James Moeser’s bonus but had not received further ongoing funding. He said that the committee must show a need for programs proposed. Avia Mainor asked about obtaining a broader assessment of career development needs. Streeter said that he would share ideas via the Forum listserv. He noted that the Staff Development fund balance seems large but can dissipate quickly. He noted that a survey would require work from the Forum Office and possibly Human Resources before it can receive distribution. He said the survey would be distributed electronically with paper distribution to Divisions 2 and 3 employees who do not have ready access to computers.
James Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee had discussed the NC Vision Coalition. Christina Lebonville noted a concern that the Coalition lacks staff participation. She said that it was difficult to represent all staff concerns through the efforts of three people. She distributed a sign-up sheet for those interested in working with the Coalition. She hoped that community meetings could be organized to discuss the Coalition’s work. Myra Quick said that she could not attend another meeting given her Forum commitments each month. Lebonville said that she was reluctant to speak for all staff in these meetings. She asked the Forum to discuss these questions. Holman said that the Coalition was looking to the Forum for ideas on what can be done. Carleta Long said that many things the Forum does seem to occur in a box. She said that employees in her area in Burnett-Womack are not aware of the work of the Forum. She urged advertising the Forum via pamphlets and other means to inform employees about the work of the Forum. Lebonville noted that the Forum is more established than the NC Vision Coalition. Marilyn Couch proposed that the Forum use its meeting time to invite all other employees to a larger space for wide-ranging discussions. She said she had heard of discontent in the maintenance area that could use discussion. Barmmer said that the Forum has tried to communicate via InTouch, its community meetings, and the divisional listservs. Avia Mainor proposed that the Executive Committee discuss the NC Vision Coalition question and the Forum’s role. The Forum agreed not to distribute Coalition e-mails since the volume of Forum e-mails is already high. Barmmer asked about creating a partnership. Forum delegates thought that the Forum should not yet partner with a group without clearer understanding of its goals. John Gullo noted it was more convenient to attend meetings held at 5 p.m. after work than at lunchtime. Holman recognized Lawrence Giffin for his attendance at these meetings along with Lebonville. He hoped that these two could generate written reports on the work of the Coalition. Mainor said that the Forum could encourage other staff members to attend these meetings, so that the Forum does not bear the brunt of attending every meeting. Matthew McKirahan confirmed that the Forum has not yet formally endorsed the Coalition but was rather asking individuals to work with the group.
Chris Meinecke said that the Recognition & Awards committee had not yet met but would soon work to choose a date and time for the peer recognition awards in the spring. He said that the committee will work with Charles Streeter on electronic balloting for the awards.
John Gullo said that he had attended the UNC System Staff Assembly chairs’ meeting, which had not had enough representatives to compose a quorum. He said that Staff Assembly Chair Chuck Brink had encouraged faculty, staff, and students to participate in shared governance. He noted that half of the UNC System campuses do not allow their staff organizations to become involved in their board of trustees meetings. He said that several campuses expressed appreciation for how transparent the UNC-Chapel Hill Human Resources department has been in its dealings. Gullo also reported that Fayetteville State University has farmed out half its technical support group to different companies and countries.
Myra Quick said that the group had worked to organize the day’s social. She said that the committee will institute on-line voting for Forum delegate candidates in early February. She said that the Forum would hold another social in March.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:18 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary