Agenda — February 5, 1997

9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library

I. Call to Order

 

II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press

 

III. Opening Remarks

* Chancellor Michael Hooker

 

IV. Special Presentation

* C.D. Spangler, President of the University of North Carolina

 

V. Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger

 

VI. Approval of Minutes of the January 8, 1997 meeting

 

VII. Unfinished Business

* Personnel Policies Committee Proposal for University-wide Compensatory Time Policy

 

VIII. New Business

* Ratification of Forum Executive Committee

* Discussion of Forum Officer Election Procedure

* Proposal to Change Operating Procedure: Thirty-Day Waiting Period for Consideration of “Proposals of Substance”

* Ratification of 1996 Forum Highlights Page

* Appointment of Liaison to Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs

* Appointment of Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force

 

IX. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Bob Schreiner

* Bill Graves, Chief Information Officer (Interim) of Information Technology Services, to Make Special Presentation at March 5 Meeting

* Communication from Appalachian State University Staff Council/Possible March Meeting with NC State, North Carolina Central

* University Managers’ Association Request of Forum to Handle Planning for Staff Participation for University Day

* Jamie Spruiell, Thomas Holmes Newly Promoted Delagates from Division 2

 

X. Committee/Task Force Reports: Goals for the Year

* Nominating—Libby Evans

* Orientation—Delores Jarrell

* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn

* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse

* Public Affairs—???

=> Legislative Day Postponed

* Recognition and Awards—Nancy Klatt/Laura Grady

* University Committee Assignments—Anne Montgomery/Tommy Nixon

* Career Development—Norm Loewenthal

* Faculty Council Liaisons

* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn

* Legislative Affairs

* Land Use Planning—Margaret Balcom

* Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee Representative—Janet Tysinger

* Outsourcing Team Representatives—Bennie Griffin/Ann Hamner

 

XI. Human Resources Update

* Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources

 

XII. Announcements/Questions

 

XIII. Adjournment

MINUTES

February 5, 1997

Delegates Present

Frank Alston

Milton Anthony

Nancy Atwater

Jeffrey Beam

Tommy Brickhouse

Lucille Brooks

Eddie Capel

Joyce Dalgleish

Libby Evans

Betty Geer

Thomas Goodwin

Bennie Griffin

Tommy Gunter

Jerry Hall

Phil Hearne

Delores Jarrell

Bettye Jones

Steve Jones

Tricia Mitchell

Norm Loewenthal

Anne Montgomery

Tommy Nixon

Rosa Nolen

Jackie Overton

Archie Phillips, Jr.

Diana Saxon

Peter Schledorn

Bob Schreiner

George Sharp

Jamie Spruiell

Stephanie Stadler

Cheryl Stout

Reba Sullivan

Nancy Tannenbaum

Janet Tysinger

Ronald Umstead

Chien-Hsin Wagner

Dail White

Beverly Williams

Mary Woodall

Laurie Charest”

Ann Hamner “

” = Ex-Officio

 

Delegates Absent

Joseph Ellison

Laura Grady

Thomas Holmes

Nancy Klatt

Ruth Lewter

Frances Rountree

 

Alternates Present

Donnie Apple

Marjorie Busby

Connie Dean

Linda Drake

Alfred Jeter

Margaret Moore

Sandy Mine

Tom Sullivan

 

Guests

Margaret Balcom

Elson Floyd

Mike Hobbs

Michael Hooker

Mitch Kokai

C.D. Spangler

 

 

 

Call to Order and Welcome to Guests

Chair Bob Schreiner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. He invited Chancellor Hooker to introduce the meeting’s special presenter, President of the University System C.D.

Spangler.

Chancellor Hooker said it was an honor to introduce his boss. Hooker reminded the Forum that President Spangler has announced his retirement effective this summer or when the Board of Governors finds his replacement. Hooker also reminded audiences of all that Spangler has done for this University, his love for this campus and his work on behalf of those working here. Employees are very much in his debt and will be for the rest of the professional lives of all those in the assembly.

So, Hooker was especially pleased to introduce Spangler today. That morning, the two had chatted about the Employee Forum, its history and what it meant for the campus. Hooker assured the group that President Spangler shares his appreciation of the Forum and its accomplishments, particularly in terms of building a sense of community among the people on campus who are sometimes not fully appreciated by the media, faculty and administration for their contributions to the quality of campus operations. Hooker emphasized that President Spangler appreciates and understands the absolutely crucial nature of the staff and Forum contributions to the quality that we are all so proud of at Carolina.

President Spangler thanked the Chancellor for his introduction. He recalled matriculating at the University in September 1950 and his time as a student living in Room 204 Alexander. That day was the first he had ever seen the University of North Carolina or the town of Chapel Hill. He had never visited the University.

Of course, today a student who goes to high school makes a half-dozen or more campus visits. Yet, sight unseen, Spangler always knew that he would attend the University. That evening he had his first meal at Lenoir Hall, and still utilizes the Hall today to meet with a student or a faculty member or a member of the staff for conversation. He was amazed that that building, built around 1937-8 by the WPA, cost the State only about $150,000 and was still in productive use.

Spangler said he understood and appreciated the Employee Forum, its work, and the discussions brought to the attention of the community and the Chancellor. Having worked these 11 years now with 34 chancellors across the state in our wonderful University system, Spangler felt he had some understanding for the work of a University Chancellor, noting that these jobs are not exactly ones where tranquillity and peace exist.

Spangler noted his family are Baptists from up in Cleveland County. “My father was one of 12 children, my mother one of eight children raised on little farms who couldn’t go to college because they didn’t have any money. But they always went back to that church and I did too when I was young and they always sang `There will be peace in the valley.’ But I swear there was never any peace in that valley up there. It was hard work and I guess that peace in the valley has some sort of meaning in the long term.”

Addressing the Forum, Spangler noted also that frequently in his travels he sometimes meets people on a casual basis who ask ‘Where are you from?’ and he replies ‘I’m from Chapel Hill.’ These people then ask ‘What do you do?’ and he replies `I work for the University of North Carolina.’ Then they ask again, ‘What do you do?’ and he answers ‘I am a staff member’ or `I’m an administrator’ and their eyes just glaze over.

People generally do not have any knowledge of what staff members do and probably would not think their work was terribly exciting. Yet, of course, our work is exciting and terribly important— to support students primarily, to see that they get a good education and then to see that the professors are well taken care of and that they receive the tools and the facilities to teach effectively.

Spangler recalled that he speaks often to groups of professors who sometimes ask him what he does. Generally, he answers that he does what professors do not want to do. The first president of the university, Mr. Caldwell, came down from Princeton to teach mathematics. The University also told him that he had to keep the accounting books, collect the tuition and become president. Though reluctant to assume these tasks, President Caldwell was induced by a salary equal to half a year’s tuition. Spangler joked that if administrators today had the same sort of arrangement, he might not be so much against high tuition.

Yet, the situation where the faculty don’t necessarily understand what other staff Employees do. When he tells groups of faculty that his job is to do what they don’t want to do, like ensure that they are paid monthly and to see that the classrooms are cleaned up and that the buildings are heated and the grass is mowed and so forth, by the end of the time I say that one of the faculty members will say: “Well, Mr. Spangler, the classrooms are dirty, the grass is not cut and do you know how much that professor who teaches the same thing that I do at Duke gets?” At this point, he and other chancellors must work to recall what really is important. It becomes a situation where challenges exist that not everyone understands.

Part of these challenges come from the University’s incredible array of constituencies. The No. 1 constituency, quite obviously, is the student body. Then there are faculty and staff. These are the on-campus constituencies.

Off-campus constituencies exist also, and all of these people are stakeholders. Every single one of these groups, if severely dissatisfied, can cause major problems for a chancellor or a president. Other constituencies would be the community, Chapel Hill for this campus or Boone for Appalachian and so forth. Parents are another constituency who are very careful about what’s happening and what they read about what’s going on our campuses. Spangler dryly observed that regarding alcohol use, parents feel that their student never saw a beer until arriving at Chapel Hill.

Another constituency is the alumni, a group with many subdivisions. Some attend ball games, some don’t. Some give money, some don’t. The Legislature is another constituency. Legislators are the bankers of the University. Clearly, the System can go nowhere without legislators’ support. Fortunately, for the most part, they have continued this support.

The Governor and his office are another constituency. Governor Hunt attended two System universities: N.C. State for his undergraduate and Chapel Hill for his law degree.

The press is clearly an extremely important constituency because it reports to the public what’s happening at the University. If System campuses do something well this news is reported, and if things are done poorly this fact is certainly reported. This feedback is helpful in ways that sometimes that our campus may not fully appreciate.

Then, of course, there is the major constituency of North Carolina taxpayers who provide the tax money to the General Assembly are a major constituency. If taxpayers were unhappy with the University to any significant degree, then the System just would not receive resources necessary from the General Assembly.

These are perhaps ten different constituencies, perhaps an incomplete list, but all are extremely important to the University. Each one of those constituencies is divided into ethnic groups, female-male, and other categories. The overall situation is one in which the people that staff deal with come from an incredibly different backgrounds. An administrator or staff member must recognize that almost every citizen feels a vital interest in the activities of the University and how these activities affect them.

Spangler said he finds his job challenging. He believes he was trained for the job, and thought a person who did not enjoy this challenge would quickly depart.

Yet, as someone observed, Spangler noted one of the failings of our universities is a propensity for spending too much time looking in the mirror and not enough time looking out the window. The University must look outward if it is to adapt to a changing world.

Our world is changing, and it will continue to change, either with or without campuses and their workers. The University will be in really deep trouble if it fails to understand what is happening in the world outside the campus community.

Higher education is facing a series of major changes comparable to the tremendous expansion in enrollment after World War II and the democratization of higher education that came about in the 1960s. The University needs to look out the window and see what is happening next.

First, there is a growing demand for access to higher education. The number of high school graduates is rising and the children of baby boomers are matriculating in greater numbers. More older, non-traditional students are either seeking to enroll for the first time or clamoring for access to continuing education. Spangler hopes that University Employees are among that number seeking to improve themselves through continuing education.

Our people still have faith in education. They see it as a means to personal advancement and upward mobility. They believe, correctly, that education can mean better jobs, higher incomes, and a better quality of life for their children and grandchildren and for themselves.

Across the State now there are 150,000 students in class today on the 16 System campuses. If the college growth rate continues at the rate of the last decade, these 16 campuses can expect another 35,000 additional students by the year 2005.

The General Assembly is so concerned about providing access for those students that it has given the University four separate, precise directives relating to the issue and how we are going to handle it.

What else do we see? Secondly, there is a growing concern about the cost of higher education, to the individual and to the taxpayers. Hardly a day goes by without a newspaper or magazine article bemoaning the rising cost of higher education. Students and parents are worried and legislators share their concern.

In his State of the Union address, President Clinton talked about the importance of education to this nation and pledged to make this issue his number one priority for his second term. Spangler welcomed this commitment and hoped that the President’s initiatives regarding education, particularly higher education, will come to pass in cooperation with Congress. Together, he was encouraged the two would be able to carve out an agreement beneficial to present and future students.

Governor Hunt proclaimed that education is the number one priority on his agenda, though he is focusing more on public schools than on the University. He wants a public school system in North Carolina as good as the University of North Carolina. It is strange that one organization should be so good and its associate face such significant problems.

Spangler sympathized with citizens uneasy about the cost of higher education. He felt the push for higher tuition and higher costs echoes corporate calls for restructuring and downsizing from the 1980s and 90s. He saw a similar impulse in the drive for health care restructuring in the 1990s and beyond.

Spangler saw these economic concerns expressed in legislation in Raleigh which instructs the University to consider ways of shortening time to degree, to report annually on faculty teaching workloads, to review all academic degree programs in terms of low priority, low productivity and unnecessary duplication and to review possible reductions in the number of those programs.

The General Assembly has instructed the University to review all research and public service to see that there are benefits coming from those activities. It has been instructed to consider cost savings that might be realized though privatization of certain services and to also revisit the current formula for funding full-time equivalent students. Spangler saw these initiatives as a euphemism for cutting University funding.

When we look out the window what do we see? There is a declining faith in large institutions— in Congress, politicians, newspapers, even in churches. Now this decline in faith faces the University.

For years now the University has encountered mounting criticism about the quality of undergraduate teaching, which is our main thrust, and a perceived overemphasis on research. There is a perception that faculty are avoiding teaching duties and relying overly on graduate teaching assistants whom we are told do not speak English very well. There are similar concerns about inadequate academic advising.

The University is being called to account. Like any public organization, our University must justify its practices in terms of achieving our intended goals. The increased cost of higher education and the declining confidence in how we run our affairs are compelling the University to justify practices that were once assumed, and assumed the public would support.

The University community should recognize that however the questions are phrased, they are appropriate and the concerns expressed, although sometimes worrisome, are legitimate. Yet while the General Assembly has called attention to these problems, the Legislature has also in the main given the University latitude to propose and administer ways to rectify these problems.

To cite but one example, and there are very, very many, legislation has called upon the University to evaluate instruction and to reward good teaching. At the same time, the General Assembly moved to support the University by providing funds for annual teaching awards and extra salary funds for teaching excellence. The University has used those funds, Spangler believed, wisely and to produce a real positive impact on System campuses.

The current pressure for economy and accountability, for efficiency and productivity must not cause our campuses to draw in and tighten down and become defensive at a time when they need to expand their vision and reach.

“These words, economy and accountability, efficiency and productivity, these words bother me because of an implicit assumption that running a university is like running a business. The University is not a business and it can’t be run like a business. I’ve done both and believe you me, nothing is like a university.”

Yet, the University is under scrutiny. Constituencies are watching the University. Spangler was not bothered by this because he believed, for the most part, that our constituents are our friends; they want to find out more about the University in order to help it succeed.

The people of North Carolina, directly and through their elected representatives, have been extraordinarily generous in their support of the University of North Carolina. They believe in the System, and most of them and their spouses came to one of its campuses. Their children have attended and their grandchildren are trying to gain entry. This is a valuable and irrefutable point.

Legislators believe in the University because they have seen what happens on its campuses, and they have benefited. They’ve been rewarded by a 16-campus University that is truly the envy of the nation. They believe that it has helped them in the past and believe that the University can help them now. They believe that the University should help them even more in the future. And they are right.

The University should respond in a positive way to legislators’ expectations and concerns. It is doing so with initiatives in the evaluation of teaching, a system of post-tenure faculty review of performance, the length of our academic year, a thorough review of student financial aid and the issues of affordability, extension and distance learning, baccalaureate completion programs, comprehensive transfer agreements with the community colleges and development of on-line information systems.

Turning away from the window for a moment to look back in the mirror, we should remind ourselves once again we share a great and common purpose: to serve North Carolina and its people through quality instruction, productive research and real public service in the community.

Citizens share a common responsibility to preserve a learning community now 200 years old, marked by free inquiry, the exchange of ideas and hard work. We share the common challenge of ensuring that this institution embodies the ideals of honesty, justice, freedom, equality, generosity, civility and respect for individual persons, all of which are necessary for a good community.

To expect our students to develop values that are consonant with those of a democratic society, to expect them to understand what ethical behavior means and how necessary it is for family, community and national life, then all, faculty, staff and students alike, must ensure that tone dominates our campus areas.

“We are not passengers on a ship. We are the crew–all of us — and what every vessel needs if it is to survive is a crew that understands the nature of its obligation to the ship. If the voyage is to be a safe one, if the ship and its cargo and its crew are to arrive at a safe harbor, the crew has to work well. And we have work to do — important work, essential work, meaningful work. That’s what Employees do. The ship just will not sail without you.

Thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed being with you, and I would be happy to have questions.”

Tommy Brickhouse began the question & answer session by wishing the President good morning. On the subject of affirmative action, he noted that California and Nevada have in many aspects abandoned it as a governing policy. Also, at a recent conference of student government leaders of the consolidated University System, representatives from UNC-Wilmington, and East Carolina voted to abandon affirmative action, or at least redefine the term. Brickhouse noted that these students are potential policymakers who could be elected to the State Legislature in a few years. All agree there should be a level playing field in hiring and admission practices. Brickhouse asked if Spangler could share his thoughts on this subject, particularly if he feels that the present model of affirmative action is still appropriate.

Spangler recalled that Proposition 209 did pass in California without any trouble, with a margin of around 60% in favor to 40% against. However, California is a much more complex state than North Carolina, demographically. In Spangler’s estimation Californian voters made a severe mistake. Yet, reexamination of affirmative action is a matter that is spreading. There was an Texas affirmative case called Hopwood which was decided against the University of Texas, which means this issue will continue to be discussed.

Spangler was very satisfied with the policy of affirmative action in the 11 years of his tenure at the University of North Carolina. One problem is that the phrase “affirmative action” means different things to different people and so getting past just those words is almost impossible in a contentious group. Personally, he felt affirmative action meant something that has always been a characteristic of people in North Carolina, or maybe even in the total nation: an inclination towards helping the underdog. That is all, he felt, that affirmative action does.

“I know that when Muggsy Bogues goes out on the basketball court I really want him to dunk that ball. And everybody else does too. It’s because Muggsy is short. For those of you who don’t follow basketball, Muggsy is not very tall. And I think affirmative action is nothing more or less than helping those who for some reason or another grew up in families where they didn’t have the advantages of books or maybe didn’t have the advantage of a mother or father or whatever and that somehow or other, this university and other polices that we are part of, give them a chance to get to the starting line–just the starting line–at the same time and the same place as those who had more advantages.

And so, we don’t guarantee, in affirmative action, any success of graduation or anything like that. All we’re trying to do is say this university is open to you and this university is open to people for employment regardless of what their background might have brought them. The Board of Governors, to my knowledge, is 100 percent in support of what I just said. I have never heard a single member of my Board of Governors express a negative concern about this issue.”

Spangler noted that he travels a great deal to meetings outside the state. Upon returning, his wife often asks: What did you learn? Spangler often replies that “I would like to build the biggest wall I could around North Carolina because I don’t want those other folks infecting us. We’re doing a very good job in [the area of higher education]. Not perfect. But a whole lot of things have gone right in this period of time and I don’t want to see it reversed and I honestly believe that when this gets to the Supreme Court of the United States that they will vote to affirm what the University of North Carolina has been doing and the way we’ve been doing it. If they don’t, we have a major problem.

Anne Montgomery recalled that in March 1994 the Forum approved a resolution asking the President to review the chancellor search process guidelines. Specifically, the resolution requested the addition of a new section or sections on the role of Employees and students or amendment of the section of the faculty to include those other two vital human components of the university who have obvious vested interests in such a process. Montgomery asked if Spangler had undertaken this action.

Spangler replied that he had considered this action, but felt that this process was a matter for the Board of Governors and the President. He would not have advised broadening the search process, and decided, after consideration, not to do so.

Spangler felt that the essence of the issue is that the University’s current process to this point has been successful. Every year Spangler hears a request from the Faculty Assembly requesting representation on the Board of Governors or the presidential search committee. Similarly, he hears similar requests from students generally and from categories of students, and subcategories.

He did not believe that adding a representative from any one group would aid the process in these situations. He knew that the Forum probably would not accept his view of the situation, nor would he try to convince the group. Simply, the endless number of categories which could be represented precluded singling one out. He felt that 12 or 15 good people can be broad enough group to represent categories in which they are not included.

“If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be President of this University because I represent all of you. I think I’ve said it the way I want to say it.”

Eddie Capel noted that the Board of Governors and the General Administration cannot ask for SPA staff raises. By protocol and law, this request is typically made by the Governor. Spangler replied that the Board of Governors could be and has been generally supportive of SPA raises.

Capel had two questions along this line. (1) The Forum passed a resolution a couple years ago asking that General Administration and the BOG in their narrative support SPA employees of the university system. Capel asked if this was done.

(2) The Forum was informed by the Chancellor not long ago of an initiative to examine the possibility of shifting University System staff from the jurisdiction and administration of the state Office of State Personnel to the jurisdiction and administration of the Board of Governors. Capel asked if this move is indeed proceeding and, if so, how the Employee Forum and other staff organizations across the University System could aid in this process.

To begin, Spangler said he had always in his 11 years tenure as President pleaded for SPA increases as much as possible. He thought the cause was an easy one to support. “As I said, the ship can’t sail without SPA employees. So, that’s a report that has been done. Maybe not as effectively as it could be done. It has been done.”

Regarding the second question as to whether or not SPA employees will be lifted out of the State Personnel Act and placed under the General Administration, he did not believe this transfer would occur. While he would not oppose the idea, he was a realist. He noted a general lack of sympathy for State Employees’ call for increased salaries when compared with salaries received by workers doing similar jobs in high schools. The General Assembly, in particular, has questioned why the same job on a University campus and a high school are paid at different levels of compensation.

Spangler replied by describing what the University in particular does, but felt the argument is usually “sort of swimming upstream. I know that if a legislator asks me, ‘What’s the difference between a person who teaches chemistry in high school and teaches to freshman the same chemistry course in college,’ the answer that comes to my mind is $30,000, though that’s not the answer I give them. So the General Assembly does not appreciate groups of people who do roughly the same thing being treated differently.

“I know that our faculty when we talk about increased retirement benefits, they wish very much to be outside the state system in ways that would be more beneficial. And then the General Assembly says, ‘I don’t see why …’ — it’s almost to a person, even our closest friends — ‘I don’t see why a faculty member should have a more advantageous retirement than a high school teacher in North Carolina.'”

When the University can truly distinguish tasks requiring different capabilities than those in high schools, Spangler thought accompanying requests for separate administration would gain a better hearing. However, activities carried out in the same manner at all levels of government are less likely to be transferred under General Administration .

Libby Evans asked if Spangler would be willing to pass on information about the efficacy of staff organizations like the Forum to the incoming System President. She noted that staff organizations have gained considerable momentum across the State. There had also been some communication between the Forum and the President’s Office regarding System-wide staff organizations. She hoped that Spangler would convey the importance of encouraging chancellors at system institutions to continue this progress.

Spangler felt an increase in staff organizations will come to pass, but did not intend to tell the next president what to do. “But, what you are, this group, you are an advisory group to the chancellor. My method of management—that word sounds so cold—my method of whatever this is that I do, is to wish for him—or her in the case of Greensboro and Asheville—to set up governance on their campuses that is effective. Were I in his shoes I would have this organization. But, I do not intend to direct every chancellor to put into effect something that ought to be common sense to do. It’s sort of like telling your children to tie their shoes. They ought to know how to tie their shoes without being told. That sounds demeaning, but I don’t mean to be that way. The point is, I think it will happen. I think it’s common sense. And yet, I would be more comfortable encouraging rather than writing a directive.”

George Sharp followed on Eddie Capel’s question about the possible placement of University Employees outside the State Personnel Act. The Forum was informed two weeks ago at its retreat that around 39 of 50 states have state university systems that are disassociated from offices of state personnel. He wondered why the North Carolina’s situation is special or different enough to preclude a similar disassociation.

Spangler was not certain what difference existed between North Carolina and other state systems, granting his lack of familiarity with the other states. At times he personally felt rather provincial comparing the activities of the University System with those of other states. However, he was comforted that the University is still the best public university in the nation so many of the things the University is doing “might be right.”

He thought transfer might be an area worth examination. However, just because other states had chosen a course did not impress him very much, apart from other considerations. He recalled that California had the best public university system in the whole United States 10 years ago but undertook some measures that have severely hurt its national ranking. If detaching University Employees from the State Personnel Act was judged to make common sense and to work, Spangler thought that North Carolina generally would pursue this disassociation. As a side note, Spangler was proud that the University System had created least amount of bureaucracy of any major institution he had seen.

Chancellor Hooker thanked President Spangler for taking the time to address the Forum.

 

Employee Presentations

Vice-Chair Janet Tysinger noted there were no Employee presentations scheduled for the day’s meeting.

 

Approval of the Minutes

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the January 8, 1997 meeting. Jerry Hall made this motion, with Tommy Nixon seconding. There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved.

 

Unfinished Business

The Chair introduced the Personnel Policies Committee’s proposal to create a University-wide Compensatory Time Policy. He asked if the Personnel Policies Committee Chair, Peter Schledorn, could speak on the proposal.

Noting the proposal had first been introduced at the Forum’s December 4, 1996 meeting, Schledorn outlined the Committee’s reasons for introducing the proposal. He recalled that federal wage-hour laws require that employers pay overtime to most of their employees who work over 40 hours in a work week. The law allows an exemption for certain administrative, managerial and professional personnel to work on an as-needed basis without overtime pay. The law allows these employees to take hour-for-hour time off when they work over 40 hours a week.

Most SPA-exempt and EPA non-faculty Employees at the University put in more than 40 hours a week, and most do this quite happily, Schledorn said. However, the Personnel Policies Committee has received reports of abuses of this exemption in the law. Among these reports were Employees working extremely large amounts of overtime over a long period of time. One Employee, calculating per-hour pay, found their salary to be a great deal less than the Employees they supervised, despite holding additional responsibilities.

Some Employees expected to work habitually more than 40 hours a week are still expected to utilize leave time for absences. Some Employees have reported required attendance time policies in their departments, making it impossible to work a 40 hour week. In other words, these individuals are required to come in to supervise Employees and are not able to take compensatory time off, even in the same work week.

These reports convinced the Committee that the University is enjoying the benefits of a great deal of uncompensated overtime, not all of it willingly and some of it to the detriment of the work and the worker.

One policy in place for SPA non-exempt Employees is when a non-exempt individual consistently reports large amounts of overtime on their time sheets, Human Resources writes the employing department. This letter notes the specific individual has been working large amounts of overtime and reminds the employing department that excessive working hours can lead to certain problems: for example, job stress, declining health, and the possibility the Employee may begin to neglect personal responsibilities. Schledorn and the Committee applauded Human Resources’ initiative in this area, to send a gentle reminder to departments of the necessary balance between work and personal life.

The Personnel Policies Committee strongly feels that exempt Employees should receive the same encouragement to balance work, family and personal time as best as they and their supervisors can manage. This consideration should exist regardless of whether the Employee is exempt or non-exempt.

Another item to consider is that Employee’s workload, the time taken to complete tasks, is important managerial information. Managers need to know how much time Employees are spending on different tasks, so that they can gauge how much their workers can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. If a supervisor’s Employees are overworked all the time, these Employees cannot respond adequately to particularly busy periods. The overworked Employees may simply have no more to give. If a supervisor thus realizes a need for additional help for their staff that they did not before, this information can lead to a concrete benefit in staff members’ lives. In fact, the Committee found that many good supervisors are not aware of the need to keep track of their exempt Employees working schedules.

Schledorn emphasized that most exempt Employees on campus are not in top-level, policy-making positions. He said that the majority are middle managers and department staff. The majority are not department heads; they are computer support personnel, University administrative managers, and middle-level supervisors.

The Committee’s proposal follows a similar Office of State Personnel policy closely, though worded somewhat differently. One goal of the Committee is to avoid placing extra work on Human Resources personnel, and instead give Employees responsibility for keeping track of work hours and compensatory claims made.

Another aim of the Committee was to grant Employees discretion over whether to use compensatory leave or not. The Committee contacted other System institutions and found that a good number are following the Office of State Personnel policy, either formally or informally. No institution contacted seemed to have a problem with the policy. Employees and supervisors were able to work out policies and times that got the work done while granting exempt Employees time needed.

Schledorn reiterated that the main thrust of the proposal is to start a dialogue with Human Resources towards jointly creating a University policy. The Committee’s proposal, as written, was to present an idea of what such a policy would resemble and to start the process of discussion. Schledorn did not want to linger on the proposal’s details since they would be subject to future negotiation. Rather, he hoped the Forum would discuss the issue with Human Resources, create a policy the University could live with, and perhaps create a model of cooperation for working on important policies in the future.

The Chair asked if members had suggestions or guidance for the Personnel Policies Committee to proceed. George Sharp noted that in his division, a number of Employees work more than 40 hours a week and must struggle to receive compensatory time off. He felt that the proposal, in some form, was a good idea and that some policy is very much needed.

Norm Loewenthal was concerned about recurring abuses, and felt such abuses should be addressed. He did not feel the federal exemption was designed to place Employees in burdensome situations. However, he was not certain an across-the-board compensation policy for this category of Employees was the answer to this problem. For many Employees in these positions, there is an expectation that there will not be a strict accounting of all work done. Instead, the focus is more on timely completion of necessary tasks and activities. This degree of flexibility allows departments to insure accomplishment of their designated missions.

While he felt abuses of this flexibility should be corrected, Loewenthal was not certain that the policy, as written, is in keeping with what was intended for these positions. He agreed that managers should be aware of the effort their exempt Employees make in their positions, but felt this a somewhat different issue than that of compensatory time.

Schledorn replied that the Committee’s intention was mainly to start a process of dialogue rather than create a specific policy for the Forum to endorse. The Committee felt it would be unfair to ask Human Resources to begin work on such a compensatory time policy without wide-ranging discussion. The Committee’s proposal is simply a means to open discussion.

Anne Montgomery wondered how widespread this problem is. How could the University find specific information on the problem? She proposed a survey to determine which categories are most subject to abuse.

Montgomery valued the freedom to work as she pleased as an exempt Employee, and pointed out that Employees like herself enjoy the freedom to participate in activities like the Forum because of their exempt status. She applauded the efforts of the Personnel Policies Committee but wondered about the extent of the problem.

Eddie Capel supported the proposal. He thought it helpful that the Office of State Personnel had developed a comp time policy for SPA exempt employees and that this policy has a valid justification. He thought the University should examine creation of a similar policy or adopt the State’s policy. Capel noted that many managers never have a chance to use accumulated comp time anyway and liked the proposal’s emphasis on flexibility. He thought that these issues should be emphasized in manager training, rather than mandate increased responsibilities for managers. Capel said that there are abuses on campus, but did not know how rampant they are. The Forum should work with Human Resources to establish an equitable policy for Employees who are not paid comparable overtime.

In his experience with the Career Development Committee last year, George Sharp recalled the great amount of time necessary to create and distribute the group’s rudimentary survey on Employee educational opportunities. He was skeptical of the time that such a survey would demand of the Forum to ascertain the extent of the problem. He felt it would be appropriate for the Forum to state that such a policy is necessary, if not to determine the rigidity of the policy. Sharp thought that the Forum could formulate a flexible policy with the help of Human Resources that does address the issue.

Libby Evans surmised that the purpose of the proposal was to address the problem of abuses of exempt Employees. While not presuming to speak for every SPA exempt and EPA non-faculty Employee, Libby said that none of the exempt Employees she knows work over 40 hours a week under compulsion; rather, these Employees place their primary emphasis on getting the job done. Evans felt that if such a policy were enacted granting these Employees compensatory time, most would still put getting the job done before all else. She felt the proposed policy would not necessarily help those currently being abused, though she could not speak for everyone.

Schledorn said the Committee’s intention was to allow exempt Employees the option of claiming comp time, but the proposal would not force them to do so. He thought that if a policy similar to the Committee’s proposal was enacted, working hours would not fall to 40 hours a week for exempt Employees. However, the policy would provide these Employees some leverage when, for example, a supervisor demands use of leave time for medical or other needs of Employees working in excess of hours. Schledorn confirmed that these were the kinds of complaints the Committee had heard.

Jeffery Beam asked if the Committee had plans to publish a report documenting Employee comments and instances of abuse, and asked if Forum members will have the chance to see such a report. Schledorn thought such a document could be put together during consultation with Human Resources. He thought whatever group was appointed to investigate these occurrences would keep the Forum fully informed.

Stephanie Stadler commented that there are instances when Employees were converted from SPA non-exempt to exempt or to EPA non-faculty because of consistently working more than 40 hours a week. This change in status was accompanied by a commensurate raise in salary. She granted there are reasons for these changes beyond simply the number of hours worked. (See Laurie Charest’s comments on this statement below.)

Stadler proposed the Forum move to address the issues discussed at the day’s meeting, rather than formally adopt the Committee’s proposal. She pointed out that Human Resources will have to undertake the research on how widespread the problem is on campus—is this really an issue, or only an example of the “squeaky wheel syndrome.” How much research had been done?

Schledorn replied that the Committee and Human Resources have already began preliminary work on this issue. The Committee, Schledorn felt, would be happy to incorporate Stadler’s ideas into the proposal.

The Chair asked if Human Resources had comments on the proposal. Drake Maynard, Senior Director of Human Resources Administration, including Policy and Wage & Hour Administration, stated that his office would be extremely happy to work with anyone interested in this subject. He noted that Human Resources has had a productive working relationship with the Personnel Policies Committee on a number of issues, including last year’s work on the University Grievance Procedure. Maynard looked forward to working with the Committee on this issue, noting that he is extremely familiar with State wage/hour and compensatory time policies and played a role in writing each of these policies.

Maynard would be happy to share his efforts and those of his staff in surveying the appropriate groups, reporting findings to the Forum and working with any group or Committee of the Forum to construct some beginning model for serious discussion to address abuses and concerns of campus Employees.

He cautioned that the University should be careful not to set up a situation where someone from the Federal Wage & Hour Division has difficulty differentiating how the University treats its exempt and non-exempt Employees. Such a difficulty could be extremely expensive to the University. Nonetheless, Human Resources would be glad to assist as it can in the consideration of this issue.

Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, noted an error in a comment made by Stephanie Stadler earlier in the discussion. An Employee’s change from non-exempt to exempt status has nothing to do with the number of hours worked. The federal definition of worker non-exempt and exempt status hinges on the duties a worker performs. Changes in duties and responsibilities shift an Employee from non-exempt to exempt; however, changes in status are not based on the number of hours an Employee works.

The Chair noted the complexity of the issue and inquired of the Forum how it wished to proceed. Schledorn suggested that the Forum vote on the proposal to give the Committee a charge to work with Human Resources further. The Chair thought that such a motion was not necessary simply to pursue discussions. He thought the sense of the Forum was that the Personnel Policies Committee should move forward with its discussions with Human Resources. This suggestion was adopted by consensus.

 

New Business

The Chair moved onto ratification of the Forum’s Executive Committee, as required by the Forum Guidelines (X.Administrative Committees B. Executive Committee). Representatives of the Forum’s Executive Committee were selected by each Division at the Forum’s January 17 Retreat. Members selected were: Bob Schreiner, Chair; Janet Tysinger, Vice-Chair (Division 8); Libby Evans, Secretary (Division 1); Joseph Ellison (Division 2); Archie Phillips (Division 3); Nancy Tannenbaum (Division 4); Stephanie Stadler (Division 5); Beverly Williams (Division 6); Rosa Nolen (Division 7); and Tommy Brickhouse (Division 9). The Chair is an automatic member of the Executive Committee and represents no particular Division, while the Vice-Chair and Secretary are automatically designated representatives of their respective Divisions.

Peter Schledorn made a motion to ratify these selections, with George Sharp seconding. The motion was approved unanimously. The Chair noted that the Executive Committee will meet on the third Tuesday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Forum/Faculty Council Conference Room, 202 Carr Building. This time represents a slight change from last year.

Ann Hamner asked whether the Nominating Committee needs to be ratified also, since it was originally designated in the Guidelines as an elected Committee. The Forum Assistant noted that last year’s Forum modified the Nominating Committee to make it a self-selected Committee, whose members did not need ratification by the entire Forum. (X.A. Nominating Committee).

 

Before the meeting, several Delegates requested an opportunity to discuss the procedures by which the Forum elects its Officers (Guidelines: V.Membership D.Election of Officers). As time was running somewhat short, the Chair noted that discussion may need to be made brief and continued at a future meeting.

George Sharp had three basic concerns about the election procedure, granting that he was not present for the January meeting due to a personal injury. First, he asked if the Forum could explore absentee ballot possibilities; second, discuss the opportunity for members to speak on behalf of candidates; third, consider creation of a mechanism to familiarize members with prospective candidates before election day. As a first year Delegate n 1995, he had no familiarity with any of the candidates and thought it ridiculous to vote for someone he did not know.

Regarding his last concern, Sharp noted that Eddie Capel had suggested that the Forum Retreat be conducted before the January election so that members could use the all-day session to familiarize themselves with candidates. A specific, brief time could be allotted for candidates to identify themselves early in the Retreat, and members could then use the rest of the session to speak with candidates at their leisure. While some members may already know specific candidates, this procedure would provide others a chance to get acquainted with prospective officers beforehand.

After speaking with others, Sharp understood why his absentee ballot had not been allowed at the January meeting, as other members had not received notice of an absentee option. However, he felt that some mechanism should be in place so members, anticipating an unavoidable absence, could submit an absentee ballot. He proposed possible establishment of a proxy system, or an option in which an absent Delegate could register their vote before the meeting with the Forum Office.

In addition, Sharp felt all members should have the opportunity to speak on behalf of candidates they favor, not just those supporting nominees from the floor. He thought inclusion of a biographical sketch in the monthly packet could not match for a supporting speech on the day of the meeting in terms of impact. Under the current Guidelines, early nominee cannot ask others to give supporting speeches, while nominees from the floor can ask a fellow member to submit a “verbal biographical sketch” on the day of the election.

Sharp noted that Ruth Lewter had proposed that one or two people could be allowed to speak on behalf of each candidate, for 1-2 minutes each. He thought that the Forum could find some way to allow equal time for speeches on behalf of each candidate.

Finally, as a fourth concern, Sharp thought that members should be required to take a two-year hiatus before being re-elected to the Forum, in order to give other Employees the opportunity to serve. Members pointed out such a requirement is already in place (Guidelines: V.Membership B. c.Re-election).

Sharp asked members to respond generally to his concerns and possibly recommend reference to a Forum committee to examine these proposals in further detail. Later, that committee could report back to the entire Forum.

Eddie Capel reiterated that, with regard Sharp’s third proposal, many first-year Delegates do not know those they elect as Forum Officers. This fact was the source of his proposal to hold the Forum Retreat in early January, before the January election. However, he was concerned that “politicking” might undermine the cohesiveness of the Annual Retreat. Capel thought that this year’s Retreat had been an outstanding event at which friendships and collegiality came naturally. He worried that the Retreat could turn into a political event, diverting the Forum from its original purpose. Still, Capel felt it vital that some mechanism exist for Forum members, particularly first-year Delagates, to get to know candidates better than in the past.

Secondly, Capel was opposed to the concept of absentee ballots. He worried that use of these ballots would imply a prohibition of nominees from the floor. Similarly, an Employee casting an absentee ballot would lack the perspective that Forum attendance provides.

Capel agreed members should have the opportunity to speak in support of perspective candidates, and hoped that the Forum could create some equitable mechanism towards this end. The Chair asked that Sharp and Capel provide the Forum with a written proposal regarding these issues for the Forum to consider formally. Some of the issues mentioned would require a change in the Guidelines, and would subsequently demand fuller attention.

 

The Chair introduced the next item for discussion, a proposal to change the Forum’s operating procedure to create a 30-Day waiting period for approval of all “Proposals of Substance.” Eddie Capel brought this issue forward. He noted that while members endeavor to digest all materials in each monthly packet, instances occur in which individuals may not have the time to read or the organizational background to grasp the issues at stake.

Capel reminded the assembly that the Faculty Council had accepted, verbatim, the Forum’s resolution on privatization. He felt that acceptance signified that the Forum has arisen as a trusted group regarding policy matters on campus. In order to live up to this responsibility, Capel felt the Forum should not hastily approve proposals without appropriate, informed discussions. Thus, he proposed that the Forum change its operating procedure to create such a waiting period.

Capel noted that the Forum would retain the option to suspend rules of operation in order to pass items of consensus. The Forum need not tie its hands so that every resolution for consideration would require this waiting period.

Peter Schledorn asked how the Forum would administer this waiting period. For example, must “a proposal of substance” go into the packet of the March meeting for consideration at the April meeting? Capel envisioned this to be the general operation of his proposal.

Libby Evans recalled that a similar discussion took place three years ago regarding possible changes in the Guidelines. The Guidelines were revised to require that any further revision of the Guidelines must be submitted in writing to Forum Delegates 28 days before a vote on these revisions. She thought the Forum could expand this requirement to include proposed resolutions. (XI. Amending the Guidelines)

Schledorn had mixed feelings about the proposal. He thought perhaps it better to continue as before, allowing the Forum the option, on the spot, to consider or postpone consideration of a proposal at its discretion. Schledorn thought Capel had valid concerns, but worried the Forum would prevent itself from handling items quickly.

The Chair inquired whether a two-thirds vote was necessary to suspend the rules. Members were uncertain about this point. (Ed. Note: Suspension of the rules requires a 2/3 majority vote. An organization may not vote to suspend its guidelines or by-laws, according to Robert’s Rules of Order.)

Capel reiterated that because of job, family, and other responsibilities, Forum members may not have the opportunity to gain a full perspective about the issues before the Forum. He did not wish to create additional bureaucracy, but felt the Forum should on occasion devote more time to consideration of proposals. Also, Capel said, sometimes members may be timid or reluctant to initiate discussion, raise questions or table issues. Judging from members’ private comments, he thought the Forum sometimes passes items without sufficient consideration. To alleviate this problem, he suggested the waiting period.

George Sharp recalled that several times during last year’s Forum, an individual would present a proposal of serious import and the Forum would vote to approve without any discussion whatsoever, almost in a vacuum. He advocated finding ways to increase Delegate participation and familiarity with items of significance before the Forum. Capel’s proposal, Sharp thought, would insure that a larger percentage of Forum members are conversant with issues and could more readily participate in relevant discussions.

Libby Evans suggested that Capel or someone else write a formal resolution for initial consideration by the Executive Committee, then the entire Forum. Capel agreed to pursue this plan in cooperation with the Forum Office.

 

The Chair called for a motion to ratify the Forum’s final version of its 1996 Highlights Page. George Sharp made this motion, with Janet Tysinger seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved. The Page will be distributed via “hot memo” to all University staff Employees, at a cost of approximately $250.

The Chair called for a volunteer to serve as Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs. He asked that interested volunteers contact the Forum Office.

The Chair called for volunteers to serve on the Forum’s Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force. He thought this would be a fun activity, and noted that members would be expected in any event to staff, for thirty minutes or so, the Booth during the Fair. Task Force duties are to ensure the presence of the Booth, develop accompanying materials and schedule members to staff the Booth. Nancy Atwater, Lucille Brooks, Betty Geer, Tommy Nixon and Janet Tysinger volunteered for the Task Force.

 

Chair’s Report

The Chair noted that Bill Graves, Interim Chief Information Officer for the University, has been scheduled to make a special presentation to the Forum at the March 5 meeting, as the Forum had voted to hear from Graves in 1996. The Chair asked that members forward questions for Graves to the Forum Office.

Barbara Calderwood, President of the Appalachian State University Staff Council, contacted the Forum Office asking about a possible joint meeting with other staff organizations across the State. Barbara was invited to attend the March 12 meeting at North Carolina Central University that had been previously planned by the three Triangle System institutions.

The Chair noted that the University Managers’ Association has requested that the Forum handle arrangements for participation in the Staff Processional during University Day. He has asked that the Association forward specific details about the Day to the Executive Committee for consideration and further action.

The Chair welcomed Jamie Spruill and Thomas Holmes, newly appointed Delegates from Division 2.

 

Committee Reports

The Chair hoped that Committees could begin to develop their goals for the year.

Libby Evans, Chair of the Nominating Committee, said the group will begin its work in the summer. The Committee anticipated finding good nominees to serve on the Forum, as well as Forum Office candidates, for 1998. She encouraged members to volunteer to serve on the Committee if they had not already done so.

Delores Jarrell, Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee, noted that group’s work also will begin in the summer. However, the group will meet on February 26 at 440 West Franklin Street to define its goals for the year.

Peter Schledorn, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, reported that group has already started work this year. He encouraged Employees and members to forward ideas for consideration. The Committee will meet on the third Friday of every month from 11:30-1 p.m. in the Forum/Faculty Council Conference Room, 202 Carr Building.

Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, reported that a major goal of the group will be to create a comprehensive document detailing the exact composition of Employee benefits. The Committee hoped to coordinate this task in conjunction with the Office of Human Resources.

The Chair noted that the Public Affairs Committee had not yet appointed its Chair and he asked a member of that Committee to make a report. Anne Montgomery noted that the Committee had voted, along with faculty and student liaisons, to postpone plans for Legislative Day until the fall. The Committee worried it could not do this event justice without adequate and continuous preparation, both on its own and in coordination with other University organizations.

Montgomery noted that the Day is currently planned as an event for staff Employees and the University to express thanks to the Legislature and the State for their recent and continuing support, while providing legislators a better understanding of staff activities. She noted the structure of the Day fits closely with the Chancellor’s message, but that the Committee wished to emphasize the particular work and gratitude of staff, faculty and students. She anticipated that a Chair of the Committee would emerge to aid planning in the near future.

Tommy Gunter reported that the Recognition and Awards Committee will meet to formulate its goals at its next meeting.

Tommy Nixon, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, noted the group would continue to work to involve Employees and Delegates on University-wide committees. The group is endeavoring to monitor the numbers and activities of these campus-wide committees. The Forum’s Web page has a list of such committees as well as a form on which Employees may indicate their particular areas of interest. In addition, the Committee will consider ways to increase staff Employee participation on search committees. Nixon asked to members of the Committee to meet briefly after the meeting.

The Forum Chair thanked the University Committee Assignments Committee for its help in finding an Employee to serve on the search committee for the new Point-2-Point manager. Paula Hinton had agreed on short notice to serve on this search committee.

Norm Loewenthal, Chair of the Career Development Committee, said the group’s general goal is to promote opportunity for Employee participation in activities and training related to career advancement. This goal will be fleshed out over the course of several meetings, beginning February 20. He asked Committee members to inform him if they had not received a packet, noting that some members do not yet have e-mail.

The Committee is very interested in following up on work done last year surveying Employee educational opportunities, and the group’s subsequent recommendations. The Committee will work to follow up on the activities of its predecessors.

Janet Tysinger, Chair of the Employee Presentations Committee, stated the group would meet February 26 to begin planning for the Spring Community Meeting. The Committee would soon solicit Forum members for advice on the content and format of the meeting. Tysinger recalled that the Forum held both “classroom-style” and “open-mike” format Community Meetings, the latter of which was a general chance for Employees to express freely issues of concern. She hoped that Community Meetings would be enjoyable and well-attended. Another responsibility of the group is to encourage Employees to bring concerns forward to the Forum. Tysinger asked members to consult with fellow Employees who might have concerns for discussion.

The Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Partner Benefits, Peter Schledorn, reported the group would soon be in contact with the University Insurance Committee to discuss procedures.

The Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Land-Use Planning, Margaret Balcom, noted the Board of Trustees recently approved University plans for the Mason Farm and Horace Williams tracts. The Town of Chapel Hill has been very receptive throughout the entire process and has been examining zoning considerations of the project. While the Town of Carrboro has expressed some concerns, Balcom emphasized that the Land Use Plan still consists of general guidelines to govern possible future construction.

Janet Tysinger, Liaison to the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, reported the group’s January meeting was dominated by discussion of rewording ordinance changes to maintain consistency with current regulations. In February, the group will continue this discussion and begin its consideration of parking rate changes.

Ann Hamner, Outsourcing Steering Committee representative, noted that the group has continued to meet. The Employee Relations Subcommittee has met recently with groups not approached earlier, who were recently included as part of the Study (mainly Printing and Copier Services). Also, the group has begun a second round of informational meetings with Employees in areas examined in Study’s first year.

The Outsourcing Employee Relations Subcommittee would meet twice with concerned Employees that week, and was committed to keeping everyone well-informed and up-to-date. It would meet mainly with HVAC and Groundskeeping, and representatives from the Physical Plant available to answer specific questions. Hamner praised the work of the Employee Relations Subcommittee and its Chair, Laurie Charest, for their work in keeping Employees informed. Finally, the Committee was almost ready to release its Web page, which will provide up to the minute information on the topic of outsourcing at the University.

Tommy Goodwin asked if notice of these meetings would be included in the University Gazette. Margaret Balcom replied that some meetings may not be listed in the Gazette if not scheduled far enough in advance. However, News Services (962-2091) has a list of all meetings open to the public, including Outsourcing Team meetings. These meetings also would be included on the electronic calendar when operable.

Hamner announced that the Outsourcing Steering Committee meets the first Monday of every month at 11 a.m. in the third floor conference room of South Building. The Employee Relations Subcommittee will meet at 2 p.m. on the first Monday of every month, also in the third floor conference room of South Building. The Technical Committee will not meet until, or if, an area for study goes up more detailed comparison with other service options.

 

Tommy Nixon asked for a motion to suspend the rules in order to introduce an item for discussion to the Forum. Peter Schledorn made this motion, with George Sharp seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved without opposition.

Nixon noted an Employee’s complaint about the S4 parking lot behind Stadium Drive. Spaces in this lot have already been reduced due to stadium construction adjacent to this lot. Reportedly, this situation has been worsened by the issuance of sixty free permits in the S4 lot to participants in a UNC/Duke Heart Clinic. These permits, which were supposed to expire on January 31, and were allegedly valid until 8 a.m., have caused a problem for S4 Employees working flextime who arrive before 7:30 a.m. and find their lot full.

Complaints have been made directly to Public Safety and Transportation and Parking. Part of the problem is that these temporary permits have been extended from January 31 until the end of April. Nixon asked whether it would be more appropriate to forward this item directly to the Forum’s representative on the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, Janet Tysinger, or whether the item should be forwarded officially from the Executive Committee or the Forum Office. Tysinger offered to bring this item directly to the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee.

 

Human Resources Update

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest addressed the proposed inclusion of Forum service as a principal function on members’ WPPRs. She had already responded directly to Ann Hamner and the Forum Office, but wished to answer any questions members had about the content of her response.

Charest recalled that at the end of last year, Hamner had asked for an opinion about whether Forum service could be included as a principal function on Delegates’ WPPRs. Executive Committee discussions were the impetus for this request.

While clearly Forum service demands a great deal of time and commitment and is extremely important to the University, Charest was not clear that the WPPR is the appropriate avenue to recognize this service. After she explained the reasons for this opinion, she suggested other ways to recognize such service.

Charest noted that principal functions on the WPPR represent the essential activities that form the reason for a job to be created and continue to exist. Arguably, every Delegate’s job was created and justified before their election to the Forum. Thus, Forum service seems to fail the very first test that defines a principal function.

Beyond this primary point, there are several practical problems that arise when trying to add Forum service to the list of principal functions. Who would rate Employee performance as a Forum Delegate? A rating of some kind is required for all WPPR principal functions. The supervisor could not, since they are not present at Forum or Committee meetings and probably do not know a great deal about their individual Employee’s Forum activities. Charest did not think that the Forum Chair would wish to rate all 45 Forum Delagates, and she envisioned even more difficulties in having Delagates rate each other.

Furthermore, Charest asked: “What if a Delegate were doing an unsatisfactory job in their regular job, but a great job as a Forum Delegate? Or, what if the reverse were true?” She did not see a practical way to deal with these concerns within the WPPR.

However, Charest had some other suggestions to deal with this concern now and in the future. First, every WPPR evaluation includes a supervisor’s Summary Evaluation Statement. This is a great place for supervisors to note additional things an Employee has contributed above and beyond their principal functions. Items mentioned in the Summary Evaluation Statement can be taken into account in the Employee’s final rating. (For example, an Employee may be rated “Good” on all their principal functions but may do so many outstanding things that are mentioned on the Summary Evaluation Statement that their overall rating rises to “Very Good.”)

Another possibility is adding a principal function as a more general statement about service to the University that could include Forum service, University committee assignments or other search and advisory committees. These specifics may change, but the activities take time and reflect an Employee’s commitment and participation. This designation may surmount some obstacles to recognizing Forum service.

Charest encouraged interested members to secure a copy of her written response, and acknowledged that she is not the final authority on this subject. She was happy to answer any questions or to offer her help to the Forum in working through this concern.

George Sharp asked for confirmation that the purpose of Hamner’s letter was to acknowledge the time and energy demanded of people serving on the Forum. Charest indicated that was so from her reading of the Executive Committee minutes on the subject, related to difficulties in finding Forum Officer candidates. The Executive Committee thought that supervisors’ acknowledgment of these demands on WPPRs would help engender a fuller appreciation for Forum service, or anticipate in some way for a possible decrease in job performance. Sharp concluded that such recognition would facilitate Employee participation in Forum activities given their importance to the University as a whole.

Ann Hamner noted that Delegates’ supervisors receive a letter from the Chancellor describing Forum duties upon election to office, and to secure supervisor support. However, the WPPR proposal arose from concern that some Employees were not willing to run for office or to serve as Forum Officers, given time considerations. This concern led to brainstorming about how Forum service could be recognized more explicitly in one’s contributions to the University.

Charest stated her willingness to leave the final decision about pursuit of this issue to the Forum, and offered her help in future discussions.

Charest noted that President Spangler addressed, in part, as a follow-up to the Chancellor’s statements at the Forum Retreat, the General Administration Committee discussing personnel issues. Other officials serving on that Committee are Vice-Presidents Roy Carroll and Bill McCoy from General Administration, and chancellors from North Carolina A&T, NC State, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill. She will keep the Forum informed as more information about the activities of this Committee became available.

Reba Sullivan asked what aspects of Forum service are considered work time by the University. Charest noted that the Forum Guidelines state that monthly meetings and one Forum Committee meeting count as work time, in addition to the biannual Community Meetings.

Peter Schledorn asked if all revised W2 forms have been distributed, and asked if Charest could provide some background on reported delays. Charest recalled vaguely that this problem involved Employees subscribing to North Carolina Flex. On these Employees’ W2 forms, dependent care and some other pre-tax income was included in the wrong entry box, delaying distribution of these forms. This problem affected only those in North Carolina Flex.

Charest recalled an e-mail stating that the corrected W2s were ready last Friday afternoon for delivery Monday. She could only assume that that these are ready. Schledorn reported Employees’ comments that some of these forms were still not ready, and asked how widespread this problem might be. Charest replied there should not be tremendous number of people affected since the errors only involved North Carolina Flex program participants. Nancy Tannenbaum had experienced this delay of the dental insurance plan associated with North Carolina Flex.

The Chair thanked Charest for her remarks.

 

Announcements & Questions

The Chair noted that Employees recently received nomination forms for the C.Knox Massey Award for “unusual, meritorious or superior contributions made by Employees, past or present, at the University of North Carolina.” He noted this Award is quite prestigious and carries a significant financial stipend.

The Chair asked Margaret Balcom, retiring University Gazette Editor and 1994 Forum Chair, if she would make sure to attend the next month’s meeting in order to offer some remarks to mark her transition. Balcom agreed to visit next month.

 

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Tommy Nixon so moved, seconded by Cheryl Stout There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:32 a.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

 

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