January 3, 1996
Agenda — January 3, 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. Special Presentation—Chancellor Julius Chambers
V. New Business
* Swearing In of New Delagates
V. Approval of Minutes of the December 6, 1995 meeting P
VI. Chair’s Report: Rachel Windham
* Patsy Tacker Resigns from University; George Sharp Becomes Delegate from Division 7; Lynn Ray Becomes First Alternate
* Forum Annual Report Underway
VII. Unfinished Business
* Pan-University Task Force
VIII. Committee/Task Force Report
* Nominating—Scott Blackwood
=> Election of Forum Officers—Biographical Sketches
* Personnel Policies
* Compensation and Benefits
* Public Affairs
* Recognition and Awards
* University Committee Assignments
* Career Development
* Salary Task Force
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Linda Cook/Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington/Tom Hocking
* Land Use Planning—Ann Hamner
X. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
January 3, 1996
Tommy Griffin, Jr.
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Marshall Wade, Jr.
” = Ex-Officio
Carroll Swain, Jr.
Call to Order and Welcome to Guests
Chair Rachel Windham called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m. She wished the assembly Happy New Year and asked that Delegates, alternates and guests sign the roster on the back table on arrival. Also, she noted that typically, items contained in each month’s agenda packet and other handouts are posted on the same back table. Items that may not interest the entire Forum but were still noteworthy are contained in the Forum’s Routing Folder. Delegates and other interested parties may sign the attached sheet to the Routing Folder to receive copies of enclosed articles.
The Chair welcomed Mitch Kokai from WCHL, Mark Schultz from the Chapel Hill Herald, and Mike Hobbs from the University Gazette. She introduced Chancellor Hooker to give opening remarks.
Chancellor Hooker wished everyone a Happy New Year and said that he was very pleased with his work with the Forum during his first six months as Chancellor. He noted that one of the first letters he received upon his appointment when he was still in Massachusetts was from the Chair, introducing herself and the Employee Forum. Her letter included a packet of information which he had read and found very helpful to learn about the Forum and its history. The Chair was one of the first people who greeted him upon arrival and was “one of the people with whom I have met most often and upon whose counsel I have relied most heavily during my first six months here. I am enormously impressed with her dedication to the Employee Forum and her competence in providing leadership to it.”He said he did not envy her successors because “they have an enormous challenge living up to the expectations that [she] has created by the quality of [her] work here.” The Chancellor thanked the Chair for these things.
Responding to Mitch Kokai’s question, “What are your observations after completing the first six months of your term?,” the Chancellor said that the biggest surprise has been that there have been no unpleasant surprises. He said that this job was the first he had taken in which he had not uncovered something unpleasant which was a surprise. Chancellor Hooker said that UNC-Chapel Hill is “an enormously strong institution,” in terms of its faculty, staff and students. He cited the tradition that defines Carolina and its place in the hearts of the citizens of the State. “We have an awesome responsibility,” he said, “given the standing of this institution and its history in the State. With that responsibility comes an enormous reservoir of goodwill and potential support from the citizens of North Carolina.”
The Chancellor said he would continue to follow his guiding vision that a public institution exists to serve the public. “We want the touchstone for all done in the future to be whether a particular activity serves the public interest and the public—whether we are using the resources that the State and our alumni have given us in the best way possible to give maximum return to the State for its investment. For us to realize our full potential to serve the citizens of North Carolina, our Employees, faculty and staff must feel that they are fairly treated and justly compensated. Only when that atmosphere prevails can we give our best service to the University, and, in turn, can the University give its best service to the State.”
Chancellor Hooker said that he was indeed pleased to introduce Chancellor Julius Chambers of North Carolina Central University as the Forum’s special presenter. He said that Chancellor Chambers is a “cultural hero” of his and said that he was inspired by Chancellor Chambers’ commitment and work on behalf of civil rights for as long as he could remember. Chancellor Hooker advanced that when the history of civil rights is written Julius Chambers’ name would be very prominent. “We are blessed,” Chancellor Hooker said, “to begin the New Year with such a dedicated, inspiring person, whose dedication to civil rights throughout the world is legendary.”
Chancellor Julius Chambers thanked Chancellor Hooker, Chair Rachel Windham and members of the Employee Forum for their warm welcome.He said that it was an honor and a pleasure to join the Forum for its first meeting of 1996. Chancellor Chambers said that he came to gatherings of this nature more to learn from his audience than to speak, but said that he was intrigued with the idea of an Employee Forum. He was pleased to receive a packet of materials on the group.
North Carolina Central, Chancellor Chambers lamented, unfortunately does not have such a Forum, but Chancellor Chambers said he would raise the issue at a meeting with staff that day. NCCU has a professional office workers’ association that consists of Employees who do secretarial and financial work, but housekeepers, groundskeepers and EPA non-faculty are not represented in this association. These Employees often feel the need for representation, he said, but as Chancellor he could only do so much to stand for their concerns, since they may feel that he is representing only himself. The Chancellor said he could understand that apprehension, and so felt that the Forum concept could be “very helpful across the University community” as a way to treat Employee concerns. Chambers said that he was pleased to see this kind of organization at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Chancellor Chambers suggested that the Forum resembles the United States, in that it contains many different interests dedicated to one purpose. He thought it was no wonder that Chancellor Hooker had no unpleasant surprises during his first six months, because “you are taking care of all of those things right here in this Forum.” Chancellor Chambers thought that perhaps if Chancellor Hooker waited another six months he would begin to see unexpected things.
Chancellor Chambers felt that the University was an intriguing place. Having practiced law for most of his life, he said he had been curious about work in a campus setting. (Although he has lectured on campuses for twenty years, he has not maintained a permanent campus office.) Chancellor Chambers offered that his honeymoon at North Carolina Central did not last six months. He said he had never seen such politicking as there was among faculty members, board members, Employees, legislators and the University System. He thought all this was “very interesting.”
As Chancellor Hooker noted, we all are working for the State of North Carolina and its citizens. Chancellor Chambers was reminded of one University student who received his degree in December of 1995. He had known this person for many years and knew of the travails he had faced completing high school and college. Chancellor Chambers said he may have been “prouder than [this person’s] mother” that he had been graduated. Experiences like this were one of the great pleasures of serving the University, Chancellor Chambers ventured.
Chancellor Chambers said that it is often difficult to get other administrators and faculty members to understand the important part that Employees play in helping stories like this one occur. From his vantage point, he knew how important Employees are to the livelihood of the University. He had received phone calls from concerned parents in the middle of the night stating that the heat was off in their child’s dormitory or that their student was lost. University Employees, he said, answer these calls.
Chancellor Chambers alluded to a statement of a faculty member who disagreed with the decision to grant relief to a student who had complained of unfair treatment by a particular department. Chambers said that he welcomed this kind of protest and had told the faculty member he thought it important that this student pursue his appeal before the Board of Trustees and, if the code permits, the Board of Governors. Furthermore, Chancellor Chambers had told North Carolina Central’s housekeepers who had complained of inequities in pay and treatment that they too should pursue their grievances through appropriate channels, if they felt it necessary.
The Chancellor recalled that when he left Chapel Hill in 1963 he was retained by the housekeepers and cafeteria workers of the University to deal with the issue of pay, among other concerns. They did reach a settlement, with the State agreeing to pay the overtime Employees had accumulated and also agreeing to pay fair salaries as then described in 1964.
This experience taught him that raising legitimate issues and pursuing them through appropriate channels most often permits all parties to sit down and agree on the need for some kind of relief. This approach worked, he emphasized, because “We had responsible people across the board, from the governor, through the president, through the chancellors and others, including those who were affected by the inequities in pay and conditions.” Accordingly, they “were able to sit down and resolve some major issues.” This experience taught him also that America could address many of its problems pursuing the same type of approach. This has since been his dream and hope.
In 1995, however, Chancellor Chambers confessed to some frustrations and concerns about progress on these problems. Recently, he argued a case in the U.S. Supreme Court concerning a North Carolina redistricting plan designed to insure minority representation in the U.S. Congress. The State had not had a black congressman in ninety years and the General Assembly had chosen to create two majority black districts. The U.S. Supreme Court was concerned that these districts, in the words of a five person majority, represent a “return to segregation,” because of their reference to race in the plan electing congressmen. That there have been no minority representatives for ninety years makes no difference to this Court, Chancellor Chambers surmised. If a plan creates a district designed to insure minorities have the chance to elect a representative to Congress, the Court feels the plan violates the U.S. Constitution. “At least this was the decision the Court rendered [regarding] Georgia, and one does not know what the Court will do in North Carolina nor what it will do in Texas.”
Chancellor Chambers brought up this topic to re-emphasize the question of race in our society. How do we deal with the issue of race? How do we deal with the question that people bring to the table, that because of an arbitrary reason, such as race or gender, they are being treated unfairly? The Chancellor noted that his civil rights work throughout the state had also been “very interesting.” He recalled that during a trip to Wilmington he received a call from a farmer in Pender County who wanted to bring a major civil rights suit because his mule had been hit and killed by a white man’s car. Because the driver was white and the farmer was black, it was obviously a civil rights case, the farmer concluded. Chancellor Chambers assured him that the Constitution did not reach that far but that he was happy to speak with him and would see what he could do to find him another mule.
From this anecdote, Chancellor Chambers ventured that “it is typical that when a person believes they have been treated unfairly, they immediately look for a reason. Frequently, we think of race or gender.” While in California during the Rodney King “riots” meeting with Asian leaders, Chancellor Chambers said he began to appreciate how difficult it was for him as a black person to communicate with a different race or ethnic group. During talks with heads of the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, the Asian Legal Defense Fund, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, Chancellor Chambers asked himself if he could really understand what “made an Hispanic person’s blood boil.” This thought occurred to him in relation to the struggle of Hispanic people to obtain a seat on the City Council of Los Angeles. Can he communicate how frustrated a black person feels when, for example, the name of the Charles Drew Hospital in Los Angeles may be changed to an Hispanic name? Or, in New York, can he get Puerto Ricans to understand how blacks and whites may feel when hospitals in the Bronx are changed to an Hispanic name?
Whatever the Supreme Court may say about race in this country and how we should ignore it, it is a pervasive problem in this country. We are not going to solve it by pretending that it does not exist. Furthermore, we are not going to solve it by assuming that everyone else is wrong and that “we” are always right.
For example, Chancellor Chambers noted that there is a major problem in the University System, in that there are five historically black colleges and universities and eleven historically white institutions. These grew up as separate institutions with separate amounts of support. As a result, “we have produced what we have produced. Now we have five historically [black] institutions asking to become a part, and a real part of the University of North Carolina.” Employees represent the University as well. When Chancellor Chambers meets with his groundskeepers and housekeepers, they ask him, “why is Chapel Hill paying $2,000 more in salary than what Central does?” He answers that he does not know. “`What is the justification?’ `Well, that’s Chapel Hill.’ `What about N.C. State?’ `Well, that’s State.’ `What about East Carolina, Western Carolina, etc.? What can we do about this disparity?'” [Data from the Office of State Personnel later showed the difference between housekeepers’ average salaries at UNC-CH and NCCU to be around $233.]
Faculty at North Carolina Central ask, “why is the range of salaries here so different than Chapel Hill?” Chambers answers that Chapel Hill is a flagship institution that even now cannot afford to pay their professors what they deserve. He supports Chapel Hill. “But what is Central, then,” ask the faculty, “are we not important as members of the faculty here?” Chancellor Chambers responds that Central is a constituent part of the University System. “But how can we justify this difference in salaries?”
One could ask the General Assembly. Some are concerned, Chambers stated, and some are not. Sometimes the question is raised, “is it because they are black, or is it another more legitimate reason and how do you explain it? How do you get people to sit down and talk about it and just acknowledge the existence of it?” Chancellor Chambers acknowledged the Forum’s efforts to get more pay for Employees, stating that salaries in the University System are “atrocious. We do not pay enough to get good people to run a good University System. We cannot expect this to be a flagship institution without offering flagship pay for everyone, no matter their position at the University. The pay issue is a factor for all of us, no matter at East Carolina, Western Carolina, Chapel Hill or North Carolina Central. We all know this fact and can support this fight.” Yet in the process of addressing this problem, Chancellor Chambers asserted, we must acknowledge that lurking behind is the question of race and gender, a question that we cannot ignore.
For this reason, it is important that the Employee Forum of Chapel Hill be out front with the General Assembly, emphasizing that the issue is basic fairness for everyone, the Chancellor said. He hoped that this message could be carried forth throughout the State and the nation. It hurts that one of the justices of our Supreme Court could ask, in 1995, “what do you people want?” Chancellor Chambers responded, “Justice, we want the same thing that you want: a fair opportunity to live in this country and to contribute, not to be excluded because of some issue of race.”
In closing, Chancellor Chambers recalled that upon his appointment, he spoke at a meeting of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Faculty Council. At that meeting, he suggested the great need for increased collaboration between Chapel Hill and Central. Our State does not have all the resources that we need, but Chancellor Chambers offered that one would be amazed at all the resources that we do have across the State. “Why do we have to duplicate everything? Why do we teach graduate physics at every institution? What is the possibility of Chapel Hill and Central working out more in academic programs to enable students at either school to get courses they cannot get on their own campus? Could we not provide more of an academic program for all of our students by collaborating more with these programs?”
“What of the Employee Forum? Could there not be more of a collaborative effort between Chapel Hill and Central to treat the grievances of housekeepers and groundskeepers at the two institutions, by working together to point out the inequities of conditions that currently exist? Central has a police force that could work together with Chapel Hill’s. Could they collectively save resources and provide opportunities? Are they divided just because the institutions are separate, or does race or gender have something to do with it?” Can we not, Chancellor Chambers asked, look at the situation in terms of what would be best for the State of North Carolina?
Chancellor Chambers said that he had no investment in why an institution should be exclusively black or white. He proffered that all his life he has advocated a color-blind society. “For our country to survive and for the State to grow, we must learn to remove barriers that prevent us from allocating resources as they should be, without reference to race or gender.”
Secondly, Chancellor Chambers asked if Forum members had kept an eye on Congress and the impact of its plans on all of us. He asked what the legislation under debate will do for Chapel Hill, the University System and Employees personally. There seems to be a general assumption that the prospects for welfare reform and affirmative action will result in good, the Chancellor asserted. He cautioned that we should look at how this legislation will affect each of us.
Further, it is not far-fetched that the Employee Forum (he called it the Employee Union) should look at how the proposed legislation will affect the Employees of the State. “What happened to the minimum wage,” he asked, “do we exclude certain people? Are the salaries we pay now enough to move all the Employees of the State out of poverty? Why is our outreach not beyond the University community? None of us can live in an isolated society. What will happen in Washington and Raleigh will affect all of us,” he said, “which underscores the importance of universities working together to reach out into our communities and political life.”
Thirdly, Chancellor Chambers thought that the University should work to solve problems in the community. At North Carolina Central, there has begun a mandatory requirement to community service. It is important to get students out working with the poor, the homeless, the aged, the Chancellor thought, yet it is also important for Employees of each University, including Chapel Hill’s, to work in the community also. “How many poor homes, poor schools and hospital have you visited to work with the elderly, the poor, the less fortunate? Why is it not a requirement not just of faculty and students but of all the Employees of the University of North Carolina to do more in community service? Do we not promote the University and serve the State by working with the city, county and State to help solve all of our problems, whether we are housekeepers, groundskeepers, or mathematics professors. Then we would come to really appreciate what it means when in Raleigh they consider reducing health care or Employee benefits.”
Chancellor Chambers hoped that we could do more to bring System Employees together in promoting their own interests. He hoped that we could do more to bring State Employees together to build a better State and a better nation. He hoped that we could do more to force the State and the nation to address the “cancer of race that is eating at the heart of all of us, a matter crucial to the State and the nation.” Chancellor Chambers thanked the Forum for the chance to speak and said that he looked forward to working with the body in the future.
The two Chancellors offered to take questions from the group. Rosa Nolen asked when Chancellor Chambers expected an answer from the Supreme Court regarding the redistricting case. He responded that the Court should respond in May or June, noting that it takes the Court awhile to write its decision.
Peggy Cotton asked Chancellor Chambers about the increase in enrollment in Central’s graduate programs, not just among black students but among all races. Peggy asked what was the status of the graduate programs, the racial ratio of these programs and whether there had been new programs added to the curriculum. Chancellor Chambers replied that there are around 1,000 students in Central’s graduate programs, with master’s degrees offered in twelve subjects. Three programs have a more than fifty percent white enrollment; the nursing program and the law school each have around fifty percent white enrollment.
Expanding this point, Chancellor Chambers noted that he had often advocated cooperation between UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Duke and North Carolina Central. He felt that North Carolina could not support graduate programs at each System institution in every subject. There are several programs at UNC-CH now in which Central students may participate to gain graduate degrees and Central is attempting to work out similar programs with Duke, N.C. State and other institutions outside of North Carolina.
Chancellor Chambers contended that “our principal mission should be to develop the best possible undergraduate education. The funding for that should be provided even if it takes away from the funding for Chapel Hill’s undergraduate program.” He thought that students finishing at NCCU should be able to move on in the same way that students at UNC-CH move into graduate programs. He did not feel there should be “carte blanche” for students to enter graduate programs and that there was no “carte blanche” for students entering programs from Chapel Hill. Rather, he sought a more unified University System than what is presently perpetuated. If he were an advocate, he would argue strenuously that the failure of officials to sit down and talk about ways to unify the University System is part of the history of race discrimination that has been practiced through the years.
Chancellor Chambers lamented that we do not talk more about consolidation of programs or collaboration between institutions. “If North Carolina Central does not produce quality graduates, the State should do something to ensure that it does. Similarly, if Chapel Hill or State do not produce quality graduates, the State has a similar responsibility to these students.” His advocacy of graduate programs is slightly different than his colleagues, Chancellor Chambers offered, since he sees them as complementary to the entire University System. If Central needs thirty physics professors to offer a masters’ program in physics and only has five, Central students should be able to cross-register at Chapel Hill where there are thirty such professors, Chancellor Chambers asserted. In turn, when Central can offer a graduate program that is unique and in the interests of the University System, the State should give Central the support necessary to make it a top-notch program.
Marshall Wade asked Chancellor Hooker about an article in the News & Observer which spoke of a proposed settlement in the housekeepers suit. He wondered how, in light of Chancellor Chambers’ remarks, when and if a settlement is reached, how would this agreement impact the rest of the University System. Chancellor Hooker answered that he had not heretofore commented on the article, but that because of the many questions he had received he would release a statement that afternoon. He had no idea how the settlement would affect the rest of the University System, but said that he was surprised to hear of the disparity in housekeepers’ salaries between Chapel Hill and Central. Obviously, what Chapel Hill does with its salaries affects the expectations of Employees at other System institutions. While the Chancellor was aware of the significant disparity between its housekeepers’ salaries and those of the Triangle market, he was not aware there was such a disparity between those at Chapel Hill and its sister institutions. Rather, he expected that the State’s salary structure would preclude an extreme difference. Obviously, he said, Chapel Hill has a special obligation since it maintains a higher salary structure. [Figures from the Office of State Personnel later showed the disparity in average housekeepers’ salaries between the two institutions to be around $223.]
Peter Schledorn posited that this disparity may arise from the Legislature’s policy of allowing institutions to create local solutions to their funding problems, a policy favoring those better-off. This situation allows the Legislature to disclaim responsibility for these disparities and seemed to represent a trend in Raleigh. Peter asked if either Chancellor supported a more unified State funding direction.
Chancellor Hooker voiced concern about the national drift towards expecting public higher education to fund itself, either through fundraising or internal reallocation. There seems to be a belief that public higher education institutions are mismanaged and that there is much fat in these organizations. Chancellor Hooker felt that this is a misperception because of the strong drive towards quality in higher education. As a result, there are internal mechanisms of adjustment and control that work in favor of quality and do not permit development of so-called inefficiencies. The Chancellor bemoaned the expectation that higher education can carry out its mission strictly through reliance on fundraising and internal reallocation of resources, though he felt that both have a strong part to play. He thought that legislatures nationwide are being shortsighted if they regard these two courses as sole means of expanding educational opportunity, rather than as sources of continuous quality improvement within higher education.
In North Carolina, we arguably regard higher education as a higher priority than any other state in the union. North Carolina is among the top five states in terms of percentage of tax revenues devoted to higher education. Similarly, the average of per student funding in the University System (a function of tax revenue generated per capita) is the highest in the U.S. In general, this statistic represents the ability of a state to finance education in relation to where it chooses to spend its tax revenue. While over the past five years more State revenues have been devoted to items such as health, welfare, and prisons, still, North Carolina leads the country in terms of the per capita ratio of funding for public higher education as a function of per capita tax revenue. Accordingly, Chancellor Hooker opined, we need to recognize that the State places a higher priority on public higher education funding, by this measurement. The Chancellor was hesitant to criticize this legislature for a disturbing national trend.
In the absence of further questions, the Chair thanked Chancellor Chambers for speaking before the Employee Forum. She asserted that we are proud to be a sister institution of North Carolina Central and that the Forum stands ready and available to give whatever support it may to establish an Employee Forum at NCCU.
The Chair also thanked Chancellor Hooker for his support during her year as Chair of the Forum. She said it was an interesting year serving with two chancellors and said that Chancellor Hooker made the transition as easy as possible during the past six months.
In keeping with tradition, the Chair led continuing and new Delegates in reciting the Forum’s Charge to its members:
Charge to Forum Delegates
I share the Employee Forum’s vision to seek to continually improve the quality of life at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its Students, Faculty, and Employees through mutual understanding, recognition of Employee contributions and respect for the worth of the individual.
I promise to seek out the issues, interests, ideas, and participation of Employees and to bring items needing further consideration to the Forum’s attention. I also will endeavor to develop a greater understanding of the University’s operations and its personnel policies.
I will work to develop proactive, progressive recommendations and advocate these to the Administration and to Employees , and to provide an effective two-way communication link between the Administration and the Employees.
I will help foster an open, positive environment throughout the University and will support achievement of the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service.
The Chair declared members duly sworn.
Approval of the Minutes of the December 6, 1995 Meeting
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the December 1995 meeting. Mona Couts made this motion with Kathy Dutton seconding. Laurie Charest pointed out that there were 120, not 160, slots available in the new Child Care Center. Matt Banks noted that the Employee members of the Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee are Laurie Charest, Shirl Davis, Ann Edwards, Phyllis Rone-Burrell, Darryl Russell and Judith Scott. Tom Hocking noted that Pat Bigelow was not Chair of SEANC District 19, but instead is former Chair of SEANC District 25. Sue Morand noted that in the Guest Roster Nora Robbins’ name was misspelled “Nora Roberts.”
In the absence of any further questions the Chair asked for a vote to approve the minutes with corrections. The minutes were approved unanimously.
The Chair announced that Patsy Tacker had resigned from the University before she had a chance to join the Forum and had been replaced by George Sharp as a Delegate from Division 7. Lynn Ray in turn becomes the First Alternate from Division 7.George Sharp stood and introduced himself. The Chair welcomed George and Lynn to the Forum.
The Forum Annual Report is underway, the Chair said, and hopefully would be available in the February packet. She recalled that at the December meeting there had been a “summing up” of the year’s highlights which she would flesh out for the Report. Similarly, she would work on an Annual Report of the Executive Committee with the hope that it would be ready for the February packet. That Report was delayed because the December meeting of the Executive Committee had been cancelled.
As an additional item, the Chair stated that Ruth Darling of the University of Tennessee had contacted the Forum for information about its functions and roles. The Chair said that she would send copies of the Forum’s Guidelines and Annual Report to Ms. Darling when available.
The Forum’s Pan-University Task Force will be composed of Ned Brooks, Ann Hamner, Mona Couts, Helen Iverson, and Tommy Griffin. Ned Brooks will convene the Task Force.
Committee and Task Force Reports
The Chair introduced Vice Chair Scott Blackwood to conduct the Forum’s election of officers.Scott cited the Forum’s Guidelines which state that the elections shall occur at the January meeting. He opened the election by referring Delegates to the January agenda packet which contained biographical sketches of each candidate. Scott would call for nominations from the floor for each office separately, after which nominations would be closed and candidates could make a few remarks on their own behalf.
Scott Blackwood presented the slate of nominations for the office of Chair of the Forum: Ann Hamner and Tom Hocking. He asked if there were any nominations from the floor. There were no nominations and Laresia Farrington made a motion that nominations for this office be closed. Kathy Dutton seconded this motion, and it was approved without discussion.
By alphabetical order, Ann Hamner was the first to give brief remarks. She introduced herself and asked Delegates for their vote. Referring to her biographical sketch, Ann said that she would emphasize that Forum members strive to share ideas and information with Employee constituents. She believed that the work done in 1995 under the guidance of Rachel Windham had been important and had increased Employee presence in campus-wide activities. Ann sought to forward the Forum’s charge to “facilitate communication among all the University’s Employees and the University Administration concerning general employment interests, concerns, operations, problems, plans and prospects.” She was surprised at the Employee Appreciation Fair that 205 of 221 respondents said they would not want to become Forum Delegates. She attributed this shortcoming to a misunderstanding of what Delegates do at Forum and committee meetings where some of the most important work of the Forum is done. She believed that improving communications with constituents will make the Forum known as the place to be for open discussion and resolution of the challenges facing Employees at the University.
Tom Hocking said he felt unsettled following a candidate such as Ann Hamner since he agreed with much that she had to say. He said that, if elected, he would give Forum work his all as his top priority, giving the Forum the attention it deserves. In any event, he stood ready to help as needed.
Dee Marley and Trish Brockman of the 1995 Nominating Committee helped pass out and compile the ballots. All Delegates were brought to the table to cast their ballots.
During the interval while ballots were counted, the Forum moved on to other Committee Reports. Leon Hamlett of the Orientation Committee shared that there had been some concern about how much time remained for Forum members to sign up for the January 18 Retreat. Members, Leon said, had only a short time remaining to confirm. He noted that there had been 35 reservations and one refusal; 9-10 other members had not responded. The Chair emphasized that the Retreat was vital to the progress of the Forum and that members should make every effort to attend. Thus, delinquent members should notify Leon as soon as possible to insure their spot. Archie Phillips stated that he had not received information about the Retreat in the mail. The Chair asked that the Forum Assistant send Archie another Retreat notice.
Neither the Personnel Policies or Compensation & Benefits Committees had anything to report. The Chair offered that continuing committee members may wish to say something to entice others to join their groups in 1996.
From the Recognition & Awards Committee, Chair Ann Hamner reported that the group had finished its year by going out to lunch. She noted that Employees will have the first chance to recognize their deceased compatriots at the February meeting under the Forum’s new policy acknowledging these Employees. Ann encouraged members to check with others in their Division and departments. Employees interested in presenting a resolution honoring co-workers who have died should contact the Vice Chair Kay Spivey before the February and October meetings.
Chair Rachel Windham recalled that the Recognition & Awards Committee had created its policy to recognize deceased Employees in response to the jarring realization that fellow Employees have passed on almost unnoticed by the University community. Employees will have the chance to honor their associates at the February and October meetings, or they may choose to have a Delegate do this for them. Delegates or Employees looking for guidelines on how to present these resolutions should call the Forum Office at 2-3779. These guidelines also are available in the Recognition & Awards Committee’s 1995 Annual Report.
Scott Blackwood broke in to provide the results of the election for Chair. Chair Rachel Windham announced that Ann Hamner had been elected the Forum’s Chair for 1996. Accordingly, Scott moved on to the election of Vice Chair. The slate of nominees for Vice Chair was composed of Tom Hocking and Kay Spivey. Scott opened the floor for additional nominations, but as there were none, Tommy Nixon made a motion that the nominations be closed, with Alice Taylor seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion passed without opposition.
Tom Hocking hoped that Forum members would consider kindly his candidacy for Vice Chair. Kay Spivey jokingly asked that members excuse her scratchy voice, as she was recovering from the winter plague. She considered the Forum very important and voiced her appreciation for the hard work of previous members and leaders. Particularly, she thanked Rachel Windham for her wonderful words at the Chancellor’s Installation which raised awareness of the importance of Employees’ contributions. No contribution, Kay said, is too small and the work of all is extremely important. She stated that “the Employee Forum must continue to `raise the standard of [Employees’] hope’ by fostering partnership with students and faculty in pursuing Carolina excellence, by Employee representation on policy development and search committees, and by seeking ways to improve Employee compensation and benefits.” She appreciated members’ support.
Dee Marley and Trish Brockman of the 1995 Nominating Committee helped pass out ballots. All Delegates cast their votes, and the ballots were collected and compiled by Dee and Trish.
Continuing with Committee Reports, the Chair thanked the Recognition & Awards Committee for the beautiful 3-Legged Stool which she was proud to own and display in her office.
There was nothing to report from the University Committee Assignments Committee.
Sharon Cheek of the Career Development Committee reported that the group had met twice that month to review training videos with Ken Manwaring and Phyllis Daugherty. Sharon reported that there were some good videos that the Committee felt would be useful for placement in the Audio and Video Training Library. The group would continue to review videos and pass on comments to Training and Development through the next months. Also, the Committee had begun to compile possible uses for the new allocation to the Staff Development Fund. For new members, Chair Rachel Windham recalled that in 1995 the Career Development Committee had recommended creation of the Audio and Video Training Library as the best use of that fund. She applauded the Committee for following through with its work.
In the absence of comments from the floor, the Chair expected that the activities of the Salary Task Force would be taken up by the Compensation & Benefits Committee. She advised interested individuals to consult the December 6, 1995 minutes for documentation of previous discussion.
Faculty Council Liaison to the Partner Benefits Committee Peter Schledorn reported that implementation of Phase 1 of the Committee’s report had gone through remarkably smoothly. He had received one or two minor questions on the subject but had been able to provide answers. (Discussion of the partner benefits report occurs in the October 4, 1995 minutes. Employees may obtain a copy of the discussion and the Committee’s statement by contacting the Forum Office at 2-3779.) The Chair noted that there had been an article in the paper recently about the establishment of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gay and Lesbian Employee Organization which gave good credit to the work of the Partner Benefits Committee.
Tom Hocking, Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs, said that the December meeting of that Committee had been cancelled. The Chair remarked that there had been an article in the News & Observer about SEANC’s lobbying plan for the short legislative session. Those interested in a copy of this article should contact the Forum Office at 2-3779.
Ann Hamner, Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Land-Use Planning, said that consultants had cancelled the December meeting and thus the group would convene this month. Community members will still have the opportunity to comment on these plans. (A fuller discussion of this issue occurs in the December 6, 1995 minutes).
The Chair announced that Kay Spivey had been elected as Vice Chair of the Employee Forum. Accordingly, Scott Blackwood announced the slate of nominees for the position of Secretary: Eddie Capel, Mona Couts and Dianne Crabill. Scott opened the floor for nominations. Since there were no nominations from the floor, Tom Hocking made a motion that nominations be closed, with Mona Couts seconding. The motion was approved unanimously.
Eddie Capel began remarks by stating he felt well-suited for the position, given his new shirt and tie. He pledged if elected Secretary he would not be boring. Mona Couts stated her commitment to the Nominating Committee, saying that she loved the work and would continue to help out in any event. Dianne Crabill asserted that her main concern as Secretary would be to increase participation of non-Forum Employees and that she would help out in any way possible.
Dee Marley and Trish Brockman of the 1995 Nominating Committee helped pass out ballots. All Delegates cast their votes, and the ballots were collected and compiled by Dee and Trish.
Human Resources Update
Laurie Charest welcomed the new Delegates, stating that she was looking forward to working with all of them in the coming year. She updated the Forum that enrollment for Flex Benefits was going well, in terms of Employees signing up for health and child care reimbursement accounts. Concerning Dental Plan enrollment and what would happen in relation to the current plan and the new dental plan offered by North Carolina Flex, there were 2605 participants enrolled in the Fortis plan as of the end of December. Four hundred twenty-nine Employees chose to participate in the new plan with 203 of these previously enrolled in the Fortis plan. Less than one-tenth of the new plan enrollees had left the Fortis plan to move to the new plan, Laurie offered. She hoped that this meant that the Fortis plan would continue through the year with no problems, but that she could not speak with certainty about the future. It was the intent of Human Resources that the plan continue, but the University Insurance Committee would have to examine the issue in the new year.
First deductions for the Flex plan (pretax account, reimbursement account or dental plan) would come Friday, January 5 for biweekly Employees and at the end of the month for monthly Employees. Those in the Fortis plan who shifted to the new plan still had a premium deductible for Fortis in December because the enrollment did not finish up until after the deduction date. Employees in this situation will receive a refund for that premium in their January 19 biweekly check or their January monthly check.
With the coming of the new year, some Employees may notice that their Prudential premiums have been adjusted for age and salary. If you hit one of the “magic year breaks” there will be an increase in cost associated with Prudential life insurance. Laurie said that there will be a note explaining this increase included with paychecks. Also, there will be a re-enrollment for the Prudential plan in late January. Information about how to increase coverage or how to join the plan will appear shortly.
In the fall a new disciplinary procedure went into effect at the State level, after which the University instituted its correspondent policy. Laurie reported that there will be two information sessions explaining the policy: January 8 at 11 a.m. in 1301 McGavarn-Greenburg and January 12 at 1 p.m. in 107 Berryhill. Human Resources staff also is available to anyone wishing a presentation in their department, but Laurie encouraged Employees to attend these sessions if possible. Laurie asked Forum members to help get word out to anyone with questions about the new procedure.
The period of time in which non-exempt Employees must use comp time before it must be paid has been extended to one year. This change became effective January 1 and memos concerning this change are in the distribution system. Laurie felt that this change would be a good one for Employees and departments.
Laurie Charest remarked that there had been many questions about OSSOG and when its last phase would be implemented. She said that she did not know when this phase would be implemented because the University awaits direction from the Office of State Personnel. When Human Resources receives word it will implement as soon as possible afterwards.
Donna Gerringer asked what the effect of the change in comp time policy would have on time earned before January 1. Laurie replied that comp time accrued must be used under the rules effective when the time was earned. Laurie noted that Human Resources had labored to make the new rule effective on January 1 to help Employees for whom registration is a heavy time.
The Chair thanked Laurie Charest for the work of her department in meeting the needs of these Employees affected by the comp time change. She thanked Laurie also for her updates and her continuing support of the Forum.
The Chair announced that Dianne Crabill had been elected Secretary of the Employee Forum for 1996. Scott Blackwood thus declared the elections closed. For 1996, the Forum’s Officers are: Ann Hamner, Chair; Kay Spivey, Vice Chair; and Dianne Crabill, Secretary. Scott wished the officers the best of luck and offered that he would always be available for advice. He said that it had been exciting serving as an officer and Delegate. Scott lauded the opportunity that the Forum presents its members and University Employees, and hoped that all would become productively involved.
Chair Rachel Windham thanked Vice Chair Scott Blackwood and the Nominating Committee for their yeoman’s work handling the nomination process. She thanked Scott for his fine work chairing the Employee Presentations Committee and the Community meetings, as well. “You’ve done a great job,” she said. The Chair acknowledged Secretary Trish Brockman, stating that the three happiest people of the day may be the three retiring officers. She thanked Trish for helping and rehearsing her through some tough times.
The Chair noted that Patti Smith had asked for a few minutes to speak about the 20 Year Banquet. Patti said that she would be glad to speak with interested parties in the foyer after the meeting.
Trish Brockman brought Chair Rachel Windham an inscribed silver-framed portrait of the 1995 Forum, a token of appreciation for what she had done as Chair. Trish said that the Forum has appreciated all that Rachel has done and that the two were definitely “outlaws, pals, friends and comrades.” Trish hoped that Rachel would keep up “the good work, the positiveness and the outspokenness” that marked her leadership.
Rachel thanked Trish for her kind words. She shared the story that she told at Orientation about when she began as a Speech Communications major here at Chapel Hill. In an attempt to make her students more comfortable with speaking in public, she confided that the first time she spoke publicly she had wet her pants. If she could overcome that, she felt, Forum members also could overcome their fears to speak out and say what is on their minds. Rachel offered that she and others would be glad to help members rehearse. “Call and we will be ready to help,” she said, “only through speaking out will we be heard throughout the University and the State.”
In response to a newly arisen need, Janet Tysinger volunteered to take the responsibility for posting Forum minutes on the Web. The Forum hopes to have its own Web page soon.
Chair Rachel Windham asked new Chair Ann Hamner to join her at the podium. Rachel presented “her friend and colleague” with the gavel originally presented to the Forum by Jim Peacock. The gavel was carved by Jim’s father from wood from the original Davie Poplar. Speaking from experience, Rachel said that there is a big responsibility that goes with the gavel, but said that she knew Ann was up to the task. Rachel bestowed the gavel upon Ann as representative of her charge as the Forum’s Chair for 1996. The assembly applauded the presentation. Ann said that she hoped to do the gavel and the Forum proud, following in the footsteps of former Forum chairs who have done an outstanding job. Ann said that she would count on members and Employees to let her know their ideas. She looked forward to working together as a team to improve the University.
In the absence of further discussion, Chair Ann Hamner asked for a motion to adjourn. Tom Hocking made this motion, with Alice Taylor seconding. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:14 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary