Minutes

January 6, 1999

Delegates Present Forrest Aiken Brenda Ambrose-Fortune Betty Averette
Martha Barbour Terry Barker Maxcine Barnes Peggy Berryhill
Linwood Blalock Connie Boyce Jean Coble Linda Drake
Kathy Dutton James Evans Monisia Farrington Linda Ford
Linwood Futrelle Kim Gardner Karen Geer Sherry Graham
Dorothy Grant Michael Hawkins Jennifer Henderson LaEula Joyner
Charlotte Kilpatrick Joanne Kucharski Ruthie Lawson Bobbie Lesane
Denise Mabe Jill Mayer Eileen McGrath Ken Perry
Rickey Robinson Jane Stine Cindy Stone Diane Strong
Verdell Williams Carol Worrell Laurie Charest = Ex-Officio
Delagates Absent Mary Braxton Denise Childress JLorrie Hall
Janice Lee Ken Litowsky Dee Dee Massey Vicki Pineles
Lynn Ray Terry Teer Alternates Present Robert Thoma
Guests Pete Andrews Lucille Brooks Elizabeth Evans
Eric Ferreri Scott Ragland Jim Ramsey

 

 

 

Call to Order, Welcome to Guests

Chair Linwood Futrelle called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. He welcomed newly appointed Delegates James Evans, Kim Gardner, and Diane Strong, and reminded all Delegates to sign in and to examine the routing file as it is passed around the room. He then introduced Vice Chancellor for Administration Jim Ramsey to make opening remarks.

Opening Remarks

Ramsey wished the Forum a Happy New Year, and thanked the Chair for his assistance and mentoring during the last six months since he arrived at UNC. He praised the Chair’s candor, openness, and honesty, and thanked him for his work done for the University and, specifically, the University Priorities and Budget Committee.

Since arriving six months ago, Ramsey had been aware that parking is a major issue facing the University. Administrators have been working through recommendations put forward by the Parking and Transit Task Force, and trying to incorporate these recommendations with the help of consultants Ayres Saint Gross into the revised master plan for central campus.

Ramsey had said early on that it was important for community members to know how their parking dollars are being spent, and was proud to have run graphs in the University Gazette depicting the distribution of parking dollars. In addition, the University has pressed for a public accounting of how parking is allocated within departments. Recently, Ramsey’s office has written every department requesting a written policy on parking distribution. These policies will be available from Public Safety offices and the Public Safety web site. Ramsey thanked the Task Force for this recommendation, and noted that the University will need help enacting further recommendations.

Discussions about the future use of the Horace Williams property have just begun. The Horace Williams tract contains around 1,000 acres located at the intersection of Highway 86 and Estes Drive Extension. The tract contains the airport and facilities leased by Chapel Hill Transit. Ramsey noted that the Chancellor has believed for some time that the University should look at how the Horace Williams tract could best benefit the University, and so has put together a working group on campus to look at possible uses for the property. This group held its first official meeting before Christmas, and has distributed a letter across campus soliciting community input on possible uses for the site.

One possible use for the Horace Williams site is as a satellite campus, after the model of North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus. The Centennial Campus is the home of several research programs and the University’s textile studies school. However, some departments have indicated that they would resist movement to a satellite campus. Another possibility is to use the site to alleviate parking congestion and other facilities needs caused by the proposed increase in campus enrollment. However again, some feel that students should remain on the main campus. There has also been a proposal to turn the Horace Williams tract into a profit center for the University as a research park, but some observers feel that this use would not fit with the established mission of the University.

Ramsey distributed a letter from the Chancellor requesting thoughts, input and feedback for the Horace Williams planning group. The group will meet monthly and will try to incorporate the feedback it receives from campus members on this huge issue.

The General Assembly will reconvene January 27 in a session that holds important implications for the University budget. Ramsey would try to keep the Forum updated as well as he could on developments.

Ramsey noted a recent article in the Journal of Higher Education that summarized funding implications for higher education across the United States. The outlook for North Carolina higher education was said to be fuzzy, given that the State budget is under various pressures due to two supreme court decisions costing the State hundreds of millions of dollars, and gubernatorial initiatives to increase Smart Start funding and K-12 teachers’ salaries. This article also documented the University Board of Governors’ budgetary recommendations to the Legislature.

Marvin Dorman from the State Budget & Management office has been quoted that State funds will be very tight this year, particularly in the area of recurring dollars. Some non-recurring money may be available, however. Given this tight budget, some observers have called for the implementation of a State lottery.

Ramsey said that University representatives would work hard in meetings with legislators to achieve higher salaries and compensation for University faculty and staff, as well as obtaining funds for other important projects. These discussions will continue over the next several months.

The University’s Board of Trustees will meet Friday, January 28, and will hear a presentation from the Ayres Saint Gross group on revisions to the master plan for central campus. Ayres Saint Gross will also make a series of presentations at community meetings across campus; Employees are invited to a meeting Thursday, January 28, from 9-10:30 a.m. in Student Union Room 224. Consultants from Ayres Saint Gross plan one more precinct visit before making their presentation to the Board.

The Chair asked if Ramsey had any information on the Governor’s salary recommendations for SPA salary recommendations to the General Assembly. Ramsey had heard that the Board of Governor’s had proposed a 6% increase pool for EPA Employees, but he had not heard anything concerning the Governor’s recommendations for SPA Employees.

In the absence of any further questions, Ramsey took his leave. He once again thanked the Chair for his representation of the Forum.

Employee Presentations, Special Presentations

There were no Employee presentations or special presentations scheduled.

 

Human Resources Update

Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest arose to give her customary Human Resources update. She thanked Chair Linwood Futrelle for his outstanding leadership of the Forum and of staff Employees in general.

Charest reported that there are now around 559 SPA vacancies at the University. The University has had a tough time competing with Triangle companies also seeking new Employees. On a positive note, the University has been able to fill a high number of positions internally through its Transfer Opportunities Program, but unfortunately every time a position is filled internally it leads to a vacancy in another department. Charest asked that departments seeking new hires do everything possible to allow a fast search and to be ready to move quickly through the hiring process. Also, she encouraged Employees to recommend people they know who might be interested in jobs with the University, as a wide number of positions are available.

Charest noted that the Board of Governors has ruled that certain senior academic and administrative officers could be re-categorized under a proposal adopted by President Broad this past November. Thus, at the University, twenty-three positions now have the option to move from an SPA to an EPA non-faculty classification. This change should help in position recruitment for higher level jobs. Human Resources is now in the process of setting up individual appointments with Employees affected by these changes, to aid them in making their decisions by the first week in February.

A delegate asked the status of a white paper noting flaws in the recent span of control study. Charest said that her committee had turned the paper into Jim Ramsey and the Chancellor’s cabinet, but have not yet received a response. She did not know where things would go from this point.

Concerning filling vacant positions, Betty Averette had heard reports that some departments have received rather old employment applications for consideration. She worried that departments were being asked to consider outdated applications. In addition, she reported that some Tar Heel Temporary employees have been unable to secure interviews for permanent positions on campus. She asked what temporary employees needed to do to improve their profile in the hiring process.

Charest replied that individual departments decide whom they will interview in their hiring process; some departments choose to interview many candidates while other narrow their choices to as few as possible. She said that applications from outside applicants have declined significantly, as almost every potential “good hire” has already secured employment in the area. This situation is difficult for the University, as it does not possess flexibility in offering salaries and other perks. In addition, campus parking difficulties have had a negative impact on potential hires. Averette said that she had experienced similar difficulties when transferring internally, and found that the need for departmental seniority in parking priority was a negative factor in progressing with her University career. She would raise this concern in Transportation and Advisory Parking Committee discussions this year.

Approval of the Minutes

Due to the late distribution of that month’s agenda packet, the Forum moved to defer approval of the minutes until February.

Unfinished Business

The Chair conducted Forum Officer elections according to Forum Guidelines, Section VI. D. 4a. Election of Officers. He called for any further nominations for the office of Forum Chair. In the absence of any further nominations, he called for a motion to close nominations. Mike Hawkins made this motion, seconded by Linda Drake. As only one candidate, Jane Stine, stood for election, the Chair called for her election by acclamation. By voice vote, the Forum elected Jane Stine as its Chair for 1999 by general consent.

The Chair called for any further nominations for the office of Forum Vice Chair. In the absence of any further nominations, he called for a motion to close nominations. Jane Stine made this motion, seconded by Mike Hawkins. As only one candidate, Vicki Pineles, stood for election, the Chair called for her election by acclamation. By voice vote, the Forum elected Vicki Pineles as its Vice Chair for 1999 by general consent.

The Chair called for any further nominations for the office of Forum Secretary. In the absence of any further nominations, he called for a motion to close nominations. Linda Drake made this motion, seconded by Mike Hawkins. As only one candidate, Jennifer Henderson, stood for election, the Chair called for her election by acclamation. By voice vote, the Forum elected Jennifer Henderson as its Secretary for 1999 by general consent.

Lucille Brooks, outgoing Forum Secretary, thanked all three of the newly elected officers for their willingness to serve the Forum and the University.

Chair’s Report

The Chair reported that the Executive Committee had held a luncheon meeting December 15. He urged Delegates and first alternates to make time to attend the Forum Retreat January 15, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Friday Center. Delegates should begin to consider on which committees they will want to serve. The Chair stated that much of the Forum’s real work is done in its committees. In addition, the Forum will hear from various University administrators and will select its Executive Committee representatives from each of its electoral divisions. Those unable to attend should contact Forum Assistant Matt Banks with their regrets.

The Chair recognized the Chair of the Faculty Pete Andrews for his extraordinarily helpful work for the University and the Forum. He noted that the Faculty Council had recently approved a resolution supporting Employee participation in governance organizations such as the Employee Forum. The Chair looked forward to further cooperation between the Forum and the Faculty Council on issues such as extending benefits to domestic partners.

Andrews said that it had been a pleasure working with the Chair and the Forum since his assumption of office in 1997. He looked forward to further opportunities to working with the Forum in a collaborative group structure to address the common needs of this great University. He also looked forward to attending more Forum meetings when possible, given a recent change in his weekly class schedule. He thought that the University would gain even more strength by all of its members speaking together with one voice.

At this point, the Forum took its monthly stretch break.

Committee Reports

Ken Perry said that there was not much to report from the New Careers Training Board. He was encouraged by the establishment of a new computer lab for any Employee in job grades 50-54.

Lucille Brooks stated how much she enjoyed working with the Forum Nominating Committee and the 1998 Forum Officers. Brooks and incoming Secretary Jennifer Henderson planned to hold a transitional meeting January 12.

Martha Barbour reported that the Personnel Issues Committee still was considering the manner of the Full-Time Exempt Employee Workload/Work-time Survey. The Forum has received around 1,000 returned surveys, but unfortunately some of those responding were not exempt Employees. There is the possibility that the Forum may need to send out the surveys again to achieve a better sample. However, Barbour said that the survey had been useful in increasing compliance with employment practices among the worst-offending departments.

The Chair cited the University Committee Assignments Committee as having had a very successful year in appointing staff to relevant groups across campus.

Laurie Charest said that the Grievance Procedure Review Task Force had heard from the Office of State Personnel on Monday approving all of its recommendations but one, the expansion of the support person’s role. (There had yet to be a decision made on the expansion of this person’s role.) Departments should soon expect to see information about the approved changes from Human Resources.

There was no report from the Intellectual Climate Task Force or the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee.

The Chair reported that the University Priorities and Budget Committee (UPBC) had heard presentations during several four hour-long meetings this past month. Every vice chancellor and dean have made reports to the UPBC on how the plans for their area tie into the UPBC priority list. The UPBC’s work has been very intensive recently in an attempt to respond to these presentations and incorporate them into the overall budgetary framework. He had been amazed at how close schools and departments have tied their work to the five UPBC priorities.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had met with the Faculty Council Executive Committee in November and hoped to schedule future meetings between the two groups soon.

The Chair asked members to consider and to consult with fellow Employees about concerns the Forum might address in the coming year. Members should raise these concerns with the Forum officers or with other Delegates for further consideration and discussion.

Transmission of the Gavel to the New Chair

The Chair noted that the Forum gavel was carved by the father of Professor James Peacock from the original timbers of the Old East dormitory. The Chair was proud to present new Chair Jane Stine to the Employee Forum.

Chair Jane Stine thanked Futrelle for his service and kind words. She resolved to serve the University in whatever capacity necessary as Forum Chair. She had already been asked to speak with the press, and expected to hear from members with their ideas in the coming weeks.

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. The Forum agreed to adjourn by acclamation at 10:40 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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