July 10, 2013
Employee Forum Agenda
9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Introductions and Swearing in of Forum Officers
IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
V. Approval of June Minutes
VI. Old Business
VII. New Business
- Selection of Forum Executive Committee Members
- Brainstorming Planning and Goals for Year
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Shelby Long/Arlene Medder
- Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
- Education and Career Development: Lois Douglass-Alston/Matt McKirahan
- Membership & Assignments: Paula Goodman
- Recognition & Awards: Michael Highland
- Personnel Issues: James Holman (June minutes)
- Compensation & Benefits: Shelby Long
- Legislative Action: David Fraley
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Yvonne Dunlap
- UNC System Staff Assembly: John Gullo/Koyah Rivera/Charles Streeter
- Executive Committee: Charles Streeter
July 10, 2013 Employee Forum minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Dan Barmmer, Nancy Beach, Jo-Ann Blake, Deborah Bush, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Lois Douglass-Alston, Yvonne Dunlap, Cindi Emerson, Jim Fuller, Sharon Glover, Paula Goodman, Maggie Grant, Christine Greenberg, John Gullo, Melissa Haugh, Michael Highland, James Holman, Todd Hux, Karen Jenkins-Cheek, Shelby Long, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Jillian Molee, Jessica O’Hara, Myra Quick, Kathy Ramsey, Koyah Rivera, Christina Rodriguez, David Schwartz, Tara Smith, Myint Thaung, Katie Turner, Matthew Turner, Clifton Webb.
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. He welcomed delegates and members of the press. He noted that Todd Hux had sent pictures of the recent flood damage to the University. The Chair praised Facilities Services workers for their efforts in cleaning the University after the flood. The Chair then introduced himself with a brief slideshow describing his life as a Fayetteville native and UNC student. He noted that he holds Bachelors of Science, Masters of Science and Masters of Business Administration degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. He also has acted in local productions and sang in a local chorus. He then led the room in a series of introductions.
Following introductions, Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone performed the oath of office for the Chair, Vice Chair Dan Barmmer, Secretary Paula Goodman, Treasurer Tammy Cox, and Parliamentarian Matt McKirahan. Malone then presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She congratulated the Forum’s officers and delegates for their election. She said that the Office of Human Resources was there to support the Forum’s work. She noted the recent conversation that the Forum’s leadership had held with Chancellor Folt. Malone said that there was no word on the new State budget just yet. She noted that the Legislature has decreed that as of July 1, the University can provide salary improvements only for promotions to vacant positions for SPA and EPA non-faculty positions. All other types of salary improvements are on hold. She mentioned the requirement for preapprovals for salary increases at 10% or higher. Tammy Cox asked why non-State funds are covered by this requirement also. Malone said that she would not speculate on the reason for this inclusion. Koyah Rivera asked if a salary increase approved on June 16 would be impacted by the previously mentioned change. Malone said that the increase should have already moved through the system. If it has not, it could still be impacted.
Concerning the transformation of Human Resources service delivery, Malone said that several changes are underway. She noted that Human Resources has retired the title of “Facilitator” as of July 1, as the University switches to a less distributive approach. The University has implemented a Carolina HR Council to discuss policy changes and major Human Resources issues. Malone said that July 1 is a very significant date as University functions are still decentralized but will now work with a central Human Resources system. Human Resources will make sure areas remain compliant with various laws and policies. She was hopeful that these changes will enhance the abilities of central Human Resources. Paula Goodman thought that most employees are not aware or understand these changes. Malone said that her office is working on a University-wide communiqué describing these changes.
Senior Director Ashley Nicklis noted that the next health insurance policy period is only six month in order to align the State Health Plan upon a calendar year. On January 1, 2014, NCFlex and State Health Plan enrollment will take place simultaneously. Thus, the deductibles and coinsurance for this six month period will reach a maximum at one-half their usual total. John Gullo asked how this change will affect salary reductions. Nicklis said that they will not affect salary deductions. Christine Greenberg asked if Human Resources has anticipated changes related to the Affordable Care Act. Nicklis said that most of the recent push has been to get ready for the calendar year switchover. She said that there will probably be a rate increase next year, possibly through several surcharges assessed to the 80/20 plan. She could not comment further as plans have not been announced. Greenberg noted the general anxiety about premium increases. She noted that benefits have declined dramatically in the last six years. Nicklis felt a similar anxiety.
Deborah Bush asked who negotiates premiums for the State Health Plan. Nicklis said that the State of North Carolina self-insures. She said that the State Health Plan recommends rates to the Legislative Oversight Committee. Dan Barmmer asked if it would be possible that the plan would decrease to 60/40 or 50/50. Nicklis did not think so, given industry practices. Brenda Malone said that the escalating cost of health care has led to difficult choices. She said that those administering the system do their best not to slash benefits or increase costs. She noted that North Carolina pays only so much for dependent coverage and the State must do something about that. She said that the University is more on the receiving end than the influencing end in this debate. David Schwartz asked if the Legislature uses is purchasing power to negotiate for good pricing, given the number of State employees. Nicklis said that she had not seen the actual numbers, but she knew that the State is involved in constant negotiations. She said that the State Health Plan does not cover many younger healthy people, leading to a high cost/benefits ratio. Jim Fuller asked about opting out of the current program to buy one’s own personal plan. Nicklis said that the University pays around $5200 a year per employee for health coverage. Fuller asked why it is cheaper to buy a separate plan than to use the State Health Plan to cover dependents. Nicklis said that the premiums cost for health 20-year olds is not as high.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June retreat. John Gullo made this motion, seconded by Tammy Cox. The Forum voted to approve this motion, with two abstentions and none opposed.
The Chair shared his roadmap for what he envisioned the Forum to do in the next year. He saw himself as a facilitator, defender and protector of Forum delegates, as well as a communicator. He saw himself as accountable for what the group does, good or bad. He recalled meeting Chancellor Folt July 1, and noted that the Forum serves as an advisory committee for the Chancellor on items for which she may request advice. He noted the topics that the Forum leadership discussed with Chancellor Folt. He particularly noted Chancellor Folt’s desire to resolve issues with a smile and to handle disagreements without physical or personal antagonism. Folt also desired to find ways to be more accessible to employees and community members. He reiterated that the Forum is an advisory group that serves at the will of the Chancellor. The Chair noted the importance of increasing the visibility of the Forum and to continue to improve the Forum’s reputation. He emphasized the importance of outreach and recruitment, saying the Forum should work to attract 10-15 employee candidates per division.
The Chair asked delegates to break into small groups to discuss issues and causes, guest speakers, activities, and ways to reach constituents for a period of 15 minutes. The committees then reported out on their work:
Group: John Gullo, Christina Rodriguez, Nancy Beach, Jim Fuller, Dan Barmmer
Issues/Causes: Career Paths/Staff Retention; Diversity/Inclusiveness; Sexual Harassment
Speakers: LGBTQ Center; Health Care Developments; Public Safety for Emergency Procedures
Activities: Habitat for Humanity for Veterans
Group: Tiffany Carver, Jill Molee, Tara Smith, Myint Thaung
Issues/Causes: Parking; Employee Training (Supervisors: teach managers to improve management skills; make management training more consistent), (Employees: better/more training for those wanting to advance into supervisory roles); Supervisor/Management & Employee Relations (deal with bullying from managers; ability for staff to give feedback without retaliation; holding all parties accountable for their actions; revamping role of Ombuds concerning communication between staff and managers); more classes offered for free (tuition waiver); HR support
Speakers: Chair of General Assembly; Chancellor Folt; Chair of a different Employee Forum
Activities: host an event similar to employee appreciation fair on a much smaller scale; involve HR in our publication
Group: Tammy Cox, Deborah Bush, Katie Turner, Jessica O’Hara, Arlene Medder, Amanda Chang, Yvonne Dunlap, Clifton Webb, Katie Fanfani
Issues/Causes: Tuition Wavier Program (1 class/semester + 1 summer class; pressure on supervisors for flexibility for employees to take classes); Child Care Options; Diversity of Cultures Training; Unequal Hiring Practices
Speakers: Diversity/Multicultural; ADA Office; Energy/Sustainability
Activities: Brown Bag (different campus areas); Scavenger Hunt (through social media); Suggestion Box to reach constituents
Group: Michael Highland, Matthew Turner, Chris Meinecke, Jo-Ann Blake, Kathy Ramsey, Matthew McKirahan, Maggie Grant, Cindi Emerson
Issues/Causes: At what age does someone age out of their job? (no mandatory age/social security ages); Parking (funding by Athletics Dept (minimal); park and ride costs not fair to lower wage employees; need more info); Inclusivity (how to feel more a part of larger Carolina community; networking? other events?)
Speakers: Jim Johnson (Demographer on Board of Covenant Scholars); “Experts” on “Obamacare” (how it will affect us); Schools of Government, Public Health have “leadership” speakers availability
Activities: Access to Communications/E-Mail/Voting for all Employees; How to Reach New Employees (put Forum brochure into new employee orientation packets); Increase Visibility (informational listserv employees can “opt in”)
Group: Paula Goodman, Karen Cheek, Shelby Long, Lois Douglass-Alston; Melissa Haugh; Jackie Copeland, Koyah Rivera
Issues/Causes: Leadership Certificates (for those not in a “supervisory role”); Increased Awareness for On-Line Training (Excel, Word, etc.); Reinstating of “Track” programs; Certificates for Training
Speakers: Chancellor Folt; Will Free?; Birmingham (Joy); Coach Fedora; Benefits/Perks Representative from HR; Diversity Office
Activities: T-shirts; Reach Constituents (via DTH section for Employee Forum; Recruitment Fair (with other agencies; part of orientation?; blood drive representatives)
Group: Chrissie Greenberg, David Schwartz, Sharon Glover, Todd Hux, Danny Nguyen, Myra Quick
Issues/Causes: Tuition Waiver (3rd; extension possibly to spouses or children); More Affordable Child Care options/slots on campus (Carolina Camps in summer & after school care; look into “Bright Horizons” program); Update on 360 evaluations & Management Training in units (mechanism for employees to provide feedback on supervisors); Affordable Housing for employees in town
Speakers: Motivational sports leaders on campus; Chancellor; Management & Supervisory (one-minute manager, 360 evaluations); Provost; Anna Wu, Facilities Director; Legislators who support or oppose us; History of University; Insurance Info
Activities: Bowling Leagues; Campus Tours for Forum Members Discussing Campus History
Visibility: Have an Employee Forum meeting on Quad; Lunch/Food event (members could contribute food or Chancellor support?); Announcement Through HR E-Mail; Departmental Information Sessions
The Chair then asked delegates to meet according to their electoral divisions to select Executive Committee representatives, reporting them after the meeting to the Forum Assistant.
Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden had distributed over 50 pounds of produce recently and was working to design a new footprint. Katie Turner said that the Communications & Public Relations committee had met to discuss August 20 deadline articles, pictures, and story ideas. She noted that the Forum distributes its newsletter InTouch via a Daily Tar Heel insert. Chris Meinecke asked about the status of annual reports from the previous year. Matt McKirahan said that the Education and Career Development committee would discuss Rosetta Stone, Live Mocha, and tuition waiver programs at its July 26 meeting. Paula Goodman said that the Membership and Assignments committee had not met. Michael Highland said that the Recognition & Awards committee would not meet until August or September. Yvonne Dunlap said that the Personnel Issues committee had not met. John Gullo reported that the Staff Assembly had not met but had held the Chancellors’ Cup golf tourney to raise money for scholarships. He said that the Human Resources, Diversity, and Benefits committee continues its work on best practices.
Chris Meinecke said that the Bylaws committee was studying the Forum’s existing bylaws for improvements. The committee will next meet July 18. The Chair encouraged delegates to help other Forum committees when the opportunity presents itself. The Chair said that the Executive Committee will meet July 23. In the interests of time, he said that the Forum would need to discuss the Forum’s Rules of Order via e-mail. He also said that the Forum would continue to work on the ideas discussed in small groups that morning. He finally said that the Forum Office would send out instructions on pulling the Employee Forum Google calendar into Outlook.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:26 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary