July 2, 2008
Employee Forum Agenda — July 2, 2008
9:15 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
IV. Special Presentations
- Human Resources Update—Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone
V. Employee Presentations or Questions
VII. Old Business
- Proposed Guidelines Revisions on Staff Assembly Delegate Responsibilities (First Reading)
IX. Stretch Time
X. Forum Committee Reports
- Communications and Public Relations: Brenda Denzler
- Forum Newsletter
- Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach: Beth Bridger
- Compensation & Benefits: Alan Moran
- Education and Career Development: Liz Cahoon/Cate Cunningham
- Legislative Action: Mike Hawkins
- Membership & Assignments: Aluoch Ooro
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Mike McQuown
XI. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
XIV. “Go Around the Room”: A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue Most on their Minds
July 2, 2008 Minutes
Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m. The Chair asked members to work as a team. He said that he looked forward to working with new Chancellor Thorp, and he noted that the Executive Committee would meet with him July 29.
The Chair invited Associate Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to make remarks. Malone congratulated Griffin on his election and introduced Brian Usachian, senior director of University benefits.
Malone noted that Orange County Literacy Council had submitted a successful bid to handle the University’s literacy initiative pilot. Malone also reported that Chancellor Moeser had convened a task force to address problems associated with the high cost of gasoline. She noted that the Forum had appointed two representatives to this task force. The task force will work to inform Employees about options currently available through Chapel Hill Transit and other options.
Vice Chair Brenda Denzler asked about the rash of break-ins at park and ride lots. Malone said that the University is taking steps to address this problem. She also said that the task force would ask departments to consider flexible scheduling options.
Malone praised outgoing Chair Ernie Patterson’s efforts to promote the University literacy initiative. She also noted that the University would begin to administer its 403(b) programs in a different way, with more oversight and compliance regulations required. The University will have to demonstrate its compliance with the final regulations of 403(b) benefits programs by January 1, 2009.
Usischon said that Human Resources had worked to upgrade its service award program to make its event more special and memorable. Denzler urged that the University formally recognize more often those serving 40, 45 or 50 years.
The Chair welcomed guests, among them representatives from the University ombuds office. The Forum discussed the thinking behind the University’s career banding process as compared to recognizing service based on number of years served. Alan Moran confirmed that new Employees, as well as current Employees, would continue to receive longevity paychecks. The Chair noted the differing opinions about career banding. Michael McQuown raised the issue of Governor’s Easley’s wife’s recent salary increase.
Malone said that the drive towards organizational flexibility was designed to structure Human Resources systems that work in the current University environment. He said that no one wanted to change the protections that Employees enjoy. He said that flexibility would enable Human Resources to make decisions about departmental compensation structure.
Denzler disagreed with Malone’s statement that no one on the UNC System Human Resources task force wanted to let people go. She wanted to hear more details about what the University would do with its newly won flexibility. Malone noted the checks and balances that would remain as new changes would have to go to General Administration, then to the Board of Governors, then to the State for approval. Moran said that employees at UNC Health Care System have faced difficulties that they do not want to express officially but have expressed unofficially. Malone said that she understood the reticence that some delegates feel but the University needs to obtain some authority to deal with its longstanding problems. Secretary Mike Hawkins said that checks and balances do not always work to insure employees’ interests. He urged vigilance instead of a reliance on checks and balances.
McQuown asked about including initiatives for supervisory training on flexible scheduling as part of the Chancellor’s task force. Malone said that the University could work through its Human Resources facilitators as well as through articles in the University Gazette and InTouch. She said that Human Resources may develop its own internal publication at some point. Mary Campbell describing distributing announcements to her department.
Hawkins confirmed that Ernie Patterson and Terry Buckner are the Forum’s representatives on the Chancellor’s task force dealing with gas price concerns. Malone said that Employees with concerns for the task force should contact these representatives. The task force hopes to give the Chancellor recommendations at least by the end of September. Patterson urged all Employees to embrace lifestyle changes made necessary by the increasing cost of gas.
Hawkins read a proposed third section to add to the Forum Guidelines dealing with the responsibilities of UNC System Staff Assembly delegates. He noted that Brenda Denzler had authored some edits to the appendix as well. These changes were presented to the Forum on first reading. Hawkins noted that a delegate had voted against the Forum’s position on the proposed amendment to the State Personnel Act. The proposed section was offered to make sure that delegates do not vote against the expressed will of the Forum. Denzler said that the Forum would hear discussion then refer the question to the Executive Committee, then take up the discussion at a later meeting.
Alan Moran offered a different version of Hawkins’ revisions. Faith Thompson, a recently elected delegate to the Staff Assembly, said that Hawkins’ proposal would undermine delegates’ ability to negotiate with other Staff Assembly members. Chuck Brink described the thought process that went into his vote in favor of the Staff Assembly proposal. Members discussed the tension between representing their constituents and voting their own conscience.
The Forum discussed the merits of the different proposals, deciding to forward Hawkins’ proposal to the Executive Committee by a vote of 21 in favor, 4 against and 4 abstaining.
Brenda Denzler of the Communications & Public Affairs committee reported the group was working on its June-July issue, with plans for a print edition in August-September. Beth Bridger of the Community Affairs, Recognition & Awards committee reported that group would work improving on its awards programs. Alan Moran of the Compensation & Benefits committee reported that group would work on a pay resolution and a benefits survey. Liz Cahoon of the Education and Career Development committee discussed different ways to publicize opportunities on campus. Mike Hawkins of the Legislative Affairs committee reported the outcome of emergency legislation to allow the State budget to continue. He said that he had attended a meeting with Majority Leader of the House Joe Hackney on collective bargaining concerns. There was no report from the Membership and Assignments committee. Mike McQuown of the Staff Relations, Policies & Practices committee reported the group had addressed a number of concerns. The Chair encouraged all delegates to sign up for at least one committee.
The Chair reported he had fought a proposal to move 65% of the State retirement system into non-secured investments. Patterson said that actuarial tables now suggest that employees will need 125-135% of their current income to retire.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:39 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary