Agenda — July 5, 1995

***Note Special Time***

9:00 a.m.—Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library

 

I.          Reception for Chancellor Michael Hooker

 

II.         Call to Order

 

III.       Welcome Guests

 

IV.       Opening Remarks

            •Chancellor Michael Hooker

•Laurie Charest, Human Resources Update

 

V.        Special Presentation  OSSOG: History, Thinking, Prospects for the Future

  • Ralph Voight, Personnel Supervisor II, Positions Management Division, Office of State Personnel
  • Drake Maynard, Senior Director, Human Resources Administration UNC-CH

 

VI.       Employee Presentations—Scott Blackwood

 

VII.      Approval of Minutes of the June 7, 1995 meeting

 

VIII.     Chair’s Report:  Rachel Windham

  • Departure of Provost Dick McCormick
  • Dick Richardson to Serve as Interim Provost
  • Mandatory Hour Reduction and Priority Status (Referred to Laurie Charest)
    • Chancellor Hardin Approved Increase in Educational Assistance Allowance from $250 to $350
    • Presentation of Framed Resolution to Chancellor Paul Hardin
    • Governor Hunt’s Response to Forum Letter
    • Action in the Legislature
    • Carr Conference Room Available for Committee Meetings

 

IX.       Committee/Task Force Reports

  • Nominating—Scott Blackwood–Division 2 Election Results
  • Career Development—Sharon Bowers
  • Orientation—Debi Schledorn–Request for Discussion
  • Personnel Policies—Pat Staley
  • Compensation and Benefits—Archie Lassiter/Tom Hocking
  • Public Affairs—Delores Bayless
  • Recognition and Awards—Ann Hamner
  • University Committee Assignments—Libby Chenault
  • Salary Task Force—Delores Bayless/Trish Brockman
  • Employee Fair Booth Task Force—Marshall Wade
  • Faculty Council Liaisons
    • Partner Benefits—Linda Cook/Peter Schledorn
    • Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington/Tom Hocking
    • Land Use Planning—Ann Hamner

 

X.        Unfinished Business

  • Employee Morale–Feedback on Homework Assignment
    • Plans for Invitations to Legislators and Staff/Legislative Day (Referred to Public Affairs)

 

XI.       Announcements/Questions

  • Informal Social Hour/Relax & Chat—Thursday, July 6, 5:30 p.m. Slug’s Restaurant
  • News & Notes Unavailable for Agenda Packet–On Back Table

 

XII.      Adjournment

MINUTES

July 5, 1995

Delegates Present

Nellie Baldwin

Peggy Barber

Bill Bates

Delores Bayless

Scott Blackwood

Lin Blalock

Trish Brockman

Ned Brooks

Sharon Cheek

Libby Chenault

Linda Cook

Mona Couts

Dianne Crabill

Kathy Dutton

Laresia Farrington

Tommy Griffin

Leon Hamlett

Ann Hamner

Tom Hocking

Helen Iverson

Archie Lassiter

Vicki Lotz

Dee Marley

Gary Pearce

Jennifer Pendergast

Sarah Rimmer

Debi Schledorn

Pamela Shoaf

Kay Spivey

Pat Staley

Cliff Stone

Alice Taylor

Marshall Wade

Cheryl Ward

Fran Ward

Rachel Windham

Margaret Balcom

Laurie Charest

= Ex-Officio

 

Delegates Absent

Brenda Barnes

Sharon Bowers

Riley Carter

Peggy Cotton

Lena Dean

Wendy Mann

Sue Morand

Dean Rimmer

Jon Thomas

 

Alternates Present

Frank DiMauro

Ruby Massey

Peter Schledorn

Karen Torry

 

Guests

Thanassis Cambanis

Blake Dickinson

Martha Elder

Mike Hobbs

Mitch Kokai

Ed Phillips

LaBron Reid

 



 

 

Call to Order

Chair Rachel Windham called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.  She thanked the group for arriving early to welcome Chancellor Hooker at the morning’s reception.  With pleasure, the Chair introduced Chancellor Michael Hooker to his first meeting with the Forum.  She commented that it is always nice to welcome back to Chapel Hill an expatriate Tar Heel.  The Chair said she looked forward to working with the new Chancellor to make the University a better place.

Chancellor’s Remarks

Chancellor Michael Hooker thanked the Chair and those present for their greetings and applause.  He particularly thanked those people whom he had met during the morning’s reception for their warm greetings.  He apologized for being late, but said that he and the Chair were engaged in a spirited conversation prior to walking over.  The Chancellor indicated that he wanted to do is to hear from Forum members personally as he moves across campus in the next few months.  He referred to his extensive background in higher education administration at several institutions, but granted that he is unfamiliar with the specific issues at this University.  He said “I need to be educated and I will be educated only to the extent where people step forward and tell me what I need to know.”  From these pieces of information, these data points, he will connect the dots, filter information and build a picture of what needs attention.  The Chancellor said he could not begin without this initial information.  So he encouraged Employees through the Forum and individually to contact him, even anonymously if necessary, to let him know what needs attention on campus.

He added:  “The Employee Forum, I can assure you is something that will be dear to my heart.”  The Chancellor shared that he created a Forum at the University of Maryland when he served as Chancellor and realized there was something missing with no Employee Forum.  He went on to say:  “It is something that is very clear to me from my experience as a student, and my experience as a faculty member and an administrator, that people who make the most difference in the quality of an institution, the character of the experience that students and indeed that faculty have, are the people who are non-faculty Employees of the institution.  For that reason it is absolutely crucial that your voice be heard and heeded and that you be able to work with people from different parts of the institution so that we may build a collective whole, the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts.  Only when we come together are we able to do that.  So you can be sure I will be very supportive of the Forum and will use you as much as I hope you will use me to solve problems.”

The Chancellor noted that one of the largest problems which emerged in his reading of the minutes of the last several meetings was the issue of morale.  He said:  “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that morale problems will reflect themselves in performance and performance will affect morale in a downward spiral which is invidious….”

From his conversations and reading the Chancellor cited a “restiveness” among faculty, staff and students regarding the actions of the State Legislature. This restiveness stems from the apparent lack of good will, especially in the House, towards the University System and UNC-CH.  This situation is something he said he would work towards addressing, particularly in the first few months of his tenure.  He referred to an earlier comment that between 1988 and 1992, the economy was in poor shape so budget cuts were easier to take than today when prospective cuts reflect politics more than economics.  This situation is difficult to take because the University has more control over its political image than it does over the State’s economic health.  The Chancellor asserted that the University has a job to do to create a more positive image in the minds of the public and the Legislature.  It will not do, the Chancellor claimed, to simply cry out that proposed cuts are unjust, implying that “we have a God-given right to budget increases rather than budget cuts.”  The University must better portray its value to the citizens, future students and economy of North Carolina.

Demonstrating this value is part of the job of the Chancellor, Chancellor Hooker said.  Yet he contended that each Employee in their interactions with the outside world has the potential to enhance or diminish the public image of the University.  Hence, we all have the capability to influence the perception of the University in the minds of the public and the Legislature. In turn, our own well-being can increase as a result of the University’s profit.  He said this is one of the areas where he looked forward to working with the Forum.

Yet, morale issues are not only influenced by what occurs in the deliberations in Raleigh, the Chancellor said, but are arguably more impacted by what occurs on campus.  He said there may be many things the University is doing which it should not do, and there may also be many things the University should be doing but is not, both affecting Employee morale.  The Chancellor said that “on both of these matters he looked forward to hearing advice” from the Forum and to working with the Forum to address these issues.

Libby Chenault noted that the Chancellor had initiated an Employee Forum at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County.  Considering his experience there, she asked what interaction and input the Chancellor expected in his consultations with the Forum.  The Chancellor responded that one example of this interaction was that the Chair of the Faculty, the President of Student Government and the Employee Senate at UM-BC met with the Chancellor on a monthly basis.  They met for lunch and discussed the issues of the month, creating a certain synergy that carried over into each leader’s work with their own organization.  The Chancellor felt this meeting was a good means of communication between groups, and he anticipated there would be many other means towards this end.

Scott Blackwood said that he was glad to hear that the Chancellor would work to put forth the most positive image of the University.  Yet, he said members of the news media were not always positive about the University’s work.  The Chancellor said he had engaged in getting a feeling for the University’s reputation, an understanding that he said is instantly diluted once he assumes the responsibilities of office.  Rightly or wrongly, the perception is that the University possesses a certain hubris, feeling it is above everyone else.  Employees of the University, the Chancellor asserted, are the servants of the people of North Carolina.  He asserted that there is no reason in the world for a public university to exist but to serve the public.  The Chancellor said the University does not deserve to exist just because it is a high quality institution; instead “we should be busting a gut constantly to figure out how better to serve the public.”  He contended that if this becomes the attitude we bring to everything we do, our public image will change.  Chancellor Hooker said that this will be one of the challenges of his tenure to convey that attitude.

Furthermore, the Chancellor claimed, the University has a moral imperative to constantly ask itself how can we better serve the citizens of North Carolina.  If the University adopted this attitude, the image of arrogance would disappear very quickly.  On the other hand, the Chancellor said, the new Legislature and the majority party in the House has been a little myopic in failing to recognize that probably the best investment the State has made in the past 200 years has been in higher education, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in particular.  He argued that we have done much to create the current favorable economic climate in the State.  The Chancellor felt that the current worldwide shift from an energy-driven to a knowledge-driven economy is taking place more rapidly, successfully and effectively in North Carolina than in any other State.  The University has made a direct contribution to this advance in at least three ways, the Chancellor asserted:  training students to more effectively contribute to the quality of the workforce when they graduate; training policymakers to be more enlightened in dealing with the economic transformations now taking place; and providing the technology transfer that has girded the economic transformation now taking place in the Research Triangle area.  The University is the best investment that the State has made in the last 200 years, but we have not adequately conveyed that fact.  Chancellor Hooker encouraged Employees to be proud of their institution and argued that because of these reasons, it is in the State’s best self-interest to continue to support and invest in the University.  If the State knows what it is doing, it will continue to invest in higher education.  .

Ned Brooks asked if the Chancellor has a five-year plan to measure success.  The Chancellor responded that there are a number of indices to measure success, including quality faculty, quality of students, quality service to these students and quality of service to the State.  Chancellor Hooker wants to develop a number of measures to gauge how well we are doing in each of these areas in order to report our successes to ourselves and to the State.  The University will assess itself against how well its peer institutions are doing and against how well it has done in the previous year.  If we develop such a report card, the Chancellor said, it will be very clear how well we are doing.  One of the most important areas, Chancellor Hooker said, is the quality of undergraduate education, since this endeavor is the primary one for which the State created and funds the University.  The best way to measure this quality seems to be through student opinion.

Libby Chenault asked, given the Chancellor’s interest in undergraduate education and our work to improve the University’s image in the State, how can we advance these goals without sacrificing research and staff contributions within the University.  The Chancellor responded that the recent SAC’s study focused primarily on improving undergraduate education identifying several areas, including revisiting the curriculum.  He said that this process is already underway at the University and as it progresses, it will be very easy to portray the University as stepping forward to better undergraduate education.  So, the University should get credit for its work in this area.  With respect to research, Chancellor Hooker thought there is no need to deplete one area to help another, because education need not be a zero-sum game.  Some of the best work in both areas takes place at the same institutions, while some may have high quality research without high quality teaching.  He asserted that no institution exists that has high quality undergraduate teaching without high quality research and with faculty actively engaged in top-quality research.  He felt that an emphasis on improving undergraduate education should benefit the research atmosphere at the University.  Also, Chancellor Hooker said, “building a supportive atmosphere for research by supporting the quality of library holdings, providing information technology infrastructure for faculty research and a positive atmosphere for grant seeking are in addition to what the University does in improving undergraduate education.”

The Chair facetiously asked the Chancellor’s opinion on giving faculty preference for seating in the Dean Dome for basketball games.  Chancellor Hooker laughingly replied that in deference to his wife’s advice, he would stay away from the issue of basketball tickets as long as possible and so would duck the question.

Marshall Wade noted that there would be hearings about the housekeepers’ situation in September and asked the Chancellor what role he proposed to take regarding this issue.  Chancellor Hooker promised to educate himself on the issue, but said that at this point he did not fully understand the issue and so was not prepared to comment at this time.  The Chancellor said he would work to educate himself about this issue and then work to effectively resolve the situation.  At this point he said he was not prepared to say he understood the issue, but added that he would.

Someone raised the question as to what approach the Chancellor would take towards the General Assembly regarding the recent Tobacco Conference.  The Chancellor said that there was a controversy over the conference because, in spite of one’s opinion about its merits, the tobacco industry has been a great part of the agrarian culture of the State throughout its history.  The perception that the University is aiding the critics of the tobacco industry in engineering the industry’s demise is understandably grating, the Chancellor claimed, given that many legislators and their constituents depend on tobacco for their livelihood.  So, he said, it seems the University did not do a good job in public relations on this issue.  Yet, the Chancellor stated, the University does exist to serve the public interest, which certainly includes public health issues and alerting the public to the dangers of tobacco.  He ascertained that it is a public relations faux pas for the University not to recognize the value of the tobacco industry to North Carolina’s economy.  Part of the University’s efforts should be towards aiding individuals involved in tobacco transfer to other products or shifting uses of tobacco.  In biotechnology, the Chancellor expanded, tobacco is an easy plant to manipulate, which makes it subject to genetic engineering into pharmaceutical and other products.  One of the things the University should do is to research other uses of tobacco to help the industry survive and/or prosper as recreational use of tobacco declines, as it should, the Chancellor said, for public health reasons.

            Ed Phillips asked the Chancellor to give his views on Total Quality Management.  The Chancellor shared that TQM seems to be an amorphous concept, meaning what the hearer wants it to mean.  He said that as far as the canons of TQM include client or customer service as a means of lowering costs per unit of  value, he is passionately in favor of it.  He claimed that many organizations jumped on the TQM bandwagon without knowing what it is or how to use it.  One CEO issued an edict that their company will implement TQM.  Of course, he said, this is totally against the spirit of TQM, in which front-line Employees generate issues, from the bottom-up rather than the top-down.

In the absence of further questions, the Chancellor said he would look forward to seeing the Forum next month and again thanked the Forum for its warm reception.  The Chair thanked the Chancellor and the Forum for arriving early to attend the reception for the Chancellor.

The Chair took a moment to welcome the many guests on hand, including LaBron Reid, Ed Phillips and other “charter” members of the Forum.  Of the members of the press, Mitch Kokai, Thanassis Cambanis, Blake Dickinson, Martha Elder and Mike Hobbs were present, among others.  The Chair noted that time was limited, so she asked the Forum’s cooperation in moving through the agenda.

Human Resources Update

Laurie Charest in the Human Resources Update reported that the WPPR Rating entry process was complete, with the new provision of an option to enter  as requested by the Forum.  During this process, Human Resources entered 771 working titles, and she anticipated more would be entered as the year progressed.  Also, Laurie shared that we all awaited word on salary increases, noting that the House had passed a 2% increase, with no word from the Senate.  July 14 is the date that Human Resources would need to know about increases to enact without retroactivity.  She said that if there is word by July 14, the July 21 paycheck for SPA Employees, would include one week paid at the new salary.

The Chair lauded Laurie for her department’s cooperation with the Forum on the entry of working titles and also in creating a panel for the day’s special presentation.  She presented Ralph Voight and Drake Maynard to discuss OSSOG.

Special Presentation

Drake Maynard, Senior Director of Human Resources Administration at UNC-CH, made a few comments on OSSOG’s (Office Support Services Occupational Group) effects on the University.  OSSOG, Drake said, is the largest classification study ever undertaken on campus and probably the State.  The University is only one OSSOG participant among many, an exercise extending “from Cullowhee to Elizabeth City.”  Drake introduced Ralph Voight, the Team Supervisor for one of the three teams at the Position Management Division in the Office of State Personnel, and noted that Ralph is  an undergraduate and MBA graduate of UNC-CH.

Ralph Voight noted his presentation would describe the general concepts about job evaluation systems, with the specific tools called class specifications or job descriptions.  Some specifications are very specific–electricians, for example.  Accountants, he said, may come in a generic series, distinguished by specific functions, i.e., accounts receivable, payable, etc.

Regarding the history of classifications, prior to 1975 there were a number of classifications to recognize office support positions.  At that time, there were a number of skill levels:  clerks, typists, who were higher paid with different skills, stenographers who were higher paid still and secretaries, who were highest paid in this group.  There were around 50 very specific classification titles then, but there were a number of problems with this system.  Employers would use “stenographer” in order to increase the pay grade for a favored Employee.  This “fudging” led to a problem at the State and University levels in that it became hard to track which Employees were qualified for which jobs.

Reacting to this problem, in the early 1970s a Statewide conceptual study was undertaken that developed “supergeneric” criteria to evaluate these classification titles.  This study eventually became COMOG (Clerical Office Management Group).  Fifty-five classification titles grew eventually to 175, reflecting the increasing diversity of work performed in the State System.

Implemented in 1973-74, problems with COMOG began to emerge in the mid-1980s.  Before, job criteria were very keyboard-specific, with no reference to the office automation that was making many of these keyboard oriented skills obsolete.  Also, there was an inconsistency in how these criteria were applied.  If, in one organization, the classification concept for a particular job was a 3, classification remained at the 3 level.  Yet elsewhere the level could depend on if employers felt the work could be appropriately compensated at the 4 level, they would make it a 4.

The need emerged to make this system more usable for managers.  No one wanted to design a new statewide classification study.  The last thing those involved wanted to do was to totally review and revamp 20,000 positions.  Yet, job evaluation theory required that positions be reviewed every 5 years to prevent obsolescence, and it had been at that point 14 years since a reclassification had been done.

Ironically, as members of the General Assembly complained that there were too many classification titles, managers and Employees complained that there were too few titles.  The charge of the new classification study was to make one title for all levels of work across the State.  The committee would concentrate on the work environment, the primary purpose of a job and the job’s role in the office’s organizational plan.  Concentration on the roles a particular job played were key to explaining why a job title was allocated and why it might be changed.  Also, Ralph said, there could eventually be even further reduction in the number of classification titles due to pressure from the General Assembly.

Drake Maynard summed up how these changes impact Employees at the University.  Of the 20,000 office positions Statewide, 2,100 of those are on this campus, over 10%.  University staff began working on OSSOG in the summer of 1991, deciding to break the process up into three phases:  Phase I–the Medical School and the Athletic Department, finished in two stages in late 1992 and early 1993; Phase II–Health Affairs and Business and Finance, finished in late 1994; and Phase III–the remainder of the University, including the new Ambulatory Care Center, will hopefully be finished by the end of July 1995, completing the initial study process.  A “cleanup” process will allow schools and departments to review and appeal the initial determinations about which they have severe doubts.  Yet, the initial phase will wrap up this month.

Drake asked how we have done.  He asserted there have been extensive education efforts among managers and Employees affected by this study.  There has been training in the concept and the use of the new job descriptions, with classes presented for everyone involved.  Human Resources developed a supplemental guide to OSSOG and answered a wide variety of questions, providing documentation to anyone who requested it.

What has happened, Drake asked.  For one, OSSOG eliminates salary grade 52.  Of the 150 COMA classification titles, UNC-CH is down to 75 and may lower that number even further in the future.  Drake was proud to announce that over one-third of the positions on campus have up-to-date job descriptions, a considerable achievement.  Also, OSSOG drops the use of “clerk” and “clerical.”.  He noted there has been some dissatisfaction with the use of class titles, a problem that Human Resources has worked to deal with through the implementation of working titles into the HR system, with the next step to use these titles as more than just a reference point.

Approximately 79% of the positions in Phases I and II of OSSOG were rolled over, meaning a position at the 3 salary level remained at the 3 level after OSSOG.  Eight percent went to a higher salary grade and 13% went to a lower salary grade.  A point about the OSSOG system, Drake said is that it is not market driven.  It did not come about because we are trailing the labor market or to catch us up to the existing labor market.  Instead, it was a process to create a new classification tool and to implement new concepts to help Human Resources better administer position management for those jobs affected.  Once OSSOG is finished at the University, Human Resources will put together a list of the positions studied in each department with the new classification level of each affected position for campus-wide distribution.

For the sake of comparison, UNC-Greensboro has 317 positions involved in OSSOG, with 312 positions involved at UNC-Charlotte (Drake had not heard from N.C. State, a comparable sized institution.)  Here in Chapel Hill there were 6-7 times the number of positions review, a very large disparity.  Statewide 9,000 of the 20,000 positions to be reviewed have been finished, not including the three largest State agencies, Human Resources, Corrections and Transportation, which like the University are about to finish the OSSOG process.  Of the 9,000 positions, approximately 19% went to a higher classification, 12% dropped to a lower classification and 69% stayed at the same level.

Where are we going with OSSOG?  Drake emphasized that OSSOG will not be a transitory process, even though one often hears that we will be “finished with OSSOG.”  OSSOG will be for years to come the way that Human Resources look at office support positions.  Referring to Ralph Voight’s presentation, he noted that the COMOG lasted roughly 20 years, from the early 1970s to the early 1990s, and it is likely OSSOG will have the same lifespan.  He emphasized that there is always the possibility of changes.  The University was not the only State agency that felt dissatisfaction with working titles.  The process, he said, will change and improve, but because the process involves 20,000 positions at many State agencies there needs to be consensus to create any major changes.

Helen Iverson asked if OSSOG makes Position Management’s job easier.  Drake Maynard answered that having 2,100 up-to-date job descriptions makes Position Management’s job much easier.  Also, the OSSOG concept and process use the same eight primary classification systems, allowing managers to “look across” in comparing positions.  Finally, when the entire campus is entered under the new system, it will be feasible to look across campus to see that positions are uniformly classified.

A library Employee sought to correct Drake by noting that there are still jobs with the title “clerk” in the library–Library Clerk IIIs are still classified in that manner.  Also, she said, although library Employees spent many hours working on their job descriptions, the factors listed did not match what was done in their actual jobs.  The training representative did not understand as well as they might have the librarians’ actual jobs, instead falling back on examples from secretarial and accounting work.  In response to the first question, Ralph Voight said that Library Clerk is an example of specialty titles readily identified in labor surveys as widely used.  The goal is that those titles will be removed at some point as specific classification titles and labor market information will be generated.  As to the second point, Drake apologized for the difficulties experienced, but said that beyond the library there had been fairly good transfer of information on this issue.  He said that he would note this problem for future reference with Position Management.  Also, even as the initial phase of OSSOG is completed in the library, there will be future updates at which such feedback will be very useful.

The Chair hoped that Position Management staffers would become more familiar with what it is like to work on campus.  She found that these staffers often do not know how things operate in Schools and departments and try to pigeonhole one’s work, forcing Employees to become defensive, resulting in an almost antagonistic relationship.  She recommended that Position Management staff go into the trenches at times other than when job studies are in process, so that they better understand how positions function and so Employees do not have to fight to get their jobs accurately portrayed.  Drake responded that he had often heard this sentiment.  If Position Management staff can get out into the schools and departments not just when jobs are under study but to learn about the work, there can be a more collegial working relationship instead of a search for the “one magic word” to kick a job to a higher rating.

Marshall Wade asked what was the difference between an Accounting Technician I and an Accounting Clerk IV.  Ralph Voight said that this situation came about because there was initially single-entry and double-entry accounting.  Automation has made this distinction much more muddled, but some departments still have single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping, with management’s expressed intent to not have Employees work both sides of the ledger.  Technicians have a higher requirement in terms of background, doing the double-entry bookkeeping and having to recognize the impact on other accounts.  Clerks often do debits or credits, but not necessarily both.  Drake reiterated that this system does not necessarily exist here.

            Margaret Balcom asked how the OSSOG panel came up with its titles in the first place.  Ralph Voight said much of this problem came about from the charge to the committee to do away with the word “clerk,” which was felt to be demeaning.  The door was thus left open to create other titles.  “I’ll be honest with you,” he said, “it was my fault.”  There was a suggestion that “secretaries” be renamed “management support staff,”  which was not accepted.  The title “Office Assistant,” for example, was chosen with the express intent not to offend, yet at one university student workers were called office assistants already, a development that offended many permanent workers.  Regarding “Processing Assistant,” Ralph said the committee felt there should be some distinction between an Employee conducting 40 transactions a day and one conducting 100 in that same period.  The committee felt this pressure should be recognized and credited with a separate title.  He offered anyone the opportunity to come up with a better title on which everyone can agree, an openness to change that Drake Maynard emphasized.

Pat Staley noted that some Employees with Secretarial Sciences degrees are rated as Office Assistants and asked what happened to the old Secretary I, II, III, IV classifications.  Did anyone on the committee look at the degrees Employees hold in classification?  Where does it put one who holds a Secretarial Degree but is classified as an Office Assistant?  Ralph Voight said that in spite of assertions to the contrary, Employees have some influence over their job classification decision based on what responsibilities management has assigned to them.  OSSOG bases its classifications on responsibilities in the office, meaning that while degrees held by an Employee may serve as an indicator to an analyst, they are not the basis for the decision.

Laurie Charest restated Pat Staley’s question, asking if the world classifies certain skills as Secretarial Science skills, why does not OSSOG as well?  Ralph Voight said that this area is where distinctions are most difficult.  COMOG classified all levels the same regardless of title.  Every university was guilty of something similar to the following scenario:  a request would come in for a Secretary IV, to which an analyst would say, “That’s an Office Assistant III or a Clerk/Typist III.”  In the heat of negotiation, because the salary grade was the same, there would be agreement on the title Secretary III.  Yet in the market, a “Secretary” is a very definable, specific thing.  Ralph’s office had fielded complaints from employers in the State that they could not rely on State titles because Employees called themselves “secretaries” who did not meet this specific, private-sector criteria.  These private-sector employers did not see these Employees as secretaries.  Since then, Ralph averred, the concept of what a secretary is has not really changed.  The specific concept of what a secretary is has not really changed in the twenty-plus years since COMOG began.  Yet across the State many Employees were classified as secretaries that quite honestly were not.  Of the 20,000 State Employee positions, 6,000 were classified as secretaries.

Margaret Balcom asked if an Office Assistant did not have the same needs as a Secretary.  Ralph Voight responded that a value distinction did not have to do with the individual, but that there is a market distinction made.  Also, many managers complained that because there was no internal distinction they could not entice secretaries to move from a Grade 59 to a 59, into what they considered a broader role for the same salary.  The combination of trying to clarify and specify the secretarial concept and to recognize the labor market data that makes this distinction.  But, Ralph said, this distinction is not tied to the individual.

            Nora Robbins asked Ralph Voight to compare an Office Assistant IV and a Secretary IV.  Ralph Voight replied that a Secretary is an extension of a manager in managing a program.  In some cases, this may mean typing up a confidential memo, as an Office Assistant may type.  Yet a Secretary serves in an administrative role as an extension of a manager.

Ned Brooks asked about OSSOG and its impact on Employee morale.  He said it seemed discouraging that only 9% of campus positions were classified upward while 19% were classified upward Statewide.  He asked if there was an explanation for this difference.  Also, internally, he noted an angry discussion with a department chair in which that person wondered if OSSOG was applied evenly across campus.  This person asked if Human Resources had done to itself what it had done to others regarding OSSOG.  Laurie Charest replied that of the 13-14 affected positions in Human Resources, one position was classified upward and one downward, with over 80% retaining their classification level.

Ralph Voight further stated that OSP officials do the OSSOG reclassification for the University’s Human Resources positions, they do not classify themselves.  As a result of this situation, he was not surprised that Human Resources had the same distribution as the rest of campus.  Also, Human Resources at the University have been very aggressive regarding OSSOG.  Because of the experience here, the State desperately wanted someone from this campus to participate on the OSSOG project, reflecting the major user/major client relationship.  Yet, OSSOG would not stop just because one institution refused to participate.  The only reason other agencies and campuses may have received more upgrades, he said, is that management at these other locations have controlled needed upgrades because they did not want to spend the funds on the upgrades.  At this point, OSSOG became “evangelical.”  (In one case a department chair’s secretary was a Clerk/Typist II, with no desire by the department to raise the salary)  At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there has been a managerial philosophy of delegation and development of these roles.  Much of this commitment is not reflected at other universities, and this is the reason OSSOG became involved, because departments elsewhere did not want to spend the funds on their Employees.

Peggy Barber asked what was the difference between a Program Assistant and an Office Assistant.  Ralph Voight answered that while a Secretary is an extension of managerial functions, a Program Assistant serves as the extension of some aspect of service delivery (not necessarily the manager).  The Program Assistant supplies some support functions and yet is familiar enough with their program to interact with students or patients.

Scott Blackwood, piggybacking on Peggy and Nora’s question, noted that the private sector may not be familiar with the duties and functions within the new titles, as they were with the old Secretary, Clerk/Typist, etc.  He asked if there is a document describing briefly the functions of each position available.  Drake Maynard replied there is one that they have been handing out, compiled by Larry Wolf who he said has been the key to OSSOG for the last four years.  Drake said he would be happy to share these documents, explanations, specifications and descriptions with anyone who requested them through his office.

The Chair thanked Drake and Ralph for taking the time to give their presentations.  Drake Maynard invited anyone having further questions to contact him or Position Management, saying that “everybody is entitled to a full answer to the questions they have.”

Employee Presentations

There were no Employee Presentations.

Approval of the Minutes of the June 7, 1995 Meeting

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.  Trish Brockman made such a motion, with Marshall Wade seconding.  Marshall noted that Trish Brockman did not serve on the Employee Fair Booth Task Force, as was incorrectly listed in the June minutes.  The Chair agreed to make that correction.  In the absence of further discussion, the minutes of June 7 were approved unanimously as amended.

Chair’s Report

The Chair regretfully said that News & Notes was not ready for the back table, but would be available on schedule next month.  She noted Provost Dick McCormick’s imminent departure July 15 to take the Presidency of the University of Washington at Seattle.  The Forum sent a letter acknowledging Dick’s work with the Forum over the years, and the Chair encouraged members to write or call the Provost with their good-byes.  She said Provost McCormick had been very supportive of the Forum in his time here and that we should acknowledge his support.

Stepping in for Provost McCormick will be Interim Provost Dick Richardson, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the campus Bicentennial Observance Committee.  The Chair praised Dr. Richardson’s ability and experience in service to the University.  She further noted there should be a Search Committee for the new Provost appointed soon.

The Chair presented a letter regarding Employees’ mandatory hour reduction from full-time to part-time, included in the routing folder.  Departments mandate this reduction in hours as a means to cut budgets without terminating positions, but the reduction is in effect a pay cut for the affected Employees.  The correspondent wondered if these Employees could gain some priority status in the TOP pool, second to layoff candidates.  The Executive Committee referred the issue to Laurie Charest to see about effecting some State policy change.

The Chair reported on behalf of Sharon Bowers that the increase in the Educational Assistance Allowance from $250 to $350 (when needed) had been approved by Chancellor Hardin.  This increase in the individual allowance does not signify an overall increase in the Educational Assistance Allowance Fund.

The Chair reported that the resolution passed in June making Chancellor Hardin an honorary delegate was framed and presented to the Chancellor at the June Executive Committee meeting.  She reported she had heard from several sources that the Forum’s gesture had moved and touched the Chancellor and she lauded the Forum’s support for the resolution.  She further reported that the Chancellor said he would take his duties seriously and would attend future meetings.

Also in the routing folder was a positive letter from Governor Jim Hunt responding to the Forum’s missive about the University budget.  She commented that his Office Assistant had done a good job in appreciating the politics and generating a reply.

On the legislative front, the Chair shared that she had done her best to e-mail members with breaking developments.  She noted Representative Joe Hackney’s e-mail comment that obviously the Forum was working hard as there were many phone calls and letters to his office concerning the University budget.  As said before, the Chair noted that the House had passed a 2% increase for State Employees, with the Senate discussing a 2% increase with the possibility of an additional one-time bonus.  Given past history and the rate of discussion, it seems the session will last another 3 or more weeks, meaning there would be little chance of summer vacation for some Employees involved in the BD-119.

The Chair noted the Executive Committee referred plans for invitations to legislators for a staff and legislative day to Public Affairs.

Finally, the Chair announced the availability of the Carr Conference Room for committees meetings.  The room accommodates 15-20 people comfortably; anyone interested in reserving the room should contact the Forum office a week or so in advance.

Committee Reports

From the Nominating Committee, Chair Scott Blackwood reported the results of the recent special election held to fill vacancies in Division 2.  Bill Bates was elected Delegate; Frank Alston become First Alternate; Ray Doyle, Karen Torry, Bobby Lesane, and Carroll Swain become the other Alternates.  Scott reported that his committee will meet on July 11 in the Carr Conference Room to finalize letters soliciting nominations for Delegates from the University’s Employees.  The Chair praised Scott Blackwood and the Nominating and Employee Presentation Committee for their fine work in completing the Division 2 special election and the recent Community Meeting attended by approximately 225 Employees.

Having reserved time for discussion beforehand, Chair Debi Schledorn of the Orientation Committee asked members to consider these questions:  what did members wish they knew when they arrived as Delegates; in the blue notebooks, what has been most helpful in Forum work; and what skills does the group as a whole need the most.  Cheryl Ward thought the microphone experience helped quite a bit, in addition to having members sign up from the beginning for committees.  Dee Marley said the early committee sign-up got people talking and enhanced their ability to hit the ground running.  Debi asked new members Bill Bates and Karen Torry to contact her to ask for help and to give feedback on their experience.  In the interest of time, Debi invited those assembled to buttonhole Orientation Committee members Trish Brockman, Ned Brooks, Dianne Crabill, Ann Hamner, Leon Hamlett, Tom Hocking and herself to provide answers to her questions.

From the Personnel Policies Committee, Chair Pat Staley had nothing to report.

From Compensation and Benefits, Co-Chair Archie Lassiter had nothing to report but said that the Committee would meet with Nora Robbins this month.

From the Public Affairs Committee, Chair Delores Bayless noted that they had met to discuss the charge from the Executive Committee to mount a legislative strategy for the coming year.  Unfortunately, the Committee had not received formal notice of its charge until that morning.  The Committee proposed instead of a debriefing session, a tea/coffee to be held from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, July 21.  Margaret Balcom said that many legislators may be out of town on a Friday evening.  Delores said her group was open to any suggestions, including a different date.  Laurie Charest asked about other days of the week, and the question was raised as to whether the Forum should wait until the end of the session before inviting the legislators to campus.  The Chair replied that the Executive Committee felt many legislators may be on their way out of town, so it might be better to catch the legislators at the tail end of the session.  In the interest of time, members were asked to give their feedback privately to Delores and her committee, but the Forum decided to ask the Public Affairs Committee to proceed in exploring their ideas.

From Recognition and Awards, Chair Ann Hamner had nothing to report but said there would be a report at the next meeting.

Chair Libby Chenault of the University Committee Assignments Committee directed members’ attention to the list of (distributed at the meeting) University committees the Committee had heard from and those they had not.  She asked that members of an unrepresented committee contact her with notice of their committee’s status.  The Chair asked if Libby had heard anything about the Provost Search Committee.  Libby replied that she had not heard anything on this subject.

From the Salary Task Force, Delores Bayless reported that the group’s discussions were nearing fruition and that the group should have a resolution ready for consideration at the August meeting.

Laresia Farrington reported that while she could not meet with the Faculty Council’s Legislative Affairs Committee because of a commitment with the Community Meeting, she had been contacted by Jane Brown and Janet Bowman.  No other liaisons had anything to report.

Unfinished Business

Returning to the subject of Employee morale, Debi Schledorn stated that of the 13 sources of stress in the workplace compiled by Tammy Dorfman, only two seemed not to apply to an interested co-worker.  These stresses include lack of recognition, too much work with not enough time to do it properly, holding many responsibilities without a chance to structure the work day, lack of input in workplace decisions, inability to work with supervisors and co-workers.  Another problem seemed to be not being able to utilize the resources available.  Debi said she would share this list anonymously with the Forum.

            Helen Iverson mentioned the continuing racial discrimination grievances pending.  Laresia Farrington asserted that individual Employee morale stems from three factors:  one’s title, the amount of years one has served, and the tone one’s manager sets in the office.  She wondered how much one could do about these things because Employees cannot control every aspect of their work environment, and some people simply are not going to be happy.  The Chair felt this was an important point.  She noted there was a survey done at the Employee Fair that would be compiled and shared with the Forum.

Kay Spivey said that almost everyone she had spoken with felt that pay is the biggest issue affecting morale.  She said Employees are tired of barely making ends meet and cannot give proper customer service when they must work an additional 15-20 hours a week in outside work.  Some of the comments she had heard about working titles originated from the feeling that Employees are not adequately compensated for the work they do or are expected to do.  She felt that the Forum should focus its energies on the pay plan, on behalf of Employees who are working hard, but feel they are not paid justly.

Peter Schledorn thought this unresponsiveness related to the powerlessness that Employees have felt in the past 5-6 years, as real wages have declined regardless of how the economy has fared or one’s performance is rated.

Trish Brockman summed up the important morale issues as pay, TQM, gender, race, no opportunities for advancement, and no respect from management.

Marshall Wade brought up the perception among some at the University that Employees hired from outside the University work harder than those hired from within, which he said is not true.

The Chair asked members to send their feedback on this issue to the Forum Office, stating that she and Matt Banks would create a list of concerns for the Chancellor’s use.  She felt there is an avenue now to bring these concerns to the Chancellor directly.  She said it is important for members to be aggressive and respond as they have the opportunity to do so.

Scott Blackwood asked about how the University fits within the State and the Triangle salary structure.  Delores Bayless said that in her work with the Salary Task Force different salary surveys had revealed some discrepancies in information, but it was beyond the resources of the Task Force to analyze this data adequately.  Next month the Task Force will present a resolution asking that a framework be created to study this data more closely.

Announcements/Questions

The Chair announced there would be a “Relax & Chat” Thursday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Slug’s Restaurant.  She invited all assembled to attend.

Regarding News & Notes, the Chair said she would distribute a July issue if enough information developed to warrant one.

Matt Banks asked all new Delegates and Alternates to sign up for a committee, as the Forum greatly desires their input into the Forum’s work.  He encouraged the new members to pick a committee they like and to introduce themselves.  The Chair indicated that she voiced to Chancellor Hooker the concern that while it is possible for Delegates to attend Forum meetings it often is more difficult for them to make committee meetings.  She emphasized that committee work is very important and bemoaned the low turnout at recent committee meetings.  Our service to this institution may demand that Delegates stretch a little bit more.  It seems fool hearted to ask for the Chancellor’s support if Delegates do not participate in their committee work.

The Chair asked Delegates to submit to the Forum Assistant their years of State and University service for a list to be submitted to the Chancellor to underscore the experience represented by the Forum.

Debi Schledorn asked if there had been any opportunity for the Forum to comment about pan-University funding, as it has in years past.  The Chair responded negatively and speculated this may be because of the recent changeover.  Ned Brooks said his office had not heard anything either.  Dianne Crabill also felt this silence may be because the budget situation has not crystallized.  Laurie Charest said the relevant persons will likely attend a Forum meeting for an update later in the year.

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair asked for a motion to adjourn.  Mona Couts made such a motion, with Scott Blackwood seconding.  There was no discussion, and the motion passed unanimously.  The meeting adjourned at 11:31 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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