July 5, 2000
Agenda — July 5, 2000
9:30 a.m.— Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
- Welcome New Delegates Ruth Carlyle, Michael Ullman; Members of the Press
III. Special Presentations
IV. Employee Presentations And Questions
V. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
VII. Approval of Minutes of the June 7, 2000 meeting P
VIII. New Business
- New Delegate Orientation
- January Retreat Changes
- Guidelines Revisions?
- Upcoming Bond Campaign
IX. Stretch Time
XI. Forum Committee Reports
- Career Development: Bobbie Lesane
- Communications: Suzan deSerres P
- Forum Newsletter, University Gazette Insert
- Employee Presentations: Kathy Dutton
- Nominating: Karen Geer P
- Orientation: Bobbie Lesane
- Personnel Issues: Dave Lohse
- Recognition and Awards: Joanne Kucharski
- University Committee Assignments: John Heuer P
XII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Joanne Kucharski P
XIII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
- Pedestrian Safety Committee—Jill Mayer/Sheila Storey
- Payroll Issues Study Task Force—Jane Stine
- Transportation & Parking Advisory — Chris Barfield
- Open Space Committee—Joanne Kucharski/John Heuer/Karen Geer
- Provost Search Committee—Jane Stine
- Master Plan Executive Steering Team—Joanne Kucharski
- University Priorities & Budget— Joanne Kucharski
- Faculty Council Liaison—Joanne Kucharski
- Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration Search Committee—Joanne Kucharski
- Women’s Center Director Search—Joanne Kucharski
P = Included in Agenda Packet
July 5, 2000
“ = Ex-Officio
Joanna E. Smith
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests, Opening Remarks
Chair Joanne Kucharski called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m. She noted that the Forum would open the floor for discussion and information, since many Forum Delegates were absent due to Independence Day vacations.
The Chair welcomed new Delegates Michael Ullman and Ruth Carlyle. Lacking any Employee or special presentations, she then welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.
Human Resources Update
Charest noted that the Legislature had passed a State budget offering a 2.2% cost of living and 2% career growth increase for SPA Employees, with an additional $500 one-time bonus. Human Resources does not yet have pay raise instructions but should receive these sometime during the next week. The State will start these pay raises at July 28, and thus will not need to pay Employees retroactively. The 2% career growth portion of the raise will be added to Employees’ base pay up to the maximum of their salary level; Employees at the maximum will receive a onetime bonus equaling 2% of their salary, and Employees approaching their maximum will receive a salary increase up to the maximum, with a one-time bonus for the rest of the amount.
The $500 one-time bonus will be paid sometime in October, but Charest did not know the exact date. Only permanent Employees who were in service as of April 1, 2000 and remain in service on October 1, 2000 will receive the bonus. Charest did yet know the effect of current disciplinary actions on pay raises. Human Resources will contact affected Employees with information about their salary increases.
Michael Ullman asked what percentage the $500 bonus meant as a salary increase to the average Employee. Charest said that the average Employee makes $32,000, meaning that the $500 bonus was worth approximately a 1.5% increase to this average Employee.
EPA Employees will receive their raises from a pool of funds equaling 4.2% of all salaries in their department, as before. The University should soon receive instructions on exactly how to partition this money out from the Board of Governors. Charest said that this increase would likely arrive in the September paycheck.
Concerning health insurance, there will be no rate increase for the State Health plan this year. The State did set aside money for potential increases next year. However, a number of Employees currently enrolled in HMOs that are leaving the State plan will need to change to the State Health plan or another HMO this enrollment period. Employees in the remaining HMOs will see rate increases this year.
Charest noted that Jack Walker, Director of the State Health plan, has agreed to speak with University Employees on July 14 at the Hanes Art Center. Human Resources is sponsoring this meeting. Walker will ask Employees for input on how to preserve and change the State Health plan. Charest encouraged everyone to attend the session, noting that Walker is an impressive speaker who is open to comments from Employees.
Dorothy Grant asked what increase is projected in State plan rates next year. Charest replied that if there were no changes in plan funding levels, there would be a 53% increase in plan costs. However, there is a bill in the State Legislature to grant the State plan more authority in negotiating dispensing fees with pharmacists and finding other cost-saving measures. This bill does face opposition from several influential lobbies. Charest added that the Legislature did set aside some money this year for the State plan in order to mitigate possible rate increases. She could not say for certain what would occur next year.
Karen Geer asked if the house bill would allow the State plan to limit prescriptions for lifestyle drugs such as Viagra and Propecia. University Benefits Director Joann Pitz said that nothing had been finalized yet. She had met with Walker on campus last week and believed the latest version of the bill created a pharmacy benefits manager to negotiate dispensing fees, hospital reimbursement fees. In addition, the bill would establish case managers for catastrophic illness cases.
Robert Thoma noted that the 53% cost increase figure was considerable. He asked if there were other factors beyond increasing pharmaceutical and health care costs. Charest said that the State plan costs have exceeded premium revenues for some time now, but the plan has lived off a surplus reserve since the late 1980s. Now, though Employee premiums must cover all plan costs. In addition, there has been an enormous increase in prescription drug costs, which has increased costs throughout the industry. Dave Lohse added that corporate greed also has played a factor.
Dorothy Grant reported comments from Employees with children who feel they could not meet increased insurance costs, and would actually lose money in spite of a better than average pay increase. Grant thought that these increases would discourage Employees from staying with the University. Charest agreed with Grant’s sentiment. She noted that North Carolina is one of the only states in the nation that does not subsidize family coverage for its workers. She had asked Walker why the Legislature was not more concerned about this problem, and he replied that the issue was not registering with the majority of legislators.
Michael Ullman asked if there were any way for the University to monitor the catastrophic uses of insurance. Charest said that the University did not at what rate Employees use their benefits. She said that a survey taken a few years ago had shown that the majority of people who do not sign up for family coverage with the State receive coverage elsewhere. She added that these premium increases represent an enormous problem for Employees who might not have the option of coverage through their spouse’s plan. Pitz noted that lobbyists for insurance, HMOs, and pharmacists, among others, have an interest in preventing reform of the State plan, and are able to back up their sentiments with campaign contributions. Lobbyists for State Employees might want to work harder to bring this issue to the Legislature’s attention.
Charest noted that the North Carolina Flex program, including the dental plan, will see a 7-10% increase for the high cost option, with an unannounced increase for the low cost option to come as well. She would have more information soon.
The University’s accidental death and dismemberment policy will offer portability to Employees and a continuation of group rates. North Carolina Flex rates will change effective January 1 and Employees should register for the plan by November 9.
The State’s new community service leave policy became effective July 1. There is currently a draft of the policy on the Human Resources website. However, the University must wait for final confirmation from the State Personnel Commission. Nonetheless, the draft policy is already in effect.
Pilot departments have now been trained in the use of the new Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and can access their departmental information via the HRIS. These departments can now carry out PD-105s and PD-117s via the HRIS. Departments can find out about accessing Employee records by phoning 96-ASK US (962-7587). Human Resources have trained approximately 90 departments in the use of the HRIS, and will carry out additional training in the fall.
This year’s blood drive will work to involve members of the community more than ever before. Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to sign up for the blood drive by phoning 96-BLOOD (962-5663). The blood drive will take place July 25 at the Dean Smith Center.
John Heuer asked if the community service leave policy includes a provision for EPA staff. Charest said that she had not received an instruction from General Administration concerning EPA non-faculty Employees. She expected that General Administration would reciprocate the State’s policy.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair noted that the last paragraph of the second sentence of the June minutes should read, ” The support for the position has moved into career track workshops and training and completely away from individual career counseling.” With this change, she asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the June meeting. Dave Lohse made this motion, seconded by Karen Geer. The minutes were approved as amended.
The Chair noted that the Forum Orientation committee had been working hard to redesign its agenda for the October orientation of new Delegates and January retreat. She noted that the committee was interested in promoting the work of the Forum committees at the October orientation more than is done now. She distributed a tentative agenda for the orientation and asked if members had any comments or suggestions. She also noted that Diana Newton would not lead a team-building exercise in October as she has left the University.
The Orientation committee has also discussed handing out selected information instead of going through the entire “big blue notebook.” The committee might invite the chairs of all the Forum committees to explain their groups’ work, and invite new Delegates to sign up for committee work now. The Chair asked what areas the Forum might see fit to eliminate from the October program to make time for these changes.
Dorothy Grant thought that emphasizing the Forum committees was a very good idea. She thought that this idea would better prepare the new Delegates for their work on the Forum, and allow the Forum an easier transition period.
A question arose as to whether there is internet access in Toy Lounge, where the October orientation will be held. The Chair invited members to forward their ideas to her or to Bobbie Lesane, chair of the Orientation committee.
Concerning the January retreat, the Chair asked if members still desired a keynote speaker. One delegate asked that all invited Delegates and first alternates be required to RSVP to encourage participation. This idea would allow the Forum a more accurate count than it has had in the past, saving the cost of absent members’ lunch tickets.
All agreed that hearing from the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources was a good practice to continue for the January retreat.
The Forum agreed to pass on discussion of how the Executive Committee is selected to the Executive Committee itself for further discussion.
The Forum asked that the Forum Office promote the buddy system more effectively and sooner in the year. Dave Lohse suggested that buddies be matched via pulling names out of a hat. Matt Banks said that he had matched buddies in the past by geographical proximity, or by electoral division.
Jeffery Fuchs thought that a description of the history and mission of the Forum should come in the October orientation. He said that he was a bit uncertain about what he had gotten into until the January retreat. Other Forum members agreed that describing the Forum’s history and mission early on would be most important. Some suggested that inviting continuing Delegates to meet with their buddies during the October orientation would be useful. However, there is a chance that some members would not be able to meet their buddies that morning due to work responsibilities.
The Chair thought that the January retreat should include time for committees to hold a substantive meeting and allow them to make a report on their ideas to the full Forum later on in the retreat.
Dorothy Grant thought that attendance at the Forum retreat should be mandatory, since many Delegates might feel they have the option not to attend. She thought that retreat attendance should compose part of Delegates’ Forum attendance record, with absences marked against them.
The Chair asked the Forum for comments on possible guidelines changes. She noted that at the June meeting, Dave Lohse had proposed that the Forum move its officer elections from January to December. At the December meeting, outgoing, continuing and incoming members would have the chance to vote on Forum officers. This change would involve asking for a slate of officers a month earlier than usual.
Lohse noted that many new Delegates felt awkward about voting in officer elections when they had only a brief experience with the different candidates. He thought a better strategy would be to have the vote in December, which would provide outgoing Delegates to vote for someone they knew.
Lohse recalled that he did not know Forum chair candidates Joanne Kucharski or Jill Mayer very well when he voted. He thought that it would work better for people to vote for those they knew. He also suggested not allowing first year Delegates to serve as officers given their inexperience. Both changes he felt would provide a better-educated electorate and more experienced candidates than current.
John Heuer supported Lohse’s idea to vote in December, but advised that the Forum might not have enough time to accomplish the transition this year. He advised that the Forum pass this proposal for enactment next year. In addition, he noted that a number of returning Delegates have chosen to serve as Forum officers in the first year of their term. He did not want to keep these experienced candidates from standing for office.
The Chair proposed taking this topic to the Executive Committee for further discussion. The full Forum will have the chance to review and approve guidelines changes at future meetings. Robert Thoma confirmed that Forum guidelines changes require two readings, over two separate meetings.
The Chair recalled the idea to add a fourth Forum officer to manage the Forum office, leaving the Chair more time to represent the Forum at various meetings and get-togethers in addition to her regular job. She thought this position would alleviate the time commitment required of the Chair.
The Chair said that she had received some emails advising the Forum to make the transition process as easy as possible for Forum officers. She also commented that the Forum Chair should have responsibility to compile written highlights for the previous year.
The Chair had been invited to participate in the working group directing upcoming bond campaign media blitz. She cautioned that State Employees must be careful about what political activities are permissible in support of the bond issue. She would have more materials on the bond campaign at the August meeting.
At this point, the Forum took a five-minute stretch break.
Tracey Haith reported that the Career Development committee had met this month.
Dave Lohse, chair of the Personnel Issues committee, reported the group did not meet that month but would meet again Thursday, July 14 at 10 a.m. in the pressroom of the Smith Center. The committee discussed Employee disciplinary procedures at its last meeting.
Lohse had phoned Senator Ellie Kinnaird of Carrboro at home to discuss State Employees’ salaries and the diversion of retirement money into a pool to address health insurance difficulties. The two discussed the political situation in this reapportionment year.
Jill Mayer noted that the Communications committee would meet July 6. Members complimented the committee for its work on InTouch and the University Gazette insert.
The Employee Presentations committee did not meet. However, Delegates are reminded to attend the meeting with Jack Walker on the State Health Plan on July 14 in Hanes Hall.
Karen Geer, chair of the Nominating committee, reported the group had held a short meeting to discuss its nomination process for Delegates and officers.
The Orientation committee’s work had been discussed earlier in the meeting.
Joanne Kucharski, chair of the Forum Recognition & Awards committee, said the group had designed an award process to allow Employees to recognize their peers. The process will utilize a check-off form asking Employees to recognize their fellow workers, and asking them to mail the form back to the Forum office. The committee will work further to develop the form.
The committee will also pursue resurrection of the Forum Community Award (3-Legged Stool), and will administer the staff processional at University Day.
John Heuer, chair of the University Committee Assignments committee, reported the group had held two meetings in June to sort through an excellent group of volunteers for University committees. The committee had submitted minutes too late for inclusion in the July agenda packet, however. The committee made recommendations to fill places on six University committees.
In addition, the University Committee Assignments committee has dealt with a request for Forum representation on the Transportation and Parking Advisory committee, and the University calendar committee.
Given the number of Employees, who applied for positions with the child care advisory committee, Heuer was considering proposal of a Forum advisory committee on childcare issues. He would follow up on this subject in the future.
The Chair had met recently with Chancellor McCoy and discussed a number of staff related topics. She was very impressed with McCoy’s fast reaction time on a number of concerns, particularly staff career development and training. She hoped that this support would translate into increased funding for the career counselor position to support individual counseling. She also lobbied for the elimination of application fees for staff applying through the UNC admissions office, and creation of a central pool to support departments lacking funds to support Employee licensing and certification fees. She also made a request for increased space for the Forum office. Overall, she foresaw good things on the horizon.
The Chair understood that McCoy had placed the Employee Forum high on his agenda when meeting with Chancellor-Elect Moeser.
University Committee/Task Force Reports
Jill Mayer noted that the pedestrian safety committee had submitted its report to the Chancellor’s Office.
The 27th payroll, open space, and Transportation and Parking Advisory committees had not met that month.
The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration search committees are gearing up their work with rather ambitious deadlines.
The Master Plan steering team will resume meeting with Adam Gross and the end of the month.
The University Priorities and Budget committee has held a couple of wrap-up sessions and is awaiting a meeting with Interim Provost Richard Edwards.
The Chair had enjoyed several conversations with Faculty Council Chair Sue Estroff and looked forward to extended cooperation.
Diane Kjervik has been named Director of the UNC Women’s Center. Kjervik is a professor and associate dean of community outreach with the UNC School of Nursing, as well as an attorney.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:20 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary.