July 7, 2010
Employee Forum Agenda
July 7, 2010
9:15 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Swearing in of New Officers and Remarks
IV. Special Presentations
- Grievance Policy Updates/Revisions—Gena Carter
- Parliamentary Procedure refresher—Chuck Brink
V. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
VI. Old Business
- Resolution 10-01, on University Grievance Policy (second reading)
VII. New Business
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Goldsmith
- Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach
- Compensation & Benefits: Chuck Brink
- Education and Career Development: Cate Cunningham/Koyah Rivera
- Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen
- Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman
- Executive Committee: Jackie Overton
IX. Staff Assembly Updates/Reports
XI. “Go Around the Room”: A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue Most on their Minds
*** Minutes not available due to Matt being on vacation.
July 7, 2010 Employee Forum minutes
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She led the room in a succession of introductions. She asked delegates to help find other employees willing to serve as delegates in one-year terms.
The Chair noted that she had worked 35 years at the University and had earned an undergraduate, masters’ and graduate degree in non-profit leadership. She introduced her support network, composed of people she has worked with over the years at the University and through her non-profit endeavors. She introduced Chief Jeffrey McCracken, Cheryl Stout, Nancy Fearrington, Karen Cheek, Captain Connie Bullock, Lieutenant Lori Palazzo, and Randy Young, among others. Those assembled praised Overton for her work and service, calling her a dear friend and a professional.
The Chair introduced Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Malone introduced Martha Fowler and Chris Chiron to make a presentation on the proposed revisions to the SPA grievance procedure that will be submitted to the Office of State Personnel for approval. Fowler said that the amount of paid work time allotted to grievants to research their cases would be reduced from twelve to eight hours. This leave would be considered administrative leave. Malone noted that Human Resources had returned the right to grieve a first written warning to the policy after discussions with the Forum. Support persons will be able to speak during the opening and closing of hearings, but if panel chairs lose control of hearings, Human Resources will rethink this position. Support persons will not be able to serve in the person of an attorney.
Human Resources will seek to complete harassment grievances within 60 days of filing, dismissal grievances within 90 days of filing, and all other grievances within 120 days of filing. The University will not determine the eligibility of grievances filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings or the Office of State Personnel. The Office of State Personnel and the State Personnel Commission must approve the proposed changes, with notification to take place 30 days before the effective date. Chiron said that the State Personnel Commission meets in mid-August, so if approved the changes will take place approximately October 1. Human Resources will conduct information sessions for employees, particularly for those working second and third shifts before the policy takes effect.
Chuck Brink asked what will happen if the Office of State Personnel kicks the policy back. Chiron said that if that happens, Human Resources will communicate that event to the University community. Myra Quick had heard in her area that it does no good to file a grievance. Malone said that decisions are made according to the ability of grievants to make their case, as well as the strength of the case itself. Sorhab Habibi asked if the burden of proof lies on the employee or on management in grievances. It was said that the burden of proof lies on management in just cause and separation cases but it all other cases the burden lies on the employee. Malone said that Human Resources had worked hard to respond to concerns expressed by the Forum. Human Resources has developed a robust mediation training team. Habibi asked if Malone had developed a database and had found any trends with regard to the number and type of grievances. Chiron said that he could not give too much detail. Malone said that most of the recent grievances have had to do with layoffs, and Chiron said that the majority of other actions are disciplinary actions.
Brink asked if the NC Pay plan had been enacted. Malone responded that the plan was unveiled in April but that little else had happened since then. She had written a letter expressing doubts about the plan but the Office of State Personnel had not yet provided a response.
Brink next led the Forum in a briefing on parliamentary procedure. He urged delegates to consult the Robert’s Rules of Order in order to participate more fully in Forum discussions.
At this point, the Forum took a five minute break.
Carrie Goldsmith said that the Communications and Public Relations committee said that group was always looking for new members and articles. Chris Meinecke of the Community Affairs, Recognition, and Awards committee said that group would hold a peer recognition event on July 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Health Sciences Library. He asked delegates to consider attending in order to help with table and catering set-up. Chuck Brink of the Compensation & Benefits committee said the group had met June 17 to discuss the letter on Senate Bill 1420. Danny Nguyen of the Legislative Affairs committee said that group would work to monitor legislative developments. Myra Quick of the Membership & Assignments committee said that group was searching for new members. James Holman of the Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices committee said that committee had met June 30 with Gena Carter to discuss the School of Education leave hours audit. Chuck Brink said that the Executive Committee had discussed the Senate 1420 letter and the EPA non-faculty community meeting June 21. It was noted that the EPA non-faculty community meeting was well attended. The Executive Committee will discuss revisions to the basic clerical skills program in July.
Sarah Poteete noted that the Carolina Campus Community Garden committee now exists as an ad hoc committee. The Chair asked for a motion to make this a permanent committee. Marc ter Horst said that the mission of the community garden committee might be incompatible with the Forum’s overall mission, and so he hesitated about naming a permanent committee. Chris Meinecke said that he was presently the only member of the Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards, and Outreach committee. Chuck Sockell asked the reason for a community garden in the first place. The Chair said that the garden exists to increase sustainability and assist lower-income employees struggling to meet their food budgets. It was moved to re-title the community garden committee the Community Outreach committee, and re-title Chris Meinecke’s committee the Recognition and Awards committee. The Forum approved this motion.
Marc ter Horst read resolution 10-01 on the SPA grievance procedure revisions. He noted that the Forum considered this resolution on first reading in June. He said that the Staff Relations committee had tried to balance the needs of the University in writing its resolution. He said that the resolution was meant to convince the Office of State Personnel of the need for changes. Brenda Malone said that the resolution was a cause to go “hmmm” given the amount of cooperation that had occurred between the Forum and Human Resources on this subject. Ashley Fogle said that it was important to put the Forum’s position on the grievance revisions on record. Malone noted that the grievance procedure was not intended to voice complaints but rather to deal with violated rules and regulations. People have recourse to use the mediation process for other issues. She said that the resolution will be given full consideration by the Chancellor.
Danny Nguyen asked why Human Resources had decided to reduce the number of preparation hours for grievances from twelve to eight. Brenda Malone said that a great majority of grievances had not required more than eight hours preparation. She said that the Office of State Personnel had charged Human Resources to find out if the trial expansion to twelve hours preparatory time was warranted. Human Resources had found that the expansion was not warranted.
Marc ter Horst said that it was important for the Forum to put in writing its position on the grievance revisions. He moved to accept resolution 10-01. Chris Meinecke seconded this motion. The motion was approved with fourteen votes in favor, none against, and seven abstentions.
Chuck Brink read a letter composed by the Compensation & Benefits committee opposing Senate Bill 1420. The Forum intended that the letter reflected the feelings of the Forum and asked that the Chair sign this letter and send it to the Chancellor.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary