Agenda — June 4, 2003

9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Tate-Turner-Kuralt Auditorium

I.          Call to Order

II.         Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.            Opening Remarks:  Provost Robert Shelton and Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration Nancy Suttenfield on University Budget

IV.       Special Presentations

· Judith Wegner, Incoming Chair, UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Faculty Governance & Randi Davenport on Ethics and Integrity Initiative Steering Committee

V.        Employee Presentations or Questions

VI.       Human Resources Update

· Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

VII.      Approval of Minutes of the May 7, 2003 meeting P

VIII.     New Business

· Proposed Revisions to Forum Guidelines (2nd Reading) P

· Proposed Reaffirmation of HEELS for Health Funding, from May 5, 1999 Resolution

IX.        Stretch Time 6

X.         Forum Committee Reports

· University Committee Assignments:  Tom Arnel

· Career Development:

· Communications: Brian White

Þ    Forum Newsletter

· Employee Presentations:  Joanne Kucharski

· Nominating: Katherine Graves

Þ    Forum Elections

· Orientation:  Meredith Clason

· Personnel Issues: Tom Rhyne/Delita Wright

· Recognition and Awards:  Katherine Graves/Shirley Hart

XI.        Chair’s Report (Executive Committee):  Tommy Griffin

XII.       Task Force/University Committee Reports

· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin

· Carolina North Project—Tommy Griffin

XIII.      Announcements/Questions

XV.      Adjournment

P = Included in Agenda Packet

MINUTES

Minutes

June 4, 2003

Tate Turner Kuralt Auditorium

 

Delagates Present

Linda Allred

Tom Arnel

Debra Banks

Martha Barbour

Roy Caudle

Meredith Clason

Gary Cocker

Karen Copeland

Cynthia Cowan

James Curtis

Shanna Fleenor

Amy Gorely

Katherine Graves

Tommy Griffin

Jimmie Hart

Shirley Hart

Mary Johnson

Chris Koltz

Joanne Kucharski

Cheryl Lytle

Lynn McPherson

Michael McQuown

Corrie Mimms

Syed Mustafa

Carol Payne

Gail Plaisance

Lynn Ray

Cynthia Reardon

Tom Rhyne

Mack Rich

Pam Siler

Debra Skinner

Mary Ann Vacheron

Ruth Williams

Delita Wright

Laurie Charest

 “ = Ex-Officio

Delagates Absent

Dixie Bloom

Bernice Cradle

Kevin Quinlan

Norma Roberts

Excused Absences

Ray Doyle

Jeanne Hiesel

Lauren Mangili

Alternates Present

Sherrie Settle

Brian White

Guests

Randi Davenport

Scott Ragland

Robert Shelton

Nancy Suttenfield

Janet Tysinger

Judith Wegner

 

                  Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m. welcomed the Forum to the new meeting location at the School of Social Work auditorium.  He welcomed Scott Ragland from the University Gazette and Eric Ferreri from the Chapel Hill Herald.  Finally, he welcomed Provost Robert Shelton, Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield and new Faculty Governance chair Judith Wegner, among others.  He then turned the meeting over to Provost Shelton for his opening remarks.

Shelton thanked the Forum for the opportunity to speak, and recalled that he had first addressed the Forum two years ago during his first days at Carolina.  He recalled that his transition was made easy by the cooperative spirit of people at the University.  He also recalled feeling particularly pleased that staff take an active role in the governance of the University, and he said that he had enjoyed working with Forum Chairs John Heuer and Joanne Kucharski.  He also said that current Forum Chair Tommy Griffin represents the Forum extremely effectively, a significant contribution of cooperation in this day and age.

Moving to current matters, Shelton noted the severe budgetary challenges facing the University that have provided the context for the many difficult decisions facing University managers.  He said that these decisions would still face managers in the upcoming fiscal year.  He noted that Employees feel concerns about the overall situation at the University and about specific decisions.  Shelton emphasized that during these times, he and the Chancellor must support their managers’ decisions.

Given that the University is so large and decentralized, Shelton said that he must rely on the deans and vice chancellors to make their best decisions from a menu of unpalatable options.  He has to rely on those close to the action, even when in difficult times there seem to be no good decisions to make.

Shelton recalled that the University, anticipating permanent reductions in fiscal year 2003-04, had instructed departments to prepare for a minimum of 5% cuts in budget.  He still felt optimistic that the State would complete its budget by June 30.  He noted that the University System had been asked to absorb $30 million in State appropriations mid-year cuts, with the University first asked to provide $9 million, a figure since negotiated down to $6.7 million.

These cuts would not hurt much but for the fact that the State has experienced budget reductions eight of the past ten years.  In total, these cuts have cost the University approximately $76 million over the past ten years.  On the other hand, the University has received $111 million for enrollment growth, which has added more building space, additional programs, students and faculty, but no additional staff.  In spite of the difficult times, however, the citizens of the State still continue to support the University.  These additional funds will not, however, help the core operating budget.  In a sense, the honeymoon is over for UNC in the State Legislature, as legislators question University decisions in many ways.

Mary Johnson asked why, given the University’s goal of raising over $1 billion in its current capital campaign, cannot find money for the Heels for Health program, possibly from interest gained on the University endowment.  Shelton responded that it does seem contradictory to receive such good news on one hand and such bad news on the other.  He noted that some discretionary funds come from interest on investments, but added that the stock market this year has been much lower than in the past.  In addition, donors almost always dedicate interest on investments for specific purposes.

Shelton said that it was remarkable how any public research institution with a $1.5 billion budget could have so little discretionary money.  On the other hand, he noted that a great deal of money is tied up in salaries and established programs.

Katherine Graves asked why the Carolina Campaign did not provide Employees an opportunity to donate funds directly to Heels for Health.  She recalled that donations to other University institutions is allowed in the Employees’ campaign, and said that directed giving often gets a better response.  Mary Johnson noted the irony of the University’s status as a center for medical research that was discontinuing funding for an Employee health program.  Shelton said that the decision to discontinue Heels for Health was not an easy one, but he felt compelled to back the individuals who made the decision.

Johnson asked why the Employee Forum was not involved in this decision.  Shelton said that administrators make hundreds of decisions, and it would be very difficult to get every group that has an interest involved in the process.  He said that the University must delegate responsibilities, and said that he himself could not involve himself in all decisions made by every unit.  He said that these decisions were made after a lot of consideration and he reiterated that he had to support his managers in difficult times.

Cheryl Lytle asked whether the current spate of construction projects were funded with State or bond funds.  Shelton said that buildings and renovation money comes from bond referendum money, gifts and amoritized grant and contract money.  UNC-Chapel Hill received $500 million as its share of the bond issue, placing the University on the low end of the System with regard to the percentage of projects funded.  For the science complex, the University must raise most of the $300 million required.  The entire building project will run around $1.1 billion, with less than half coming from the bond referendum.  Lytle asked if State funds are used.  Shelton said that State funds are not used.

An Employee asked if money paid in the $10/month gym fees goes to the Heels for Health program.  Laurie Charest said that this money goes to the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, not Heels for Health.

Syed Mustafa asked if the University anticipated any relief with regard to health insurance.  Shelton agreed that current benefits are inadequate and said that the University must now abide by State rules and guidelines on the kinds of benefits provided.  He said that for whatever reason the State has been unable to negotiate a strong package of benefits.

In response, the University has sought additional flexibility in discussions with the Board of Trustees, the Board of Governors and the Legislature.  However, flexibility for this purpose has been slow in coming.  Years ago, the University made an effort to obtain an independent bid on medical coverage but was unable to negotiate a comparable plan.  Shelton saw a great disarray in managed care around the State and a relative inability by the State to negotiate health care package that other states enjoy.  He noted the many layers of complexity that this question contains.

Mustafa asked if other State agencies have better coverage than UNC-Chapel Hill.  Shelton did not know the answer to this question.

Joanne Kucharski commented that she hoped the University administration would constantly anticipate future cuts and communicate to Employees what would be sacrificed in future cuts.  She noted that most departmental decisions affect only internal processes, but she said that other decisions affect the entire campus.  She said that the Forum would appreciate having a voice in the next round of cuts, should they occur.

Shelton said that Kucharski’s comment raised a global question about the budgeting process.  He noted that the University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee (UPBAC) had worked for three years on the question of order and coordination of budget requests.  He thought that this process was now starting to pay off.  The committee asked departments in early February to plan for a 5% cut.  He and Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield had met with leaders individually to discuss these cuts and consider future moves from a macro level.  Information shared with the UPBAC is of an extremely high level, and should enable the committee to plan for possible cuts in the coming fiscal year.

However, when hit with an unanticipated budget reversion like recently, the University must act quickly.  The Legislature had asked the University to send $9 million in overhead monies in 36 hours, which in time the University negotiated down to $6.8 million.  This year, the Legislature has asked for a budget cut with six weeks left in the fiscal year.  So, if a department holds money back to plan for the future, it may be swept up by the end of June.  Shelton said that the University needs better planning and more advanced knowledge of its budget situation, a task which is difficult to accomplish given the State budget process.

Martha Barbour commented that the School of Dentistry had recently lost two staff positions, and has tried to manage the huge department on a shoestring.  Did Shelton foresee a light at the end of the tunnel?  Shelton said that the University as an institution is heavily invested in people, and budget reductions mean that people suffer.  He said that the University no longer has any significant non-personnel funds to cut, having cut them long ago.  There is a bimodal situation for faculty and staff, where tenured faculty do not lose their jobs.  Faculty suffer when the University cannot fill open faculty lines.  He noted that Arts & Sciences have huge numbers of unfilled faculty lines to pay teaching assistants.

Shelton commended University managers for their anticipation of possible budget cuts which had minimized the number of actual layoffs.  He noted that departments had tried to cut unfilled positions whenever possible.

Shelton granted that it was easy to be gloomy given the past three years, but he asserted that the University had been treated well in comparison to other State agencies.  He said that the Senate budget should be a good one for the University and its Employees.  He appreciated the maintenance of enrollment growth monies.

Janet Tysinger asked if the University had tried to put a face on the importance of staff in its development efforts.  Shelton said that development studies show that people like to fund people and to fund concrete things.  However, as a public university, UNC-Chapel Hill faces the argument that private donors cannot provide for core operational support, and would prefer to provide add-ons such as student scholarships or library book purchases.  The reasonable assumption is that the State will fund the University’s base operations.

Tysinger said that she referred to the Heels for Health program, rather than salaries and programs.  Shelton said that the development office typically presents a menu of options to a donor, and usually Employee issues do not interest most donors.

An Employee said that among the maintenance staff, attitude and morale have entered the toilet.  He noted that 90-95% of all e-mails seemed to criticize ending the Heels for Health program.  He said that ending Heels for Health particularly hurt morale given its benefit to the health of staff.  Shelton said that e-mails rarely are written to say “thank you” for a particular decision.  He noted that the academic side of operations had taken cuts also, but that the University’s core mission is to offer academic programs to its students.  He noted that Heels for Health is obviously a very valued program.

An Employee noted that the budget situation now is very difficult, and granted that managers will want to protect areas of the greatest impact, and not make cuts to hurt salaries.  This Employee thought it inappropriate for departments to eliminate permanent positions while adding temporary positions.  This Employee thought that Employees felt at the bottom of the list given the lack of salary increases, declining benefits, and now the elimination of the Heels for Health program.  The situation has many Employees questioning their choice to work for Carolina.

Shelton noted that other centers and institutes have had to close in the wake of recent budget cuts.  He said that the University faced the painful and difficult choice of determining which areas were less essential.

An Employee asked whether the University had considered other revenue sources to save Heels for Health.  Charest said that Human Resources had tried to work with the Development office, but had found little interest from donors.  The Carolina Campaign had had only five people designate gifts to the Heels for Health program.  Human Resources looked at the possibility of making Heels for Health fee-supported, but the cost to users would have been very high.

An Employee asked whether the University could cut 10% from all departmental budgets rather than cutting particular programs.  He asked if there were any departments that did not receive cuts.  Shelton said that this end of the year $6.7 million cut was made pro rata to all units, giving deans the imperative to make decisions on how to manage the cuts.  In the coming fiscal year, the University expects at a minimum a 5% permanent cut.  This cut, however, will be distributed across the board.  He would be shocked if any unit came away unscathed from this cut.  He said that managers will have to make difficult choices.

Mary Johnson asked if the University could impose a rider on grants to dedicate a percentage of interest earned for University programs, specifically Employee programs.  Shelton said that the University had talked about creating some type of fund, but noted that similar experiments had proved enormously inhibiting to donors.

Katherine Graves noted that applicants for grants cannot ask for staff support or supplies.  Often office personnel working on a grant must work without a salary increase.  She noted that many grants cover years.  She said that it was a shame to not ask the federal government to help with Employees’ benefits in these cases.  Shelton noted that a number of years ago federal regulations forbid supporting secretarial positions with grants.  Now, the federal government wants to control every possible use of grant funds.  Shelton noted that the State’s support was still so critical to the University, and that the State does support its University System very well.  However, these problems still rankle.

An Employee observed that many other workers are worried that lost benefits and salaries will never be replaced, even if the budget situation improves.  Shelton noted that UNC-Chapel Hill has a history of shared governance and a tradition of listening to people, and so should understand the need for future priorities.  He thought that better budget times would lead to better options.  He thought that the University would find different ways to create benefits for its Employees, for example through improvement of the health care benefit.

An Employee asked if the University had looked into corporate fundraising to support Heels for Health.  Charest said that her office had not received very good feedback to these kinds of proposals.

Joanne Kucharski asked where the University would find money to fund personnel flexibility initiatives.  Shelton said that the University would push hard for flexibility initiatives.  He said that the University must then find the resources and funds to put this idea into place.  Kucharski asked how Delegates could reassure their co-workers than life would indeed improve with flexibility.  Shelton said that flexibility in pay grades, benefits and compensation would provide a menu of options to Employees for their choice, similar to what employees in corporations enjoy.  Regarding salary concerns, Shelton conceded that the situation demanded outside resources.  He granted that the cost of living in the Chapel Hill area was very high, and noted the University’s moral responsibility to pay a living wage.  He said that creating improvements for Employees would take money as well as flexibility.

Cynthia Cowan asked why the University had not announced the difficulties Heels for Health was faced before the program’s elimination.  She said that once the program was indeed eliminated, it would be much harder to start over in replacing equipment and staff.  Shelton said that the University does not have $165,000 in State money uncommitted for this use.  He noted that the University had moved $1 million from central funds to other sources.  Charest said that if the money were available, the University would indeed continue the Heels for Health program.  She said that if current users were willing to support the plan by themselves, it would cost approximately $165 a year plus the gym fee.

Johnson asked whether the University could reconsider its decision on Heels for Health given the number of hospitalizations and deaths that Employees have undergone in recent months.  Shelton and Charest both agreed that the program delivered value, but the decision was reflective of the University’s dire budget situation.

At this point, Shelton took his leave.  The Chair hoped that the University could find a way to reestablish Heels for Health in the future.  He encouraged Employees to speak with their co-workers and continue to monitor developments.

The Chair introduced Chair of the Faculty Judith Wegner and Randi Davenport of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence to discuss the University’s integrity initiative.  Wegner said that she was the first in her family to go to college and believed in the greatness of UNC-Chapel Hill in spite of current setbacks.  She thought that the University would find a way to thrive in bad times, and urged staff, faculty and students to find a way to help one another.

Wegner noted that good governance would be essential to the University community, and she hoped to make communication and collaboration a hallmark of her time as Faculty Chair.  She praised departing chair Sue Estroff for her work..  She also said that she would work to make progress in health law and public finance for the benefit of University Employees, establishing task groups to meet with policy makers.  She would track developments in other parts off the country and would work hard to influence State legislation.  She thought that creating a legal structure, perhaps a student/faculty/staff trade association, might create benefit opportunities in areas such as health insurance.  She also would draw on her contacts to find better ways to grant tax credits to Employees for their health insurance.  She pledged to work with Raleigh Tillman, the faculty person working with the Carolina Capital campaign, to create more joint welfare types of activities for staff and faculty.  She hoped to return at another time to provide more information on these projects.

Wegner asked the Forum to document Employees’ health system problems.  She said that these kinds of meaningful stories would help in discussions with legislators.

Wegner also thought that the Forum should document the use and benefit of the Heels for Health program, for use in discussions with legislators.  She planned also to  hold discussions with administration officials to implement cost-savings ideas which hopefully would be reallocated back to departments.

Concerning the day’s difficult times, Wegner quoted Frankl “even in these times, we have a choice, either to lie here or to get up and look at the sky.”  She said that we can come through this difficulty more committed and helpful.

Wegner had worked with a student committee to update the honor code, which states that students will not lie, cheat, steal, plagiarize, fight, abuse the technical policy or pilfer supplies.  She noted that peers will form the first level of sanctions.  She thought that faculty and staff could also dedicate themselves to the honor code, making work here synonymous with honor and integrity.  She said that students and faculty had had a great steering committee to discuss this issue at the Friday Center, led by Mary Morrison.

Wenger asked that the Forum consider creation of a code of ethics, for what it means to be an excellent University Employee.  She noted that the ethics committee would put together a program of speakers on the subject September 22-25.

Wegner also raised the point of more training opportunities and integrity in the workplace, specifically dealing with conflict in the workplace.  She suggested doing an initial survey on what people think about this subject right now.

Davenport said that her work with the Center for Undergraduate Excellence had given her a great opportunity to collaborate with groups across campus.  One of these groups, the intellectual  life program, had been cut in the recent budget decisions.  She asked staff to help identify and publicize ideas addressing integrity in the workplace.  She asked staff to enter an internal conversation about what it means to be a person of integrity.  She asked that Employees keep her updated on what’s happening in this area.

Employee Presentations

Loretta Bohn made a presentation on the Heels for Health question, noting that the University had a long history in health promotion for its economic and social benefits.  She noted evidence that wellness programs create a reduction in sick leave, an increase in Employee morale and productivity, and overall approximately 500% return on investment.

Bohn noted that Employees have collected 1,600 Employee signatures to place Heels for Health within the Department of Exercise, Health & Sport Science, with $150,000 of University money for bridge funding.  She asked that the Forum support this Employee group to convey the need to support Heels for Health to the Chancellor.

Human Resources Update

The Chair recalled working with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest and Senior Director for Human Resources Administration Drake Maynard on the search committee for the new Human Resources benefits director.  He thought that Karen Abel, the newly hired person in this position, would serve well in that capacity.

The Chair noted that Charest had brought more of the newly appointed Human Resources generalists.  He praised the generalists for their positive attitude and hoped that word would soon get out to campus on the great job they were doing.

Charest introduced generalists Naomi Bullock, Julie Allen, Dominick Durasmo, academic affairs generalist team leader Connie Boyce, and personnel technician Corrie Mimms.  She also recognized acting generalist director Claire Miller.

Charest noted that work on the web-based on-line registration process for training and development was nearly complete.  This new system will allow Employees to register for courses on-line, check the status of courses, and review individual training records.  She expects the system to be completely on-line in Fall 2003.

Charest noted that the entire Human Resources website was undergoing a redesign to make information more accessible to customers.  The redesign is tentatively scheduled to go on-line in September.

Concerning adverse weather, Charest reported that the Office of State Personnel had sent forward a draft of a revised policy to the State Personnel Commission.  This policy would allow Employees not to have to make up time in the event the University is declared closed.  She said that the proposal would go to the commission this month and appeared to have support.  She was encouraged that the University might see some resolution in this area after 13 years of work.

Approval of Minutes

The Chair moved to approval of the May Forum minutes.  The minutes were approved by acclamation.

Old Business

The Chair moved to a second reading of proposed revisions to the Forum Guidelines, which dealt mainly with granting current Forum Delegates the opportunity to run for two consecutive two year terms.  Tom Arnel moved that the Forum approve these revisions, seconded by Katherine Graves.  A question arose as to whether the Forum had a quorum to vote on the question at this point.  [Under the current Forum Guidelines, one-third of the Forum’s 46 Delegates are required to form a quorum.  The Forum had 21??? Delegates in attendance.]

New  Business

The Chair read a resolution that the Forum had approved in 1997 concerning preservation of Heels for Health.  It was noted that the Heels for Health program had received permanent funding since 1997, so the Forum agreed to strike that part of the resolution.  Cheryl Lytle moved to amend the resolution to move the program permanently to the Department of Exercise and Sports Science.

The Forum moved to reaffirm the resolution on first reading.  The Forum also moved to set its rules aside and consider the resolution on second reading.  The Forum finally approved the resolution on second reading.

Committee Reports

Tom Arnel, chair of the University Assignments committee, asked that Forum Delegates consider serving on that committee.  He also distributed a sign-up sheet for Employees interested in serving as a recruiter for different committees.  The committee would meet again Wednesday, June 11 at 11 a.m.

The Chair said that he hoped to announce the appointment of a new chair for the Career Development committee soon.

Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, noted that group had met May 8 to finish plans on InTouch, the Forum newsletter.  The committee had planned to publish its University Gazette insert in June, but would wait until July to accommodate the Gazette’s new monthly schedule.  The committee would meet the following day.

Katherine Graves, chair of the Nominating committee, said that she had received many responses to the request for nominations for the Forum delegate elections.  She also noted that the Recognition and Awards committee would send out fliers seeking Employee recognition nominations at some future point.

The Chair said that the Guidelines revision the Forum had approved would allow departing Delegates to run for the Forum once again.  He asked Delegates to contact their compatriots to ask them to run.  Graves noted that Employees can nominate themselves.  Syed Mustafa asked if more than one Employee from a particular department can serve, and Graves said that they indeed can.

The Personnel Issues committee had discussed Heels for Health for the majority of its May meeting.

Lynn McPherson raised the question of whether the Forum wished to hold its meeting on July 2 or July 9, given that the former falls near the Independence Day weekend.  Katherine Graves moved that the Forum move its meeting to July 9, with Arnel seconding.  The motion was approved 16-0.

The Chair reported that he had recently met with the Board of Trustees chair to create an opportunity for Forum involvement with the Board.  He hoped to make a formal announcement to this effect soon.  He had also met with Charest and Maynard on the Heels for Health question, and had met with Carolyn Elfland in support of Kucharski’s and Graves’ proposal to recognize housekeepers with plaques in their buildings.

The Chair had met with the Carolina Users’ Group considering possible plans for the Carolina North tract, and had participated in a discussion with Employees of the School of Nursing.

The Chair had also met with Vice Chancellor Suttenfield about Employee morale and financial woes.  The two agreed to convene a monthly meeting for Forum Delegates with Suttenfield and Provost Shelton.  He had also participated in search committee interviews for the director of the new Human Resources generalist program.

The Chair had also attended the Carrboro Board of Aldermen meeting to talk on behalf of staff in support of the affordable housing aspect of the Winmore housing proposal.  He appreciated the chance to hear both sides of the story with regard to Winmore.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:44 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

Print Friendly