June 7, 2000
Agenda — June 7, 2000
9:30 a.m.— Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
- Welcome Guests from North Carolina A&T, Members of the Press
- Special Acknowledgments (Written)
- From Provost Richardson
- From Chancellor-Elect Moeser
IV. Special Presentations
V. Employee Presentations And Questions
VI. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
VII. Approval of Minutes of the May 3, 2000 meeting P
VIII. Unfinished Business
- Adverse Weather Status
IX. Stretch Time
X. New Business
- Change in Focus for Career Counselor Position
- Request from Chair to “Budget Group”
XI. Forum Committee Reports
- University Committee Assignments: John Heuer
- Recognition and Awards: Joanne Kucharski
- Personnel Issues: Dave Lohse P
- Orientation: Bobbie Lesane
- Nominating: Karen Geer P
- Employee Presentations: Kathy Dutton
- Communications: Suzan deSerres P
- Forum Newsletter, University Gazette Insert
- Career Development: Bobbie Lesane
XII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Joanne Kucharski P
- Discussion with Personnel Issues & University Committee Assignments Committees
- Discussion with Laurie Charest on Health Care Issues
- Delegate Pins Have Been Ordered
- Met Chancellor Elect Moeser
XIII. Officers’ Meeting
XIV. Task Force/University Committee Reports
- Pedestrian Safety Committee—Jill Mayer/Sheila Storey
- Payroll Issues Study Task Force—Jane Stine
- Provost Search Committee—Jane Stine
- Transportation & Parking Advisory — Chris Barfield
- Open Space Committee—Joanne Kucharski/John Heuer/Karen Geer
- 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
June 7, 2000
“ = Ex-Officio
Joanna E. Smith
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests, Opening Remarks
Chair Joanne Kucharski called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. She welcomed Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Jack Evans to make opening remarks.
Evans wished the assembly good morning and noted that he had stepped away from giving an exam to be with the Forum. He would touch on three items during his remarks: the governor’s budget and other legislative items, salary increases for State Employees, and the University bond bill.
Roughly two weeks ago, the Governor completed his budget for the Legislature’s consideration. Evans said that the Governor’s budget did not contain a lot of good news for the University, since it contained a .5% recurring cut for the University, and a couple of million dollars cut from the UNC Hospital budget. However, nothing yet has been set in stone since the House and Senate must still agree on a final version of the budget. Some observers hope that the .5% cut will be non-recurring, meaning that the cut will take place for this year only. A non-recurring cut would be good news in that the University would not have to live with its effects on a continuing basis, and the University would have more flexibility to meet the cut from central funds, rather than distributing the cut across campus.
Friends of the University System are working right now to improve the situation with the Legislature and reduce the size of cuts. However, Evans was not optimistic. The .5% cut would mean a loss of $2 million for the University, all from State funds. The cut would affect all State funded entities, discouraging news given the events of the last eighteen months.
Concerning salary increases, the Governor’s budget recommended a 3% increase for State Employees. However, the State revenue picture is not promising since the budget is said to start $240 million in the hole given current revenues and commitments. However, the early reaction of the Legislature is that a 3% raise will not be sufficient this year. Legislators are exploring a combination of salary increases and contributions to 401(k) plans for Employees. Despite the State’s tight financial situation, many legislators feel that the State has not done enough in the area of State Employee salary increases.
No one can say when the Legislature will adjourn this year, although there is some speculation that legislators will try to get out of town before too long to campaign. University officials will monitor happenings in Raleigh to insure that legislators understand the needs of the University and its Employees.
With regard to the University bond bill, Evans recalled that over a year ago the University had commissioned a study assessment of facilities needs such as building renovations, major additions, and new buildings. Consultant Eva Klein estimated that the University needed $7 billion for facilities needs and the University eventually submitted a bond package to the Legislature to fund $3 billion of these needs. Unfortunately, the bond package was derailed in an impasse in which the House insisted that the package pass a public referendum. Thus, there was no bond bill and no capital facilities appropriation last year.
This year, the University has refined its inventory of capital facilities needs, and has combined with the Community College system in one piece of legislation. The new package, containing $2.5 billion for the University System and $600 million for the Community College system, will be subject to public referendum in November. The package would grant funding over a six-year period, and would provide the University the largest infusion of capital ever, even adjusted for inflation.
Carolina would receive just under $500 million if North Carolina citizens approve the package. The package would address a wide range of needs, including major renovations for classrooms and construction of new buildings for administrative support and key research functions.
The Governor signed the bill in late May to a great deal of publicity. The Community College system has been very visible in consideration of the bill and underline the bill’s importance across the State. However, the bill must pass the November referendum, creating a major public education challenge.
Fortunately, the advocacy group North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry have agreed to take on a substantial part of the publicity effort for the bill, in a moment of enlightened self-interest. The University and Community College systems have done a substantial amount of good for the North Carolina economy over the years, so that the State’s work force could address changes in technology, health care, and other areas over a period of time. The North Carolina Business & Industry group will generate a war chest to produce and air television ads to educate citizens about the value of the bond issue. Additionally, each of the System campuses will work to publicize the bill’s importance over the next five months.
Evans said it was vital for the University to spread the message to service clubs, municipalities, PTAs and PTOs in ever part of the State, so that the referendum will pass. Evans said that given the scope of campus needs, it was unthinkable that the referendum would not pass. He asked the assembly to contact their friends and acquaintances to emphasize the bond issue’s importance.
Evans said that the State Treasurer must authorize the issuance of bonds, and the general understanding is that the State’s financial situation is tighter now than it would be in the future. Thus, the bond’s project funding is back-loaded with a smaller level of project authorization occurring in the first years. The good news is that the Treasurer would be able to authorize considerable funding for work if the bond issue is passed.
After the old comic strip “Pogo,” Evans encouraged listeners to vote “Loud, Long and Often” in favor of the bond issue. The Chair thanked Evans for his remarks.
The Chair read acknowledgements from Provost Dick Richardson and Chancellor-Elect James Moeser in response to the May resolution recognizing the former, and a letter of greeting to the latter.
The Chair said that the Forum had not scheduled special presentations for that day, but expected visitors from the North Carolina A&T Staff Senate that morning. The visitors from A&T had requested some advice on the establishment of their Staff Senate.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources noted that the Governor’s budget proposal would allocate $50 million to offset an expected shortfall in the State Health Plan. The Forum Executive Committee had heard reports about this situation at its May meeting. As things now stand, the State Health Plan will need to institute an 8% rate increase this year, and absent any changes, will need to institute a 50% rate increase next year. Charest recalled that the State is not supposed to allow rate increases this year, but the Plan’s financial status is very unstable.
In addition, the State’s HMO contracts are negotiated this year. The State has received notice that maximum co-payment will increase for nearly every plan. The State will try to keep these rate increases more modest, since if these increases are left at their same levels they will be very large.
The following plans will not be offered this year: Blue Cross/Blue Shield Personal Care Plan, Partners, Qualchoice Incorporated, Wellness of North Carolina, United Health Care, and Optimum. These companies plan to continue their association with the State: Coventry, Doctors Health Care, Generation, Prudential, Wellpath Select, and the State Health Plan. (Coventry is not available in Orange, Chatham, or Wake counties.) This situation leaves many Employees whose plans have discontinued facing a difficult decision this enrollment period. University Human Resources will not have enrollment materials available for Employees until the first couple of weeks in August, but Charest encouraged Employees to begin to investigate new choices if necessary.
Charest emphasized that changes must take place with the State Health Plan for the health care system to continue at all. She encouraged Employees to speak up about what kinds of things they would prefer the State Plan to make its budget: either raise rates or cut services.
Charest noted that the Office of State Personnel has drafted a policy for community service leave, following Governor Hunt’s Executive order last month. The policy will be effective July 1 until permanent rules are approved. The policy revokes the previous child involvement and community involvement policies. The policy provides 24 hours of total leave or one hour a week up to 36 hours for tutoring. This year only, twelve hours of leave are available plus any unused child involvement leave. On January 1, 2001, Employees will receive 24 hours of leave for this purpose. Employees using this leave must receive advanced approval from their supervisor who may request that the Employee take leave at times other than those requested. Employees cannot carry leave balances forward into the next calendar year.
Charest did not know yet how the leave should be coded on timesheets. Eligibility is limited to permanent, probationary and time-limited Employees, and is not available to temporary and less than half-time employees. She did not know how the policy would apply to EPA status Employees.
Leave is limited to activities related to nonathletic school system activities. Tutoring sessions are limited to the 36 weeks of the regular school sessions. Employees can also volunteer for work with 403(c) non-partisan community agencies. John Meeker asked if these guidelines ruled out church activities. Charest said that she did not have the final list of guidelines, but that she could not include church activities at this point.
Following up on the health care discussion, the Chair noted that the Employee Presentations committee is working to invite Director of the State Health Plan Jack Walker to campus for a community meeting. This meeting would give Employees a chance to provide input into the structure of health care choices. The Chair understood that Walker wanted to come to campus, but is also busy working with the Legislature.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of May 5, 2000, noting that the meeting had been called to order at 9:30 a.m. Matt Banks noted these corrections to the Human Resources Update of those minutes: the second paragraph, last sentence should read “Employees can use one hour of leave a week to tutor a student or will receive 24 hours leave…”
The fourth paragraph, second sentence should stop after “As of now, there is still child
involvement leave for EPA Employees.”
The last sentence of the fifth paragraph should be changed to “The University Insurance
Committee requested that the program be implemented before July 1, 2000.
Given these changes, Tom Jenswold made a motion to approve the minutes seconded by Robert Thoma. The motions were approved as amended unanimously.
The Chair noted that President Broad had sent a letter to Ron Penny of the Office of State Personnel on the matter of adverse weather. This letter followed a similar letter from Chancellor McCoy on the same subject in which he forwarded copies of the Employee Forum’s resolutions regarding adverse weather. President Broad asserted the authority of chancellors to close their campuses and to give worktime off in these situations for their Employees. Broad added that a chancellor must act with the assent of the President. A copy of this letter has been forwarded to the Forum Office.
Guests from North Carolina A&T introduced themselves: Albertina McGirt, Chair of the Staff Senate from Student Affairs; Gwen Sanders, chair of the communications committee from Chemistry; Sarette Murray from Mechanical Engineering and the professional development and communications committees; Marian Wee, interim Secretary from Student Affairs; Elreta Poley, Treasurer from Agriculture and Allied Sciences; and Terry West, Vice Chair from Academic Affairs. The Chair welcomed the group, and noted that the Executive Committee would host a pizza lunch at 202 Carr following adjournment.
The Chair noted that the career counselor position had seen its duties diluted recently due to budget cuts. The Chair noted the difficulty of filling this position given its dual charges of conducting campus workshops and individual counseling. Both of these skills require different training and backgrounds. The support for the position has moved more within career track workshops and training and less with individual career counseling.
The Forum’s staff development trust fund has contributed around $8,000 to the maintenance of this position for staff development, which is unfortunately not enough to maintain the full position. The Chair said that she had discussed the elimination of the individual career counselor aspect of the position with Bobbie Lesane, Forum Career Development committee chair.
The Chair had been vocal in budget discussions that it was not a good thing to lose a career counselor position. She felt that the University needed to demonstrate a commitment to staff already on campus as well as to recruitment. She said that career development faced a losing battle if it faced such cuts in funding. Accordingly she wrote a request to the budget group at the encouragement of Provost Richardson to fully fund the position. She did not know what would become of the request. However, in addition, she had asked that the University allow Employees to avoid payment of the application fee for continuing studies classes that are normally tuition free for Employees.
The Chair noted that previously University Employees had been the campus’ own best recruiters, telling anyone who would listen about what a good place Carolina was to work. She thought that Employees did not feel the same about working at Carolina as they did before, and hoped to bring the University back to that point. This concern she thought tied into the career counselor position. The Chair hoped to make these points to Chancellor McCoy at a private meeting later this month.
John Heuer, chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, reported that the committee had discussed the protocol of nominating Employees to various committees. The committee could not settle on a single protocol for all committees, even after consulting with the Forum Executive Committee. He noted that the chancellor must appoint Chancellor’s committee members, and service is considered worktime for all Employees. Nominated Employees are asked to serve in the strongest way possible, but also should not put their work unit in a bind by their service.
The committee had seen an excellent response to the call for volunteers, receiving 24 statements of interest for committee service many of that are interested in multiple committee service. Heuer noted that the Facilities Planning committee is not active at this time, and cited finding out which committees are inactive as an area of risk management for the committee.
The committee will schedule additional meetings to review the pool of applicants. These meetings will be open to the public. Heuer added that a number of volunteers have expressed interest in serving on Employee Forum committees, as well.
The senators from North Carolina A&T were excited to hear that the Forum recruits Employees from outside the Forum to serve on its committees in order to broaden its labor pool. Heuer added that the Forum might invite these volunteers to serve as Forum Delegates in upcoming elections.
Joanne Kucharski, chair of the Recognition & Awards committee, said the group would meet next week. The committee had invited Ann Aldridge of Human Resources to join the committee as a permanent member. Kucharski reported that members had shared many good ideas, including resurrecting the Forum Community Award (3-Legged Stool). The committee planned to develop guidelines to recognize unsung campus peers, similar to the “Unsung Hero” award.
Coincidentally, Kucharski had been asked to speak during the award ceremony for the Bob Cornwell Unsung Hero award this month. This occasion will be a special one since Kucharski knew Cornwell and knows the award recipient, Beverly Williams. Kucharski felt very privileged to be part of this ceremony.
The Recognition & Awards committee also discussed recognition of staff working between 20 and 30 years at the University, and acknowledging people who had achieved some degree or certification as part of their personal career development.
The Chair noted that the Personnel Issues committee had been struggling with its charge. Committee members have faced some highly emotional issues and have found it difficult to find a constructive role. The Chair noted that the Forum is an advisory board to the chancellor and hoped that the committee could find a way to bring issues forward constructively.
Bobbie Lesane, chair of the Orientation committee, reported that group did not meet this month. She noted that the group had discussed changing the focus of new delegate orientation to spend more time talking about committee work. The committee also spent time reviewing the Forum notebook. The committee is exploring using time devoted to the team-building exercise or the officer talks for discussion of committee roles. Possibly, the committee will invite new Delegates to sign up for committees that day instead of waiting until the January retreat. In the place of the committee fair at the January retreat, committees would hold their first meeting.
Karen Geer, chair of the Nominating committee, said the group was gearing up for the annual election process. The group will also look at potential officer candidates, and asked continuing Delegates to consider serving as Forum officers. Elections will take place through August and September. She asked Delegates to consider nominating appropriate Employees to serve on the Forum.
A representative from North Carolina A&T asked how the Forum recruited Delegates to serve. Geer said that the Forum sends out a letter with a nomination form attached to all staff asking for nominations. The Nominating committee is charged to make sure that those nominated are indeed willing to serve. Also, the Nominating committee must make sure that each electoral division has an appropriate number of candidates, among other charges. The committee will also solicit brief biographical sketches from candidates for publication in an issue of InTouch and the Forum website.
Geer noted that the Forum holds a retreat every January to organize its activities for the year. The Forum swears its new members in at the December meeting.
Kathy Dutton, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said that the group had not met since the spring community meeting. As mentioned previously, the committee hopes to invite the Executive director of the State Health Plan, Jack Walker, to discuss changes with the plan at a future community meeting.
The Chair thanked Vice Chair Dutton and Secretary Geer for their hard work through the year.
Suzan Deserres, chair of the Communications committee, noted the group’s three goals: to create and distribute a newsletter to the entire staff; to update and improve the Forum’s web page; and to create an insert for the University Gazette. The committee has sent out a monthly newsletter, which has received positive reviews. The newsletter has contained remarks from the chair and a policy response, which puts policy questions into laymen’s terms. The University Gazette insert has also been assembled and should be distributed this month. The next InTouch issue should contain a policy response detailing the use of social security numbers in University operations. The committee will meet again June 7 in 01B Brauer.
The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had consulted with the Personnel Issues and University Committee Assignments Committee about internal operations. The committee had also reviewed the Forum budget in order to determine how much money was available through the end of the fiscal year. After the North Carolina State Staff Senate, the Forum has ordered pins for past, present and future Delegates.
The Chair has had the chance to meet with Chancellor-Elect Moeser for a few minutes during graduation weekend.
The Forum officers held a meeting and discussed requesting more space for the Forum Office. The Chair will draft a space request.
University Committee/Task Force Reports
Sheila Storey reported that the pedestrian safety task force submitted a final report to the chancellor at the end of May. The report developed a strategic principles plan which includes a pedestrian safety hotline, interim shrubbery along Manning Drive, and other innovations developed by the Highway Safety research committee. Chances are that the committee will evolve into a standing body, with a budget line devoted to improving pedestrian safety. Storey recalled that the University’s response grew out of the death of a post graduate student walking across Manning Drive. Notably, Health Affairs have been very supportive of improving pedestrian safety on South Campus.
The Chair noted that each Employee would receive a memo describing how their paycheck is derived. Former Forum chair Jane Stine was part of the 27th payroll review task force which created this memo. Stine also serves on the Provost Search committee.
The Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee is not scheduled to meet until August. The Open Space planning committee saw a video on the use of campus open space, but also will not meet until the fall.
The University Priorities and Budget Committee recently finished its 27 hours of budget hearings.
The Chair has scheduled lunch with newly elected chair of the Faculty Council Sue Estroff. The Chair also serves on the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration search committee as well. She commented on how difficult it is to find a candidate experienced with finances, human resources, and State rules. She said that Jack Evans had set a new standard for the position.
The Chair had no news about the appointment of the Women’s Center Director.
In the absence of further comments, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary