March 4, 1998
Agenda — March 4, 1998
9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
* Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd
IV. Employee Presentation
* Rachel Davies, on North Carolina Literary Festival
V. Special Presentation
* Willie Scroggs, Chair, Parking & Transit Task Force
VI. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
VII. Approval of Minutes of the February 4, 1998 meeting
VIII. Unfinished Business
* Discussion: University Priorities & Budget Committee Priorities (contained in January 20 Executive Committee minutes)
IX. New Business
* Affirmation of 1996 Forum Resolution Concerning Comprehensive Pay Plan (from Compensation and Benefits)
* Approval of Forum Highlights Page (to be distributed to all University Employees)
* Selection of New System Staff Assembly Representative
X. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Linwood Futrelle
* Employee Concern on Payroll Lag Times
* Emergency Communication Procedures & University Web Page
* Training for Faculty in Supervisory Resources Positions?
* Committee Rosters, Meeting Times
* April 1 Reception for President Molly Corbett Broad?
* Executive Committee Liaisons to Forum Committees
* Forum Committee Review
XI. Committee Reports:
* Career Development—Gwen Burston/Bob Schreiner
=> Proposed Resolution from Faculty Council Liaison Ron Strauss
=> New Careers Training Board Liaison: Connie Boyce
=> Evaluation Instruments for Audio/Video Training Library, Career Counselor Position
* Communications—Jennifer Henderson/Jim Barnes
=> Revision of Forum Web Page
=> Forum Public Relations Plan
* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse
* Employee Presentations—Jeffery Beam
=> Spring Community Meeting
* Nominating—Lucille Brooks
* Orientation—Nancy Tannenbaum
* Personnel Policies—Martha Barbour
* Recognition and Awards—Joyce Dalgleish
* University Committee Assignments—Anne Montgomery
=> Public Safety Director Selection Committee Search
XII. Task Force Reports
* Board of Trustees Presentation Task Force—Linwood Futrelle
* Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force—-Linwood Futrelle
* “Greening the Campus” Exploratory Task Force—Tommy Brickhouse/William Grice/Dee Dee Massey/Ted Wright
* Grievance Procedure Task Force—Bob Schreiner
=> Survey to Forum Members
* Intellectual Climate Task Force—Libby Evans
=> Another Survey to Forum Members
* Outsourcing Team Representatives—Bennie Griffin/Ann Hamner
* School Volunteerism Task Force—Libby Evans
* Transit and Parking Task Force Representative—Libby Evans/Gwen Burston
* UNC System Staff Assembly—Bob Schreiner
* Faculty Council Liaisons
March 4, 1998
Dee Dee Massey
” = Ex-Officio
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests
Chair Linwood Futrelle called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. The Chair asked members to sign in and to examine the routing file as it was passed around the room. He welcomed newly promoted delegate Queen Tutt (not in attendance), active manager of Employee training Jerry Howerton, other guests, members of the press, and Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd.
The Chair introduced Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd to present opening remarks. Floyd happily pointed out that for the first time in recent memory the Forum was meeting on a day without rain.
Floyd noted discussion about the Carolina Computing Initiative which will require computers from all freshmen entering the University in the year 2000. As a result of this initiative, the University will purchase computers in bulk, establishing a very good price for entering students. Floyd also said that the initiative, while primarily focused on students, will also produce concrete benefits for faculty and staff. He thought that this price break will provide a large incentive for departments purchasing desktop models for faculty and staff. Floyd was very excited about the possibilities of the initiative and would discuss further details with the Forum Executive Committee. He had undertaken recent site visits at Dell, Compaq and IBM to investigate with possible hardware suppliers for the initiative.
Several months ago, the University commissioned a report on the Public Safety department. The University had yet to receive this report but would make copies available once the report was ready. The search process to replace Director of Public Safety Don Gold has recently begun, and Floyd underscored the importance of establishing strong leadership in this department. The search committee search will include faculty, students, and staff.
Following the recent airplane crash at Horace Williams airport, Floyd said that the University will review its safety protocols associated with the airport. He regretted that he was out of town on site visits in Texas when the accident occurred and so was unable to personally respond.
Floyd restated his feeling that the University Gazette holds a centrally important place at the University. Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages, the Gazette will not publish its March 11 issue. Floyd thought that the Gazette will be able to publish its March 25 issue, and thanked Employees who have helped get out recent issues in spite of short deadlines and staffing problems.
Floyd offered to answer questions from the group. Vice Chair Jeffery Beam asked if Floyd had any comments concerning the groundskeepers’ grievance. Floyd said that the committee originally designated to examine this group’s complaints will continue implementing recommendations such as furnishing uniforms for groundskeepers. He thought it advisable to let the legal process play itself out without comment. However, he felt that the University has worked hard to maintain an inclusive partnership with every member of its community, and felt that this relationship must work both ways. The University will continue to make decisions and take steps to deal with issues as appropriate and in any case will carry on with implementation of the investigating committee’s report.
Betty Averette asked if the Carolina Computing Initiative has made any provision to subsidize or provide financial assistance for computer purchases for those unable to afford this expense. Floyd said the University has been aggressive in addressing financial aid issues related to the initiative. He noted that the University has set aside funds for the class entering in the fall of 2000. Reports have shown that of UNC’s current freshman class, roughly 53% of entering students carried a computer to campus for schoolwork; signs indicate that this percentage will rise in the future. Floyd emphasized the importance of making financial aid available to all those needing assistance.
Floyd thanked the Forum for its service to the University. He said that he continues to enjoy working with the Forum, and felt that the Forum had been of great benefit to the University. The Chair thanked Floyd for his advocacy of staff concerns in negotiations related to the Carolina Computing Initiative.
Rachel Davies, Program Development Officer for the Center for the Study of the American South, spoke on the inaugural North Carolina Literary Festival, scheduled to take place on campus April 3-5. Chancellor Michael Hooker will open the festival Friday April 3 with a reception at the Morehead Planetarium. Throughout the weekend on Polk Place, book associations and literary groups from across the state and region will display exhibits and sell works.
The theme of the festival is a celebration readers and writers; organizers have asked public librarians across the state to nominate readers for special recognition. Festival organizers have already received close to 60 nominations for these awards. Noted southern authors, including Clyde Edgerton and Margaret Walker (among many others) are scheduled to provide readings at the opening ceremony.
The body of the festival will take place Saturday, April 4 and Sunday April 5, with over 100 writers, some well-known, descending on campus in addition to student writers from ten colleges and universities. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, seven events will take place every hour on the hour including poetry, non-fiction, children’s, and mystery presentations. Doris Betts, Derrick Walcott, Reynolds Price, Susan Masters, Margaret Maron, and Jeffery Beam are scheduled to be among the authors available for conversation. Authors’ works will also be available for purchase on Polk Place. The festival will be free with the exception of parking, and book signings will take place in Memorial and Hamilton Halls and in the Student Recreational Center.
Davies encouraged members to access the festival’s web site at http://www.sunsite.unc.edu/litfest. It is hoped that in the year 2000 a similar celebration will mark the centenary of Thomas Wolfe’s work. In response to a question from Nancy Tannenbaum, Davies said that support for the festival has been provided by the Center for the Study of the American South, the Chancellor’s Office, the Provost’s Office, and through specific outside donors lined up by the Development Office. Ken Litwosky confirmed that Carolina Dining will provide food service for the weekend.
Betty Averette asked if publicity materials will be provided to all Employees on campus. Davies said that publicity for the event had concentrated on student and faculty contacts with writers and the festival’s web site as well the University Gazette. Over 200 community volunteers and 200 student volunteers have come forward to help with the festival. All writers will be guided and introduced by a student from UNC, providing another opportunity for student-writer interaction. She said that chances were good that a nationally known writer [since announced to be John Grisham] will make an appearance at the festival as well, though she could not reveal this person’s name at this time. The Bull’s Head will sell books, and tent kiosks are also expected to accept personal checks for various works.
Lucille Brooks confirmed that interested volunteers should contact Davies at 962-4434. Identified by their goldenrod t-shirts, community volunteers will supply information, programming and general assistance around campus. Davies noted the generous help of the Physical Plant, Public Safety and many other campus departments in putting on the event. Parking will be $3 in advance and $5 on the date of the festival; cars will park at the Smith Center and attendees will walk over or take golf carts.
Chair of the University Parking and Transit Task Force Willie Scroggs agreed to bring the Forum up to date on that group’s progress. The Chair thanked Scroggs for agreeing to meet with the Forum on very short notice.
As an overview, Scroggs noted that the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee (TPAC) predated the task force, but when the departments of Transportation and Parking and Public Safety were merged last year, a new advisory body was needed. TPAC was composed of faculty, staff, and students and met throughout the year to discuss various concerns. TPAC would also consider proposed ordinances before presentation to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
Scroggs acknowledged that transit and parking issues are extremely sensitive and observed that no proposed solution will be able to please everyone. The task force has attempted to deal with these enormous and complicated issues since its inception in September 1997.
To begin, the task force worked to identify the exact nature of the transit and parking situation on campus with the aid of a professional consultant. The task force has met regularly to examine the wide range of issues affecting community members’ personal situations; the group has also consulted with other campuses to determine their methods of dealing with many common concerns. Scroggs added that the Employee Forum is well-represented on the task force.
At this point in deliberations the task force is trying to choose among different options. Scroggs said that unfortunately every proposed option will impose costs in one way or another. Scroggs said that it was part of the task force’s charge to cover the cost of the current operation now underway. Each of the community’s different populations–undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, different administrative units, and line Employees–have brought a different perspective to negotiations that the task force must take into account.
In the course of these discussions, the task force has begun to identify some recommended methods to deal with these problems. Scroggs noted discussion in the media about increases in parking fees, and provided background on the reason for these increases.
Following the merger last year, no one was in position to recommend the increases necessary to deal with the existing departmental shortfall. As a result, the University made no radical changes and went with the system already in place. However, radical changes are necessary to meet expenses and this delay has meant that the current task force must recommend a final solution now. Scroggs said that if the task force was still to do nothing the University community will face increases larger than customary, since the 2-3% fee increases of the past have not been large enough to meet costs for the University’s parking and transit needs.
The task force has also started to enunciate the things it hopes will occur. Scroggs emphasized that the group is still gathering input from all parts of campus concerning the parking situation. However, the task force has come to the conclusion that all parking on campus is valuable, and is examining a system in which all parking should be considered more or less equally valuable with roughly equal rates for all lots.
In this scheme, people parking in areas such as near the Smith Center will see their parking rates rise, and those paying a great deal already will not pay a great deal more. This step will equalize rates and generate a bit more revenue, because the task force feels that all parking places have value, possibly even the same value.
However, the task force realizes that convincing users to pay more for remote parking will depend on making this parking more attractive and efficient, by making the commute to and from these lots easy and safe. Increasing the services that the Town of Chapel Hill provides will also cost more money. The task force believes that making remote parking more attractive economically and convenient is vital to bettering the overall situation.
The group hopes to insure that parking off-campus does not present a hardship for those choosing this option. One way it has attempted to address concerns about emergency situations is through creation of an emergency rideback program for users of off-campus lots. Scroggs also emphasized the importance of making intracampus travel easier and more effective through the use of shuttles and other means.
Scroggs said that the University has heard many grand ideas on how to improving its parking and transit situation, but any grand idea will require financial support from the people who park here–faculty, staff, students, visitors and special events visitors. The Task Force felt it important to treat everyone fairly and not to worsen one group’s situation in order to benefit another. To this end, the task force has worked hard to consult with representative members of each major campus community, and Scroggs thanked task force members for their hard work in finding compromise.
The task force will meet a few more times to tie up loose ends and will hold open community meetings April 8 (12:00-1:50 p.m. – 104 Howell Hall; 1:00-3:00 p.m. – 321 MacNider; 7:00-9:00 p.m. – Student Union) to discuss changes with the campus community before approaching the Board of Trustees. Changes in plans may be made at any point to reflect the will of the community or the board.
Scroggs said that the task force faces certain University and State rules in planning its parking. He said that in order for parking to rise in the University’s priorities list, it must assume a greater importance than building projects at the hospital or the law school. This shift in priorities has not happened yet but may happen. Another major obstacle has been the State’s refusal to contribute to the construction of parking facilities for State agencies.
Bob Schreiner asked about Scroggs’ statement that permits for all parking spaces will cost about the same amount of money regardless of their distance from the Employee’s place of work. Scroggs said that all of these spaces cost about the same with the major difference being between gated and non-gated lots. Once what were considered remote lots have now become more advantageous for certain Employees as the campus has spread out and reached these “remote” spaces. Some Employees in “remote” lots have to walk only a few paces to reach their offices while others must take shuttle buses across campus. Scroggs felt there had been good agreement within the task force about the new tiered system.
Sherry Graham asked about security issues in remote lots. Scroggs said that these issues were already in the process of being addressed by Public Safety previous to the input of the task force, though Employee suggestions are continuing to be taken into account. He emphasized the importance of maintaining a safe campus to the task force and to Public Safety; the group did not want to put anyone in danger. Bettering lighting and security are among the suggestions being implemented across campus.
Jeffery Beam asked how frequently the proposed shuttle system will run and how Employees and others will access the system for emergency and commonplace needs. Scroggs said that ideally, all workers and students at the University would be able to ride the transit system for free. He hoped that sometime in the future members of the University community will be able to use their One Card to get on any bus for free.
Scroggs noted the general concern that arose when the Chancellor secured funding for extra buses for the Town of Chapel Hill, and the accompanying worries that the University may eventually establish its own transit system. Scroggs said that the University had long maintained a positive relationship with the Town of Chapel Hill. `U’ bus service will be increased to run in both directions across campus and anyone with a UNC One Card should technically be able to board a `U’ bus for free.
Scroggs said that another future goal is to establish large park-and-ride lots for Employees north, south, east, and west of campus. It is hoped that in the future users of these lots will pay one fee for parking and transit service back and forth to campus.
Concerning the emergency rideback service, Scroggs explained that an Employee parking at a remote lot will be able to dial a certain number to access P2P vans or police cars to travel back and forth. This service will be reserved for child-care matters, doctors’ appointments, and other time-crucial emergencies. Scroggs granted that some people will inevitably take advantage of this service but hoped that abuses will be kept to a minimum. Elizabeth Evans added that UNC Hospitals’ experience with this program have found that emergency rideback privileges generally are not abused.
Dee Dee Massey asked who or what body decides who parks where on campus. Scroggs said allocation of spaces is a very difficult subject and that decisions about the use of allotments are generally made on a departmental basis. He said that the task force will discuss this issue further but given the current system advised staff to fight for increased benefits within their own departments.
Betty Averette asked why the University does not establish one allocation policy universal to the entire campus. Scroggs said that if one universal policy was established then these decisions would necessarily fall to Public Safety staff. Right now, the system in place mandates that departments make these decisions. Janet Tysinger and Elizabeth Evans said that the Task Force will address the subject of permit allocation at a later date. Scroggs said that from an administrative standpoint it would be very difficult to centralize allocations within Public Safety and conceded that administrators have been very reluctant to broach this subject in the past.
Sherry Graham asked if the Task Force will examine how lots are divvied up among staff, faculty, students, and visitors. Scroggs said that the University has used the historic model for allocation of spaces–“what has come before.” The task force has examined several different allocation models, but Scroggs did not know if these models would effectively change the University’s parking situation. Graham said that other campuses have developed systems of parking allocation that may work better that the University’s current system. She asked about the UNC’s system’s current method of feedback. Scroggs said that staff generally have made recommendations to the Transportation & Parking Advisory Committee on how to divide up lots. Most of the time, requests for re-allocations come from departmental staff contacting Public Safety. He thought that there had not been many discussions on this issue this year. Elizabeth Evans asked that Employees send or copy comments on allocation to Janet Tysinger or herself.
Jeffery Beam asked if there had been discussion about the possibility of the Educational Foundation (Ram’s Club) changing its bylaws to allow some contribution to the maintenance and upkeep of University lots. Beam noted the amount of money that the foundation contributes to build University lots. Scroggs said that the Educational Foundation probably feels that it has already contributed a great deal to the construction costs of lots already being built. He felt that if these projects were funded only through internal sources they probably would not have been built. In addition, the Foundation contributes funds to Public Safety to cover operational expenses during football and basketball events, helping to make up the total budget necessary to carry out these events. The University now charges people to park for special events whereas it had not charged before; all of this revenue is added to Public Safety budgets. Scroggs said that the charter and by-laws of the foundation prevent it from directly contributing to the operational expenses of the athletics department. Scroggs would like to see the foundation make contributions in this area also.
Scroggs announced that the task force will hold separate community meetings for students, faculty, and UNC Employees April 8 in order to publicize the group’s recommendations before presenting them to the Board of Trustees. He thanked the Forum for its time and urged members to forward Employees’ thoughts and concerns to the task force. The Chair thanked Scroggs for his presentation.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest rose to give the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She noted that the Grievance Procedure Task Force would soon begin a series of scheduled meetings. Bob Schreiner is scheduled to make a report on this subject later in the meeting.
Charest said that the University will track staff compensation issues in the Legislature, but she had no report on this subject for the moment. In other matters, Charest expected that Roy Sherrill’s grievance procedure bill will be reintroduced in the upcoming short session. The University has concerns about this legislation as it imposes shorter time frames for the resolution of grievances. If enacted the bill would in effect gut the University’s existing process and would require mediation procedures in instances when parties are not interested in this avenue. Charest did not feel that these changes would be positive and said that the University will track the progress of this bill if it is reintroduced.
Another bill likely to see discussion is the discipline disclosure bill. As written, this bill would make more information about a State employee public if that employee has undergone a serious disciplinary action such as suspension, demotion, or dismissal. Details about these actions would be made public in addition to information about that employee’s qualifications in the job including pre-hire references.
The State has instituted a plan for long-term health care for employees electing to participate. The State health plan has selected MedAmerica as the carrier for the new plan and Employees should receive information on rates and coverage in an April 1, 1998 mailing. Informational meetings on the plan will take place across the state soon afterward and coverage should begin in September 1998. Human Resources staff will be working to get this information out to Employees.
In another area, Charest observed that the purpose behind a new State law concerning recruitment and selection policy was to reduce the influence of political patronage in hiring. While this law does not present a problem for UNC-Chapel Hill due to the content of its current policies, the University has taken the opportunity to explore possible changes in its recruitment and selection policies in light of the large number of vacancies at the University.
The law now requires that the University identify for each job opening a group of most qualified applicants. The University will approach this requirement allowing the Employment Office to screen for the set of most qualified applicants for a position, if departments desire, in addition to screening for minimally qualified applicants. (Previously, the Employment Office screened only for minimally qualified applicants.) Departments may also choose only to have the Employment Office screen only for minimally qualified applicants as before.
Charest thought that the general interpretation of the phrase “most qualified applicant” covers those who eventually receive departmental interviews. Human Resources presumes following this review, departments choose the most qualified candidates to interview.
In addition, outside applicants for positions will be required to apply for specific jobs. Currently, applicants in general for employment at the University and Human Resources determines for which positions applicants are suited. Changing this procedure should lessen the number of situations when departments inquire about an applicant who holds no interest in their vacant position.
In the new system, outside applicants will file applications only for specific jobs and likely will be able to apply for a limited number of jobs at one time. Human Resources will try to track internal and external applicants who are applying for lots of positions and offer these people counseling to focus their job search. It is also hoped that this change will narrow down the number of viable and interested candidates considered for particular positions leading in turn to a less burdensome hiring process.
Ken Litowsky noted that currently all requests for extensions of temporary employment from six months to twelve months must go to Human Resources for approval. Human Resources is working on procedures to allow departments to make these approvals on their own. The Office of Human Resources will offer departments training in monitoring these situations.
Similarly, certain departments, because of the nature of their work, have approached Human Resources to request an extension of the new Employee probationary period. These extensions are not the result of specific problems with the Employee in question, but arise because the Employee has not had time to demonstrate command of all the skills necessary to perform their duties. This is particularly true in some computer-related positions. Human Resources has delegated to certain departments the authority to extend the probationary period for these situations as a matter of course. At some point in the near future, Litowsky said the entire campus will move to the State standard of a nine month probationary period. Human Resources may delegate this authority to all campus departments prior to converting to a standard nine-month probationary period.
Elizabeth Evans asked if permanent part-time Employees working less than 30 hours a week are eligible to purchase health insurance at the group rate. Charest responded that Employees working 20 hours or more but less than 30 hours a week arrange to purchase these benefits at a pro-rated level but receive no employer contribution. Employees working less than 20 hours a week do not have this option.
Tommy Brickhouse asked if union organizers have the right to enter University buildings to recruit members. Charest said that there is not a simple yes or no answer as University buildings are generally considered public spaces and some places, like the Pit, are specifically designed for public activity. In most cases, citizens are allowed to enter any such space but people may not interfere with public business such as teaching in classrooms or departmental operations.
Approval of Minutes
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 4, 1998 meeting. Ken Litowsky made this motion, with Sherry Graham seconding. Bob Schreiner noted that he no longer holds a place on the University Priorities and Budget Committee as was incorrectly stated on page 7. There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved as amended.
The Chair noted that the Forum had moved in February to delay further discussion of the University Priorities and Budget Committee (UPBC) until priorities list the relevant section of the January 20 Executive Committee minutes was prepared by the Forum Office. He noted that these minutes were now available and opened the floor for discussion.
Ann Hamner asked about the progress of the Forum’s Employee Presentations Committee to have representatives of the University Priorities and Budget Committee address the Forum’s spring community meeting. Jeffery Beam said that discussions were underway towards hosting the UPBC at a future date. The Chair hoped that by the time the meeting is scheduled the UPBC list will be more in the public eye. Beam said that if for any reason the UPBC is unable to attend the spring community meeting the Employee Presentations Committee will attempt to reschedule in the fall.
Members had no further comments on the first draft of the UPBC priorities list and agreed to pass on an excerpt of the January 20 Executive Committee minutes as part of its formal response.
Tommy Brickhouse noted that the resolution on staff salary compensation submitted to the Forum by representatives of the NC State University Staff Senate had changed drastically since initial consideration by the Forum Compensation and Benefits Committee.
The Compensation and Benefits Committee was troubled by that resolution’s proposal, in the event that the State’s comprehensive compensation pay plan was not fully funded, to funnel a higher proportion of funds into merit pay components. The group disapproved of the proposal to favor merit components over longevity and career growth portions, citing general feelings that career growth components suffered salary compression difficulties and, furthermore, that the State’s performance review process is flawed to the point where it should not be used as a basis for determining compensation levels. Brickhouse asked if members had any comments concerning this recommendation.
Ken Litowsky noted for members that the merit-based portion has been the one part of the comprehensive compensation plan that has never been funded. He thought it would be misguided to build a plan based on the assumption that a pool of money is available for merit-based increases.
In light of this feeling, Brickhouse and the Compensation and Benefits Committee moved to reaffirm the Forum’s resolution (approved in June 1996) calling on full funding of the State’s comprehensive compensation plan for State employees. Jeffery Beam seconded this motion.
The Chair asked if there were any discussion of this motion. Litowsky suggested that the order of components listed in the next to last paragraph be revised alphabetically to de-emphasize the merit component. The Forum approved the motion unanimously as amended and would send it to the Chancellor and his designees for their reference and use.
The Chair presented the Forum’s annual highlights page for approval by the membership before distribution to all UNC staff Employees. Bob Schreiner noted that in his capacity as past Forum Chair he had assumed a seat on the Technology Coordinating Committee. [Afterward it was agreed to leave this entry off the 1997 page as the appointment was made in January 1998.] Members suggested other grammatical and style-based changes. For the record, it was noted that Peggy Cotton had suggested the idea of a highlights page during discussions in 1995. The Chair confirmed that the Forum spends a little over $200 to send out this one page via the “hot memo” process courtesy of Administrative Information Services. Jeffery Beam and Ken Litowsky suggested that the Forum consider publishing the page twice annually. Members agreed to consider this idea later in the fall. The page was approved pending further stylistic suggestions from members.
The Forum chose Terry Teer as its at-large representative to the UNC System Staff Assembly, joining current Forum Chair Linwood Futrelle and past Chair Bob Schreiner. Last year, Anne Montgomery served as the Forum’s at-large delegate along with 1997 Chair Schreiner and 1996 Chair Ann Hamner. Beam was pleased that a delegate who is not one of the “usual suspects” had volunteered for the post, and Schreiner noted the importance and relatively small time commitment of the position. In response to a question from Betty Averette, Schreiner explained that the Assembly typically meets quarterly to deal with issues related to the Statewide organization, and referred members to a draft copy of the Assembly’s preamble, constitution and by-laws in the March agenda packet.
The Forum Office has forwarded an Employee question about streamlining payroll lag times for newly hired Employees to the Payroll Office for response. The Chair has received telephone messages from Dennis Press on this subject and hopes to have a formal response in the routing file next month.
The Chair has arranged with LaBron Reid to incorporate emergency bulletins into procedures noting adverse weather on the University web page.
The Chair has spoken briefly with Faculty Chair Pete Andrews on the subject of management training for faculty and staff in supervisory roles. He noted the general feeling that this training would need to be restructured to meet faculty time restraints, and recalled that this subject emerged in 1993 and again in 1996 in response to Employee comments. The Chair recalled that in 1993 resources were not available to offer training on an expanded basis.
The Chair noted that Forum committee meeting times and rosters were included in the day’s agenda packet.
The Chair asked if the Forum wished to hold a reception for UNC System President Molly Corbett Broad on the occasion of her April 1 remarks to the Forum. The Executive Committee had recommended against this reception in the interest of meeting Broad’s busy schedule.
Elizabeth Evans asked about the possibility of recording and uploading Broad’s remarks for access on the Forum web page. The Forum Office will ask Broad for permission to record her remarks for this purpose.
The Forum briefly touched on its Executive Committee liaison system and upcoming guidelines and committee review procedures. A draft memo associated with this system was included in the meeting’s routing file.
The Executive Committee will review the Forum Guidelines and its committee structure over the course of 1998. The committee will discuss the details of this action at its March 17 meeting.
Bob Schreiner, Co-Chair of the Career Development Committee, announced that Connie Boyce has agreed to be the Forum liaison to the New Careers Training Board. He noted the joint resolution proposed by Ron Strauss of the Faculty Council concerning Employee training and worktime. Finally, the Career Development Committee has recommended that the Forum continue to fund the career counselor position for another year and has begun work on seeing through implementation of the computer literacy resolution.
Jim Barnes, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, said that Jennifer Henderson has devised a plan to revamp the Forum web site and will coordinate with class members and the Forum Office to implement this plan. Revisions will concentrate on stylistic and hierarchy concerns while taking into account the differing technologies available to Employees across campus. Barnes asked members and others to forward their suggestions for changes to the web site.
The committee also considered ways to improve the profile and awareness of Forum in the eyes of the University community. Concerning the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth, the committee suggested that each Forum committee create a general information handout. Also, the committee proposed creating a billboard with different departmental logos for Employees to identify at the booth. Finally, the committee suggested inviting “star” University Employees such as Women’s Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell make an appearance at the booth to talk to people.
In another idea to increase campus awareness of the Forum, the committee suggested inviting the editor of the Daily Tar Heel to address the assembly about what media consider newsworthy. This invitation could accompany a request that the Tar Heel refer to “faculty, staff, and students” in general comments about the campus community. Barnes was glad that the Forum Office had already instituted publishing an annual highlights page.
Bob Schreiner reported that the Communications Committee had also discussed the Forum issuing periodic news releases about its goals and accomplishments to local media contacts. Such releases would be designed to be readily used for stories and articles. Schreiner thought that this idea needed more discussion by the entire Forum. Elizabeth Evans said the first release could address the Forum’s affirmation of the June 1996 resolution advocating full funding of the comprehensive pay package for State employees.
Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, said that group planned to focus on lobbying for implementation of the aforementioned comprehensive compensation plan. He hoped that Employees will contact their legislators and said the committee would distribute a generic letter with guidelines on lobbying. Brickhouse felt that this effort required an explicit contribution from everyone concerned in order to succeed. Laurie Charest reminded Forum members that State law prohibits State Employees from pursuing lobbying activities on work time or with University resources (such as office letterhead).
Jeffery Beam, Chair of the Employee Presentations Committee, said that plans continue to invite the University Priorities and Budget Committee to be the featured attraction at the Forum’s spring community meeting. Tentative dates for this meeting are June 9, 10, or 11. The committee also discussed ways to encourage more Employees to make Employee presentations at the Forum’s monthly meetings. The committee proposed that the Forum mention this opportunity more often in its general publications.
More generally, the committee addressed ways for the Forum to gain a higher profile on campus and to encourage people to play a more active role in Forum activities. Some of these suggestions had been mentioned in the Communications Committee’s earlier report. Beam thought that requesting that the Daily Tar Heel use the phrase “faculty, students, and staff” in general reports could be best accomplished by teaching the use to cub reporters in training. Beam thought instituting this small change would do a great deal to raise students’ consciousness of the role staff play at the University.
The committee also proposed inviting President-Elect Reyna Walters to address the Forum once she has had a chance to settle into office. In sum, the committee sought to carry on planning for Employee presentations and community meetings so as to raise general awareness of staff concerns.
Lucille Brooks, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that she had met with past Chair Elizabeth Evans and Forum Assistant Matt Banks to discuss transitional issues associated with her position. She was very impressed with Evans’ stewardship of the responsibilities of the office of Secretary.
Nancy Tannenbaum, Chair of the Orientation Committee, reported the group held a planning meeting to outline activities for the year. The committee will meet again in April and is looking for additional members. Committee members discussed the Forum buddy system and will discuss this subject further with Banks in April. The group is not scheduled to meet again afterwards until July. Tannenbaum announced that the Forum’s annual retreat is tentatively scheduled for January 15, 1999.
The committee is exploring the idea of shifting the new Delegates reception from November to December of each year. Tannenbaum thought this change would allow the Forum to thank outgoing Delagates for their work while welcoming newly inducted members. She asked the assembly to raise any possible disadvantages with this idea. It was noted that the change may create an overlong gap in activity between the October Orientation and the December reception. The Chair suggested the Forum shift Orientation to November, but noted that November is the time when classes generally end and Thanksgiving holidays fall.
Jeffery Beam asked if attendance at the December Forum meeting is generally high. Attendance is high at the December meeting particularly given that new Delegates now formally assume office at this meeting. Tannenbaum noted that in 1998 the meeting will take place December 2. The Forum agreed to leave this subject up for discussion.
Martha Barbour, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, said the group planned to catch up on last year’s business and had invited Director of Human Resources Administration Drake Maynard to address the committee. Barbour reported that in the committee’s February meeting, Ken Yow volunteered to research specific North Carolina State University personnel policies, having also reviewed the current process for screening prospective candidates for open positions within the AIS computing group. Dee Dee Massey added comments regarding the selection process in her work area. Barbour said that the committee’s minutes captured this discussion in more detail.
Barbour said that the committee also discussed ways to publicize the Forum’s work. She suggested that the Forum recommend that departments implement general staff meetings comparable to faculty meetings. In committee discussion, Lesa McPherson cited the success of the UNC Library staff group, modeled after the Employee Forum, as a positive example for other departmental staff groups. The committee suggested that the Forum ask the Chancellor to encourage the institution of departmental staff meetings or representative bodies for staff similar to the Library staff organization. McPherson has agreed compile a list of the UNC Library staff organization’s activities and will report back to the Personnel Policies Committee at its March 24 meeting in 106 Brauer Hall.
Lesa McPherson of the Recognition and Awards Committee said that group plans to work with Human Resources on establishing memorial resolutions for deceased UNC Employees and on implementing various staff recognition programs. McPherson thanked Patti Smith of Human Resources for continuing to meet with the committee on a regular basis.
Anne Montgomery reported that the University Committee Assignments Committee has sent forward Ed Phillips and Paula Hendricks as the Forum’s nominees to serve on the search committee for the new Director of Public Safety. The committee was asked to nominate a woman and a man for these posts and to nominate someone who works at the University during the evening. Seven people either volunteered or agreed to be nominated for this position.
Julie Might was submitted by the committee to serve as Forum representative on the Excellence in Management Award Committee. Jennifer Pendergast and Jackie Resnick were the other candidates for this position.
Ray DuBose has asked that the Forum select three people to serve on the Chancellor’s Award Committee, and the University Committee Assignments Committee is in the process of identifying these people. The Chair noted the importance of the Chancellor’s Award as a means to recognize outstanding staff.
Task Force Reports
The Board of Trustees May Presentation Task Force continues its work and hopes to have a walkthrough presentation ready by April 1. The task force will send out general announcements to the Delegates listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org) announcing when runthroughs will take place. The Chair said that the presentation will is scheduled to last 30 minutes excluding questions. He thanked everyone who contributed data and assistance particularly Delores Bayless and Drake Maynard of Human Resources.
The Chair thanked Linda Drake for agreeing to serve on the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force. Work will get underway with this group in late March or early April.
Concerning the Greening the Campus Exploratory Task Force, Tommy Brickhouse said that he had researched the Physical Plant current efforts in this area. He found that the unit most involved with these efforts was charged to deal only lighting, heating and ventilation concerns. Similarly, the Grounds department partially deals with green issues but focuses most of its work elsewhere. Ted Wright reported that Kurt Bellum of the University Buildings & Grounds Committee said there was little information and no concerted effort in that group concerning green issues.
Brickhouse asked if the Forum required further action from the exploratory task force. The Chair observed that greening issues are very important to the campus, but thought that the Forum’s current commitments preempted further activity at this time.
Jeffery Beam asked if the Forum agreed that a task force should be organized for future efforts. The Forum agreed to defer consideration of the “Greening the Campus” Task Force issue until the fall.
Bob Schreiner, Vice-Chair of the Grievance Procedure Task Force, reported that the group had met once thus far. At that meeting, the group reviewed the contents of Carolina’s procedure in comparison to others in place across the UNC system. Schreiner commented that UNC-Chapel Hill’s procedure stacks up quite nicely in comparison. Also, the task force moved to gather data through an informal survey of people involved with the grievance procedure over the last couple of years in addition to Forum members. This data will be compiled and reviewed at the task force’s next meeting.
Bennie Griffin, Forum representative on the Outsourcing Steering Team, gave a report about that group’s recent activities. He recalled that he had been an original member of the Forum and had finished his second term as a delegate in 1997.
In the beginning, General Administration requested that the University study 51 functions for possible outsourcing, seventeen of which are already outsourced. Studies scheduled for the first year have almost been completed. Griffin noted that the recently retired Herb Paul had returned to meet with the team at its last gathering. Facilities Services consultants also were present at the team’s last meeting.
Recently, outsourcing team representatives and departmental officials made site visits at three campuses (Nova Southeastern University, Samford University, and the University of Miami) where outsourcing had been implemented. The group found that outsourcing generally was established in response to human resources problems. Griffin said that no university the same size as UNC is involved in outsourcing to a significant degree. Figures have shown that privatization would not significantly save money or serve the functions of the University in the areas of HVAC, grounds, and grounds vehicle maintenance. Paul suggested that the team look at restructuring personnel and equipment, but thought that these three areas should remain in-house.
Customer satisfaction with work done in the three areas at UNC studied was measured at 82%, a level that the privatized universities did not approach. As a side note, Griffin noted that expressed in cost per acre, grounds maintenance costs at UNC ($2,200/acre) are significantly lower than that at the University of Miami ($5,500/acre). Beam thanked Griffin for his work and for taking time to address the Forum on his day off.
Bob Schreiner had no further report concerning the UNC System Staff Assembly. Elizabeth Evans reported that the School Volunteerism Task Force was still on hold, and that the work of the Transit & Parking Task Force had been covered during Willie Scroggs’ presentation.
Evans remarked that the Forum’s Intellectual Climate Task Force will soon send out a survey to all staff Employees inquiring about staff contributions and interest in the intellectual community at UNC. Previously, the Task Force asked Forum members to fill out a draft of the survey to identify potential problems in wording or layout.
Ken Litowsky thought that the estimated time to fill out the survey was somewhat unrealistic and suggested that the estimate be increased to 5 minutes, given that respondents are asked to fill out free response sections. Tannenbaum said that the 1 minute completion estimate encouraged her to fill out the survey. Members concluded that stating that the survey would take “5 minutes or less” was closer to the truth.
Connie Boyce asked how the information may be shared with the Human Resources Information System (HRIS). She asked how the survey will “provide a possible model” for use with the HRIS. Evans said that this statement referred to how the survey function has changed over time, following on Laurie Charest comment that the survey results could be augmented through the HRIS. Eventually, the task force decided to send out its survey solely for internal use. Later, depending on the implementation of the HRIS and the kinds of uses the task force envision based on survey responses, the task force may compose another survey with results to be entered into the HRIS. It would be made clear that responses to the latter survey would be used for this purpose.
Members suggested other formatting and wording changes for the survey. Betty Averette asked if the general population of UNC Employees has a conception of what the “intellectual climate” of the University actually entails. Beam said that the task force attempted to address this question to some degree by speaking of the University’s “intellectual community.” He said that the task force did not want to use a lot of space on this subject and asked if anyone had a concise definition of the topic. Averette proposed the phrase “intellectual involvement.” Evans felt that there was not general agreement on a precise definition of “intellectual climate.” The Chair felt that the amount of publicity being paid to the subject and other references in the survey should remove most confusion.
Evans said the amended survey would be distributed to all UNC Employees in the next week.
Announcements & Questions
Janet Tysinger thanked Willie Scroggs for addressing the Forum on the variety of difficult topics associated with the transit and parking question, noting the difficult and gut-wrenching work the task force had undertaken to construct a plan. The task force has past the honeymoon stage. Tysinger praised the faculty, student and Employee representatives for working hard to construct a sturdy plan by consensus. She reiterated that the task force will host community meetings April 8, from 12:00-1:50 p.m. in104 Howell Hall; 1:00-3:00 p.m. in 321 MacNider; and 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Student Union.
Jean Coble suggested that the Forum institute a “seventh-inning” stretch during the course of its monthly meetings. The Chair said he would add this break to the monthly agenda.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:34 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary