Agenda — March 5, 1997

9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library

I. Call to Order

 

II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press

 

III. Opening Remarks

* Chancellor Michael Hooker

 

IV. Special Presentation

* Bill Graves—Interim Chief Information Officer

 

V. Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger

 

VI. Approval of Minutes of the February 5, 1997 meeting

 

VII. Unfinished Business

* Resolution to Change Operating Procedure: “One Meeting” Waiting Period for Consideration of “Proposals of Substance”

 

VIII. New Business

* Resolution Conferring Lifelong Delegate Status Upon Margaret Balcom

* Discussion: Staff Effort to Aid Public Schools

* Forum University Gazette Insert

 

IX. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Bob Schreiner

* Joint Staff Council Meeting March 12 with Representatives from North Carolina Central, Appalachian State, NC State, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Pembroke

* University Managers’ Association Request of Forum to Handle Planning for Staff Participation for University Day Forwarded to Recognition and Awards

* Executive Committee Liaisons Appointed

* Open Meetings Law Memo Sent

* University Employees Divisional List Distributed to Forum Delagates, First Alternates

* Forum Guidelines Revisions

* Durham Bulls Game with Faculty Council, Student Government, Graduate and Professional Student Federation?

 

X. Committee/Task Force Reports: Goals for the Year

* Nominating—Libby Evans

* Orientation—Delores Jarrell

=> Mid-Year Buddy System

* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn

* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse

* Public Affairs—Ruth Lewter/Anne Montgomery

* Recognition and Awards—Nancy Klatt/Laura Grady

=> Staff Processional at University Day

* University Committee Assignments—Anne Montgomery/Tommy Nixon

=> Nominees to New Careers Board, Chancellor’s Award Committee

* Career Development—Norm Loewenthal

* Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger

* Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force

=> Members: Nancy Atwater, Lucille Brooks, Betty Geer, Tommy Nixon Janet Tysinger

* Faculty Council Liaisons

* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn

* Legislative Affairs

* Land Use Planning—Margaret Balcom

* Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee Representative—Janet Tysinger

* Outsourcing Team Representatives—Bennie Griffin/Ann Hamner

 

XI. Human Resources Update

* Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources

 

XII. Announcements/Questions

* Comments in Honor of Margaret Balcom, Retiring Editor of the University Gazette

 

XIII. Adjournment

MINUTES

 

March 5, 1997

Delegates Present

Frank Alston

Milton Anthony

Nancy Atwater

Jeffery Beam

Tommy Brickhouse

Lucille Brooks

Eddie Capel

Joyce Dalgleish

Joseph Ellison

Libby Evans

Betty Geer

Thomas Goodwin

Laura Grady

Bennie Griffin

Tommy Gunter

Jerry Hall

Phil Hearne

Thomas Holmes

Delores Jarrell

Bettye Jones

Steve Jones

Nancy Klatt

Tricia Mitchell

Norm Loewenthal

Anne Montgomery

Tommy Nixon

Rosa Nolen

Jackie Overton

Archie Phillips, Jr.

Diana Saxon

Peter Schledorn

Bob Schreiner

George Sharp

Stephanie Stadler

Cheryl Stout

Reba Sullivan

Nancy Tannenbaum

Janet Tysinger

Ronald Umstead

Chien-Hsin Wagner

Dail White

Laurie Charest”

Ann Hamner “

” = Ex-Officio

 

Delegates Absent

Ruth Lewter

Frances Rountree

Jamie Spruiell

Beverly Williams

Mary Woodall

 

Alternates Present

Donnie Apple

Mitch Copeland

Connie Dean

Linda Drake

Alfred Jeter

Sandy Mine

Tom Sullivan

Sharon Windsor

 

Guests

Margaret Balcom

Elson Floyd

Mike Hobbs

Michael Hooker

Michael Klein

Mitch Kokai

Ruby Massey

Rachel Windham

 

 

 

Call to Order and Welcome to Guests

Chair Bob Schreiner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m., and asked members to sign in and to examine the routing file as it was passed around the room. The Chair congratulated Mike Hobbs on his appointment as Interim Editor of the University Gazette, and the assembly gave him a round of applause.

 

Opening Remarks

The Chair introduced Chancellor Michael Hooker to give opening remarks, recalling his recent “crowd-surfing” experience at the Duke-UNC basketball game. Chancellor Hooker replied that he had indeed enjoyed himself at the game and looked forward to future opportunities to “crowd-surf.”

The Chancellor took a moment to acknowledge Margaret Balcom, retiring editor of the University Gazette. He noted that Balcom is the first former Chair of the Forum to retire from the University. Balcom was editor of the Gazette for fifteen years; she also played a large part of the conception and planning of the Employee Appreciation Fair. The Chancellor was personally grateful for her work on the Chancellor’s Annual Report. The Chancellor led the assembly in granting Balcom a round of applause in appreciation of her work for the University and its Employees.

Regarding the University’s budget, the Chancellor ventured that he was rather optimistic. To the extent that he could say, Chancellor Hooker thought the University would emerge from the Senate with a better budget than that which emerged from the Governor’s Office.

The Chancellor was acutely concerned about compensation issues. “We focus a lot of attention on faculty compensation issues because that is the best argument that can be made when we are talking about achieving our objective of being recognized as the nation’s top public university. And those are the comparative data that are compelling.

But as you understand and I understand, we cannot be truly great unless we are competitive with respect to all salaries and that includes state Employees as well as EPA [non-faculty]. We are working very hard, lobbying behind the scenes to advantage ourselves as well as we can in respect to all salaries. And even there I can say that my reading of the tea leaves gives me cause for optimism.

“Now, obviously, how we come out in the Senate is one thing, and how we come out of the House and the joint conference committee is another. But again, to the extent that my intuitions are serving me well, I think even with respect to the House and conference committee we will do well. So I’m optimistic about the budget.

“Now, it’s early in the game. Though things will be moving faster this year, we are told, than in the past and that may very well be the case. And I may have to come before you a little bit abashed next month and tell you, `Well my optimism was premature.'” He did not think he would need to do that, however.

The University has requested a 6% pay raise for faculty and staff, and money for technical improvements. The Chancellor felt the need for the latter is almost insatiable given how far behind the curve the University has fallen. The Chancellor suspected that UNC-Chapel Hill is the only major university that hasn’t wired all its residence halls with fiber-optic cable for access to the Internet.

Chancellor Hooker felt universal access to the web is absolutely crucial for current and future education. University administrators are finding that students who now are applying for admission are very sophisticated in the questions they ask about network access. This development is the wave of the future and cannot be avoided.

Also, the University has asked for support for renovating the House Undergraduate Library to bring it technologically up-to-date. The Library was constructed in 1968 and still contains only a few personal computers for students’ use. The Chancellor felt that there is a recognition in the Senate of the importance of this project to the quality of education at Carolina, and support for the renovation.

This year’s capital budget, it seems, will be very modest relative to past capital budgets so there is a bit more anxiety about the capital budget than the operating budget. Yet, again, the Chancellor was optimistic about both.

Chancellor Hooker noted there are five dean searches under way at the University. The School of Medicine dean search is complete; the University has made an offer to a candidate that will require confirmation by the Board of Governors next month. The Chancellor could not reveal this person’s name until the offer has been confirmed by the Board.

That evening, Chancellor Hooker would interview one of the finalists for the Dean of Public Health. This search, he said, obviously is moving to conclusion.

The search for the Dean of Arts and Sciences is down to about ten finalists and six of these finalists will visit Chapel Hill for on-campus interviews. He was pleased that this process is moving along fairly rapidly now.

The University has appointed a search committee for the Dean of the Business School. The committee will be chaired by Paul Rizzo, the former dean of the School. Susan Palmer, Director of Corporate Relations in the School is the staff representative on that committee. The Chancellor hoped that this search will move quickly, although he had been trying to identify candidates and had not met with the early success anticipated. The entire process may take more time than first imagined.

In the search for a new Dean of the School of Education, the University made an offer to the search committee’s first choice but the offer was turned down. The University has made a second offer to that candidate, so this search is inching along. If the committee’s choice turns the University down a second time the committee will probably move further back in the process and begin again.

The University is also searching for a Vice Chancellor for Administration and has experienced a couple of failures there because of an inability to offer compensation levels commensurate with market rates. Three candidates for this position are currently up for evaluation but the University is uncertain if it can meet general salary expectations for the position. Administrative salaries at the University are subject to caps set by the Board of Governors.. This is a structural hurdle in hiring top administrators that most competing institutions can circumvent or avoid but that the University can do little about.

The University is also now interviewing candidates for the Chief Information Officer and this search should be completed fairly soon.

Overall, given the amount of activity, the Chancellor was pleased that most of these searches were moving toward successful conclusion.

The Chancellor offered to answer any questions or respond to queries of any kind from the assembly. As there were no questions, the Chancellor bid his congratulations and thanks to Margaret Balcom, stating that “we will miss you more than we can say.” He thanked her for all the work that she has given to the University over the years. The Forum gave Balcom and the Chancellor a round of applause.

 

Special Presentation

The Chair introduced Bill Graves, Interim Chief Information Officer, to give a special presentation on Information Technology Services. Since Graves had to catch an 11 a.m. flight, he thought that he would need to be brief.

To begin, Graves identified himself as a member of a large service organization, Information Technology Services. In his presentation he would explain the genesis of Information Technology Services and present an idea of the direction higher education is headed given the pressures and opportunities of worldwide technological change.

Graves, supplementing his presentation with a laptop/Internet hookup, recalled the 1996 merger of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), Administrative Data Processing and Telecommunications into Information Technology Services. Before the reorganization, there was some lack of clarity in reporting relationships, as the Office of Information Technology reported eventually to the Provost, while Administrative Data Processing and Telecommunications reported to the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.

Chancellor Hooker and Executive Vice Chancellor Floyd moved to combine these functions as Information Technology Services under a Chief Information Officer who reports to Floyd. To review:

 

What Was:                                   Now Is:                                     
Office of Information Technology            Academic Technologies & Networks            
Telecommunications                                                                      
Administrative Data Processing              Academic Information Services

Graves was happy to note that the Forum’s Vice-Chair, Janet Tysinger, is the Manager of Training within ATN, and the Forum Chair, Bob Schreiner, serves as an Information Technology support person for his department.

The Institute for Academic Technology (IAT) is a separate agency located in Research Triangle Park and serves mainly to aid faculty in using available technology.

Bypassing the subject of “Trends,” Graves moved to approximate Chancellor Hooker’s larger technological vision for the University. Throughout the world there is a great transformation underway that will drastically change the way human beings conduct their affairs. This transformation will take place incrementally, and in some ways will be discontinuous.

Graves posited that the University is departing from a “learned” infrastructure, based primarily around the relation of the teacher, the scholar, and the institution. The “learned” structure is rather inwardly focused on higher education.

In place of the “learned” infrastructure, a “learning” model is emerging, however. The latter model is a much more democratic idea that places the focus of endeavor on the learner and the resources the learner can command, through the Internet.

To extend this point, Graves noted that when Chancellor Hooker speaks of helping grades K-12 assimilate information technology, his focus is on creating a “learning” infrastructure in the classroom. The University will help to build something from which many more people can independently utilize common resources to learn.

Graves thought of this process as a movement toward distributing the efforts of University research and instruction. Most people conceptualize distance learning as when a teacher addresses a camera to students listening at the same time in different locations across the State or nation. However, distributed research, education and service is a bit different. In this conception, people—faculty, students and staff—and resources—library, instructional, and administrative—are spread all across the network, not necessarily all in Chapel Hill. The University can call upon all of these resources combined to create a programs of learning carrying our “brand name.”

Thus, the revolution at hand is within the network itself. The basic idea is that University investments in networking are greatly multiplied by the simultaneous investments that other campuses and businesses throughout the world are making. The University must find new ways to utilize this “sharing” of resources in educating its students.

Having said that, the main thing the University network can contribute is a general increase in access to campus resources, extending the University’s boundaries well beyond the traditional classroom, laboratory and library. Certainly, Graves felt, the University hopes to increase the quality of its student outcomes as pupils learn to access information and administrative services via the network.

However, the University needs to contain institutional costs in the course of implementing this vision. Outside forces pressure the Chancellor and the University to be more accountable and to do more with less. The University cannot continue to spend large amounts of funds on technological improvements on top of everything else; obviously these improvements directly add costs. Administrators must thus use the technology to work smarter, and save funds.

Of course, there needs to be a plan behind the vision. Graves called this an “ecoplan,” similar to an ecosystem in which large numbers of parts and organisms are interrelated in tenuous equilibrium. The University must keep in mind the following goals in attempting to realize its vision for technology:

 

1. First, the University wants to be able to provide communications at any time or place. “We must be able to provide communications to every member of the staff as well as every member of the faculty and student body. We all have to be part of this or it won’t work for the institution as a whole.”

 

2. On the academic side, the University wants to build a global learning infrastructure. This infrastructure would extend access of academic resources to citizens via the Internet, while benefiting the University with the same access to learning resources worldwide.

 

3. The University wants to streamline the way it carries out business. Information Technology Services believes the thoughtful installation of technology can make service organizations more effective. This is a large part of the University agenda, Graves said.

 

4. Applications needed to lead the University towards these goals include email, listservs, the Internet, and products like PointCast (a customizable, continuously updated broadcast-model technology in use on the Internet, providing easy access to relevant shared information).

 

Graves divided these ideas roughly into faculty and administrative concerns. Concerns Graves felt the Forum would deal mainly with included the streamlining University administrative processes and provision of services offered in support of the academic mission, especially student services.

Graves offered another way to conceptualize the network as an administrative necessity, rather than an expensive luxury. He drew a parallel with common use of the telephone: if everyone had to leave their office or home to go to a phone booth every time they wanted to make or receive a phone call, use of that technology would drastically decrease. The phone booth is a safety net for telephone users. Similarly, if every time a user needed to access the network they had to leave what they were doing to go to a computer lab, network use similarly would be limited.

This phenomenon is why the University wants to put a personal computer in everyone’s hands. However, the emphasis is not just to distribute PCs but also to create connections to the network. It is not sufficient just to have these resources on-campus. Graves asked hypothetically how many in the assembly do work at home. University staff have to be able to deliver services while off-campus as well, in order to accommodate the needs of faculty and students.

The University cannot build such an infrastructure from scratch. It will have to work with commercial providers to do that.

Due to time constraints, Graves skipped discussion of financial realities accompanying installation of the network to discuss University priorities: providing universal access to the network (fleshing out the network, providing wiring in the dormitories, etc.); providing appropriate training to users; and installing appropriate communications and business applications in users’ machines.

As an example to demonstrate this latter priority, Graves declared that soon, everyone involved in personnel will be required to access the Human Resources Information Resources System (HRIS). This capsule example assumes everyone in personnel will eventually require a computer, access to the network, relevant applications installed on their machines and the training and confidence to utilize these resources in concert to utilize the HRIS, and, essentially, to carry out their jobs.

Of course, Graves granted that everyone will have to learn how to use these resources, as they are new and/or still in development. “We need to develop good support mechanisms.” Graves summarized questions the Chair had asked him earlier: Could we begin to tailor programs specifically or SPA employees and EPA non-faculty Employees?

Graves responded that: “The answer is yes, but you would not want us to do that in a vacuum because many of the uses of technology have little to do with us. We’re just providing [technological resources] so you can use them, and therefore [departments] have to determine the underlying changes that will take place in their units as a result of using technology. Information Technology Services can’t do that for you, but we can work with you to decide what kind of training is necessary to provide whatever service we can to make that happen. And we’ll be happy to do that and my suggestion, Bob, would be that you and I talk about forming some kind of liaison between our groups and your groups so we begin to do that.”

Graves emphasized that while the Chief Information Officer has primary authority over central information technology services, this person has no authority over departmental programs. It is these other programs that will change as a result of technology and therefore all Information Technology Services can do is help provide the leadership and understanding for of these changes will occur. In the final outcome, “ground-level” changes emergent from technology must be based in the departmental mission and the decisions of Employees in the unit. Graves pledged that his office would work with the Forum in clarifying the dimensions of this relationship.

What, Graves asked, is the strategy for doing all this? He recalled once again the University’s emerging global model of service: while the Chapel Hill campus would continue to serve its resident undergraduate and graduate students, it must also answer to a broader constituency in the distributed learning model—learners on the web.

Locally, Graves mentioned the Information Technology Council and asked of those present how many were members or even knew about the Council. Only the Chair raised his hand. Graves explained that the Council’s organizing principle is to gather lead Information Technology (IT) managers across campus work together on issues such as standards—making sure that equipment departments buy is all mutually compatible. The Council is presently an active group, and is a key contact with faculty and staff, although this contact comes mainly through IT support people.

In making decisions, the Council must also stay “on the same page” as the key administrators at the University. He noted that the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is also a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Council, which was created to replace the old Administrative Council. The CIO is able to plug information technology initiatives into the overarching direction of the University.

Similarly, there is also a student Information Technology Council, as students are a major customer base of Information Technology Services. Students contribute a student technology fee, and just feel that Information Technology Services must be responsive to their wishes and concerns.

Finally, the Information Technology Council has conducted customer focus sessions with its various constituencies to help the group serve the University. Departments have many special needs across the University that demand individualized attention.

Human Resources is a good example of this particularized service. The Human Resources Information System Team has worked to train many Employees in the System’s use. The Team has a very tightly focused mission; other Teams across campus address particular applications and needs in a similar fashion. Graves noted the Council would be similarly open to helping the Forum and other groups develop technological applications accordant with their goals and organizational mission.

Graves took a moment to demonstrate the use of network-based technology as a means to provide new methods for understanding classroom material. His example showed different technological approaches to teaching the Spring movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The technology depicts visually musical concepts of point and counterpoint, key and tempo changes, even poetic inspiration for melodies and themes, all accessed through a point and click interface. Musical passages, down to the note, were accessed and played directly from the laptop’s CD-ROM drive, for ease of use.

Eventually, with Internet II, all content associated with a particular lesson will be streamed through the web (Graves’ demonstration utilized his own Vivaldi compact disc, played through his laptop). All of these innovations will help students understand concepts in different ways. In toto, Graves said, the world of education is changing through technology and those who serve education adapt to these changes.

George Sharp asked, for this change to occur, what percentage of University staff must attain computer literacy? Graves replied that his current estimate is rather rough, but the University plans to be aggressive in putting a PC into the hands of most every member of the faculty, staff and student body. There may certainly be faculty members and staff members who don’t need or don’t want a PC, but when the Council started a headcount it figured around 3,500 staff would need a PC connected to the network. While this is a rough estimate, the Council is using this figure as its initial planning point.

Graves emphasized that the transformation will not work if only faculty or students have PCs on the network. These two need to come together but it is equally important to provide networked PCs to staff, given all the services that they provide. Graves hoped the University could announce some plan for accomplishing this goal fairly soon, but felt it premature to say for certain that it would be done. Obviously, this task will involve large expenditures.

Sharp was concerned that in some departments enjoy widespread computer literacy while in other departments computer use is very low. It seemed him that it would be to the advantage of the university to make very rudimentary computer education courses available and accessible to Employees who want to enroll. Otherwise, he felt, the University could generate an increasing gap between technological haves and have-nots.

Graves felt this was an addressable point and noted once again that Forum Vice-Chair Janet Tysinger heads computer training at the University. Her department provides many valuable short courses which are available and free to all Employees. Graves conceded that the department may not yet reach everyone, but felt that working together Information Technology Services and the Forum could create new patterns and approaches towards reaching these people. However, he agreed that the endeavor will not work unless people who need to learn and want to learn have a chance. In some cases, some people may need to learn whether they want to or not!

Graves was quite certain that the University can move in this direction because the infrastructure is almost in place and people have expressed their willingness to move towards this new paradigm.

Graves noted that Tysinger has been working on in her department is licensing computer-based training, so that an Employee can download a module to learn at home, on their own time. He anticipated that Tysinger could speak in more detail about computer-based training at a later date.

Margaret Balcom asked Graves whether his references to PCs signified exclusively IBM-based machines or any model of personal computer? In other words, did Graves mean to exclude Macintoshes from the University’s new vision?

Graves replied that any kind of volume buying program will probably standardize on IBM-standard PCs. This would not necessarily mean that people who need a Macintosh could not have one, but it is known that one of the compelling reasons for standardizing and thinking in volume terms is that the cost of supporting all the different flavors we now have is financially debilitating. The cost of supporting multiple systems is draining Information Technology Services centrally, as well as in departmental organizations.

Graves observed that most of the time, no two personal computers are alike even from same manufacturer. What the Council would like to do is set a limit of 4-5 brands, unless special circumstances dictate using a special kind of machine. However, the University would like to standardize computers across campus.

George Sharp felt that the University if serious about computer literacy on campus, it needs to make classes available during the day. Furthermore, it should be an accepted practice among supervisors that Employees can take classes during work time, within reason.

Graves agreed. He felt there should be some sort of education campaign to encourage units to free their Employees up to take classes during work time, because classes are available during those times. Yet, again, there are things Information Technology Services can accomplish and those it cannot. However, Information Technology Services would like to work with departments, Employees and the Forum to make classes as accessible to all as much as possible.

Graves thanked the Forum for the chance to speak. The Forum gave him a round of applause. The Chair promised to follow up with Graves’ offer to establish a closer liaison between Information Technology Services and the Forum.

 

Employee Presentations

Vice-Chair Janet Tysinger reported there were no Employee Presentations that month. The Chair noted that there were several unexpected items before the Forum that meeting and asked members’ patience in addressing them.

 

Approval of the Minutes

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 5, 1997 meeting. Jerry Hall made this motion, with George Sharp seconding. There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved.

 

Unfinished Business

The Chair noted a resolution included in the agenda packet to change the Forum’s operating procedure to require a one meeting delay between the introduction and acceptance of “proposals of substance.” He noted this topic was explored to some degree last month and more fully developed by the Executive Committee at its February 18 meeting.

The Chair called for a motion to adopt the resolution. Anne Montgomery made this motion with Betty Jones seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously.

Norm Lowenthal asked if the content of the resolution should be incorporated into the Forum’s Guidelines. The Chair felt that passage of the resolution did not preclude possible amendment of the Guidelines. He noted that the Executive Committee would compile suggested Guidelines changes through the year for consideration by the Forum at a later date.

 

New Business

The Chair requested that the Forum delay consideration of the resolution to confer lifelong Delegate status upon Margaret Balcom to the Announcements section at the end of the meeting. The Forum agreed to delay consideration of the resolution by consensus.

Libby Evans spoke on a proposal to aid staff volunteerism in public schools. She said that the Executive Committee has been considering an idea to better coordinate the use of child involvement leave by Employees within the public school systems.

Evans noted that Employees receive eight paid hours a year to utilize as child involvement leave. She said that while Employees with children necessarily would use this leave to spend with their families, Employees without children could conceivably use these hours in the public schools.

To follow through with the University’s stated mission to extend itself to primary and secondary schools, the Committee thought this idea might be an appropriate way for staff Employees to make a needed contribution. Eight hours a year per Employee, combined in a mass effort, could provide a great benefit to local schools

Yet, when Employees must struggle to find a contact person for their work in the public school, to match themselves with a teacher, and then to find something useful and interesting to do, their involvement leave hours dissipate very quickly.

Evans thought the first step was to find some means of coordinating volunteers with tasks that need doing, in order to make it easier for people to utilize their involvement leave. Evans had spoken with Pam Bailey, volunteer coordinator for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools, and found her very enthusiastic about this proposal.

Evans proposed to invite Bailey to make a special presentation to the May meeting with the approval of the Forum. Following this presentation and through the summer the Forum could coordinate with Bailey to bring Employees into the schools using involvement leave, beginning this August or September.

Evans moved to invite Pam Bailey from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools to make a special presentation in May. She added that if the idea works locally it could later be advocated to other communities. Stephanie Stadler seconded the motion. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously.

 

The Chair noted that several people had presented the idea to create a special Forum insert in the University Gazette for public relations purposes. The Forum could ready the insert for an August or September issue, as a means to drum up interest in the Forum before the annual elections. In previous discussions with Margaret Balcom, the Chair found that other campus organizations have created such inserts, and that the placement fee is within the Forum’s budget (around $500 for one four page insert, reaching approximately 9,000 faculty and staff.)

The Chair requested volunteers to serve on the Task Force to create this insert, and put himself forward as the first volunteer. Libby Evans and Peter Schledorn also signed up as well. The Chair confirmed with Balcom and Mike Hobbs that the Forum would receive help with technical layouts and style editing. The Chair asked that further volunteers contact either him or the Forum Office.

 

Chair’s Report

The Chair reported the Executive Committee would travel to North Carolina Central University for a joint staff council meeting March 12. Representatives from six System universities are scheduled to attend. The Chair asked that members with agenda items for the meeting should contact the Forum Office. He noted that one of the main topics would be the formation of a State-wide System Staff Council, similar to that in place for faculty and staff.

The University Managers’ Association has requested that the Forum handle planning of the Staff Processional on University Day. The Executive Committee has forwarded this request to Recognition and Awards on the advice of past Chair Ann Hamner, who was very involved with this project last year on behalf of the Forum.

The Executive Committee has appointed its liaisons to the Forum’s various Committees. Liaisons serve to coordinate activities and treatment of issues between the Executive Committee, the Forum Committees, and the Forum itself. A list of these liaisons is provided in the packet and follows here:

 

Archie Phillips             Career Development                              
Tommy Brickhouse            Compensation & Benefits                         
Janet Tysinger              Employee Presentations                          
Libby Evans                 Nominating                                      
Stephanie Stadler           Orientation                                     
Joseph Ellison              Personnel Policies                              
Nancy Tannenbaum            Public Affairs                                  
Beverly Williams            Recognition & Awards                            
Rosa Nolen                  University Committee Assignments

The Chair encouraged Committee Chairs and Task Force convenors to examine carefully his memo concerning the revised Open Meetings Law. Members with questions about the Open Meetings Law should contact either University Counsel Susan Ehringhaus or the Forum Office.

In response to multiple requests, the Forum Office has provided a list of Employees by Division to each Delegate and First Alternate within their perspective Division. Members desiring rosters of Employees outside their own Division should contact the Forum Office.

The Chair reminded the Forum that the Executive Committee would be examining proposed Guidelines changes throughout the year. He asked that members study the Guidelines carefully for ambiguity, inconsistency, or areas for possible improvement. The Executive Committee will provide due notice of proposed changes to the Guidelines later in the year, a month in advance of a final vote.

Finally, the Chair noted recent conversations with Chair of the Faculty Jane Brown concerning joint attendance at a Durham Bulls game, possibly including Student Government and the Graduate and Professional Student Federation representatives if they are interested. The Chair was uncertain if there were enough individuals interested in the idea to confirm reservations at game, either in the picnic area (a minimum 50 people at $12-14/person, with all-you-can-eat barbecue) or in a block of seats (minimum 20 people at $5/person). The latter, he said, would be slightly less conducive to widespread socializing. The Forum Assistant passed out sign-up sheets for members and others to indicate their interest.

Members confirmed that this plan would not preclude future, more participatory events, such as the bowling match held last year. The Chair agreed, and hoped that the groups could hold a spring and fall event. George Sharp recalled that bowling had been fun, but that the two groups had been a bit intent on the “challenge” competition. Members joked about several other sports opportunities. It was pointed out that one can drink beer at Durham Bulls games and this might serve as a “social lubricant” between Forum and Faculty.

 

Committee Reports

Libby Evans, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported the group had not yet had reason to meet yet as the majority of its work would come later in the year. However, she noted last month there had been a brief discussion on changing the procedures for electing Forum Officers. She moved that the rules be suspended to allow this discussion to be continued during the Nominating Committee’s report. Peter Schledorn seconded this motion. There was no discussion of the motion, and the motion was approved unanimously.

George Sharp recalled that at the beginning of the discussion last month, he was very interested in hearing others’ reactions to his concerns about the election process. He recalled that there had not been much chance to fully explore these concerns at the last meeting.

Sharp had spoken with Ruth Lewter about his concerns after the February meeting. Though Lewter could not attend the day’s meeting due to commitments with the Departmental Accounting System Task Force, she asked Sharp to read her statement on the process:

 

During the elections for 1997, it became evident to me that there needed to be, at very minimum, a discussion regarding the possible revamping of election guidelines of the Forum. My concerns stemmed from the fact that there didn’t seem to be equal opportunity for candidates who had announced their candidacy prior to election day and those that announced their candidacy the day of the election to have someone speak on their behalf. Case in point… when Peter Schledorn spoke to the Forum on his own behalf, he purposely took less time because he knew that there was someone in the group who also wanted to speak on his behalf. Unfortunately, when I requested permission to “speak on behalf of a candidate,” I was told that was not the way things were done.

 

I realized after the meeting, that there were many possibilities for confusion. First, it didn’t appear that a request had been made for me to speak on behalf of Peter, although Peter nor I were aware that such a request was necessary. Second, it appeared to be assumed that because Peter had announced his candidacy prior to the meeting, that he didn’t need someone to do the equivalent of nominating him. Third, that when I requested permission to speak, no one knew for which candidate I intended to speak. Fourth, that if I had perhaps been more aggressive and stood up when they called on Peter and said what I wanted to say, we would have succeeded in accomplishing our goal. The truth of the matter is that even if I would have had an opportunity to speak, we need to take a close look at the way we handle elections.

 

Because of the significance of Forum elections, I would like to propose the following:

 

1. A special meeting be held prior to the election meeting where the candidates have a chance to speak, new Forum Delagates have a chance to meet the candidates, and all Delagates have a chance to ask questions of the candidates in a structured setting. I propose that this meeting be held no more than one week prior to the elections.

 

2. Each person running for an office be allowed one additional person to speak on their behalf. The person speaking will be allowed to give a nomination speech (for those who have not previously announced their candidacy) or the equivalent (for those who have announced their candidacy prior to the meeting). The speech should not exceed a specified period of time (i.e., 3 minutes). The person running for office will then be allowed to speak on their own behalf for a specified period of time (i.e., 3 minutes). The Nominating Committee Chair will need to be advised prior to the meeting who the person speaking on behalf of the candidate is. This could be done right up until the beginning of the meeting, since it will only require the Nominating Committee Chair to enter a name on an agenda.

 

3. All candidates be allowed one handout or mailing to Forum members. Of course a mailing will afford a candidate a better opportunity to convey his/her message prior to the meeting and will hopefully entice people to announce their candidacy early.

 

4. The actual day of the election, all candidates be given an opportunity to speak on their own behalf for a period not to exceed 2 minutes.

 

In conclusion, I think Forum elections are too important an issue to expect people to walk into a room, see people running for office for the first time for only a few minutes, and then expect them to vote on who will represent them for the next year. It is unfair to the continuing Delegates, especially unfair to the new Delegates, and extremely unfair to the candidates who are willing to make the commitment that being an Officer of the Forum demands.

 

Sharp felt that Lewter’s proposal addressed some of the same concerns he had: 1) allowing all candidates to have another person speak on their behalf prior to the elections, whether or not they have been nominated beforehand; and 2) establishing some mechanism so that Forum members could meet and hear from candidates before the actual election.

Sharp recalled Eddie Capel’s idea to move up the Forum Retreat to sometime before the scheduled election meeting, so that members could become acquainted with candidates at the Retreat. During the Retreat’s scheduled activities, candidates would have the opportunity to identify themselves to the membership. Sharp thought it might be sufficient simply for candidates to identify themselves at the Retreat, which would still be scheduled before the January election meeting. Interested members could pursue informal discussions with these individuals at the Retreat and afterward.

Sharp wondered whether members would be able to attend the special “Meet the Candidates” meeting that Lewter proposed, given difficulties in scheduling time away from work. A special meeting, plus the regularly scheduled January meeting, plus the Retreat, all held in January, could early on try the patience of some supervisors of Forum Delegates.

As another concern, Sharp advocated the use of absentee ballots. He felt that if a person became aware that they would be unable to attend the elections meeting, they should have the opportunity to vote anyway for the candidates of their choice. He felt it appropriate to enact some mechanism to allow absentee ballots, at least for the Forum Office elections.

He summarized his own proposals, adding that they would all be subject to discussion, revision and acceptance by the Forum. First, each candidate should have the right to have two people speak on their behalf, in addition to the candidate’s own speech. Speeches would be subject to time limits.

Second, any UNC Employee Forum Delegate in good standing who knows that they will be unable to attend the Forum meeting designated for the election of Forum Officers may cast an absentee ballot for any of these various offices by contacting the Forum Secretary by no later than 4 p.m. on the day preceding the elections.

Third, the Forum’s Retreat would be held on the second Friday of January. During the morning session of the Retreat Delegates so desiring shall have the opportunity to identify themselves as candidates for a particular Forum Office. The regular Forum meeting for January shall be held on the first Wednesday after the Forum Retreat, at which time elections for Forum Officer would take place. This change in scheduling is proposed to allow Delegates the opportunity to meet candidates and consider their choices before the actual vote occurs.

Sharp asked members to share their opinions of these proposals. Anne Montgomery felt that these ideas were clearly proposals of substance, and required more review than one hearing. She moved that the Executive Committee receive these proposals and invite similar ideas from other Forum members, then prepare and consolidate these proposals as it saw fit for the agenda packet so that members of the group could reach a conclusion based on common information. Joyce Dalgliesh seconded this motion.

Janet Tysinger proposed combining these various ideas into a questionnaire to be distributed to the Forum listserv, as well as exploring other means to sample opinions. Discussion on the listserv could provide additional information and unseen alternatives. Afterward, the Executive Committee could forward these ideas to the Nominating Committee and possibly the Orientation Committee for their consideration.

Peter Schledorn felt it wise to leave open the question of how to administer this information. He believed that the Forum should work first to gather information, and imagined the process of evaluation would demand 3-4 months to complete. Since the deadline for resolving this issue was not until November at the earliest, he did not expect that proposals would need be ready for a vote at the next meeting.

Tommy Brickhouse advanced the concept of a Chair-Elect as a possible Guidelines change. The Chair-Elect would be a first year Delegate who would serve as a Chair “in training” as preparation for assuming leadership in their second year. Establishing the Chair-Elect position would prevent that person from having to render decisions on situations beyond their experience.

Sharp surmised that there were two separate items of consideration: the information-gathering process and the mechanics of the eventual proposals. He praised Tysinger’s idea to solicit more information about this idea, and proposed that the Forum implement Tysinger’s suggestion for a questionnaire. After this information has been compiled, the Executive Committee would submit this data along with whatever proposals individuals have to the appropriate committee. This tack would be in line with Schledorn’s suggestion that the process not move too quickly, since elections are in January.

Montgomery felt that her motion gave the Executive Committee leeway to create recommendations in its due time. The intention of her motion was to invest the Executive Committee with responsibility of developing a set of proposals within a reasonable amount of time. After gathering information, the Executive Committee would provide, in writing, a set of proposals on the election procedure that the Forum could consider.

The Chair agreed that it is important to have materials in the packet for members to consider beforehand, so that members can weigh alternatives. Libby Evans pointed out that under the “waiting period” operating procedure, any proposals submitted in writing in April could only be approved in May. Capel added that deliberate action would follow the Forum’s general charge to study the current Guidelines.

Montgomery accepted Sharp’s friendly amendment that the Executive Committee gather information in any way that it saw fit, including possibly Tysinger’s idea of a questionnaire. As a second, Dalgliesh accepted the friendly amendment also. The Chair asked members to send further ideas to the Forum Office for addition to the Executive Committee’s list.

As there was no further discussion, the Forum voted on Montgomery’s motion, as amended. The motion was approved without opposition. The Chair thanked the group for their constructive input.

 

Delores Jarrell, Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee, reported the group had held a productive meeting that month. The Forum’s Buddy System was felt to be very important to integrating new members into the work of the group, and the Orientation Committee agreed to emphasize its work this year. Incoming Forum Delagates are assigned “buddies,” continuing Forum Delagates, to provide advice and context for the new member as they enter service. As members depart or retire from the Forum in mid-year, Orientation Committee members will step in to serve as the new “buddies” for the promoted First Alternates. Jarrell said that if turnover becomes excessive, the group may need to ask Forum members to carry some of the buddy load.

The Orientation Committee has scheduled the new Delegate Orientation for October 24 in the Toy Lounge of Dey Hall, though there may be some need to change location if the Lounge is still under renovation. The reception for new Delagates will take place at the November 5 Forum meeting.

Finally, the Committee has reserved the Friday Center for January 16, 1998 for the Forum Retreat. Contracts have been signed regarding the Retreat, but cancellations without penalty may take place up to 30 days before the event. Jarrell noted that a shift in the date of Forum Retreat may be difficult to accomplish, and may require movement to another site. The group has begun to examine programming ideas, and Jarrell asked members to submit their suggestions to her, Betty Geer, or Co-Chair Joyce Dalgliesh. The group has invited Dr. Chuck Stone to be the Retreat’s keynote speaker. The Committee will meet again on March 19.

Peter Schledorn, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, said the group was preparing to enter discussions with Human Resources regarding the compensatory time proposal last discussed in February. Also, the Committee has learned that a grievance procedure bill may be introduced in the General Assembly very similar to the deleterious bill defeated last year.

As far as the Committee’s goals for the year, Schledorn said these were relatively undefined as much of the group’s work is in response to Employee concerns or legislative initiatives, though it planned to continue work on several ongoing issues. One goal the group has is to work more closely with different groups on campus, including the two SEANC districts, in order to utilize economies of scale in sharing information and lightening the research load on the Committee. Possibly, the Committee could establish some joint proposals.

Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, noted the group had met with Bob Gage, the Director of Benefits in Human Resources, to discuss benefits available to University Employees. Brickhouse had been informed that there is a technical change in the content of the Committee’s report. The Committee would submit a revised version of its minutes at the next meeting.

Concerning goals for the year, Brickhouse said the Committee was still in the process of developing these, but would continue researching the history of Employee benefits and compensation at the University. This research would be digested into a form comprehensible by the average person.

Brickhouse met with Kay Wijnberg February 20, and learned of the broad range of research SEANC has done on Employee benefits. SEANC has prioritized around twenty issues for more extensive research; the Committee will concentrate on around 3-4 in order to bring Employees up to date on these items of discussion. He thanked Wijnberg and SEANC for carrying on such research on behalf of University Employees.

Anne Montgomery, Co-Chair of the Public Affairs Committee, directed members to the group’s minutes on the back table. She was proud that the Committee had added some additional members to the group: Paula Hinton, Gerry Lawrence and Tom Sullivan. All of these members are Forum Alternates, and Montgomery was pleased to welcome them to the Committee.

Montgomery and Ruth Lewter have agreed to Co-Chair the Public Affairs Committee, and have begun to gather information on the history of the group. Montgomery asked how many of those present had ever visited the Legislature. (A middling number raised their hands.) Montgomery said one goal of the Committee was to encourage every Forum member to visit the Legislature, as a State Employee and private citizen. An opportunity to visit the General Assembly will take place Thursday, April 24 during SEANC’s Legislative Day. Montgomery distributed fliers describing the event, and invited Employees to call Ruth Lewter at 6-5291 in order to purchase tickets. Montgomery emphasized that SEANC’s Legislative Day does not count as work time.

Nancy Klatt, Co-Chair of the Recognition and Awards Committee, reported the group had not met that month, but would meet March 19, at 1 p.m., in Room 210 on 440 West Franklin Street. Topics to be discussed will include retirement certificates and the University Day Staff Processional.

Tommy Nixon, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, said the group had met and begun to consider ways of obtaining staff Employee appointment on all staff-relevant committees on campus. Nixon announced that George Sharp, a member of the Career Development Committee, has agreed to serve as the ex-officio member of the New Careers Training Program Board.

Ray Dubose, Chair of the Chancellor’s Award Committee, has requested that the Forum nominate a Delegate to replace Marshall Wade on that Committee. Dubose has requested this be a first-year Delegate and a member of a minority, in order to maintain the balance of diversity on the Committee. Nixon recalled that he served with Delores Jarrell on this Committee last year and both hugely enjoyed the experience. The Committee meets once annually, for around two hours, to evaluate packets of nominations for the Award. Milton Anthony and Bettye Jones volunteered to serve on this Committee, and the Forum Office agreed to pass on these names to Dubose for the Committee’s selection.

As a supplement to Nixon’s report, Anne Montgomery noted that the search committee for the Dean of the School of Business now contains a staff member, though it did not originally. She had written Chancellor Hooker directly to note the absence of a staff member on the search committee and was happy he had responded so positively. She did not know if her letter had been the impetus for the appointment, but was encouraged that sometimes things work.

Nixon asked for a show of hands asking how many males had children aged 10 years old or less. (A few people raised their hands.) Andi Sobbe of the Development Office is seeking an Employee, preferably male, to serve as a liaison between the Child Care Advisory Board and the Victory Village Board of Directors. The Advisory Board meets every other month, while the Victory Village Board meets the third Tuesday of every month. Nixon felt this to be an important position. Libby Evans asked if this person was required to be a Forum Delegate, and Nixon said they did not, as long as they were SPA or EPA non-faculty. Nixon encouraged members or other Employees interested in this appointment to contact Sobbe at 2-2546 in the Development Office.

Norm Loewenthal, Chair of the Career Development Committee, noted the group had a complete set of minutes on its recent meeting in the agenda packet. The group spent its time developing goals for the year and reviewing the recommendations of last year’s Committee. Also, the group discussed a number of prospective projects with the Office of Human Resources, including the establishment of a Career Counselor Training Coordinator. Loewenthal encouraged members to consult the Committee’s minutes and contact him or another member of the group with any questions.

Janet Tysinger, Chair of the Employee Presentations Committee, directed members to the group’s minutes on the back table. The Committee had a very productive discussion about the upcoming Spring Community Meeting. The Committee decided to tackle two different topics in the Meeting: privatization, in order to address rumors still circulating and causing people pain, and parking and safety, as there is a continuing concern among Employees about both of these issues.

The Committee has secured tentative commitments from Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest of Human Resources and Chief Don Gold of Public Safety to help with programming the Community Meeting. The Committee hopes to set a date of Wednesday, June 11 for the event.

Janet Tysinger noted that the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force had not met yet but hoped to meet by the end of March in order to choose a convenor, among other items.

Peter Schledorn, Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Domestic Partner Benefits, had nothing to report. The Chair asked volunteers to serve as Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs to contact after him after the meeting. (Alternate Tom Sullivan volunteered to serve as this Liaison after the meeting.)

Margaret Balcom, Liaison to the Committee on Long-Range Land Use Planning, reported that group had disbanded, but encouraged the Forum to keep its eyes peeled for a possible resurrection at some unforeseen date.

 

Janet Tysinger, Liaison to the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, moved to suspend the rules in order to allow Chief Don Gold of Public Safety to address the Forum. Gold will be meeting with the Board of Trustees this month to deliver ordinance changes and had asked to speak briefly with the Forum on this topic. The Chair added that this item had arisen rather suddenly and so there had been little chance for advance notice. Steve Jones seconded Tysinger’s motion. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved without opposition.

Gold began by thanking the Forum for the chance to speak. He understood that he did not have a great deal of time to cover a large amount of material. He anticipated there would be a number of questions from the group, and noted his staff was present to help address these concerns.

Public Safety had put together a document describing the ordinance changes. Having led two campus departments, he noted that quite often information has gone before the Board of Trustees before Employees have even had a chance to mull it over, consider it, or even gain a basic knowledge. Gold said: “I want to assure you that that is certainly not my style. I propose that, if [this organization is willing, I plan] to come back on a much more regular basis to discuss things along a broad continuum within Public Safety.”

Gold was excited about the number of activities taking place within Public Safety. He said these will markedly improve the services that the Division provides University Employees. However, these initiatives could not succeed without the help of Employees and the Forum; “part of my presentation today is to ask you in advance for that help and, again, to promise to you that I will come back to you with much more detail on this so that we can begin the work that I think is necessary to address some of these issues.

“We will be recommending to the Board of Trustees a 3 percent fee increase and I know that that is a very troubling issue for many people, myself included. I am a long-term Employee of this University and will remain that way. However, in the short time that I have had to assess the department and the budget in particular, one of the things that has jumped out at me is that we have got to do a much better job of managing our capital project needs and capital improvements within Transportation and Parking.

“We have structures that we are responsible for, that you use, that are in pretty bad shape, folks. Any of you who work in Health Affairs area know what I’m talking about. These decks are in dire need of assistance. We need to do a better job of earmarking funds for those improvements. If we do not we will be back before you in a very short period of time asking for what I believe are, in most people’s eyes, unreasonable requests, larger requests. Something that nobody wants to really talk about or consider.

“I also do not want to lead you to believe that any increase that we ask for is necessarily tied to a specific project. It is not. It is tied to the entire parking system, which has to support itself. It is doing that, but the demands on the system are increasing. The demands on us are increasing to find parking for you.”

Gold referred the assembly to the 1996 Edition of The Ordinance Regulating Traffic and Parking on the Campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with four accompanying attachments, which he and his staff distributed during the meeting. The first attachment contained a “Summary of Ordinance Changes” that the department will ask the Board of Trustees to consider. These changes were mainly technical, Gold said. More innovative proposals in Transportation and Parking and Public Safety will be advanced at a future date and Gold did not want to pre-empt these proposals.

One of most significant problems recently has been Employees’ difficulty finding spaces in the S4 parking area. One change Public Safety will request of the Board is the latitude, when operational needs arise, to enact needed changes in enforcement hours.

As a public university, any number of people can use parking facilities during non-enforcement hours. However, for people on flextime who come to work early, these people can cause a problem in by filling up specific lots, for example the S4 lot. Now, there are other issues in the S4 that the University must address, Gold said, but this problem among the most pressing.

Gold paused to allow members the chance to read attachments providing background on parking fee increases. Attachment 2 detailed a recent history of rate increases in prime lots at the University. Gold pointed out that only one rate increase (1993/94) had been enacted since 1991/92. He emphasized that Public Safety takes pains to make reasonable, measured requests so as not to overburden Employee resources. The Department has tried to be cognizant of Employees’ limited budgets in determining its requests.

Attachment 3 contained an overview of some of the issues that led Public Safety to request the 3% permit fee increase. There are some capital projects that are ongoing, including the Health Affairs 2 deck. Gold knew that many people were interested in the progress of the deck. Gold hoped that construction of the Health Affairs 2 deck would begin in the spring, and would provide more information during his prospective special presentation to the Forum in April.

Gold reminded the Forum that the revenue gained from permits makes up 35% of Transportation and Parking’s operating budget. He felt it vital that these funds be managed carefully. Gold stated that for now the Department is not looking beyond this year in terms of future fee increase requests. In the coming months, Public Safety will endeavor to develop a more comprehensive long-range plan to anticipate transportation and parking needs at the University.

Attachment 4 detailed parking fee increases by lot, so that Employees can determine how the increase will affect them personally. Gold asked that Forum members share this information with their co-workers, as it is important to provide information to Employees about the services provided from these funds, particularly when fee requests are being discussed.

Gold noted the many contributions that the Department of Public Safety makes to the University, from services provided by Transportation and Parking to law enforcement to many other endeavors. A problem the Department has faced is that many people do not realize the scope of these contributions. Gold pledged to work to get the word out to Employees about services his Department provides, as well as proposed changes.

To conclude, Gold recalled a general philosophy of management: no individual cannot manage a system alone, since no one is smart enough to know everything that occurs at once. Thus, good managers must ask themselves how they can best administer a system, whatever it is. One necessary ingredient is managing through people; not just those on staff, but also through the people one represents. Gold said that the Forum, as the representative body of staff Employees at the University, is representative of a good portion of the people that Public Safety serves.

Gold recalled the long history of transportation and parking issues at UNC-Chapel Hill. To come to task with these long-standing concerns, he proposed creation of a Task Force made up not only of Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee members but expanding this group to include as many as 20-30 people. Gold would ask the Forum to supply nominees to this Task Force. He hoped that the Task Force could conduct an organizational meeting soon.

Public Safety plans to hire a consultant to focus goals for the Task Force. Gold proposed that the consultant work with Public Safety through this summer to research items of interest for the Task Force, while in the fall educating the Task Force on broader issues and concerns. Then, the group would roll up its sleeves and finally make some recommendations to address not only the short-term problems that we have, but the long-term problems as well.

Gold felt that long-term planning was the most significant problem the Department faced in transportation & parking. The University is being pressured annually to stretch resources. If these resources are not expanded, or some long-term approach found, the Department will simply react to the most immediate needs in University parking. Gold felt such a delay in planning is unfair to everyone connected with the University’s transportation and parking system, and extends the misery of those dealing with these concerns.

As the “new guy,” Gold wished to tackle all these problems with immediate urgency, while he still has the energy and the momentum to do so.

The Chair noted that Gold had asked to address the Forum in a special presentation in April, and said that members may wish to delay questions until them, if they choose. Stephanie Stadler asked if the parking fee pricing structure was related to distance from the office. Gold replied that this item had been dealt with in brief before, and emphasized that all transportation issues will be “up for grabs” in the coming weeks—from allocation to the transit system to fee pricing to anything that Employees can think of related to transportation and parking will be within the scope of the Task Force. So, Gold hoped that Stadler’s question would be addressed the forthcoming group.

George Sharp asked if the Task Force’s mandate is to secure a broad-based cross-section of University staff and other parties, in order to have an in-depth analysis of all issues and assumptions governing parking on campus. Gold felt this mandate would extend to the major issues facing the University.

Gold felt that Public Safety had obtained a great amount of information about the issues of most concern through campus focus group sessions. He hoped that Forum members had received a chance to provide feedback through these groups. As a result of these sessions, Public Safety will send a survey out—hopefully before March 15th—from a broader cross-section of campus. In this way, members of the Task Force will not be left on their own to discover issues of concern and instead will know to some degree what are the issues of most concern to the University community.

Peter Schledorn raised a question about a proposed change in ordinance 3-14 on page 23-4 of The Ordinance Regulating Traffic and Parking on the Campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The change reads: “addition of statement to indicate that it is unlawful for non-disabled affiliated individuals to display a disability plate, permit or disabled veteran license plate in order to park in disability spaces.”

Schledorn felt this change could create problems for family members of disabled persons parking in these spaces to pick up their disabled family member from work. He proposed that the ordinance include some sort of intent clause. Schledorn imagined that Public Safety will seek to avoid the phenomenon of family members borrowing disabled permits for general use. However, he thought it a good idea for Public Safety to consider adding an exemption for use of these spaces for generally legitimate purposes.

Cheryl Stout reported that Public Safety does not cite disabled space violations indiscriminately; rather, citations are usually in response to a serious violation or complaints. Schledorn was happy to hear this was Public Safety’s approach to the problem.

Janet Tysinger moved that Don Gold be invited back to the Forum to give a special presentation containing a more in-depth discussion of these issues at the April 2 meeting. Peter Schledorn seconded this motion. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously. The Chair thanked Gold and the Forum for their willingness to take time to address these concerns.

 

Outsourcing Steering Team representative Bennie Griffin reported the group had a brief meeting on Monday, March 3. The Team reviewed a draft that will soon be sent out from Chancellor Hooker updating the University community on the outsourcing study. The Team does this as another way to dispel myths about the outsourcing evaluation process.

Also, the Team looked at a draft of language that the University will use to protect Employees in case a function is outsourced. It was noted at that meeting that NC State had slowed progress because — no pun intended — they were ahead of the pack in conducting evaluations. The Team felt also that it might be good for the University to be more deliberate in its evaluation of studied functions. In light of this sentiment, Facilities Management will look to hire a consultant on these issues.

The Outsourcing Steering Team has an address on the UNC Web Page, located at http://www.unc.edu/news/newsserv/outsourcing/ under the “News of the Day.” This page contains fact sheets, rosters of various subcommittees, General Administration Directives, Gazette Articles, Outsourcing Criteria, and the Employee Forum’s Resolution on the process.

 

 

Human Resources Update

Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Laurie Charest indicated she had a rather short presentation to make. She noted that the brochure of the Career Development Task Force describing Employee educational opportunities has gone to print. These brochures should be available shortly. Also, Human Resources handed out at the meeting a draft of the workplace violence policy for members’ review and comments.

Members had no questions for Charest, and the Chair thanked her for her report.

 

Announcements/Questions

It was noted that Jerry Hall had volunteered his services in providing Point-to-Point service to members and others after the meeting. Should his van become full, he would utilize his direct connection with the Point-to-Point office to secure other vans for members in need. Members in need were encouraged to find Hall after the meeting. The Chair thanked Hall for his hospitable offer.

The Chair noted with some sadness that Margaret Balcom had recently retired from the University. Balcom is the first among the five Forum Chairs to retire from the University. Members have arranged a small ceremony to honor Balcom at her retirement for her service to the University Gazette, the Forum, and the University itself.

Each of the past Forum Chairs were asked to make a brief statement recalling some memory or statement to evoke Balcom’s fine spirit. Kay Wijnberg (Forum Chair 1993) began by wishing the Forum and Margaret good morning. She recalled the qualities of Balcom’s friendship, a friendship that has allowed its beneficiaries to stretch, grow and experiment with the talents we possess. Wijnberg read a poem in her honor:

 

M is for the Many times she’s helped us

A is for the Advocate she’s been

R is for the Richness of her spirit

G is for the Gazette, her pride and joy

A is for Astute, she misses little

R is for the Rosy cheeks, when Riled

E is for her Extra special wisdom, and

T is for her Tenacious, Tender style.

 

Put these altogether they spell Margaret,

Our friend and colleague, forever.

 

Wijnberg thanked Balcom for her service, and knew that she would remain a friend to this campus, even posted on the Pacific coast.

Rachel Windham (Forum Chair 1995) rose to the podium, said she felt comfortable before the group and thanked the Forum for the continuing good work done for the Employees on this campus. Windham recalled being in a room with 437 women artists who were being honored for their work. She felt the power of women in that room and the contributions they make every day. She felt very good about the entire experience until one speaker revealed her discomfort with public speaking and her prayer beforehand: “Lord, if you let me get through this speech, I promise I’ll keep my kitchen clean.”

Windham knew that working women pray for other things: to get memos written, to get budget revisions done, to complete performance evaluations, to prepare presentations on time, to even, sometimes, to gain a lunch hour. These women’s objects of prayer are very different than those of the artist speaker, because work consumes so many of their hours that a “kitchen-cleaning” prayer would be a wasted one. Sometimes, Windham said, the spirit is willing but the body is weak.

Yet, working women must make these prayers, and pray also to get the kids fed and to get the house clean. Margaret Balcom must pray also to get the house sold, to get the suitcases packed, and to get the yard sale behind her. She is moving on to a world of freedom and options, and her fellow workers are happy that she will be able to do this. Yet, we are sad that she will no longer be beside us on the University team. Balcom has prayed to get her interviews done, her articles written, her Gazette out the door on time. She has done this unfailingly, with style, grace and perseverance that Employees draw upon every day to do the best work we can for the University. We will miss Margaret: the knowledge her work provides; the astute advice that keeps us out of trouble; and the strong voice on behalf of the University’s workers. Windham wished Balcom the best of her new career as a lady of leisure, yet cautioned that when we visit in Southern California, we will expect her to keep her kitchen clean.

Ann Hamner (Forum Chair 1996) gave her personal thanks to Balcom for not retiring during her term as Forum Chair. She found that she could gauge the progress of a meeting by making eye contact with Balcom in the “Amen Corner.” Hamner could tell from the expression on Balcom’s face whether she needed to back up, stop, straighten out a motion, or take other action while running the monthly meeting. Hamner knew she was in big trouble when Margaret began to pass the yellow sticky notes to Eddie Capel in the middle of the meeting in order to raise a point.

Hamner thanked Balcom for her friendship, her support of the Forum and her wonderful work for the University and the Gazette. Members gave each of the past Chairs a warm round of applause.

The Chair noted that Jane Brown, Chair of the Faculty, had hoped to be present to make a presentation on behalf of the faculty, but had been unable to attend due to a conflict. The Chair thought that Brown would contact Balcom regarding this presentation sometime after the meeting.

Mike Hobbs, interim editor and previously assistant editor of the University Gazette, rose to say a few words. Balcom blurted out jokingly that she could still fire Hobbs, as she was technically on vacation. Hobbs noted that a great number of people wished to make some statement of thanks to Balcom for her years of kind service. He and Libby Evans struck upon the idea at around the same time of soliciting anecdotes from these people for publication in a special issue of the University Gazette, entitled Margaret’s Gazette. Hobbs presented this issue to Balcom and distributed copies to the Forum as well (those who would like a copy should contact the Forum Office at 962-3779).

The Chair called for a motion to adopt the resolution honoring Margaret Balcom. Anne Montgomery made this motion, with Janet Tysinger seconding. This motion was approved by acclamation. The Chair presented Balcom with a framed copy of the resolution, which installed her as a lifelong Delegate of the Forum. The resolution read:

 

A Resolution Honoring Margaret Plumb Balcom, Editor of the University Gazette and 1994 Employee Forum Chair, Upon Her Retirement

 

 

RESOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYEE FORUM

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL

March 5, 1997

 

WHEREAS, the Mission of the Employee Forum is to address constructively the concerns of the Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and

 

WHEREAS, these concerns include the recognition of individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to the University community, so as to encourage similar achievement among the remainder of the community’s members; and

 

WHEREAS, an individual among us has distinguished herself by extraordinary resolution and high devotion to duty to the University and its workers; and

 

WHEREAS, this individual has created and maintained a tradition of clear communication, attention to detail and gracious good humor in her tenure as Editor of the University Gazette; and

 

WHEREAS, during this stewardship, this individual has persistently advanced the standing and interest of staff Employees at this University, through example and practice; and

 

WHEREAS, this individual has served among us with high distinction as the second Chair of this very Forum, and has extended herself to provide, without fail, invaluable perspective, background, and advice to the Forum’s members and leadership, as well as to the Faculty, Students, Staff, and Administration of this University

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Employee Forum extends its heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to Margaret as she enters her retirement;

 

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Employee Forum hereby confers lifelong honorary Delegate status upon Margaret Plumb Balcom, along with an open invitation to attend and participate in future deliberations of this body.

 

The assembly gave Balcom a standing ovation, and asked that she speak.

 

Margaret Balcom’s (1994 Forum Chair) speech to the Forum, upon her retirement:

“Thank you. I never miss an opportunity to speak, I don’t think. Most of you know I am really shy. You doubt that, but I am. I am the quietest one, I have four brothers and sisters, and I’m the quietest one in my family, so you can imagine what it’s like at our house.

“My last day was Friday and it was great. I have been cleaning up, moving out. I did take early retirement. Even though I have been here 29 years, I spent 9 of those years out of the retirement system working 3/4 and 7/8 time so I could be home more with my son. And it was a decision I didn’t take lightly, but I felt needed to be done…

“I am leaving. But even though I’m leaving, doesn’t mean I’m not going to be looking at you and hoping that you all will take the time and effort to know more about your University, to understand its policies and rules and then to make good suggestions to keep the administration on its toes, because as I think I said at the orientation session, that if you don’t like something that’s being done, chances are its your fault—because you haven’t stood up, you haven’t spoken, you haven’t tried to find out the reasons why.

“So, I guess if that’s some legacy I’d like to leave with you all, it is that you don’t remain silent, that you speak up, that you find the answers because things are not always the way you think. When you find out the reasons behind [a situation], there usually is a good reason. Sometimes not. But if there isn’t a good reason, now is your chance to find out why and to work with the administration to find out the reasons and to help formulate new policies that will work for you and for your fellow Employees.

“So I guess I’m saying, ‘Hey, if I’ve done anything take that to heart. Read your Gazette, because I know Mike will continue it as well as I did. Study your policies, know them and move ahead. Don’t be silent participants in anything.’ And I thank you for all the kind words, my fellow people, and when they retire, I won’t promise I’ll come back, but I’ll certainly send some thing to the Forum Office to be read in their behalf. And all of you that are anticipating retirement soon, there is a large core of university employees that will be leaving within the next couple of years for a variety of reasons. They will be missed and I will miss all of you. Thank you.”

The Forum gave Balcom a warm standing ovation, in appreciation for her wise words and years of service.

 

In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Cheryl Stout so moved, seconded by Tommy Nixon. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:28 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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