May 4, 2005
Agenda — May 4, 2005
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
IV. Special Presentations
V. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VI. Chair’s Report (Tommy Griffin) & Committee Reports
- Orientation: Meredith Clason
- Personnel Issues: David Brannigan
- University Assignments: Tom Arnel
- Career Development: Leon Hamlett
- Communications: Brian White
- Forum Newsletter
- Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards: Debbie Galvin
- Employee Presentations: Ernie Patterson
- Nominating: Patti Prentice
- Forum Elections
VII. Minutes of the April 6 meeting delayed
VIII. Old Business
IX. New Business
X. Stretch Time
XI. Employee Presentations
XII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
XIII. Announcements/Questions/”Around the Room”
May 4, 2005 Forum meeting minutes
Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. He welcomed Gary Moss of the University Gazette as well as Laurie Mesibov of the University ombuds office, among other guests.
The Chair said that the normal agenda for the Forum had changed somewhat to allow more time to discuss proposed Guidelines changes. He asked members to sign in via the Forum sign-in sheet.
The Chair noted that the UNC System President search committee will hold a community meeting from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, May 5 in the School of Government conference room. The Chair also reminded members about the Provost/Vice Chancellor meeting to take place Thursday from 10-11 a.m. in 305 South Building. The Chair then invited Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to make her customary Human Resources update.
Charest noted that the News & Observer had reported the Senate had issued its budget proposal late Thursday night. She qualified her remakrs by saying that she had not read the bill itself, rather the newspaper’s report about the bill.
According to the News & Observer, the Senate will provide State employees a 2% salary increase with a minimum of $500 going to employees earning less than $25,000 a year. Also, the Senate would raise the minimum full-time State salary to $20,112. Charest did not know what the Senate had recommended regarding health insurance but she would pass these figures onto the Forum via email.
Last Saturday, Human Resources had hosted the banquet for the University’s 20-year society, which inducted seventy-three new members reaching that figure of State service. Additionally, the banquet welcomed Employees holding up to 45 years of State service.
The campus will hold its annual blood drive June 7 in the Smith Center. The University’s blood drive is the largest single day drive on the east coast and last year collected one thousand usable pints in one day. Advertisements for the drive kicked off yesterday. The drive is arranged and run by volunteers. Charest encouraged Employees to volunteer their time for the event as organizers or donors.
Notably, the University recently received the Red Cross’ award of merit, given to one university a year for activities collecting blood.
Charest reminded listeners that a family support counselor is available to Employees Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons in the conference room of the Administrative Office Building off Airport Road. This counselor is available to advise faculty, staff and students about child care programs and subsidies. She asked the Forum to help spread the word about this resource.
Additionally, Human Resources will publish in its late May Helping Heels newsletter a list of local child and elder care providers. Employees who want to be listed as caregivers or potential providers should contact Human Resources Services.
This week is State Employee appreciation week. The University has planned its major Employee appreciation events for the week of October 10. A planning committee has selected a health and wellness focus for the week.
The University has implemented a new on-call policy that will go into effect May 30. This new policy will expand on-call status to a number of new SPA positions and will increase the pay rate for on-call status. In addition, the University has installed a compensatory time option that Employees may take in lieu of pay. The on-call rate will increase to $3 an hour for selected positions and $2 an hour generally. A copy of the policy is available on the Human Resources website.
Performance appraisals of SPA Employees are due soon. Charest reminded listeners that all supervisors will now have as a principal function their support of professional development for their charges. Supervisors will not receive a rating for this function until next year. This new requirement grew out of the recommendations from the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace.
The health care task force continued its work by holding two campus community meetings to talk about the status of the pilot program. Approximately one hundred Employees attended the first meeting and forty attended the second. However, there were many very good questions raised at the meetings. Charest noted that comments about the proposal were overwhelmingly positive. The House and the Senate have both introduced bills supporting the proposal but the House has not taken action on the bill as of yet. Much will depend on the next couple of weeks’ deliberations.
Rebecca Ashburn confirmed that supervisors responsible for supporting the development of their Employees will be rated on their support, starting next year.
Ellen Stark Hill recommended that the University conduct important community meetings like those about the health care proposal on separate weeks to avoid times when Employees are out of town or otherwise preoccupied with pressing projects. Charest agreed with this idea but noted that the health plan task force had constraints which led it to hold both meetings within the space of two days. Additionally, the meetings were held on the last week of classes and the second was held from 3:30-5 p.m. on a Friday, a very difficult time to attract attendees. Human Resources faced additional difficulties obtaining access to large rooms that week because of classes. The meetings had to occur that week before faculty left for their summer break.
Bradley Bone asked if Charest could estimate the projected increases for medical insurance family coverage. Charest said that the State plan needed $363 million to keep the plan funded, approximately $80 million this year and $100 million next year. The Senate proposal would meet these figures by mandating a 10% increase in rates and weakened benefits. More funding would reduce these increases and less would result in increases as high as 18%. Her best guess was that family coverage would see a 10% increase in rates.
Katherine Graves asked if Charest had yet met the new State health plan director. Charest said that Kitty McCollum and Leslie Winner had met the new director last Friday.
Keith Fogleman asked if legislators had measured the 2% salary increase against the 10% family insurance increase. He felt frustrated with the general inequality between the two figures.
The Chair encouraged members to mail postcards to their legislators expressing their feelings about the State health plan increases. Fogleman felt skeptical that the postcards would make much difference if they did not notice the original discrepancy.
The Chair took a moment to welcome new ombudsperson Wayne Blair, along with Human Resources generalists Naomi Bullock, Connie Boyce, Lori Allison and Amy Crantz, along with Human Resources policy administrator Chris Chiron.
The Chair encouraged members who planned to be absent for work duties or who were sick during a Forum meeting to contact Forum Secretary Patty Prentice or Forum Assistant Matt Banks either before or after the meeting in question.
The Chair reported that the Executive Committee had met to arrange the agenda and go over Guidelines revision proposals. The Chair was encouraged by the turnout at the April Provost/Vice Chancellor meeting and he hoped to see the same numbers in May. The Chair had worked with the Carolina Center for Public Service on their various award programs. He noted that the Center had sent a group of students and staff to Nash County to repair some of the flood damage from last year.
The Chair had participated in a video conference with the fifteen other UNC System campuses. The group discussed the ongoing work on a system-wide staff assembly, the pilot health program, the postcard drive and other concerns.
Chuck Brink, vice chair of the Personnel Issues committee, reported that a subcommittee would meet Tuesday, May 10 in the Forum Office. Brink said that the group would discuss supervisory best practices among other matters. The Chair noted that the committee had been very busy and he thanked the group for all of its recent work.
Tom Arnel, chair of the University Assignments committee, said that the group had delayed its meeting until the end of this month. However, with the help of Brian Whitling, the committee had sent out letters thanking Employees who volunteered to serve on University committees.
Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, said that group would work on its newsletter for this month. Employees interested in submitting articles should have their material in by May 18. The committee had also begun plans for the summer’s University Gazette insert. White would speak with editor Gary Moss about Gazette deadlines and other concerns. Finally, the committee has been charged to go over Forum resolutions for grammar and spelling.
Debra Galvin, chair of the Community Affairs, Recognition & Awards committee, reported the group had continued with processing Shining Heels award nominations.
Ernie Patterson, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said that the group planned a series of meetings and hoped to have John Edwards speak at a community meeting this fall. The committee hoped to host a postcard writing and signing party somewhere off-campus this next coming week. All Employees are invited to contact Patterson if they are interested in working on the postcard project.
Patty Prentice, chair of the Nominating committee, said that she would meet briefly with that group following the Forum meeting. She noted that the proposed Forum Guidelines revisions would do away with the classification of Forum alternates and increase the number of Forum delegates from approximately 45 to 60.
The Chair noted that the April minutes had been delayed.
The Chair moved to a consideration of the proposed Guidelines changes. He noted that the Executive Committee had voted to recommend that the Forum do away with the classification of Forum alternates and to increase the number of Forum delegates to 60 from approximately 45. Chuck Brink asked what the Forum would do if a delegate steps down and needs to be replaced. The Chair said that the Forum would ask losing candidates from that division if they wished to replace the outgoing delegate. If none of these Employees were willing to serve, the Forum would consult with the division’s current delegates and ask them to recommend Employees for service. Ellen Stark Hill asked what was the point of eliminating the alternate position and increasing the number of delegates when the Forum had only 33 delegates present today. The Chair said that each division has at least one alternate. Converting those nine alternates into delegates would increase the total number of delegates to approximately 60.
Katherine Graves recalled that as Nominating committee chair, she had found it difficult to interest Employees in serving a alternates who would not have a vote in Forum proceedings. She wished that Forum alternates currently present could vote during discussions.
Jackie Kylander asked the rationale of increasing the number of delegates and removing the alternate classification. She said that alternates should temporarily replace absent delegates and use their voting privileges then. Graves outlined the proportional representation of delegates by division. Ernie Patterson said the purpose of the change is to give all members a chance to vote. He said that the Forum would follow a structured process to select replacements delegates that the Chair had described earlier.
Having been a first and second alternate, Brian White said that he was sometimes uncertain as to whether he should vote during Forum discussions. He said the question still arises as to whether an alternate should vote and some alternates are confused. Kylander said that it should be the responsibility of the replaced delegate to tell the Forum alternate that they will have the right to vote. White said that alternates sometimes show up anyway, which adds to the confusion.
Bob Lesser confirmed that currently, only first alternates receive work time to attend Forum meetings. He said that he could not take two hours to attend monthly meetings out of vacation or personal time. It was noted that other alternates can ask their supervisors to have this time count as work time also. The Guidelines refer to University, not departmental policy.
Bradley Bone asked if the Chancellor had ever exercised the power to appoint Forum delegates. The Chair said that to his knowledge he had not, but he said that the Chair had several times appointed delegates to fill vacant positions in divisions which were lacking their full complement of members.
Jeanne Hiesel thought that the Guidelines did not leave enough time for the Nominating committee to complete the annual delegate elections. She thought that the committee needed more than two weeks, given the problems with balloting in previous years. She proposed that the Forum add another week to the time between mailing out the ballots and cutting off returns. Kylander asked the need to have six weeks between the solicitation of candidates and the mailing of ballots to Employees. Patterson thought it a good idea to move the mailing of ballots back to August 15 from August 24. Sarah Causey asked if the extra week for counting ballots was truly necessary. Graves said that most ballots arrive back during the first week, but a number still trickle in towards the end of the deadline. She said that the committee has not strictly observed the deadline date.
Patty Prentice noted that the Nominating committee must contact each candidate offering to run to insure their willingness to run and the permission of their supervisor. She said that once the committee had confirmed the willingness of all standing candidates, it then mailed out ballots to Employees. Graves said that phoning each prospective candidate presented the most time-intensive part of the process. Hiesel said that confusion about the election had led to many ballots either being thrown away or coming in after the deadline last year. Patterson suggested adding a month in September to the ballot deadline, but the Chair said that the Forum needed time to count ballots and to notify elected delegates through letters from the Chancellor’s Office.
Kylander suggested that the Forum ask nominated candidates to sign a form saying that they had consulted with their supervisors, were aware of the responsibilities of Forum delegates and were willing to serve. This form would do away with much of the calling problems that plague the Nominating committee. She added that the form could hold a place for supervisors’ signatures as well. Chuck Brink proposed that the Forum not include these changes in its Guidelines but rather leave these instead for the Forum Nominating committee’s rules. The Forum agreed that nominations of candidates should go out by August 24.
Brink asked if delegates missing meetings can give proxy votes to other delegates under the current Guidelines. The Chair said that absentee ballots are available for Forum officer elections, but there is no provision currently for proxy votes on other topics.
The Chair emphasized the Guidelines provision stating that all Forum committees must take minutes and submit them to the Forum Office.
Cathy Rogers confirmed that delegates changing divisions due to promotion or other eventualities do not have to resign from the Forum under current Guidelines. The Chair said that delegates changing jobs stay in their current electoral division but will serve in their new electoral division in subsequent elections. The Chair asked delegates who change their contact information to communicate this fact to the Forum Secretary and the Forum Office.
Chuck Brink thought that the Forum Chair should be charged to make reports and notes from meetings with high-level administrative officials. The Chair said that he typically shares this information during his monthly Chair’s Report. The Chair said that he posts minutes from all of the University committee meetings that are not typically already on-line. Brink asked about meetings with the chancellor and other University officials. Kylander agreed that the Chair should produce a written summary of what transpired in these informal meetings as a formal requirement of the position. The Chair cautioned that one can overload the cart of duties on the position of Forum Chair. Kylander said that the request was not a personal slight against the Chair but rather a needed responsibility of the position. Marshall Dietz asked how much documentation the Chair would have to provide with this new requirement.
Chuck Brink moved that the Forum include the sentence requiring the Chair to produce reports on informal meetings with high-level administrative officials, seconded by Sarah Causey. The motion to include the sentence was defeated by majority vote with one abstention.
The Chair noted that the Guidelines proposed revisions include a provision for a new Forum Treasurer to oversee administration of Forum finances with the Forum Assistant.
Patterson noted another proposal to extend Executive Committee membership to all other Forum committee chairs. Members made several grammatical changes to the Forum Guidelines revisions.
Kylander asked why the Forum Nominating committee was responsible to call all Forum delegates to insure that they will vote for Forum officers at the December meetings. She thought that delegates should already be aware of this responsibility as elected delegates.
A delegate proposed that absentee ballots for Forum officers go to the Forum Office as well as to the Forum Secretary.
Ernie Patterson moved that the Forum accept the proposed Guidelines revisions as amended. Estzer Karvazy??? Said that she did not understand why the Forum needed to add to the number of Forum delegates. Patty Prentice seconded Patterson’s motion. Twenty-four delegates voted in favor of adopting the Guidelines revisions, one delegate voted against and two delegates abstained. The motion was approved. The Chair thanked the Forum for its time and patience in working through this process
Ernie Patterson offered to host a postcard signing party off campus a week from Thursday. He hoped to send postcards to every legislator. Sarah Causey offered to help with the signing effort and to contribute to postage and other expenses. Patterson thanked Causey and others for their contributions and noted that the Legislature might be in session until October given current projections. He also noted that at least twelve other UNC System campuses have begun their own postcard drives this spring.
Chuck Brink asked that Patterson send him a list of legislators to post on different shop bulletin boards. Members discussed possible dates for a signing party in the next week.
The Chair noted that the University ombuds office had already posted for an administrative support position. He told ombudspeople Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov that the Forum would work to support the office in any way possible.
The Chair reminded members of the Forum’s customary Provost/Vice Chancellor meeting to take place from 10-11 a.m. in 305 South Building and the UNC System President advisory meeting to take place from 2-4 p.m. in the School of Government auditorium, both on Thursday, May 5.
Keith Fogleman said that he had been very outspoken recently because people in his shop had asked him to ask questions as their representative. He planned to continue to do that, but he did not mean to offend anyone by this act. The Chair wanted other delegates to follow Fogleman’s model, and he said that no question was wrong. He said that it was worth the time to make sure these questions are answered. Fogleman said that he wanted to fulfill his duties as a representative in the best way possible.
The Chair hoped the Forum could invite the new director of the State health plan to attend a future meeting as well as Senator John Edwards. Sarah Causey urged delegates to be courteous and professional when responding to guest speakers. She said that the Forum had not been courteous in some instances and she said that she would resign if this behavior continued. The Chair reiterated Causey’s point that delegates must be considerate of guest speakers and conduct themselves with professionalism.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:32 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary