May 7, 1997
Agenda — May 7, 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
* Pam Bailey—Volunteer Coordinator for Chapel Hill/Carrboro Public Schools, on Volunteer Opportunities for Staff Employees
* Drake Maynard—Director of Human Resources Administration, on Proposed Violence in the Workplace Policy
V. Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger
* Jerel Bonner, for University Toastmasters
VI. Approval of Minutes of the April 2, 1997 meeting
VII. Unfinished Business
* Discussion: Selection Process for Parking Task Force Members
* Discussion: Material for Forum University Gazette Insert
VIII. New Business
* Motion to Limit Membership on firstname.lastname@example.org to Current Delagates Only (Executive Committee Motion)
* Invitation to Troy Green, Executive Director of SEANC, to Give Special Presentation to Forum (First Reading)
* Invitation to Molly Broad, President-Elect of University System, to Give January Special Presentation or Spring Community Meeting Talk (First Reading)
IX. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Bob Schreiner
* Joint Staff Council Meeting May 29 at UNC-Greensboro
* Executive Committee Meeting with Elson Floyd, Roger Patterson Regarding University Financial Issues
* Response from Bob Gage, University Benefits, in Regards to “Unanswered Questions” from October 9, 1996 Community Meeting
* Executive Committee Commitment to Further Meetings with Division 2 Employees, Representatives
* Executive Committee Suggestions to Forum Officer Election Process Task Force
* Flow Chart Depicting Waiting Period Requirement for “Proposals of Substance”
* Change in Forum Stationery; Change in Listserv Address to email@example.com
* Durham Bulls Game May 10
* Invitations to Senator Kinnaird, Representative Insko to Address Future Meeting of Forum, as Requested in Forum’s December 1996 Resolution
* Letter of Welcome to University System President-Elect Molly Broad
* Delores Jarrell to Retire from University; Connie (Dean) McPherson Promoted from Division 9
* Chancellor’s Request that Chair Serve on Search Committee for New Athletic Director
* Forum Guidelines Revisions
X. Committee/Task Force Reports: Goals for the Year
* Nominating—Libby Evans
* Orientation—Joyce Dalgleish/Jeffery Beam
* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn
=> Exempt Employees Work Schedule (Comp Time) Discussions
* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse
* Public Affairs—Ruth Lewter/Anne Montgomery
* Recognition and Awards— Laura Grady/Nancy Klatt
* University Committee Assignments—Anne Montgomery/Tommy Nixon
=> Chancellor’s Award Committee Successor
=> Nomination Form for Long-Range Parking & Transportation Task Force
* Career Development—Norm Loewenthal
=> Response from Elson Floyd Regarding Employee Education Recommendations
=> Continuing Studies Fall 1997 Courses
* Employee Presentations—Janet Tysinger
=> Spring Community Meeting Arrangements: June 11, 121 Hanes Hall 9-10:30 a.m.
* Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force
=> Employee Appreciation Fair May 16; Schedule of Workers
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs—Tom Sullivan
* 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
May 7, 1997
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Ann Hamner “
” = Ex-Officio
Call to Order and Welcome to Guests
Chair Bob Schreiner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m., asking members to sign in and to examine the routing file as it was passed around the room. He noted the placards advertising the May 16 Employee Appreciation Fair and the June 11 Spring Community Meeting, and encouraged members to attend both events. Also, he noted that Libby Evans had bought a card congratulating Delores Jarrell on her retirement from the University for meeting attendees to sign. Connie Dean McPherson, who was recently married and on her honeymoon during the May meeting, will replace Jarrell.
The Chair welcomed Chancellor Michael Hooker to give opening remarks.
After greeting the Forum, Chancellor Hooker described the budget discussions in the NC General Assembly. He wished he had more encouraging news from the Legislature regarding salaries, but was generally pleased with prospects for the University’s operating budget based on news from the Senate. Last year the Legislature made strong commitments to the University operating budget that will help bring the campus forward on the technology curve. He said that he was most concerned that the University was behind the curve of other universities in this area. He said he would be very pleased if the University could gain a similar commitment to technological improvements from the House.
Hooker said he would also be pleased if the House sent forward a better salary budget for SPA Employees than the Senate has recommended. He thought that the University community is fortunate that inflation is as low as it is, given the 3% cost of living increase recommended by the Senate. He was hesitant to complain about the salary budget because the Senate’s first priority was to provide pay raises for public school teachers requested by the Governor. Hooker agreed that improving the quality of the public schools is of vital importance.
Hooker has asked Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to address other legislative actions having an impact on University Employees.
Hooker summarized the status of current university search processes. He noted the University had cancelled its search for the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. This action was a result of a commitment to limit the size of the senior administration wherever possible, and Hooker was pleased that Provost Dick Richardson had cancelled this search.
The Chief Information Officer search is still ongoing. A number of candidates have been interviewed two more are scheduled. Hooker thought this process was moving along without any great difficulty.
The Vice Chancellor for Administration search is also continuing. Hooker noted that the University had failed to attract a number of quality candidates because the salary cap for this position established by the Board of Governors is substantially below industry averages for higher education. Hooker recalled that the salary cap was set at approximately $150,000, and the last candidate offered the position made $235,000 in a similar post at a private institution. This difference illustrates the difficulties the University faces in filling similar high-level positions with candidates who meet the University’s quality criteria.
Hooker noted that John Swofford has become Commissioner of the Athletic Coast Conference, so the University has begun a search for a new Athletic Director. Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd is chairing this search committee. The Administration hopes to complete this search quickly so that someone is appointed when Swofford officially departs on July 15. Floyd had told the Chancellor that is was likely an appointment would be made by that date.
The search for the Dean of the School of Public Health ended recently with candidates identified for the University to recommend to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors. Hooker reminded listeners that appointments are subject to approval by the two Boards and thus he could not yet make a formal announcement regarding the new dean.
The Dean of Arts & Sciences search is underway, and Hooker has received a recommendation of three finalists for the position from the search committee. He was meeting with these candidates and expected to make an offer very soon.
The Dean of the School of Business search has also gotten underway, chaired by former Dean Paul Rizzo. Hooker understood that this position is attracting an exceptionally good field of candidates, though he had not seen the final list.
The Dean of the School of Education search has been open for a long while. The first choice for the position was forced to turn down the offer for personal reasons, though this person’s personal situation has changed so that she may be able to consider the job. However, the search committee decided in the interests of the School that it could not wait on one candidate. Thus, the committee has renewed an open search with the understanding that the previously discussed candidate would be included in the search.
Finally, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Relations search has run into difficulties because of the salary expected by candidates from the private sector. Hooker has met a number of candidates but was uncertain when this search would be completed.
Hooker noted the exceptional quality of the new Dean of the School of Medicine. He was confident that the quality of the incoming Dean of Public Health would be similarly promising. The appointment of two world-class and very visible leaders in the emerging fields of health to head these two schools augurs well for the Division of Health Affairs. Hooker thought that these appointments would put the University in front of the curve of change in health care.
Hooker noted that academic health centers are under siege these days due to the changing character of reimbursements from the federal government for Medicare and Medicaid. Congressional cuts will challenge the mission of academic health centers which have historically relied on these federal programs’ support. He thought the new deans were well-positioned to deal with this new financial environment.
As it was the end of the semester, Hooker pronounced it a very good year for Carolina. With regard to the topic of most concern to him upon arrival, repositioning the University to deal with the new role that information technology will have within higher education, these changes are underway and have been warmly embraced by the faculty for use in pedagogy, distance learning, research and similar matters. Staff Employees have been similarly forthcoming. Hooker could not imagine the process of technological change going better than it has gone, and felt that the University will be able to maintain its position of leadership into the 21st century.
Hooker thanked the Forum and University Employees in general for their contributions to this sanguinity. He appreciated the quality of work done, the pride Employees take in the University, and the role Employees play in making the University strong.
Hooker offered to field questions from the assembly. The Chair asked about the appointment of former Student Body president Aaron Nelson as a special assistant. Hooker replied that he had asked Nelson to serve as an administrative intern in the Chancellor’s Office. This is a practice that many chancellors across the country follow to provide a closer and more frequent point of contact between students and administrators. Such appointees generally have expressed an interest in higher education administration, and appreciate the chance to observe it first-hand before departing for graduate or professional school. This position provides an opportunity for more intimate and frequent linkages with students than a chancellor typically has which should in turn serve the goal of making Carolina the best institution in the country for undergraduate education. It should be possible to increase the quality and quantity of interaction between undergraduate students and the Chancellor’s Office using an intern like Nelson who brings special qualities of his own to the position. Hooker recalled that the University had made similar appointments during the time he was an undergraduate.
The Chair thanked Hooker for his remarks.
The Chair introduced Pam Bailey, Volunteer Coordinator from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Public Schools, to make a special presentation on Employee volunteer opportunities. He thanked Libby Evans for arranging this presentation.
Bailey thanked the Forum for asking her to speak, and said the school system was excited about the prospects of an emerging partnership with University Employees. She noted the national attention and hoopla attached to the Presidential Summit on Volunteerism, and volunteerism in general. However, long before the summit, North Carolina and the University have examined the topic of volunteerism and how citizens can serve the community.
Bailey spoke of a surge of University interest in volunteerism. This interest has resulted in the A.P.P.L.E.S. service learning program that now has a full-time employee coordinating with professors to infuse service learning within the campus curriculum. The Public Service Roundtable, initiated by faculty and staff, has met to explore how University community members can establish an infrastructure to better serve North Carolina. Bailey was proud to be a part of this group, excited about its recommendations and anxious to see these recommendations carried out. Branches of Americorps have been popping up on campus as well. Bailey noted that the Chancellor had also established a mandate for the University community to search for new ways to serve more effectively the towns, cities and counties of North Carolina.
Towards this end, the University has a provision allowing Employees eight hours of paid child involvement leave per year to work in the schools. Delegate Nancy Atwater has long been a good volunteer for many years with the Mission for Excellence program within Chapel Hill/Carrboro public schools and has used child involvement leave to aid these efforts.
Bailey invited Forum Delegates and University Employees to join Atwater and others in putting this leave to good use in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools. She noted that the Forum hoped to expand this formal partnership to the surrounding city and county school systems where many Employees live and work, though Employees can choose whichever system they prefer to volunteer.
(Child involvement leave is intended to promote Employee involvement in the education of children through the high school level and to promote Employee assistance in the schools. Employees can use this leave in any applicable school; this is not limited to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools. Requests must be submitted to one’s supervisor for approval. Consult Section XI of the Human Resources Manual for SPA Employees then call Human Resources Administration 962-3894 with further questions.)
The Presidential Summit on America’s Future was not defined strictly a volunteer summit, Bailey said, but rather a general examination of the future of our nation’s children. President Clinton identified five resources that children need to succeed. These are:
1. Ongoing relationships with a caring adult.
2. Safe places and structured activities for after-school hours.
3. A healthy start and a healthy future.
4. Marketable skills.
5. Opportunities for service.
Bailey concluded that most University Employees work towards providing these resources for kids every day of their working lives. Child involvement leave and volunteer arrangements give Employees a chance to use their personal time to further serve as one of these resources for children.
In addition to child involvement leave, Employees have a provision for volunteer service which allows Employees to work with their supervisor to establish a flexible schedule to facilitate these activities during the workweek. This volunteer leave is not paid leave.
Bailey had been asked to provide a way for Employees to utilize more effectively their child involvement leave and other volunteer time. Given the aforementioned resources, Bailey outlined opportunities for Employee involvement with schoolchildren, using the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school system as a guide.
Employees can develop ongoing relationships with students. In the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Schools, the Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocates program is the most intense volunteer opportunity the system has on offer. It is a highly structured program with enormous support given to those taking on this role. Each volunteer works with a student two hours a week, year-round, for a two-year commitment to one child. The program involves children just ending their fourth grade year, and the district has just identified ten more students for enrollment. Enrolled students’ time in the program extends until the student graduates from high school, and these students will always have the benefit of a mentor.
Mentors accept a two-year commitment, though they can add on extra years as they wish. An incentive for students to continue with the program is the prospect of a college scholarship upon completion. These students must graduate and be accepted into a college or university in order to obtain this grant. Bailey said the Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools were lucky to have this strong program. She invited Employees to participate.
With regard to the second resource identified by President Clinton—structured after-school opportunities—the Chapel Hill/Carrboro district has been fortunate to provide such programs in every school, from elementary to high school. University Employees can work in these programs if they like to play with children and help with their homework; activities are free-flowing.
Bailey noted Libby Evans’ wonderful idea that University students, faculty and staff to open their labs and offices to give pupils a look at the campus working world. Evans also has suggested creating a “petting zoo” for computer parts. Evans recalled that Academic Technologies & Networks have dismantled old computers for parts, adding tags so students can see what makes computers work (without destroying a new one). The main task is to find a set of parts that can easily be transferred from school to school, and producing supplementary information.
Bailey said Evans’ idea was a great one that teachers had never thought of before. She emphasized that volunteer coordinators were intent on exploring viable ideas for student learning and adult volunteerism. All the same, volunteer suggestions and activities are aimed at meeting real and meaningful needs within the public schools.
The third resource–healthy starts and healthy futures—represents a large area for Employee involvement. The system conducts health training, an activity that takes a great amount of time and could use Employee involvement. Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools conduct a number of community clinics in which Employees can help out. Bailey recalled that Health Sciences students maintain the Shack clinic, donating their time to do physicals and dental checks. Employees can help here also.
Many children are interested in improving their marketable skills in such areas as general science, research, and law enforcement. Giving children a chance to shadow Employees in their jobs creates a wonderful example and incentive for advancement.
Bailey was very pleased that the President had chosen to emphasize children’s own opportunities for service to their community. No one can just be on the receiving end of service and feel good about themselves; people need an opportunity to give back what they have received. Giving back to the community lets children know they have something of value to society and promotes their sense of self-worth. She urged Employees to look in their offices and communities and take children along as they carry on their own volunteer service.
Often, the problems in society and in our schools seem so great that one’s individual effort seems to make little difference. Fortunately, researchers have developed concrete data detailing the benefits volunteers really accomplish. A study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters shows that children matched with a mentor for eighteen months in a structured, highly developed program with careful selection and supervision, initial drug use was cut by 46%, and initial alcohol use cut by 70%. These children were statistically less likely to skip school, and their school attendance consequently rose. Bailey emphasized that individuals can make these benefits happen, right here and now in our local schools.
The Corporation for National Service has examined tutoring, asking what benefit 30 minutes a week provides children. In fact, tutoring 30 minutes once a week in fact does not provide much benefit to a child, but 30-60 minutes twice a week does make a difference in academic performance. Bailey thought that almost everyone knows or has benefited from similar inspirational mentors. Anyone can be a mentor to a child.
Bailey said that these programs work only because they are well structured, and organizers know what to ask of volunteers to make them effective. Often people fear volunteering will be a waste of time—Bailey urged those who feel they wasted their time in a program to leave and find a better one. There is not, she said, a volunteer to waste.
How does one find a volunteer opportunity that will be a good use of time? First, know your own skills, interests, passions and availability, all of which play into finding the right opportunity.
Deli Garcia, a respiratory therapist at UNC Hospitals, is a native Spanish-speaking volunteer who has worked a day a week working with the county’s growing Hispanic population. Many of these children are not in school due to migratory work and other reasons.. Bailey hoped that Garcia’s work would begin to bridge a gap between these Hispanic families and the school system.
These immigrants face many logistical problems in participating in their children’s education. Schools say they cannot hold effective parent-teacher conferences because the teachers cannot speak Spanish. Often parents do not have effective transportation to visit the schools. The Board of Education’s central office has set up a special workstation for Garcia to call parents, arrange transportation and interpret during conferences with teachers and social workers. Garcia diligently works to make a real link for these children between school and home; this is something that Garcia believes in that fills a real need in our schools and makes a big difference.
Bailey encouraged Employees to shop around and look for a well-managed volunteer program. The telling sign of an organized program is the use of job descriptions. Bailey said: “if they don’t tell you what they want you to do, when they want you to be there, and what kind of skills you should have to do it, look somewhere else.”
Another important sign is the provision of training. While many volunteer activities do not require specialized training, some do. If a person is thinking about becoming a mentor, they should look for a program with training in mentoring. Mentoring is very hard work, and mentors need training and ongoing support. Prospective tutors should have access to a teacher to help decide whom the volunteer will work with, what will be taught, and how the volunteer will know they are reaching their goals. Volunteers should be able to rely on support personnel to receive advice on issues they will face in the course of their work.
Bailey urged volunteers to expect respect. Volunteers should not be used just to fill in the holes. Volunteers should seek an organization that views their work as an integral part of that agency’s mission. This is how volunteers are viewed within the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools; volunteers are welcomed as part of the team.
Most importantly, Bailey urged Employees to put their volunteer time into something they feel makes a difference. She recalled that in the aftermath natural disasters like Hurricane Fran, the volunteer spirit is common and everyone is eager to help. However, children today face their own disasters of illiteracy, poverty and neglect; they are in real need and are at-risk. Volunteering to prevent this disaster must be a continuous effort to be effective.
Bailey said this was the reason for her appearance before the Forum, to seek new partners to help create a sustained, positive impact in children’s lives. Although eight hours of paid leave may not seem like a lot of time, it is significant when used with the flexibility that Employees can utilize through volunteer services. Such commitments may seem like a lot of work, but go more smoothly when shared with a friend. In tandem, Employees can provide intensive tutoring to a pupil twice a week, making a real impact in that child’s life.
Bailey quoted Margaret Mead who once said: “never doubt a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only way it ever has.” Our challenge now is to sustain the energy of the presidential summit and the good work University leaders have already done. Once again, on the behalf of all the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school children, Bailey expressed pleasure at having the opportunity to enter into partnership with the Forum and University Employees.
Bailey offered to field any questions from the Forum. Janet Tysinger asked if Employees should contact Bailey directly. She answered that Employees could contact her at 967-8211, extension 281. She emphasized that the school system has nine different training programs for volunteers, with one to fit every need. For example, one program teaches tutoring skills for beginning reading, another to tutor children in algebra.
Evans proposed that the Forum convene a group of Employees and others to publicize the opportunities available. This effort would allow Employees to plan their use of child involvement leave and the volunteer provision when the new school year begins in September. She wondered if the Forum would be willing to address this possibility.
Eddie Capel stated that his wife is a teacher at Estes Hills, and so he had some idea of the problems and lack of resources that public school teachers face on a daily basis. He thought it would be helpful if Bailey could provide the Forum with some more good ideas about how Employees can help in their local school systems, not just in Chapel Hill/Carrboro system but wherever Employees live and raise their kids. He asked if Bailey could provide the Forum a typical list of requests teachers make of the Volunteer Coordinator’s office.
Capel thought that people may have a tendency not to volunteer if the request is too general. He thought efforts more successful when requests are specific, for instance asking people to take a Saturday to help put up playground equipment or to help students learn about computers. Capel said he would be more willing to volunteer if he could match a specific, identified need with his particular talents at a school, as opposed to calling the volunteer office declaring his availability.
Bailey responded that this suggestion followed how the program was organized, with three different branches: the mentor advocate program (described earlier), responses to individual teacher requests, and the nine training programs mentioned earlier. She had described the Mentor Advocate program earlier on.
Teachers requesting volunteer help submit a form to the volunteer office requesting assistance with a wide variety of tasks, from helping with yard maintenance to providing piano accompaniment for chorus class to working every day in after-school programs. When someone calls to volunteer, Bailey asks the person to visit her office to examine a book of requests to find a task fitting their needs, interests and availability.
Plans are developing to place a similar list online in September, organized by task and time commitment. Employees will thus be able to access the list on the Web to discover what work is needed in the schools on a particular day.
The third branch of district volunteer work is composed of the nine training programs alluded to briefly earlier in the presentation. Each of these programs represents a need that is common throughout the district. For example, every elementary school has requested volunteers to help teach beginning reading. This task becomes a pre-described role that volunteers can assume.
So, prospective volunteers visiting Bailey’s office can obtain a list of specific activities. Capel added that his wife, being a teacher, really enjoys having volunteers in the classroom to help reading recovery and to describe work life. Capel thought that there many opportunities for Employees to become involved in the schools, even if they do not feel they have a particular skill to show off. Teachers really can use the help of an outside presentation or another person to interact with the children. Bailey was glad that Capel brought up this point. Children get excited when people visit, especially when their “special volunteer” has come to work.
Jeffery Beam asked that Bailey make certain to provide the Forum with the address of the volunteer web site. Bailey replied that she would, and noted that some UNC students have volunteered to set up the program’s web page. Evans added that insuring wide distribution of this list is something that the Forum’s proposed task force could work on. Bailey encouraged Employees to call her office at 967-8211, extension 281 even if the information has not yet been posted to the web.
Nancy Tannenbaum thought it important for students to see and hear an adult volunteering in their classroom, and thought that many Delegates may have memories of a particular volunteer in their classrooms. Bailey felt this was the reason that many volunteer, because they have memories of a particular adult helping them along in their churches or schools.
Bailey thanked the Forum for the opportunity to speak.
Violence in the Workplace Policy: Drake Maynard
The Chair introduced Director of Human Resources Administration Drake Maynard to speak on the proposed violence in the workplace policy. Maynard recalled that the last version of the policy has been distributed to members of the Forum in the recent agenda packet. He would touch briefly on aspects of the policy then field questions.
This proposal is the last bit of the great policy initiative begun two years ago by the Office of State Personnel. The University had hoped to put this policy into effect somewhat sooner, but other events interceded. The purpose of the policy is to make it clear that violence is not tolerated in the university workplace.
This policy for the first time explicitly states the concept that prohibited acts, as defined by the policy, are considered to be unacceptable conduct which can result in discipline up to and including dismissal. Thus, there is no longer opportunity or reasonable basis for offending Employees to say they did not know that discipline would result performing from the proscribed acts.
The policy covers a broad population, including everyone working at the University, not just SPA Employees. The policy prohibits workplace violence as defined at the very beginning of the document under “Definitions.” It requires the University to do several things in this area, the most of important of which is to provide training and information to Employees about this policy and how to deal with and prevent workplace violence. Finally, upon approval, Human Resources will be required to submit regular reports to the Office of State Personnel about activity under the policy.
Maynard offered to answer any questions or respond to comments, since the policy is not in its final form. The next step will be to forward the proposed policy to the Executive Council to obtain its approval, making it an official policy of the University.
Stephanie Stadler wondered if there were a rationale to explain why no representative of Human Resources or staff was appointed to the crisis management team. As written, the policy includes representatives from the student body and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, but did not include a representative of the Forum, for example. Maynard replied that this team was not created from scratch; an existing committee was co-opted to serve as the crisis management team. Laurie Charest said she had been added to this team in the aftermath of the crimes committed in June. She did not consider it a plumb job, since team members will be expected to return to campus to determine how to deal with such situations. Charest thought the team did not really want to ask staff Employees to serve on the team, given expected problems with overtime and other work-related concerns. (Crisis management team participants generally will be assembled on campus when a violence-related incident occurs, be it day or night, weekend or holiday.)
Tommy Brickhouse asked who would conduct the described training, and would this training be provided on-site for supervisors. Maynard said that the training would be conducted by the Human Resources Counseling Service with possibility of assistance from other branches of Human Resources. Training can be done on-site or in the Service’s training offices on Airport Road. The Counseling Service will work to supervisors’ requirements and needs in scheduling. Maynard thought that training would also occur in various areas in north, central and south campus. He said Human Resources would offer to do training for individual work units and departments as well.
Libby Evans had a question about the definition of a weapon. At one point in the proposal, a weapon is defined as any object used to attack or intimidate another person. However, the document later states that all weapons including firearms, etc. are prohibited. Evans thought these statements could lead one to believe that a person carrying a gun not used to attack or intimidate was acceptable under the policy. Maynard said this was not the case as weapons are prohibited with certain exceptions, described on page 2 of the policy. Guns are prohibited altogether on campus, independent of this policy.
Evans then asked about the possibility of items mentioned in the policy that some Employees use to carry out their jobs, such as pocket knives, screwdrivers, etc. Charest responded that these items were not prohibited as long as they are used in the manner intended. There is a chance that a pocketknife could be used as a weapon, but a brick is not a weapon until it is thrown or wielded in anger. Evans thought that the statement “all weapons are prohibited” seemed to have similar emphasis as the statement “all firearms are prohibited,” and could be misinterpreted. Evans thought these passages could be worded more clearly. Charest said that the University certainly would not fire an Employee for bringing a pocketknife to work.
Peter Schledorn asked if a regulation or policy that lists prohibited weapons, such as knives or swords, exists. Charest thought the law should provide a reasonable definition of a prohibited weapon. Schledorn thought bringing this law could be explicitly incorporated into the proposed policy. Charest replied that the policy prohibits certain actions not prohibited by the law, such as using a screwdriver as a weapon. Schledorn thought this prohibition referred not to an object but to an action.
Maynard stated that an object does not become a weapon unless it is used to attack or intimidate another Employee. This provision allows Employees who need pocketknives or screwdrivers or chainsaws or loose bricks to use these in the context of their work. However, if an Employee uses these items to attack another person, the objects become a weapon.
Ken Litowsky proposed a further distinction between those things created specifically to hurt people and those things used apart from their primary purpose to hurt people. One does not carry a weapon designed for combat for work purposes. Litowsky proposed this distinction as a useful way to differentiate the weapon as object from the weapon resultant from malicious action. Capel pointed out that an automobile can be considered a weapon if used maliciously.
Joseph Ellison asked if this policy would be communicated to temporary employees before these workers are assigned to University offices, or would supervisors be responsible for communicating the policy each time a temporary is brought on board. Maynard thought one way to deal with this problem is to make the violence policy part of the orientation process carried out by Tar Heel Temps. Departments using temporaries from other agencies assume the responsibility to communicate this policy to the temporary employee. Temporary employees are covered under this policy.
Peter Schledorn thought that the definition of “threat” under the policy seemed a bit vague. Maynard replied that the definition has been “vagued up” during its numerous revisions, in response to concerns that people may be falsely or unjustly accused of communicating threats. This concern was the source of the last sentence in the “threat” definition that deals with the totality of circumstances surrounding an incident, providing a means for a reasonable third party to arrive at a rational conclusion based on the entire set of circumstances.
Schledorn thought that this response brought up the question of intent. He advised more clarification of what constitutes a credible intent to harm as opposed to simply “blowing off steam.” Apparently the same action could be considered a threat under one set of circumstances and not under another. Schledorn thought a focus on intent would establish a more understandable rule.
Schledorn asked who would make the final determination of what constitutes workplace violence in the more difficult cases. Maynard replied that these questions would go to the same people who make decisions on similar issues in the workplace; it is management’s responsibility to work with this policy and make the final decision as to whether a particular incident represents violence and, if so, what measures should be taken. Schledorn inferred that the person deciding could be the recipient’s supervisor. Maynard said that the person deciding would be someone in a managerial role in that work environment. Schledorn asked if the person affected would have the grievance procedure to rely on if not satisfied with the manager’s decision. Maynard said this was correct.
Schledorn asked, as a final question, what the time frame is for approval of the policy. Maynard said that Human Resources plans to submit the proposal to the Executive Committee as soon as possible in May with the expectation that the policy will become effective June 1. He thanked the Forum for its comments and questions.
Vice-Chair Janet Tysinger introduced Jerel Bonner to make an Employee presentation to the Forum on the subject of Bell Tower Toastmasters. Bonner wished the Forum well and stated that he had been a Bell Tower Toastmaster since 1989. He said that Toastmasters had helped him develop leadership skills and obtain the confidence to serve on University task forces, SEANC and the Employee Forum Personnel Policies Committee.
With this, Bonner introduced the President of the Bell Tower Toastmasters Ben Jones. Jones is the Director of Information Technology with General Administration. Jones recalled that when he joined Toastmasters he was terrified of speaking before people. However Toastmasters had taught him how to gain control of this anxiety, allowing him to channel this energy effectively.
Toastmasters teaches individuals public speaking and leadership skills. The notion of public speaking skills implies the possession of great charisma and ability to move large numbers of people with their words. However, Jones said, Toastmasters is much more narrowly focused than this grand idea. The organization deals with the pragmatic ability to communicate with one person, then several people, as exemplified in his presentation to the Forum.
Members obtain this skill by practicing ten exercises in order during various meetings occurring over a period of time. These are carefully planned exercises that have been articulated over a long period of time. In addition to receiving oral feedback on speeches, speakers also receive written feedback from the organization. The focus is on individual practice of the skills discussed.
Toastmasters also concentrates on improving members’ leadership skills in a pragmatic manner, focusing mainly on how to run meetings successfully. The organization teaches the importance of setting an agenda, staying on schedule, moving a meeting along, and getting back on task when sidetracked.
Jones said that the Bell Tower Toastmasters club is one of thousands around the world. There are around 22 clubs in the Triangle alone, two in Chapel Hill. The Bell Tower group meets the first and third Tuesday of every month in the Burnett-Womack building from the hours of twelve to one o’clock in Conference Room G-7.
Jones asked Bonner to hand out a flier containing critical information about the Bell Tower Toastmasters. He asked members to ponder his presentation and consider visiting a meeting. He asked members to think of others in their organizations who might benefit from this type of training. How many times had one attended a meeting in which 90% of the work could have been accomplished in 10% of the time? Toastmasters can help focus planning and thinking.
In order to keep his presentation brief, Jones offered to answer any questions from the group. As there were no questions, he left the group with this thought: “Toastmasters will not teach you great things to say, but when you have important things to say it will help you get that message across to your audience with a minimal amount of distractions. Toastmasters will not teach you great positives so you can lead, but when you feel the need to exert leadership and make things happen in a small group of people, Toastmasters can that happen too.” He hoped to see members and others soon at an upcoming meeting.
Approval of Minutes
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the April 2 meeting. Eddie Capel made this motion, with Bettye Jones seconding. The Forum Assistant noted that the listed times for the University Gazette publication schedule were incorrect. The Gazette is scheduled to publish May 7 and May 21, with a submission deadline for these issues of April 29 and May 13. Members agreed to accept this suggested change without discussion, and the motion was approved as amended.
The Chair announced the first item of unfinished business was the selection process for the parking & transportation task force. He noted that the University Committee Assignments Committee had been asked to provide the Forum a plan for this process. Co-Chair Anne Montgomery presented the Committee’s proposal.
Montgomery regretted that the proposal had not been included in the monthly agenda packet, but the Committee needed to consult with the faculty on a joint form for the solicitation process. She was pleased that the Faculty Council had chosen to collaborate with the Forum on a common nomination form for those interested in the task force, to be placed in the May 21 issue of the University Gazette. Montgomery thanked Mike Hobbs and the Gazette staff for working with the Forum.
The University Committee Assignments Committee spent time considering the suggestions it received about the selection process from the Forum and other parties. Montgomery thanked Nolen for meeting with the University Committee Assignments Committee in her capacity as Liaison from the Executive Committee, sharing that group’s thoughts and concerns.
Montgomery asked members to examine the solicitation form. She noted the form requested a fairly large amount of information. In his presentation to the Forum in April, Don Gold had asked only that nominees be “honorable and open-minded.” The University Committee Assignments Committee has agreed to approach this process with the mindset that all Employees hold these qualities.
The Committee has asked Mike Hobbs to mention in his accompanying news article the intense time commitment service on the task force will require, though the group’s work is scheduled to be completed in March 1998. Members of the task force will be committed to meetings, research, and other outside work. It is important that prospective candidates check with their supervisors before volunteering for service.
Montgomery noted that some concerns have been expressed about the form’s request for candidates’ salary grades. Some have felt this question may be an invasion of applicants’ privacy. On the other hand, at the last Forum meeting, a member had suggested the selection process take salary grades into account. Montgomery noted that salary grade was an easily understood measure of economic standing that applied across the entire campus; job titles can be much too vague for similar comparisons.
Libby Evans asked if the accompanying Gazette article will specify that salary grade is requested in the selection process to insure a broad cross-section of representatives. Mike Hobbs said that this information could be included. Evans thought this information could alleviate possible anxiety.
Peter Schledorn thought the group could phrase the question in a series of check boxes with ranges of salary grades. For instance, one box could signify grades 50-53, another 54-58, and so on, allowing applicants some freedom not to reveal their own salary grade. Schledorn noted that other similar applications phrase their personal financial questions this way to avoid making people feel compelled to reveal their own salary information. Montgomery thought this was a very good idea that would resolve this difficulty.
The Committee thought it wise for the selection process to choose representatives and designate a couple of ready alternates to the group. Montgomery recalled some questions regarding the makeup of the task force. Her understanding was that Don Gold has invited five each staff, faculty and student representatives, and specified that the group should number no more than twenty members. Public Safety staff members would presumably fill out these numbers. Gold also emphasized that these would be open meetings with all Employees free to participate in the task force’s work, regardless of whether they had gained appointment on the task force. Montgomery anticipated that any Employee desiring to address the task force certainly will have the opportunity to do so. Her sense was that Gold wished for the group’s work to be as wide open as possible.
Janet Tysinger added that the current Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee members will serve on the task force along with the five representatives each of staff, faculty and student groups. Currently the Forum has two representatives on this group, herself and Marshall Wade. Wade will rotate off of the Committee in September, and thus will rotate off the task force as well.
Montgomery noted that the University Committee Assignments Committee had no idea how many responses it will receive; numbers of applications could range from 20-1,000. The group would have to deal with this situation has it goes, and may need help either in soliciting more applications or sorting through the numbers. Any member interested will have the opportunity to help the Committee.
Peter Schledorn asked if the University Committee Assignments Committee will be presenting its selections to the full Forum for ratification. Montgomery noted the Committee had discussed this question. Janet Tysinger thought it was very good that the Committee would select the representatives to the task force, but said she would be most comfortable being able to say that the entire Forum ratified these choices. Ratification would relieve some political pressure that might be placed on the Committee and allow the Forum to assume collective responsibility in case someone raises issue with the choices. She thought that this question could shift from an administrative concern to a political one, and thought that ratification would be the Forum’s best method to deal with political questions about the process.
Montgomery noted there had been questions from a couple of people about whether or how the entire Forum could be involved with this process. The University Committee Assignments Committee discussed the idea at some length and felt very uncomfortable with the idea of presenting a slate of candidates to the entire Forum. She asked if there was any probability that the Forum would voice an objection to a particular candidate.
Schledorn contended that even without a formal vote, these appointments would constitute a de facto act by the full Forum. Montgomery said that in her experience with the Forum, chairing this Committee during her first term as a founding member, the Committee had presented a report on the actions taken. She thought that the Forum certainly could undo what the Committee had done if it saw a need.
Tommy Goodwin asked why the Forum would want to ratify, or vote on volunteers for this task force, given the commitments and sacrifices expected of someone on the task force. Who would feel comfortable passing judgment? Libby Evans thought that Tysinger’s point was that the Forum’s official ratification would take some of the heat off of the University Committee Assignments Committee should the selection process receive outside criticism. Evans said that she did not hold a view on the question one way or another.
Montgomery said that this was a question of some concern to the University Committee Assignments Committee. The group will ask for as much objective information as possible in the nomination form, but eventually some subjective criteria will come into play. The Committee will do its very best to insure the broadest possible representation. Montgomery thought that candidates will need to be reasonably articulate and thus may need to undergo an interview. The candidate also should possess a level of interest in the work and a willingness to consult with other Employees about ideas under discussion.
Addressing Tysinger’s concern, Evans felt that every Forum Committee should be conceived as representing the entire Forum. Thus, any decision made by the Committee regarding these appointments is necessarily a Forum decision, as the Committee is a Forum Committee.
Eddie Capel agreed with this statement, as Delegates on the University Committee Assignments Committee are all elected by their constituents whether or not people took the time to inform themselves about the process. Capel thought the Forum had obtained a reputation as both sound-minded and progressive, an enviable combination. He thought that if a Committee works hard the Forum should take it at its word. The Forum could not begin to “hand-hold” the work of its Committees.
Montgomery noted the last paragraph of the previous month’s discussion, stating that she and the Committee will take this work seriously, acknowledging its importance to the Forum and the entire University community. The Committee would appreciate any advice Forum members or other may provide. If Employees want to speak up in the task force’s meetings, they will have this right also, as these meetings will be publicized and open to the public. The Committee also was committed to consulting with the Executive Committee and other groups if such a need is expressed. The Chair noted that other Forum members could sit in and contribute to the selection process if interested.
Schledorn asked if acceptance of this process is subject to the Forum’s waiting period requirement. The Chair asked the feeling of the Forum, noting that the group had discussed the process in brief at the April meeting and had asked the University Committee Assignments Committee to construct a model process. He added that there is a deadline associated with putting this process into practice, and thus some urgency involved.
Evans moved that the Forum leave the final selection of members for the task force to the University Committee Assignments Committee. Stephanie Stadler seconded this motion.
The Chair called for discussion of this motion. Schledorn said that this motion seemed to be a large exception to the Forum’s customary method of operation. Other Forum Committees constructing policy recommendations have always been subject to the requirement that these recommendations must be submitted for approval by the full Forum before forwarding to the Chancellor and members of his administration. This motion essentially ignores this precedent by sending a Committee Report without review by the Forum directly to Don Gold and Public Safety as the Forum’s final position.
Schledorn felt that Tysinger’s point was still held weight. Don Gold had asked the Forum to choose staff representatives in order to avoid charges of favoritism or bias in their selection, among other reasons. He thought there would be a much smaller chance of such charges arising if the full Forum approves the Committee selections rather than if the selections are passed on without review. He did not anticipate any problems or objections to the candidates, but he thought these possibilities were not good reasons to bypass a formal process of review.
Stephanie Stadler confirmed that the University Committee Assignments Committee usually does not submit the names of appointees to the full Forum. The Forum does not ratify these appointments; rather the chairs of University committees typically select from the list of candidates that the University Committee Assignments Committee sends forward. Stadler did not think that Evans’ motion was out of line with the way that the Committee has conducted its past business.
Montgomery recalled that the University Committee Assignments Committee has received requests both for the selection of representatives and the nomination of candidates to serve on University committees. When the Forum provides a list of nominated candidates, the University committee itself establishes criteria for selection of representatives to fit the needs of their task.
Stadler asked if the Committee is asked to select appointments, does the group bring these choices back to the Forum for ratification? Montgomery’s sense was that the Committee reported these actions to the Forum, but she did not recall ever holding a vote to ratify particular choices. She granted that she had only served the first two years of the Forum existence, and so could be wrong about recent practices. Normally, the Committee had communicated such matters to the Forum in the form of a report.
Tommy Brickhouse asked in the case that the Committee were to submit a list of names to the Forum, how would Forum members judge among them if they did not know the particular nominees? What good is it to present these for ratification to a group that may not know the candidates? Schledorn thought that the Committee could present as much information to the Forum as is contained on a Forum ballot—date, years of service, job title.
Once again, Schledorn did not anticipate any problems with passage for these candidates, and was certain that Montgomery and the University Committee Assignments Committee would do a fine and thorough job in evaluating candidates. However, he thought this motion represented an unprecedented action on the part of the Committee and the Forum. The Committee was not submitting a slate of nominees for the University committee to choose from; it has been charged by Public Safety to make automatic appointments to this task force.
Jeffery Beam noted Montgomery’s point that the Committee has sometimes provided a slate of nominees and other times made selections. Thus, he thought it was not an unusual procedure. He thought that members may be worried about the appointment because it involves such a contentious issue, but were comfortable with the proposed appointment procedure. Schledorn replied that the University committee chair usually has held the right to accept or reject the candidates recommended by the full Forum, but this external discretion did not hold in this case.
For example, Schledorn recalled that the Forum provides a list of names to the head of the University Grievance Committee for Human Resources for that person to make the ultimate decision of who is appointed to University Grievance Panels. The Chair noted that Don Gold specifically asked the Forum to make these choices. Schledorn said this was his point, that this discretion was the difference in procedure.
Tommy Nixon, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, speculated that the number of applications may be very large. The Committee will have a large job in culling down what could be as many as possibly 200-300 good applications. If the Forum will rubber-stamp these nominees, Tommy could understand, but what information would the full Forum utilize to judge accurately selections in order to ratify?
Schledorn replied that the ratification did not exist to serve the purpose of insuring selection of the best five nominees. However, ratification does insure that the Forum as a whole thinks there is a reasonably representative group of people serving on this task force. It insures that the University as a whole understands that the entire Forum endorses these selection. Any Delegate dissenting and opposing a nominee would need to present a compelling reason to convince the Forum to overturn their nomination. Schledorn emphasized that the practice of oversight was important to Forum deliberations, particularly in areas of potential political contention.
Montgomery noted that the University Committee Assignments Committee has at times been asked to appoint a person to a University committee, and has been asked to provide a list of nominations. Montgomery asked if, in the past, the Forum had employed ratification after the fact.
Tysinger thought that if the Forum were to make any change in current procedures this action would require a change in the Forum’s Guidelines. She did not feel that this issue could be resolved within the context of this discussion, given the special qualities of this situation.
Capel did not see a difference between this selection process and any other process in which Employees are either selected or nominated for service on University committees. He felt that if the Forum did not place some of its credibility with its Committees, it would not get any work done.
The Chair proposed an end to discussion which was accepted by acclamation. The Chair took a voice vote on Evans’ motion which was approved with one dissenting vote. He thanked Montgomery, the University Committee Assignments Committee and the Forum as a whole for their willingness to explore this issue in depth.
The Chair had distributed a list of ideas for the University Gazette insert that the relevant task force had constructed at a recent lunchtime meeting. In the interest of time, he asked that members submit their ideas on these and other subjects to the Forum Office. The task force will begin work with Mike Hobbs and Gazette staff within a month or two.
The Chair noted a motion approved by the Executive Committee and forwarded to the Forum to limit subscriptions to the Delegates@listserv.oit.unc.edu list to current Delegates and First Alternates only.
Libby Evans reminded the Forum that there are two listservs in use: firstname.lastname@example.org, the Forum’s public discussion list containing around 250 subscribers, and Delegates@listserv.oit.unc.edu which is made up of all Forum Delegates and alternates, past and present. The Delegates list has become a rather well-populated list as members have rotated off of the Forum, yet stay on the list. She noted the Executive Committee had approved a motion to establish a mailing list composed solely of current Delegates and First Alternates, with former Delegates asked to use the email@example.com list for discussion, comments and the supplying of historical perspective.
The intention of this action is not to exclude former members, as they can still participate in discussions on the Forum list. However, the group felt a need to establish a list for conversations regarding internal concerns of the current group.
In response to a question from Eddie Capel, the Forum Assistant indicated he would be willing to maintain this list since the technical challenge is not large and the Forum Office keeps the most current list of members’ email addresses. It was noted with gratitude that 1993 Chair Kay Wijnberg had contributed her time in managing the technical aspects of the Forum’s current lists since her term with the group ended.
Peter Schledorn also thought the issue of creating a new list would not be a challenging one. He noted that the Forum’s establishment of a closed list could present implications for the University’s Open Meetings Law. Restricting the list to Delegates and First Alternates could make people suspect there was an unannounced, “virtual” Forum meeting. He wondered if the Forum should consult with University Counsel.
Laurie Charest surmised that if the Forum were to limit its communication to discussions, not making decisions or voting, it would fall on the safe side of the Open Meetings Law. Schledorn pointed out that the Forum could not ask members of the media to leave the room while in current session unless it fulfilled several somewhat challenging legal requirements. He raised the point because he recalled some mention of electronic discussions in the Open Meetings Law itself, though he did not recall the exact text.
Capel asked the motivation for establishing a separate mailing list for current Delegates and First Alternates. The Chair recalled that at the last meeting a number of people had left early and he had sent out a message on the Delegates@listserv.oit.unc.edu list asking members to make a point to stay until the end of a meeting. He was surprised at the large number of responses received from former members of the Forum. He thought he was posting to a relatively private current Delegates’ list, but the message turned out to be rather public. While not inclined to use this method of communication often because it does not reach a percentage of Employees, he noted that the name of the list “Delegates@listserv.oit.unc.edu” seemed to belie its membership. He thought the name of the list should be more descriptive, perhaps advocates or friends_of_the_forum, but not Delegates.
Libby Evans noted that legal counsel and news services could provide appropriate information to the Forum regarding a closed list and the Open Meetings Law. (Upon consultation with Legal Counsel Susan Ehringhaus, it was found that “sequential email communication” does not fall under the open meetings law. This rule excludes the listserv from the law. In contrast, a “chat room” would not be excluded.) Stadler noted that sharing information via a conference call constituted a different setting than making decisions via that call. Evans thought that the closed listserv would allow continuing discussion of points raised in Forum meetings. Also, the University Committee Assignments Committee will be able to use the list for periodically soliciting Delegates to serve on University committees.
Anne Montgomery made a motion that a list be created exclusively for Forum Delegates and First Alternates. Tommy Nixon seconded this motion.
Ruth Lewter asked who would be in charge of maintaining the list. The Chair felt that the Forum Assistant should assume this responsibility as the permanent member of the Forum Office. Lewter hoped that other Delagates would help wherever possible.
There was no further discussion, and the motion was approved without opposition.
The Chair noted a suggestion from Jerel Bonner that the Forum invite Troy Green, Executive Director of SEANC, to make a special presentation to the Forum. The Chair noted this idea falls under first reading, so he asked members to consider this idea for a approval at the June 4 meeting.
Similarly, the Chair noted a suggestion to invite UNC System President-Elect Molly Broad to give a special presentation during the January 1998 meeting or the Spring 1998 Community Meeting. Eddie Capel was in favor of having Broad address a community meeting sponsored by the Forum, given curiosity about our new leader and the positive publicity her presence would provide.
The Chair suggested also that members consider inviting Pete Andrews, the recently elected Chair of the Faculty. Action on these presentations will take place at the June 4 meeting.
In the interest of time, the Chair asked to leave his report until later in the meeting. If unable to get to his report, he would be happy to answer members’ questions after the meeting. However, he did note that the Executive Committee had a series of discussions involving relations with the body of Division 2 Employees.
Milton Anthony had some suggestions about how to proceed in this area. Anthony had spoken with several Employees who had opinions about Division 2 Employees’ views of the Forum. Marshall Wade, last year’s Executive Committee representative from Division 2, had noted the Forum’s ongoing problem in attracting candidates and maintaining membership from among the body of Division 2 Employees. Anthony had spoken with other Division 2 representatives, mainly first-year Delegates Jerry Hall, Jamie Spruiell and Joe Ellison. The group agreed it needed to consult other Delegates, Forum representatives and departments to introduce other Division 2 Employees to the Forum. The group would appreciate any assistance or insight that members could make available. The Chair thanked Anthony for his report and asked if other members had any comments.
The Chair noted that the Chancellor had asked him to serve as a member of the search committee for the new Athletic Director. He asked members to forward comments and suggestions about the process to him as they liked.
Committee and Task Force Reports
Libby Evans, Chair of the Nominating Committee, had no report to make from that group, but did have news regarding the task force examining the Guidelines and Forum Officer election procedures. Stephanie Stadler, representing the Orientation Committee, Libby Evans, representing the Nominating and Executive Committees, Eddie Capel, Peter Schledorn, and George Sharp compose the task force. Sharp has been coordinating and maintaining most of the information involved, and would normally give the report for this group, but was unable to attend the Forum meeting because of illness.
Evans announced that all Forum Delegates should all soon receive a short survey concerning the Officer election process. The survey asks members’ opinions about various aspects of the election process and asks for members’ comments. She asked members to fill out the survey and send it back to Sharp. Those with questions or who would rather communicate interactively should call either Evans or Sharp. The group will meet again May 29.
Jeffery Beam, Co-Chair of the Orientation Committee, noted the group had lost two members: Delores Jarrell to retirement and Ruth Lewter to the Departmental Accounting Services Team. He feared that the Committee would become somewhat spread thin and so asked members to consider volunteering for these committees. He thanked Stephanie Stadler for volunteering to serve as the group’s representative on the Forum Officer election procedures task force mentioned earlier. He did not anticipate the group would become active until July, as most of the arrangements have been made for the Orientation and the Retreat. Beam hoped that two or more alternates could volunteer as replacements for Jarrell and Lewter on the Committee. The Chair thanked Beam and Joyce Dalgleish for stepping forward to co-chair this Committee this year. He asked members willing to serve to see Beam about the group’s next meeting.
Peter Schledorn, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, noted that discussions have begun on compensatory time policies with Human Resources representatives. These discussions have been rather basic so far, but the Committee is working to refine the issue and incorporate money and quality of life concerns. He personally felt quality of life issues were much more important than issues of financial compensation for exempt- and non-exempt Employees.
Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee, thanked Betty Jones for writing the minutes of the Committee’s last meeting, and thanked Lucille Brooks for chairing the meeting. The Chair felt that the Committee’s information on in-range salary adjustments was most useful. Brickhouse thanked Laurie Charest and Jerry Howerton for providing the Committee with this information. The Committee is also close to receiving a sample letter into which individuals can plug information as a means to lobby the Legislature. Brickhouse hoped to share this document with the Forum at the June meeting.
Ruth Lewter, Co-Chair of the Public Affairs Committee, reported the group did not meet that month. However, the group did promote the SEANC Legislative Day in Raleigh. Over 1,000 State Employees attended this year’s event in spite of the cool, windy day. She noted a few Employees who had planned to stay on only for the beginning of the day found themselves so engrossed in activities that they changed plans and stayed in Raleigh until the end. The Chair noted this was his first Legislative Day and reported that he had learned a lot and enjoyed himself immensely.
Laura Grady, Co-Chair of the Recognition and Awards Committee, reported the group did not meet in April but would hold its next scheduled meeting May 21 in the Carr Building.
Tommy Nixon, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, reported that in addition to the group’s work on the selection process for the parking task force, it had learned that Delores Jarrell would be able to stay on and work with the Chancellor’s Award Committee in the interim before her retirement. Milton Anthony is the Forum’s other representative on this Committee. Nixon thanked the Committee for its work on the parking and transportation task force selection process.
Norm Loewenthal, Chair of the Career Development Committee, referred members to the group’s minutes for a description of current activities. The Committee is active on many fronts, but Loewenthal wished to call the Forum’s attention to a letter addressed to the Chair from Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd regarding Employee educational opportunities.
Loewenthal felt that this was a significant document for the Forum and the University because it indicates the support of University leadership for the Forum’s recommendations on Employee education and career advancement. The document places the leaders of the University on record supporting the Forum on many important points. The Career Development Committee will meet in the next week, to discuss ways to make these ideas reality, both in the areas of academic credit courses and opportunities for career development. Loewenthal had spoken with Laurie Charest to inquire how the Committee could address these points in concert with Human Resources’ ongoing efforts. He considered this letter a very important step that boded well for future plans in this area.
Stephanie Stadler recalled that the Forum maintains authority over the University’s Educational Assistance Program. She advised that the Forum begin to consider the options of distance learning and other electronic on-line opportunities in the administration of these funds. She thought the Career Development Committee may need to examine rewriting the governing document for the Program to reflect these new technological opportunities. Laurie Charest noted that distance learning alternatives are already covered by the Program; those interested should contact Ken Manwaring for more details.
Janet Tysinger, Chair of the Employee Presentations Committee, reported that group had designed two posters in different colors and a new leaflet to advertise the June 11 Spring Community Meeting. She asked members to post six posters around their department, considering where Employees spend go to most often. She asked Delegates in the same building to coordinate with their office mates to decorate the next building. The Committee will work separately to hang posters at the Physical Plant, Housekeeping, Security, and Parking. The Committee will finish its hot memo to be sent to all Employees in the next week or so. Tysinger noted that security, parking and privatization all should be of special interest and she asked members to publicize the event with their co-workers. To correct the agenda, Tysinger noted that the Meeting will take place in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium. Members should feel free to take more posters if they have enough places to hang them. In response to Libby Evans’ question, Tysinger thought that hanging these posters on Point-2-Point vans would require printing smaller copies.
Regarding the Employee Appreciation Task Force, convenor Janet Tysinger thanked Forum members for signing up to work the booth. The group has been working hard to gather drawing prizes which include a basketball signed by Dean Smith and a soccer ball by Anson Dorrance. Tysinger thanked Joyce Dalgliesh for obtaining these signatures. Movie tickets, t-shirts, and sketches by Ned Brooks will also be given away in the drawing. The Task Force will continue the annual Employee survey asking opinions about the effectiveness of the Forum and views of the most vital Employee concerns. The bottom of the survey will have a place for name and contact information and will be used for the prize drawings.
Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Domestic Partner Benefits Peter Schledorn had nothing to report. Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs Tom Sullivan noted that he had spoken with Dirk Frankenburg, Chair of this committee, who expected the group to meet only sporadically, with meetings clustered around sessions of the Legislature.
Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee representative Janet Tysinger noted the group held its last meeting of the academic year this month. The Committee discussed the upcoming parking task force and different consulting firms applying to work with Public Safety over the summer to prepare for the task force’s work.
From the Outsourcing Steering Team, Bennie Griffin reported that the Physical Plant has advertised for a consultant but did not receive adequate response. The Physical Plant thus had to re-advertise for the position with a new due date of May 21. Griffin hoped that new vendors could find answers to their questions at the Team’s May 9 meeting.
Griffin reported there had been a recent meeting among UNC System financial officers about privatization. There were questions about whether campus security should be considered for privatization based on an altercation at North Carolina A&T. There was some feeling that the Greensboro police may have inflamed a situation and it was left for the campus police to straighten out. This incident made it clear to those at the meeting that sometimes outside groups do not understand how a college campus operates. Because of the NC A&T situation and because costs for private security run too high in comparison to the market value the University currently receives from Public Safety, suggestions to examine privatizing campus security were basically scuttled. It was felt that privatizing computing also would cost the University too much. Griffin reminded the Forum that services under study need only match market value to prove their competitiveness with private firms.
The Employee Relations Team, which Laurie Charest chairs, is awaiting a response from General Administration to a proposed language draft it had sent earlier this year. The Team spoke briefly about updates to the outsourcing web site, and noted that the Forum’s Spring Community Meeting will address the subjects of parking, safety and privatization. It was suggested that Outsourcing Steering Team and Employee Relations Team members be present to answer questions regarding privatization.
Charest reported to the Employee Relations Team that a bill to privatize housekeepers which had been circulated under the name of Representative Thompson has not been introduced this session, and is essentially dead, unless added as an amendment to a budget bill.
Griffin reported that there are still questions about the Student Union, the Morehead Planetarium, housekeepers and other functional areas.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest had a number of legislative items to cover with the Forum that may affect the staff Employees of the University. One bill, HB 315/SB 407—State Hires Most Qualified—is a bill to insure that all State Government hirings are not political appointments. Charest thought that most people would praise the purpose of this bill, but there are a number of concerns. The bill, if enacted, would extend the posting period for all jobs and require that all state agencies use identical hiring procedures. Because the University hires 1,200-1,300 people a year, administrators are worried about the implications of the proposed law.
Although it contains no definitions for the items mentioned, the bill asks the State Personnel Commission to establish rules for hires that would govern the bill. However, the current rule-making process takes between 18 and 24 months. The University thus might face a period of hiring without defined rules for some time.
The bill has passed the House and moved on to the Senate with the possibility of amendment, improvement or substitute of a number of points. Human Resources was carefully anticipating the outcome of these events.
Senate Bill 299—Long-Term Care—Charest had mentioned last month that this bill was active, and that the State was examining ways for Employees to pay for long-term care through a State-wide plan. The University did not know what would happen with this bill or what would happen with its own initiative for long-term care programs if this bill is put into law. There is a possibility that there University would offer two options for physical therapy, for example, as the plans covered by the bill and that designed by the University are not the same. At this point, Human Resources thought the State plan was not as good as the University’s plan because the former does not provide coverage of parents or equivalent home health care benefits. The University is still monitoring this bill.
The grievance procedure bill—House Bill 1123—is the same as the one the Forum and the State moved against in 1996. HB 1123 was the reintroduction of a bill that did not pass the House but because the bill has an appropriation attached, it did not have to meet the crossover deadline. (Charest noted that in the Legislature, bills not related to appropriations must be approved by either the House or Senate by a certain deadline. Bills not obtaining approval by “crossover deadline” are killed. The crossover deadline fell last week, so activity was rather wild throughout the Legislature in the days before.) The bill is thus still active.
HB 1123 would reduce the amount of time agencies have to resolve a grievance internally to 60 days from the point of filing. Charest noted that it would be impossible for the University to maintain its current three-step procedure within this shorter time frame. The bill’s requirement of a panel hearing within 60 days would bring major changes to the University’s process. The bill also requires mediation when a grievance goes outside the agency and limits the agency’s right to appeal decisions. HB 1123 has not received approval from either branch of the Legislature, but was still alive.
Senate Bill 799—the Discipline Disclosure Act—has passed the Senate with amendments. In its original form, SB 799 made every item in an Employee’s State personnel file public record, including disciplinary actions and performance evaluations. Charest understood that the bill has been amended and is related only to instances of serious disciplinary action—either dismissal, demotion or suspension—which are then are made public; or, if an Employee receives more than two disciplinary actions, their performance evaluations become public record.
Senate Bill 352 contains the Senate proposed budget. Charest noted that this bill has passed the Senate with a provision for a 3% salary increase for SPA Employees. The increase contained in this bill is classified as a cost of living adjustment across the board. Charest did not know what would happen with the budget bill in the House.
There are several riders to the budget bill that affect the Legislature. One time would remove the termination date (“sunset”) on the use of administrative savings to pay for the North Carolina Flex plan. The authority to use these savings to cover administrative costs will expire in December 1997. The Senate budget bill will extend the date for two years. This provision is essential to keep the North Carolina Flex plan going in its current form. There is also a bill alive to extend this sunset permanently.
The Senate budget bill also includes changes to the retirement system. This is very good news for University Employees as the current retirement factor, 1.76, would rise to 1.81 if the changes are enacted. Charest noted that while she did not believe this was anywhere near where the factor should be, it is the largest rise that she had seen in her seven years at the University.
Another bill, House Bill 1031, the Retirement Incentive Bill, has not yet passed either branch of government but was still alive because of its status as an appropriations bill. This bill would put in place a one-time limited retirement incentive program for State Employees who have 30 years of service or who have 25 years of service and are at least 60 years of age. Eligible Employees retiring between July 1, 1997 and January 1, 1998 will receive a special retirement supplement from the time they retire until the time they reach 62 years of age, if approved. This is basically the same provision that exists for law enforcement officers.
This is a fairly rich retirement incentive, and unusual in that the Retirement System is not opposing this plan as it has others. However, the incentive is not funded by the State; it rather is funded by the University. The incentive has the potential to have a significant financial impact on the University and potentially great positive impact for Employees able to take advantage of the plan. It also carries the potential for departments to lose a large number of long term Employees over a six month time span. Charest will keep the Forum updated on the status of this bill as well as the others mentioned.
Peter Schledorn asked if the Legislature had an estimate of how many State employees could benefit from this incentive. Charest imagined that the State Retirement System may have found a number but the University did not know how many of its Employees could utilize the incentive. Human Resources is working on an estimate of costs. Nora Robbins of Human Resources indicated that approximately 180 campus Employees could be affected.
Charest offered to answer any questions from the group. Schledorn asked if Charest knew the status of the discipline disclosure bill in the House. She did not know but thought it had just been referred to a House Committee. She thought it would be some time before the bill emerges if it does emerge.
On another subject, the Recognition Banquet for Employees reaching twenty years of service, as well as 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service was held Saturday, May 3. Charest thought it was a wonderful event with a great number of Employees attending. Eddie Capel added that at least a half dozen people had attended the banquet and were overwhelmed by how nice it was. They were most appreciative of the fine arrangements and asked Capel to thank Human Resources on their behalf. The Chair encouraged other Employees approaching these milestones to make plans to attend next year’s event.
Announcements and Questions
Libby Evans asked Delegates to look at their nameplates and if the name on the front did not match the name on the back, to turn them face down so that she correct the errors.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Peter Schledorn so moved, seconded by Betty Geer. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:38 a.m.
Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks, Recording Secretary