May 7, 2003
Agenda — May 7, 2003
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting Wilson Library, Pleasant Family Assembly Room
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks; Presentation of Forum Pins to Newly Promoted Delagates
IV. Special Presentations
· Howard Lee, Chair, State Board of Education
· Lynn Blanchard, Director, Carolina Center for Public Service
· Sue Estroff, Outgoing Chair, UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Faculty Governance
V. Employee Presentations or Questions
VI. Human Resources Update
· Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VII. Approval of Minutes of the April 2, 2003 meeting P
VIII. New Business
· Proposed Revisions to Forum Guidelines (1st Reading) P
· Need for Chairs for Career Development, University Committee Assignments Committees
IX. Stretch Time 6
X. Forum Committee Reports
· Career Development:
· Communications: Brian White
Þ Forum Newsletter
· Employee Presentations: Joanne Kucharski
· Nominating: Katherine Graves
Þ Forum Elections
· Orientation: Meredith Clason
· Personnel Issues: Tom Rhyne/Delita Wright
· Recognition and Awards: Katherine Graves/Shirley Hart
· University Committee Assignments:
XI. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin
· Carolina North Project—Tommy Griffin
P = Included in Agenda Packet
May 7, 2003
Wilson Library Assembly Room
Mary Ann Vacheron
“ = Ex-Officio
Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:38 a.m. He welcomed guests and new members. He also noted that this is State Employees’ appreciation month, and noted that the Forum’s Recognition & Awards committee had purchased small gifts honoring Forum Delegates and alternates.
The Chair was pleased to introduce the newly appointed chair of the State Board of Education, Howard Lee. Lee had addressed the Forum last year during his election campaign for State Senator, along with Ellie Kinnaird.
The Chair noted that Lee has been very involved with the Senate leadership over the years, and has served in an advisory capacity to Governor Easley on budgetary matters. He felt proud to introduce Lee.
Lee joked that he had experienced difficulties keeping a job since his Senate primary race. He had moved from place to place, joining the senior education budget advisory committee and serving as chief of the Governor’s education cabinet. Since his appointment as chair of the State Board of Education, he has continued to serve as vice chair of the education cabinet.
Thus, Lee now works in three jobs, and he took a moment to focus on the State budget, noting that his view of the process had changed since his movement from the backrooms of the Senator. He said that the Legislature would have to work to make up a $100 million deficit to balance the budget in the current fiscal year. He said that the Governor and the State agencies would work to minimize pain by taking money from the various allocations.
However, the next fiscal year promises much more difficulty, with the likelihood of a $350 million shortfall in revenues. Lee noted that the House and Senate had proposed different budgets based on one predicted set of revenues, with a negligible difference between the two. However, both bodies must consider the possibility of service cuts and revenue enhancement, among them taxes on candy and tobacco. Lee did not know how the scenario would play out as the no-tax lobby have fought to end taxes while services and State employees have been asked to sacrifice beyond reason throughout the years.
Lee noted that the Governor would not be able to do as much as he would like for State Employees, but said that Employees cannot go another year without recognizable increases for these workers. He felt less certain about the health care situation, noting that possible salary increases would likely be offset by increases in health care dependent coverage this year.
Lee reported that the Legislature is determined to finish its budget before the end of May. He anticipated that much would occur to finish the budget in the next two weeks.
Governor Easley would continue to support the maintenance of smaller class sizes in public schools, and he would press for continued support for preschool programs. Lee opined that funds for these education initiatives should come from a lottery, but he did not think that this proposal had the votes to pass in the Legislature.
Lee thought that the Legislature should approve a lottery, given the amount of money that North Carolinians spend in neighboring states on lottery tickets and accompanying items. He noted that the state’s sales tax revenue had dropped drastically this year. He hoped that the Legislature would reconsider its position, but he did not believe the idea had much chance this session.
Lee considered this failure to approve a lottery to be a devastating blow to the state. He noted that community colleges would for the first time turn away applicants due to lack of classroom space and teachers. He noted that two years ago, the chancellor of Western Carolina University had asked to admit Tennessee students at in-state rates, so difficult it was to fill classrooms there. Now, that same school has turned away 2,000 students from admission.
Lee noted that the public school system faces a huge challenge with the No Child Left Behind initiative. He said that current estimates project that over 50% of North Carolina’s schools will receive failing grades under this initiative, even though the state has made tremendous progress in meeting and maintaining standards and turning out higher quality students, according to a Princeton study. Lee said that the Department of Public Instruction would struggle with the challenge of meeting this new, under-funded federal mandate.
In Raleigh, Lee understood that the General Assembly would consider legislation which could unravel long-set standards of accountability. As the new chair of the State Board of Education, Lee would look at testing procedures, standards, processes and the value of increased testing. He anticipated some adjustments in these areas in the next few years.
John Heuer asked if the Governor had proposed controls on advertising and uses of direct revenue from a lottery, in addition to a limit on overhead charges. Lee said that legislation would devote a lottery specifically to education, particularly to fund construction of classrooms. He noted that the State of Mississippi had used lottery funds to refurbish old computers. He added that the proposal would limit advertising and restrict payment to vendors.
Katherine Graves noted parental complaints that teachers are instructing students mostly in the art of passing tests, not the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. She thought that the focus of her grandchildren’s education has been mainly to pass End of Grade tests.
Lee responded that tests are designed around the North Carolina Course of Study, which outlines what every school system must teach each student. Lee said that there is a common perception that the schools are spending too many days practicing testing, but added that many children feel very uncomfortable about high-stakes testing and this time helps them to relax and concentrate on their work. He said that he would look into the question of the number of days devoted to practice testing as board chair. Lee said that the State could cut out some field testing and said that he would take a look at the question further.
Dixie Bloom added that a study at UNC-Greensboro found that classrooms are teaching only certain subjects in one semester to help students pass the end of year test. Lee said that if this report is true, he would need to take corrective action. He planned to visit every school system in the State. He felt fortunate having spent most of his life in some education or research capacity, and would quickly focus on educational processes and evaluation. Lee noted that teachers and schools face enormous pressures for students to do well on these tests, given that bonuses are tied to test results. He said that bonuses should not override the education of children as the main focus of teaching. He also mentioned the issue of disaggregating scores.
Tom Arnel asked about making teaching less a pressure-filled profession. Lee said that the key to a successful school is a good principal. He had known schools in drug-infested neighborhoods that had flourished due to inspired principals. The second key to a successful school is insuring that the schools is safe for all. He had introduced a safe schools act and said that the state must insure that the classroom is a safe place to be.
Lee commented that the balance of ethnic involvement in various schools that had occurred during desegregation had moved children far away from their neighborhoods. Oftentimes, parents now never know their teachers or have any direct experience in their children’s education.
Fourthly, Lee noted the extreme amounts of paperwork that teachers must endure. Fifthly, Lee said that the State does not pay teachers adequately for the kind of work expected. Sixthly, Lee noted the gigantic size of some urban schools, which can leave students as little more than numbers to teachers and guidance counselors. Lee called for increased connections between home and school from preschool to postgraduate study. He said that the State must make sure that teachers and parents can find dignity in their work of educating children.
Lee added that a child dropping out of school in seventh grade must have hope to jump into a pre-baccalaureate degree at a later time in their lives. He said that the school system must employ many white collar workers who are not without a job as teachers.
Syed Mustafa asked what the State planned to do for the State Health Plan over the next 15 years. Lee said that Tony Rand and the Senate concede that health insurance coverage is a huge problem. He noted that the Governor has mentioned appointing a task force, but there is no plan as of yet.
Lee said that he enjoyed the chance to speak with the Forum, particularly during State Employees’ Appreciation week. He appreciated all that the University’s employees do to support the University’s work. On behalf of the Governor, he expressed his appreciation for University employees’ work and spirit.
The Chair introduced Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service, to speak about the work of the Center. He had attended the awards banquet for students, faculty and staff and was amazed at the range of talent and ideas that the Center had brought under its stewardship.
Blanchard began by asking how many Delegates had heard of the Center, and most all listeners indicated that they were familiar with the Center and its work. Blanchard credited Forum delegate and Center associate director Amy Gorely with publicizing the work of the Center with the Forum. She noted that the Center had begun in 1999 following recommendations of the intellectual climate task force. The Center sponsors a number of fellowships associated with public service in addition to serving as a clearinghouse for public service work among the University’s community members. The Center does an annual leadership workshop for 30-40 student organizations, and has begun a brand new program recognizing exemplary public service programs on campus.
Blanchard noted that the Center has hosted a series of grants for which faculty and staff were eligible to apply. She hoped that funds for these grants would return soon. She mentioned a number of projects supported by these grants, including the bilingual nature trail at the Rainbow Soccer fields.
Blanchard said that the Bryan Public Service award selection committee sought to encourage nominations of people who support the work of various projects. She encouraged Employees to nominate their co-workers for the various awards that arise each year. She noted that the public service idea pervades UNC-Chapel Hill and is evident in the job that every Employee does on campus. She noted that public service as an ideal was integral to the University’s mission of being responsive to the needs of the people of North Carolina.
Blanchard asked people involved in public service projects to go to the Center’s website to register their project in the campus database. She asked how many people know that Employees can use 24 hours of paid community leave each year. She said that UNC sets the standard in use of this benefit, but she wanted more Employees to take advantage.
Blanchard thanked the Chair and other Forum Delegates for their service on the Center’s award selection committees. She said that more committees would seek members in the late fall. She also mentioned that the Center issues a weekly listserv on Center activities. She passed around a sign-up sheet for the listserv. Blanchard invited Employees to visit the Center on the second floor of the Bank off America building.
Chris Koltz recalled that during his service on an award committee, some people had written their proposals professionally while others had not brought such experience to the application process. He proposed that the Center establish a checklist for applicants who are not comfortable with expressing themselves in writing.
Blanchard recalled that the Center had explored this idea and does now solicit nominations on-line. She said that Center officials can help Employees with ideas for proposals. She added that the Center had received 50 nominations for awards this last time around. She said that the Center has also talked about establishing writing workshops for grants.
Koltz noted that he had not been asked to serve on the selection committee again. Blanchard said that committee members typically do not serve multiple times in a row. She said that former delegate Elaine Tola had overseen the selection process and had chosen to divide the responsibility. Blanchard asked Delagates to keep the Center in mind during their daily lives at the University.
The Chair introduced outgoing Faculty chair Sue Estroff, praising her work as an advisor, friend, diplomat and critic. Estroff’s remarks are reproduced below:
Employee Appreciation Week doesn’t touch it. That’s the trouble with designated weeks. Like Mother’s Day, they’re more for the card company, for politicians. I kind of don’t pay attention, like you. I think it’s more a matter of appreciation and respect, the latter from authentic partnership, active peer relations, daily regard – not yearly regard. I hope this better characterizes me and individual faculty members on a daily basis. The earlier speaker described staff as silent supporters. We don’t see them as being in the background. They are right beside us, in front of everything else. I think these gestures are well-intended, but it’s more about shared governance. That’s where we’re going, I think. We have a ways to go, before things are good. Tommy Griffin is an attentive advocate, a strategic pusher on the system: he is behind the issues, seeing that they are getting pushed. We are well represented by him; he takes the time to sit on committees. Committees are where the real work is done, where individual tasks are taken on. I’d like to start by apologizing. During my three years as Faculty Chair there was less focus and progress on issues of salary and compensation than I had hoped. The state health plan – the alleged state health plan – continues it’s before your very eyes vanishing act. There are some possible avenues of escape and repair: Judith Wegner [incoming Faculty Chair] is our best hope. It is clear from what Howard Lee said that there is no plan to do anything about it. I think there are no potential avenues for the state to repair it. I think the only way to get decent health insurance may be to get out of the State plan. Wegner will make me look like I was standing still. She understands the legislature and the law; get ready on this one. We worked very hard to keep the issues of compensation on the screen. I regret that we have not done more, talked about it more. That’s the first step: you have to talk about it. Student Body President Matt Tepper works at the Inter-Faith Council Food Pantry. I was shocked and dismayed to learn that many UNC employees use the IFC Pantry to feed their families. This is a disgrace; this is unacceptable. I’m repeating this to the Trustees, that this is unacceptable. They don’t care. They talk about revenue enhancement – it’s almost insulting. We can’t continue to run this place on people’s backs. We talk about a living wage. I was shocked to learn so many UNC employees earn under $20,000 a year. The battle is not over. It is surely not enough, but graduated parking prices are a huge step forward. I believe there is a broad and deep desire among faculty to help. They recognize inequities between the highest and lowest paid employees. While we salute our colleagues at UNC-G, this is more substantial in terms of dollars and has more impact, [and] is more enduring than any single fund drive. This goes for five years. There has to be a large transfer of costs from lower to higher paid employees. Howard Lee had no good news for us. So it is important, not just to work on things, but to work on the right things. Personally, I think we are too nice. I really think that. We’re too nice. There are a few things on my wish list. One is to leave podiums like this for a while. We need to get the UNC Study commission going. They’ve been set up to look at the Office of the President and the unified system, but they have not met, have not appointed members. We may need to get the UNC system completely out of the state health plan. We need to work toward that. If we stay together, we need to make sure it doesn’t just insure itself. It’s not serving us well. Laurie Charest is working with us. We are being asked to give, to cut. For more give, we need more take. The more we give, the less they give. Something’s wrong with this picture. I’d like to see tuition remission or substantial tuition remissions for all UNC employees who are here over 10 years. If they are not going to pay us in dollars, they need to provide some payment in kind. In some states, Employee’s children pay no tuition at all. It is a wrong choice to have to choose between giving a raise or filling a vacancy. They do this to us: they give us a raise, but not enough to fill vacant positions. This makes the job impossible. They’re talking about 1.6%? That’s still behind. For the University budget, they say they are going to give us $11 million dollars in enrollment increases, but then cut us somewhere else $10 million. Who do they think they are fooling? If we’re not going to get salaries, then they need to start matching our retirement contributions. Over the lifetime of employees, this adds up to many thousands of dollars. They need to stop borrowing our contributions. There is not a reasonable parental leave policy. Now that I have two year olds at home, I don’t know how people do it. I didn’t do this when I was 30, but I’m not sure I could have. We need to make good on our covenant with the people of NC. I think we do fabulous things. Our covenant is: we serve them, they support us. The people of North Carolina are under the illusion that we receive adequate support from the legislature, because we dig so deep, we do so much with so little. Really, we are enablers of their denial. The bottom line is, at all costs, we need to do whatever it takes to protect quality. Enrollment growth? We can’t handle it. We can’t handle it in the classroom, having fewer filled positions and more work. We can’t just teach more, and work harder. We have to draw the line on quality, not let class size increase, even if it means huge wait lines for classes. Enrollment is going up while funds are going down. They talk about access. Access to what? We can’t do more and shouldn’t have to. We have to keep our covenant, keep it going back and forth. What makes history? Not reaching the goal. It’s more than progress, not just being well-behaved. It’s been said that well-behaved women seldom make history. What I value most is that I leave with new friends, better informed about who you are and what you do. There is a sense here of fierce pragmatic optimism, of a future together here. I leave you Wegner, a lioness, with you. And let me leave you with a thought. Nelson Mandela said just because you silence someone does not mean you have changed their mind. I say to you two things: it’s about strategic compromises and planned persistence. Don’t change your mind about what is good for the University, and don’t be silent.
The Chair introduced Vice Chair Joanne Kucharski to present Estroff with a plaque of appreciation and friendship from the Forum for her service for the University and her fight for improved conditions. This plaque echoes Estroff’s gift of a crowbar to Kucharski during her tenure as Chair of the Forum in 2001. The Chair also gave Estroff a key, made by the Facilities Services personnel.
Human Resources Update
The Chair introduced Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to present the Forum’s monthly Human Resources update. Charest introduced Connie Boyce, Tina Hodach and Amy Karasko as representatives of the Human Resources department’s generalist teams.
Drake Maynard, senior director of Human Resources administration, introduced the new University benefits director Karen Able. Able previously served in a similar position at the Wayne State University in Detroit. Additionally, former Forum delegate Keita Cannon has assumed the position of University policy manager, assuming charge of complaint procedures, the grievance process, management review and other functions. Maynard said that Human Resources felt pleased to welcome both onboard.
Charest noted that both House and Senate have recently passed budget bills in record time. The House bill set out a 1.6% raise in staff salaries and the Senate a 1.81% raise. She noted that much remains to be seen in conference committee negotiations.
The State Health Plan also presents difficulties for the Legislature, and the outlook is now for an approximately 11% increase in premiums along with an increase in deductibles and co-payments. Charest felt discouraged that the Legislature has not appointed a committee to begin work on a plan to fix the State system.
Cynthia Cowan asked if Charest knew of the progress of a bill rumored to rewrite the State Personnel Act. Charest noted that the SPA had been written in 1949, and she thought it was time for the State to consider changing this outmoded law. However, to her knowledge the bill had not moved out of committee. She thought that the bill would try to move many State personnel concerns from statute to policy, and to allow more movement in recruitment, retention and other personnel concerns. She said that this bill would allow the Office of State Personnel to run pilot programs in part of the State workforce.
Cowan asked how Charest felt about this bill, and Charest said that she thought that the State Personnel Act needed a rewrite for University and State agencies. She thought that the rewrite in committee contained many positive changes but had concerns also. She thought if the Legislature passed the bill as proposed, it would represent a significant improvement.
Cowan asked if Charest had the address for the bill. Charest said that the bill should be on-line as Senate Bill 788 on the General Assembly website. (http:// www.ncga.state.nc.us/)
Kucharski said that the bill was blank at this time, but it referred back too a 42 page document which covers the State Personnel Act. She said that observers cannot tell the changes proposed from the website now. Charest said that she would forward on an address to Delegates if the bill was not still on-line. She noted that the bill would allow for a pay system which recognizes performance and removes all details in the statute related to personnel management. Now, administrators must go to the Legislature to argue matters related to personnel management. She said that a rewrite of the Act would create a policy that modernizes procedures and separates responsibility among two different groups: a policy-making group and a separate group that would hear Employee grievances.
Maynard said that the bill would also take out a list of specific holidays, allow State agencies to establish a list of their own holidays. The bill would also allow for pilot programs in different areas and put veterans’ preferences in rehiring back into law. Charest said that the University now cannot set up pilot plans without the Office of State Personnel being required to run similar plans across all of State Government.
Mary Ann Vacheron asked who sponsored this bill, speculating that Senator Tony Rand had sought at-will firing provisions. Charest said that the bill would not change protections and would not allow at-will firing. Senator Eric Reeves sponsored the bill.
Cowan asked if the bill addressed longevity pay and its possible elimination. Charest said that the bill does discuss this item in several places following a governmental efficiency committee that urged doing away with longevity pay for future State employees. This committee thought that longevity pay should go to fund performance increases. Neither stipulation would remove longevity pay from current Employees, only those employed after January 1, 2004. She said that other State compensation systems employ similar longevity schemes and she did not know if this provision would be enacted into law. She added that most governmental efficiency bills are blank bills that later contain specific recommendations of the relevant legislative committee.
The Chair noted that Charest had recently received her 20 year service award. He thanked Charest and Maynard for their service and remarks.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the April meeting. Katherine Graves said that a comment ascribed to her relating to Claire Miller was incorrect, and asked that it be changed. Given this correction, Chris Koltz moved that the minutes be approved, seconded by Meredith Clason. The minutes were approved by acclamation.
The Chair introduced a proposed revision of the Forum Guidelines on first reading, related to Forum election procedures and delegate terms. The Forum agreed to take up the proposed revision further at its June meeting.
Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, said that group had met April 7 and would meet every Thursday after the Forum meeting at 2 p.m. at the Forum Office. He said that plans are for the committee to publish InTouch in May and then publish the customary University Gazette insert in June. Committee chairs are invited to submit pieces for InTouch.
Joanne Kucharski, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said that the group was considering possibilities for the spring community meeting.
Katherine Graves, chair of the Nominating committee, said that the committee had produced a flier to go out to campus for Forum delegate elections. She encouraged Delegates to post the flier and to seek out prospective nominees.
Meredith Clason, chair of the Orientation committee and recent mother, said that the committee would meet again May 12.
Delita Wright, co-chair of the Personnel Issues committee, said that group had split into subcommittees to begin work on specified issues. She urged Forum members to consider offering their perspective to subcommittees dealing with equity and retention, transit, and personnel concerns. She was not certain that senior administrators really understand that the quality of staff affects the quality of work done by the faculty. She said that the move towards shared government at the University is progressing, but has not finished yet. She hoped that the committee’s work would come together in the next months.
Katherine Graves, co-chair of the Recognition & Awards committee, said that the group had elected to increase the number of gift baskets to Employees from 18 to 30 this year. The committee had elected to spend less on overall recognition by awarding certificates to Employees recognized. She said that the committee should have more news in June.
The Chair said that he had met with Laurie Charest concerning the move to a generalist system at Human Resources, and had talked a lot about the challenges facing this young program. He said that Employees needed to give our support to the Human Resources generalists whenever possible.
The Chair had participated in a night tour of campus lighting with students, and had reported possible safety problems to Public Safety. He said that Employees should contact Public Safety with similar concerns.
The Chair had attended a University legislative reception with 1995 Forum Chair Rachel Windham. He found that legislators present were eager to hear about the challenges facing University staff, particularly those associated with health insurance. The Chair hoped that the reception would lead to positive developments this legislative session.
On April 14 the Chair had served on a committee selecting a parking deck design firm for Jackson Circle.
On April 16 the Chair had written Chancellor Moeser seeking a place for Employees to seek solitude and prayer during working hours, given difficulties associated with the war. John Heuer asked if the Forum had heard an update about possible uses for Gerrard Hall. The Chair said that he had not yet received an answer. Estroff said that she thought that the separation of church and state might undercut use of Gerrard Hall for religious purposes, given that several large institutions abut the main campus.
Katherine Graves noted that UNC Hospitals have a nice chapel that she had used many times located near the front entrance. Mary Johnson asked if the Chancellor planned to use Gerrard Hall for religious purposes. The Chair said that he would wait for an official answer. Wright said that there is a misconception about the separation of church and state, and she said that the law and interpretation of the law are behind us.
The Chair said that on April 17 winners of the public service awards were announced. He had also attended the selection committee meetings for the senior director of the generalist program on that day.
On April 24, the Chair had met with the Carolina Users’ committee to discuss the future of Carolina North. He said that this property will not begin development before 2005, but said that the committee was working on guidelines for use of the property over the next 200 years.
The Chair said that he attended the 20 year service awards banquet. He estimated that attending Employees represented over 7,000 years of service to the University.
The Chair said that the University Priorities and Budget Advisory committee (UPBAC) was waiting on news from the Legislature on current budget cuts. He said that scenarios now range from 5-10% cuts, with some help from prospective enrollment increase supplements. He would have further reports next month.
The Forum will meet at the Tate-Turner-Kuralt building Wednesday, June 4 instead of meeting in its usual location.
Finally, the Chair shared a thought from Kathleen Dubay that as long as we care and hold out, we will win.
In the absence of further discussion, Delita Wright made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Tom Arnel. The meeting thus adjourned at 11:32 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary