Employee Forum Agenda

9:00 a.m.–Forum Photograph on Steps of Wilson Library:  Please don’t be Late!

9:15 a.m.–Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I.   Call to Order, Swearing-In of New Delegates, & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter

II.  Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III. Special Presentations

  • Jennifer Willis, Director of State Relations
    • Jennifer Willis was named Carolina’s new director of state relations effective August 1, 2013.Before coming to Carolina, she served for four years as director of government relations for the N.C. Community College System, where she was the primary liaison between the system’s office and the State Board of Community Colleges with the N.C. General Assembly. There, she developed policy issues and executed the legislative agenda for the community college system’s 58 constituent institutions.Before assuming that position, Willis had seven years experience with the government of Wake County – two years as the intergovernmental relations manager and the previous five years as budget and management analyst. Willis also served for seven years as a senior fiscal analyst with the General Assembly and team leader for the Natural and Economic Resources Team.“We couldn’t ask for a more capable person to serve as the University’s liaison with the legislature,” said Erin Schuettpelz, chief of staff. “Jennifer has extensive experience in state government relations, strong relationships with our legislature and a thorough understanding of education funding.”Willis, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carolina and a master of public administration degree from N.C. State, replaces Schuettpelz, who was named Carolina’s chief of staff this summer.  (http://gazette.unc.edu/2012/08/07/willis-to-lead-uncs-state-relations-office/)
  • Director of Public Safety Jeff McCracken and Assistant Director for Parking Services Cheryl Stout on the University’s Night Parking Plan
    • Director McCracken was appointed head of Public Safety on August 1, 2007.  He helms a department with a $25 million budget and responsibility for law enforcement, security, transit, transportation planning and traffic and parking.  The department includes 200 permanent and 100 temporary employees, including 25 sworn reserve police officers and 52 full-time sworn officers. McCracken, who joined the university department in 1993 as an investigator, quickly rose through the ranks, becoming operations major in 1997 and deputy director in 1998. He has served as director of the department since March 2007. He also serves as the president of the N.C. Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.  UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Public Safety has met 446 law enforcement standards to earn accreditation, making it one of the few accredited university public service agencies in the country. (http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2007/08/02/mccracken-veteran-law-enforcement-officer-tapped-for-unc-public-safety-post/)
    • Assistant Director of Parking Services Cheryl Stout is a long-time UNC-Chapel Hill employee who has worked her way up through the ranks.  She is a former Forum delegate.

IV.    Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington

V.      Approval of April Minutes
VI.     Old Business

VII.   New Business

  • Resolution 14-04 Concerning Compensation & Benefits for Staff (First Reading)
  • Officer Candidates
    • Chair:  Charles Streeter
    • Vice Chair:
    • Secretary:
    • Treasurer:

VIII.  Forum Committee Reports

  • Bylaws Committee: Rotating Chair
  • Carolina Blood Drive: Todd Hux
  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
  • Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
  • Education and Career Development: Lois Douglass-Alston/Matt McKirahan
  • Membership & Assignments: Paula Goodman
  • Recognition & Awards:  Michael Highland
  • Personnel Issues:  Yvonne Dunlap
    • Compensation & Benefits: Shelby Long
    • Legislative Action: Amanda Chang
    • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Yvonne Dunlap
  • UNC System Staff Assembly: Michael Highland/James Holman/Charles Streeter
  • Executive Committee: Charles Streeter (January, February minutes)

IX.     Announcements/Questions

X.      Adjournment

MINUTES

May 7, 2014 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Dan Barmmer, Bonita Brown, Deborah Bush, Ronald Campbell, Amanda Chang, Angela Combs, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Everett Deloney, Lois Douglass-Alston, Yvonne Dunlap, Andy Eaker, Teresa Etscovitz, Oscar Fleming, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Maggie Grant, John Gullo, Shane Hale, Victoria Hammett, Michael Highland, James Holman, Todd Hux, George James, Karen Jenkins-Cheek, Shelby Long, Matt McKirahan, Whitney Mohr, Arleen Medder, Chris Meinecke, Aluoch Ooro, Stacey Owen, Jackie Overton, Christopher Powe, Kelli Raker, Kathy Ramsey, Samara Reynolds, Christina Rodriguez, Charles Streeter

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.   He led the Forum’s newly elected delegates in the recitation of the delegates’ charge and then led the room in a round of introductions.  He then welcomed Jennifer Willis, Director of State Relations, to make opening remarks.  Willis spoke from a PowerPoint presentation detailing her work advancing University interests and managing relationships with legislators, the Governor, his Cabinet, the Council of State, and other associated staff.  Her office is the primary contact for legislative requests, and it serves as the internal resource for legislative issues.  Willis said that her office works to involve the “grasstops” (the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, Board of Visitors, and Deans) as well as the “grassroots” (Carolina alumni, students, parents, faculty, and staff) in advocacy for the University.  She noted the four keys to advocacy which include personal relationships, responsiveness, succinct and consistent messages, and understanding issues.  She said that the University must be on task and on the same page when dealing with the Legislature.  She noted that this year’s Legislature will work to tweak the second year budget.  The Legislature will convene May 14.  Traditionally, the short session deals with issues of limited scope, and legislative staff indicate that in the spirit of compromise the Legislature should adjourn this summer relatively quickly.

Jennifer Willis noted that the University System develops its budget through recommendations from the Chancellor and the Cabinet to General Administration.  General Administration approved budget priorities for the UNC System in February.  She noted recent budget recommendations for the University System, which included a large tuition increase for non-resident students.  She also noted that two UNC System institutions, NC State University and UNC-Charlotte, will not undergo these increases for their non-resident students under current legislative recommendations.

Jennifer Willis noted an emphasis on employee recognition, given the discussion of raising the minimum for North Carolina teachers.  She noted that merit increases for State employees have tightened due to the Great Recession of recent years.  This year, she noted a strong desire among policymakers to fund pay increases for University employees.  University representatives met with Appropriations committee members to impress upon them the need for salary increases.  However, the State faces a $445 million budget shortfall for different reasons included a fall in the personal income tax withholding and the timing of the 2013 tax law.  Willis said that the Medicaid expansion also will draw on the State’s budget.  However, there is a silver lining in the form of the State’s unreserved credit balance and rainy day funds which the Legislature has managed to recreate.  She said that the Executive and Legislative branches clearly desire to give a pay raise to all employees, despite the existing shortfall.  All in all, she thought that the State would find funds for a 2% pay increase which may be funded by agency reductions.  She noted that a general 1% pay increase costs the State $140 million in recurring funds.  She said that there has not been much conversation in the Legislature about tax increases to pay for this budget item.  There has also been a push to increase flexibility and the use of existing resources.

Jennifer Willis noted that the Governor would reveal his budget recommendations in the following week, then the Senate would start discussing the 2014-15 budget.  She thought that the House would take its turn in mid-June, with the last two weeks of the session devoted to conference negotiations.  Oscar Fleming asked ways to track the progress of legislation.  Willis said that the General Assembly website tracks legislation in committee.  Her office also produces a weekly update for the Chancellor’s cabinet.  She offered to share this information with the Employee Forum.  Deborah Bush asked if the $140 million salary increase money included oft money.  She noted that some employees are paid completely with research grant money that would cover the pay increase.  She noted that this money is reverted to the federal government if not used by the end of the grant.  Willis said that she would find out about this question.  Matt McKirahan asked about a rumor that UNC-Chapel Hill has asked managers to prepare for a 3-5% cut after the legislative session.  Willis said that her office was not involved in that decision, but she noted that managers are often asked to prepare for possible cuts as a part of prudent planning.  Andy Eaker asked how the University can keep a qualified workforce in the absence of consistent salary increases.  Willis said that the cuts that the University has undergone have cut into bone.  It was noted that the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina is a consistent advocate for State employees’ salary increases.

The Chair introduced Assistant Director for Parking Services Cheryl Stout to speak on the University’s upcoming night parking program.  Stout outlined the extensive planning process that preceded the University’s decision to implement night parking.  This process stretched back to the early 2000s in the decision to lose surface parking to development and shift to a mass-transit based system.  The night parking plan grew out of a funding need to increase revenues without putting more pressure on permit holders.  The Advisory Committee on Transit, students, graduate students, Student Affairs, and Athletics, among others, offered input on the University’s new plan.  Public Safety presented recommendations to public stakeholders in October 2013.  In November 2013 Public Safety representatives met with the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the administration, the Employee Forum, and the Health Care System, among other entities, incorporating feedback from these different groups.  In January, 2014, Public Safety presented the plan to the Forum and other organizations to prepare them for the proposed ordinance changes.

Cheryl Stout presented budget figures on the University’s transit plan in a PowerPoint presentation.  She noted that the University has to cover approximately a $6.1 million shortfall given increases in program costs for Chapel Hill Transit and Triangle Transit Authority, and capital construction increases.  As strategies to deal with this shortfall, Public Safety has implemented visitor space charges in the Bell Tower lot, raised transit fees for departments and students, park and ride fees, and finally night parking charges.  Stout noted that daytime parking and patient visitor rates cover system costs.  She said that daytime rates are comparable at UNC-Chapel Hill to UCLA and Harvard University, meaning that UNC has reached the absolute top of its potential daytime permit rates.  She noted that the Health Care System has a limited ability to raise parking fees for patients visiting the Hospital.

Stout said that night time parking fees are designed to obtain support from areas which do not currently contribute to the University’s Transit System.  She noted that daytime campus and park and ride permits will be honored on campus at night.  Students have voted to implement a $10.40 a year student fee instead of student registration for nighttime parking.  Stout said that nighttime parking permits (designated ‘NP’) are valid in NP lots and three hour metered spaces.  Night parking must end by 7:30 a.m.  AM, PM and NR permits will no longer exist.  NP permits will still be subject to prohibitions on parking when certain campus events take place.

Matt McKirahan asked if TTA riders would have to pay a night parking fee.  Stout said that the TTA agreement means that an employee using this permit stipulates that they will not bring a car to campus, aside from the one free CAP permit granted per month.  Todd Hux asked how much daytime permit prices will rise this year.  Stout said that these will increase around 2%, from $3-7 a pay period depending on salary.  Hux asked about the increase devoted to Chapel Hill Transit.  Stout noted that CHT is the second largest transit system in the State.  The University’s contributions come 80% from students and 20% from employees.  In recent years, the daytime parking permit revenue has not been enough to support increasing CHT costs.

Amanda Chang asked if post-doctoral students are considered students or employees.  Stout said that post-docs are usually considered temporary employees.  If they hold a park and ride permit, this permit will be honored at night.  Parking fees without a permit are $2/night.  James Holman asked if night parkers will be assigned lots.  Stout said that this would not occur, as the first-come, first-serve practices will continue at night.  Holman asked about having to move for Athletics events.  Stout said that the University must restrict lots for shared use by Athletics and Performing Arts.  Chris Meinecke praised Public Safety for the on-line parking registration system.  He asked if the University will communicate the new policy to the Town given the business use of these spots.  Stout said that signage will let people know about the new policy in advance.  She recalled that the University does not retain revenue from parking tickets, as these go to the K-12 school system.  Oscar Fleming asked about the balance of parking and transit services at the University.  Stout said that the Facilities Planning website, the University’s Master and Impact plan all have information about the debate over campus parking.  There was a question about weekend parking.  Stout said that no permit is required for parking after 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The Chair introduced Vice Chancellor of Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Washington noted that she had practiced employment law for 23 years in Charlotte prior to taking on her current position.  She oversees the Office of Human Resources, the Americans with Disabilities Act office, the Equal Opportunity Office and the Title IX office, among other areas.  She was pleased to hear the interests of employees and she congratulated new delegates upon their election.  She noted that her office would honor 128 20-year employees at a banquet the following Wednesday.  She thanked the Chair for his service on the search committee for the newly hired Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Matt Fajak.

Ashley Nicklis, the Senior Director for Benefits, Work Life, and Records, updated the Forum on changes to the retirement system that will take place as of July 1, 2014.  As of that date, TIAA-Cref and Fidelity will be the only two vendors in the State retirement system.  Lincoln and VALIC will be discontinued.  Human Resources will contact affected employees and offer.  A question arose as to why these two retirement groups are being discontinued.  Nicklis said that Lincoln and VALIC have much smaller holdings than TIAA-Cref and Fidelity, and the overhead required to manage the former two funds has grown too large.  Nicklis said that her area will produce a transition guide and will provide direct information about how funds will shift over.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the April meeting.  Todd Hux made this motion, seconded by Andy Eaker.  There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved by acclamation.

The Chair opened discussion on the proposed revisions to the Forum Bylaws.  He noted that the Forum has been charged to review its Bylaws every three years.  He said that the Forum had consulted with UNC law students and professors about these revisions.  He said that the Forum should change its Bylaws to fall into line with current practice.  He asked delegates to read the proposed changes in time for the June retreat.  Aluoch Ooro suggested that the Forum conduct some of its discussions on this question via e-mail. The Chair offered to set up a discussion forum on the Forum website.  Matt McKirahan emphasized the need to read the Bylaws before the discussion in June.

Dan Barmmer read resolution 14-03 on sexual assault and sexual harassment.  The Chair said that he had hoped that the Forum could pass this resolution in April.  Kelli Raker said that HAVEN training could be noted in the resolution.  She had other proposed changes.  The Chair suggested that the resolution be tabled until Raker could provide her proposed changes in June.  The Forum agreed with this proposal.

The Chair noted that the Beyond Coal Coalition had presented a PowerPoint presentation in April asking the Forum to support efforts to ask the University to divest from coal-producing companies.  Aluoch Ooro thought their presentation was fantastic, but she thought that the Forum needed more information before deciding whether it can support the proposal.  Chris Meinecke asked which companies invest in coal.  The Chair said that the new Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration, Matt Fajak, will take office on June 9.  He wanted to obtain more than just the student perspective on this question.  He noted that the Coalition had not presented the proposal to the Faculty Council.  Michael Highland recalled that the Coalition had approached the Board of Trustees.  Dan Barmmer thought that the Forum had enough information to make a decision.  Christine Greenberg thought also that the Forum did not have enough information.  She said that there is a reason that the University had chosen its investment portfolio to maximize returns.  She did not think that the Forum was in the best position to support the Coalition.

Matt McKirahan said that the Forum needs to create a resolution for formal discussion in June.  The Chair commented that the Forum should have debriefed after the April presentation.  Andy Eaker asked where the University would reinvest funds removed from the coal companies should it divest.  The Chair said that these details could be placed in the upcoming resolution.  Michael Highland suggested finding out the percentage of the State retirement system invested in Duke Energy.

Shelby Long read resolution 14-04 concerning compensation and benefits for staff.  She noted that this was a first reading.  She also said there was some concern about the resolution not including all proposed revisions.  Jackie Overton reported that the Governor had just proposed a $1,000 raise for all State employees.  The Chair said that the Forum needed to approve the pay resolution quickly to have some effect on the legislative discussion.

Dan Barmmer moved that the Forum suspend the rules to consider the resolution on second reading.  Todd Hux seconded this motion.  The vote to suspend the rules was approved with 14 voting in favor, six against, and one abstaining (two-thirds vote, abstention counts as in favor).  Ronald Campbell asked what other changes Shelby Long had in mind.  Long suggested incorporating the demographics in outlying areas in the resolution.  Chris Meinecke thought that the resolution was persuasive enough on its own.  Andy Eaker suggested that the Forum ask for an adjustment to market value.  Todd Hux said that the resolution would go to the Chancellor for her use in discussion with the Legislature.  Matt McKirahan said that the resolution would trickle up to the General Assembly and the Staff Assembly.  Teresa Etscovitz raised the qualifier about employees who have had an 8% raise in the last two years.  She noted that this increase could be to an employee changing jobs.  Michael Highland asked if the resolution applies only to those who have advanced out of probation.  Christine Greenberg noted that many employees are still paid less than market value.  Aluoch Ooro said that the flat raise will help employees at the lower end of the income scale.  Michael Highland asked if there was time to amend the resolution, or perhaps introduce another resolution down the road.  Jackie Overton said that the resolution would revert to the Executive Committee to act on behalf of the full body if needed.  Michael Highland then moved to end discussion.  Todd Hux seconded this motion.  The motion was approved with one abstention.  There was then a vote on whether to approve resolution 14-04.  Twenty-six delegates voted in favor, none opposed, and three delegates abstained.

The Chair noted that Forum officer elections are ongoing and the Forum is still in need of candidates.

The Bylaws committee had submitted its work that afternoon.

Todd Hux reported that the Carolina Blood Drive was seeking donors for the June 3 event.  The committee had met the previous day and 95% of work was complete.

Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden committee had worked on constructing a tool shed.  The Garden has obtained funding for a $15,000 active solar greenhouse.  The Garden had 171 visitors during the recent Chapel Hill garden tour.

There was no report from the Communication and Public Relations committee.  The Chair said that committee should work on publishing the next edition of InTouch soon.

Matt McKirahan reported that the Education and Career Development committee had three members at its last meeting.  The committee was close to finishing work on the application for the professional development grants.  He noted that the grants are meant to cover things not involved in educational certification.

The Membership & Assignments committee was working to plan the June retreat.  The committee had conducted a very good orientation session on May 1.

Michael Highland said that the Recognition and Awards committee had received 180 applications for the peer recognition awards.  The committee will meet May 17 to select award winners for the May 29 banquet.  The Chair noted that visitors from the Board of Governors and the Staff Assembly will likely be present for the May 29 event.

Shelby Long reported that the Personnel Issues committee had worked on wording for resolution 14-04.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee would discuss sponsoring a hole at the UNC System Staff Assembly golf tournament in June.  The proceeds from this tournament go to sponsor a scholarship for staff employees’ families.

The Chair encouraged delegates to be prepared for a full day at the June 4 retreat.

Shelby Long moved that the Forum adjourn.  This motion was approved by acclamation.  The meeting adjourned at 11:50 a.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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