November 3, 2004
FOOD DRIVE: Please bring canned food or flood buckets (buckets filled with cleaning supplies)
FORUM PHOTOS: the Forum will take its annual portrait December 7 at 9:15 a.m., before the Forum meeting
Agenda — November 3, 2004
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press; Swearing in and Pinning of New Forum Delagates
III. Opening Remarks
· To Be Announced
IV. Special Presentations
· Lorri Allison, Director of Employee Services, and Shelly Green, Human Resources Business Manager, on Employee Appreciation Event Friday November 5
V. Human Resources Update—Laurie Charest
VI. Employee Presentations or Questions
VII. October 6, 2004 Minutes Not Yet Completed
VIII. Old Business
IX. New Business
· Proposed Resolution 04-04 Honoring Past Forum Chair Rachel Windham (1st Reading) P
· Proposed Resolution 04-05 Concerning Staff Salaries and the Living Wage (1st Reading) P
· Two-Minute Speeches from Forum Officer Candidates and their Nominators
Þ Forum Chair: Charles T. (Chuck) Brink & Tommy Griffin
Þ Forum Vice Chair: Lori Lewter & Ernie Patterson
Þ Forum Secretary: Patti Prentice
X. Stretch Time 6
XI. Forum Committee Reports
· Communications: Brian White
Þ Forum Newsletter
· Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards: Dixie Bloom
· Employee Presentations: Katherine Graves
· Nominating: Patti Prentice
Þ Forum Elections
· Orientation: Meredith Clason
· Personnel Issues: Delita Wright
· University Assignments: Tom Arnel
· Career Development: Curtis Helfrich
XII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XIII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
· Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace—Tommy Griffin
· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin
XV. “Go Around the Room”: A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue Most on their Minds
P = Included in Agenda Packet
November 3, 2004 Employee Forum minutes
The Chair called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m. He welcomed the newly elected Forum Delagates, and led them in the recitation of the Forum charge. He then introduced Lori Allison and Shelly Green of Human Resources to speak about the Employee appreciation event to take place Friday, November 5. The two noted that the event will focus on staff development opportunities but will also feature food, drink and door prizes. Employees must clear attendance with their supervisor.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest welcomed the newly elected Delagates and alternates. She introduced director of workforce planning and compensation LouAnn Phillips, Human Resources generalist Shannon Roberts, newly appointed director of Human Resources communications Kathy Brian, and director of Employee services Claire Miller, among others.
Human Resources will finally automate the employment application process for SPA positions as of November 29. Employees can use this service via any connected computer. The process will save Employee applications so that one can reuse and update their forms at any time. Also, the new system will allow Employees to look up their application status via the web. Applications submitted prior to November 29 will have the same standing and those submitted afterwards. Tom Arnel noted that some applicants might feel uncomfortable with keyboarding. Charest said that Human Resources expects to help applicants walk through the process. Ernie Patterson asked if the system will maintain ADA compliance, perhaps by providing text labels to those needing help. Charest said that Human Resources would provide applicants with instructions on setting up an email address.
Charest said that Human Resources would soon debut an address change website for Employees. Employees using this site will be able to enter one change of address that will apply to Human Resources, Accounts Payable, Payroll and other University departments. Students will use this same system. Charest thanked Vice Chair Katherine Graves for representing the Forum in site testing.
Proposed revisions to the SPA grievance procedure have received the Chancellor’s signature and now will go to the Office of State Personnel then the State Personnel Commission for approval. If approved in December, the revisions would become effective in February 2005. The revisions would change the internal grievance process from three to two steps, allowing a grievance to go automatically to an Employee’s next level supervisor. The University has created a grievance coordinator position to handle the administrative tasks associated with processing grievances, removing this burden from panel chairs.
Charest noted that Leslie Winner, UNC System General Counsel, had attended the Forum’s community meeting dealing with the health insurance task force. She hoped that Employees had completed the health care satisfaction survey, saying that Employees have completed over 12,000 surveys so far. She had forwarded a number of comments about the survey directly to the Office of the President.
Charest reported that the Office of the President plans to hold community meetings on health care concerns at all 16 campuses.
The Chair introduced resolution 04-04, honoring 1995 Forum Chair Rachel Windham, on first reading. Katherine Graves asked the Chair to explain who Windham is and the significance of the honorary delegate position. The Chair said that Windham had address the crowd at Chancellor Hooker’s installation and had championed Employees during her term as chair. Granting her honorary delegate status would allow her to attend meetings and speak, although she would not hold the right to vote. The Forum grants only one honorary delegate position each year under its Guidelines. Brian White recalled that the 2003 Forum had proposed that the 2004 Forum install Windham as an honorary delegate. The 2003 Forum had already installed the Forum’s first chair Kay Wijnberg.
White noted two typos in the resolution.
The Chair introduced proposed resolution 04-05, concerning staff salary increases and the living wage, on first reading. He asked that Delagates discuss the resolution via email over the next month and come prepared to discuss the resolution in more detail in December. He said that the $1000 flat raise had proved a great success in helping lower paid Employees.
Ernie Patterson asked that all Forum committees discuss this resolution as part of their agenda. He said that approving the resolution early on would give the University and the Legislature early notice of the subject’s importance before the long session.
Katherine Graves oversaw the nominations process for Forum officers. She introduced Michael McQuown, who would nominate Chuck Brink for the office of Forum Chair in 2005. McQuown recalled serving with Brink on the Personnel Issues committee. He typified Brink in three words: service, dedication and leadership. He noted Brink’s service as a sergeant in the US Marine Corps, his eight years’ service with the University and his service as a scoutmaster and youth sports coach. Brink also received his department’s humanitarian award for this service. McQuown said that Brink would work for all and serve in a fair and balanced manner. He felt honored to nominate Brink for the position of Forum Chair.
Brink wished the Forum good morning and noted the faces of the new Delagates. He thanked McQuown and his fiance Dixie Bloom for their help with his campaign. He thought the last two years had led to an increase in teamwork after some infighting. He had worked to perfect and pass a number of resolutions through the Personnel Issues Committee that had come to improve the University. He urged Forum members to work together on causes within and outside the Forum, and said that more members should represent the Forum on University committees across campus. He asked Delagates to vote for him for Forum Chair.
Leon Hamlett nominated Tommy Griffin for Forum Chair, reading the nomination of Patti Prentice, who could not be present that morning. He praised Griffin’s calm demeanor, compassion and hard work representing all those across the state.
Griffin said it had been a long time since he had first come to the office of Chair. He said that he works 40-60 hours a week in this position, above his regular work duties. He had met with individual Employees to communicate their concerns and had never turned down a request. He asked Delagates to consider voting for him. He praised Brink as a hard worker and a fine individual, but asked that he have the chance to pay back the University with another year’s service as Chair.
Graves noted that there are two nominations for Forum Vice Chair, Lori Lewter and Ernie Patterson. Lewter had asked Tommy Griffin to nominate her for Vice Chair. Griffin recalled meeting Lewter over twenty years ago and said that she is a great person who had taken on many challenges, including raising children as a single mom. He said she would work hard and implement great ideas as Forum Vice Chair.
Lewter recalled the last twenty-two years of work at the University, most recently with the Purchasing Office in a team of five purchasing agents and five support staff. She said that two other uncles worked at the University, beginning a family tradition. Lewter said that the University is a great place to work and said that the Forum will have to stand up for the rights of everyone. She said that the Forum is the Employee’s voice with campus administration and helps to better Employees’ lives and improve campus communication.
Patterson had also asked Griffin to nominate him for Forum Vice Chair. Griffin recalled first meeting Patterson when he lived in married student housing. Patterson had worked to improve the situation for tenants there and had worked since then to improve the lives of others and help the needy. He has been an active Forum delegate and worked on food drives and fundraisers. Griffin said that Patterson was a great person to see through a project and had participated in meetings with legislators in Raleigh and other staff council organizations in Greensboro.
Patterson welcomed all Delagates and thanked them for their commitment to make the University a better place for Employees. He recalled serving on the Forum Executive Committee and Personnel Issues committee this year, and had spearheaded initiatives such as the Dell Computer Initiative. He noted complex issues facing the Forum in the next year including the presumed hikes in health insurance coverage, the need for consistent salary increases and increased cooperation with other UNC System staff councils. Recently, he has worked with Dell to double the amount of memory and improve the quality of printers and scanners packaged with the Dell Computer Initiative. He said that program had proven useful not only to UNC Employees but to employees at other state institutions.
Graves noted that the one candidate for Forum Secretary, Patti Prentice, could not attend the meeting due to work constraints. She said that Prentice had served as the chair of the Nominating committee, which must fill a slate of Forum delegate positions and Forum officer seats each year.
In December, Delagates can make nominations from the floor for each of these positions. Delagates who cannot attend the December 1 meeting should contact the Forum Office to submit an absentee ballot for each office.
Graves noted that the Forum’s food drive for people affected by the flooding in western North Carolina continues. Last year, the Forum raised over 2000 pounds of food for the needy. She said that donors no longer need to contribute “flood buckets” full of cleaning supplies. However, clothing, shoes and food are certainly welcome. Interested Employees can contact Graves at 3-4900.
Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, said that the next InTouch would go out that week. He invited new members to consider submitting articles or joining the committee in January. The committee would meet November 4 at noon in 042 Sitterson.
Dixie Bloom, chair of the Community Affairs, Recognition & Awards committee, had spearheaded distribution of the “Prize Patrol” baskets for recognized Employees. She thanked Forum members and others for their help in distribution and planning, including Cheryl Lytle, Katherine Graves, John Adams, Tommy Griffin, Patti Prentice, and her new fiance Chuck Brink, among others.
Katherine Graves, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said the group had hosted the year’s second community meeting on health insurance issues with a turnout of around 200 people. She urged Delagates to consider serving on that committee. Additionally, she said that Delagates will receive a form inquiring about their committee preference for the new year.
Graves noted that the Nominating committee had completed its work in electing a slate of Forum Delagates, in spite of a few rough spots.
Corrie Parker of the Orientation committee reported the group had entertained a great new class of Forum Delagates and alternates. The committee looks forward to the January annual retreat.
Ernie Patterson of the Personnel Issues committee said the group discussed securing a staff representative on the Office of the President’s health insurance study committee. He noted that administrators have indicated that the Forum stands a good chance to secure this appointment.
Tom Arnel, chair of the University Assignments Committee, said that group had distributed a campus-wide email soliciting Employees interested in University committee service. The committee had arrived at the slogan, “Temporary Commitment, Permanent Improvement” for its campaign and would carry the slogan to the Employee Appreciation event November 5. Over fifteen people have used the submission form on the Forum website so far to indicate their interest in serving.
Curtis Helfrich, chair of the Career Development committee, said that group had worked to increase the stipend of money available through the Educational Assistance Program up to $350 a year. The Forum had voted to devote money from the Staff Development Fund to this purpose, and encouraged Employees to use this benefit. Employees can contact Employee Services for more information at 2-9592. He noted that Employees can waive two classes a year through the University tuition waiver program at any UNC System campus (one per semester).
The Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace Monitoring Committee had finished most of its work for the year, as the University has moved forward with its job fair, computer loan program, computer training program and ombudsperson office.
The Chair asked for volunteers to serve the Forum booth between 9-3 p.m. at Fetzer Gym this Friday. Interested parties should contact Katherine Graves at 3-4900. Employees will receive 35% off at the Bull’s Head bookstore November 5. The Forum will award several door prizes for attendees.
The Chair noted that the Forum will take its annual portrait on the Wilson Library steps at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, December 1. He noted that outgoing and continuing Delagates will appear in the main portrait.
Around the Room
The Chair invited attendees to make a comment about whatever is on their mind. Leon Hamlett asked if the University might extend the number of tuition waiver classes from two to four a year. He noted that the University had recently agreed to allow Employees tuition waivers for summer school classes. Charest said that this change would require state statute changes. However, the University has submitted this legislative initiative to the Office of the President.
Various members welcomed the new members or, being new members, indicated their adjustment period to the Forum’s work. Chuck Brink said that the $7500 cap for salary increases in resolution 04-05 seemed a bit high. He suggested members consider this point further. Ernie Patterson encouraged Delagates to participate in food drives and other charitable enterprises.
Bob Lesser asked if interim evaluations would still hold for banded employment categories. He said this subject had come up in several staff meetings. Charest said that the Office of State Personnel has established a separate competency assessment for banded positions but still requires an interim review. Lesser said that his department had not been informed about this change. Charest understood and said that Human Resources was working with the Office of State Personnel. She agreed that this was a sensitive situation and said that Human Resources intends to do information sessions for managers working with affected positions.
Martha Fowler encouraged Delagates to serve on University committees as well as Forum committees if they can find the time. She said that both experiences would expand their range of knowledge about campus events.
Michael McQuown recalled that during the 1970s, Employees received only one tuition waiver class per semester with no summer school attendance allowed. Three years or so ago, the Office of State Personnel allowed a pilot program allowing tuition waiver use during one of two summer school sessions. Now, an Employee can use tuition waivers for both summer sessions, but the overall statutory limit is still two tuition waivers a year. He noted the increase in benefits over time. He also raised the question of best practices and management standards throughout the University as a goal of the 2005 Personnel Issues committee.
Kathy Rogers proposed a revision in the Forum’s salary resolution. Brian Whitling noted that he had been told to take three days off during the winter/Christmas holidays. He said he preferred to work those three days and avoid losing vacation. He asked that Human Resources get the word out that Employees do not have to take vacation for those workdays. Charest said that many universities do close over the ten-day holiday requiring their employees to take vacation for days not officially scheduled as holidays. Charest said that this is not the policy here at UNC-Chapel Hill. She said that Chancellor Moeser had just sent out a letter to departments stating that they could close but not if any Employees in the department wish to work.
Jeanne Hiesel seconded Dixie Bloom’s experience with the “Prize Patrol,” saying that it was a very rewarding committee. Amy Gorely noted her work on the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace. She said that Employees could search out the task force’s recommendations on the Human Resources website. Peggy Cotton had served as a delegate in 1995 and 1996 and was happy to return and serve again with the Forum.
Kirk McNaughton thought that the Forum should extend the two minute limit on nominating speeches, saying that candidates should have more time to explain their stances on concerns and plans. He proposed extending this time to four minutes. The Chair said that this change might require a Guidelines change.
It was noted that the North Carolina Flex enrollment period ended Friday. Employees can enroll at the Human Resources Services booth at Fetzer gym this Friday, during the Employee Appreciation event.
Cheryl Lytle asked if the new automated application system would provide a space for community involvement and other activities. A Human Resources official said that the on-line application would contain a box for additional skills and abilities. Sarah Causey agreed that a yearly salary resolution was the way to go and thought that the State should work to help those making the least amount of money.
Jill Hartman thanked the Forum for her recent back office duty award. On another subject, she noted having received an email about WalMart employees who cannot afford to pay health insurance out of their paychecks. WalMart employees pay $262/month from an average $10/hour salary. She lamented that WalMart offers cheaper health insurance to its employees than the State offers to its employees.
Susan Clark decried the continual announcement from Blue Cross/Blue Shield about increased benefits that never seem to pertain to State Employees. Others noted that Blue Cross/Blue Shield does not cover State employees but instead just administers the State plan. She praised the ease of use of the new Human Resources web applications.
The Chair noted that the monthly meeting with Provost Shelton, Vice Chancellor Suttenfield and Associate Vice Chancellor Charest will take place Friday, November 5 at noon in the third floor conference room of South Building.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary