Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center 

NOTE:  This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without advance notice.

I.   Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press
  • Approval of October Minutes (Sharepoint Link, Delegate-Only Access)

II.  Special Presentation (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)

  • Sarah Maxey, Intake Coordinator, Piedmont Senior Health Care

III. Human Resources Update – Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington (9:40 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

IV.  Old Business (10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.)

  • Student Stores Small Group Breakout Session

V. Forum Committees (10:20 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)

  • Carolina Blood Drive: Jim Fuller
  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder (September minutes)
  • Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
  • Education and Career Development: Samara Reynolds
    • Recognition & Awards
  • Membership & Assignments:  Kathy Ramsey
  • Personnel Issues:  Chrissie Greenberg (September minutes)
    • Compensation & Benefits:  John Williams
    • Legislative Action:  Christopher Powe
    • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices:
  • UNC System Staff Assembly: Kim Andrews/Shane Hale/Charles Streeter/Victoria Hammett
  • Executive Committee: Charles Streeter

VI. Announcements/Questions (10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

VII.  Adjournment

MINUTES

November 4, 2015 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Kim Andrews, Jo-Ann Blake, Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Clare Counihan, Lois Douglass-Alston, Shantell Ferrell, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Lori Haight, Shane Hale, Victoria Hammett, Karen Jenkins, Gabrielle Jones, Susan Lucas, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Natiaya Neal, Michael Penny, Christopher Powe, Krista Prince, Kathy Ramsey, Samara Reynolds, Nakenge Robertson, Charles Streeter, Nihlei Tial, Ben Triplett

Excused Absences:  Mary Dahlsten, Phillip Edwards, Emily Gomez, Kathy James, Jackie Overton, Katie Turner

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:18 a.m.  He asked assembled delegates to sign the greeting cards which were being passed around.  He asked delegates’ opinions of the recent University Day.  Arlene Medder said that the day had gone very well.  The Chair noted that UNC System Staff Assembly delegates participated in the event for the first time in memory.  Shane Hale said that he enjoyed seeing the gonfalons (flags) on parade at the event.  Bonita Brown said that she helped line up employees for the processional and she thought that the event had been a great success.  The Chair praised the jazz band that played during an interlude in the program.  Lori Haight noted that the Forum had run out of post-it notes to distribute at the Employee Appreciation Fair later that week.

The Chair asked delegates’ opinions about the proposed holiday closing in 2016 and 2017.  He said that the Forum had been asked by a former delegate to oppose the measure.  He recalled statistics that 72% of all employees normally take off days during the winter holiday.  Arlene Medder said that most employees seem to take off anyway.  Ben Triplett asked what provisions will be made for employees who have to work to fit the normal routine.  [State guidelines do not permit the University to pay premium holiday pay for the University Closed Day during Winter Break. Employees can use annual leave, bonus leave, or accrued compensatory time to cover the University Closed Day absences.  Special arrangements will be made for those employees hired just before the winter break who may not have had time to accrue sufficient leave.  http://hr.unc.edu/2015/10/14/2016-and-2017-holiday-schedules-published/#more-21913 ]

The Chair noted that the Forum would change its agenda to handle discussions of the Student Stores situation at the end of the meeting.  He proposed that the meeting break down into small groups.  He would request that media allow the Forum to conduct these small groups as a collective without coverage.

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the October minutes.  Arlene Medder noted that the October minutes incorrectly listed a closure date for 2015.  Christopher Powe and Clare Counihan reported that they were present at the October meeting.  With these corrections, Arlene Medder moved that the Forum approve its October minutes.  The motion was approved by acclamation.

The Chair was pleased to welcome Star Chang and Sarah Maxey of Piedmont Health Senior Care to speak on elder care issues.  He recalled that the University ombuds officers had noted dependent care as being a stressor upon University employees.  Karen Jenkins had identified Piedmont Health Senior Care as a possible solution for some employees needing to provide care to an elderly member.  Chang passed out brochures from her organization.  She noted that Piedmont Health Senior Care is a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).  She said that this form of care grew out of Chinese immigrants’ refusal to believe in hospice care for their elderly relatives.  North Carolina now is the second largest home of PACE facilities.

Participants in the PACE program receive complete care while living at home.  Enrollees must be 55 or older who is nursing home eligible and living within the defined service area.  This program is great for caregivers as it is a day program that transports enrollees to the Center.  The program has every discipline of care under one roof that takes care of enrollees during the day.  The program also helps with dentist and doctor appointment trips elsewhere.  The program is free in some cases or based on individual assets.  Chang confirmed that the program will assist with home care but cannot provide 24-hour care.

Lois Douglass-Alston asked whether an enrollee could be permitted to keep her own doctors, or would they have to use the program’s physicians.  Chan said that the program urges enrollees to use its physicians for primary care, but allows enrollees to keep their specialists.  She said that the goal is to create an interdisciplinary team which can manage all aspects of an enrollee’s care.  She said that getting enrollees out of the house can reduce depression and other geriatric illnesses.  She also noted that traditional insurance only allows so many visits to physicians but this program provides an unlimited number.  It was confirmed that enrollees may have to pay for services from accumulated assets.  Chang said that enrollees often save money on associated costs that are covered under the program’s cost.  She said that the national PACE registry (http://www.pace4you.org/custom/programsearch.asp?id=18) lists programs nationwide.  She said that her organization is located in Pittsboro behind the main post office.

The Chair welcomed Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Gena Carter to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Carter noted that the University will hold a Tar Heel Tribute to our veterans on November 11th from 12:15-2:15 p.m. in the Alumni Hall of the Carolina Club.

Carter said that the $750 bonus for State employees will be paid in biweekly paychecks on December 11th and in monthly paychecks on December 22nd.  Employees must have been employed on November 1, 2015 to be eligible for the bonus, which will be paid on a pro-rated basis.  Employees with questions should contact Human Resources Benefits at 919-962-3071.  Kathy Ramsey asked how much of this bonus will be left after taxes.  Carter said that the bonus will be taxed like salary, at a lower rate.  Jo-Ann Blake asked why the bonus was not retroactive to July 1.  Chris Chiron said that this approach would have been more difficult to administer.

Carter noted that Chris Chiron, Interim Senior Director of Employee-Management Relations, will soon take a position as Director of Employee Relations, Policy, and Development with UNC General Administration.  She said that she would miss working with Chiron but said that this was a natural progression of Chiron’s career.  Chiron started with UNC-Chapel Hill in 1996 as a temporary employee.

Senior Director of Benefits and Work-Life Programs Ashley Nicklis outlined a flier on University educational program offerings.  These programs include the tuition assistance program, which is available only to the University employee and not their family or dependents.  Nicklis said that the University version of the program will reimburse employees to further their educational career.  She said that departmental versions of the program require education for job-related reasons.  She noted that the University also offers the Carolina Family Scholarship to children of UNC faculty and staff.

Victoria Hammett asked if the Carolina Family Scholarship extended to education outside the UNC System.  Nicklis said that it does not.  Chrissie Greenberg said that the Personnel Issues committee will work to make UNC-Chapel Hill’s masters and upper-level classes available to employees.  Her personal perspective was that admissions at other UNC institutions are more flexible than at UNC-Chapel Hill.  She said it is difficult for employees to work all day, drive across the Triangle for courses at night, then return home to take care of children.  Nicklis appreciated the feedback and noted that Human Resources does not control admissions standards.  She would be glad to be part of the conversation in this area, however.  Chris Chiron said that UNC General Administration has a clearinghouse of on-line degrees and courses at http://online.northcarolina.edu/  He said that most of these courses are tuition waiver eligible.

Matt McKirahan asked if employees using tuition waiver assistance are also still eligible to attend athletics with the accompanying fee waiver.  Nicklis did not think that this benefit is automatically forfeited, but she would need to consult with the Cashier’s Office on this question.

Kelli Raker asked if the University planned to move the various educational assistance programs from paper to an on-line system.  Nicklis said that she would love for this change to occur but noted that this project stands behind several other needs in the line for enhancements.  She hoped that this need could begin to be addressed in a year and a half or so.

Lois Douglass-Alston asked if applications for tuition fee waivers can be submitted only once.  She noted that some students have difficulty remembering to submit the forms repeatedly each semester.  Nicklis noted that the requirement for multiple filings is prominently mentioned on the tuition waiver form.  Still, she would try to find ways to make this requirement clearer.  Whitney Mohr asked if the number of tuition waiver courses would increase beyond the three courses granted this year by the Legislature.  Nicklis said that she would be surprised if the number ever exceeds three courses.

Matt McKirahan noted that UNC’s online MBA program is not eligible for the tuition waiver program as it is partially private.  He confirmed that prospective enrollees could use the education assistance program to obtain a reimbursement for textbook costs.

Nicklis reminded listeners that annual enrollment for the State Health Plan will end on November 18th.  She said that employees should take action soon in this matter.  She said that Human Resources will assist employees via a kiosk on November 16th, 17th (from 9-4 p.m.) and 18th (from noon-4 p.m.) at the Administrative Office Building.  Interested employees should bring their Onyen.

Nicklis said that the list of administrative issues with the current sign-up process is over four pages long.  Wait times for telephone assistance with the enrollment process are long.  She urged employees to take their time with the enrollment process.

The Carolina Blood Drive distributed fliers for the Tuesday, December 8th blood drive, to be held from 7:30 – 1 p.m. in Fetzer Hall.

Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Campus Community Garden had distributed produce to thirty third-shift housekeepers this past week.  The Garden is looking for a new location from which to distribute produce to second-shift workers.

There was no report from the Communications & Public Relations committee.

Samara Reynolds was pleased to report that the “Career Corner” page of InTouch had received 200 individual page views this month.  She said that the Education and Career Development committee would discuss professional development grants at its next meeting November 10th.

Kathy Ramsey of the Membership & Assignments committee said that the Forum has two new members:  Mary Dahlsten and Gabrielle Jones.  The Chair noted that the Forum typically holds a holiday potluck before the December meeting.

Chrissie Greenberg noted the happy news that the Forum had obtained what it wanted in the removal of the 9.9% salary raise limitation imposed by the General Assembly.  She said that the Personnel Issues committee discussed the five year parking plan at its last meeting along with the subject of Student Stores.  Senior Director Kathy Bryant said that the SPA plan had been approved by the Office of State Human Resources but the EPA policy has not yet received approval from the Board of Governors.  Bryant outlined the specific time frames and rules governing salary grants for temporary employees exceeding 20% of salary or twelve months in duration.  She said that the EPA policy has not yet been decided.

The Chair noted that UNC System Staff Assembly chairs Susan Colby and Pernell Bartlett hoped to visit the Forum at a future date.  He noted the appointment of the new President of the UNC System, Margaret Spellings.  He had told media that he did not have a problem with the raise given to Chancellor Folt as she is classified as a staff employee.  He said that the current SPA $750 bonus is very difficult to live on for employees with families.  He hoped that the Chancellor and the Board of Governors would continue to advocate for increases in staff salaries.

The Chair said that the UNC System Staff Assembly golf tournament would not be held at Finley golf course this year due to scheduled maintenance.  He said that the event might still take place in Chapel Hill, but that decision lies with the Staff Assembly.  Whitney Mohr asked for information about the Royster professional development scholarships offered by the Staff Assembly.  The Chair said that he would respond with this information once he receives it.

The Chair said that the Executive Committee had suggested that the Forum devote a portion of its meeting to small group discussion of the Student Stores privatization question.  He asked that media leave to allow delegates a chance to discuss the question freely.  He outlined the unsolicited proposal from the Follett Corporation to take over Student Stores and the Forum’s October response in the form of a resolution and proclamation on the subject.

Matt McKirahan confirmed that the Forum is only requesting that media depart but is not officially going into closed session.  The Chair said that this was correct.

The Chair asked that five groups of delegates form and discuss different aspects of the Student Stores situation.  He did not want to lose the momentum and energy from the October meeting around this question.  He said that the Executive Committee would use the notes from these discussions to guide upcoming decisions.

The Forum split into small groups to hold its discussions.  The Chair asked that note-takers forward their information to Matt Banks.  In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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