November 6, 1996
Agenda — November 6, 1996
9:00 a.m.—-Reception for Newly Elected Delagates & First Alternates
Lobby of Wilson Library
9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press, New Forum Members
III. Opening Remarks
IV. Employee Presentations—Kay Spivey
* Fall Community Meeting Transcript Forwarded to Elson Floyd, Laurie Charest, Michael Klein
V. Special Presentations
* Financial Counseling Through Employee Assistance Program, Consumer Credit Counseling Service: Susan Criscenzo & Leslie de Monchaux
VI. Approval of Minutes of the October 2, 1996 meeting
VII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Ann Hamner
* Annual Reports from Committees Due November 15
* Executive Committee Meeting with with Current, Future Division 2 Representatives
* Outsourcing Steering Team Meetings; Forum Resolution on Privatization Considered by Faculty Council, Student Government, and Graduate and Professional Student Federation
* Executive Committee Meeting November 21 with Executive Committee of NC State Staff Senate North Carolina Central Professional Office Workers’ Association; Invitations Issued to UNC-Greensboro Representatives
* Memo to Michael Klein Requesting Follow-up to Betty Watkins’ Concern About Possible Danger to Pedestrians in Swain Lot
* Replies from President Spangler
* Meeting with Brenda Bright of the Institute for Marine Sciences
* Effort to Collect Information on Departmental Newsletters
* Mary Alston Resigns from Forum; Tricia Mitchell New Delegate, Brenda Coleman First Alternate from Division 5
* Chancellor Letter to Governor Hunt on Employee Performance During Hurricane Fran
* Chancellor Response to Letter on Salary Inequity
* University Day October 12
VIII. New Business
* Suggestion to Combine Compensation and Benefits, Personnel Policies Committees
IX. Committee/Task Force Reports
* Nominating—Dianne Crabill
=> Officer Nomination Forms Due November 15
* Orientation—Leon Hamlett/Delores Jarrell
=> Delegate Buddy System
=> Orientation for New Delegates October 24
=> Reception for New Delegates November 6
=> Forum Retreat January 17
* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn
* Compensation and Benefits—Tommy Brickhouse
* Public Affairs—Helen Iverson
=> Plans for Legislative Day
* Recognition and Awards—Nancy Klatt/Pamela Shoaf
=> Letters to Departments Without Recognition Programs
=> Booklet on Awards & Recognition Not Pursued
=> Nominations for Community Award (3-Legged Stool) in October Packet; Due November 15
* University Committee Assignments—Vicki Lotz/Jennifer Pendergast
=> Nominations to Campus Web Advisory Committee
* Career Development—Sharon Cheek
=> Educational Survey Results
* Video Production Task Force—Frank DiMauro
=> Post-Production: Premiere at December 4 Meeting (Hopefully)
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington
* Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee Representatives— Marshall Wade/Janet Tysinger
X. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
* State Employees Combined Campaign
November 6, 1996
Tommy Griffin, Jr.
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Marshall Wade, Jr.
Rachel Windham “
” = Ex-Officio
Call to Order and Welcome to Guests
Chair Ann Hamner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. She welcomed the incoming Delegates and First Alternates who arrived for the morning’s reception. The Chair noted that Balkees Jarrah, Liaison from Student Government, was present along with other guests and the press.
For the benefit of the newly elected Delegates, the Chair noted a few of the Forum’s meeting procedures. Sign-up sheets are located on the back table; all members are required to sign in to have their presence noted in the minutes of the meeting. Routing files, folders containing documents of specific interest, are circulated throughout the room while the Forum is in session. The Chair asked that members keep these files moving throughout meetings. The Forum Assistant will mail copies of materials requested from the routing file.
Nameplates designate where each Delegate will sit and are shifted every meeting to encourage collegiality. The Chair noted that the Forum also shifts its seating arrangement from time to time to encourage more expression and better group dynamics.
The Chair introduced Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd to give his usual series of very informative remarks. Dr. Floyd began by welcoming the Forum’s new Delegates and stated he was enthusiastically looking forward to working with the group. The Administration has long held to the belief that the Forum is a very important part of the governance and management of the University, and will continue to work in cooperation with the Forum.
Dr. Floyd offered his help and that of his office to the Forum’s incoming members, to provide information that will allow these members to represent their constituencies in the best way possible. He reiterated that it was his personal commitment to help in this regard.
In light of the elections held the night before, Dr. Floyd said the University is still awaiting the final outcome of many races. The Administration is confident that it will maintain a good working relationship with North Carolina’s representatives in the State House and Senate, and will continue to advance its agenda with the Legislature.The Administration looks forward to reacquainting new and returning members of the General Assembly with the state of the University.
Dr. Floyd noted that many University members were excited about the approval of the school bond issue which will enable the State to improve significantly its K-12 school systems, improving in turn System institutions. He was greatly pleased the citizens of this State had enough confidence in public schools to approve these bonds.
Turning to University issues, Dr. Floyd noted the continuing discussions regarding outsourcing. He appreciated the input of those who participated in “community meetings” on the topic to the Outsourcing Steering Team. The Team has pared the number of functions to be studied from fifty-one initially considered to nine: HVAC, groundskeeping, vehicle maintenance & repair, printing services, housekeeping, typesetting, design, artwork & paste-up services, record storage, copy machines. Two services currently contracted out will be studied to evaluate the possibility of performing them in-house: asbestos abatement and asphalt paving.
Dr. Floyd said that the Outsourcing Steering Team would remain active in examining these areas and will serve as the principal conduit of such information between the University and General Administration. He repeated that Employees and the Administration must work to keep an open line of communication with the Steering Team.
Dr. Floyd recognized the appointment of Susan Kitchen as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. Ms. Kitchen previously served in a similar post at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Ms. Kitchen’s term here in Chapel Hill began October 1. Dr. Floyd asked that members send a note or introduce themselves if they have the opportunity, noting the warm reception she has already received from members of the University community. He thanked Edith Wiggins for her leadership as interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and looked forward to seeing her continuing good work on the Chapel Hill Town Council.
Dr. Floyd noted the recent merger between the Department of Transportation & Parking and the Department of Public Safety. It is the University’s responsibility to provide services in the most cost-effective way possible, Dr. Floyd said. There are economies that can be realized through the merger of these two departments.
Transportation & Parking and the University Police share a common physical plant. For efficiency and cost-effectiveness, the two entities were merged. Dr. Floyd was confident economies could be achieved. He had also wanted to make sure that members of the Forum were kept up to date on this subject, and noted that Michael Klein was present at the meeting also to answer questions.
Peter Schledorn asked if Dr. Floyd could provide an update on the status of the housekeeper negotiations.Dr. Floyd replied that he would to the extent permitted under the terms of mediation. He was happy to state that the court has extended the deadline to continue mediation, taking the continued mediation as a sign of progress.
Dr. Floyd noted some public statements about the University’s unwillingness to provide relevant information in the housekeeper discussions and assured the Forum that the University is cooperating with the mediator in this regard, providing any information the mediator requires. He was optimistic that there would be a settlement soon and said that if an agreement was not reached, it would not be because of the unwillingness of the Administration to comply with mediation terms.
Following Peter’s question, Tommy Brickhouse asked if the pay for housekeepers were raised to $19,000, for example, did the Administration plan to address the effect of this raise on other salary grades. Dr. Floyd thanked Tommy for his question and recalled his many previous statements before the Forum stressing the importance of all University Employees. The Administration recognizes that adequate compensation levels are vital to the appropriate recognition of all Employees, and would not do anything to compromise this understanding.
Dr. Floyd stated that the Administration obtained the funds for housekeepers’ salary adjustments through the departmental flexibility provided by the University’s In-Range Salary Adjustment policy. Each department or unit has the same flexibility to provide these adjustments for their Employees. Departments across campus have continued to apply for these adjustments on behalf of their Employees.
However, Dr. Floyd granted that smaller units face difficulty in providing these adjustments due to a lack of budget or vacant positions from which to fund these increases. Many University departments have been able to use the policy to free up dollars to reinvest in current Employees. But, smaller departments and departments with little turnover may not be able to utilize this same opportunity because all in-range salary adjustments must come from available departmental funds. Dr. Floyd noted that the dilemma for small departments had not yet been addressed and needs future examination.
Salary adjustments for housekeepers are funded through dollars already budgeted to the Housekeeping Division, under a provision available to all departments under the In-Range Salary Adjustment policy. The Administration hopes all departments will take advantage of the policy in place to reinvest in their Employees. At the same time, the Administration is mindful of the stability and importance of the current salary structure. Of course, the University will continue to advocate staff salary increases before the General Assembly.
Ned Brooks asked to whom the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee would report after the recent merger. Dr. Floyd replied that the Committee’s reporting arrangement would remain as before. It is important for the Administration to receive the Committee’s advice and consultation, he said. He urged members of the Committee to work harder to report regularly to constituents about the substance of their discussions, recalling an embarrassing instance in the previous year when important constituencies were not consulted. Dr. Floyd looked forward to that Committee’s continued work.
On the subject of the Transportation and Parking/Public Safety merger, Eddie Capel asked if some jobs would be eliminated given possible duplication of duties. He assumed that the Administration would examine this option in order to achieve the earlier mentioned efficiencies. Dr. Floyd replied the University tries to perform its functions as efficiently as possible; however, the motivation behind the merger was not to layoff Employees. On the other hand, as vacancies occur, the University should examine functions to ensure that Employees are deployed appropriately in accountable, meaningful work. Ideally, all departments examine their operations on a continuing basis to ensure dollars are used wisely. Dr. Floyd had made it clear to the leaders of Transportation and Parking that the motivation for the merger was to achieve economies and better efficiency.
Peter Schledorn asked if there were any Administration plans to create a central pool to fund in-range salary adjustments.Dr. Floyd said that at this point the Administration was looking at how the policy is being implemented by departments; which units are taking advantage of the policy, and for what reasons and why are some departments not utilizing the policy?
A decision has not been made about creation of a central pool, but disbursement issues would seem to be a large obstacle to establishing such a pool. Currently, the University does not have the money available to create such a pool. Given the high level of Employee interest, the Administration will look at all facets of this issue in a thorough, ongoing fashion.
Dr. Floyd said the Administration did not want to create a situation of have and have-not departments. Staff morale and appreciation have been themes that the Chancellor and Dr. Floyd have echoed throughout their tenure.
Dr. Floyd thanked the new Delegates for their commitment to the Forum and the University, and took his leave.
Vice-Chair Kay Spivey had nothing further to report about the Fall Community Meeting. She praised the Forum Assistant’s work in transcribing the conversation and issues which arose. The Forum Office will sort out responses to Employees’ questions and the organize distribution of these responses to campus staff.
The Chair introduced Susan Criscenzo, Director of the University Employee Assistance Program, and Leslie de Monchaux, counselor for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, to give a presentation on financial counseling and consumer credit. She felt that as the holidays approach, personal financial issues come to the forefront, particularly among lower-paid Employees.
Susan Criscenzo thanked the Forum for the opportunity to speak about the work of the Employee Assistance Program as a source of aid in financial and other counseling situations. She noted that Forum members have the opportunity to reach so many groups on campus, and so felt that this presentation was particularly important.
The Employee Assistance Program is available to all State employees, offering individuals the opportunity to receive personal or work life counseling in an objective, confidential, and non-judgmental setting. The Program provides information on community resources such as therapists, support groups, treatment programs and financial counseling. Employees may access the Program by calling (919)929-2362 or 1-800-543-7327.
The campus Program relies on the Consumer Credit Counseling Service to provide financial counseling for University Employees. Leslie de Monchaux asked individuals present if they knew how much money should be put aside for Christmas, a vacation, retirement or their children’s education. She asked if those present wished they could communicate more easily on money matters with their spouses. Or, did members simply wish to gain some control over the flow of their money.
These are matters within the purview of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. The Service is supported by the United Way, but is also part of a nationwide network. The Service is nationally accredited by the National Foundation for Consumer Credit and by the Council of Accreditation for Services for Family and Children, and each counselor is individually accredited.
The Service performs three different functions. Approximately nine of ten families and individuals rely on the Consumer Credit Counseling Service to provide one-on-one budget counseling. These people may have difficulty in balancing their personal budgets. The Service consults the client to arrive jointly at ideas to balance their books.
Leslie asserted that often a person feels more free to bring up a touchy subject with their partner with a third party such as a counselor. This “comfort zone” can open up communication between partners on subjects they may not have addressed previously.
Around one of ten clients consult with the Service for its debt management program. Since the Service, in its manifestations across the country, has standing agreements with national credit card and loan companies, it can arrange better payment terms for clients in need. Often, because of a disruptive personal transition (which can include job layoffs, divorces, marriages, new children, career changes, etc.), a client cannot make minimum payments on their accumulated debt.
The Service works with these clients to develop a plan to address their debt load. Leslie said that much of the problem can be addressed by simply putting a realistic goal on paper, so that it does not seem so overwhelming. Usually, the client agrees not to use credit of any form until they are debt-free. Clients cut up their credit cards and close their credit accounts. Often, clients use the program as an alternative to filing bankruptcy.
Through its agreements with national businesses, the Service is able to reduce the payments and, often, the interest rates for its clients. Reducing the interest rate on debt is particularly important for clients so that more of their payments go towards reducing the original debt. Under this program, clients pay one monthly bill to the Service rather than multiple bills to multiple companies with multiple due dates.
Finally, the Service offers many free educational programs to the community. These are presented to employers, student groups, first-time homebuyers, and other groups. Programs address budgeting, planning for the future, managing debt and credit, preventing fraud, teaching children about money, and any other imaginable topic connected to money or credit.
The Service has a one-time intake fee of $25 for those who can pay. The fee is only $5 for those who are low-income. Follow-up visits for those receiving confidential counseling range from $5-20. Debt management services are free, but there is a request for a $1-5 donation to pay postage on the original bills.
Janet Tysinger asked if University Employees interested in the Service should contact the Employee Assistance Program first, or contact the Service directly. Leslie distributed brochures and business cards with information on the Service and said Employees could contact her directly. Susan said that many Employees use the Employee Assistance Program as a link to the Service. Individuals may experience other problems along with financial difficulties, and so may utilize the Employee Assistance Program in a holistic approach.
Leslie emphasized that the purpose of the Service is not simply for deep financial trouble. An individual need not be under financial stress to undertake consumer credit counseling. Anyone wishing to construct an obtainable, realistic financial plan can utilize the Service.
The Chair thanked Susan and Leslie for their remarks, and the Forum gave them a round of applause. The Chair hoped Delegates would keep these brochures on hand in order to provide information to Employees in need.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the October 2, 1996 meeting. Leon Hamlett made this motion, with Marshall Wade seconding. George Sharp noted that the University of Virginia professor he mentioned on page eight of the minutes has the last name “Rorty.” He asked that this misspelling be corrected. There was no further discussion, and the minutes were approved as amended.
The Chair noted that the Executive Committee has been very busy. In October, the Committee met with former, current and incoming Division 2 representatives to discuss mutual concerns. The meeting revealed some important things, notably that some Forum Delegates felt that their concerns had fallen through the cracks, that supervisors in some instances seem not to support Forum Delegates in their participation, and that possibly an Employee Presentation may be given on the subject of vacant positions in University Housekeeping. The Forum Office agreed to aid Division 2 Delegates to distribute communications to constituents.
The Chair hoped that next year’s Executive Committee would follow up on concerns expressed at this meeting. She recalled for the benefit of guests that the Forum has had difficulty attracting candidates and maintaining continuous membership from Employees in Division 2 (Service/Maintenance).
The Executive Committee has tried to meet quarterly with the NC State Staff Senate Executive Committee. The next meeting of the groups, along with representatives from the North Carolina Central Professional Office Workers’ Association, will be November 21. Unfortunately, no representative from UNC-Greensboro is able to attend this meeting but the Chair hoped someone from UNC-Greensboro would be able to attend a Forum meeting soon.
The Forum Office followed up with Michael Klein regarding Betty Watkins’ question about possible dangers to pedestrians in Swain lot. Michael reported that a number of concerns have been sorted out about the Swain lot with the aid of Ms. Mary Fox, parking facilities manager.
In the routing file there are copies of correspondence between the Forum and President Spangler. Though arrangements could not be made for President Spangler to attend the January meeting, he is scheduled to address the Forum at its February 5, 1997 meeting. The Chair also received a positive response from President Spangler concerning the establishment of Employee Forums on all System campuses. The President will speak with System chancellors regarding organizations on their campuses.
After the Fall Community Meeting, several Forum Delegates met with Ms. Brenda Bright of the Institute for Marine Sciences in Morehead City. This discussion dealt mainly with the desire of Institute Employees to organize a way to communicate with the Forum. The Chair sent Ms. Bright contact information on three different departmental staff organizations on campus. These could advise the Institute on creation of their own staff association. The Institute hopes to send a representative to the two Community Meetings, and to possibly hear from a representative from the Forum in Morehead City.
In response to a departmental request, the Forum Office has undertaken to collect contact information on University departmental newsletters. This information would be contained in a central database so that individuals or departments could target information to departments more readily. Hopefully, this information will be available on-line soon.
In the routing file there is a letter from the Chancellor to Governor Jim Hunt praising staff Employees for their work in the aftermath of Hurricane Fran. She thanked the Chancellor for writing this letter in support of Employees’ hard work.
Also in the routing file is a letter from the Chancellor to Mr. Steven Case addressing issues of salary inequity. The Chair thought that the Chancellor’s response mirrored Dr. Floyd’s comments earlier in the meeting.
The Chair was happy to report that University Day was a success, with a pretty good turnout by staff. Doris Betts gave a wonderful speech that the Chair encouraged members to find and read if they were not present that Saturday morning.
The Chair received a comment from a Delegate proposing combination of the Forum’s Compensation and Benefits and Personnel Policies Committees. This Delegate felt the work of the two Committees was very similar. The Chair consulted with Peter Schledorn, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee and Tommy Brickhouse, Chair of Compensation and Benefits.
Peter Schledorn noted his full response to this proposal was included in the routing file. At first glance, there appears to be quite a bit of overlap between the two Committees. However, he did not feel that merging the two was a good idea. First, Personnel Policies seems limited to a campus-wide scope, addressing policies in their application to this campus. Compensation and Benefits, on the other hand, deals with issues of a State-wide scope such as pay raises and the State’s general benefits package.
Furthermore, Peter felt the two Committees should remain separate to accommodate the workload of Employee concerns. The Personnel Policies Committee has labored mightily this year to keep up with the concerns Employees have brought to their group for action. He imagined combining the groups would overwhelm the one larger Committee, or would result an informal split into two subcommittees.
Tommy Brickhouse felt differently, given the many issues are common to both groups. While relatively new to the position of chair, he was concerned about the lack of attendance at Committee meetings. Also, no issues have been brought to his group this year for discussion. He did not know if his group was remiss in not being aggressive in seeking out issues. Tommy felt that combining efforts under one leadership would result in enough people present to hold conversations at meetings. The Chair of that larger Committee could appoint subcommittees as needed. Now, he felt there was simply a duplication of effort.
Sue Morand noted that while Compensation and Benefits discussions are quiet now, there have been times when concerns have been very involved with numerous issues. If the two groups were combined and this activity were to occur again, the result could be chaos because of the volume of items to discuss. This could result in two-hour plus meetings.
Sue suggested the two Committees meet jointly every quarter, or when an issue seems applicable to both Committees. Chairs of the two Committees could act as liaisons to address mutual concerns and arrange joint meetings.
Listening to the account of the Personnel Policies Committee’s work, George Sharp wondered if that group could handle any more than it had already addressed. He wondered also if there could be a channel of communication between the two Committee Chairs. An institutionalized arrangement could specify the coordination of efforts whenever concerns overlap.
A member of the Personnel Policies Committee, Sharon Cheek said that group had been very busy and any further responsibilities would be overwhelming. She could not speak for next year’s group, but would not wish to place any more on a future Committee with similar responsibilities. The Chair agreed that the Personnel Policies Committee had done an extraordinary amount of work this year.
Since Personnel Policies was very busy this year and Compensation and Benefits was not so busy, Mona Couts advised that next year’s Forum possibly address dissolving the latter group next year. She said there was nothing more frustrating than serving on a Committee that did little. In contrast, the Chair recalled that last year the situation was reversed, with the Compensation and Benefits Committee very active and the Personnel Policies group not so. She was struck by the shifting of responsibility.
Rachel Windham recalled her service on the Compensation and Benefits Committee in 1995. That group was very busy because it actively sought issues to address. The Committee researched Employee responses to Forum surveys, and one year it performed a Statewide survey on longevity pay. While many issues were brought to that group, it also worked to identify concerns to address. She encouraged the current Compensation and Benefits Committee to seek out issues because there is plenty of information to study.
The Chair asked if a Delegate wished to make a motion regarding this issue. She felt there was some excellent feedback. Rachel asked if the two Committees were mentioned in the Forum Guidelines and thus subject to the procedures for changing the Guidelines. It was found that only the Executive and Nominating Committees are mentioned as standing committees in the Guidelines. There was no further discussion, beyond asking that next year’s Forum re-examine the question of whether the Compensation and Benefits Committee should be continued.
Peter Schledorn asked for a suspension of the rules to propose a congratulatory resolution honoring former UNC-Chapel Hill staff Employee Eleanor Kinnaird’s election to the North Carolina State Senate.Rachel Windham noted that Verla Insko also had been a staff Employee at the Department of Medicine. Peter thanked Rachel and said he would be happy to make it a joint resolution.
The Chair suggested the motion be tabled until next month in order to determine how many former UNC-Chapel Hill Employees are currently represented in the General Assembly. Marshall Wade proposed that this resolution be sent to the Executive Committee for its consideration beforehand. The Chair asked that Peter supply any specific sentiments to the Forum Office for inclusion in the resolution.
Chair Dianne Crabill of the Nominating Committee noted the call is still out for nominees for 1997 Forum Officers. There have been a few candidates nominated for each post, but she hoped more would step forward. Dianne encouraged returning members to consider service and to contact incoming Delegate buddies to get their suggestions, since service as a Forum Officer is not limited to the returning Delegates. There is a November 15 deadline for nominations, at which point each nominee will receive a biographical sketch format to complete for inclusion in the January agenda packet.
Helen Iverson asked if outgoing Delegates would be permitted to nominate 1997 Forum officers. Dianne replied that only continuing and incoming Delegates could make nominations for Forum Officers.
The Chair thanked the Orientation Committee for a wonderful Orientation of incoming Delegates, and the reception for these Delegates held this morning. She noted that Chair Leon Hamlett had been incapacitated due to a car accident and welcomed him back to the group. Leon thanked the Committee, and its auxiliary volunteers, for performing so well in his absence. The next meeting of the group will be November 22 at which time the group will finalize its agenda for the January 17 Retreat.
Chair Peter Schledorn of the Personnel Policies Committee reported the group received a copy of the revised University Grievance Procedure. He noted that while many of the Committee suggestions were incorporated into the Procedure, the group still had concerns about the role of support persons and other issues. The Committee will embark on a more comprehensive examination of the Grievance Procedure to accommodate the Office of State Personnel’s two-year approval cycle. Barring any radical legislative changes, review of this policy will begin again soon.
The Personnel Policies Committee is also discussing overtime and compensatory time for SPA exempt and EPA non-faculty Employees. If Employees have any information or opinions on this topic they should contact the Committee or Ken Litowsky.
Chair Tommy Brickhouse of the Compensation and Benefits Committee reported that he, Beverly Williams and Lynn Ray had spent the last meeting discussing possible combination of the two committees as mentioned earlier. However, he accepted the Forum’s decision on the issue.
As another item, Tommy asked when the Executive Committee’s meeting with Division 2 Delegates would occur. The Chair responded that it had occurred October 15, but imagined that there would be further meetings on this subject next year.
Chair Helen Iverson of the Public Affairs Committee wished to emphasize that she would resign along with her class in December and hoped that members of the 1997 Forum would volunteer to work on the upcoming Legislative Day, scheduled tentatively for February 5. This could be a big meeting if combined with President Spangler’s appearance. The Committee would meet November 12 at noon in the Dental School Conference Room.
The Chair noted that 1997 Forum Delegates would officially sign up for committees at the January 17 Retreat. However, if incoming members are interested in the opportunity to work on the Public Affairs Committee, they should feel free to volunteer to help out with the Legislative Day effort. This Committee is working with the Faculty Council and the Student Government to make the upcoming Legislative Day a success.
Chair Pamela Shoaf of the Recognition and Awards Committee said letters prodding departments without recognition programs had been sent out, and some responses have already been returned. Due November 15 to the Forum Office, Community Award (3-Legged Stool) nominations will be considered by the Executive Committee at its November 19 meeting. Pamela pledged to have the group’s annual report in on time.
Co-Chair Jennifer Pendergast of the University Committee Assignments Committee said the group had forwarded 1997 Delegates Tommy Nixon and Libby Evans as nominees to the Campus Web Advisory Committee.
Though not a Forum problem, Peter Schledorn had a comment about the etiquette of the University Committee nomination process. He noticed and heard it reported that when names are forwarded as volunteers to a particular Committee, many times only those selected have received an acknowledgment from the soliciting department. Those not selected felt slighted by not having their candidacy at least acknowledged. Peter proposed that the letter transmitting the names of nominees include a suggestion that all candidates receive some acknowledgment. The Chair and Jennifer agreed that Peter’s point was important and would suggest that next year’s group incorporate it into the nomination process.
Chair Sharon Cheek of the Career Development Committee was happy to present the results of the Employee Educational Survey.She thanked the Forum for its patience in waiting for this information. The Career Development Committee will develop recommendations to the Forum from this data for inclusion in the December packet.
Sharon asked leave from the Forum to review briefly the Committee’s findings. The Committee sent out 500 surveys to SPA and EPA non-faculty Employees, and received 142 responses. The survey was mailed out a few days before the onset of Hurricane Fran, which delayed receipt and processing of the data.
The purpose of the survey was to determine Employees’ experience and interest in taking evening classes. The survey consisted of three parts: 1) Financial Assistance Programs for University Employees; 2) Course Offerings; and 3) Demographic Data.
* Regarding the highest grade completed of respondents: 8% had completed 12th Grade; 10% had vocational training; 15% had their associate degree; 41% had their bachelor’s; 23% had some graduate training; and 3% gave no response.
* Classification of Respondents: 45% of respondents were Executive, Administrative or Professional; 28% were Secretarial/Clerical; 21% Technical/Professional; 1% Skilled; 2% Service; 3% gave no response.
Sharon said the Committee was concerned that it did not receive more responses from the Skilled Craft and Service/Maintenance Divisions, and would indicate this concern in its formal recommendations.She asked the Forum to provide its input for the Committee’s recommendations as well. The Committee will meet November 14 in order to provide recommendations for the December packet.
Sharon thanked her Committee members for their time and work. She noted the three areas most requested were business courses, computer sciences and various liberal arts courses.
Sue Morand asked how the Committee ensured a scientific distribution of surveys across campus. Sharon replied she had consulted with Cary White, a payroll programmer. Cary divided the surveys according to a percentage basis by classification and titles. The Committee went to great pains to ensure an even distribution by classification and thus was concerned about the lack of response among Skilled Craft and Service/Maintenance sectors.
Rachel Windham asked if the Committee discussed the process for enrolling in the University’s Evening College. She felt it was not a user-friendly process. George Sharp said the group had discussed this area somewhat. Rachel thought that any recommendation stating that Employees are not participating in the Evening College should reflect prospective difficulties with enrollment in the College. It was her perspective that the College does all it can to dissuade enrollment, instead of welcoming it. Sharon recounted an anecdote about the difficulties of the process. Norm Loewenthal welcomed this feedback about the College. The Chair thanked the Career Development Committee and Sharon for their vigorous work.
Reporting for the Video Production Task Force, the Forum Assistant reported almost all of the filming was completed and the group would soon head into post-production.Video Services has ordered a non-linear editing system that should be ready soon. He thanked the many Forum members who participated in the shots and apologized should anyone be left out, since the video was only to be five minutes long. He also thanked the Chancellor, Dr. Floyd and Jane Brown, among others, for agreeing to be in the production, and hoped it would premiere December 4.
Faculty Council Liaisons Peter Schledorn and Laresia Farrington had nothing to report.
Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee representative Marshall Wade noted the Fall Community Meeting transcript had been forwarded to Michael Klein. He anticipated these responses would be ready soon.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest welcomed the incoming Delegates, saying she looked forward to working with them.
Regarding North Carolina Flex enrollment, Laurie reminded the assembly of the Vision Discount Program. This Program is free, but Flex enrollees must sign the form and send it back. The applicable plan can be used only at certain places for eye exams, fitting contacts, eyewear, etc. Laurie saw little reason not to sign up for the Program, but warned that the form must be submitted to receive the benefit.
In addition to the North Carolina Flex enrollment, the University is in the middle of its reenrollment period for the Fortis Dental Plan. The Fortis plan is not associated with the State plan.
Also, Employees currently enrolled in the Prudential Life Insurance program now have the opportunity to increase their insurance without proof of insurability if they do not currently have the maximum coverage. Only current Prudential participants would receive notice of this opportunity if they have eligibility to increase their coverage. Employees who think they should have received notice but did not should contact Human Resources; however, this is not a period of open enrollment into the Prudential plan.
There has been a historically inactive Statewide Classification Study for the Student Services area on System campuses. This Study affects a large number of Employees who work with students in different roles. Human Resources thinks the University needs this study badly in order to add qualifications in this area to reflect more accurately this aspect of campus work.
This Study began three or four years ago and was stalled by the ongoing debate over the definitions of EPA non-faculty versus SPA. However, in the last month, Human Resources has received a signed agreement and guidelines for defining instructional and research EPA non-faculty. This agreement was reached between General Administration and the Office of State Personnel. Laurie was encouraged by this agreement, but noted there are still shades of ambiguity regarding position definitions.
Along with this agreement came the allowance that no one currently classified as SPA or EPA non-faculty will be forced to change their status, even if their position under the new guidelines were to change status. An EPA non-faculty in a position to be classified as SPA can choose to become SPA or remain EPA, and vice versa. Laurie thought this meant there will be no negative impacts on current Employees affected by the new definitions.
Laurie knew little more about the change beyond the definitions at this point. There will be training sessions to help Human Resources interpret these guidelines. Guidelines on Human Resources Facilitators have been distributed, sent through administrative channels and are available from Laurie’s office.
The result of the agreement means that the Student Services Study is now active and moving. The Study was divided into three phases, and sidetracked in Phase 1. In that Phase, descriptions were gathered and interviews were done but nothing was implemented. The Office of State Personnel now will move quickly to finish Phase 1 and enter Phase 2 and 3. Laurie did not have a definite timeline but wished to inform the Forum that the University will move forward on this Study.
Rachel Windham asked if the University was able to influence what studies will be done. She felt that accounting technician positions are woefully neglected in these studies, while clerical and upper-level positions receive more attention. She thought these middle-level positions were always neglected and hoped that some study of these positions would be initiated. Laurie felt this was a good question and said the University could try to influence what is studied. In the past, Human Resources has asked that positions be studied when it saw problems in a particular area.
Rachel asked if the Forum felt that this group had been neglected. Helen Iverson thought that the Study had begun with the accounting technician group. The Chair inquired which year Helen had in mind, which led to the question of whether the Study had progressed through its cycle. Laurie thought there could have been a study of this area a long while ago, but such a study has not occured in her memory.
Kay Spivey was concerned that whenever Office of State Personnel corrects classifications for one group of Employees, there always seems to be another group that suffers in comparison. She wished the State could focus on an overall revamping or salary improvement for all Employees. Kay recognized that the In-Range Salary Adjustment Policy gave some opportunity for relief, though some departments are severely limited in implement of the Policy. Yet, she thought almost any group of Employees would have a case for reclassification. Kay thought the larger groups of Employees get the most attention. Smaller groups of Employees feel compressed because of these efforts to make corrections from above.
Laurie Charest agreed with Kay’s comments and recalled the efforts at reclassification a few years ago. This effort did not receive legislative approval to proceed. Laurie surmised that even the Office of State Personnel would agree with Kay’s thoughts. She thought the Office was trying to do the best it could within its statutory authority. While the piecemeal approach has caused difficulties, these minute changes were necessary to keep the entire enterprise afloat. The Office does not have the authority to redo the entire classification system, but understands the need for an overhaul. The choice becomes whether to make small, if disruptive improvements or to do nothing at all. Laurie did not know the right answer, noting that the Legislature has not been interested in action of this nature.
Laurie reported that a delegation from Human Resources had travelled to Morehead City to conduct two days of training with the Institute for Marine Services. In addition to her regular duties, Kathy Dutton made a command performance presentation on the Employee Forum.
Laurie offered her congratulations to Bobbie Lesane who recently completed the basic clerical skills program. She has been serving a clerical internship and has accepted a clerical position with the Physical Plant. The Forum gave her a warm round of applause.
George Sharp asked how many people have been nominated for each office. Dianne Crabill replied that there have been two nominations for each office. These offices are: Chair (Ann Hamner); Vice-Chair (Kay Spivey); and Secretary (Dianne Crabill). The Forum Assistant serves as Recording Secretary.
Michael Klein was glad to note that there were several Transportation and Parking Employees newly elected to the Forum. He said also that Transportation and Parking offices would answer their phone as “Public Safety,” which includes University Police and Transportation and Parking, under the leadership of Don Gold. Finally, Swain lot has been opened and the department has secured a few more parking spots with the cooperation of OWASA in the Watertower lot.
Nancy Tannenbaum noted that the Public Affairs Committee minutes listed the prospective date for Legislative Day as February 2. She asked whether this should be February 5. The Chair thanked Nancy for her clarification.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Marshall Wade made this motion, with Sue Morand seconding. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:08 a.m.