October 2, 2013
Employee Forum Agenda
9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Special Presentations
- Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor of Chapel Hill
Mark Kleinschmidt is mayor of Chapel Hill. Before that he served two terms on the Chapel Hill Town Council beginning in 2001. His election in 2001 made him one of five openly gay North Carolinians elected in state history, and he is Chapel Hill’s first openly gay mayor. He has served on various committees, including his chairing of the Council Economic Development Committee and the Council Communications Committee. Kleinschmidt was president of the ACLU Board of Directors from 2008-2009. (Daily Tar Heel)
- Ellie Kinnaird, former state Senator
Eleanor G. ‘Ellie’ Kinnaird is a North Carolina politician who served as a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state’s 23rd Senate district from January 1997 until her resignation in 2013. Her district included constituents in Orange and Chatham counties. She served as mayor of Carrboro from 1987 to 1996. (Wikipedia)
IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
V. Approval of September Minutes
VI. Old Business
- Election of UNC System Staff Assembly Representatives
VII. New Business
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Bylaws Committee: Rotating Chair
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Shelby Long/Arlene Medder
- Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
- Education and Career Development: Lois Douglass-Alston/Matt McKirahan
- Membership & Assignments: Paula Goodman (September minutes)
- Recognition & Awards: Michael Highland
- Personnel Issues: James Holman (September minutes)
- Compensation & Benefits: Shelby Long
- Legislative Action: David Fraley
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Yvonne Dunlap
- UNC System Staff Assembly: John Gullo/Koyah Rivera/Charles Streeter
- Executive Committee: Charles Streeter (July minutes)
October 2, 2013 Employee Forum minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Dan Barmmer, Nancy Beach, Jo-Ann Blake, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Lois Douglass-Alston, Yvonne Dunlap, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Paula Goodman, Christine Greenberg, John Gullo, Melissa Haugh, Michael Highland, James Holman, George James, Karen Jenkins-Cheek, Shelby Long, Jackie Overton (ex-officio), Avia Mainor, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Aluoch Ooro, Christopher Powe, Myra Quick, Kathy Ramsey, Christina Rodriguez, Anna Schwab, David Schwartz, Charles Streeter, Clifton Webb
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. He noted that he had been asked to videotape the day’s meeting. He urged delegates to pick up the Forum’s monthly book selection, “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader,” from the Bull’s Head Bookshop. He was proud to welcome guests, among them former delegate Faith Thompson, now Town of Chapel Hill Ombudsperson.
The Chair introduced the Mayor of Chapel Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt. Kleinschmidt recalled his start at the University and his ascension to the Town Council in 2001, at the age of 30. He ran for Mayor and won in 2009 and won again in 2011. He will run unopposed in 2013. He said that Chapel Hill faces challenges it has never faced before with the last recession. He noted the outrageous cost of housing in Chapel Hill. He noted that the Town had decided to limit its growth to avoid the sprawl that has plagued so many other American towns. He noted that employees of the Town and University generally cannot afford to live here. He said that the Town is able to require developers to put money into a home trust to support affordable housing given the Town’s popularity as a place to live. Kleinschmidt said that the economy has made it more difficult for people to obtain large loans. He also said that the Town must work to make rentals affordable in Town, but noted that State law keeps the Town from capping rents. He described a quid pro quo arrangement with private developers to depress rental costs in newer developments. This arrangement is more difficult to obtain with older homes.
Kleinschmidt said the Town will benefit from a new Housing and Urban Development’s new funding formula that will take into account transit provisions. He said that the Town is a large provider of affordable housing. He said that if Chapel Hill can attract private investment it can make its housing stock more diverse and increase the overall quality of life in the Town. Tammy Cox asked about Section 8 housing. Kleinschmidt said that this program provides rental assistance to those who qualify. He said that he hoped that Section 8 could reduce the isolation and segregation of public housing developments in Chapel Hill. He pointed to developments like Larkspur which have blended full-price and affordable housing in one area. He noted that 15% of the units in Greenbridge are affordable housing, meaning that newcomers must integrate with this population when moving in there. David Schwartz asked about switching to a progressive property tax. Kleinschmidt said that Chapel Hill cannot discriminate with its tax rate unless the State of North Carolina gives it the power to do so. He was proud that Chapel Hill’s property tax rate remains smaller than Durham’s, while noting Orange County tax rates and the separate tax for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. Lois Douglass-Alston asked about a lower sense of safety and community in Chapel Hill. Kleinschmidt said that things change in Chapel Hill historically and would continue to do so. He said that the Town’s transient population has been supplemented by the ease of travel for workers from surrounding communities. He noted the rise of a population that lives in Chapel Hill only for four years, only long enough to have children attend the local good schools and obtain admission to top colleges. He said that the Town is reaching out to this population as well as upwards of 15-20,000 others in a recent engagement effort. Tammy Cox asked to what Kleinschmidt attributed his success. Kleinschmidt said that he had been able to build from success to success after initially lobbying for pedestrian improvements near the Law School. He said now his work is as natural as riding a bicycle.
The Chair introduced retired state Senator Ellie Kinnaird. Kinnaird praised Kleinschmidt’s remarks. She recalled the changes Chapel Hill and Carrboro have undergone since she moved here in 1964. She worked at UNC for eleven years and was elected mayor of Carrboro in 1987. She was elected state senator in 1997, and recently retired in the wake of the GOP ascension in 2013. She noted the determination of the GOP majority to obtain its goals after 104 years of Democratic control. She bemoaned initiatives opposing gay marriage and abortion rights, and reductions in unemployment benefits. She also noted the federal lawsuit against the State with regard to its recently created voting law. She said that there are two disparate streams of the law that impact minorities, namely the elimination of straight party voting and the reduction of early voting hours. Kinnaird said that straight party voting allows voters to support candidates who share their general values without knowing their candidates’ particular names. She said that the voter ID law will not allow students to vote with their campus-issued identifications. All of these changes negatively impact minority and Democratic voting populations. She noted problems with requiring automobile licenses of elderly voters. She also noted problems with provisional ballots not counting given current law.
Kinnaird cited the impact of GOP gerrymandering of electoral districts following Democratic gerrymandering. She said that the 1965 Voting Rights Act requires that districts be compact and be composed of a community of interest. She said that Congressman David Price’s district has been changed from the Triangle to stretch from Fayetteville to Burlington. She said that she was working on simple, non-partisan ways to increase voting, via directing people to their correct precincts and preparing them to resist voting challenges.
The Chair introduced Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Malone reminded listeners about the October 17 UNC-Miami football game. She said that University offices will not close early that day but employees will have the chance to make other arrangements to avoid traffic. Malone also urged employees to participate in the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares program. She recalled that the University raised $890,000 of its $1 million goal in 2012. She asked the Forum to embrace the campaign and show the power of giving to others. On October 18, Human Resources will host the University’s Employee Appreciation Day from 9-3 p.m. She noted that the event will serve breakfast and lunch, and the Bull’s Head Bookshop will provide discounts for purchases that day. There will be a departmental fair inside the Great Hall of the Student Union and the State Health Plan will have an enrollment bus parked in front of Wendy’s on South Road.
Concerning the federal governmental shutdown, Vice Chancellor Malone said that the University is prepared for the shutdown. She noted communications from Provost Dean on the subject earlier in the week. She hoped that the University could minimize the impact of a short-term shutdown, but said that some areas would be affected. John Gullo asked about volunteering for the Employee Appreciation Fair. Malone said that interested employees could access benefits.unc.edu for more information. She said that information did go out via the Human Resources officers. Christine Greenberg asked about the possibility of shortened work weeks or pay cuts related to the federal shutdown. Malone said that these things could occur but that the University is generally able to deal with a short-term shutdown. She said that federal funding of research will see some impact but the goal will always be to minimize that impact upon operations and employees. Malone asked employees to attend Employee Appreciation Day, noting how important it is to say thank you to University staff.
Director of Benefits Ashley Nicklis showed a video detailing the process of annual enrollment in the State Health Plan and NC Flex Benefits programs. Subscribers to the 80/20 State plan should designate a primary health care provider, take a health assessment, and make a tobacco attestation in order to save on premiums. She noted that the State will provide a vision wellness benefit, and there will now be a rate reduction in critical illness insurance premiums. Christine Greenberg asked about a depiction of services lost under the State plan from last year. Nicklis said that these comparisons are on the back of the SHP booklet, and that benefits under the 70/30 plan will not change. Deductions, coinsurance, and copayments will not change this year. An employee asked about changes to retiree benefits. Nicklis said that retirees should log in to their benefits through the ORBIT site. Chris Meinecke asked about a side-by-side comparison of non-medical benefits. Anna Schwab asked about Medicare Advantage plans.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the September meeting. James Holman made this motion, seconded by Tiffany Carver. The motion was approved with four abstentions.
The Chair called for a motion to elect the University’s representatives to the UNC System Staff Assembly. Matt McKirahan said that this election must take place via secret ballot, according to the Forum bylaws. The Forum elected Michael Highland to the 3-year position, James Holman to the 2-year position, and Clifton Webb to the alternate position.
There was no new business.
Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Campus Community Garden was experiencing great success in finding volunteers and distributing produce. The Garden will seek help from NC State students to construct a solar-powered greenhouse.
It was reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee had begun its work on the monthly book selection program. The Forum will host Professor Malinda Lowery in November to speak on her book regarding the Lumbee Nation and the Jim Crow era.
Lois Douglass-Alston reported that the Education and Career Development program went over the laptop loaner program. The committee hopes to make recommendations to the Executive Committee for distribution of the Staff Development fund for scholarships.
Paula Goodman of the Membership & Assignments committee said that group will provide light refreshments before the November 6 meeting of the Forum. The committee will host a pot-luck social at the December 4 meeting of the Forum and will host an event before the March, 2014 meeting to mark the Forum’s founding. The Chair recalled the success of the December social two years ago. He looked forward to this chance to socialize and enjoy fellowship as the holiday season begins.
Michael Highland of the Recognition & Awards committee reported that the group was working on a location and date for the peer recognition award ceremony. He hoped to make participation in this process broader across campus.
Yvonne Dunlap of the Personnel Issues committee said that the group had met with ADA Officer Rudy Jones and Senior Director for Classification and Compensation Jessica Moore at its most recent meeting. The committee heard discussion of career banding, which has become a stagnant issue in employee retention given budgetary restrictions. It was found that employees must apply for higher level positions in order to move up at the University. Shelby Long characterized career banding as a very complicated subject which was becoming like a dead horse. Anna Schwab raised the question of EPA banding. Brenda Malone said that UNC was instituting a classification structure for SAO2s which has been approved by the Board of Governors. These broad bands are available on the web and this change puts in a classification structure where before there was none. She said that Vice Chancellor for Research Barbara Entwisle has been involved in these classifications.
The Chair noted discussions in the Executive Committee approving creation of a new Forum brochure and logo. The committee will receive final proofs for consideration by October 14. He hoped the new logo would be ready for distribution at the Employee Appreciation Fair October 18 in some form. The Chair noted the need to submit a Staff Development fund budget to the Chancellor annually. He said that the committee had worked to create this budget. The Chair reminded listeners about University Day October 12. He asked delegates to submit topics for the Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting October 10. He also noted that flu shots are being offered across campus. He asked delegates to wear their Forum shirts at Employee Appreciation Day October 18.
Ombuds officer Wayne Blair noted that his office has changed its physical location to the CVS Plaza building on the second floor in Suite 22. The space will now have a conference room in which to conduct meetings.
Aluoch Ooro asked for help in resolving a listserv question.
Myra Quick moved that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Tiffany Carver. The meeting was adjourned at 11:28 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary