October 4, 1995
Agenda — October 4, 1995
9:15 a.m.—Forum Group Photograph, Front Steps of Wilson Library
9:30 a.m.—Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests
III. Opening Remarks
•Chancellor Michael Hooker
IV. Employee Presentations—Scott Blackwood
- Fall Community Meeting Report
- Helen Iverson: SEANC 19 Gospel Sing
V. Approval of Minutes of the September 6, 1995 meeting P
VI. Chair’s Report: Rachel Windham
- Chancellor’s Discussions with Division 2 Delegates on Housekeepers’ Issues
- University Day October 12; Staff Processional
- Bill Bates Elected New Representative to Executive Committee from Division 2
- Congratulations to Interim Provost Dick Richardson
- Diversity Training Opportunity with Faculty Council
- Greetings from Staff Council at Appalachian State University
- UNC-Greensboro Interest in Creation of Forum
VII. Unfinished Business
- Consideration of Forum Guidelines Revisions (Included in September Packet)
- Employee Morale–Feedback on Homework Assignment–How Do We Address? Employee Fair Booth Survey P
- Salary Task Force Report/Charge Alteration P
VIII. New Business
- State Elimination of Priority Transfer Consideration for Layoff Employees P
- Suggestion from Liz Griffen to Extend Under Educational Assistance Program Tuition Assistance for Graduate Students
- Proposed Resolution Honoring Physical Plant, Others Who Fought Flood of August 27, 1995 P
- Proposed Special Presenters Chancellor Julius Chambers of North Carolina Central University on Economic and Social Distances on University Campuses; Lindsay Reeves, Director of Heels for Health on Feeling Better During the Working Day
IX. Committee/Task Force Reports
- Nominating—Scott Blackwood
Þ 1996 Election Results; Letters Sent Friday, September 29
- Orientation—Debi Schledorn
Þ Orientation October 18; Delegate Buddy System
Þ Reception for New Delegates at November Meeting
- Personnel Policies—Pat Staley
- Compensation and Benefits—Archie Lassiter/Tom Hocking P
Þ Dr.David Rubin Unable to Attend; Questions about Short-Term Disability Insurance to Nora Robbins of University Insurance Committee
Þ Consideration of Committee Recommendations on UIC
- Public Affairs—Delores Bayless
- Recognition and Awards—Ann Hamner
- University Committee Assignments—Libby Chenault
Þ Tommy Griffin Appointed to University Insurance Committee; Other University and State Committee Openings
- Career Development—Sharon Bowers P
Þ Motion Resubmitted for Training & Development Library; Ken Manwaring Available to Answer Questions After 10:15 a.m.
Þ Update on Concern about Lack of Evening Classes
- Salary Task Force—Delores Bayless/Trish Brockman
- Faculty Council Liaisons
- Partner Benefits—Linda Cook/Peter Schledorn
- Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington/Tom Hocking
- Land Use Planning—Ann Hamner
X. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
- Chilly Climate Discussion Group
- Forum Office On-Line Hookup Delayed
October 4, 1995
“ = Ex-Officio
Call to Order
Chair Rachel Windham called the meeting to order at 9:33 a.m. Several Delegates from Health Affairs indicated that they had not received agenda packets. Forum Assistant Matt Banks said that he had mailed the packets to all Delegates as usual on Thursday, with the non-Delegate packets sent out Friday morning. The Chair asked that any members not receiving their packets by Monday morning contact the Forum Assistant to obtain materials.
The Chair noted that in an effort to complete more business during the monthly meetings, she had rearranged the Forum agenda. Unfinished business, new business and committee reports would become early agenda items, and the Human Resources Update would move to the end. However, to accommodate an early departure by Laurie Charest at this meeting, Laurie would present the Human Resources Update prior to 11 a.m.
The Chair regretted that the weather did not allow the Forum photograph to be taken, but she hoped that Forum members would be available next month. She proposed rescheduling the photograph for 9:15 a.m. on November 1. Debi Schledorn noted that the Orientation Committee would hold its reception for new Delegates at 9 a.m., and she worried about a conflict. The Chair asked if members preferred to have the photograph taken after the November meeting or possibly before the December. Delores Bayless supported following the November meeting. Debi Schledorn agreed, stating that there could be distribution problems if the picture is not taken until December.
The Chair worried that members who have to leave the meeting early would not have the opportunity to appear in the photograph if it took place after the November meeting. Members decided that the photograph should be taken after the meeting in November. (Note: The Executive Committee subsequently decided that, in order to accommodate the Chancellor being in the photograph, the photo shoot would have to be scheduled for 9:15 a.m. November 1 outside the Wilson Library Assembly Room.)
The Chair introduced Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff Elson Floyd, acting in the Chancellor’s stead, to give opening remarks. Dr. Floyd commented that the Chancellor had been present earlier for the Forum photograph, but was unable to stay because of pressing business.
Dr. Floyd shared that he was not sure that there were particular items on which the Forum might be updated, but reiterated that it was vitally important that the Forum and the Chancellor stay in close contact on activities of mutual concern. He referred to ongoing discussions that had taken place between the Chancellor and the housekeepers which involved Forum Delegates and other Employees. Dr. Floyd felt that these meetings had gone well and hoped that after the final October 10 meeting, the Administration could announce a proposal to attend to expressed housekeeper concerns.
In addition, Dr. Floyd reported a flurry of activity in his office concerning his recent statement that the administrative needs of the University require a more integrated information systems approach. This approach will link the administrative and academic needs which, contrary to some opinions, must cooperate in order to make the campus more effective. He said he had the same resolve that he did a few weeks ago when he made this statement about the need for system integration carried out in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Dr. Floyd said that this issue will remain a priority issue for him and the institution.
Margaret Balcom asked whether there are plans to expand Career Development needs for all Employees, noting the current talk about expanding opportunities for the housekeepers. Dr. Floyd answered that the Administration is trying to get a sense of the issues of concern to the housekeepers. He recalled speaking before the University Development Group and hearing a similar question as to what the institutional commitment might be for retraining Employees who pursue advancement. He asserted that the Chancellor and Human Resources are committed to this task, making sure that they “create the best work environment, not only for what people are doing right now, but what they will do in the future.” Dr. Floyd surmised that initiatives created for the housekeepers will be extended to other Employees whenever possible and practical.
Dee Marley asked what mechanism, such as a committee or task force, the Administration would use to integrate the informational needs on campus. Dr. Floyd answered that these mechanisms have not yet been devised, noting that traditionally these areas have been distinct. His approach will integrate administrative and academic needs in a horizontal way. Dr. Floyd asserted that he will work to involve all those affected as much as possible in decisions that will impact them.
Noting that the Forum had a full agenda, Dr. Floyd concluded his remarks, stating that he would be glad to prepare “very good answers” to particular questions submitted in advance of his remarks. He said that he would provide as much information as he had on questions, getting back to the Forum and its Executive Committee when he can provide further information. In responding to correspondence, Dr. Floyd said his writing style is short and to the point. He thanked the Forum for an opportunity to address them in the Chancellor’s behalf. The Chair asked if Dr. Floyd could share his e-mail address with the group, and he said he would provide it soon.
Scott Blackwood thanked Employee Presentations Committee members Laresia Farrington, Leon Hamlett, Kathy Dutton, Sue Morand, Evie McKee and Nora Robbins for their work on the September 28 Fall Community Meeting with Chancellor Hooker and for their work on the Spring Community Meeting. He thanked Rachel Windham for her remarks at the meeting and thanked the Committee for their fine work in organizing the programs. In addition, he thanked Chancellor Hooker for his inspiring remarks concerning the future of the University and its Employees.
Scott introduced Helen Iverson to give an Employee Presentation. Helen announced that in response to Chancellor Hooker’s suggestion that the University become more involved with the community, SEANC District 19 would hold a “Gospel Fest” composed of the University Choir and other regional choirs brought together in fellowship to raise money for the District and its scholarship fund. Each year, SEANC presents scholarships to State Employees’ dependents. The tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children and $7 at the door. The occasion will be a chance for good fellowship, good music and the chance to meet people across the State. In addition, money raised will fund the District’s Volunteer Action Committee which purchases food baskets and gift certificates for needy families at Christmas. Those unable to attend could purchase tickets in advance to be eligible for a television door prize. Helen hoped that members who could not attend would purchase tickets as a donation. The “Gospel Fest” will be October 15 at 4 p.m. in the Mayco-Bigelow Recreation Center, A49 Sharp Road in Burlington.
Approval of the Minutes of September 6, 1995 Meeting
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the September meeting. Tom Hocking made such a motion, with Scott Blackwood seconding. Delores Bayless said that “Laurie Casile’s” name on page 5 should be spelled Lori Casile and asked that the minutes be amended to reflect this change. The Forum voted unanimously to approve the minutes as amended.
The Chair reported that she and the Division 2 Delegates met with Chancellor Hooker and Chief of Staff Elson Floyd on the housekeepers issue. She felt there was good discussion and some good points brought out and thought that if the other meetings were similar in tone, there should be some improvement in the concerns expressed by housekeepers. She asked if anyone else would like to make a comment on the discussions or the housekeepers issue. No one did, so she moved to the next item.
For the University Day Staff Processional, the Chair reported that the Installation Committee had received the names of 173 Employees from the Deans, Directors and Department Heads. The Chair, Margaret Balcom and University Managers’ Association Committee Chair Gwen Gardner made the decision to recruit current Forum Delegates and members of the UMA for the processional. After much effort, thirty-two Delegates would process and several members of the UMA Board. She encouraged processing Delegates to report to Carroll Hall on time (10 a.m.) on October 12.
Recalling that Jon Thomas had recently left the Forum, the Chair announced that Division 2 had selected Bill Bates to take Jon’s place on the Executive Committee. She said that the Committee looked forward to working with Bill.
The Chair noted that Interim Provost Dick Richardson would extend his role of Interim Provost until July 1997. She was delighted that he would stay in the position one year beyond his initial commitment and praised his concern and interest in Employee issues, adding that she thought there may not be a better person speaking on behalf of Employees than Dick Richardson. The Chair encouraged members to write the Provost to congratulate him on his extended appointment.
In conjunction with the Faculty Council, the Employee Forum will hold Diversity Training Workshops on these dates:
Tuesday, October 31
3 p.m. until 9 p.m.
at the Friday Center
Friday, November 3
9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
at the Carolina Club
Thursday, November 9
3 p.m. until 9 p.m.
at the Friday Center
Monday, November 13
3 p.m. until 9 p.m.
at the Friday Center
All workshops include lunch or dinner and will be conducted by Pat Fischer, Director of the Campus Diversity Training Project and member of the Campus NCBI Leadership Team. Any Forum or faculty member may register by contacting Laura Calamos, Campus Diversity Training Project, HPAA, CB# 7400, 966-7381, email@example.com. They ask that those interested register for all workshops by October 25. Jane Brown has said that the “more the merrier.” The Chair felt the training would be interesting and thought that the chance to train with the faculty could be particularly useful.
The Chair reported that Appalachian State University’s Staff Council had recently contacted the Forum through Human Resources. She was encouraged by such signs of life from other staff organizations on System campuses. Also, Brenda Crockett, chair of SEANC 19, reported to her that employees at UNC-Greensboro are also interested in starting an Employee Forum and might contact us seeking assistance and advice.
Forum Guidelines Revisions
The Chair noted that a revision of the Forum Guidelines was included in the September agenda packet, as per X. Amending the Guidelines “Recommendation for changes to the Employee Forum Guidelines must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Delegates present provided that the measure be given to Delegates in writing at least 28 days before the vote is taken.” She asked that Delegates consider the revised Guidelines.
In Section I and II, there were no changes proposed. In Section III. Participation, the sentence “Supervisors and managers shall support participation, including permitting necessary time off” changed to “Supervisors and managers shall support participation, including permitting necessary release time for Forum activities, including committee meetings.”
In this same section, the sentence beginning “All Employees are encouraged…” starts a separate paragraph. Also, this sentence is amended as follows:
“All Employees are encouraged to participate in Forum activities, with the following provisions:
- 1. Attendance and participation by Employees other than Delegates and First Alternates in the Forum’s Monthly Meetings is on a volunteer basis, is not reported as work time, and must not conflict with work assignments.
- 2. Participation in the Forum’s committee meetings by Employees other than Delegates and First Alternates is at the discretion of the individual Employee who must get support and approval from their supervisors to have this service treated as work time.
- 3. Attendance at the Forum’s semi-annual Community Meetings is considered work time for all Employees when the Meeting occurs during an Employee’s regular work schedule. However, Employees should receive approval from their supervisor in advance to attend the Community Meeting.
A new Section IV. Committee Service was added, with the following provisions:
Delegates are required to serve on at least one Forum committee. Alternates and other interested Employees are encouraged to serve on committees, but are not required to do so.
All Committees of the Forum will be reviewed by the Executive Committee when warranted, but at least biannually, to determine their continuing relevance. Committees judged no longer to have relevance will be brought before the entire Forum for a vote on possible discontinuance.
Ann Hamner asked if there were a way to check to make sure that all Delegates served on committees. The Chair replied that at the January Retreat all the Delegates signed up for at least one committee. She wondered whether the emphasis should be on the continuing service of Delegates. After the January Retreat, some Delegates have resigned and thereby have not maintained their commitment to committee work. Ann wondered if there could be some check to make sure Delegates are serving at mid-year. The Chair supported this idea and agreed to pass it along to the incoming Chair.
Section IV. Membership becomes Section V., and a new sentence is added to C. Alternates 2. Term in Office: “Upon changing electoral division, Alternates are required to notify the Forum Assistant and submit their resignation from the Forum.”
The Chair explained that the Executive Committee included this provision to insure proper succession of Alternates. This change, she said, seemed particularly necessary since there is less interaction with Forum Alternates than there is with Forum Delegates and First Alternates. Alternates have resigned from the University or changed division without informing the Forum, leading to problems with succession.
Also under Section V., a new subheading is added:
E. Honorary Delegates—The Forum may choose to bestow honorary Delegate status upon individuals as it sees fit, limiting itself to one individual honored per calendar year. Petition for such recognition shall be made by general resolution, with a two-thirds majority required for passage. Terms of the honorary membership are left to the discretion of the Forum; however, honorary Delegates are to be non-voting members of the Forum.
In Section VII. Election Procedure A. Nominating Committee, the word “elect” is changed to “select” in the first and third sentence.
In Section VII. B. 2. How Elected b. Alternates, “election committee” is changed to “Nominating Committee.”
Also in Section VII. a new subheading is added:
D. Special Elections–“In the event that any electoral division cannot fill each of its apportioned Delegate positions due to the resignation and/or termination of that division’s elected Delegates and Alternates, a special election shall be held to fill the vacant Delegate and Alternate positions. The Nominating Committee, in consultation with the remaining representatives of said division, is charged with initiating and conducting this special election in accordance with Section VII. Election Procedure B. Election of Delegates/Alternates.
- 1. Initiating–Up until September 1, the Nominating Committee shall initiate and complete the special election within eight (8) weeks of discovery that a division lacks its full complement of Delegates. Discovery is defined as when the division loses its full complement of Delegates, i.e. the date when the relevant Delegate resigns or is terminated from the Forum. The Secretary, as the Chair of the Nominating Committee, signals when a special election is required and sets the date by which it must be completed.
- 2. After September 1 of each year, if it is discovered that there are vacant Delegate positions, the Forum shall determine whether a special election will be held by a simple majority vote in its monthly meetings. If the vote is affirmative, the above procedure shall be followed; otherwise, the affected positions will remain unfilled until the beginning of the next term in January of the next year.
Heading D. Election of Officers is retitled heading E. to accommodate the new section, with the following changes:
In Section VII. D. 2. Nominations, the first two sentences of this section are changed as follows: “The Nominating Committee shall present a slate of nominees for each office at the December meeting and further nominations may be made from the floor for each office at the time of the election in January. A call for nominations will be made at the November meeting. The Nominating Committee shall send a letter to continuing and new Delegates soliciting nominations before the November meeting.”
In the same section, new paragraphs follow: “Those nominees who have their names submitted to the Nominating Committee at or before the November meeting should submit a biographical sketch in the appropriate format for distribution to voters. This sketch shall not exceed 100 words and shall deal only with the qualifications, achievements and ideas of the candidate. Characterizations or criticisms of other candidates or factions, by name or implication, shall not be allowed. The Nominating Committee shall pass judgment as to the fitness of all submitted sketches, insuring that all are in compliance with the required format.
All sketches shall be forwarded to the Forum Office for inclusion in the agenda packet preceding the January meeting. Sketches shall be presented in alphabetical order by office, with no sketch given favored status. .
Nominations from the floor will be possible at the time of election in January. Nominees must agree to accept their nomination. At the time of nomination, the nominator or the nominees may present verbal biographical sketches which comply in format to the established biographical sketch format submitted by written nominees.”
The Executive Committee created these changes, the Chair explained, in response to criticism that Delegates needed more information about candidates before they could vote. The longer process and the biographical sketches should give Delegates more time to get to know candidates for Forum offices. Margaret Balcom felt that these changes were good ideas, but asked if they would more appropriately fall under the Nominating Committee’s own Guidelines or its Standard Operating Procedures. She thought that these changes were unnecessary additions to the Guidelines. The Chair responded that there was some concern that the Forum’s rapid membership changes may undermine accurate transfer of this information over the years, and that there was a need to document the information for reference in the future.
Margaret asked if these ideas should not go into the Nominating Committee’s Guidelines instead. Scott Blackwood, Chair of the Nominating Committee, answered that he had received general information and correspondence from the previous Chair, but there were no formal Guidelines for that Committee. Chair Rachel Windham posited that some Committees may be more conscientious than others in passing on materials and advice to future committee chairs.
Dee Marley offered that this issue would be a good one for next year’s Nominating Committee to address in future creation of that Committee’s Guidelines. She thought since there will be a need for formal Guidelines for that Committee, these provisions could stay in the Forum’s Guidelines until they can be moved into the Nominating Committee’s Guidelines. Scott Blackwood thought that even if some of this information is removed, there should be some information left in the Guidelines about the timing of the election process. Dee indicated that her suggestion was to shift only the biographical sketch clauses to the Nominating Committee Guidelines.
In Section VII. D. 4. Election, the first sentence is revised: “Elections shall be by written ballot at the January meeting. Each candidate shall have the chance to make a few remarks, not to exceed three minutes, on their own behalf.”
The Chair said that these changes were to allow candidates a chance to campaign on their own behalf. Ned Brooks asked if a three-minute-per-candidate rule would take too much time from the January meeting. The Chair responded that typically there have been no more than two candidates for each office. Even if more spoke, the three minute rule seemed necessary to allow all candidates adequate time to present their “platforms.”
In Section VIII. Operating Procedure E. 3. Resignation, “In the event the Delegate….” is replaced by “In the event any Delegate….”
In Section VIII. Operating Procedure E. 4. Change in Delegate Information, the words “Chair or” are deleted.
The above changes are replicated in Section VIII. F. 3 & 4.
The Chair reminded Committee Chairs that they are responsible for submittal of their Annual Reports for the December agenda packet.
In Section XI. Officers A.Chair, the first sentence is revised to read, “The Chair is responsible for conducting Forum meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee.”
In Section XI. B. Vice-Chair, the second sentence is revised to read, “He or she shall serve as chair of the Employee Presentation Committee, including the two Community meetings.”
In Section XI. C. Secretary, the last sentence is deleted and replaced by, “The Secretary shall serve as chair of the Nominating Committee and shall issue all warnings and terminations resulting from non-compliance with attendance policies.”
The Executive Committee suggested these changes to the Vice-Chair and Secretary’s responsibilities to reflect the evolution of these two offices. The Vice-Chair seemed overly burdened, chairing two active committees, while the Secretary’s work had diminished due to the shifting of some administrative responsibilities to the Forum Assistant.
In Section X. Elected Committees A. Nominating, in the first sentence, the word “elected” is replaced by “selected.” The committee’s chair will be the Forum’s Secretary, in place of the Vice Chair.
Margaret Balcom suggested that the title of Section X. Elected Committees be changed because of revisions to this section. She noted that the Charter Members included these Committees to underscore their importance and, by implication, allow for creation and dissolution of other committees when necessary. Mona Couts suggested “Administrative Committees” as the title for Section X., a suggestion which the Forum approved.
In Section X. B. Executive Committee, the words “executive committee” in the first sentence are capitalized. Also, this sentence appends the same section: “In the event that such a representative leaves the Forum before the end of their term, the remaining Delegates from that division shall select from their number a new representative to the Executive Committee.”
Dianne Crabill made a motion to approve the Guidelines as revised and amended. Delores Bayless seconded this motion. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously. The Chair thanked members for their perseverance in considering this issue.
Employee Morale—Feedback on Homework Assignment—How Do We Address? Employee Fair Booth Survey
The Chair noted the expressed desire that consideration of Employee morale issues incorporate the results of the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Survey. She referred members to the summary of the Fair Booth Survey results and opened the floor for discussion.
Tom Hocking pointed out that while Employees generally know who their representatives are, they seem, by a margin of 205 to 16, very reluctant to stand for election. Tom inferred that Employees may have heard that Forum service is very hard and stated that he personally did not find Forum work onerous. He thought the Forum may need to sell itself to encourage more Employees to get involved in a spirit of volunteerism.
Dee Marley reported that, in the course of confirming candidates, the Nominating Committee had received a wide range of responses concerning Forum service. Some candidates were anxious to campaign while others needed convincing and others flat out refused to run. In any event, the required time commitment for committee work always seemed to be a problem. Others who thought that the Forum did not do anything, the Nominating Committee persuaded with evidence, but time constraints always would hinder Forum service.
The Chair thought that if the Forum sends a message that all the Forum members do is sit in boring meetings, maybe there should be some self-analysis. Peggy Cotton thought that Employees did not know what the Forum was about or who served. They may think that the Forum takes up a lot of time, but does not do anything. This misconception she thought may arise because the Forum is not visible enough. The Chair asked what the Forum could do about this problem, stating there were only twelve Forum members at the Spring Community Meeting and twenty-three at the Fall Meeting with the Chancellor. She asked how many Delegates worked the Employee Fair Booth (around ten Delegates responded that they had). She agreed that the Forum may not be visible enough, but felt that every member should own that problem.
Peggy Cotton suggested running group photographs in the Daily Tar Heel and the University Gazette. Margaret Balcom responded that she has covered the Forum in the Gazette almost every week, to the point that she has been criticized for including too much about the Forum. Peggy thought that Employees could identify individual faces better than names. Margaret replied that this would be a good idea except that the Gazette must cut space and also has the Faculty Council and the Board of Trustees to consider. She felt that members must do a better job of communicating the work of the Forum to the campus. Further, she thought that the Annual Report would be a good way to summarize what the Forum does to help the University. The Report would help to rebut naysayers as well.
The Chair agreed this was a good idea, stating that when she had to speak at the January Retreat she had gained much by reviewing the monthly minutes. Yet, at the Retreat she was “preaching to the choir.” She hoped to compile the highlights of the Annual Report which could perhaps be available on-line and elsewhere. However, this effort could not combat members’ negativity about Forum time commitments. She asked that Delegates consider the message they might be sending.
Sharon Cheek shared that a listing of Forum accomplishments composed in monthly minutes and the Annual Report and distributed via e-mail may not reach many Employees, since many may not have time to read their e-mail during their busy days. She proposed that the Forum create an annual newsletter summarizing highlights and accomplishments. Mona Couts agreed, saying that a campus-wide newsletter could list or picture Delegates and increase the Forum profile. Tom Hocking suggested that this newsletter be included as an insert to the Gazette, but others thought a separate mailing would have more impact.
Margaret Balcom worried that Employees receive too much mail already, proposing that the Forum add this newsletter to the nomination letter or some other campus-wide mailing. The Chair said that the letter soliciting nominations cost $1,623. She cautioned members against adding the cost of another mailing to the Forum expenses. Sue Morand asked if the Forum could send a letter to Directors, Deans and Department Heads asking them to post the newsletter where all could see it, along with all Forum members posting it as well. The Chair asked if members could “borrow” half a page of a department or school newsletter for Forum news, thus reducing costs to the Forum.
Marshall Wade asked if the Forum could start a food drive for Thanksgiving or Christmas as a means of raising visibility. The Chair thought that would be a good idea, but recalled that when Jim Peacock was chair of the Faculty Council he was told that the Council should reconsider its work with Habitat for Humanity because the Council was a University-sanctioned organization and there might be some liability issues. She said she was not absolutely sure that was the case, but she would check on whether the Forum as a University-sanctioned body can participate in certain activities. Ann Hamner felt this reason was correct based on her work with Carolina Campus Cares, though she could not quote a specific law. Her group always had to work as just a group of concerned private citizens, not a University body. The Chair said she would check into the issue.
Peggy Cotton returned to the newsletter, wondering if it could be produced just for Chairs, Directors and Department Heads asking that they copy it and post it in their offices as a way to reduce printing and mailing costs. Delores Bayless suggested Human Resources Facilitators as another group that could effectively distribute the newsletter. Pamela Shoaf warned that many Chairs may not be dependable in distributing these newsletters throughout their departments and schools.
While not dismissing the large expense a mailing would entail, Ned Brooks thought that campus-wide awareness of the Forum’s work was essential to its overall mission and effectiveness. Accordingly, Ned proposed a one page newsletter with bullets describing what the Forum has done, detailing what it is working on and asking what Employees would like it to do in the future. Then, if an Employee says, “I don’t know what the Forum does,” one can respond, “Well, we’ve told you all that we do,” in a very succinct newsletter.
LaBron Reid thought that the Forum Highlights would go very well with the annual Nomination forms, combining printing costs while informing prospective candidates and voters about the Forum’s accomplishments.
Dee Marley thought that this idea could dovetail with the work of convenors of the different Forum divisions. She suggested that convenors consider this idea in the next year’s work. The Chair asked how many convenors had convened their groups. Two convenors replied that they had convened or tried to convene their divisions.
Sue Morand underscored the point that a newsletter would let Employees know that someone is working on their behalf. Just this knowledge can do much to improve morale by reducing the feeling of powerlessness some Employees feel. If Employees can see what is being done and know they have a conduit for problems they face and are frustrated by, they may be less distracted by these daily problems and more able to do their best work. The Chair agreed, yet she still worried about the low number of Employees willing to run for Delegate positions.
Human Resources Update
The Chair asked permission of the Forum to shift the agenda to allow Laurie Charest to give her report, allowing her to depart at 11 a.m. The Forum agreed to this change.
In its second venture outside Raleigh, the State Personnel Commission will meet October 5 at North Carolina A&T University. (Chapel Hill was its first undertaking away from home.) Laurie Charest reported that the In-Range Salary Adjustment is on the agenda and should be passed, though there was no way to say for certain. If it is approved, Human Resources will begin its work on creating a campus policy. No campus policy, she emphasized, will take effect before the State policy’s date of June 1, 1996. This lag time will give Human Resources several months to consider the many issues and “to involve lots of people in that process.”
Also, Laurie reminded the Forum that the new Discipline and Dismissal policy went into effect October 1. She said that a memorandum went out describing the policy, and Human Resources Facilitators also will be available to detail the policy and answer questions in the departments.
In the absence of further questions, Laurie ended her report. The Chair thanked her for working with the Forum to accommodate its newly arranged agenda.
Salary Task Force Report/Charge Alteration
Returning to Unfinished Business, the Chair reminded the Forum that at the September meeting it had tabled the issue of whether to alter the Task Force’s initial charge and accept recommendations. Having had time to consider possible recommendations as detailed in the July 18, 1995 Executive Committee minutes, the Forum considered whether to accept the Task Force’s original report as written, or to ask the Task Force to submit a second report including recommendations.
Delores Bayless and Tom Hocking said that they supported allowing the Task Force to present its recommendations. Debi Schledorn asserted that the Task Force has put in the time to know the issue’s background and, thus, should have the authority to provide recommendations for further action.
The Chair asked if the Forum would support a meeting between the Salary Task Force, Laurie Charest and the Executive Committee at which issues would be clarified and recommendations formulated to bring back to the Forum. The Executive Committee had earlier planned to proceed in this fashion before the issue of the Task Force charge arose.
Ann Hamner moved that the Forum change the charge of the Salary Task Force to allow it to present recommendations to the Forum. Laresia Farrington seconded this motion. In the absence of further discussion, this motion was approved unanimously.
Trish Brockman moved that the Executive Committee convene the Salary Task Force and Laurie Charest to finalize recommendations which would then be referred to the entire Forum for its consideration. Kathy Dutton seconded this motion. There was no further discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously. The Chair said the Executive Committee would move with great dispatch to get on the calendars of those involved to facilitate closure on the issue by year end.
State Elimination of Priority Transfer Consideration for Layoff Employees
The Chair recalled recent Human Resources reports which detailed a change to the State’s layoff policy that would eliminate priority status for layoff Employees above other State Employees. She noted that there had been no objection on the floor when this idea was presented, but then she had received many complaints about the policy from University Employees. Laurie Charest pointed out that this change was a statutory one, and thus was not brought to the Forum for its approval. She said that this was one of the last minute policy changes the State Policy Commission had enacted. Human Resources had reported the change strictly as an informational item. The Chair thanked Laurie for her clarification.
The Chair returned to a letter from Jack Stone which detailed the elimination of the priority status layoff Employees. She asked what the sentiments of the Forum were on working with Human Resources for or against the new State policy. Laurie Charest noted that there has been much opposition Statewide to this new policy change and that it was important for the Forum now to speak on the policy change as there are proposals to change it in the next year.
Helen Iverson said that she was for the change, noting that many applications sent to supervisors from the layoff pool seemed irrelevant and forwarded names of individuals unable to do the job. Supervisors hiring have to spend time justifying not hiring many of these underqualified Employees. The Chair felt that this change did not alter that, saying that she thought anyone laid off from the University would no longer have precedence over an Employee from another State agency.
Laurie Charest replied, “That’s partially correct. There are two things the legislation did. One, it raised the priority of layoffs from other places, other than this campus, equal to the priority for this campus’ layoff candidates. The second thing it did is to reduce the priority of all layoffs to exactly the same priority as current State Employees have when they apply for a job, which effectively means that the RIF [Reduction in Force] priority system is gone. The priority that they have is if they were still in their job, as if they were still a State Employee. They do not have the priority that they used to have, which was, if they could do the job, they got it, they did not have to be the best qualified. So now a RIF Employee would have to be the best qualified if there were any other State Employees in the pool. If there are no other State Employees in the applicant pool, then they can get the job, but if there are any current State Employees in the pool then, they must meet the best qualified test, instead of what previously had been the ability to perform the job.”
Essentially, the Chair reiterated, the candidate competes with layoff candidates from all State agencies. Laurie said that was true, “and everybody who is not in layoff status but are current State Employees in the pool.”
Delores Bayless said that she knew layoff candidates trying to find work and support themselves and their families. She moved that the Forum oppose the legislative action. She further moved the Forum should work with the Legislature to restore the previous policy. Pamela Shoaf seconded the motion. Tom Hocking felt that this would be an issue to bring up with one’s local SEANC District, since it is a legislative item, and SEANC is a legislative lobbying body.
Dee Marley asked if the motion could include language acknowledging that the motion is not part of the Forum’s charge. The Chair answered that the motion could call attention to this concern through proper channels.
Laurie Charest said that in addition to the SEANC option, the Forum could forward its concerns to the Office of State Personnel. The Chair suggested a change to Delores’ language that the Forum would express formal opposition to the policy to Laurie Charest asking that she take whatever steps deemed appropriate to express the Forum’s concerns to those who might effect change.
Helen Iverson inquired about the initial rationale for the change in policy. Laurie Charest noted the complaints of long-term State Employees who, for example, may have waited for a job to come open for 5 years, but were denied opportunity when a RIF Employee received the job. These Employees felt unfairly treated in this process. In the process of addressing this problem, however, the process lost sight of the RIF Employees who, after all, do not have jobs. She surmised that those involved may not have given full consideration to the implications of the change. She thought there is reason to think about the first concern and balance it with the latter issue.
Peggy Cotton thought that the initial concept that RIF Employees should have priority altered when these Employees automatically“get the job as long as they can do it,” a minimal standard. She said that the language should change to allow hiring only when layoff candidates fit the job and have some basic background, not simply are only able to do the job. Many RIF candidates, she said, were put into jobs in which they have no background, just because the opening is there. These inappropriate placements, Peggy felt, are the source of controversy among other Employees who know they are qualified for the job. Peggy acknowledged that RIF Employees should receive priority in hiring, but should be considered and placed in jobs in which they sensibly fit.
The Chair expressed concern that the discussion had wandered and reminded Delegates that the focus was about priority status. Peggy replied that she was addressing Laurie Charest’s second point, the reduction in priority for all layoff candidates to the same level as all State Employees when applying for a job. The Chair felt that these were separate issues, that qualifications were different than priority status.
Delores Bayless asserted that such an individual would not be hired unless they met minimum qualifications for that job. The Chair seconded this point, saying that on a case-by-case basis if the RIF candidate can do the job, this was the philosophy of the program.
Ned Brooks said that he was of two minds on the issue, that there is a matter of equity for RIF Employees and long-time Employees waiting for a job. He thought that Peggy Cotton’s points were right on target. It is too simple and clean to give RIF Employees complete priority in hiring if they have only the minimum qualifications to do the job (the former policy) and it is too simple and inhumane to eliminate the priority pool for RIF candidates needing jobs altogether (the current policy). He felt that these options are at two extremes and sought some way to find a happy medium.
Margaret Balcom asked if the motion could be tabled until the Forum had a better idea of what it wanted from the policy. Since it seemed the Forum did not want to return to the old policy, she wondered if the Forum should send the issue to the Personnel Policies Committee for further exploration. Cheryl Ward stated that in her experience on search committees, she had seen applications which made her wonder, “why did they send this person?” The individual had minimal qualifications, but did not fit the job. She seconded Peggy Cotton’s concern about RIF candidate qualifications and hoped the Forum could find a middle ground on the issue.
Peter Scheldorn advanced that the Forum need not define what it thinks a better system would be in order to register its dissatisfaction with the current policy. He thought the body could separate the two issues, voicing its displeasure with the policy enacted while working on a better policy for the next legislative session. The Chair supported this idea and asked that the Forum act on the motion on the floor while keeping in mind the reservations expressed about the old policy.
Margaret Balcom asked if the motion could be amended to reflect the reservations included in the day’s discussion. She offered a friendly amendment: “the Forum is not in favor of the elimination of the RIF priority transfer pool, but feels that there needs to be additional changes to bring equity between layoff candidates and long-standing Employees.”
The Chair asked if Delores Bayless would accept this friendly amendment or would restate the motion to include the amendment. Cheryl Ward asked if the motion should be tabled until the next meeting. Delores responded that she did not wish to delay consideration of the motion, stating that too many issues seem to face delays before votes are called. She wished to have a decision on the matter and asked for action on her motion.
Ned Brooks felt there should be a vote on the current motion and then if members wished to pass another motion taking into consideration other revisions, they could afterwards. The Chair then called the question on the motion, “the Forum expresses formal opposition to the policy eliminating the priority transfer pool for Reduction in Force Employees and expresses this opposition to Laurie Charest, asking that she take whatever steps she deemed appropriate to express this sentiment at all appropriate levels.” Helen Iverson and Marshall Wade voted against the motion, with the rest of the Forum voting in favor. The motion passed.
The Chair then asked if there was a desire to consider a motion to consider alternatives and improvements to the current policy. Peter Schledorn asked to table this idea until a future meeting. Margaret Balcom suggested referring the issue for investigation by the Personnel Policies Committee and delaying debate until it could report. The Chair asked that the Personnel Policies Committee bring ideas for improving the current policy to the November Forum meeting for further discussion.
Suggestion from Liz Griffen to Extend Under Education Assistance Program Tuition Assistance for Graduate Students
The Chair referred to a question from Liz Griffin asking whether tuition assistance is available for Employees or dependents engaged in graduate studies. Ken Manwaring replied that this assistance is available to graduate students and said that he would communicate that fact to Ms. Griffen.
Proposed Resolution Honoring Physical Plant, Others Who Responded to the Flood of August 27, 1995
Forum Assistant Matt Banks read the proposed resolution (Attachment 1). He thanked Margaret Balcom and the University Gazette for the story which assisted the resolution’s creation. The Chair asked for a motion to approve the resolution. Ned Brooks made this motion, with Tom Hocking seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously. The Chair promised to pass the resolution along to the appropriate individuals.
Proposed Special Presenters Chancellor Julius Chambers of North Carolina Central University and Lindsay Reeves, Director of Heels for Health
The Chair reported that it has been suggested that the Forum invite Chancellor Julius Chambers of North Carolina Central University to speak on the social and economic distance between students, faculty and staff on University campuses, and Lindsay Reeves, Director of Heels for Health, to speak on feeling better during the working day. She asked whether the Forum supported inviting both, one or neither of these individuals to give special presentations at future meetings. The Forum voted to invite both Chancellor Chambers and Ms. Reeves to speak to the Forum.
Committee/Task Force Reports
Chair Scott Blackwood announced that the Nominating Committee had tabulated the ballots and mailed the letters to Employees who ran in the Forum’s 1996 elections. He distributed the list of the new Delegates and Alternates (Attachment 2). Scott encouraged current Forum members not to limit themselves to their own division in welcoming the new inductees.
On another note, Scott reported that he had a long list of individuals who ran, but were not elected to the Forum yet represent a wellspring of potential talent for Forum committees. He noted that even though these Employees may not be Forum members, they could help to make the Forum more efficient and responsive to Employee issues. He encouraged Delegates to contact these Employees who have a demonstrated interest in the Forum and encourage them to bring their ideas to Forum committees.
Scott announced that the Nominating Committee would distribute a form asking for nominations for Forum officers in the next weeks, with an aim at creating a slate for the December meeting. He encouraged members to begin thinking about prospective candidates to serve as officers for the next year or whether they would like to run. Members, he said, should not leave it up to others to decide who will lead the Forum in the new year. Scott felt that it is an honor to serve and hoped that there would be good representation in the future.
Scott Blackwood praised the Nominating Committee for its diligence in completing the 1996 election process. However, he did not praise the members individually since there was still work remaining. Committee members recruited nominees, phoned Employees, tracked down leads, counted ballots, composed letters and stuffed envelopes to finish the year’s election. He said this “tremendous job” was not yet complete.
The Chair asked how many phone calls Scott had received asking who had been elected to the Forum. Scott replied that he had received several calls, e-mails and visits to his office. The outcome of the election drew campus-wide interest, and by extension, interest in the Forum, Scott said. Scott felt that this enthusiasm belied the interpretation of the Forum’s survey. The Chair thanked Scott for his report and suggested that retiring Forum members could serve as mentors for those coming on board.
From the Orientation Committee, Chair Debi Schledorn noted that the Forum will host its formal Orientation for the incoming Delegates and First Alternates on October 18 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. in the Wilson Library Assembly Room. At that meeting, new members will learn about the origins, mission and responsibilities of the Forum, how to get comfortable speaking before a group using a microphone, how to reach consensus, how to use Forum notebooks efficiently, and how to represent the University and its Employees through Forum work. She gave current Delegates one last chance to provide advice on what they wished they had known when they became Forum members.
Debi said that the Committee would work to attract new members to investigate the Forum before their term formally begins. One way will be to hold a reception in their honor before the November 1 meeting at 9 a.m. She said that the Committee had investigated using Marriott or some other catering company, but was considering organizing the reception itself to save funds. She asked members to send any suggestions for the menu to her or any other member of the Committee. She also reported that there had been some planning for the January Retreat, but that effort was slowed pending approval of funds to support it.
Ann Hamner announced that in the next week, the Committee will match continuing Delegates with new ones in a buddy system. The Committee will assign buddies by letter, with more details to be revealed in the correspondence. She noted that this activity formalizes what Scott Blackwood had proposed at an earlier Forum meeting. Ann asked that every member work hard to make their buddy feel “warmly welcomed” to the Forum, giving them one more person that they will know when their duties formally begin.
The Chair praised the Committee’s work and progress. She asked if there were a way to identify the new members at the November reception. The Forum Assistant replied that he would create different nametags for the current and incoming Delegates and First Alternates (Classes of ‘95, ‘96, ‘97).
From the Personnel Policies Committee, Chair Pat Staley had nothing to report, but said the Committee soon would be busy investigating the State policy changes and the RIF priority pool discussed earlier.
Co-Chair Tom Hocking of the Compensation & Benefits Committee referred members to that committee’s minutes of September 13 concerning changes in the University’s short-term disability plan (the Blue plan) and the new Liberty Mutual Plan. After its meeting Compensation & Benefits forwarded recommendations to the Executive Committee for its consideration. One of these recommendations was to invite Dr. David Rubin, the Chair of the University Insurance Committee, to speak and answer questions before the Forum regarding circumstances surrounding the change and the possibility of reinstating the short-term plan.
Unfortunately, Tom reported, Dr. Rubin was unable to attend the October 4 meeting. In his place, Nora Robbins agreed to answer questions on the subject. Peggy Barber queried Nora about the perception that the University, not Jefferson-Pilot, was the instigator in discontinuing the short-term disability contract. Not knowing the source of Peggy’s information, Nora responded that Jefferson Pilot had terminated the contract both for business reasons and because the University had contracted with Liberty Mutual. She said that she had engaged in extensive negotiations with Jefferson-Pilot’s Executive Vice President Tom Euscebio to try to convince him to continue the contract, but with no success.
Nora Robbins was concerned that other sources of information regarding discontinuance of the plan were sharing inaccurate information. She noted that in prior deliberations about the plan, she was informed orally that if the University picked up the Liberty Mutual Plan, Jefferson Pilot would discontinue the Blue Plan (short-term disability). The White Plan would continue for Employees, although no new members would be allowed admittance.
Nora explained that the White Plan is a contract between an individual Employee and the insurance company. The University handles only the premiums and payroll deductions. The Blue Plan, however, was a pool plan, in which all premiums come together and the risk and the cost assessed according to the number and characteristics of the people in the pool. The Blue Plan was never a permanent plan and was subject to cancellation at any time.
Tom Euscebio had indicated to Nora that if the University adopted the Liberty Mutual Plan, it would siphon off interest in the Blue Plan, leading to possible cancellation. When the switch to Liberty Mutual was announced, the plan was canceled. After Nora’s office received calls, she contacted Tom to ask if he would reconsider his decision to cancel the plan. She pursued a series of negotiations to convince him to restore the plan, but he would not change the decision.
At the same time, she approached Liberty Mutual to see what kinds of concessions she could win on behalf of the Blue Plan participants. She reported that an oral agreement reached the day before with Liberty Mutual specified that any Blue Plan participant who signed up for the Liberty Mutual short-term disability Plan by October 31 would not be subject to any waiting period or pre-existing conditions restrictions. These are defined as conditions for which one receives treatment three months prior to the effective date—in this case July, August and September. Nora stated: “If you are in that group and had Blue Plan coverage, you will not suffer exclusion if you sign up for the Liberty Mutual Plan by October 31. Or if you were in that group and you had coverage as soon as you were eligible, whether it was during the last twelve months, as the Liberty waiting period is twelve months, or a period less than twelve months, they will cover you. However, they are not willing to cover people who were in the Blue Plan who drew a benefit in the last twelve months.” Nora said that her office had tried to make this aspect of the coverage more flexible, but met with no success.
Nora Robbins said that she had heard Blue Plan participants’ concerns about the long waiting period (90 days under the Liberty Mutual Plan) and the fact that it covers only two-thirds of salary. The University Insurance Committee felt that the 90 day waiting period was reasonable, given the University’s vacation and sick leave policies. The Committee based its rationale on a Hewitt study done by the Benefits Office in 1989 and on information generated by other campuses in the University System. This latter information benchmarked itself against peer institutions in and outside the State. Many of our benefits, such as retirement and health/dental insurance, are “very deficient,” but one area in which the University is competitive is paid time off. Policies on paid time off were thus thought to be “certainly sufficient” to cover the 90 day waiting period.
Having said that the Blue Plan participants had trouble both with the 90 waiting period and the two-thirds salary payout, Nora Robbins turned her attention to the recommendations of the Compensation & Benefits Committee, which she said she had not seen. Tom Hocking responded that the Committee forwarded its recommendations to the Executive Committee for a decision on adoption. These recommendations were: 1) Request that the University Insurance Committee begin immediate discussions with Liberty Mutual about an optional short-term supplement to the new plan; 2) Since Jefferson-Pilot said that they were willing to continue the Blue Plan, the University Insurance Committee should also contact them about either continuing the Blue Plan or modifying it as a supplement to the Liberty Mutual Plan; 3) ask that the University Insurance Committee reports back to the Executive Committee of the Forum by its October meeting with progress on the above items and 4) invite Dr. David S. Rubin, Chair of the University Insurance Committee, to the Forum’s October meeting to answer questions about the circumstances of the change in disability plans, and the lack of feedback from current Blue Plan participants.
Tom Hocking indicated that the University Insurance Committee had satisfied the first point as evidenced by the fruit of their negotiations with Liberty Mutual. The second item was based on information received from guests at the Compensation & Benefits meeting and was similarly satisfied by Nora’s account of her negotiations with Jefferson-Pilot. The third item asked that the University Insurance Committee report back to the Executive Committee at its October meeting on any progress on these items. The fourth, he said, was met by Nora’s gracious response to the Forum’s questions. He said that the goal of Compensation & Benefits was to bring the issue out and let Employees know what is happening behind the scenes. Tom felt knowing of efforts on their behalf would make a large difference in addressing Employee concerns. Employees and the Committee, he said, felt “out of the loop.”
Peggy Barber applauded the willingness of Liberty Mutual to take on the Blue Plan participants. She said this was a “wonderful” step. However, she fretted about Employees who have been working only a few months and have put in the time to acquire adequate vacation and sick leave to cover the 90 day waiting period. The most critical time for these people, she said, is this first 90 day interval. Many people could lose all they have in the first 60 days of such a waiting period. She asked that the University Insurance Committee contract for a short-term disability plan to replace, in kind, the plan terminated by Jefferson-Pilot.
Peter Schledorn observed that if someone has a disabling medical condition that has bothered them a while, there is a fairly good chance they have needed to take leave before they went out on short-term disability leave. They may have used their vacation leave before their short-term disability leave, or they may not have received medical advice that would allow them to go out on short-term disability leave. He pointed out it would take a new Employee three years to accumulate enough vacation and sick leave to accommodate the 90 day waiting period.
Nora Robbins responded that Employees can use shared leave, or if one is out a long period or intermittently absent, this time may count towards the waiting period. An Employee may work up to 5 days before their countdown returns to the full 90 days. Thus, an Employee may actually be in the waiting period. This is so indicated on the pay stub. Nora felt Peter’s point was well taken and said she would take it back to the Insurance Committee for discussion.
Peter said the absence of a short-term disability plan also has had an effect on Employees planning pregnancies, a condition that is of shorter duration than many short-term injuries that become long term.
The Chair thanked Nora Robbins for appearing before the Forum and addressing members’ concerns. She congratulated her on the University Insurance Committee’s initial settlement and asked that the Committee keep the Forum and its Executive Committee informed about further developments.
In the interest of time, the Chair asked for a ten minute extension of the meeting to conclude Forum business. The Forum allowed this suspension of the rules.
Chair Delores Bayless of the Public Affairs Committee had nothing to report.
From the Recognition & Awards Committee, Chair Ann Hamner passed.
Speaking for Chair Libby Chenault of the University Committee Assignments Committee, Dee Marley presented two items for the Forum’s attention. First, the University Transportation and Parking Committee had requested that the Forum provide two nominees for service on that Committee, of which it would pick one. She reported that the Forum currently had two representatives to that Committee, Pat Staley and Patty Kirkland, the former of whom will serve another year. There is one vacancy for the Forum to fill. Dee Marley thus moved that the Forum accept the University Committee Assignments Committee’s recommendations to nominate Peggy Cotton and Marshall Wade as its candidates for service on the Transportation and Parking Committee. Helen Iverson seconded this motion. There was no discussion and the motion passed unanimously. The names of these nominees would be forwarded to the Transportation and Parking Committee.
On one other note, Dee announced that there was a request for a nominee to the U.S. 15/501 Major Investment Study/Environmental Impact Study Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The North Carolina Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the City of Durham, the Town of Chapel Hill and the Triangle Transit Authority, will conduct this study which will “identify and examine modal strategies that will improve mobility and/or manage congestion in the 15/501 corridor and will recommend a preferred set of strategies.” This person need not be a Forum member. She asked that members or anyone else forward possible nominees to Libby Chenault or another University Committee Assignments Committee member.
In addition, the University Committee Assignments Committee, in coordination with the Executive Committee, had expedited Tommy Griffin’s appointment to the University Insurance Committee.
From the Career Development Committee, Chair Sharon Bowers made a motion that the Employee Forum recommend to the Chancellor approval of a pilot project of one year for the Training & Development Audio & Video Training Library. This includes the expenditure of the $5,500 currently in the Staff Development Fund to get this program started. The program will be reviewed in one year to determine whether the Forum will continue to fund the project. Trish Brockman seconded this motion.
A question arose asking what would happen to the Library if the Forum refused to continue funding in the future. Ken Manwaring replied that the Library would continue to be open, but that there would be no new materials unless other funds were identified. In the absence of further discussion, the question was called. The Forum voted unanimously to approve the motion.
As an update concerning the lack of evening classes offered by the University, Sharon reported that the Committee is still compiling names and researching the issue. There seemed to be particular interest among mid-level managers looking to broaden their credentials while balancing their jobs and lives, the Chair said.
The Salary Task Force chose to waive its report in light of the Forum’s earlier action.
Faculty Council Liaison Peter Schledorn reported that the Partner Benefits Committee had produced an initial Statement on Extending Employment Benefits to Domestic Partnerships. Over the past months, the Committee had put together a definition of domestic partnerships based on those in use in states, municipalities and universities across the nation. Similarly, the Committee examined the different domestic partner insurance plans enacted by universities and private companies.
The Committee created from this information a definition of domestic partnership. He asked that the Forum accept and endorse this definition and the Committee’s statement of principles. The statement asserts, “as a matter of law and conscience, all employees should have equal access to employment benefits. Consequently Professor Jane Brown, Chair of the Faculty, formed an ad hoc committee to examine the extension of benefits, previously reserved for married couples, to domestic partners.”
Peter outlined the Committee’s three-phase strategy for accomplishing this goal. First, policy changes purely internal to the University were explored. These changes included use of the pool and gym and use of UNC Hospitals. The second stage concerned internal University matters that involved a contract with an outside party—dental insurance, for example. The third, more long-term goal, is to effect changes in State benefits and areas requiring State action.
Peter reported that surprisingly the first phase was essentially complete without any action on the Committee’s part. Many University agencies have flexible common-sense benefits that accommodate the needs of domestic partners and married couples, without actually saying so. For example, UNC Hospitals allow a patient to specify who has visitation and information privileges, a benefit traditionally reserved only for married couples. So essentially no changes in policy were necessary to accomplish this goal.
Peter asked the Forum for a statement of support for domestic partners in steps two and three, including domestic partnerships in University dealings with outside agencies and lobbying long-term for State recognition of domestic partnerships in dispersal of benefits. The Committee, Peter said, did not expect any promises from the Forum, only an expression of good faith towards the Committee in its future work.
Ann Hamner moved that the Employee Forum continue to support the work of the Domestic Partner Benefits Committee. Marshall Wade seconded this motion. There was no discussion. The motion was approved without opposition. The Chair congratulated Peter Schledorn for the Committee’s fine report and good work. She said they had made tremendous headway on this important campus issue.
Tom Hocking, Liaison to the Legislative Affairs Committee, reported the Committee met for the first time on September 13. The Committee generated a motion of support for the increase in tuition to augment faculty salaries. The next meeting will take place on October 9 at 1 p.m. in Old West. The Chair encouraged members to share their sentiments on related issues with Laresia or Tom for expression at the next meeting.
From the Long-Range Land Use Planning Committee, Liaison Ann Hamner reported that the last meeting was postponed because the consultant scheduled to speak was absent. Beyond that, she had nothing to report.
Announcements and Questions
The Chair announced that the Chilly Climate Discussion Group met on September 10 with around 17-18 people attending. At least five people in the room, including the Chair, Trish Brockman, Dianne Crabill, Peter Schledorn and Marshall Wade, attended the meeting and were available to members for their questions and comments. She asked that members suspend discussion in the interest of time, but noted that Student Government had pledged to host the next discussion soon.
Forum Assistant Matt Banks stated that the Forum Office On-Line hookup was delayed pending cooperation with the Faculty Council in purchasing an Asante hub. It seems the office’s wiring did not lead anywhere, so the Office will not be on the broadband in the immediate future.
The Chair noted that she had sent an e-mail asking for individuals to serve on University Food Service Focus Groups. Interested parties should contact Biruta Nielsen directly at 962-2403 or CB# 1500.
It was announced that Mike Hobbs’ wife recently gave birth to a son.
The Chair said that the press had approached her several times to comment on the Academic Enhancement Fund, i.e. the increase in tuition to support faculty salary increases, libraries and student aid. She asked members to provide feedback on the issue. Personally, she felt that Employees do not gain anything by taking anything away from the faculty. She did not mind when new mechanisms were created to increase faculty salaries, but hoped Employees would be given their turn. She felt nothing was gained by opposing the increase in faculty salaries. Rather, she thought, the faculty should get what they can, as long as Employees are also included in the package. If members have strong feelings on this issue, she asked to hear their feedback.
The Chair asked Forum members to respond quickly to her e-mail messages or phone calls , leaving a message when possible, so that she does not have to track down all 45+ members when rapid response is needed. The Forum Assistant added that members can receive a quicker answer to some questions by contacting the Forum Office (962-3779).
Mike Klein reported that senior Administration has put in writing that there will be a new Replacement Parking Policy for any parking removed by construction. In addition, new capital projects that create new demand will have to supply parking as part of that project. These two steps represent two-thirds of that necessary to keep parking in equilibrium. Now, Transportation will endeavor to build more parking to allow inventory to meet demand. Transportation is actively pursuing creation of both a Health Affairs and a Bell Tower parking deck, in addition to other potential sites. Mike said he would be available after the meeting for members’ questions.
Ann Hamner thanked Mike and his department for their creation of the free U bus shuttle. She hoped that the new shuttle takes some pressure off Point-2-Point and said that the bus had been a big help for Employees needing to get around campus. Mike said he appreciated this feedback and asked other Employees to provide their comments as well, recalling that feedback had increased shuttle runs in early mornings and dinner times.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair asked for a motion to adjourn. Scott Blackwood made this motion, with Peggy Cotton seconding. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:48 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary
RESOLUTION OF THE EMPLOYEE FORUM
THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
September 26, 1995
WHEREAS, the Mission of the Employee Forum is to address constructively the concerns of the Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and
WHEREAS, these concerns include the recognition of individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to the University community, so as to encourage similar achievement among the remainder of the community’s members; and
WHEREAS, individuals in our midst have so distinguished themselves in rapid and effective response to dire natural calamity; by laboring throughout the night to curtail the damages resultant from a calamitous flood; and
WHEREAS, this work and devotion to duty abridged mightily the ravages of water and electricity upon the properties and people of our University, including but not limited to halls Swain, Hanes, Hamilton, Venable, Phillips, Lenoir, Hill and Peabody; buildings South, Morehead and Steele; the Kenan Center and Laboratories; the Ambulatory Care Center, the Friday Center, 440 West Franklin Street and the Student Recreation Center; and
WHEREAS, the efforts of these Employees have allowed life in the affected quarters to return as near to normal as one may hope in the wake of this great, unforeseen flood; and
WHEREAS, such recognition is necessary and appropriate;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Employee Forum hereby confers honors and gratitude upon the staff, crews, contractors, housekeepers and management of the Physical Plant and other Employees, faculty and students who worked together to fight the flood of August 27, 1995.
Employee Forum 1996 Delegates and Alternates
Division 1 – EPA Non Faculty
Term Ending 12/96:
Ned Brooks, Mona Couts, Vicky Lotz
Term Ending 12/97:
Norman Loewenthal, Thomas Nixon
(1) Stuart Bethune, (2) Shirley O’Keefe, (3) Thomas Black, (4) Phyllis Ruscella, (5) Ann Dodd
Division 2 – Service/Maintenance
Term Ending 12/96:
Marshall Wade, Riley Carter, Bill Bates
Term Ending 12/97:
Betty Watkins, Frank Alston
(1) Bobbie Lesane, (2) Willie May Davis, (3) Creola Scurlock, (4) Thomas Holmes, (5) Jesse McCrimmon
Division 3 – Skilled Craft
Term Ending 12/96:
Term Ending 12/97:
Archie Phillips, Burke Riggsbee
(1) Bennie Griffin, (2) James Rishel, (3) Burnice Hackney
Division 4 – Clerical/Secretarial (Academic Affairs)
Term Ending 12/96:
Pamela Shoaf, Kay Spivey
Term Ending 12/97:
Nancy Klatt, Mary Woodall
(1) Caroline Truelove, (2)Patricia Bigelow, (3) Hugh Singerline, (4) Katrina Coble
Division 5- Clerical/Secretarial (Health Affairs)
Term Ending 12/96:
Peggy Cotton, Helen Iverson, Sue Morand, Sarah Rimmer
Term Ending 12/97:
Mary Alston, Reba Sullivan, Ruth Lewter, Donna Gerringer
(1) Laura Grady, (2) Patricia Mitchell, (3) Brenda Coleman, (4) Judy Hall, (5) Robert Weaver, (6) Rachelle Cole, (7) Brenda Siler, (8) Kevin Salmon
Division 6 – Clerical/Secretarial (Other)
Term Ending 12/96:
Dianne Crabill, Laresia Farrington
Term Ending 12/97:
Beverly Williams, Tommy Gunter
(1) Cheryl Stout, (2) Ruby Massey, (3) Sharon Windsor, (4) Terri Maynor
Division 7 – Technical
Term Ending 12/96:
Nellie Baldwin, Leon Hamlett, Jennifer Pendergast, Tom Hocking
Term Ending 12/97:
Rosa Nolen, Thomas Goodwin, Patsy Tacker
(1) George Sharp, (2) Marsha Ray, (3) Frank DiMauro, (4) Patricia Rust, (5) Amanda Briggs, (6) Frederick Stipe, (7) Carmen Schlegel
Division 8 – Professional
Term Ending 12/96:
Sharon Cheek, Kathy Dutton, Alice Taylor
Term Ending 12/97:
Eddie Capel, Chien-Hsin C. Wagner, Janet Tysinger, Peter Schledorn
(1) George White, (2) Marjorie Busby, (3) Diana Saxon, (4) Sally Hearne, (5) Sarah Perkins, (6) Debora Hatch, (7) Richard Miller
Division 9 – Exec/Admin/Managerial
Term Ending 12/96:
Term Ending 12/97:
(1) Tommy Brickhouse, (2) Ricky Bass