UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center

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

I. Call to Order—Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:25 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II.  Special Presentations (9:25 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.)

  • Jodi Flick, Behavioral Health Springboard
  • Walter Miller, Payroll Director

III. Human Resources Update (9:55 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

  • Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler

IV. Consent Agenda (10:15 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.)

  • Approval of July Minutes (sent separately to delegates)
  • Approval of August Minutes (sent separately to delegates)
  • Forum Committees
      • Compensation & Benefits:
      • Legislative Action:
      • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices:

V. Old Business (10:25 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

VI. New Business (11:00 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.)

VIII. Announcements/Question (11:25 -11:30 a.m.)

IX.  Adjournment

MINUTES

September 13, 2017 Employee Forum minutes

Delegates Attending:  Bryan Andregg, Dzenita Blackwell, Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Clare Counihan, Mary Dahlsten, Mariel Eaves, Chrissie Greenberg, Lori Haight, Naquan Hill, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Lakethia Jefferies, Mary King, Alyssa LaFaro, Arlene Medder, Alan Moran, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Kathy Ramsey,  Ricky Roach, David Rogers, Greg Smith, Kewana Smith, James Stamey, LaToya Taylor, Rosa Thorp, Katie Turner, Chris Van Vleek, K.D. Ann Welsh, Rich Wright, Brian Wrighten

Excused Absences:  Jeanna Mccullers, Deborah Norton, Summer Saadah

Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:16 a.m.  Vice Chair Kathy Ramsey and Secretary Tiffany Carver conducted the roll call of delegates.  The Chair welcomed the Forum’s Human Resources and media partners.  She welcomed Jodi Flick from the School of Social Work to present on the behavioral health springboard.  Flick asked how many people would be comfortable with a person with mental disorder involved in various aspects of their lives.  She noted that approximately 50% of all Americans will develop a mental disorder in their lifetimes.  One-half of all mental illnesses start by age 14, with three-quarters beginning by age 21.

Flick reported that the scientific community knows that these people can and do recover when receiving support from the community.  She noted that only 18% of students in need receive mental health services.  In response, the School of Social Work has developed an evidence-based approach called Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).   This approach is now taught in 21 countries around the world.  Flick noted that Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is taught widely but does not require a doctor to administer.  Flick said that the odds that a person will encounter someone who needs CPR is very low, certainly lower than the possibility that one will meet a person requiring mental health first aid.

Flick reported that the five most common mental health problems are panic, depression/suicidal ideation, traumatic events, psychosis, and substance abuse problems.  She said that MHFA organizers have set a goal of training 20% of all faculty and staff in this method in three years.  The training is offered at the University once a week in various locations and times.  Open and closed courses are available.  Certain departments that deal with stressed students, such as Academic Advising and Financial Aid, have trained their entire departments already.  Word-of-mouth has been the best advertising of the program thus far.

Flick raised the question of why to train faculty and staff employees in MHSA?  She said that 75% of students with mental illness will present before age 25.  The more “eyes” that the University has will allow earlier identification and treatment of students in trouble.  Early intervention can lessen the impact of these situations and promote a better campus climate.

Flick reported that the program had found that two half-day sessions had more success than one eight-hour day session.  She shared the stories of faculty, staff, and students who have completed the program and were able to help others or themselves through the teaching.

The Chair introduced the new University Director of Payroll Walter Miller.  Miller noted the directive of his office is to make sure that employees are paid accurately.  He was pleased to share the new paystub that his office has developed.  Miller emphasized that neither employee pay, nor access to paystubs, will change because of the pay stub revision.  Some information will be available for the first time:  before and after-tax deductions, employer-paid benefits, and federal taxable gross income.  Information currently on the paystub will be preserved with the addition of several updates in hours and earnings, leave balances, before- and after-tax sections, among other areas.  A new box on the paystub will present a fuller picture of the University’s contribution to employee pay.

David Rogers asked if bonus leave is eliminated as a line depicted on the paystub.  Miller said that this information will remain in the historical data but will not remain on the paystub.  Arlene Medder asked if the paystub will include all leave earned since January 1.  Miller said that Payroll is working to accomplish this task as well as to provide W-2 forms for employees for the next tax season.

Miller said that the University Gazette’s article on this topic had communicated formal notice of these changes to all employees.  Shayna Hill shared that Miller’s team has offered to come present at different schools and departments.  Miller said that his office would be happy to do so.  Employees can contact him directly at wmiller@email.unc.edu.

Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington of Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  She said that the fall semester has truly arrived, and asked how many delegates have children in school.  She noted that many exciting things will occur around the University this term, including changes to Kenan Stadium and the recent Grand Opening of Student Stores following renovation.  She urged Forum representatives to continue to provide feedback on issues facing the University.

Washington recalled seeing Forum delegates at the July retreat.  She was proud to lead a Vice Chancellor/Forum Representatives’ meeting monthly.  She said the most recent meeting had a packed agenda.  She accordingly has asked the Forum to submit its questions following vetting by the Forum Executive Committee before submission to her office.

Washington noted some of the multiple observances seen in September, including National Child Care month, National Guide Dog month, National Honey month, National Literacy month, National Prostrate Health month, and National Sickle Cell Awareness month.  She then invited Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler, Senior Director of Human Resources Communication and Talent Development Kathy Bryant, and Senior Benefits Consultant Rob Stevenson to present local updates.

Bryant said that Rudy Jones, Associate Director of the Equal Opportunity Office, will host Empowering Carolina at noon in the Great Hall.  October is Disability Awareness Month and this year’s theme is Inclusion Drives Innovation. The event will feature messages from Tom Colclough, Deputy Director of the Charlotte District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Kyria I. Henry, CEO of Paws for People.

Butler and Bryant are active leaders in the University’s Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares program.  Bryant said that employees can give to various charities through this program.  Butler said that UNC-Chapel Hill has ranked first among State agencies for several years, but the Department of Public Safety has issued a public challenge.  He hoped that employees would up their donations after four years of steady decline.

Bryant said that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares advisory board had been ably served by Forum delegates Naquan Hill and Phillip Edwards.  She thanked this pair for the energy and excitement they brought to the board.  Bryant asked delegates to share stories about why they have donated through Carolina Cares.  She asked delegates to consider telling their stories or asking their colleagues to tell their stories.  Employees can submit their stories to cccs@unc.edu.

Butler said that this winter break will have a University closed day on Thursday, December 28, 2017.  In 2018, due to the calendar, the University will implement two closed days on Thursday and Friday, December 27-28, 2018.  Butler said that these dates provide a chance for all to catch their breath, but he noted that all employees must use bonus leave, compensatory time, or vacation leave for these dates.  Katie Musgrove asked if employees will be able to use Community Service Leave (CSL) for these days.  Butler said that if a legitimate qualifying event takes place on these dates, an employee may use CSL.  Bryan Andregg asked about employees short of leave or whom were hired shortly before these dates who might not have earned the necessary leave yet in their careers.  Butler said that Human Resources will work with departments to handle these situations.

Rob Stevenson spoke on the upcoming enrollment period for the State Health Plan (SHP), known as “Rock Enroll.”  He noted that the University typically pays $499/month per employee to maintain this benefit.  He urged employees to Prepare, Decide, and Act.  Stevenson said that all employees will default to the 70/30 plan.  He urged all employees to read the relevant material from the State Health Plan and NC Flex.  He urged employees to compare plans and options.

This year, the 70/30 plan will cost $25/month and the 80/20 plan $50/month.  Employees will need to decide about these plans as well as the possibility of supplemental health and dental plans and health care spending accounts.

Employees will be able to enroll through ConnectCarolina.  Stevenson urged employees to always save their work after each phase of the enrollment process.  He also encouraged employees to check their paystubs in the New Year to make sure their enrollments have been deducted correctly.  Stevenson said that Human Resources and Information Technology Services will work to meet different departments to assist in enrolling their employees.  Assistance will take place at the AOB and at the Manning Hall computer lab from Thursday, October 12th through Tuesday, October 31st.   Employees must enroll during the September 30-October 31 enrollment period.

Clare Counihan asked about scheduling more enrollment assistance programs at various on-campus open computer labs.  Stevenson said that OHR is working with various departments such as the School of Pharmacy, Athletics, and Facilities Services to provide more directed enrollment help.  He said that OHR would be willing to work with local Human Resources representatives.

Counihan noted that only one SHP plan, the 80/20 plan, is Affordable Care Act compliant, in coverage of women and children.  Stevenson noted the removal of the Consumer Directed Health Plan from the SHP.  He said that the State has had to undergo large changes this year to deal with various plan financial losses.

Arlene Medder asked about the possibility of the State implementing a long-term care option.  Stevenson said that the State previously had this kind of plan but had gotten out of the business.

Stevenson announced that Fidelity Investment will do a financial literacy workshop with the Carolina Women’s Center on October 24th.  Clare Counihan said that the focus will be on women but that all genders are welcome.  Stevenson said that TIAA-Cref will hold “Lunch and Learn” seminars in cooperation with Human Resources on October 10, 12, 19, and 26th.  Stevenson also said that Red Cross-certified employees are eligible for disaster recovery leave to assist with Hurricane Irma aid efforts.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the September minutes.  Bryan Andregg made this motion, seconded by Arlene Medder.  The minutes were approved by acclamation.

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda.  Katie Musgrove moved that the Community Service committee be pulled off the consent agenda.  Lori Haight seconded this motion, which was approved.  Musgrove noted that the committee’s meeting will take place following the day’s meeting.  She noted that the second Public Service Fair took place in the Pit on September 20th from 11-2 p.m.  Ricky Roach noted that the upcoming Blood Drives will take place on December 12, 2017 in Fetzer Gym and June 5, 2018 in the Smith Center.  He noted a question from WCHL as to whether the Forum would allow the radio station’s logo on the blood drive’s shirts this year.  Musgrove said that the Blood Drive committee will set up a table next to the Forum at the Employee Appreciation Fair October 20th.

Lori Haight reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee had done good work in readying this month’s InTouch newsletter.  The committee plans to publish “Tar Heel Tidbits,” a series of messages from Forum delegates to employees in their divisions.  The committee will meet September 20th at noon at the Beach to discuss further plans.

Tiffany Carver reported that the Membership & Assignments committee will change the date of the 25th anniversary celebration to December 6th.  The event will take place at the Carolina Club.  The committee will work on a floating reception for the event with speakers and other features.  She asked for feedback and suggestions.  She also suggested that the Forum defer its December holiday potluck to January.  Delegates agreed that January was a good idea for the potluck.

Bryan Andregg said that the Personnel Issues committee had no updates.  He noted that Information Technology Services will now require VPN off-campus connections to use 2-step authentication.  He clarified registration processes for Forum delegates.

Katie Turner said that she had met with Campus Recreation staff member Kyle Carman to organize the semester-long thirty-minute recreation class for campus employees.  This class will feature sampler classes of various types.  All Thursday classes will be free to campus staff.  A second part of the classes will take place on Mondays and will require some outlay by subscribers.  She said that more information would be available in general postings to University and Forum listservs.  The classes will take place from September 18th-November 9th.

There was no report from the Recognition & Awards committee or the UNC System Staff Assembly.  The Chair reiterated the request that the Forum submit its proposed agenda for the Vice Chancellor representatives’ meetings following vetting by the Executive Committee.  She noted that the next meeting will take place October 11th.

Regarding Old Business, Katie Musgrove reintroduced proposed Bylaws Revisions on second reading.  She read the proposed revisions.  Rich Wright moved that the Forum approve these revisions, seconded by Naquan Hill.  The Bylaws revisions were approved.

Regarding New Business, Katie Turner brought up the issue of the Silent Sam monument, the UNC Center for Civil Rights, and the proposal from the Board of Governors to move General Administration from the Spangler Center to another location outside of Chapel Hill.  She asked what employees can do as individual citizens without wading into politics.  She noted that State employees can act granted they do not use State time or resources.  She noted that the faculty have recently approved a resolution requesting the removal of the Silent Sam monument.

The Chair asked for thoughts on Turner’s suggestion.  She understood that removal of Silent Sam is a legislative matter, meaning that the University cannot move the statue unless safety is the issue.  Felicia Washington cited the relevant NC General Statute:

  • 100-2.1. Protection of monuments, memorials, and works of art.
  • Approval Required. – Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this section, a monument, memorial, or work of art owned by the State may not be removed, relocated, or altered in any way without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.

Washington noted that the statute further goes onto require any relocation to a jurisdiction of similar prominence.  She said that at issue was a conversation between the Chancellor and the Governor in which the University asked the Governor to convene the NC Historical Commission.  The statue goes on to state an exception exists “when a building inspector or similar official has determined [the object of remembrance] poses a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition.”  NCGS § 100-2.1(c)(3).

University Counsel Kristen Lewis added that a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the statue had gone out that day.  The Chair appreciated the clarification on this matter.  Ricky Roach did not believe that the current situation constituted a safety issue under the statute, which seemed to contemplate only dangers related to the condition of the structure itself.  He thought that the push to remove the statue had relied on a misinterpretation of the statute that viewed Silent Sam as a threat to people.

Arlene Medder asked if it were too late for the Forum to become signatories to any show of disapproval of the Board of Governors’ handling of the Center for Civil Rights (the Center’s) issue.  The Chair did not know, adding that Forum delegates can draft resolutions at any time.  Medder noted that a group of entities at UNC have signed such a letter, and recalled the Forum’s mission to represent staff employees without a voice.  She asked if the Forum wanted to act in solidarity with these other entities.

Medder favored such an act but wanted to make sure that the Forum did not cross any political lines.  She recalled that the Forum cannot vouch for candidates using State time or resources.  Bryan Andregg thought that a Forum version of this letter could, instead of addressing the function of the Center and the experience of law students, perhaps also focus on the impact of the Board’s move upon the Center’s staff employees.

Felicia Washington wondered if this act might also be considered a political action by the Forum.  Kristen Lewis said that the Forum’s granted authority is to correspond with the Chancellor to request action in this area.  She said that the Forum is not granted leeway to communicate with other bodies.  Washington noted that in her role as liaison between the Chancellor and the Forum she tries to provide this communication.  She said that the Chancellor needs all voices but said that if the Forum sends every request forward it can be hard to undertake large tasks.

Katie Turner asked if SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees’ jobs are in question at the Center if the Center is forced to sever relations with the State.  Washington said that she had not heard from Dean Brinkley that such steps were under consideration yet.  Kathy Ramsey announced that Ted Shaw, Director of the Center, will present at the Carolina Black Caucus’ meeting at noon that day.

Turner thought that Forum actions in this area could be criticized as politically motivated any time the Board of Governors does not agree with its act.  She said that the Forum has a duty to represent staff in units such as Diversity and the Carolina Women’s Center.  She worried that the impact of this move upon staff was being lost.  Clare Counihan thought that this impact of this move upon the University seemed direct and punitive.

The Chair asked if there was an argument to move the Center to the School of Law Legal Clinic.  Felicia Washington said that the Board of Governors has specified that the Center is no longer allowed to enter litigation against other State agencies.  She said that closure of the Center has not been decided yet but is certainly within possibility.  At the Board of Governors meeting, there was discussion in favor of the School of Law continuing to run legal clinics.  However, this is different work than that the Center carries out.

Katie Turner said that the faculty conversation had misconstrued that the Center would no longer be allowed to litigate at all.  Washington said that Dean Brinkley and the School of Law were now working to figure out the next step.  Jim Potts confirmed that the Board of Governors is appointed by the Legislature and the Governor.

Ricky Roach thought that the issue is that the Center is a State-controlled entity that constitutes a conflict of interest when suing other State agencies.  He did not think that the State should pay to support this activity, noting general taxpayers support.  He noted assumptions supporting the Center’s work due to a prevalence of liberals on the Forum.  The Chair asked that the Forum stop the use of labels and stop divisive conversation.

Clare Counihan clarified that the Center does not receive State funds for its litigation work.  Roach responded that the Center still uses State facilities.  Felicia Washington said that the Center must go to the State Attorney General and the Board of Governors before instituting litigation against another State agency.  She said that the Board of Governors has generally recognized the Center’s route for litigation in this manner.  She added that the Center is indeed not funded by State dollars.

Arlene Medder asked if the Forum wished to create a resolution on this question in its advisory capacity to the Chancellor.  She posited that the Forum could be subject to similar cutbacks if its work is perceived as political by decision makers.  The Chair applauded the drive to speak from facts rather than political frameworks.  Medder noted that other State agencies sue their fellow agencies, such as when State building inspectors evaluate University construction practices.

Katie Turner said that the motivations behind the closure will impact the future of how people enter discussion.  She said she would raise similar questions if a conservative group were funding a center at which staff are employed.  She asked how the Forum can enter this discussion without undermining the Chancellor.  Turner noted the problem of trying to please irreconcilable groups and asked what is the role of the Forum in this question.  She said that this question may stretch to work done by other departments and schools under the Board’s observation.

Kristen Lewis said that University Counsel can help the Forum toe this line.  She posited that the Forum can make arguments addressing the mission of the University and the staff’s well-being while lamenting that the Board’s actions were entering a danger zone, for example.

Lori Haight asked why the Forum had not been asked to sign the letter Medder mentioned earlier.  Katie Turner said that the letter did not address the concerns of staff.  Letter writers had to decide what would help the Chancellor and balance the needs of constituents.  Haight recalled that the campus bookstore privatization issue had benefited from having the Forum’s voice heard.  The Chair asked how it is appropriate for the Forum to step to the table in relation to larger issues of the University as an organization.

Felicia Washington noted similar questions between the Center situation and the bookstore.  She said that action regarding the Center seems premature, but she added that there is a fine line between “premature” and “too late.”  She thought that the impact upon staff is not insignificant.  She suggested that the Forum preserve this question as an agenda item at the next Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting.

Kristen Lewis noted that a role of the Forum is to gather feedback as to how actions of the University affect staff.  She recalled that the Forum’s outreach on night parking had generated feedback for consideration by the Chancellor and her Cabinet.

Kathy Ramsey said that the Forum is a place in which delegates can gather information.  She said that the closure of litigation for the Center will have a great impact on the University and its neighbors, with long-reaching complications.

Ricky Roach said that the looks of delegates as he readied to respond to Ramsey’s comments was “amazing” to him.  The Chair said that everyone should feel that the Forum is a safe place to speak.  She cautioned that for delegates to single themselves out as “I am the only one on the Forum who feels this way,” is divisive and makes assumptions of everyone else.  Roach said that he never heard any remotely conservative discussion from any delegate other than him.  He said any contention that the Forum leans down the middle politically was not true.

The Chair said that the Forum serves as a body for all.  She urged delegates rolling their eyes at other delegates’ remarks to stop.  She urged that delegates support one another and become more inclusive by hearing the other side of issues.  She added that personally, for her the labels of liberal and conservative do not make sense.  She said that Forum discussions must be based in the concepts of “inclusiveness” and “fact.”

Chrissie Greenberg agreed that doing away with labels would be constructive.  She thought that employees with separate opinions should feel free to voice their thoughts.  Arlene Medder expressed her appreciation for Roach’s comments, noting the difficulty of walking into discussions when others feel differently.

Jim Potts noted the Forum’s fact-finding mission.  He proposed that the Forum invite Center for Civil Rights staff to talk about their input into debate about their workplace.

Katie Musgrove moved that the Forum adjourn, seconded by Arlene Medder.  The Forum voted to adjourn at 11:28 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

 

 

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