Minutes

September 2, 1998

Delegates Present

Betty Averette

Martha Barbour

Jeffery Beam

Pat Bigelow

Linwood Blalock

Connie Boyce

Mary Braxton

Lucille Brooks

Denise Childress

Jean Coble

Mitch Copeland

Linda Drake

Elizabeth Evans

Linwood Futrelle

Betty Geer

Jennifer Henderson

Bettye Jones

Steve Jones

LaEula Joyner

Dee Dee Massey

Lesa McPherson

Eileen McGrath

Jackie Overton

Ken Perry

Barbara Prear

Frances Rountree

Bob Schreiner

Stephanie Stadler

Jane Stine

Cheryl Stout

Nancy Tannenbaum

Dail White

Sharon Windsor

Carol Worrell

Laurie Charest

= Ex-Officio

Delagates Absent

Tommy Brickhouse

Gwen Burston

Joyce Dalgleish

Sherry Graham

William Grice

Phil Hearne

Al Jeter

Ken Litowsky

Anne Montgomery

Terry Teer

Ted Wright

Alternates Present

Connie Dean McPherson

Guests

Milton Anthony

Martha Fowler

Michael Hooker

Scott Ragland

Jim Ramsey

 

Call to Order, Welcome to Guests

Chair Linwood Futrelle called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. The Chair asked members to sign in and to examine the routing file as it was passed around the room. He recognized new Delegates Ken Perry and Sharon Windsor. In addition, he recognized Chancellor’s Award winner Betty Geer. The Chair encouraged members to take the time to nominate worthy colleagues for various University awards, as Linda Drake had done in Geer’s case.

The Chair introduced Chancellor Michael Hooker to provide opening remarks.

Opening Remarks

Hooker began by noting that the State Legislature was still in session. He did not know what would occur with regard to salaries, but understood that a consensus had formed giving SPA Employees a 3% salary increase with a 1% non-recurring merit increase. However, there had not been any definitive information emerging from the joint conference committee. A similar circumstance existed for the University’s capital budget.

Hooker said that this school year had enjoyed a good start, by far the smoothest of his tenure. He thanked Vice Chancellor for Administration Jim Ramsey and the many staff and faculty who contributed to this success. In particular, he noted the prodigious effort necessary to open the renovated Lenoir Dining Hall by the first day of classes. Hooker commented that Lenoir was serving the “best brick oven pizza in the state,” and that the entirety of Lenoir’s facilities should be open by the end of September.

Concerning student housing, Hooker explained that the University had experienced for the second year running an unexpectedly large yield of students accepting enrollment at UNC-Chapel Hill. (In admission parlance, “yield rate” indicates the number of students who choose to enroll at an institution after they have been accepted by that institution. For example, only so many of the 17,300 students applying for enrollment at the University will choose to enroll. The University has spaces for only 3,300 or so students and so can only offer so many students admission. If every student accepted chooses to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, the yield rate would be 100%; if half of all accepted students choose to enroll at UNC-Chapel Hill, the yield rate is 50%.)

This unexpected increase has meant that 190 first year students had no housing on campus at the beginning of the semester. However, as of August 28, only 70 students remain in temporary housing. Hooker anticipated that the University would find housing for the remainder of these students soon. Next year, this problem should not be so pressing as the University will finally have all of its dormitories on line.

The University Child Care Center opened its doors August 17. One hundred and fifteen children now receive day care at this new facility.

Hooker noted three projects that have received coverage in the local press in which the University is directly or indirectly involved. First, Provost Dick Richardson is leading a task force to study the University’s future enrollment decisions. Given the “baby-boom echo” and the enormous demand for public higher education in North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill will face pressures to increase its enrollment in the immediate future. The task force will study whether and how much the University should raise its enrollment and how it can accomplish increasing enrollment without sacrificing quality. Hooker noted that some might prefer that the University not increase in size at all, but the University has a responsibility to serve the needs of the State. He thought that this project was as important as anything he had been involved with during his three-year tenure as Chancellor. The task force will make interim recommendations for consideration by the entire University community.

Secondly, the University’s master plan study of central campus is well underway. This study will consider the physical plant needs of the campus in light of increasing demands for teaching, research facilities, and student housing, focusing on campus buildings and traffic flow. The consulting firm Ayres, Saint, & Gross has done impressive work with the University of Virginia and Emory University campuses, and will work closely with a number of internal University committees.

Finally, Hooker raised the question of what it means for UNC-Chapel Hill to be the best public university in the nation. He had raised this question many times before, but thought the question itself bore examination in light of the many college ratings lists now prevalent in the media. UNC-Chapel Hill ranked third among national public universities in the most recent US News & World Report study, but Hooker thought that this famous study missed some important criteria in determining a university’s quality.

By the University’s own standards, what is best? How can we become convinced that we are the best public university? Hooker planned to discuss this question with the Forum Chair, as well with members of the faculty, student body, alumni, and Board of Trustees. He felt that the University has a responsibility to the people of the State to utilize their resources in the most efficient manner possible.

Hooker offered to take any questions from the Forum. Bob Schreiner asked if Hooker would comment on the University span of control study. Hooker thought that Jim Ramsey would be better prepared to take this question, and asked if Ramsey could stay on to provide a more informed answer. As members had no other questions, Hooker took his leave.

Ramsey recalled that he had discussed proposed legislative cuts to the University budget at the previous meeting of the Forum. Although nothing is permanent yet, he understood that the House and Senate budgets contain two cuts for higher education: one small cut across the board, and one cut associated with the span of control study. Since the House and Senate budgets both contain these cuts, it is logical to expect that they will be enacted.

General Administration has asked that all 4-year institutions of higher education forward plans to deal with the proposed cuts by September 9. Of the first $5 million across the board cut, UNC-Chapel Hill will absorb $350,000. However, the University must also plan to deal with another $1.3 million in cuts based on the aforementioned span of control study (the aforementioned second cut).

The State Budget Office undertook a span of control study of State agencies over a year ago. The Office collected information from agencies’ organization charts and job descriptions to form benchmarks about the administrative efficiency of each agency. One of these benchmarks is the number of reporting levels within each organization—the Office concluded that agencies should average around 7 reporting levels throughout their organization. At the University, the Chancellor represents one reporting level, the Provost another, an associate provost a third, a dean of a school a forth, a department chair a fifth, and so on.

The Office took a “snapshot” of the University’s organizational structure on April 1, 1997. At that time, some departments had as many as 11 reporting levels, and were subsequently penalized under the dictates of the study.

In addition, the study determined that on average 5.8 Employees should report to each supervisor, and examined agencies’ compliance with this target. Of course, the Office found that this number varied across agencies, units, and job categories, ranging from 7:1 to 4:1 (Employees: supervisor). The study again penalizes units within agencies that deviate from the 5.8:1 benchmark. The report did no research into the optimal levels of reporting structures associated with the functions of different agencies.

General Administration has moved to distribute budget cuts based on the formula established by the span of control study, and the University is expected to absorb $1.3 million in cuts. The University received this information 5-6 weeks ago, and moved to discuss the study’s implications with the Forum Executive Committee, among other campus bodies. University administrators have brought this information to the University Priorities and Budget Committee (UPBC), asking the UPBC to review different methodologies of how to distribute cuts across campus. While six different ways to distribute the cuts were discussed, the UPBC advised the Chancellor and the Provost to follow the distribution outlined in the span of control study.

According to this plan, units with the greatest deviation in reporting levels and supervisor/employee ratios will take the largest cuts. The University has been warned by General Administration that more budget cuts are expected in the next biennium as the Governor is searching for $150 million to fund priority programs. General Administration believes that the University System must get its organizational structure in line with the span of control study now or it will absorb greater cuts in the future.

However, the University has been invited to come up with better methodology than that used in the span of control study, if it believes the study is flawed. If it can prove that the methodology is flawed, General Administration may recommend changes different than those dictated by the original study.

Information about the budget cuts was distributed to campus departments from the Provost around August 21, and this subject has become a serious issue for department heads to identify where to make cuts in permanent funds while creating the least amount of harm. The University has asked managers to work with staff to find the best way to deal with these reductions. Schreiner asked if Employees should expect a flattening of organizations, and Ramsey replied that there is no guarantee that such cuts will not be made.

Schreiner asked how the study was able to obtain good data on all of the University’s small organizations. Laurie Charest clarified that the study only affects central administrative offices and libraries, although the study’s methodology may expand to other areas. While many University organizations have changed since the study data was collected, all recommendations will be based on the “snapshot” of organizational data from April 1, 1997 which was provided by the University. The study does not currently include academic units.

Charest noted that if the study took its “snapshot” today, areas that had eleven reporting levels in April 1997 would now have nine. She thought that the University would have grounds for discussion with General Administration about using that particular point in time as the means to distribute a base budget cut.

Ramsey noted that the budget process is in fact providing the University additional funds for salary increases, capital improvements and enrollment increases (based on student credit hour expansion). The University is receiving additional expansion money but its base budget is being reduced to fund this expansion. Schreiner thought that the study sounded like a recipe for disaster, and asked if the study had considered comparing UNC-Chapel Hill with its peer institutions. Ramsey said this was an excellent point, and recalled that the study treats all institutions alike regardless of mission. He thought the University could be successful in making the case that the Budget Office should collect information from national data sources comparing research institutions. He did not know what this analysis would show, but felt that mission differentiating among the sixteen System campuses was important.

The Chair thanked Ramsey for his remarks.

Employee Presentations

Vice-Chair Jeffery Beam recalled that earlier in the year the Employee Presentations Committee had encouraged Employees to make presentations on various career development opportunities available to their co-workers. He noted that Sylvia Buckner had made a presentation on her progress towards an advanced degree while working for UNC Libraries.

Beam introduced Milton Anthony to speak on his career development experiences at the University. Anthony said that he had worked as a housekeeping trainer at the University. He had also availed himself of the University’s Certified Nurses’ Assistant (CNA) program, established in cooperation with Durham Technical College, while working at the University. He had tried to take advantage of opportunities that the University has offered such as the supervisory resources training program.

Anthony found that his position had been eliminated when the Housing Department restructured itself, and so found work as a clerk with University Mail Services. After around a year, he found a position outside the University with the Brookshire Nursing Center. Anthony was proud to have accomplished his CNA.

After some time working as a certified nurses’ assistant, Anthony noted a vacancy in the director of housekeeping position at Brookshire. Drawing on his experiences in the University’s supervisory resources program, Anthony submitted an application and won the position. Now, Anthony manages 15 employees covering over 42,000 square feet. He thanked Laurie Charest and Nora Robbins of Human Resources for their encouragement and assistance, which had helped him succeed.

Beam asked if Anthony had any suggestions for other Employees looking to improve their job skills at the University. Anthony said that an Employee must decide that improving themselves is what they truly want to do. After making a commitment, the Employee should pick a course offered by Human Resources and stay alert to job offerings across campus. Jean Coble said that it would be ideal if all campus supervisors were encouraging and open to their Employees seeking ways to improve themselves. Anthony said that Employees should consult with their supervisors in order to find the right time for their efforts. He urged Employees to be willing to take the chance.

The Forum gave Anthony a warm round of applause.

Human Resources Update

Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest began her report by noting that Human Resources is in the process of moving and renovating its various offices. Human Resources Administration and Position Management are moving from Battle Hall to 720 Airport Road. This move means that all Human Resources departments are now located in either 720 or 725 Airport Road, excepting the Sexual Harassment Office (located in Vance Hall) and HEELS for Health (located in the Women’s Gymnasium). Charest hoped that all would be resolved by the end of the month.

Employees will need to make changes in their choice of health insurance plans by September 4. The initial enrollment period for long-term care plans has been extended to September 30. Since there will be no more information sessions about these plans, Employees should contact the Benefits Office with questions.

The HEELS for Health FitNews newsletter has announced a Wednesday Wellness program, to be held from 11-1:30 p.m. in the Student Recreational Center. Staff will be available to answer questions and consult on nutrition, as well as provide blood pressure and fat measurement tests. There is no charge for this service.

The New Careers Fair attracted around 65 Employees August 5 in Great Hall of the Student Union. Ken Perry, chair of the New Careers Training Board, said that there had been a steady flow of Employees throughout the day. Attendees had the chance to speak to training program representatives as well as ATN and community college staff.

Charest encouraged members to follow Linda Drake and Betty Geer by nominating their compatriots for the first annual Excellence in Management awards.

Bob Schreiner asked if Human Resources would open the tunnel below Airport Road connecting the buildings at 720 and 725. Charest said that the tunnel had remained locked for security reasons because of a problem with vagrants. Staff will receive keyed access and the door will remain locked on a regular basis.

Betty Averette relayed a question from an Employee as to whether Human Resources regularly monitors departments to internally post vacant job positions. Charest said that it is a University requirement that departments post internal positions sent to them from the Employment Department, although Human Resources does not check on departments. However, Human Resources has undone employment decisions or made departments start their hiring processes over again if internal postings are not done as required. Employees with a complaint should contact Laurie Charest or Jack Stone.

The Chair thanked Charest for her remarks.

Approval of the Minutes

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the August 5 meeting. Linda Drake made this motion, seconded by Nancy Tannenbaum. There was no discussion, and the minutes were accepted without opposition.

Unfinished Business

The Chair noted that a resolution providing for funding of the University Career Counselor position was up for second reading by the Forum. He noted that the resolution asks the University to use Staff Development funds to support half the position.

The Chair called for a motion to formally adopt the resolution. Lucille Brooks made this motion, seconded by Linda Drake. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously.

New Business

The Chair referred members to a revised copy of the Forum Guidelines, as provided by the Executive Committee and the Forum Office. Proposed additions to the Guidelines were underscored, and deletions were struck through.

The main change to the Guidelines was to emphasize Delegates’ responsibility to serve on Forum committees, and to establish procedures for creation and modification of these committees. The Chair emphasized that Forum committees are where the majority of the Forum’s work takes place, and recalled the Executive Committee’s feeling that this importance be reflected in the official Guidelines.

Bob Schreiner proposed that the word “Administrative” be preserved in the heading of section IX. Administrative Committees, to reflect that section’s emphasis on standing committees. He suggested the heading “Administrative Committees & Committee Management.” Stephanie Stadler understood Schreiner’s point that only administrative committees were discussed in this section. She suggested that the title of Section IX. C. be changed to “Creation and Continuance of Other Committees.” Members were amenable to this change. Lucille Brooks asked that the change be reprinted in the October agenda packet for members’ reference.

The Forum agreed to take up the proposed Guidelines revisions, with Stadler’s amendment, on second reading at its October 7 meeting.

Chair’s Report

The Chair reported that the University Council had met at Chancellor Hooker’s house August 20. He thought that this discussion, which also included Faculty Chair Pete Andrews and Student Body President Reyna Walters, had been helpful and he hoped that it would be a regular affair. The Chair had invited Reyna Walters to make a special presentation to the Forum in October.

The Chair asked members to provide Jennifer Henderson with their articles for the Forum University Gazette insert.

The Executive Committees of the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum and North Carolina State University Staff Senate will meet September 15 at Meadowmont. The Chair had tried to set up a meeting with Cathy Craddock of the UNC Hospital Forum.

The Forum took a moment to stretch.

Committee Reports

Bob Schreiner, Co-Chair of the Career Development Committee, was pleased that the Forum had approved its resolution to continue funding for the University Career Counselor position. Connie Boyce reported that the Career Day had been a success. The Chair noted that the Carolina Computing Initiative will now offer students, faculty and staff the same reduced price for IBM computers purchased for personal use.

The committee will examine training programs on campus and the administrative procedure by which Employees can take free courses on campus through continuing education.

Jennifer Henderson, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, said that the group is working on the Forum’s University Gazette insert. She thanked everyone who contributed articles or suggestions.

Bettye Jones reported that the Compensation & Benefits Committee had not met that month.

Jean Coble said that the Employee Presentations Committee had sent out a hot memo to all Employees advertising the Fall Community Meeting. She encouraged members to distribute posters advertising the meeting. The main feature of the meeting will be Ken Litowsky’s Question & Answer session on wage/hour policies. The meeting will take place Tuesday, October 6, from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Student Union Auditorium.

In addition, Coble asked committee chairs to provide Jeffery Beam with a summary of their accomplishments over the last six months.

Finally, the Employee Presentation Committee will meet September 14 from 11-noon in 202 Carr Building.

Lucille Brooks, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that the group met August 11 to divide up and verify nominees running for office on the Forum. She said that divisions 1, 2, 3, and 7 may not have enough nominees to fill every open alternate slot (enough to fill every delegate seat once over), but each division will be able to field its full complement of Delegates. The committee has sent out letters to the relevant divisions seeking additional candidates. Brooks invited members to nominate fellow Employees from these divisions.

Ballots should go out to Employees by September 10, for return by September 25. The committee will assemble again September 29 to count ballots, and notification letters will go out to candidates later that week. A formal announcement of election results will take place at the October 7 meeting.

Nancy Tannenbaum, Chair of the Orientation Committee, reported that the group will hold Orientation for the new Delegates and first alternates Friday, October 23 in the Toy Lounge of Dey Hall. There will be a reception for incoming and departing Delegates at the December 2 meeting of the Forum, and the Forum will hold its annual retreat January 15, 1999.

Martha Barbour, Chair of the Personnel Policies Committee, reported that the group held a public meeting August 25 to discuss the compensatory time proposal for SPA exempt Employees. Around 35 people attended the meeting after a firestorm of e-mail followed distribution of the proposal across campus. She thought the discussion had been useful and awaited comment from Human Resources on various details of the proposal.

Barbour said that a Daily Tar Heel article on the meeting had been very inaccurate to the point of being laughable. She was very disappointed with this poor coverage.

Employees at the meeting expressed concern that a policy similar to that proposed by the committee would mess up “good deals” they had managed to establish with their supervisors. Other Employees reported examples of supervisor abuses, but did not want these examples to govern University policy. Peter Schledorn read copies of policies in place at UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke, and UNC-Charlotte.

Employees also raised strenuous objections to the mention of the ’50 hour’ figure as a proposed benchmark for when compensatory time should start. The committee said that this figure was meant merely as a starting point for discussions between employee and supervisor, but Employees worried that the figure would become a weapon for supervisors to use to extract more work without compensation. It was noted that exempt Employees are not allowed to record their weekly hours without losing their exempt status.

The question also arose as to whether exempt Employees, if expected to work more than 40 hours until their job is done, might also be allowed to leave work before reaching their 40 hour threshold if their work is complete. The committee was awaiting an answer from Drake Maynard and Ken Litowsky on this question.

Also at the meeting, Elizabeth Evans suggested that the Forum perform a survey of exempt Employees to determine approximate hours worked, perceptions of “excessive” hours worked, and general levels of job satisfaction. Barbour said that this subject was very tricky given federal wage/hour concerns and staff perceptions. She said that the issue was not as straightforward as it might appear to be. Lucille Brooks commented that the 50 hour figure, while possibly not the best idea for the proposal, engendered discussion among the broad base of Employees about the compensatory time issue for Employees.

Lesa McPherson of the Recognition & Awards Committee said that the University Day Staff Processional letters should be nailed down within the week. University Day will take place October 12. The Chair noted that the Provost has asked that the first 50 staff members signing up to participate in the staff processional will be invited to a picnic lunch with faculty and students.

In addition, McPherson asked that Delegates submit their nominations for campus Employees who have helped the Forum behind the scenes.

The University Committee Assignments Committee included minutes in the monthly agenda packet. The Chair was pleased with the committee’s work in documenting the various University committees across campus.

Task Force Reports

Bob Schreiner reported that no new issues had been raised with the Grievance Policy Review Task Force since its meetings in the summer. The task force will look at grievance fairness issues, possible changes in the use of staff advocates and other matters of compliance with State law. The task force will submit its report in one month.

Elizabeth Evans said that she had been occupied with changing jobs and endured a flood in her office, so the progress of the Intellectual Climate Task Force had been delayed.

Laurie Charest reported that the recent meeting of the Outsourcing Steering Team had been cancelled.

The Chair noted that the University Priorities and Budget Committee (UPBC) has been involved in working through the span of control study discussed by Jim Ramsey earlier in the meeting. The Chair said that it had not been pleasant to determine from where these cuts in permanent monies would come. He noted that the administrative side of the University has been forced to bear the burden of these cuts, with the academic side being spared to this point. The Chair also said that Ramsey’s areas had taken the brunt of these cuts. The Chair felt that it was very unrealistic to group the University organizationally with institution managing only 3,500 students.

The UPBC has also struggled to find money for the University Priorities Advancement Fund, which is designed to support special research projects and other initiatives. It was suggested that University Development could have a role in attracting grants for this purpose.

Bob Schreiner thought it would be a good idea to ask Ramsey what cuts in services and personnel will result from the span of control study. The Chair said that these decisions have not yet been locked down. He personally knew that $60,000 must be cut from the ATN budget as a result of the study. Overall, the University must cut $1.3 million from its permanent budget as a result of the study, as it works to lower its average number of managerial levels and increase the number of Employees managed per supervisor.

The Chair had met with the Faculty Council Executive Committee. The Chair took a moment to thank the Forum’s Delegates for their hard work over the previous months.

In the absence of any further announcements or questions, the Forum agreed to adjourn by acclamation.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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