September 6, 2000
Agenda — September 6, 2000
9:30 a.m.— Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press
III. Human Resources Update, Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest
IV. Human Resources Remarks from Anne Aldridge
V. Approval of Minutes of the August 2, 2000 meeting P
VI. Unfinished Business
- Follow-Up, Discussion of Health Care Issue—Personnel Issues Committee
VII. New Business
- Fall Community Meeting
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Career Development: Bobbie Lesane
- Communications: Suzan deSerres P
- Forum Newsletter
- Employee Presentations: Kathy Dutton
- Nominating: Karen Geer
- Orientation: Bobbie Lesane
- Personnel Issues: Dave Lohse
- Recognition and Awards: Joanne Kucharski
- University Committee Assignments: John Heuer
IX. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee & Officers’ Meeting): Joanne Kucharski P
- Employee Forum Photograph: 9:15 a.m., October 4, Steps of Wilson Library
X. Task Force/University Committee Reports
- Pedestrian Safety Committee—Jill Mayer/Sheila Storey
- Provost Search Committee—Jane Stine
- Transportation & Parking Advisory — Chris Barfield
- Master Plan Executive Steering Team—Joanne Kucharski
- University Priorities & Budget— Joanne Kucharski
- Faculty Council Liaison—Joanne Kucharski
- Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration Search Committee—Joanne Kucharski
XI. Employee Presentations or Questions
XII. Stretch Time
XIII. Special Guests’ Arrival at Approximately 10:30 a.m.
- Remarks & Introduction of Chancellor James Moeser by UNC System President Molly Corbett Broad
XV. Remarks by Chancellor Moeser
XVI. Special Acknowledgments by Jeffery Beam (Song of the University Worker)
XVII. Special Presentations to President Broad and Chancellor Moeser
P = Included in Agenda Packet
September 6 2000
“ = Ex-Officio
Joanna E. Smith
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests
Chair Joanne Kucharski called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. Noting that UNC System President Molly Broad and Chancellor James Moeser were scheduled to make remarks later in the meeting, she introduced Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to give the Human Resources Update.
Human Resources Update
Charest said that WellPath had only last week signed a contract allowing its subscribers to access UNC Hospitals and Physicians and Associates. This new agreement comes after a previous decision in which WellPath withdrew from the State Health Plan. Employees wishing to re-subscribe to WellPath must submit a separate change form that supersedes any previous change forms. Human Resources has sent out notice to Human Resources facilitators Friday, and hoped that Employees would receive word in time for the health insurance enrollment deadline Friday, September 8. Employees with questions should contact the benefits office.
Human Resources has received around 1,900 change forms as a result of the HMO exodus. Employees should have submitted their change forms by September 1 to avoid a double deduction in their second following paycheck. Employees should encourage their coworkers to submit their change forms if their HMO no longer is associated with the State Health Plan. Many Employees have not yet submitted their change forms.
The North Carolina Flex program enrollment period will begin at the end of the month. This year, childcare reimbursement accounts will be directly deposited, unless an Employee elects for that not to happen. Direct deposit of this money has received a positive response. Choosing whether or not to have this money direct deposited must be indicated on the form itself.
The dental Flex program is changing this year into two separate plans both managed by a new carrier, CompDent which replaces Blue Cross/Blue Shield. There will be high and low cost options, each with differing levels of coverage. Human Resources will mail out information at the end of September. Employees should study the plans carefully to review rates and coverage. Charest did not have the time for information sessions on the plans yet.
The University’s after-tax Fortis dental plan will continue with no rate change. The Fortis plan will also accept those leaving the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan without a waiting period. In addition, the accidental death and dismemberment plan will undergo a 12% rate increase. However, Employees will benefit from portability (continuing enrollment with other employers) at current group rates.
Moving to the Human Resources Information System, Charest praised Kathy Dutton for her work on the HRIS. The system was implemented July 17 and as of that date, all permanent actions now go through the system whether a department is online or not. At this time, Records enters departments not entering their actions through the system.
Right now, approximately 90 departments and 240 trained users have been online since July 17. Since then, 1,700 have been entered, 52% by online departments, 48% by Records. HRIS has started with basic building blocks and then will start adding advanced features. Charest noted that the University has seen a number of customized interfaces, and she was pleased with the number of departments online with HRIS.
Human Resources had held a first round of user meetings, which had been helpful for the project team and users. Interested Employees can visit the HRIS web site, which contains extensive documentation on problems, raised and fixed.
Elaine Tola asked about what Human Resources had done to get the information about WellPath’s resubscription out to the rest of campus. She did not think that many people knew about the existence of the change form. Charest said that Human Resources is happy to send out the change form to anyone needing it. Tola asked if the notification procedure could change. She said that she had received a number of calls asking how and whether they could still switch back to WellPath. Charest said that she wished the new contract had been signed months ago so Human Resources could get the word out sooner. Unfortunately, one can only work with events as they happen. Again, she asked Employees to notify their colleagues about the change, and the fact that they need to submit a second change form in order to re-subscribe to WellPath.
Tom Jenswold said that some Employees have never received their insurance packets in the mail, in the first place. Charest was not sure about the answer to this problem, since Human Resources had only received their packets in their offices last week. She noted that the packets are delivered at bulk rate, which means that those who have not updated their addresses upon moving might face problems. Charest said that the problem with insurance packets arises every year. Jenswold said that his colleague had not changed his address in five years.
Dorothy Grant wondered why the State Health Plan did not send the packets to the Human Resources office to distribute. Charest said this was a very reasonable idea, and Human Resources asks that this be done every year, but the problem lies with the State Health plan. She added that the enrollment period falls during a very difficult time for University Employees rushing to start up classes. She added that the last minute withdrawals of many HMOs had caused the booklet to be redone. She conceded that the schedule of packet distribution should change. Grant said that Employees do not need the entire packet of information to make their decision. Charest agreed that most Employees might not need the entire packet.
Robert Thoma asked if the mailings from the Hospital directory used UNC resources. Charest said that this was not an option for the State plan. Delegates asked if there was an insert in the University Gazette this past June or July encouraging people to enroll in the State plan, stating that Employees could still use UNC Hospitals and Physicians & Associates.
Thoma said he was amazed that Generations had pulled out of the State plan, given the plan’s association with UNC Hospitals. Charest could not explain this move, but Dave Lohse surmised that plan administrators felt they would not make enough money with the State plan.
John Thomas asked if the State plan had taken actions to deal with the influx of claims anticipated by the increased number of subscribers. Joanne Pitz noted that the State plan has a goal to hire ten additional customer service representatives, and thirty more claims processors. However, subscribers should not be surprised to see a lag in claims payment, given the tight labor market.
The Chair introduced Human Resources representative Anne Aldridge to make a quick announcement. Aldridge invited Forum members to attend a special event and party to mark the unveiling of a new recognition program at UNC. This new program will be unlike anything else done at the University. The official announcement will take place at the party held Wednesday, September 27 at 9 a.m. in the Wilson Library Assembly Room.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair noted that there were some corrections necessary for the August minutes. She noted that the head of Graduate Studies is named Linda Dykstra. Faculty Chair Sue Estroff’s dual appointments are in anthropology and psychiatry. The Forum began its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Jill Mayer had some other grammatical changes.
Given these changes, the Forum approved the minutes by acclamation.
The Chair recalled that the Forum had discussed the health insurance changes at its last meeting. She noted that the Personnel Issues committee had agreed to study these issues further. Committee chair Dave Lohse said that group had held a meeting to lay groundwork for more wide-ranging discussions among State Employees. The Chair said that she hoped the Forum would piggyback similar efforts within the Faculty Council, whom she said were eager and anxious to work with the Forum on this issue. She would meet with Estroff to discuss this issue with Estroff and would set up a joint meeting with the faculty.
Lohse said that the committee had worked on creating a basic questionnaire for distribution via e-mail. He hoped that Employees could answer a question on the website that would register an automatic tally of results. Questions would need to formed in a Yes/No or multiple choice format. Essay questions would be too difficult to compile, but would serve perhaps a cathartic purpose.
This questionnaire would provide a sense of what Employees want from the State health plan. Lohse surmised that a year from now the University would have only the State health plan, and perhaps one or two HMOs. He thought that private HMOs were more concerned about making money than health care.
The State health plan is the primary health insurance for a vast number of the 6,500 staff and 2,000 faculty on campus. Others receive their insurance through a spouse or significant other. Employees staying with an HMO might see their premiums rise to the point that they eat up any salary increase received. Lohse thought that the issues are large enough for the Forum to do some good research on the issue. The Chair thought that the Forum should piggyback on the faculty efforts.
Lohse announced also that he resigned as chair of the Personnel Issues committee given difficulties in meeting work responsibilities. He would continue with the health insurance project and hoped to continue on as a Forum delegate.
The Chair noted that she had met with Moeser last Friday to brief him on today’s meeting. She raised the possibility of him participating in the Forum’s fall community meeting. Moeser was receptive to this idea and Kathy Dutton planned to visit South Building to set up some dates. The Chair recalled that the late Chancellor Hooker had held a similar community meeting upon his appointment. Moeser hopes to schedule the community meeting between University Day, October 12, and the date of the bond issue vote, November 7.
Bobbie Lesane, chair of the Career Development committee, said the group was still working on changes to its flier on staff development responsibilities. The committee hoped to distribute the flier to all faculty and staff before the New Year.
Suzan DeSerres, chair of the Communications committee, said that the InTouch newsletter should go out by the end of the month. The committee plans to send out ten issues a year, which will make it easier during times when the committee is short staffed during July and December.
Kathy Dutton, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said the group was working on plans for the fall community meeting. It also planned to invite Allison Werner to speak on behalf of the UNC Sustainability Coalition in October.
Karen Geer, chair of the Nominating committee, said that all Employees should have received their delegate election ballots by this point. Delegates from the Dental School said that they had not yet received their ballots. The committee will count ballots September 26.
Bobbie Lesane, chair of the Orientation committee, said the group would host orientation for new Delegates in Dey Hall October 20. The committee would discuss its plans for the meeting and the January retreat September 21.
Activities of the Personnel Issues committee were covered earlier in the meeting.
Joanne Kucharski, chair of the Recognition & Awards committee, said that the group had experienced a very strong response to its one-page nomination form for staff recognition awards. Committee members gathered at the end of August to present gift baskets and certificates to selected Employees. Presentation of these awards was a joyful process. The committee will soon send out acknowledgments to all nominated Employees. Kucharski thanked Dianne Hill for coordinating the award process.
The committee will also coordinate the University Day staff processional. Kucharski has proofed the final memo to staff from the Office of Special Projects. She encouraged staff to remind their departments about the staff processional and the need for representation. The committee also plans to work on improving the profile of the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool), which has not been awarded in the last two years.
John Heuer, chair of the University Committee Assignments committee, reported the group had not met in August. New committee assignments are Scott Blackwood to the University Athletic Council, Joanne Kucharski to the Chapel Hill Transit Advisory committee, Brent Wichard to the Space Use committee, and Fay Lindsey to the Student Stores Advisory committee. Two Employees remain to be nominated on the Chancellor’s Child Care advisory committee, six to University Grievance committees, and one on the Trademark advisory committee. Jill Mayer and Sheila Storey will be nominated to continue their service on the Chancellor’s Pedestrian Safety committee. Ken Litowsky is seeking one supervisory and two non-supervisory Employees to serve on the performance pay review committee. The committee has asked a delegate from the Personnel Issues committee to serve in this capacity. In addition, the committee seeks candidates for the Sexual Harassment and University Calendar committees.
The energy conservation committee, previously chaired by the retired Herb Paul, has transformed into the UNC Sustainability Coalition. The coalition will host an open house September 8 from 11-12:30 p.m. in the Toy Lounge of Dey Hall. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend.
At this point, the Forum took a brief break for refreshments.
The Chair noted that the Provost Search committee had met with the final five candidates. She said that it had been very nice that the Forum officers and previous Forum chairs were invited to participate in meeting with all five candidates.
The Transportation and Parking Advisory committee and Master Plan Steering committees should begin to meet again this month.
The University Priorities and Budget committee held its first meeting yesterday following 27 hours of hearings. She noted that the interim provost had put out a call for proposals based on what had been heard in recent budget hearings. The committee has 107 proposals to review for funding availability and suitability with the University’s mission. The Chair hoped to get a second staff member appointed to the committee. She understood that Moeser wanted to continue this process, approve more collective information sharing, and obtain more information from departments and divisions.
Kathy Dutton introduced UNC System President Molly Corbett Broad and outlined her many and varied accomplishments, leading to her appointment as System President in July 1997.
Broad thanked Dutton for her wonderful introduction. She said it was a great privilege to meet with the Forum. She noted that she had been a great champion for the creation of groups like the Employee Forum as a means for guidance and advice about staff issues. She said that great universities require outstanding faculty, students, and staff to be successful. She recalled that during the University of California bond issue campaign, it was discovered that firefighters have the highest levels of credibility and trust.
Broad said that she thought of University staff as firefighters who put out fires and pick up after faculty and students. Staff employees make the engine of the University run on time. She was always struck and impressed by the difference that staff make in the lives of students. She thanked all of the campus’ unsung heroes. She also added that firefighters have endorsed the $3.1 billion bond issue.
This endorsement is great news along with a string of other endorsements. People across the State believe in the University and the economic opportunities the University provides. However, Broad said that she would take nothing for granted, and would run as if the bond issue was 20 points behind. She noted that the Locke Foundation would campaign against the bond issue.
Broad praised Moeser for making it clear from his first day in office that his highest priority would be to look at campus facilities. She noted Moeser’s comments to the press. She also thought that Moeser understood the excellence of people across campus working in less than ideal conditions. He had hit the ground running to common acclaim.
Broad recalled that Moeser had always looked to North Carolina during his time in South Carolina. Moeser has enjoyed a very distinguished career as a concert organist. He has served on the faculty at Kansas University, and served as the dean of arts and architecture at Penn State. Moeser then moved to the position of chief academic officer at the University of South Carolina, and finally moved to the position of chancellor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
Broad praised the strength of Moeser’s commitment to undergraduate education and quality research. She thought that Moeser had demonstrated responsible and ethical leadership throughout his career. During calls to the University of Nebraska, she had continually heard praise and evidence of Moeser’s commitment to high principles. Interestingly, as much as people in Lincoln were sorry to see Moeser leave, they wished him well and seemed to believe he had come into a more important responsibility on behalf of higher education.
Moeser thanked Broad for her warm and generous welcome. He said he had come to a wonderful place, a place that stands among the giants of leadership in higher education. Moeser noted that North Carolina and California both benefit from the best-governed and most comprehensive systems of higher education in the nation.
Moeser noted that his grandmother was a Welsh immigrant who lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, near where Broad also grew up. He said he was delighted to be present with the Employee Forum and hoped there would be many such opportunities for interaction. Moeser stressed the importance of staff involvement in the shared governance of the University. He thought that shared governance, the participation of students, faculty and staff, was one of the things which had built the excellence of Carolina.
Moeser went on to say that he had seen the quality of staff work as first year students entered the dormitories in late August. He said that residence hall staff and student volunteers had organized the best-organized and most enthusiastic presentation of their campus to new students and their parents that he had ever seen. Moeser added that parents came to tell him how they appreciated this support through the course of the summer.
One mother reported that she had received immediate answers to all her questions throughout the summer or received a call back within an hour. Staff were courteous and helpful and made her feel good about her child’s attending Carolina. In contrast, Moeser recalled his time at Penn State when one prospective student said that she would definitely not attend Rutgers University since an admissions office employee there had treated her rudely. While Moeser added that Rutgers is certainly a fine institution, his story underscored how front line employees make an immediate impression on outsiders.
Here, front line staff often make a positive impression because they feel truly something special about Carolina. Moeser called it a spirit that one can almost touch and feel, a spiritual aspect that connects people and makes this a more caring and compassionate campus. Moeser said that we must maintain and encourage this Carolina Spirit, since it can easily be broken. He encouraged supervisors to recognize Employees performing in an exemplary fashion and to recognize good behavior. In this way, the positive culture becomes stronger. He even saw evidence of the Carolina Spirit in how well the grounds are maintained and the trash is removed.
Even though Carolina is undergoing major facilities problems, Moeser was impressed by how people care about this place and its outward presentation. Moeser cited the Carolina Computing Initiative and the Hurricane Floyd and Fran recovery projects as examples of staff devotion to this institution. Moeser said that Carolina is in debt to its Employees, and he encouraged supervisors and others to recognize the people who make a difference.
Moving to the UNC System bond issue, Moeser underscored Broad’s comments about the importance of this initiative. He even ventured to say that this is the most important issue on November’s ballot, since its implications will stretch far into this new century. Staff on campus know what the needs are. However, one cannot take the current poll figures in favor of the bond package too seriously; things can change very quickly. Moeser said that too many people are not acquainted with the need for the bond issue. He said that we must guard against complacency until the very end, as the other side may rally.
Moeser offered to take questions. Mike Hawkins asked if Moeser planned to meet the need for more staff, operational funds, and parking to match new infrastructure planned under the bond package. Hawkins noted that staff vacancies are already a pressing campus problem, and seem to increase every time a new building is opened. Moeser said that the whole issue of deferred maintenance is not a one-time fix, given the years of declining support. He said that we have a responsibility to continue maintenance of what we now have. Concerning parking, Moeser referred to the campus master plan, and the University’s policy of supporting increases from self-liquidating funds. He did not know of a good campus without a parking problem. He planned to listen to and use the expertise of rank and file Employees in dealing with these problems.
Dave Lohse asked Broad why the John Locke Foundation is so stridently opposed to the University bond issue. He thought that support of the bond issue seems to be a “no-brainer.” Broad replied that the opposition to the bond issue is of the opinion that the smallest government is the best government. She imagined that the opposition will play up the story that the bond issue would double the State debt and may lead to tax increases. However, Harlan Boyles, the fiscally conservative State Treasurer, has said in a letter to Broad that the bond issue would not increase taxes in North Carolina.
Broad noted that after various adverse court settlements and the emergency Hurricane Floyd relief package, the State still enjoys a AAA bond rating. The Foundation may say that the University is not responsible in the way that it uses its resources, but Broad did not think that this obfuscation would work with the voters.
Campaign for the bond issue will focus on the hinterlands where people rely on the community college system. System chancellors and community college presidents will make yellow bus tours around the State to civic and business organizations. Broad said that the University System should send the message to people that passing the bond issue will make an opportunity for education for them. She emphasized that she would work with leaders from both parties and ideologies to obtain endorsements of the bond issue as an investment in North Carolina’s future.
Jill Mayer asked Moeser about his stated goal to make Carolina the top public university in the nation. Moeser said that this measurement would not be based solely on external measures. He said that he wanted to emphasize the word public in this statement, given the historic values of UNC-Chapel Hill as a university of the people. He did not want Carolina to become an elitist enclave. He hoped to spell out this vision of the best public university in more concrete terms at his University Day installation speech October 12.
Moeser thanked the Forum for taking the time to listen. He urged everyone to help make Carolina a better campus. Kathy Dutton then introduced 1998 Forum Vice Chair Jeffery Beam to read his “Song of the University Worker.” Beam explained that he wanted to incorporate the different voices of campus workers in his poem through the past, present and future. He was proud that the poem had become the unofficial staff poem of UNC.
The Chair then presented Moeser with a framed, signed copy of the poem, and also presented Broad and Moeser with Forum pins.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:39 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary