February 20, 2018 Employee Forum Executive Committee minutes
Attending: Bryan Andregg, Tiffany Carver, Mariel Eaves, Lori Haight, Naquan Hill, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Todd Hux, Arlene Medder, Alan Moran, Katie Musgrove, Greg Smith
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:26 a.m. She welcomed Director of Transportation & Parking Cheryl Stout, Associate Director Than Austin, Associate Director Wil Steen, and Executive Assistant Mya Nguyen to make a presentation on night parking issues at the University. Stout recalled that the parking planning process had seen employee representation through the Advisory Committee on Transportation (ACT). She said that Forum representatives Charles Streeter and Shayna Hill had participated in the five-year planning process. Stout said that the current process had begun in January 2016 and continued with consultations with representative bodies in fall 2016. In March 2017 the process produced an ordinance for approval by the Board of Trustees.
Stout said that the department planned to reduce its subsidy for transit services by $1 million/year. Campus constituencies have advocated creation of a weeknight parking program on an hourly and daily rate to support departmental functions. Stout said that expenses rose $2.9 million a year for Chapel Hill Transit and other system improvements, including the provision of LED lighting for five campus decks. The current plan will update all existing parking equipment, introduce a bikeshare program and other improvements.
Stout recalled that the University’s parking system is entirely receipt supported. At the same time, the department must turn over ticketing revenue to the K-12 school system. She said that UNC-Chapel Hill’s daytime parking rates are approaching those charged at Harvard and UCLA.
The Chair asked if the requirement to turn over ticket revenues to the local school system would ever change. Stout recalled that this is a legal requirement which had withstood a lawsuit. She said that the University turns over between $500,000 and $600,000 a year to the school system.
Tiffany Carver asked about the prospect of increasing the discounts given to employees at the bottom of the salary scale. Stout said that the University has a sliding scale and must devote significant resources to night parking in the form of security, lighting, and patrols. Todd Hux noted security concerns related to night parking. Stout said that the Chancellor has raised these concerns which will be revisited in the next five-year planning process.
James Holman asked about possible creation of designated parking areas for night-time employees. He said that the students typically take all spaces available. Stout said that students have raised concerns that they be allowed to park where they can park now. She said that first come/first serve will remain the rule for night parking. Holman said that employees will likely park uptown to avoid parking fees. Stout said that all University students aside from first-year students are eligible for night-parking for the student fee of $5.14/year. First-year students are forbidden from having a car on campus day or night.
Stout said that a Weeknight Working Group will now handle customer responses in this area. She said that daytime permit holders will have their permits honored at night without additional fees. Night-time parking hours will run from 5:00 p.m.-7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. There will be no weekend parking fees. These changes will take place in 2019-2020.
Bryan Andregg asked about limits on access related to performing arts and athletics events. Stout said that these relocations will still take place. Mariel Eaves asked about the prospects of a morning e-mail to remind employees of these required relocations. Stout said that this is a possibility. Lori Haight said that most staff employees paying to park do so during the daytime. Which employees will pay for the night-time permits? Stout said that second and third shift employees, mainly Transportation & Parking, Facilities Services, Health Care Services employees and Housekeeping make up the bulk of possible nighttime permit holders. She said that a number of these employees already pay for reduced daytime permits as their schedules run from noon to 7:00 p.m.
Lori Haight confirmed that students must have a registered permit to park on campus under the new system. Stout said that the student body had voted to bear this burden to support these services.
Lori Haight asked about the possibility of visitors buying weekend passes. Stout said that these situations would likely fall under a department’s daytime service permit. She hoped that departments could extend their use of these permits for night-time or weekend use.
The Chair noted that residents with the Health Care System and post-doctoral students park in the Craig Deck with daytime permits. Stout said that the system will evolve to take care of these situations. Todd Hux confirmed that the University will gain around $1.2 million/year from the new night parking program. These changes, along with reductions in annual costs, will allow the department to meet current and future obligations.
Hux confirmed that the largest cost to the University is the Chapel Hill Transit system. Stout said that the aging fleet of Chapel Hill Transit led to budget increases based on capital and employee expenses. Hux asked why the transit system did not use smaller buses. Stout said that a financial review of the system had found that this initiative would best realize savings given declining federal contributions.
Tiffany Carver asked if Transportation & Parking had considered a permit package charging a percentage of salary instead of a sliding scale. Stout said that this idea had been proposed previously but had not yet been adopted. Mariel Eaves asked why the University does not charge lower paid employees less than currently charged. Stout said that many different entities advise Transportation & Parking on parking permit rates. Some of these entities do not want any type of sliding scale whatsoever. She said that the parking rates are set based on recommendations from the entire community of advisees and budgetary constraints.
James Holman asked about pegging permit increases to salary raises provided by the General Assembly. Stout said that daytime permit holders have thus far born the cost of extensive and very expensive renovations. She said that the system will evolve over time with formalized input from a range of community members. The Chair invited Stout and her group to present to the full Forum sometime in the spring or before formal implementation of the nighttime parking policy on August 15, 2019.
Lori Haight commented that communication of these changes is always a difficult task at the University. Cheryl Stout said that the University would support metered parking 24 hours a day but did not intend to raise costs extensively to keep the community off campus at night. James Holman reiterated the concern about the need for nighttime reserved parking for employees. Katie Musgrove asked if Point2Point (P2P) access is still available for employees to access at night. She suggested that the University provide and advertise this option to employees fearful of walking to their jobs at night. Stout said that this is an option. She said that the University only controls its P2P stops, not other Chapel Hill Transit stops. She said that the University will note safety and service issues as it rolls out the nighttime parking program. The Chair thanked the Transportation & Parking group for its presentation.
The Chair turned to a situation involving two alt-right people accosting a faculty member in the 134 East Franklin building. She said that the Forum Assistant had had to call the police to resolve this situation. She asked the committee’s opinion on this situation and future actions. She noted that a rally had been announced by alt-right organizations for the following day. She noted also that a counter-rally has been called for tomorrow afternoon.
The Chair said that the physical safety of employees in the Forum Office was paramount. She urged the Forum Assistant to keep the office doors locked for at least the time being. Members discussed the recent history of alt-right activity at the University.
Mariel Eaves reported that the LGBTQ office has endured harassment from outside people for over a year. She said that this had become an emergent safety issue. She said that LGBTQ representatives have met with Chief of Public Safety Jeffery McCracken seeking help against one person. She said that this person had been found guilty in a court of law of harassment but the no contact order restraining him had expired. Eaves thought that Public Safety and Legal Counsel have limited their response to telling office staff to “document and bear it.” She said that the department has had panic buttons installed but found that Public Safety dispatchers and officers were not aware of the possible danger. Eaves said that action had occurred to help her office on a University level only once the question was raised, “are our lives less valuable?”
The Chair asked how the new UNC System freedom of speech policy would apply to this inappropriate, actionable conduct by a “digital visitor” to campus. She thought that that the University should aggressively pursue legal assistance to protect the safety of its employees. She proposed to ask the Board to enforce this policy in this way. Delegates also proposed writing the Chancellor and raising the question at an upcoming Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting. Arlene Medder thought that the Forum should press for a meeting before the regularly scheduled meeting in April. James Holman proposed that the Forum draft a letter to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington stating the situation and requesting a chance for discussion. Mariel Eaves asked that the committee consult with LGBTQ Center Director Terri Phoenix before taking any of these actions. The Chair regretted that the Center and its patrons have been placed in this position.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the January meeting, subject to edits by Naquan Hill. The motion was approved with three abstentions.
Naquan Hill and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly budget report. It was reported that Workplace Strategy, Equity, and Engagement had approved dedication of $3,000 for the use of the Carolina Blood Drive committee, administered by the Employee Forum. Banks requested that receipts from this group be submitted as soon as possible to have payment occur in the current fiscal year. Katie Musgrove suggested that the Forum purchase “swag” as door prizes for the blood drives on a regular basis for distribution to donors. She asked the general procedure to order these items. Todd Hux suggested that Blood Drive organizers talk with Student Stores representatives to provide door prizes for donors as well. Musgrove asked that a plan should be made to stock Forum “swag” for this purpose. She suggested that the Forum dedicate $500/year of the $3,000 allocated the committee.
Musgrove said that the summer blood drive will take place Tuesday, June 5th, 2018. She said that many arrangements remain to be made for the drive.
Tiffany Carver asked if the Forum wished to continue the $99/year subscription for CheckInEasy attendance management software. She had inherited this system but did not know how much it was needed by the Forum. Mariel Eaves suggested that the Forum use the University’s Events Registration system to keep track of meeting attendance. The Chair said that she would gently remind delegates that committee service is mandatory. James Holman suggested asking Vice Chancellor Washington to send a reinforcing letter to delegate supervisors.
Lori Haight noted general confusion about the Forum’s electoral divisions. She said that these categories seemed outdated and thought that the Forum should devote energies to re-organize its divisions in a fair and easily understood manner. The Chair noted these concerns but also asked how lower-paid employees could be adequately represented in a location-based electoral system. Bryan Andregg thought that the problem arose from a general lack of understanding and communication about the current electoral system. Haight agreed, noting that the divisional system has been used only for elections then seems to disappear every year. The Chair added concerns about whether the divisions accurately represent the campus population. Andregg added questions about one’s placement in an electoral division. Members agreed to stick with the current system for the upcoming electoral cycle.
The Chair said that the Personnel Issues committee has worked on a possible career banding resolution suggested by University faculty. She hoped that the Forum could continue to partner with faculty on many different levels. On the other hand, she did not want to dictate to the Personnel Issues committee the content of its resolution.
The Chair proposed extending the deadline for delegates to sign up for the March 7 outdoor challenge course.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:36 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary