April 16, 2018 Vice Chancellor Representatives’ Meeting
Attending: Adam Beck, Dzenita Blackwell, Linc Butler, Lori Haight, Todd Hux, Arlene Medder, Jim Potts, Jonathan Pruitt, James Stamey, Carol Tresolini, Felicia Washington, Anna Wu
Felicia Washington called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. She asked that first drafts of minutes from these meetings be sent to her and to Shayna Hill in advance of these meetings. Lori Haight noted troubles with employee identification with the Forum’s electoral divisions. Washington said it would be helpful to understand how the Forum’s divisions are set up before discussing possible pain points. Shayna Hill said that the divisions are formed by the percentage of employees in each federal job category. Divisions are based on federal job categories but are not commonly understood by employees or even Forum delegates. Washington asked to receive a copy of the Forum’s divisional breakdowns. She confirmed that the Forum receives a monthly roster from Derek Scupin’s office.
Haight said that prospective delegates often cannot actively campaign for their positions because they may not work with or even know those who vote in their division. Hill said that the electoral division system is confusing to every delegate elected to the Forum, at least initially.
Washington took a moment to introduce Jonathan Pruitt, the new Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. Pruitt noted his background with the UNC System Office. Those attending introduced themselves.
Washington asked about the prospects of electing delegates via one composite ballot for all. Hill said that this would result in a huge ballot as the Forum commonly has delegates seats for over 40 candidates. Haight looked forward to seeing how representation is attributed across electoral divisions. Washington asked for information on how delegates are elected for other UNC System staff organizations. Linc Butler said that the Forum’s system of electing delegates based on federal occupational categories (FOCs) was tied to the University’s previous compensation system. He said that finding a different approach could be useful but cautioned that there are too many job titles to base a system on that criteria alone.
Haight suggested that the Forum elect its delegates by building. Hill noted that Division 7, Technical, had not had any employee declare for office this term. She said that the Chair has made appointments to fill vacant delegate seats if no delegate is elected. Washington suggested that the Office of Human Resources compose a small committee to reach out to the UNC System Staff Assembly and NC State University to find ways to bridge this learning curve directly. Butler said that he would work on this redesign process as a goal for the coming year, as the Forum’s current elections are already underway.
Arlene Medder noted that the Carolina Campus Community Garden will work with a Public Policy Capstone project related to expanded distribution of produce to greater numbers of low-wage employees. She said that the Garden will participate in social justice work and will also hold a weed dating event. Finally, on May 15th, the Garden will host a tomato seedling transplantation event in cooperation with TIAA. Medder suggested that this is a positive example of student, faculty, staff and community cooperation that the University might choose to highlight. Shayna Hill lauded the dedication of Garden volunteers and related her own experience working there. Medder suggested that Workplace Strategy, Equity and Engagement might include information on the event in an upcoming newsletter.
Shayna Hill said that the third item on the agenda regarding progress of the Office of Human Resources study of SHRA requirements to attend mandatory meetings off the clock had been addressed. Linc Butler said that the specific situation cited in an employee e-mail was not widespread. His office had isolated the specific situation and addressed the question. Felicia Washington asked the Forum’s protocols for delegates handling individual employees’ complaints. Shayna Hill said that the Executive Committee will gauge the prevalence of a reported situation by gauging reactions around the table. If the situation is isolated, delegates will take the opportunity to explain the law and policy regarding that situation. Felicia Washington emphasized that correct information should be communicated when situations like these are reported. She said that it would be best to nip isolated situations in the bud when needed. Hill said that there is a dance that delegates must do to represent employee concerns while keeping these concerns in mind. She noted that the University adds new supervisors to departments every year who might be unfamiliar with certain policies, for example.
Felicia Washington said that the University is working to make trainings available to managers and employees also. She asked how the University could keep misinformation from becoming widespread.
Felicia Washington reported that the Forum had sent revised criteria to her office for the proposed Marcia Clark award. She said that the Forum had voted on revised criteria. Washington took these criteria to the Chancellor’s Cabinet for consideration. She noted that there was support for the award, although there were concerns raised as well. To begin, the Cabinet had concerns about the intent of the award to honor “moral courage.” Secondly, there was concern about the proposal that the Forum conduct the nomination process. She said that the University Awards process has been administered by a University-wide committee. She said that Charles Streeter had received and understood these proposed revisions about how the nomination process for the award would be handled.
Washington said that there needs to be further tweaks to the award criteria. She said that the selection’s impact to their department as opposed to the impact to the whole University was one point of contention. She offered the assistance of her team to work through these questions. Shayna Hill thought that University Awards have a big impact at the departmental level but not so often to the University as a whole. Carol Tresolini noted that the Edward Kidder Graham Award honors those faculty who have positively influenced the University, State and nation. Todd Hux noted the contributions of employees like Rhonda Beatty to the University’s annual Blood Drives. Hill hoped that the nomination process would dig deeply into the many contributions of staff. Washington drew a parallel with the C. Knox Massey Award’s nomination process. Hill suggested that the Forum’s Recognition & Awards committee work with Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement officials to finalize these criteria towards having an award winner this October.
Shayna Hill noted that the Chancellor’s Cup golf tournament would take place in May. UNC-Chapel Hill is the designated host of the tournament this year. Hill asked how the Forum should communicate with the Chancellor’s Office regarding requirements for this event. Felicia Washington suggested that Amy Hertel would be a good contact for this event. Hill pledged to send on rules for the golf tournament to Washington and Jonathan Pruitt, who planned to participate as a player in the tournament for UNC-Chapel Hill. It was noted that players in the tournament must use vacation or bonus leave for this event, while other volunteers can code the event as work time.
Felicia Washington summed up the meeting’s decisions. She did note questions regarding the accuracy of facts presented in the Forum’s proposed resolution 18-02 on employee compensation. Shayna Hill said that the Personnel Issues committee should try to identify and correct any misinformation in the resolution to make sure it is accurate. She recommended that the committee work with the Forum’s Human Resources partners to figure out adjustments necessary for accuracy.
Washington said that she is obliged to respond to the Chancellor’s concerns about inaccurate information. She said that the resolution talks about new career banding ranges in a way that ignores more up to date System Office market studies. These studies show that UNC-Chapel Hill ranks higher than is depicted in the proposed resolution. Shayna Hill understood that the basis for the resolution was a scorecard report provided by the UNC System Staff Assembly.
Washington noted that according to documents available on the Board of Governors’ website, UNC-Chapel Hill has the greatest percentage of employees paid at or near market rate. She said that this information is not consistent with the resolution, which should be brought into alignment for the sake of accuracy. Linc Butler said that the general perception is that UNC-Chapel Hill employees are compensated better than UNC System peers across the State. He noted that 90% of UNC-Chapel Hill employees receive market rate or higher, greatly exceeding those at UNC-Pembroke, Elizabeth City State, or Western Carolina, among others. Lori Haight noted the impulse to acknowledge a holding pattern in employee compensation.
Butler said that career banding rates would not include EHRA employees, who are compensated under a different system. Shayna Hill recalled that Forum resolutions on salary are common and are done regularly. She agreed that if the resolution is factually incorrect it would not be taken seriously. She would ask the Forum’s Personnel Issues committee to work with Office of Human Resources officials to update any incorrect information and to recognize what has currently been done.
Washington said that she did not know how other UNC System staff organizations operate, but she worried that Forum delegates did not react to information contrary to the resolution presented in the customary Human Resources update. She noted the question of what the University can do when the State will not update its market rates. Hill noted additional questions about how the Forum could best have a voice, noting that other campuses typically have more face-to-face meetings with campus leaders than the Forum does here in Chapel Hill. She lamented that the flagship university is using this resource in the least efficient way. She recalled that Matt Brody had reported that the State’s market rates were 10-15% lower than comparable private rates, however this comparison is not exact.
Hill conceded that the Forum’s resolution must be correct, or it will lose credibility. Washington appreciated the Forum’s willingness to work on the resolution to make it helpful and accurate. She knew that the Chancellor would want to see this accuracy in place also.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:02 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary