June 19, 2018 Executive Committee Minutes
Attending: Bryan Andregg, Clare Counihan, Shayna Hill, Naquan Hill, Linda Holst, Arlene Medder, Alan Moran, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Greg Smith
Excused Absences: Lori Haight, James Holman
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:34 a.m. She asked for a motion to approve the May minutes of the Executive Committee. Naquan Hill made this motion, seconded by Natiaya Neal. The motion was approved with recusals from Arlene Medder and Greg Smith who were not present for that meeting.
The Chair asked for committee reports. Arlene Medder noted that the Carolina Campus Community Garden’s Advisory Board had raised a question about Aramark employees’ eligibility to receive Garden produce. She said that the Garden is interested in expanding to reach this population, perhaps at a cost of $10,000. She hoped that Auxiliary Services could be persuaded to provide some funds for this project. Katie Musgrove asked if the Garden has the volume to provide produce to the approximately 400 extra individuals. She also asked if the committee needed a yearly donation to make this task possible.
Katie Musgrove noted that the Forum is bound to serve the UNC community and so should consider donating funds to the Garden for this purpose. Arlene Medder noted that the benchmark for Garden recipients is 185% of poverty level, which may change a little given legislative pay increases for lower-paid employees. Musgrove thought that if this expansion is sustainable, the Garden should go for it. Clare Counihan said it would be awesome if the Forum were to work to advance the interests of Aramark employees, particularly in monthly bus pass subsidies. Angenette McAdoo said that University subsidies for use of Triangle Transit buses are open to all employees. Counihan asked if employees must meet a certain income threshold and McAdoo responded that employees must live a certain distance away to receive these subsidies. Musgrove noted that disabled and elderly patrons receive similar subsidies, and she asked if the Forum could advocate for the Aramark population. McAdoo thought that Aramark could be amenable to paying some portion of employee bus pass costs through Transportation & Parking.
Natiaya Neal reported that the Recognition & Awards committee had finished this year’s work. She praised the high turnout of peer recognition winners attending the Forum’s June meeting. The Chair thanked Neal for her work on the campaign, recalling that various departments have contacted the Forum Office to inquire about doing articles on the event in their newsletters. Neal noted that applications have risen from around 60 or so her first year chairing the committee to slightly over 200 this year.
Greg Smith reported that the Communications & Public Relations committee had worked on the InTouch newsletter and hoped to publish around July 2nd. Natiaya Neal said that the Forum’s Book Club will take a break for the summer. She asked if the committee objected to the Club meeting in the Gillings School of Public Health. She said that this location could likely prove quieter and more reliable than the Bull’s Head Bookshop location. She asked if the Club could resume the provision of lunch for attendees. The committee generally agreed this was a good idea depending on the state of the Forum budget.
Katie Musgrove reported that the Community Service committee had featured Blood Drive committee chair Jim Potts in a radio spot on WCHL. The radio station had named Potts as a Hometown Hero and he had spoken twice on WCHL lauding the Blood Drive and the Forum. Musgrove noted that the Blood Drive did not reach its goal this year but had more donations than the year before. Angenette McAdoo recalled that historically a group of departmental leaders made sure that employees signed up for the drive. She said that this effort has been absent in recent years. Musgrove replied that this organizational structure has aged out over the years, leading in turn to a reliance on social media. McAdoo offered that the Human Resources supervisors’ listserv could work to push out Blood Drive advertising. She would inquire about this possibility.
Musgrove praised Potts’ on-air representation of the Forum’s work on the UNC toy drive, the food drive, and the million meals campaign, among other achievements. She praised the Community Service committee for leading the way to win the million meals challenge, doubling the amount raised by NCSU, Duke, and Wake Forest combined. The Chair said that she had mentioned this achievement in her remarks to the Board of Trustees.
Clare Counihan reported that the Carolina Family Scholarship committee’s reading group will consider applications in the first week of July. She said that the Professional Development Grant application process will resume in July also. There was a suggestion that the Forum Office send a preliminary e-mail encouraging employees to prepare themselves for the July application process.
Counihan had made a presentation on the Education and Career Development committee’s work in these areas at the Friday Center the last month. Delegates discussed the $500 maximum provided to grant winners and the possibility of increasing these awards.
The committee welcomed newly elected Forum Treasurer Linda Holst. The Chair asked for ideas on planning the annual retreat which will occur on July 11th. She noted that the Carolina Outdoor Education Center will host the Forum for a morning session based around teambuilding exercises. In the afternoon, the committee will retreat to the Hickory Tavern in Carrboro for a brief planning meeting. Natiaya Neal noted that the Back Bar behind the Great Room of the Top of the Hill restaurant is also a good location for these kinds of events. The Chair noted the general concern about parking availability.
Katie Musgrove asked about renting a van from the motor pool to transport delegates between locations. The committee eventually directed Matt Banks to create a Qualtrics survey asking about carpooling availability through the day.
Linda Holst suggested that the Forum preorder appetizers and food to be ready for those who had participated at the Outdoor Education Center that morning.
Clare Counihan noted the committee’s previous discussion about hiring a History graduate student to work on a history of the Forum. Delegates discussed the oncoming fiscal year closeout and the requirements to hire a student for this purpose. Counihan suggested that a good market rate would be $20/hour for approximately 100 hours of archival and historical research and writing.
The Chair asked about the Forum budget paying the $1,000 dedicated donation to the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Matt Banks said that Cheryl Gerringer had told him the money had been transferred. Clare Counihan noted that money for professional development grants has been encumbered for the next fiscal year. Naquan Hill said that the contract for the history student could similarly be encumbered and charged back to this fiscal year if done very quickly. Natiaya Neal said the Forum’s leftover money for ongoing projects such as the Forum Book Club, office renovations and other ideas such as gifts for meeting speakers, could be accomplished through a historical journal entry for intradepartmental services. Naquan Hill was not certain about this idea but added that the Forum could certainly buy furniture with the remaining money in the remainder of this fiscal year.
The Chair recalled that when she first started as Chair she had been told that the Forum Office would receive new carpeting and other improvements. Cheryl Gerringer had visited the office in November to move these renovations along. She said that she had been told that these renovations would occur. Furthermore, she would have directed that the Forum use its current surplus for this purpose in the absence of this assurance by campus administrators. She said that the Forum brings guests to the office, a space which she found “embarrassing.” Renovations are needed.
The Chair recalled that the Forum had been requested to cut its budget in July 2017 and had responded by cutting $1,500 from its Book Club lunches. Additionally, the Forum had cut out its support of the notary public certification classes, which had proven very popular for campus staff. The Chair said that the Forum had cut $5,000 from its budget, doing over three times what had been asked. Naquan Hill said that the walls and carpet need the most attention.
The question arose as to whether the Forum should hire a work-study student this year. Greg Smith recalled that he had found getting work-study students to accomplish needed work was a tedious exercise. He said that the five to ten hours worked a week were appreciated by his office but were not always useful. Natiaya Neal said that her office takes the work-study program very seriously and as a result gets a great amount of assistance from these students. She said that she has three work-study students working in her office.
Katie Musgrove asked about obtaining a rollover for trust fund expenses from Human Resources, a common practice which the department has not allowed the Forum. The Chair wondered if the trust fund has an auto-budget created for its funds or does it track expenditures in any way. Naquan Hill did not think there was an auto-budget mechanism in place. Greg Smith thought that it would be reasonable to ask for carryforward of excess trust fund dollars given the Forum’s needs and its surplus. Delegates discussed the possibilities of getting the Forum Office renovations done before the impending end of the fiscal year.
Linda Holst asked about the Forum Office’s mold under the carpet and elsewhere. She asked if there should be consideration of the Office as a health hazard. The Chair said that she would mention this point in upcoming discussions with campus administrators.
The Chair noted that Vice Provost Elaine Westbrooks and Director Kim Strom-Gottfried were among the proposed speakers at the Forum’s August meeting.
Delegates discussed the proportion of time in the Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting spent on Housekeeping issues versus other systemic questions. Clare Counihan said that there is a perception among some administrators that Housekeeping issues should be dealt with farther down the administrative chain. Naquan Hill commented that some Housekeeping supervisors often are not doing their jobs which leads to a cascade effect of complaints. The Chair was hesitant to allege that supervisors were not doing their jobs. She thought that a broader problem of communication has led to frustration and incorrect assumptions which in turn have led to defensive behavior on both sides. She said that the department is still working through growing pains in areas like Just in Time ordering. Counihan agreed with the Chair’s assessment.
Angenette McAdoo said that administrators and Forum delegates must keep building communication from the Vice Chancellor meeting responses. She said that oftentimes administrative responses are not what delegates or employees want to hear. She said that there are sometimes many layers to communication that must be pulled back. Katie Musgrove thought that the Personnel Issues committee could establish a working group to address some of the bigger picture items. McAdoo was wary that there may not be a similar commitment to the process from both sides. She said that more work remains.
The Chair said that she would love to hold conversations on bigger picture goals with the Vice Chancellor group and Forum delegates. She would love more collegiality to exist between the groups but wanted to be careful how to frame this process. She noted the pride that delegates feel representing their department in these discussions. She did not want this process to become perceived as elitist in any way.
The Chair proposed to write a proposal in advance of the next meeting on common goals for the next year for the Forum and the partnership. She hoped to increase a commonality of feeling with the Vice Chancellor representatives. Greg Smith said that changing the culture of interaction could be very difficult. He felt frankly that the Vice Chancellors do not take these meetings seriously and instead see them as complaint sessions. He sensed a weird and tense feeling in meetings he attended.
The Chair said that she had heard a comment that the Forum placed special interests first. She invited critics to see so much more in the Forum as it works to benefit the common interest. She did not want discussions to deteriorate into a series of “us v. them” confrontations. She said that real opportunities can be lost through a confrontational approach. She thought that productive discussions require empathy from all parties. Angenette McAdoo said that a reeducation process to align understanding around common goals could be effective.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:28 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary