April 1, 2020
UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum
Zoom Remote Meeting: Connection Details Below
NOTE: This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)
II. Special Presentations (9:20 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.)
- George Battle, Vice Chancellor of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management
- Chris Meinecke, President, University Managers’ Association
III. Human Resources Update (9:55 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.)
- Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini
- Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
IV. Consent Agenda (10:20 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.)
- March Minutes (to be sent separately to delegates)
- Forum Committees
- Communications and Public Relations: Greg Smith
- Book Club: Natiaya Neal
- InTouch: Greg Smith, Editor
- Community Service: Ashley Belcher
- Carolina Blood Drive: Jim Potts/Todd Hux
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
- Education and Career Development: Laura Pratt
- Carolina Family Scholarship: Emma Beckham
- Professional Development Grants: Laura Pratt
- Membership & Assignments: Tiffany Carver
- Personnel Issues: Rose Thorp/Phillip Edwards
- Recognition & Awards: Natiaya Neal
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Shayna Hill/Keith Hines/James Holman/Laura Pratt
- University Committee Representatives
- Advisory Committee on Transportation & Parking: Laura Pratt
- Buildings & Grounds: James Stamey
- Student Stores Advisory Committee: Keith Hines/Clinton Miller
- Executive Committee: Shayna Hill
- Communications and Public Relations: Greg Smith
V. Old Business (10:40 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)
- Forum Elections Upcoming in April
VI. New Business (10:50 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.)
- Forum’s Covid-19 Response
VII. Announcements/Questions (11:20-11:30 a.m.)
April 1, 2020 Employee Forum minutes
Delegates Attending: Darren Abrecht, L.E. Alexander, Donnyell Batts, Dzenita Blackwell, JoAnn Blake, Rich Brandenburg, Shane Brogan, Stephanie Brown, Sarah Carrier, Tiffany Carver, Tim Carville, Adrienne Cromwell, Kelly Scurlock Cross, Jen DeNeal, Phil Edwards, Jasper Fleming, Stephanie Forman, Adrianne Gibilisco, Chrissie Greenberg, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, Mary King, Arlene Medder, Kadejah Murray, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Ayla Ocasio, Joe Ormond, Jim Potts, Laura Pratt, Kevin Robinson, David Rogers, Greg Smith, James Stamey, Allison Standard, Charles Streeter, Rose Thorpe, Tracy Wetherby Williams
Excused Absences: Karen Gilliam, Clinton Miller
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m. She welcomed delegates to the first ever remote meeting of the Forum, conducted via Zoom. [At this point the meeting was interrupted by outside agents.] Kadejah Murray said that the Forum could avoid further interruption by requiring passwords and streaming the meeting to outsiders via YouTube.
The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor for Institutional Integrity and Risk Management George Battle. Vice Chancellor Battle introduced himself, spoke about the mission of his department and described his background. He noted his placement with the Operational Excellence Team. He deferred to Becci Menghini on a question about departmental designations.
He thanked the Forum for its work. Battle also agreed to come back under better circumstances to discuss the University’s COVID-19 response as a post-mortem.
The Chair then welcomed Chris Meinecke, President of the University Managers’ Association (UMA). Meinecke thanked the Forum for the invitation to speak. He had worked at the University for approximately 14 years and had served previously on the Forum for four years. He noted that current delegates Chrissie Greenberg and Adrienne Cromwell also serve on the UMA.
The UMA was established in 1983 following the Office of Human Resources’ University Managers’ Development Program (UMDP), the precursor of today’s ULEAD program. Meinecke emphasized that the UMA is not an official department and instead is funded by member dues. The organization features a speaker series accompanied with brownbag lunches. UMA works with OHR Learning & Development to select the University Manager of the Year.
Currently, the organization faces challenges with declining membership and declining attendance at speaker events. UMA requires around $750/year to run its program and asks individuals or departments to pay $25/year for membership. Meinecke said that current difficulties will reveal what the UMA will become. He had met with the Forum Chair to discuss possible alignment with the Forum or another organization, and the UMA’s place in the University’s Strategic Plan Carolina Next.
Arlene Medder suggested that the UMA offer an option for employees not in managerial roles. She thought that this option could increase membership. Laura Pratt said that the Education & Career Development committee’s recent survey revealed a general interest among employees in becoming managers. Natiaya Neal noted that the Gillings School of Public Health has aligned with Human Resources to provide managerial training. Tiffany Carver thought that a difficulty exists with those who need managerial training but absolutely will not pursue it. She would love to see this training required of all University managers.
Chrissie Greenberg said that the continuity of UMA leadership has faced difficulty recently. She thought that the campus is interested in developing the UMA into a University role. She offered to take ideas back to the organization. Meinecke thanked the Forum for the time to speak. The Chair invited him to return to speak in a couple of months.
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources & Equal Opportunity & Compliance Becci Menghini presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She recalled the notice last Friday that faculty and staff leave will pivot from time and a half pay to compensatory time for campus work until April 30th. She said that more discretion is available for temporary employees. She emphasized that the University cannot decide independently on this question. Instead, the System Office by way of the Governor made this decision. The University made the case that it should be able to pay time and a half for campus work, but the questions of leave and benefits made this unable to occur. Menghini said that her office has met with UNC System Vice President for Human Resources Matt Brody to discuss exceptions and rules governing this new policy. The University System may look at the impact of this change after April 30th.
Arlene Medder thought that Human Resources could improve how it provides information to campus. Menghini noted that rules in this area are different for undergraduate and graduate workers. She directed employees to the FAQ page on the Human Resources website.
Rose Thorp thanked Menghini for all the work her office has done in this difficult time. She recalled that the System President had issued a memo on March 26th regarding the suspension of Human Resources actions. She hoped that there would be a triage of the impact of this suspension upon faculty, staff, and students. She also hoped that additional guidance related to policy administration during Covid-19 would be made available. Menghini asked for employee patience given the current hold on hiring actions.
The Chair remarked that some departments in the process of hiring faculty have submitted paperwork. Menghini said that actions with a start date prior to the March 26th memo would be considered on a case by case basis.
Chrissie Greenberg asked about mandatory designations and their relation to the hiring freeze. She drew a connection between these designations and compensation. Menghini said that these items are not connected. She outlined a series of seven categories that document an employee’s Communicable Disease Mandatory Employees (CDME) status to unit leaders. She noted differences in designations between mandatory at-home and onsite employees.
Tracey Wetherby Williams noted that the Adams School of Dentistry continues to see patients. She understood that if an employee is considered at-risk, that person can work off-campus. However, if someone in that employee’s household is at-risk, this fact is not considered. She noted the case of a female employee with an asthmatic son who worries over carrying the Covid-19 virus home.
Menghini said that departments can work to find solutions and managerial designations can be overridden. She noted that paid administrative leave is an option not often granted. Williams asked who determines when an employee is at-risk. Menghini said that the University generally takes people at their word and she hoped that employees would feel comfortable raising these questions with their supervisor. Alternatively, employees can consult the Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance for options. Rose Thorp did not feel comfortable advising employees to take this path. Menghini offered to explore this situation further with Employee & Management Relations personnel.
Timothy Carville noted the case of two Housekeeping employees who are spouses. What is the rule about which one must return to work? Menghini said that one employee of the family must return to work as the policy’s intent will not allow pay of administrative leave for both employees. Instead, the intent is to allow one parent per family with children to receive this leave.
Carville asked about when both employees are at-risk. Menghini said that this situation is different. She said that there is not hard guidance about this situation available, but OHR would do its best to interpret guidance from Raleigh and the System Office.
James Stamey asked about departments determining administrative leave for temporary employees. Menghini said that if these are not managerial employees, paying them is up to the unit. Departments do not have to pay temporary employees who do not perform work. Departments that cannot maintain payments to ongoing or nine-month temporary employees but want to keep them on staff must bear this expense or keep them on the payroll at no hours worked. She said that units have more discretion with temporary employees. Rose Thorp noted the 31-day break that temporary employees must take every year. She asked if they were to take this break now would it be a barrier to their return. Menghini thought that this break would be allowed but encouraged a call to OHR offices to be certain.
Rose Thorp asked about an employee making loan payments under the CARES Act. She asked if UNC could allow this to occur for its employees, and under what circumstances. Menghini said that the University cannot allow this arrangement by State statute. The University cannot pay tuition loan payment for its employees. She did not anticipate any new permissions in this area.
Natiaya Neal asked about the situation of Campus Health employees who are not eligible for time and a half pay. These employees face daily interactions with possible coronavirus patients. She asked why these employees do not qualify for the same benefits as others working on campus. Menghini noted differences in the way that different employees are classified under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Decisions on classification are not based on unit location but rather employment type, with reference to State and federal rules.
Natiaya Neal said that the aforementioned Campus Health employee believes that she works near other employees who do earn the time and a half differential. She asked how to explain this differential when both are in similar situations. Menghini proposed discussing this situation with the unit leadership team in the context of other Human Resources actions. She said that sometimes units require framing outside of the federal rule. She would work with the department to figure out the relevant structure, given departmental financial constraints.
Senior Director for Employee & Management Relations Angenette McAdoo asked if the Campus Health employee is designated mandatory. Neal said that this employee is considered mandatory but is not eligible for overtime pay. She was not certain why this is the case. Menghini surmised that the employee supervisor is above a certain level, and thus is not subject to discretionary supervisor determination.
Keith Hines asked whether the temporary suspension of Human Resources actions includes dismissal actions. Menghini believed that dismissal actions are still permissible. McAdoo said that with disciplinary actions, termination procedures remain the same. She noted that sometimes individual employees can run out of things to do given campus closure. She said that managers can provide special projects which are not typical parts of an employee’s work duties.
Arlene Medder asked if there would be an update to the time management system (TIM). Menghini replied affirmatively as TIM needs to track administrative leave. She did not know when these updates would occur. Medder noted the case of a mandatory employee working on campus one day a week. Menghini said that TIM programmers are building new codes to incorporate administrative leave provisions. She said that employees working on campus will be compensated time and a half or compensatory leave. Rose Thorp asked if these changes will be retroactive. Menghini said that these changes will take place in April and beyond, but do not apply for March.
Menghini thanked delegates and employees for all they are doing managing their work at home while also managing families and pets. The Chair thanked Menghini and McAdoo for their remarks.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the March minutes. Jen DeNeal made this motion, seconded by Arlene Medder. Medder had one change for clarification. DeNeal accepted this change. The motion was approved without opposition.
The Chair asked that committees present their monthly reports. There was no report from the Communications & Public Relations committee.
Arlene Medder reported for the Community Service committee that the tomato event at the Carolina Community Garden had been canceled. Tracy Wetherby Williams said that the Blood Drive is continuing Zoom meetings to prepare for the June drive. She said that the Red Cross has pled for donations and drives given blood shortages related to the recent pandemic.
Laura Pratt reported that the Education & Career Development committee will meet following the day’s meeting. The professional development grant and Carolina Family Scholarship application periods begin April 15th.
There was no report from the Membership & Assignments committee.
Rose Thorp reported that the Personnel Issues committee is responding to employee concerns as they come in. She encouraged employees to reach out to her or co-chair Phil Edwards.
Natiaya Neal reported that the Recognition & Awards committee was able to welcome volunteers to review peer recognition nominations, which will open later this week. She encouraged employees to nominate coworkers who have made contributions above and beyond the call.
Laura Pratt reported that the UNC System Staff Assembly had heard from the System Office regarding the Covid-19 response. She congratulated The Erskine Bowles Staff Award for Community Service winner Chris Wallace. Keith Hines reported that the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament had been canceled. The Bowles Award ceremony will still occur and the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina (SEANC) will still contribute to the scholarship fund this year.
Matt Banks reported on the status of the upcoming Forum elections. He pledged to respond to Katie Musgrove’s question regarding the number of delegate seats available this year (there are 38 seats available).
Katie Musgrove noted that the April 9th Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting had been canceled. The Chair would direct that a new inquiry for topics would go out soon.
L.E. Alexander asked whether faculty and staff must still be charged for parking given restrictions on campus work. Laura Pratt said that the recent Advisory Committee on Transportation meeting had been canceled. She said that Transportation and Parking hopes to provide clarification on this question soon. Rose Thorp said that School of Medicine parking enforcement is less stringent than usual, other than the Cardinal and Dogwood decks.
Alexander noted concerns that spaces are available but not patrolled. Phil Edwards thought that student fees will likely be refunded and asked if there would be a parallel refund for employee parking fees. Keith Hines remarked that some System institutions, like UNC-Greensboro, do not charge their employees to park on campus.
The Chair said that she would address the Forum’s Covid-19 response in a future meeting of InTouch following discussion with the Executive Committee.
Tiffany Carver asked for delegates to help her track attendance following the meeting.
Jen DeNeal made a motion that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Katie Musgrove. The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 10:58 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary