March 16, 2021 Executive Committee minutes
Attending: L.E. Alexander, Rich Brandenburg, Shane Brogan, Tiffany Carver, Jen DeNeal, Phil Edwards, Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth, Stephanie Forman, Adrianne Gibilisco, Natasha Hanks, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, James Holman, Haydée Marchese, Arlene Medder, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Brooke O’Neal, Ayla Ocasio, Laura Pratt, Kevin Robinson, Robert Smith III, Antonio Squire, Charles Streeter (ex-officio), Rose Thorp, Jacob Womack
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:35 a.m. Kevin Robinson moved to approve the February minutes, seconded by Arlene Medder. The motion was approved by acclamation.
Ayla Ocasio and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly budget report. The Chair asked for a motion to approve the Forum’s proposed 2021-22 budget. Katie Musgrove moved that the budget be approved, seconded by Ayla Ocasio. This motion was approved.
The Chair began discussion of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for University personnel. She noted that there is a group trying to bring a vaccination clinic to the Cheek-Clark building from 10 p.m. — 6 a.m. to vaccinate third-shift employees there. She did not have any details as to whether this clinic would take place. Delegates discussed their various reactions to the vaccination. Kevin Robinson shared a website at which people could report their respective reactions to the vaccine https://vsafe.cdc.gov/en/ .
The Chair noted that delegate elections would occur next month. She urged delegates to check the expiration date of their service on the delegates page of the Forum website to find their status. If their term is ending, she hoped that these delegates would nominate themselves to run again. She asked Matt Banks to send out a reminder to all delegates whose term is about to expire. Banks said that there have been 34 nominations for 21 delegate positions thus far. He thanked Charles Streeter for masterminding the Access database that places employees into the various electoral divisions. Banks would confer candidate interest and perform the divisional splits very soon. Banks said that he planned to ask candidates to verify their supervisor’s agreement but planned to do so in their stead if necessary.
Banks asked the committee when the Forum should plan for in-person meetings once again. The Chair thought that the Stone Center does not have appropriate video technology to conduct in-person and Zoom meetings simultaneously. She asked for more guidance from Banks as to the Stone Center’s capabilities. She also noted Finance’s current restrictions on expenses may affect the Forum’s reservation schedule.
The Chair asked the committee to discuss the upcoming July retreat. She recalled that David Rogers had made a presentation to the Forum last April. She asked the committee to discuss virtual options for the retreat. Delegates said that they enjoyed last year’s retreat. There was a question as to whether the Forum can use its budget on this item. The Chair thought that Finance has generally been less restrictive with virtual events. She would contact Rogers and bring the issue up again in April.
The Chair raised a question as to whether the Forum must publicly post its Zoom videos. She noted a tension between transparency issues and the wish for delegates to feel that meetings are a safe space to state their concerns. Banks said that there have been requests for access to the monthly general meetings and the Executive Committee meetings. He said that he had shared these videos with anyone who requested them but had not made the videos “public.” The Chair urged the Forum to take its cues from the Chancellor’s Office’s practice with its formal committees and commissions.
A delegate noted that the Staff Advisory Committee to the Chancellor (STACC) is not considered subject to the Open Meetings law because members do not hold elected positions. Others wondered about the perception that the committee might be hiding something. The Chair thought that STACC members were worried about the possibility of retaliation in these candid round table conversations. Phil Edwards noted a general comment that the Chancellor seems different in these non-recorded and non-streamed sessions.
The Chair asked if the Faculty Council posts the links to their meetings. Banks suggested contacting Faculty Government staff and the General Counsel’s office to obtain final word about this question. A delegate spoke in favor of public access to Forum meetings as being more transparent and accessible. A delegate thought that the Forum might need to ask UNC Media for room to archive these videos as they become part of the official history of the University.
The Chair noted there had been some pushback from some of the Staff Assembly delegates on the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament and whether the event is bringing in enough money to make it worth the effort. She noted the tournament is scheduled for September 29th.
Katie Musgrove of the Communications and Public Relations committee noted that InTouch editor Greg Smith has left the University for employment at NC State University. Shane Brogan will likely assume this role in the interim.
Brooke O’Neal reported that the Book Club’s first meeting of the year would take place next Thursday. She said that eighteen people thus far have registered for the meeting. She invited delegates to attend as well.
Jacob Womack of the Community Service committee noted that COVID-related community service leave is set to expire at the end of June. This Friday, the School of Education will hold a meeting for people to volunteer for use of this leave in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. He said that employees can use this leave for school-related activities, up to 80 hours, subject to standard community service leave procedures.
Jen DeNeal reported that the Carolina Blood Drive committee had held its first meeting to prepare for the June 8 summer drive at the Dean Dome. She offered a place to any delegate who would like to attend these planning meetings. She confirmed that people who have received their vaccines may still donate blood afterwards.
Arlene Medder noted that employees can still sign up to volunteer at the Carolina Community Garden. Work is ongoing to give food harvested to housekeepers and other third-shift workers. She confirmed that the Forum cannot do its annual tomato seedling planting this year. Matt Banks recalled that the Forum had approved a $2,500 donation to the Garden which he would carry out that month.
Antonio Squire said that the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee will feature Terri Phoenix of the LGBTQ Center in its monthly speaker series. He invited all to join the group.
L.E. Alexander reported that the Carolina Family Scholarship applications and Professional Development applications will open again around April 15th. She noted that the professional development grants will not fund travel in accordance with University policy.
The Chair gave an update on the Bil Hayes Staff Scholarship progress. She was happy that the Department of Computer Science has found enough money to support the scholarship. The department has requested that the Forum and its Education and Career Development committee administer this scholarship. Now, what remains is to develop the endowment. She thanked the Forum for supporting another staff scholarship. She noted this one is named after the late Bil Hayes, a University employee who was quite beloved. She would work with the Department on criteria for selection and said that Department representatives might want to sit on the selection committee. It was recalled that a University employee may serve on Forum committees but may not serve as chair.
Tiffany Carver offered the Membership & Assignments committee’s help to prepare for elections and other events to come. She offered to help plan for the orientation and retreat for the Forum. The Chair asked for assistance on remote voting support as had occurred in last June’s officer elections.
Phil Edwards reported that the Personnel Issues committee is working on the second part of its pay for work above current limits resolution, with the hope to place this idea in the University strategic plan.
The Chair said that the Recognition & Awards committee’s Peer Recognition Awards would require Finance approval for stipends and related matters. She also asked that Banks prepare a survey for the Forum’s Kay Wijnberg Hovious Outstanding Delegate awards. A delegate asked that past winners be identified in the email requesting votes for this award.
The Chair reported on the progress of a career banding issues resolution before the UNC System Staff Assembly. She noted a general reluctance to approve resolutions in the Assembly.
The Chair noted that the Forum will hear from Drs. Rohit Ramaswamy, Kurt Ribisl, Abigail Panter, and Viji Sathy on the SaferWays Application, as well as from Matthew Teal on “Policy 101” at its April meeting. Matt Banks will send out a call for topics for the April Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting. Stephanie Forman said that the Personnel Issues committee will be glad to present topics on delegates’ behalf. [This meeting was subsequently moved to April 26th.]
The Chair asked the committee’s thoughts on requesting continuation of the Campus and Community Advisory committee (CCAC). There was clarification of the difference between a resolution (requiring two readings) and a proclamation (a general statement requiring one reading) and a letter (usually authored and representing only the feeling of the Executive Committee). The Chair offered to contact the Faculty Chair for cooperation in writing a letter supporting the CCAC. She hoped to have a letter ready for the Executive Committee at its April 20th meeting.
Delegates discussed staff working assignments during the spring commencement.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:01 p.m. by acclamation.
Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks, Recording Secretary