From the Chair, Tommy Griffin…
Take the Time to Listen and Care
Hello friends. It’s December, and we’re all getting ready for the holidays, thinking about our families and Friends. We have successfully made another year together and look forward to a new year and what make take place in our lives this next year. What kind of changes would you like to make in the coming new year? I know that everyone has their own thoughts and ideas about what they would like to see happen next year. I would like to see the economy turn around and start moving upward. I would like to see unemployment go to zero. I would like to see a cure for all known diseases to mankind. I would like to see world peace. I would like to see everyone paid a living wage. I would like to see our state leaders truly realize what a great asset they have in us as state employees and how much we are truly worth. I would like to see everyone treated with love, dignity, and respect. I would like to see the entire world start working together to take care of each other and make sure that we all can live a happy and prosperous life. You properly think I am living in a dream world as you read this article, but all these things are possible if we all work together to make them happen. You say, “How can this happen?” It starts right here, right now, today, on our campus and in our communities. Who starts it? We do. How do we accomplish all of this? We do it by doing the right thing each and every day and looking out for each other and putting other folks needs in front of our on. We just need to take the time to listen and care and be willing to step up and be heard.
We have seen many changes take place here on our campus this year. We have seen students, staff, and faculty working together to improve things on and off the campus. We have seen a task force put together to improve the work place. Everyone on campus has had the opportunity to give input to this process. We could have not gotten this done without the help of everyone on campus. I want thank everyone for their help and support. The Task Force has gathered a large amount of information to study and put together into a plan that I know will work. We will see improvements for everyone on campus. We have to respect each other and work together and support the needs of everyone for this plan to work. We have to put our differences aside. By this time next year, we will see many changes made to improve the work place, because of this plan. Folks worked on it so hard and cared so much that it has to be successful.
I want to thank each and everyone on campus for all their hard work and dedication this past year. With out all of us there would be no University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and there would be no statewide University system. Think about what you do every day and how important you are to this state and our educational system. What we do every day does make a difference to our state and to our nation and to the world. We can move the beach one grain of sand at the time – we just have to do it together. I challenge everyone on campus to think about changes every day and to take part and help make all these changes take place. We shall make the right changes because we care the most and are willing to do what ever it takes to be successful. Thanks and have a good day. Your friend and someone who truly cares, Tommy.
At the November 5 Forum meeting, Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, described a new web-based orientation that will soon become available to UNC employees. The web version will cover the same information as the lecture style orientation. HR will still provide the lecture style orientation, but not as often. There will be separate question and answer sessions for folks who used the web-based orientation. The web version will be open to anyone who wants to view it, so employees and spouses can review the orientation information at their leisure.
Human Resources will offer the web orientation in English only, at least to start. Spanish speakers can take the lecture style orientation, and HR will provide a translator if the department contacts HR beforehand.
Pete Reinhardt, Director of UNC Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) spoke at the November 5 Forum meeting about indoor air quality at UNC at Chapel Hill. With the recent toxic mold problems at NC Central University, environmental safety and air quality in particular are receiving more attention. Reinhardt pointed folks to his department’s web page, at http://ehs.unc.edu/. EHS will respond to reports of safety and air quality issues and provide recommendations for how to fix the problems, though the EHS budget does not cover implementing the proposed fixes.
You can report air quality issues by phone (962-5507), fax (962-0227), or email (via the web at http://www.unc.edu/gform-links/ehs/dept_contact.htm). You can also check out the indoor air quality web page at http://ehs.unc.edu/ih/iaq/index.shtml, where you can read the policy on indoor air quality. Appendix A to this policy is a form you can fill out to report problems, and you can submit this anonymously if you wish.
On Monday, November 24, approximately 60 well-wishers gathered in the Toy Lounge of Dey Hall to bid farewell to Drake Maynard, Senior Director of Human Resources Administration. Maynard will be leaving UNC on November 30 after more than 11 years to assume a position at the Office of State Personnel in Raleigh. Laurie Charest gave a brief bio of Maynard and presented him a scrapbook consisting of photos, letters, and good luck wishes from his friends here at UNC for him to review and reflect upon his time at UNC. Afterward, Matt Brody offered his best wishes, and then he and Claire Miller presented Maynard with a replica of the Old Well and Bell Tower to take to his new office. Joanna Carey Smith will serve in the interim while the University seeks a replacement for Mr. Maynard.
As Senior Director of HR Administration, Drake Maynard spoke at Forum meetings and at University Manager’s Association meetings, explaining the finer points of various HR policies. In his most recent Forum appearance, he talked about the layoff process and the rights of employees seeking reemployment with the state and the University.
In October’s InTouch we had two contests for UNC employees, “What would you do with a raise this year?” and “How have the budget cuts affected your department?” Unfortunately, we didn’t get any entries in the last category, but that meant we could have two winners in the “What would you do with a Raise” category. The Communications Committee held a drawing in the Employee Forum Office, and the lucky winners are Lynn Tuttle and Kitty Ellison. They both won $10 gift certificates from Pepper’s Pizza, one of our many locally owned businesses on Franklin Street.
We had some questions as to the point of the contest. InTouch staff were looking for a way to let employees take a dream trip or to lament the loss of the raise. We had comments of both types. Most people said they would use it for everyday things, like paying bills so they could keep their heads above water. Some just said they were in serious need of a raise or that they knew of employees who were. We also heard about how the lack of raises over the past several years has affected retirement packages. We did get one potential wanderer who would have liked a trip to Alaska “to see the wonders that only Alaska has.” Though the contest was intended to be a way to fantasize about money, the responses made it clear what was in people’s hearts.
Please note that the InTouch articles labeled “editorial” are just that, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the entire Employee Forum. Employees are welcome to send in their opinions. If we print them, we will label them “opinions.”
The Employee Forum Personnel Issues Committee sent the following recommendations to the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace. The message is reproduced here in its entirety.
Date: November 7, 2003
To: Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace
From: Employee Forum Personnel Issues Committee
Subject: SPA Administrative Standards Task Force Recommendation
The Career Banding Salary Administration Plan brings a unique opportunity for UNC administration to earn the confidence of staff and supervisors by ensuring SPA policies are consistently and objectively applied. The existence of appropriate policies and mechanisms does not ensure consistency of application, although much work has been done at the state, university, and school or unit levels. Discrepancies in “best practices” in SPA staff management can be documented across and between some UNC units and divisions. Recurring employee issues with job classifications, reclassifications, salary adjustments, retention, and equity call attention to inconsistencies. The Office of Human resources cannot inspire or enforce best practices; nothing can substitute for the willingness of top administration to assume this responsibility across the university.
Employee expectations have sunk perilously low in recent years, so the need for high management standards is greater than ever. Strong, visible oversight at top levels is required to identify, evaluate, and resolve questionable practices, to inspire adherence in the spirit in which policies were developed, and to persuade all that inappropriate management practices will not overlooked or tolerated.
The Personnel Issues Committee therefore recommends that an SPA Administrative Standards Task Force be drawn immediately from high levels across the university and assume the oversight of SPA position management and compensation administration. The purpose of this task force would be to research trends and locate divisions, units, or individual employees that fall short of standards, and to find ways to bring these in line with best practices. The task force would avoid policing areas that consistently maintain high standards.
We further recommend that the task force report to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and to the Employee Forum, and that it:
ß review SPA position management and compensation administration across the university for compliance with best management practices;
ß issue recommendations for compliance to appropriate areas;
ß remain disassociated from both Finance and Administration and the Office of Human Resources—increasing its credibility and freeing it from any real or perceived conflict of interest;
ß stay separate from the Career Banding project— not to be seen as an arm of that or limited to those issues;
ß be chartered for three years and that it may, at the recommendation of the Task Force itself or at the request of the Provost or Chancellor, become a university standing committee charged with upholding SPA best management practices across the university.