Employee Forum Agenda
April 6, 2011
9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Special Presentations
- Provost Bruce Carney on Carolina Counts
- SEANC Representative Steve Lawson
IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
V. Approval of March Minutes
VI. Old Business
- Bylaws Revisions (Second Reading)
- Resolution 11-01 Concerning the Promotion of Fair and Equitable Human Resources Policies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Second Reading)
VII. New Business
- Resolution 11-02 Concerning Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault (First Reading)
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Joshua Boone
- Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Aldrich
- Compensation & Benefits: Dan Barmmer (March 17 minutes)
- Education and Career Development:
- Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen
- Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
- Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke (March 30 minutes)
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman (February 23 minutes)
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Chuck Brink
- Executive Committee: Jackie Overton (February 15 minutes)
April 6 2011 Employee Forum minutes
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She welcomed Provost Bruce Carney to make opening remarks concerning Carolina Counts. Carney said that he deals mainly with the academic mission of the University. He would soon proceed to a budget committee meeting at which he would hear how the University would prepare to deal with a 5% or 10% cut. He praised Joe Templeton and Mike Patil for working to save the University $32 million through the Carolina Counts initiative. These savings were mainly realized through hardware adjustments and unfilled positions. He said that salaries make up the greatest portion of the University’s $525 million budget. He said that it would be catastrophic if the University faced a 15% cut without anything to offset it. He noted that the House budget advocated a 21% budget cut with another 5% cut in overhead. The Senate responded with plans for a 15% cut target.
Carney said that the University’s chief mission is to make sure the education of students and the core functions of the University are protected. He said that the University would have to handle these cuts by working smarter. In previous years the State has provided the University with resources through tuition increases to handle cuts but Carney said that this would not occur this year.
Carney noted that much of the beginning Carolina Counts discussions had to do with spans and layers, meaning how many layers of organization report to a particular administrator and how many direct reports that individual has. He noted that Cornell and the University of California at Berkeley have paid to commission Bain report studies similar to the one that Carolina had done. He noted that of 117 projects commissioned through Carolina Counts, 40 have been completed. Chuck Brink asked how given movements of managers in Facilities Services the University will protect people who do the work. He said that there are too many layers in administration in this area. Carney said that the University had laid off at least 50 top tier administrators and 200 overall. He said that development officers were included in this figure. Ashley Fogle asked about shared services and their impact on centers and institutes. Carney said that some unified business clusters have been taken on faster. He noted that centers and institutes had taken an 18% cut whereas the rest of the University had received a 10% cut. Carney thanked the Forum and University employees for persevering in a difficult time.
The Chair introduced State Employees’ Association of North Carolina (SEANC) representative Steve Lawson. Lawson noted that his entire family had served as State employees. He recognized District 19 chair Angela Lyght and District 25 chair Jonathan Stephenson. Lawson outlined the positive and negative factors of Senate Bill 265, which had cleared the Legislature. He praised the bill in that the plan would make Cost Plus contracting with Blue Cross/Blue Shield unlawful. The bill would move oversight of the State Health Plan from the General Administration to the State Treasurer. The bill would form a State Health Plan board of trustees of which four of eight seats would be State employees or retired. The bill would also eliminate the smoking penalty and BMI testing. Finally on the positive front, the bill would retain the $10 copayment for generic pharmaceuticals. On the negative side, the bill would impose a $21.72 monthly premium for enrollment in the 80/20 plan, with non-Medicaid retirees paying a $16.72 monthly premium and Medicaid retirees a $10.86 monthly premium. Lawson noted that employees who begin with the State are told that their individual premiums would be absorbed by the State as part of their compensation. He also said that some retirees and employees live check to check and cannot afford these premiums. He said that the premiums would probably be enacted. Lawson said that SEANC had developed a cost savings plan for the State that would save $10 billion with no employees laid off. Lawson said that cuts in State employees result in cuts to State services. He said that SEANC was involved in a campaign to make media aware of the proposed budget. SEANC would hold three rallies in Morganton, Greenville, and Raleigh to make its point known. Lawson encouraged listeners to join SEANC or to have him make presentations in their departments. He cited SEANC accomplishments such as the retention of longevity pay, improvements in the health plan, and restoration of money taken from the State retirement.
Dan Barmmer asked about the possible creation of a health insurance pool for SEANC members. Lawson said that SEANC has researched the idea but found that the Blue Cross/Blue Shield contract made this proposal illegal. In general, however, SEANC found that there were more obstacles than advantages to pursuing a proposal. Danny Nguyen asked about legislation other than Senate Bill 265. Lawson noted the move to shift University SPA employees from the State Personnel Commission to the Board of Governors. Lawson was skeptical that rights would be taken away from employees. He thought that it would be much easier to dismiss employees from the University than it is currently. He said that SEANC executive director Dana Cope had been unable to arrange a meeting with University System President Tom Ross. Chris Meinecke asked if Lawson could touch on the events in Wisconsin the past month. Lawson said that the goal of the Governor there was to repeal collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin public employees. He thought that events there would have a negative effect on SEANC’s efforts to repeal the ban on collective bargaining for State employees in North Carolina. Chuck Sockell asked the timetable for the State to move away from Blue Cross/Blue Shield as State Health Plan administrator. Lawson said that he hoped a bid process would be put in place soon. Brink asked about personnel flexibility and Senate Bill 1450, which would have a negative effect on State employees’ retirement age and longevity pay. Lawson thought that this bill was stuck in committee. Alan Moran asked about the removal of priority status for laid off employees proposed in Senate Bill 391. Lawson said that the State cannot layoff so many employees and expect the level of service to remain the same. He said that construction and maintenance projects would see increased workload and decreased levels of service.
The Chair introduced Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Malone said that annual enrollment for the State Health plan anticipating passage of a bill similar to Senate Bill 265 would occur between April 18 and May 18. She noted that in addition to premiums being imposed for the first time upon State employees, departments will also see a 5.2% increase in their costs. Malone reported that the University had hired PRM Consultants from the Washington D.C. area to start the assessment of the Housekeeping Department. She said that on April 19 housekeepers will have an opportunity to introduce themselves to the PRM team. Each housekeeper will have a one-on-one interview with PRM consultants, and the University encourages all involved to be candid about the Housekeeping area. There will be no one in the room besides the PRM representatives. She said that these meetings represent a great safe space to convey information. PRM will also provide translators for these sessions. Malone looked to Forum delegates as leaders to influence this process in a positive way, encouraging open and forthright dialogue. She said that the Office of Human Resources and the Chancellor have a vested interest in an open and forthright dialogue on these matters.
Regarding personnel flexibility, Malone said that the bill introduction deadline is April 12. She had not seen the bill in detail but hoped soon to have an opportunity to assess. Malone said that the changes proposed were positive ones and said that layoffs would not occur willy-nilly. She said that the University does not want to take away due process rights of employees. She found the term property rights a deep phrase. She said that there was no intent to disenfranchise employees and she asked for some trust in this process. She said that a large University System can have Human Resources rules and policies. She said that one could have higher education policies and employee protections together. Malone added that nothing will happen right away and that decision-makers have been careful to bring everything to the table. Nguyen asked why the University does not move all EPA employees to the State Personnel Commission. Malone said that the range of possibilities for change is broad. She was not prepared to say that longevity pay would be lost as no decisions have yet been made. She noted that the Chancellor had lamented the fact that employees have not received salary increases in several years. He wanted to provide bonuses for employees if possible. She said that the University could have the merit pay system exist again with the proposed changes, as the Board of Governors would be authorized to look at instituting this change in the University System. Malone noted also that Carolina was not authorized to make changes in its salary structure in the current system and had to defend its creation of a $25,000 minimum salary for a long time before the State Personnel Commission. She said that the University would become the master of its own fate with the proposed changes. Chris Meinecke asked if the intention is to start with the proposed changes on July 1 or at some future date. Malone assumed that the changes would begin with the new fiscal year. Jill Crowder asked why some employees were not bumped up to the $25,000 level. Malone said that some departments had not met the terms for getting these changes for their employees.
Associate Vice Chancellor Matt Brody gave the Forum a briefing on Carolina Counts in the Office of Human Resources. He noted that Human Resources had worked to redesign its website to integrate more video and website technology. Human Resources had also worked to achieve increment progress to reduce spans and layers. He noted that Human Resources has around 400 HR Facilitators. He said that the Peoplesoft ERP would involve a unified business cluster concept, giving an opportunity to consolidate or combine areas for Facilitators who do perhaps 5-10% of their work on Human Resources issues. He noted that some people believe that the University’s onboarding and offboarding processes are somewhat too distributed. He noted that the PeopleSoft implementation had been a huge undertaking involving a more than two year timeframe. The PeopleSoft ERP will fundamentally change how business takes place in Human Resources. Fogle asked how the University would see significant cost savings through unified business clusters while not eliminating personnel. Brody said that direct cost savings would occur by reducing the number of unified business clusters while indirect cost savings would occur by reducing errors and rework in central office as individuals work on higher level projects. Malone said that the Carolina Counts process forces employees to think leaner and to become more efficient.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the March 2011 meeting. Chuck Sockell made this motion, seconded by Ashley Fogle. The minutes were approved with two abstentions.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the Forum bylaws revisions. Chris Meinecke made this motion, seconded by James Holman. The motion was approved with 20 voting in favor, one against, and one abstention.
Carleta Long read resolution 1101 concerning the promotion of fair and equitable Human Resources policies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sockell applauded the work of the committee but thought that the resolution made too many broad strokes and not enough specific statements. Crowder worried that the resolution was rehashing areas that have already been handled. Marc ter Horst said he found it difficult to believe that every rule and procedure would be approved by the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor. He thought that this should be limited to areas with severe penalties. Crowder pointed out that almost every policy includes the phrase “up to and including dismissal,” meaning that each policy deals with severe penalties. James Holman moved that the resolution go back to committee for further discussion and presentation in May.
Ashley Fogle read resolution 1102 concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment. Malone asked if Fogle had spoken with the Equal Employment officer Ann Penn concerning the resolution. She said that the resolution seems to make broad assertions that she was not sure were accurate. Moran offered that the authors could rewrite the resolution for consideration in May. Fogle noted that the HAVEN training seemed to leave out staff employees in its approach to training students to be effective advocates for victims of sexual harassment and violence. Malone thought the resolution was well-done but she was concerned about how it identified practices at the University. Jonathan Pletzke said that he preferred to wait until the second reading in May to tailor the resolution. Fogle agreed, saying that she wanted the conversation on this subject to continue.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:33 a.m. by acclamation.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary