Skip to main content


Agenda April 7, 2004

9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I.          Call to Order

II.         Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.          Opening Remarks

IV.       Special Presentations

· Laurie Charest, on Career Banding

· Ralph Taylor, Energy Manager

V.        Employee Presentations or Questions

VI.       March 3, 2004 Minutes

VII.      Old Business

VIII.     New Business

IX.        Stretch Time 6

X.         Forum Committee Reports

· Nominating: Patti Prentice

Þ    Forum Elections

· Orientation:  Meredith Clason

· Personnel Issues: Delita Wright

· University Assignments:  Tom Arnel

· Career Development: Curtis Helfrich

· Communications: Brian White

Þ    Forum Newsletter

· Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards: Dixie Bloom

· Employee Presentations:  Katherine Graves

XI.        Chair’s Report (Executive Committee):  Tommy Griffin

XII.       Task Force/University Committee Reports

· Advisory Committee on Transportation—Tommy Griffin

· Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace—Tommy Griffin

· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin

· Carolina North Project—Tommy Griffin

XIII.      Announcements/Questions

XIV.     “Go Around the Room”

XV.      Adjournment

P = Included in Agenda Packet


            April 7, 2004 Forum Meeting

Chair Tommy Griffin welcomed all to the meeting, and asked Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest to give a special presentation on career banding issues.

First of all, Charest said that the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace had settled on 34 recommendations, each with an assigned administrator to see through these ideas to their completion.  She said that the task force had received responses for all short term recommendations and should receive medium and long term recommendations by May 15.  A monitoring committee will review reports and devise comments to be made in response, while others recommendations await funding.  She noted that the $25,000 that Chancellor Moeser had dedicated in one-time funds for this purpose would go to support the ombudsperson’s office and to purchase computers for the campus loan program.

At the March Board of Trustees meeting, the Board approved a parking ordinance with a smaller increase for Employees making under $25,000 a year.  This changes supplements the incremental increases which were introduced last year.

Charest said that Employees earning less than $36,000 a year might be eligible for the federal earned income tax credit.  Student volunteers from the Masters of Accounting and School of Law have held sessions to offer advice on the earned income tax credit and to provide free income tax assistance.

North Carolina Health Choice, a state program which receives federal funding, provides health insurance for people who working but are not eligible for Medicaid and can’t afford health insurance otherwise.  Eligibility depends on family income, size and other factors.  Human Resources will conduct information sessions in work areas over the next month with the assistance of student volunteers.

The new on-line orientation package for EPA Employees has proven very popular.  While Human Resources had continued to conduct in-person orientation sessions, not a single person had attended these sessions.  Also, Employees taking on-line orientation completed forms more accurately than those who attended the classroom sessions.  Now, Human Resources will work to offer on-line orientation for SPA Employees in addition to in person services.

Charest said that Human Resources was approaching final hires for the Director of Training & Development and Employee Services positions.  She thanked Forum members for participating in this process as well as the search for a new Senior Director for Human Resources Administration.

Charest said that she and Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield had recently met with Office of the President administrators in Raleigh to relay Employee concerns about health insurance difficulties.

Chuck Brink asked the percentage increase for parking permits set for those making less than $25,000 a year and Charest said that it was set at 2.5%.  Joanne Kucharski asked if Human Resources would hold a 20 year awards banquet this year.  She said that an Employee in her department should have received an invitation.  Charest invited Kucharski to speak with members of her staff about the upcoming banquet, to take place in April.

Concerning career banding, Charest noted that the Forum had heard a presentation by Jerry Howerton at its January retreat.  She introduced Lori Barnes, Human Resources’ head of the career banding effort.  Charest said that career banding is an Office of State Personnel initiative and said that eventually everyone would work in a career band rather than a currently existing job classification, but said that this changeover would take years.

In career banding, or broad-banding, several related pay grades are collapsed into one larger pay band.  Law enforcement and computer consultants are among the first job classifications to undergo banding pilot programs.

An Employee asked about how Employees in a career banding system would be able to appeal performance reviews under the new system particularly if these reviews now are directly related to competencies held by the Employee and in turn their place within the career band.  Charest said that performance reviews and competencies are not necessarily related to legislative salary increases.

David Brannigan said that he had raised a similar question in January, as to how the appeal process for competency evaluations would work.  He did not think that going to the next highest level supervisor as a first step in the appeals process inspired much confidence.  Charest said that these types of questions existed apart from the new banding system and deserved separate attention.  Brannigan said that having one’s pay subject to supervisor decision does present the potential for a serious problem.

Joanne Kucharski asked how smaller departments would account for the multiplicity of tasks that their managers must carry out within the competency system.  Charest said that the EPA non-faculty system allows larger bands of compensation related to compensation than the SPA system.  She said that the combinations of skills needed by managers does add complexity to the banding process.

Kirk McNaughton asked if bodies like the IT steering committee might act to protect Employees who have not completed competencies but whom managers will still expect to perform these functions.  Barnes said that management will have the flexibility not to have a lack of a particular competency count against a particular Employee if it is not applicable to their work situation.

McNaughton asked how many employment groups would transfer over beyond law enforcement and information technology.  Barnes said that once the main framework was established on the Human Resources Information System (HRIS), it should be easier to shift other job families over to the banded system.  Institutional services, trades and other job families will transform based on a central template from the Office of State Personnel (OSP), rather than asking each System campus to recreate the wheel for each classification.

Dale Bailey asked about the usefulness of moving into career banding without full funding.  He worried that the only moves possible would be lateral or downward, financially speaking.  Barnes said that when OSP moves a job into the banded system, it will compare the job’s compensation levels to market and national averages.  If a job is $5000 below market level, it becomes the number one priority of the department to bring that position up to market pay.  Optimistically, the State must recognize the need to recognize performance, skills and competencies and must recognize that State Employees need these increases.  She thought that the State would also provide cost of living increases in addition to performance increases.  An Employee said that rather than allowing managers to distribute all salary increases at their discretion, the competency system seemed to place Employees in a much better bargaining position.

Based on the preliminary numbers, the banding system encourages Employees to add to their skills and allows managers to give salary increases more flexibility to recognize improvements at any time during the year.  Barnes said that the number one concern Employees have expressed is that they might not be placed correctly at the start of the process.

Dale Bailey said that one position had undergone a tremendous change in duties, from working on computers to courier work.  Charest said that a job that had changed that dramatically should undergo reclassification.

Martha Fowler asked what other job families are and whether career bands would affect in-range salary adjustments.  Barnes said that in-range salary adjustments would go away under career banding, as a manager could provide incremental increases based on increased competencies without going through Human Resources.  She said that the names of the different job families are available from the Human Resources website.  Charest clarified that in-range salary adjustments are still available for non-banded positions.  Katherine Graves asked if career banding would remove equity adjustments and Charest said that banding would allow managers to alleviate equity problems more readily than the current system.

Eddie Gill confirmed that Employees will be notified when they will be moved from the current system to the banded system.  Barnes said that Employees should receive up to a year’s notice before any change, and should receive multiple notices.  Syed Mustafa asked if there would be funds appropriated to fund salary increases associated with the banding system and Charest said there would not be at least for the foreseeable future.

Bailey asked if there would be any options to appeal pay decisions.  He suggested that the Forum have some voice or place in this process.  Barnes said that establishing a list of competencies would relieve much nervousness about the banding process.  She invited Employees to email her at with questions.

David Brannigan said that he had a class to attend and so did not want to miss discussion of other issues on the agenda.

Ralph Taylor, University Energy Manager, discussed new slogan contest to launch a conservation awareness campaign.  Voting will take place through April 12.  Interested parties can phone 962-7283 for more information.

New Business

Delita Wright presented a resolution authored by the Forum Personnel Issues committee concerning Employee compensation.  She urged the Forum to approve the resolution on first reading given that the Legislature would make salary decisions in May.  She asked other members of the Personnel Issues Committee to offer their opinions of the resolution.

Ernie Patterson moved that the Forum approve the resolution.  Kirk McNaughton noted the three questions presented by the resolution and asked what would occur if the Legislature only accepted one of the three proposals.  Wright said that the resolution was meant only to submit an opinion and a request.  Syed Mustafa and Chuck Brink voiced their support for the resolution and Brink moved to waive the Forum rules and move to consider the resolution on second reading.  Patterson seconded this motion.  The Forum approved this motion by a large majority.

Wright said that she hoped that the Forum would be able to convince the other 16 System campuses to adopt similar resolutions of some sort.  Brink moved that the Forum approve the resolution on second reading and the Forum indeed voted to approve the resolution.  Brink noted that visual and print media had been notified about the Forum’s consideration of the resolution that morning.

At this point, the Forum took a five minute break.

Meredith Clason noted that the Carolina Women’s Center had done a great deal to build up its reading and resource rooms at its office at 134 East Franklin Street.  She invited members to attend.

Approval of the Minutes

The Forum approved the minutes of the March meeting, which were written by Cheryl Lytle.

Committee Reports

Patti Prentice, chair of the Nominating Committee, said that her group would not met this month but would meet again May 10 at 3:30 p.m. in the Bioinformatics Building.

Meredith Clason, chair of the Orientation Committee, said that group was working to revamp the new orientation handbook and to work on plans for the October orientation and January retreat.

Delita Wright, chair of the Personnel Issues committee, said that the committee was studying prescription costs and the distribution of grievances among certain departments on campus.  She noted that the committee had asked the Chancellor’s Task Force to keep its website updated on implementation of task force recommendations.

Tom Arnel, chair of the University Assignments Committee, said that the group would meet April 22 to find names for various University committees, most notably the University Insurance committee.

Curtis Helfrich, chair of the Career Development Committee, said the group met March 29 and discussed asking the Chancellor’s Office to publicize the University’s GED program.  Also, the committee discussed obtaining a free parking pass for the GED instructor.  The committee will next meet April 26 from 2-3 p.m.  The Chair noted that the GED program would soon leave the Forum Office space for the Cheek-Clark building due to the need for additional space and better parking.

Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, said that the group would meet April 8 at 1 p.m. to discuss the month’s InTouch newsletter and the upcoming University Gazette insert.

Katherine Graves, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said that the group planned to host a summer community meeting.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had discussed Forum presenters, budget issues, Forum Office concerns and the use of work-study students to assist the work of the office.

The Chair noted the approval of a different price bracket for parking permits for those earning less than $25,000.  He considered this change a large accomplishment.  Additionally, the Triangle Transit Authority will offer discount tickets to University Employees.  Currently, the University still awaits a decision on the use of campus parking fees by the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The Chair said that the University Priorities & Budget Committee (UPBC) had asked departments to decide on the possible actions if the Legislature demands a 1-3% budget cut this year.  He said that this degree of a budget cut would hurt the University System statewide given past cuts..

The Chair said that the Carolina North group had continued discussions with the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.  Mary Johnson asked to what degree the discussions had explored the impact off an additional 19,000 jobs on Chapel Hill traffic, energy and water usage.  The Chair said that current plans will develop only 250 acres with further setbacks, green space, park areas and school grounds.  Johnson asked about the concern that the Carolina North tract will be built just for the benefit of drug companies.

John Adams noted that the Carolina North program will take up to 70 years to complete.  He also noted that OWASA and the University have worked together to complete a project by 2007 to recycle water for the University’s chilled water plant, an endeavor which should save the entire community water.  The Chair said that this project will use gray water that will be used to make steam, being filtered by the process.  This process should save the University money and water.

Delita Wright asked members to consider ways to save money on power such as cutting off lights and computers.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:31 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks

Recording Secretary

Comments are closed.