Employee Forum Agenda
August 1, 2012
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
- Senior Director for Benefits Ashley Nicklis on Community Service Leave
Community Service Leave Presentation
IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
V. Approval of July minutes
VI. Old Business
VII. New Business
VIII. Forum Committee Reports
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Sarah Poteete
- Communications and Public Relations: Alia Wegner
- Education and Career Development: Jennie Brooks/Charles Streeter
- Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
- Personnel Issues: James Holman
- Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Danny Nguyen/John Gullo
- Executive Committee: Dan Barmmer
August 1, 2012 Employee Forum minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Kittie Allen, Dan Barmmer, Jennie Brooks, Ellen Donna Brooks, Karen Cheek, Marilyn Couch, Tammy Cox, David Fraley, Lawrence Giffin, Sharon Glover, John Gullo, James Gusler, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Carleta Long, Valerie Madill, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Jillian Molee, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Patricia Robinson, David Schwartz, Tara Smith, Charles Streeter, Alpa Vaghani, Jerry Waller
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She noted it had been a busy three weeks since the Forum’s last meeting. She noted that the Forum had a quorum of one-thirds its membership. She was pleased to recognize guests and members of the press. She particularly thanked Gary Moss for the complimentary article on her in the University Gazette. She thanked Vice Chair Dan Barmmer for holding down the fort during the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees meeting. She noted also that Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham has donated football tickets to the Forum.
The Chair introduced Senior Director for Benefits and Work Life Ashley Nicklis to provide an update on FY 13 bonus leave and community service leave. Nicklis said that effective July 1, five days leave is allotted to each employee for use in this fiscal year. This leave is not paid out unless the employee is retiring. If an employee experiences normal separation of service, the leave is forfeited. Human Resources has designated this leave “FY 13 leave” to distinguish it from bonus leave. The Office of State Personnel has adjusted the interpretation of the leave to allow it to be used at any time rather than only before comp time and other leave.
Nicklis then spoke on the University’s community service leave policies. She noted that leave to participate in a grandchild’s school activities is allowed only when the grandchild is the legal ward of an employee. She noted that some activities are excluded from community service leave (CSL), namely religious activities involving missionary work or the work of the church. Habitat for Humanity work is allowed. CSL cannot be used for voting or partisan political activity. Employees can use to volunteer for work at a polling facility if they are not being paid for that work. She noted that FY13 leave can be used as vacation leave, which can in turn be used for partisan purposes. She said that one could not use CSL to work for or against Amendment One, but one could use the leave to work for the organizations dealing with that issue if they qualify under 501(c)(3) guidelines. Nicklis said that Option B of the CSL allows employees to serve as mentors for any student, not just the employee’s child. She said that there must be a joint agreement between the department and school about the mentoring arrangement. An employee must choose between Options A and B.
Nicklis touched on disaster and emergency services leave, which allow an employee to use up to 120 hours of volunteer work for the Red Cross. Danny Nguyen asked if employees can use disaster relief to make repairs on their own home. Nicklis said that if the Governor has designated the area in which they leave a disaster area, CSL is potentially available. Nicklis said that blood and marrow donation is considered work time but must have managerial approval in advance. She said that there is no payout for unused community service leave, and leave does not carry over into the next calendar year. New employees receive leave pro-rated from when they are hired.
Dan Barmmer followed up on the question regarding disaster relief and CSL. He noted that the Office of State Personnel had told NC State employees that they could not work on their own homes following a disaster. The Chair recalled that these employees were told they could work on their neighbors’ houses, but not their own. Nicklis said that the Governor must declare a disaster area to allow this kind of CSL. Marilyn Couch asked about working the tables at the polls. Nicklis said that one could use Option A for this activity if one is not paid. James Holman asked about graduation activities. Nicklis said that this is not an academic or artistic program and so would not count under CSL. Holman asked about fundraising to help someone in the community. Nicklis said that fundraising must be for an accredited service organization. Senior Program Specialist Chris Chiron said that CSL is meant to be for direct service activities. Carleta Long asked about working for a church giving out school supplies. Kittie Allen thought that the CSL is meant to be for visiting nursing homes and visiting the elderly. She asked about FY13 leave and whether one can be docked in a pay period back to a particular time. Nicklis said that this can be done but not by historical edits. One should work with a TIM administrator to make this happen. Nicklis said that there is no policy that says this cannot be done. The Chair directed that Nicklis’ presentation be preserved on the Forum website.
The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Malone said that Shawn Womack has been hired as the permanent grievance coordinator replacing the recently retired Martha Fowler. She said that Senior Director for Employment and Staffing Noreen Montgomery had recently sent managers the link to the new “Leaving the U” website. This website will be a useful tool for University representatives and employees leaving the University. The site will detail the mutual obligations of the University and employee upon departure, outlining benefits and payouts. The site will also include a newly designed exit questionnaire for departing employees. David Schwartz asked if the University planned to collect data while employees are still around. He noted that the University asks students how things are going halfway through each semester. Malone said that she always hoped for engagement on the ground. She said that after the Bain report, there had been an organizational effectiveness survey. She proposed that the University might create another survey to benchmark against the first one.
Malone noted that Montgomery had worked with Human Resources on the University’s flexible work arrangement policy. This policy will be at the unit’s discretion. The policy has received a piece on flexible work schedules and teleworking. Human Resources distributed the policy to the deans, directors, and department heads list as well as the HR Facilitators list. She said that the policy does not represent a lifetime commitment on the part of the University and that every employer reserves the right to change schedules. Teleworking will not apply to temporaries and to those employees who have worked less than 90 days. Teleworking employees must spend at least four days a month in a University facility. Malone recalled that everything the University does must benefit the State, and that the University must be prude and not appear to waste taxpayer dollars. Teleworking arrangements will require preapproval.
Malone recalled that the University had distributed a report on the Housekeeping Improvement Initiative. The memo is included on the Housekeeping Service Climate Improvement webpage, along with minutes from committee meetings. She said that the initiative had worked on elaborate processes on a variety of issues. She said that the Housekeeping Advisory Committee had been instrumental in the search for the new Housekeeping Director. The Committee is working on the foundations of a supervision survey. The consultants PRM are scheduled to return to campus for some worksite coaching. Malone said that Housekeeping will now make major policy announcements in four languages. Orange County Literacy Council will provide English as Second Language services. The University has also contracted with Rosetta Stone to provide computer-based language training. Housekeeping will review the way it hires and promotes employees.
Human Resources will continue work on the employee handbook. Senior Director Kathy Bryant said that printing hopefully will occur in August. Marilyn Couch asked if Housekeeping employees can watch films of the interviews of Facilities Services Director candidates also. Malone said that this would probably not occur but employees will have some opportunity for involvement. Couch said that employees would like to meet and see the candidates. She said any part would be a blessing. Malone said that there is a legitimate interest that might not be as strong as when the Housekeeping Director was selected.
Malone thanked the Housekeeping Advisory task force for their work. She said that there had been some misplaced criticism of the process. She added that one must take input from all places to get to better places. She appreciated the chance to share concerns and honest engagement with members of the Forum. She also congratulated the recently sworn-in officers of the Forum. She noted that Human Resources will send a letter to supervisors of delegates encouraging them to support activities of the Forum. She noted that delegates can devote up to eight hours a month on Forum activities, rising to ten hours a month for Executive Committee members and 20 hours a month for the Forum Chair. This letter should go out soon. Carleta Long asked what progress was being made with the personnel flexibility initiative. Malone said that the Legislature will take up the question again during the next fiscal year.
Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov spoke on behalf of the Ombuds Office. Blair said that the duo had met with the Forum Executive Committee to report that the Office had been given permission to expand its jurisdiction to undergraduate and graduate students, as of July 1. Mesibov assured the Forum that the needs of employees would still be met. The Chair commented that she had brought the office to Public Safety and it had received the highest quality reviews. Long asked if the Ombuds Office planned to increase staff. Blair said that graduate students have usually assumed that the Office would work for them. The Office had previously agreed not to turn people away but could not also serve as Ombuds. In 2010-11 over 15% of the 400 cases the Office addressed were student cases. Blair noted that after securing agreement from key stakeholders, the Office made a request to the Chancellor. The Office will consider funding questions after looking at workloads in the fall. David Schwartz asked if there are other recurring issues the Office faces. Blair said that everything now is an issue and that things are much more combative than previously. The willingness to escalate issues makes things much more complex to resolve. The question was raised as to whether Human Resources could commission or expand a Conflict Management class. Blair said that his Office had increasingly visited departments where things are very tense. Long said that people are angry and frustrated after four years without a pay raise. Blair said that sometimes employees come to the Office to vent. He also noted that UNC-Chapel Hill has the only Ombuds Office serving staff in the University System. UNC-Charlotte has an Ombuds Office that serves faculty. Blair said that other universities are interested in creating an Ombuds office but financial resources are limited. Schwartz noted that at the University of Michigan a theater crew works to act out vignettes to reduce tensions.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the July 2012 meeting. Arlene Medder made this motion, seconded by James Holman. Chris Meinecke said that he was present at the July meeting. The minutes were approved as amended.
The Chair noted that Sarah Poteete has announced that she will leave the University in September. She wished Poteete well in her future endeavors. She also noted that Arlene Medder will step in as Carolina Campus Community Garden representative, with Christina Lebonville working as her backup. It was noted that the garden coordinator position had become permanent as of July 1. Charles Streeter said that the Communications and Public Relations committee was working on the October InTouch publication and the migration of the Forum website to WordPress. Streeter also said that the Education and Career Development committee was working on reestablishing the computer loan program and creating a professional development grant with the University’s Staff Development fund. He said that this program would create forty $250 grants to enrich professional skills. It was noted that the Membership and Assignments committee will organize a September potluck. James Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee had agreed to its new name and will present a new structure to the Executive Committee for approval. The committee also discussed a new outstanding delegate award and a counseling letter concern. There was no report from the Recognition & Awards committee. The Chair noted that she had asked the committee to help with the 3-Legged Stool award process. She noted that the committee’s work with the Peer Recognition awards was exemplary. Danny Nguyen said that the UNC Staff Assembly was working on the intent of the best practices document. The Assembly had held a successful golf tournament to raise money for staff scholarships. Finally, the Assembly was working to revise the Chair Elect position. The Chair asked delegates interested in the Staff Assembly to consider running for the three year position or the alternate position at the Forum’s September meeting. Dan Barmmer reported that the Executive Committee had heard the Forum’s budget report and had considered whether to discontinue the Forum’s contract with Carolina Copy.
The Chair said that delegates could indicate their interest in obtaining football tickets after the meeting. Similarly, delegates should contact Forum Assistant Matt Banks to set t-shirt orders. She noted that she, Jillian Molee and Myra Quick had met with the two finalists for the Diversity Award. The Chair said that she would meet with the Chancellor, the Faculty Chair, and the Student Body President in a historic meeting to discuss joint issues.
Olga Baha said that her departmental cell phone cannot get calls quickly at the Dental School. She said that she had to use her own cell phone to respond to calls quickly. The Chair said that she was working on the issue with Vice Chancellor Karol Kain Gray. She said that the current contract had led to employees having to bear some of the costs for coverage, which she did not think was right. She would look to Facilities Services to negotiate a better contract for employees.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary