August 21, 2012 Executive Committee minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Kittie Allen, Dan Barmmer, Tim Burke, David Fraley, John Gullo, Mari Marsh, Arlene Medder, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Myra Quick, David Schwartz, Charles Streeter, Alpa Vaghani
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She welcomed Arlene Medder to the Executive Committee, replacing Sarah Poteete. She gave her compliments to Dan Barmmer for his work at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting. She said that she wanted to make it easier for staff to become Forum officers. She also said she was disappointed that high-level administrators will not be present for the Employee Appreciation Day on October 19. With regard to the budget report, the Chair asked that the Forum set a maximum of $2,000 to be spent on the peer recognition awards. The committee decided to get an update on printing services before ending the Forum’s relationship with Carolina Copy. Medder noted that Carolina Copy now works under Auxiliary Services. Danny Nguyen commented that it would be cheaper to purchase a $400 copier every year than to keep the current Carolina Copy contract.
Nguyen noted that he had e-mail UNC System Staff Assembly Vice Chair Pernell Bartlett to find out what was needed to be done regarding the Assembly’s best practices document. He noted Senior Director Ashley Nicklis’ statement that UNC-Chapel Hill employees can use community service leave to fix their own houses if the Governor declares a disaster area in that location. This statement could be the source of a Staff Assembly resolution to extend this benefit to other University System employees. Nguyen said that he did not want to convene the Human Resources, Diversity, and Benefits committee without having a topic for action. The Chair said that the Chairs’ committee meets every fourth Friday of the month. She said that the committee will discuss the best practices document. The document was to address personnel flexibility but now will address ways to improve the University’s Human Resources system. Nguyen advocated seeking a wish list of improvements that would support what staff want rather than limiting ideas to cost-neutral suggestions. Nguyen said that his committee had been asked to stop doing research on peer companies and other institutions, as this effort duplicated that of the other committees. David Schwartz asked if the recommended practices could include collective bargaining. Barmmer said that each chair will pick what’s best for the Assembly in a subjective process. He asked why collective bargaining would be a priority for the Staff Assembly. The Chair said that President Ross will advocate personnel flexibility when the Legislature reconvenes in January. Barmmer noted that a good number of UNC System staff organization chairs have not participated. The Chair noted that collective bargaining for State employees is against the law and so would not go into a best practices document. The item would instead go into an appendix. Schwartz suggested that the expert consultants that System administration rely upon also be made available to the Staff Assembly. Nguyen asked if the committee had something it wanted the HRDB group to address. Members had nothing in particular to recommend.
Charles Streeter said that he and Sharon Glover will conduct Sharepoint training on September 12 and 13 from noon-1 p.m. in the Forum Office. Streeter said that the laptop proposal needed to wait until the following month. He said that the Forum’s website migration is proceeding since the current Forum website needs an overhaul. Streeter said that any University website should receive a fresh look every 2-3 years. He said that WordPress would provide granularity of access, meaning more than one person could edit the site. He noted that Faculty Governance Executive Assistant Katie Turner had done quite a bit with WordPress and had used some of the same templates to do a revision of the Forum page. Turner has joined the Forum’s Communications committee. The Chair asked that Streeter and Turner do a talk on the Forum’s technological advances at the September meeting.
Streeter said that the Forum will need to move to electronic voting in order to avoid possible voting irregularities. He said that the University’s Qualtrics software will allow the Forum to create ballots directed to different electoral divisions. Voters will be able to log in with their University ID (Onyen) and vote for the candidates of their choice. He said that there are a number of irregularities that could occur with the Forum’s current paper voting system. Schwartz asked how the Forum will be able to guarantee the integrity of an electronic ballot. Streeter said that people handling the data can have access to statistical data but not individual votes. Tim Burke said a number of Facilities Services employees will not vote and do not care about the process. The Chair asked if there would still be paper ballots in Divisions 2 and 3. Streeter said that there would not be any paper ballots in this system. Instead, he envisioned that the Forum would set up laptops to help employees in these divisions log in and vote for the candidates of their choice. Forum representatives would work to make these opportunities available on all shifts. James Holman asked if the administration will allow employees time for this voting. The Chair said that she would work to make this happen. Streeter said that voting for Forum delegates will happen in March so he would need delegates’ help in testing the Qualtrics system. The Chair praised Streeter’s work. Streeter said that Qualtrics is more powerful than other software, is free, and is supported by the Odum Institute. Streeter said also that the Education and Career Development committee is working on a proposal for professional development grants awarded from the Staff Development Fund. He would have more details on this proposal next month.
James Holman proposed to combine the Forum’s Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices committee, the Legislative Action committee, and the Compensation and Benefits committee into one combined Personnel Issues committee for this fiscal year. The Chair asked for a motion to this effect. David Schwartz so moved, seconded by Kittie Allen. The motion was approved by acclamation with no one opposed or abstaining.
Concerning the publication of InTouch, the Chair asked to see an article on this change in the structure of these committees. She hoped that the next edition would contain information on things the Forum has done. She said that publication around University Day would help increase knowledge of Forum work. Other topics raised were personnel flexibility and best practices, employee raises and bonus leave, community garden permanent funding, and an interview with outgoing delegate Sarah Poteete.
The Chair asked for topics for the next Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting. Schwartz raised the issue of increasing child care access. Barmmer said that the Chancellor’s Child Care Advisory committee has governs the scholarships available for staff and faculty. Currently, seventy-four staff employees are on the waiting list for scholarships and thirty-one staff are on the waiting list for enrollment in Victory Village. Schwartz asked what actions are needed to meet the need for an additional Victory Village, perhaps to be located in Carolina North or Southern Village. Mari Marsh recalled that former Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest had spent a great amount of time trying to find space for an additional University daycare location. Most buildings cannot be retrofit for this purpose. Schwartz thought that new buildings at Carolina North would be perfect for this purpose. Barmmer noted that the Frank Porter Graham child care facility will soon close down due to funding difficulties. Other issues for the Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting include an update on Printing Services and Xerox, the cell phone plan, and disclosure of 401(k)/403(b) plan management fees. The Chair asked that the Forum invite Assistant Vice Chancellor Anna Wu to speak with the Executive Committee at its September or October meeting.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the July Executive Committee minutes. Burke noted that he had referred to two-way radios, not cell phones, in his comments. Kittie Allen moved the minutes be accepted as amended, seconded by Myra Quick. The minutes were approved by acclamation.
The committee briefly discussed fifteen minute breaks. It was noted that the basic information regarding the policy is available on the Human Resources website. (http://hr.unc.edu/policies-procedures-guidelines/spa-employee-policies/wage-hour-policies/CCM1_018214) Burke brought up the question of whether the University would pay employees for washing their uniforms at home. He said that his previous company had provided such a stipend. Allen thought that Facilities Services was unlikely to implement such a stipend.
Barmmer noted that Alan Moran had contacted him to ask why the Forum was not involved in setting up voter registration tables. Lawrence Giffin was charged to work on this question. John Gullo noted interest in having Representative Verla Insko appear at a Forum meeting. The Chair preferred that any appearance by local politicians occur after the November elections, as the Forum must remain neutral on political questions.
Holman presented a proposal for an Employee Forum Outstanding Delegate Award. The Chair asked that the award criteria not exclude committee chairs, whom she said are often the hardest working people on the Forum. She hoped to see the award presented at the June retreat. It was agreed that the Recognition & Awards committee will select the winner, with the Chair included as an ex-officio member of that group.
John Gullo asked if anyone had received information regarding the Erskine Bowles staff award. The Chair said that she had not received information.
Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden was still waiting to hear on permanent funding for Clair Lorch. She said that there had been a documentary done on the garden. Streeter said that the Education and Career Development committee would have two proposals for the next meeting. Quick said that the Membership and Assignments committee had five people sign up to provide food for the September potluck. The Chair said that the Forum would not hold the event if it did not have sufficient participation. Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee was ready to work with its new structure. The Chair said that the Recognition & Awards committee would now be responsible for the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool) and Outstanding Delegate Award. It was agreed that the latter award would be called the Kay Wijnberg-Hovious award. The Chair said she would invite Hovious to present the award at the Forum’s June retreat.
The Chair added that she had football tickets and parking permits for interested delegates in the Forum Office. She called for a motion to move the January meeting from the 2nd to the 9th. Quick made this motion seconded by Gullo. The motion was approved by acclamation. The Chair noted that the Forum had received interest from ten potential new delegate appointees as a result of the recent divisional e-mail. She said that the Forum would be certain to remove delegates who have not attended meetings on a regular basis.
The Chair noted she had once again been invited to speak during University Day. She would meet with the Chancellor, the Faculty Chair and the Student Body President in an annual meeting. She planned to ask for increased visibility for the Forum at sporting events. She wanted to lay the groundwork for those following her. Barmmer said that these changes will be good for whoever agrees to run for Forum Office following the Chair.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary