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Employee Forum Agenda

August 4, 2010

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

    • Carolina Counts—Special Assistants to the Chancellor Joe Templeton and Mike Patil
    • Housekeeping—Director of Housekeeping Services Bill Burston
    • Ombuds Office—Ombuds Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov

IV.          Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.          Approval of May, June, July Minutes

VI.       Old Business

VII.         New Business

VIII.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Goldsmith
  • Community Affairs and Outreach: Nadeera Salam June, July minutes
  • Compensation & Benefits: Chuck Brink July minutes
  • Education and Career Development: Cate Cunningham
  • Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen  June minutes
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards:  Chris Meinecke
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton  June minutes


IX.        Staff Assembly Updates/Reports

X.       Announcements/Questions

XI.        Executive Committee Executive Session

XII.        Adjournment


August 4, 2010 Employee Forum minutes

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  She led the Forum in a series of introductions.  She thanked the various Human Resources personnel who helped the Forum with its work.  She then welcomed Special Assistants to the Chancellor Joe Templeton and Mike Patil to make a presentation on Carolina Counts.

Templeton noted the division of the Carolina Counts effort.  Mike Patil walked the Forum through a description of a spider chart of spans and layers.  The chart gives viewers the opportunity to see the span of control of each position.  He noted that seven employees is the optimum amount that each supervisor can manage, although in many cases one to three employees is a good fit.  The chart gives administrators a good chance to find duplication of effort.  Another chart gave a view of the percentage of employees in administrative and business applications, leading possibly to consolidating these employees into a shared service unit.  Other means of saving include combining purchasing power by buying from one vendor.  There will be a gathering of Carolina Counts champions in August along with Chancellor Thorp and officials from the Bain Corporation.  Patil noted that sometimes the University will be willing to pay more for choice in certain technical areas.  Ashley Fogle asked what process will be used to reduce layers under a particular position.  She suggested benchmarking with other institutions or using internal comparisons.  Patil said that Carolina Counts will put information on the website as it refines these processes.  Chuck Brink asked why there is no staff representation from the Forum on the champions group, as the Forum could help with information gathering and other work.  Templeton said that Carolina Counts has worked to get employee input since the beginning of the Bain effort over a year ago.

The Chair introduced Bill Burston, Director of Housekeeping, to give an overview of that department’s work and vision.  Burston noted that campus housekeepers cover over 10 million square feet and work around the clock to clean the campus.  A crew covers Saturday and Sunday shifts as well.  Custodial staffing keeps Level One cleanliness in the Friday Center and Level Three everywhere else on campus.  Each housekeeper has a responsibility for 28,500 square feet on average.  Burston noted that the Housekeeping Department had reduced the moving crew to two people given budget cuts.  Burston noted that the second shift will completely convert to the OS1 process.  Housekeeping has stopped converting State buildings until it receives more funds, but the Department of Housing has agreed to support OS1 conversion in dormitories.  Zone 201 has been converted and Zone 212 will be converted by August.  Burston said that the OS1 process requires additional staff and new equipment.

Burston had received questions in advance of the meeting.  The first question asked if the OS1 process would be a permanent process, and Burston said that it would be permanent.  The University will eventually convert all residence halls to OS1.  Another question asked if UNC can change tools or cleaning methods with OS1.  Burston said that the University must submit requests to Managemen.  He noted that the use of a foaming gun to clean showers had led to the Carmichael dormitory not passing the OS1 audit, due to acid cleaners being used in the foaming gun.  Burston responded to a question asking about housekeepers’ treatment as second class citizens by noting that the University trains its housekeepers properly, pays them more than market rate, provides them the tools and equipment to do the job, and allows employees to provide input on how the job is done.  Chuck Sockell commented that he had not known about the existence of the moving crew.  He suggested that the crew use more publicity of its efforts.  Burston said that housekeeping had been forced to clean offices twice a week but still cleans entryways and bathrooms once a day.  Myra Quick asked who she should contact about an area in her office that had not been dusted or cleaned in what seemed to be a couple of years.  Burston said that one can consult the Housekeeping website for contact information.

The Chair introduced University Ombuds officers Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov.  Blair outlined the principles of confidentiality, neutrality, informality, and independence that make up the office’s work.  He said that the office provides a safe environment to discuss confidential matters, giving options, and strategizing possible responses.  The office helps all understand the formal rules of a policy without regard to which party is right or wrong.  Mesibov added that the office helps employees clarify their goals and sometimes reframe options.  She noted that the Ombuds office website is  Blair commented that consultations had risen this year with the various waves of layoffs the University had experienced.  Fifty-seven percent of cases dealt with SPA employees, two percent with SPA exempt, eighteen percent with EPA non-faculty, seventeen percent with faculty, and six percent with “other” cases.  Women make up sixty-eight percent of the caseload.  African-American employees make up twenty-four percent and white employees sixty-four percent of the caseload.

Blair said that employees are making lifelong decisions based on grossly wrong information.  He advised employees to stop listening to rumors, which has led to stress.  He noted that there is not a sense of “let’s find out,” and instead employees have received reprimands for asking about policy.  He said that a vicious cycle of misinformation exists.  Blair said that this misinformation comes about in many different ways, including clumsy management decisions and idiotic comments leading employees who would normally accept layoff status now deciding to fight.  He emphasized that people need to be treated with dignity and respect.  He advised employees to take a weekend before sending a potentially damaging e-mail.  He also urged supervisors to be honest when conducting performance evaluations, to prevent misunderstandings later.  Mesibov encouraged supervisors and employees to consult with the Ombuds office when they have questions.  She said that they would be happy to come to departments to speak on general issues.  Blair commented that students, the Town of Chapel Hill, and the UNC System have consulted with the Ombuds office, which will not turn away anyone.

Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  She noted the extension of layoff hiring priority from twelve to twenty-four months.  On June 11, the Legislature granted furlough authority to the UNC System President.  This authority will be transferred to System chancellors.  Malone said that UNC-Chapel Hill will develop its furlough authority plan before approval by General Administration, seeking input after Chancellor Thorp has vetted the proposal.  Malone said that the University now has the authority to grant salary increases if non-State funds are used.  This budget year there will be no legislative salary increases and no raises.  There will be retention challenges for faculty if they can document a competing offer.  Also, internal equity or labor market issues will allow some flexibility.  Human Resources is working on guidelines for the University.

Malone said that Human Resources had worked hard with the Forum to collaborate on proposed revisions to the University grievance procedure.  She was disappointed that the Forum had chosen to pass a resolution on the subject, although she respected the right of the Forum to do so.  She said that her Human Resources team had worked hard on the proposal.  She said that the Forum did present grievance revisions to the Office of State Personnel and then to the State Personnel Commission.  These bodies were not excited about proposed changes to the support person, but allowed this new role a two-year pilot program.  Human Resources will provide information about how this change in process goes.  The proposed revisions go to the State Personnel Commission this month.  Malone said that as Human Resources receives information, it will pass it on to the Forum.

Malone said that Human Resources will work with departments to restructure their work units into appropriate spans of control.  Generally, supervisors should have four direct reports with an optimum number of seven reports.  Aluoch Ooro asked about the possibilities of a new classification process.  Malone said that the Office of State Personnel had done little about the proposed new system NC Pay since June.  General Administration had written a letter expressing concern about the new system but had not received a response from OSP.  Sohrab Habibi asked when budget cuts would cease given that the economy was turning around.  Malone said that next year will likely be more difficult than this year.  She noted that the University was preparing for a 5% cut this year and was in much better shape than other state institutions.  Chris Meinecke asked the percentage decrease or head count of layoffs.  Malone said that this number was in the 130s.  She would submit a firm number to the Chair when available.  She had anticipated a much larger number, but layoffs had been fewer than anticipated.

The Forum heard a motion to accept the minutes of May, June, and July.  Ashley Fogle made this motion.  The motion was accepted by acclamation.  The Forum then moved to executive session.  Ashley Fogle moved to adjourn the general meeting at 11:10 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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