December 17, 2013 Executive Committee minutes
Attending: Dan Barmmer, David Brannigan, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Lois Douglass-Alston, Yvonne Dunlap, Michael Highland, James Holman, Shelby Long, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Jackie Overton, Jason Pallivoda, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. He noted that the biggest issue up for discussion is the University’s data breach. He said that information about the breach had been on the University website since December 10. He said that the media had found out about the breach this previous weekend. Arlene Medder asked about the possible cost to employees of data monitoring. James Holman worried about blocking and unblocking credit freezes every three months or so. The Chair noted the outcry as to why employees were informed only in December when the University found out about the breach in November. James Holman thought that the University should contact credit bureaus on behalf of affected employees. He commented that the breach seemed a real mess that would affect employees in several departments. Jackie Overton reported employee comments that the notification was sent in a plain envelope that many could have mistaken for junk mail. Gena Carter noted that a workgroup on this problem meets Wednesday, December 18. She offered to take feedback to that group from the Executive Committee. An attendee wondered why the University did not send notifications to the entire University community about the breach. Dan Barmmer commented that the Postal Service could have lost the mail of some people. Michael Highland suggested that the University create a tracking system that people could connect to via their ONYEN to find out how they were affected.
The Chair noted that student workers also were affected. Gena Carter said that many fewer students were affected than employees. She said student workers were exposed through unpaid phone bills. Jason Palivoda noted reports that retirees’ data also was exposed. Michael Highland said that anyone affected should assume their data has been compromised. Dan Barmmer said that a cache version of the site might still exist on the internet somewhere. James Holman asked how the University will help the people put out on a limb. David Brannigan noted that Facilities Services employees are livid about the situation. He noted that South Carolina paid to enroll affected employees in a similar breach for two years’ protection. The Chair noted that there have been four such breaches at UNC-Chapel Hill in five years. He was under the impression that donors associated with Carolina Mammography were given more expedient attention. David Brannigan noted the digital divide affecting University employees. He said that these employees need transparency and inclusiveness from the Forum and the University. Brannigan suggested using listservs to invite employees to a community meeting on the question in addition to written hot memos on the subject. He suggested that an all-hands meeting involving all of the key leaders would do a great deal to alleviate fears.
The Chair said that the Forum would organize a community meeting after New Year’s Day. Michael Highland noted the expectation that the Forum will advocate for employees in this matter. The Chair noted that the Forum can call two community meetings a year which are considered worktime as long as the employee attends with the agreement of their supervisor. He would send notice to employees about the meeting via the divisional listservs this week, before the holiday. Lois Douglass-Alston noted the time-sensitive nature of the question. Jason Palivoda said that he and David Brannigan have served as de facto Forum members in providing information to Grounds employees.
Yvonne Dunlap asked what happened to those people whose data was compromised a year ago. David Brannigan said that the Forum should use its broader listserv to communicate outside the population of Forum delegates. Michael Highland said that there is no method of complete prevention of data breach. He said that the University withstands one million hacks a day. He asked why all of this information was sitting out on this one computer. The Chair said that there are protocols in place to reduce this kind of exposure that are not always followed at the University.
David Brannigan recalled that the University set up protocols for adverse weather and SARS. He asked if the University could not set up a similar protocol when a data breach occurs. Jackie Overton said that Public Safety has established a protocol for an active shooter. Michael Highland proposed a package of personal identity and prevention measures. The Chair said that each office is its individual kingdom and not all offices answer to ITS in matters of data security and protocol. Brannigan asked if the University had a protocol or whether it is acting on the fly. Gena Carter said that the response has not been totally reactionary. She said that the approach taken learned from the Carolina Mammography incident. The University has used an external consultant to guide its decision making. Some of the process has been figured out on the fly as all situations are different but there has been a systematic effort in the response. Arlene Medder agreed that it would be good for the University to plan for these situations in advance.
Dan Barmmer said that the University does not have to have this private data. He noted that some departments’ computer systems are outdated. The Chair noted that some departments have old data that has not been properly erased. Barmmer thought that a professor was fired or allowed to retire in the Carolina Mammography case. Matt McKirahan suggested that the University provide answers only at the community meeting to keep everyone on the same page. The Chair said that he would arrange the meeting with involved principles.
At this point the meeting took a short break as attendees ate their lunch.
Katie Turner suggested that the holiday cards go out to the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellors, and other speakers.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the November minutes. There was no motion, and the minutes were postponed until the following month.
The Chair noted that the Forum had spent money on prizes for Employee Appreciation Day and would also request funds for a new computer to replace the one in the Forum Office, which is now at least six years old.
The Chair commented that the Staff Development budget should include a stipend for the community garden, funds for professional development grants, and a programming budget for the Forum’s book club.
The committee worked on planning for the New Year. The Chair outlined a structure of Issues, Activities, and Concerns. He noted upcoming speakers including Barbara Silver on tobacco cessation, Steve Lawson on health care, Chris Kielt on University technology, and Jennifer Willis on legislative affairs. Cheryl Stout will speak on night parking in March. Members suggested Jonathan Oberlander, Susan Colby of the UNC System Staff Assembly, and faculty author Barbara Frederickson. Michael Highland suggested Dr. James Johnston to speak on demographic shifts impacting the University over the next 15-20 years.
The Chair noted the proposal that the Forum help collect food for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, which has been headed by John Gullo. He noted the Forum’s annual February food drive related to a food drive during a UNC basketball game. He said that the Forum will hold peer recognition award banquet and book club discussions. The Forum also plans to host notary public and parliamentary procedure classes. Members proposed a bowling league, brown bag lunches, a Habitat for Humanity project for veterans, and other projects. Matt McKirahan suggested that the Forum open up its Habitat effort to all citizens, not just veterans. The Chair noted a suggestion that the Forum host another, smaller Employee Appreciation day. He said that March is the Forum anniversary month and he hoped the Forum would do something to mark this event with the public. There was a suggestion that the Forum serve coffee and doughnuts to passing employees in order to convince them to enter the meeting that morning. Michael Highland suggested a mobile meeting on a different part of campus.
The Chair noted that the Forum had requested professional development grants and other classes and workshops. He said that UNC-Chapel Hill’s and NC State’s staff organizations are different but shared some programmatic aspects. He said that the Forum needs to find ways to engage employees generally. Arlene Medder noted the brown bag lunch idea. Michael Highland said that an event must be regular and frequent. The Chair said that any such event must be a success. Attendees thought that the Pit would be a good location to reach employees. Yvonne Dunlap proposed that the Forum work in partnership with other groups to increase visibility. Dan Barmmer noted hourly restrictions on Forum participation facing delegates.
Concerning issues, the Chair said that nighttime parking, data breach, raises and costs of living were items for discussion. He thought that the Forum should pursue a wages resolution this term, but that it should contain a great deal of supporting information. Dan Barmmer suggested that the Forum look into affordable housing matters in Chapel Hill following Mayor Kleinschmidt’s presentation. Dan Barmmer asked about getting a free gym membership for staff employees. Members discussed various discount plans in the area. Michael Highland said that employees need some connection and support to continue to use an exercise program. Gena Carter noted that the University’s GED program will increase its fees soon.
The Chair noted that the Forum had been asked to run the July and December blood drives. Attendees discussed various possible special guest speakers that the Forum could sponsor with the help of the Chancellor’s Office. Katie Turner suggested asking honorary degree recipients to make remarks during the weekend of Commencement.
Katie Turner noted that the Bylaws committee had received a final comprehensive review from the law student group. She said that the group recommended establishment of a Chair-elect position. Also, the group noted State law that bodies must either sign ballots or hold voice votes in the election of officers. A third option would allow election of Forum officers from the staff at large.
Arlene Medder reported that the deer fence for the Carolina Campus Community Garden has been approved. She said that the Garden was using coffee grounds to deal with a fire ant problem.
Katie Turner noted that the Communications & Public Relations committee has set a target of publication of InTouch in late February. She hoped that the there would be articles on the peer recognition awards. The Chair noted that the Forum brochure had received final approval and was in print now.
Matt McKirahan said that the Education and Career Development committee was working on a comprehensive proposal for professional development grants.
The Chair asked for a round of applause for the door prizes offered by the Forum. He asked for a list of sponsors that the Forum could mention on its web page. He noted that Forum elections will take place soon. Katie Turner suggested that the Forum consider officer elections when holding delegate elections.
James Holman said that he would soon resign as chair of the Personnel Issues committee. Yvonne Dunlap asked if the results of the Employee Appreciation Day survey were on the Forum website. Matt Banks said that he would put these results on the website soon. The Chair proposed that the Forum survey its constituents to ask for suggestions and comments.
Michael Highland said that the Recognition & Awards committee will meet in mid-January to finalize its planning for the peer recognition banquet.
The Chair said that the UNC System Staff Assembly Chairs’ committee had met two weeks ago. He noted an effort to get the minimum wage at other University campuses above $22,000/year following UNC-Chapel Hill’s effort. Vice President for Human Resources William Fleming said that salaries reflect the local economy of the different campuses. The Chair noted that the Office of State Human Resources has approved a new grievance policy in which written warnings shall not be grievable, among other changes, effective March 1, 2014. Gena Carter said that Human Resources would work to communicate these changes to the Forum and the University before March 1. Yvonne Dunlap asked about mediators as a check for retaliation against grieving employees. James Holman confirmed that employees still have the right to take grievance questions straight to the panel. Carter thought that was the case.
The Forum Office will be closed December 20-January 5, 2014.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary