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Employee Forum Agenda — December 2 , 2009

9:15 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

V.          Human Resources Update with Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

VI.         Employee Presentations or Questions

VII.       November Minutes

VIII.       Old Business

IX.         New Business

  • Invitation to Forum Delegates to Process in Winter Commencement December 20
  • Proposal to Remove Ex-Employees from the eforum listserv

X.           Stretch Time

XI.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Communications and Public Relations: Ashley Fogle/Carrie Goldsmith
    • Forum Newsletter
  • Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach: Teena Burton
  • Compensation & Benefits:
  • Education and Career Development:  Cate Cunningham/Koyah Rivera
  • Legislative Action:  Jonathan Stephenson
  • Membership & Assignments:  Aluoch Ooro
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices:  Marc ter Horst


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

XIII.       Task Force/University Committee Reports

XIV.       Announcements/Questions

XV.        “Go Around the Room”:  A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue Most on their Minds

XVI.        Adjournment


December 2, 2009 Employee Forum Minutes


Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:20 a.m., welcoming guests and members of the press.  He said he had met with the NC Thanks committee to find ways to save the State money.  He also said that he had been asked to join the board for Habitat for Humanity and was considering the offer.

The Chair noted that Mary Campbell had been forced to leave the Forum due to her husband’s illness.  He asked that delegates sign a letter of farewell to her.  The Chair then welcomed a presentation from the Community Affairs, Recognition & Awards committee to one of the committee’s Unsung Heels award winners.  Debbie Dehart noted that Jackie Overton had served on the Board of Directors for Empowerment and for Pregnancy Support Services.  Overton said it was nice to be honored for things that she loves to do.

The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary human resources update.  Malone asked Matt Brody to speak about the new Enterprise Resource Plan (ERP) that the University will pursue in partnership with NC State University.  He said the target date for completion of the human resources component will be 2013.  NC State has been immersed in the PeopleSoft Oracle process and how it applies to policies.  Malone noted that annual performance reviews are required in June and December performance reviews are required for those employees receiving Below Good or Unsatisfactory on their overall rating or one of their principal functions.  This review must be completed before the end of January.

Malone outlined the steps that Human Resources has taken to insure that the SPA dispute resolution and grievance process had been as open as possible.  Human Resources had solicited input from the Employee Forum and the broader employee community.  The deadline for further comment about proposed changes is Friday, December 4.

Faith Thompson asked what troubles Human Resources had had with statutory authority in revising the grievance process.  Malone said that some ideas do not work under the current legislative system.  Alan Moran said that some employees cannot bring grievances in cases that are not grievable, such as the RIF process.  He thought that the University could use more information on what issues are subject to the grievance process.  Thompson suggested the Forum newsletter InTouch.  Malone said that Human Resources had issued a FAQs statement related to layoffs.  She offered to update this document if necessary.  She also said that a proposed employee handbook would contain some of this information.  Debbie Dehart said that in the old days Human Resources issued a handbook every year.  Malone said that there are ways to update and refresh needed information for employees.  Thompson said that connecting the information with people would increase effectiveness.  Aluoch Ooro suggested placing the pay stub link on the Human Resources page.

Alan Moran asked if the University plans to implement PeopleSoft System-wide if it is successful at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Malone said that most System institutions have gone with the Banner software.  She said that UNC-Chapel Hill would try to implement PeopleSoft in as vanilla a format as possible, in order to reduce the amount of changes necessary in the business processes.  She said that there would be differences between implementation at NC State and here but that Carolina should save some of the cost of implementation.

Debbie Dehart asked if there were a way to evolve moving senior employees into different jobs as they approach the ends of their careers.  Malone said that the University has a duty and obligation to take those who are qualified for positions.  She said that Human Resources would try to partner with the larger community in training issues, particularly once a new training & development manager is hired.  Now, training has concentrated on specific skill enhancement.

Alan Moran asked about mentoring programs at the University.  Malone said that she had never seen a successful mentoring program, as it was difficult to keep employees engaged.  Moran said that the Office of State Personnel has a wealth of information on mentoring.  Malone said that she was not opposed to conversations, but said that much would depend on resources and the development of different models.  Todd Hux asked if the low input on grievance procedure revisions was a bad sign for the revisions.  Malone said that she was pleased about the comparative lack of grievances for an institution of this size.  She said that Human Resources had received good input about the policy from the general community and the Employee Forum.  In all, Human Resoruces received around 45-50 comments.  Gena Carter commented that Human Resources may have received more comments because it had solicited via the ‘Formal Notice’ all-campus e-mail system.

Marc ter Horst asked about succession planning as baby boomers retire and others replace them, particularly as retiring workers are not allow to return to State service for six months following retirement.  Malone said that this is a critical challenge that the University cannot do more than converse about due to the current lack of resources.

Malone reminded Forum members about the upcoming University Closed Day December 31.  The Chair asked that the Forum give Malone and Carter special thanks for their work.  He said that the internship program had worked well in HVAC.  Malone said that she was open to ideas about programs.  The Chair hoped that the University could find a way to do these things within the rules of the State.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the November meeting.  Jackie Overton said that she was incorrectly referred to as “the Chair” in the minutes, instead of the “Vice Chair.”  Given this change, the minutes were approved.

Myra Quick asked why participation was low in the grievance process.  Ombuds officer Wayne Blair said that he had a gut feeling that people are less willing to make waves in this time of limited resources.  Gena Carter said that Human Resources had created ways for input via anonymous forms.

The Chair noted that Forum delegates had been invited to participate in the Winter Commencement.  He asked that interested delegates contact the Forum Assistant by that Friday.

The Forum moved on to a proposal to remove past delegates who are no longer employees from the eforum listserv.  Todd Hux asked the reason for this change.  Debbie Dehart said that a former employee had used the listserv as a personal bandstand.  Faith Thompson said that access should be restricted to current employees.  Aluoch Ooro thought the Forum should allow these people to stay on the list to protect their free speech rights.  Marc ter Horst recalled that the Executive Committee had discussed how to get this information on who had been terminated to the Forum Assistant so that he could remove these names from the listserv.  He said that terminated or retired employees would not be removed immediately.  The Chair proposed inviting General Counsel Leslie Strohm to discuss whether removing these employees infringed on these people’s rights.  Todd Hux moved that the Forum terminate access for former employees if a problem indeed existed, seconded by Myra Quick.  Ter Horst said that these former employees could keep up with Forum events via the website and InTouch, among other means.  Hux modified his motion to allow for a monthly review of terminated or retired employees.  The Chair commented that this was the first time this problem had arisen.  The motion carried with 14 voting in favor, 6 against, and 2 abstaining.

At this point the Forum took a five minute break.

Ashley Fogle noted that the November-December edition of InTouch had been printed and placed in the Daily Tar Heel.  She sadly said that she had to resign as co-chair of the Communications and Public Relations committee.  She noted that Brenda Denzler, the previous chair, is a unique and extraordinary person whom it was impossible to replace.  Fogle asked committee chairs to submit stories, even in the form of bullet points, about the work of their groups.  Faith Thompson suggested that the Forum pass a list around the room so that delegates could indicate the items that they want to see discussed in InTouch.

Debbie Dehart reported from the Community Affairs, Recognition & Awards committee that that group would present Unsung Heels awards to the other five recipients before the holidays.  Ryan Greenway reported that the Compensation and Benefits committee is in a transitional phase.  There was no report from the Education and Career Development committee.  Jonathan Stephenson of the Legislative Affairs committee reported that SEANC had worked to file suit to put pressure on Congress not to renew the HIPAA waiver that would allow tobacco and BMI testing on State employees.  He noted that a federal bill on collective bargaining was now alive in Congress.  He also personally had gone to Chicago to meet with Andy Stern of SEIU to lobby against bailouts for banks.  Stephenson said that he had been in a car accident and recently married the two previous meetings.  Finally, Stephenson advocated that the State bid out its contract to administer the State Health Plan rather than give it to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and urged that administration of the Plan move from the Legislature to the Executive Branch in Raleigh.

Aluoch Ooro reported that the Membership and Assignments committee had met November 20 to discuss plans for the Forum elections, orientation and retreat.  She said that she had spread news about the Forum during her travels to the United Arab Emirates in November.  Marc ter Horst said that the Staff Policies and procedures committee had worked on providing recommendations for changes to the SPA grievance procedure referenced earlier in the meeting.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:24 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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