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UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum Agenda

Agenda — December 7, 2005
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room

I. Call to Order

II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III. Opening Remarks

IV. Special Presentations:

• Presentation of Certificates to Outgoing Forum Delegates

V. Human Resources Update
• Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

VI. Chair’s Report, Executive Committee (Tommy Griffin) & Committee Reports

• Orientation: Gloria Farrar/Lisa Inman

• Personnel Issues: David Brannigan
• University Assignments: Tom Arnel
• Career Development: Leon Hamlett
• Communications: Brian White
–> Forum Newsletter
• Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards: Debra Galvin
• Employee Presentations: Ernie Patterson
Nominating: Patty Prentice

–> Officer Elections

VII. October 5 , November 2 Minutes

VIII.       Old Business

•  Proposed Reaffirmation of Resolution 05-02, Advocating Creation of a UNC System Staff Assembly

IX.       New Business

• Forum Officer Elections

–> Chair:  Charles (Chuck) Brink & Ernie Patterson

–> Vice Chair:  David Brannigan & Jackie Kylander

–> Treasurer:  Greg Alvord & Jane Majors

–> Secretary:  Jonathan Zerulik

X. Stretch Time

XI. “Around the Room”/Employee Presentations

XIII. Task Force/University Committee Reports

XIV. Announcements/Questions

XV. Adjournment


Forum Minutes for December 7, 2005


Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m., welcoming guests and students from the Student Action Alliance.


The Chair distributed certificates to outgoing delegates in tandem with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest.


Charest provided the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  She thanked outgoing Forum delegates for their years of service and commitment to the University.  She reported that the retirement system had fallen two to three months behind in processing retirement checks.  Recent retirees have experienced financial difficulty given the delay.  The State Employees’ Credit Union has agreed to provide interest free loans to those affected by the delay.  Charest said that those planning retirement soon will probably face difficulty even if they begin their paperwork early on.  She said that the retirement system itself needs to do some planning for the unusually high number of retirements expected in the coming months.

Brenda Denzler asked if the upcoming policy change requiring a retiring employee to wait six months before working for the State again in a temporary capacity had caused the surge in retirements.  Charest said that the increase in retirements should have been anticipated and that the increasing trend should continue as pay and benefits lag for more experienced workers.

Charest noted that Human Resources had expanded the range of certification programs available to staff as urged by the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace.  Charest said that 138 Employees are now enrolled in training certificate programs and five Employees have completed these programs.  The certification programs demand a substantial commitment of time and effort.  Those interested in enrolling can check the Human Resources website at

The University’s winter blood drive will take place December 20 in Fetzer Gym from 7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.  Donors will receive food, drink and a commemorative t-shirt.  Those interested in scheduling an appointment can phone 96-BLOOD.

Charest noted that Human Resources staff can now change directory information for Employees in departments.  Denzler asked if P.O. boxes can serve as an address record.  Charest said that she did not know about this use.

David Brannigan asked why Employees cannot do supervisor evaluations.  Charest said that Employees can do these evaluations with some caveats.  Brannigan asked if she could make a report on this question to the Forum or to the Personnel Issues committee.  Charest said that she would produce a report on this question for next year.


The Chair gave his monthly report noting that UNC System President Erskine Bowles had met with members of the Forum Executive Committee, extending a scheduled twenty-minute meeting to forty-five minutes.  Bowles let these delegates know that he considers himself staff and that he would work to win salary increases and improvements to health benefits from the Legislature.


Gloria Farrar reminded delegates that the Forum’s annual retreat would take place Wednesday, January 11 from 8:30-4:00 p.m. at the Friday Center.

David Brannigan said that the Personnel Issues committee had study restructuring the content and relationships of various Forum committees. He said that the committees needed to find ways to address management accountability, career banding, health benefits and living wage concerns.  He said the committee had proposed forming a Legislative Action committee to interact more substantially with members of the General Assembly.  The Personnel Issues committee had consulted with the General Counsel Leslie Strom’s office to find the limits of what the Forum can do in its interactions with legislators.  Strom had emphasized that the committee could be political but not partisan, meaning, the committee could discuss issues but not endorse candidates.  Brannigan said that the committee hoped to improve the Forum’s system of media relations and to work with SEANC and the NC Justice Center on issues of mutual concern.

Tom Arnel said that the University Assignments committee had filed its annual report.  Brenda Denzler of the Communications committee said that group would need to reconfigure itself given the retirement of committee chair Brian White.  Denzler encouraged delegates with strong opinions to write stories for InTouch, the Forum’s monthly newsletter.

Debra Galvin said that the Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards committee had submitted its annual report on the heels of a very successful “Prize Patrol” campaign.  The committee had distributed twenty-eight gift baskets to Employees nominated for contributions to their workplaces via the Forum’s peer recognition program.  Galvin said that the committee had also undertaken a campus-wide food drive.  Katherine Graves said that the School of Public Health planned an end-of-the-year party on December 16 to collect donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Ernie Patterson said that the Employee Presentations committee had held a very successful meeting on health care issues November 30.  Around 180 people attended to hear from Dan Soper, chief operating officer of the State Health Plan, along with State Senator Ellie Kinnaird and others.  Several Employees raised issues that Soper pledged to resolve as soon as possible following the meeting.  Katherine Graves commented that the UNC health steering committee would meet at General Administration later that week.

David Brannigan moved that the Forum thank Soper for his attendance at the November 30 meeting.  The Chair said that he had been in contact with Soper several times since the meeting and had thanked him profusely.  Denzler said that the issue she had raised with Soper had progressed somewhat since the meeting.  The Chair said that he anticipated more cooperation from the State Health Plan offices than it had provided in the past, based on the evidence following the November 30 meeting.

Patty Prentice noted her extensive work and personal commitments and thanked Peggy Cotton and Matt Banks for their work on the Forum delegate elections.  The Chair praised Prentice for her courageous spirit and sense of sacrifice to help the Forum when no one else had volunteered to serve as Forum Secretary.


The Forum agreed to consider the October and November meeting minutes at its next meeting given technical difficulties with reading these documents on-line.


Old Business

Katherine Graves moved that the Forum vote to reaffirm resolution 05-02, advocating creation of a System-wide staff assembly.  The Chair said that this reaffirmation was of critical importance as staff organizations at the sixteen institutions worked to convince President Bowles of the importance of the staff assembly in upcoming meetings.  The Forum voted by acclamation to reaffirm the resolution.


New Business

The Chair opened the floor for nominations for Forum Officer positions.  Peggy Cotton nominated Lisa Inman for the position of Vice Chair, citing her great concern for staff Employees in the areas of affordable housing, health insurance and living wage.  She praised Inman as being hardworking, compassionate and motivated.  She also cited Inman’s creativity and ability to organize.

Inman thanked Cotton for her introduction.  She said that she had not been recently vocal but possessed the skills and abilities to be an effective Vice Chair.  She said that she would use her talent and commitment to make good things happen for University Employees.

Nominated in November for Forum Vice Chair, Jackie Kylander had the opportunity to make remarks in response to Inman’s nomination.  Kylander recalled the issues of the Personnel Issues committee, particularly those of wages and benefits and workplace conditions.  She would remind those in Raleigh that there is much more to do in the area of living wages, health care and parking costs.  She said that the University should place a premium on hard work and promotions for those doing hard work.  The person should be more important than the position in making decisions.  Additionally, Employees should have the opportunity to work for advanced degrees.  Kylander asked where the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace recommendations were on the Human Resources website.  Finally, she said that the Legislature should stop taking State employees for granted when making its budgetary decisions.  She said the new System-wide Staff Assembly could do a great deal to address these concerns.

Also nominated in November for Forum Vice Chair, David Brannigan recalled his work as the chair and vice chair of the Personnel Issues committee.  He agreed all candidates were very able.  He said that the Employee Forum was the best and most effective vehicle to create change as trade unions are barred by law from their customary activities in State Government.  Brannigan said that the Forum needed more funding to match its growing ideas.  He urged increased communication, media and contacts with other UNC System institutions.  He said that the UNC System Staff Assembly would represent 37,000 staff employees.  He had worked with the Personnel Issues committee to increase accountability via supervisor evaluations.  He thought that supervisor evaluations could help solve problems that come up year after year.  Brannigan said that the Forum must devote the majority of its work to health care benefits and living wages.  He said that the Forum must engage the people with the purse strings.  He said that President Bowles and Chancellor Moeser have been supportive but the Forum needed to find other ways to apply pressure.  He said that the Forum needed resources to print stickers and undertake other creative work on behalf of staff employees.


David Brannigan nominated Brenda Denzler for the office of Forum Secretary.  Jonathan Zerulik was forced to withdraw from the ballot.  Brannigan praised Denzler’s careful attention to wording and grammar of resolutions produced by the Personnel Issues committee.

Brenda Denzler said she was pleased and honored to be nominated and said that she would look forward to ways to serve.  She looked forward to using her skills in organizing and communicating to support the other officers and to win respect for Forum initiatives.  She wanted to help employees win more control over the conditions in which we work.

As there were no other nominations, the Chair asked if the Forum wished to accept Denzler as the Forum Secretary for 2006 by acclamation as specified in the Forum Guidelines.  The Forum agreed to install Denzler by acclamation.


The Chair thanked all of the delegates who agreed to run.  At this point, the Forum took a five minute stretch break.


Ombudswoman Laurie Mesibov encouraged Forum delegates to get to the know the ombudsoffice.  She thanked the Forum for making her and Wayne Blair feel so welcome.


Linwood Futrelle introduced resolution 05-12 Honoring 2002-2005 Forum Chair Tommy Griffin.  Katherine Graves read this resolution, saying that she felt honor to read the resolution as a four-year delegate and two-year Forum officer.  Linwood Futrelle moved that the Forum suspend its rules to consider the resolution on second reading, seconded by John Heuer.  The motion was approved by acclamation, with one abstention.  The Forum then approved the resolution on second reading by acclamation.

The Chair said that he had been honored to serve as Forum Chair and to work for the University’s 7500 Employees.  He said that he was leaving the Forum in good hands.  He urged the Forum to stand behind the Staff Assembly and to work closely with the other fifteen System institutions.  The Chair praised Chancellor James Moeser, Provost Robert Shelton, Vice Chancellor Nancy Suttenfield and Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest for their hard work and fine example.  He also thanked Claire Miller and the Human Resources generalists for their hard work establishing the program over these past years.

The Chair urged delegates to continue to work for improved health care benefits and a living wage for all North Carolinians.               The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was established to serve all the people of the state.  The University has expanded its reach to the entire world, touching many people’s lives.  The Chair was not sure whether he would return to the Forum in his remaining time at the University and so he wanted to thank all for what they have done.  He encouraged delegates to jump into the work of the Forum with both feet, to never be afraid to ask questions and to never take “no” for an answer.  He recalled that the Forum had won an honorary position on the Board of Trustees Finance committee through its determination.  He said the Forum had won a tiered parking permit system through a similar determination and one day he hoped the Forum could win a tiered health care premium system in the same way.  He praised Chancellor Moeser for his big heart and his welcoming manner.


Katherine Graves read the results of the Forum officer elections.  Brenda Denzler was installed via acclamation for Secretary; Jane Majors was elected Treasurer; David Brannigan was elected Vice Chair; and Ernie Patterson was elected Chair of the Forum.

The Chair praised all of the candidates for running for office.  He said that he felt he was giving his children away when he was signing delegates’ certificates of achievement.  He encouraged delegates to go around the room to share their thoughts on at the final meeting of the year.

Ernie Patterson said that all of the Forum’s delegates need to work together to accomplish a common mission.  Jeanne Hiesel said that she had difficulty choosing from among so many good candidates.  Kirk McNaughton thanked James Moeser, Robert Shelton, Nancy Suttenfield and Laurie Charest for their participation in the Thursday roundtable discussions.  He also thanked the Forum Executive Committee and other committees for their work as well as the guest speakers and ombudsoffice.               He also thanked Forum Assistant Matt Banks for his insight and information.  He encouraged delegates to get involved in any way possible.

Tom Arnel said that this meeting represented the last of his four year service.  He had enjoyed an incredible and amazing experience.  He thanked Chair Tommy Griffin for his great leadership and wisdom during the past four years.

Brenda Denzler suggested that the Forum hold a social event at which delegates could get to know each other socially.  Lucy Lewis asked how delegates could inform other Employees in their division to let them know what’s going on.  The Chair said that delegates could use the campus-wide e-mail system to send out targeted messages just to people in their division.

Ellen Hill said that she hoped that delegates would choose their committees and begin their service quickly.  Ernie Patterson urged delegates to be on the lookout for a letter describing proposed committee revisions.  Katherine Graves hoped that the Career Development committee would gain more strength and popularity this year.  David Brannigan invited delegates to send ideas about the committee restructuring to him at or to campus mail box #1800.  Linwood Futrelle said that delegates could access their e-mail in campus computer labs or the University Libraries.

The Chair said that Roberta Massey and other participants would present on the results of the site visit for the OS1 team cleaning program in either January or February.

Jeanne Hiesel said that Information Technology Services had recently ended the telework/telecommuting policy for its employees.  This benefit is a common benefit for information technology employees in private industry.  She said that employees felt highly insulted to have this benefit taken away as of January 1.  On a personal note, Hiesel asked listeners to donate to the organization in memory of her father who loved animals and recently passed on.

The Chair once again thanked delegates for their service as well as Forum Assistant Matt Banks.  He adjourned the meeting at 11:34 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,



Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

Finis Coronat Opus

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