February 18, 2020 Executive Committee minutes
Attending (includes teleconferencing members): L.E. Alexander, Tiffany Carver, Jen DeNeal, Phillip Edwards, Stephanie Forman, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Todd Hux, Clinton Miller, Arlene Medder, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Ayla Ocasio, Jim Potts, Laura Pratt, Kevin Robinson, Rose Thorp, Tracy Wetherby Williams
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 2 p.m. She thanked members for rearranging the meeting to accommodate her revised schedule. She called for a motion to approve the committee’s January minutes. Jen DeNeal made this motion, seconded by Laura Pratt. The motion was approved without opposition.
The Chair read a proposal to use Forum funds to produce a video to advertise upcoming Forum delegate elections. She recalled that the Forum had discussed this possibility since its July 2019 Annual Retreat. She had worked with Kevin Robinson and School of Pharmacy media to develop a script and budget for the proposal. She did not want to go forward with this proposal without agreement from the Forum Executive Committee. The proposal requested $2,000 to fund the Forum video.
Arlene Medder asked from where in the Forum budget these funds would come. The Chair noted that the Forum’s line items for Forum Office Programming and Software equal approximately $2,000 in the most recent budget report. She sought to use these budget line items to pay for the video. Any expenses over $2,000 would require funding from the Chancellor’s Office to pay for any overages. She said that the video would help to build the Forum’s profile as it would be distributed to all campus employees. Rose Thorp asked when the video would be complete. The Chair said the video would be completed as soon as possible once funding is obtained.
Laura Pratt confirmed that the Forum’s video project is established as a priority for the School of Pharmacy media group. The Chair said this was confirmed, and that the video would run around 2.5 minutes. She read the script to the committee. Members generally agreed that the script was a good one and discussed different casting and editing possibilities. James Holman moved that the Executive Committee approve this proposal, seconded by Todd Hux. The motion was approved with two abstentions.
Forum Treasurer Ayla Ocasio pointed out that the Forum is a mere four and a half months from the end of the fiscal year. She noted that the overall Forum budget has an estimated surplus of around $3800. She proposed that the Forum devote its surplus funds in addition to the approved funds to pay for the video altogether. She said that this course would allow the Forum to avoid going to the Chancellor to seek funds. Phil Edwards recalled that the Forum Executive Committee has authority to decide financial matters in its monthly meetings.
Kevin Robinson estimated the total cost of the video would be $5200. Rose Thorp asked what other expenses the Forum Office will have through the end of the year. Matt Banks said that beyond what is currently budgeted, the Office needs to update its memorial plaques and purchase swag for upcoming events. He said that he could likely delay most of these expenses to the next fiscal year.
The Chair recalled that the Forum had come in under budget by $5,000 her first year as Chair. Todd Hux moved that the Forum allow expenditure of up to $5200 for the Forum video, seconded by Ayla Ocasio. Hux accepted a suggestion to increase the amount allowed to $5500 to accommodate possible overages. The committee voted to accept this proposal as amended without opposition.
It was noted that the Forum must submit an annual budget report to the Chancellor’s Office in April. The Chair noted the agenda item regarding a statement to the Chancellor regarding the State budget. She said that all indications are that the Legislature is holding up these increases.
Senior Director of Employee & Management Relations Angenette McAdoo said that every Human Resources cabinet meeting features a question about this lack of raises. The Chair recalled that the Legislature is now not set to meet again until April. McAdoo said that she would check back with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler to see if he had an update. Rose Thorp thought that providing some acknowledgment of this situation to employees would be helpful.
Jim Potts said that the proposal to revamp the Forum electoral system would not go forward until next year at the earliest.
The Chair said that she is scheduled to meet with Chancellor Guskiewicz the following day. She had made an impassioned statement at the Board of Trustees meeting regarding the lack of staff salary increases. She described the impact on staff morale of the absence of information about possible increases. She urged the Board to encourage new initiatives to find creative ways to help staff morale.
Tracy Wetherby Williams asked about the disposition plan for the Confederate Monument (“Silent Sam”) and the implication for staff salaries. Laura Pratt said that much discussion on this matter had occurred at the previous Friday’s Faculty Council meeting. Wetherby Williams recalled that Judge Alan Baddour had reversed his decision on the statue. She asked about any plans to make these discussions more transparent.
An employee asked about the issue of expanding flextime options to more employees. Angenette McAdoo noted that teleworking and other work matters can be arranged based on the needs of the organization. Jen DeNeal raised a broader question on Human Resources review of the policy in this area. She noted that the policy was one and a half years due for review.
James Holman said that departments could not make their own rules regarding flex time policy. Angenette McAdoo said that rules must be consistent across departments, as supervisors must balance the needs of each employee and their department.
It was noted that most Human Resources offices will allow employees to compress their schedules. Some units allow a set arrangement while others do not want to set a precedent for their employees.
The Chair asked about the imposition of a twenty-one-day lifetime cap on use of flextime benefits. Angenette McAdoo said that this issue had been raised previously in a different meeting. She would not discuss the matter further as Vice Chancellor Menghini had indicated in that meeting.
Jen DeNeal asked if the Chair could ask the Chancellor to provide employees flexible work arrangements whenever possible. James Holman noted the perception that administrators pick and choose who will be allowed to use flextime. McAdoo said that selective enforcement is not allowed. All employees in a work unit are to be treated equally in that work unit. Phil Edwards proposed asking the Ombuds office for data on flextime usage.
The Chair proposed requesting that University administration encourage liberal enforcement of flextime scheduling policies. McAdoo said that the policy might be overseen by State government rather than the University, but thought the question is worth asking. She then departed the meeting.
The Chair summed up the discussion saying that she would ask the Chancellor about flex time policies and ask in general that these policies be reviewed. Jen DeNeal observed that the policies are written very broadly. She thought that the policies should err on the side of flexibility for the employee. The Chair concluded that the lack of salary and benefit increases makes it important for the University to look as liberal as it can in other issues, such as flextime and scheduling. She understood that some departments can be very draconian about flextime, but she could not imagine telling an employee that they could not take more than 21 days flextime over the course of their career.
Todd Hux offered to help the Forum with its plans for the upcoming Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament. The Chair said that the Forum needs a set of coolers and radios for the day, as well as players. She said that the Forum will not sponsor the event this year but will participate.
Laura Pratt asked that the Forum Office assist in sending out a survey on employee professional development needs from the Education & Career Development committee.
Kevin Robinson said that the Community Service committee will participate in a service opportunity at the Conserve Center in Burlington on March 27th. The Center features an animal wildlife care and conservatory facility. Employees will have the chance to do physical labor to assist the Center but will not be allowed contact with the animals. He said that wolves, lions, tigers, and leopards, among many other species, are featured at the Center.
Phil Edwards said that the Personnel Issues committee had sought a prioritization of projects assigned at various Forum meetings. He said that elder care and voluntary shared leave are two large issues for consideration. Rose Thorp recalled that delegates also sought an update on weeknight parking and its effect on temporary UNC Library employees. Laura Pratt said that she would contact delegate Sarah Carrier to ask about the status of this matter.
The Chair noted that faculty members James Leloudis and Patricia Parker, the co-chairs of the University Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward, are scheduled to speak to the Forum at its March 4 meeting. George Battle, the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Integrity and Risk Management, is scheduled to speak at the Forum’s April 1 meeting. Chris Meinecke, head of the University Managers’ Association, also will speak at a future Forum meeting.
The Chair thanked the committee for its support of the video production effort.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 3:36 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary