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Employee Forum Agenda

9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I. Call to Order—Chair Jackie Overton

II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III. Special Presentations

  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp

IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.  Approval of January minutes

VII. Old Business

VIII. New Business

IX. Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
  • Communications and Public Relations: Alia Wegner
  • Education and Career Development: Charles Streeter
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Personnel Issues: James Holman
  • Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:  Danny Nguyen/John Gullo
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton

X. Announcements/Questions

XI. Adjournment


February 6, 2013 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Dan Barmmer, Ellen Donna Brooks, Deborah Bush, Karen Cheek, Marilyn Couch, Tammy Cox, Jill Crowder, Kenneth Davis, Yvonne Dunlap, John Gullo, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Carleta Long, Avia Mainor, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Danny Nguyen, Jessica O’Hara, Jackie Overton, Koyah Rivera, Anna Schwab, Tara Smith, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  She was pleased to announce that her medical oncologist had given her a totally clean report.  She thanked all for their kind support during her illness.  She was pleased to introduce Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp, whom she had known for a long time at the University.  She said that Crisp had worked effectively behind the scenes to improve the situation in Housekeeping.  She said that Chancellor Thorp had acknowledged Crisp as a champion for staff who would do what’s right.  Crisp appreciated the opportunity to speak to the Forum.  He recalled his childhood with a father from Raleigh and mother from Baltimore.  He noted the job of Student Affairs is to insure that students enjoy the safest, most conducive environment for learning possible.  He said that students must be fed, safe, and healthy, among other items.  He said that students here must get the same shot at success as anyone else.  Crisp saw his position as similar to that of a city manager of a $90 million corporation.  He said that every part of his organization is critically important and it is his to make sure every part receives proper attention.  In effect, this leads to a great deal of day-to-day policy and crisis management.

Regarding Housekeeping, Crisp said that everyone on campus is expected to do a job, and once that job is done that person is entitled to be respected and treated fairly.  He said that addressing problems in Housekeeping was long overdue.  He said that employees must look themselves in the mirror and do their work.  Tammy Cox asked how Crisp would say today’s students are different than those of a generation ago.  Crisp characterized today’s generation of college students as full of confidence yet probably the most sheltered of any of the groups he had seen.  He said that this generation is not as prepared for everyday life as much as his generation who worked more.  On the other hand, Crisp said that this generation was full of accomplishments and AP classes, and is capable of greatness.  He identified a dualism:  bright/creative yet spoiled/needy.  Crisp noted that all employees have different roles and jobs that have been identified as important.  He hoped that listeners would continue to make the University the place it should be.  Marilyn Couch asked if Crisp had time to meet with different groups of people.  Crisp said that he generally did not have time to do walkabout but he could respond to invitations.

The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Malone noted that Human Resources is ready to launch the new pilot Performance Management program in Housekeeping, the School of Government, the School of Pharmacy, and the Office of Human Resources.  She said that the pilot will evaluate employees on the basis of quality of work, attendance, time management, collegiality, safety, and workplace compliance, among other measures.  She thought the new pilot could lead to an easier and more standardized performance review process.  She said Senior Director Gena Carter will kick off the effort with meetings in the relevant departments.  Anna Schwab asked the difference between SPA and EPA non-faculty performance management reviews.  Malone said that EPA non-faculty reviews are not as structured as SPA reviews, which must follow a standardized approach.  Avia Mainor confirmed that the pilot would go campus wide in the next evaluation cycle if all goes well.  John Gullo asked whom Human Resources would meet with in the four pilot areas.  Carter said that representatives will meet with business and staff representatives over the next couple of weeks.

Malone noted consideration on the subject of constructive and developmental feedback for supervisors.  She said that a pilot program will provide employees in Housekeeping a feedback questionnaire for this purpose.  She said that the questionnaire should not be used as an opportunity to complain but rather to provide guidance on supervisor interaction.  The questionnaire will be anonymous and should provide a great sense of how the team views its supervisor in these areas.  Malone said that the University will translate the survey into different languages.  Other details remain to be worked out.  She said that this process will give supervisors a chance to do self-analysis on their work and to become more effective and productive.  Marilyn Couch asked when the questionnaires will come out.  Malone said that the date is yet to be announced.  She said that Human Resources wants to make sure the process is perceived as fair by all concerned.  Human Resources will work to avoid confusion and try to make the process as open and efficient as possible.  Employees will fill out the surveys in private, and supervisors will receive aggregated results.  Couch noted a continuing lack of trust as many Housekeeping employees are still afraid of catching flak from their supervisors.  She also thought that some supervisors may not understand the purpose of the survey or might be afraid to ask.  Malone said that representatives will go through the entire document with some employees.  She noted the challenge to some employees to submit the survey electronically.  Couch said that some employees cannot read and would be embarrassed to have the survey read and explained in advance.  Malone said that Human Resources will do the best it can in this situation, to provide as little stress as possible.  She said that everyone wants to feel capable of doing their best.  She also asked Couch to be an ambassador for the effort, sharing information about the project and possible gaps in the work.

Yvonne Dunlap asked if it would be a good idea to run the pilot in another department that might give cleaner results than Housekeeping.  Malone said that this is a new idea for Carolina that is not a 360 degree evaluation.  She said that Human Resources is thinking about how to introduce the pilot more broadly.  Malone offered to speak with Dunlap about introducing it in her area.  Malone read some of the core questions of the survey.  Deborah Bush asked if the evaluation will become part of the supervisor’s permanent record.  Malone said that it would not but it would be used for development.  Bush asked if the pilot will be rolled out to all departments if successful.  Malone said that it was not yet determined.  She said that there is no anticipation of using this survey for EPA or faculty.  Carleta Long said that it would be good not to have the pilot program in Housekeeping as there is the perception that all of the University’s attention is on that one department.  She said that other departments have different issues.  Malone noted the very diverse workforce at the University, and the low turnover among employees.  She said that at this large institution there is a need to focus everywhere and obtain necessary engagement.  She said that there is now an expectation that work in Housekeeping will regularize.  She said that departments must get back on a regular approach, deal with issues, and manage expectations.  Mainor said that the survey effort will face a challenge if it does not have a control group.  Koyah Rivera asked if the effort will involve a conversation with a manager in every case.  Malone said that would take place.  The questionnaire will not compose part of the performance management process.  Malone noted the e-mail related to the campus climate survey.  She said that this survey is a powerful way to do a temperature check at the University, given that a similar survey was done in 2010.  She praised the Carolina Counts office for handling this effort.  She hoped that everyone listening participated in this survey.

Chris Meinecke asked if there was any news on Senate Bill 575.  Malone said that there was nothing new to report.  Meinecke proposed standardizing feedback for SPA and EPA non-faculty employees.  Malone said that EPA non-faculty are typically not evaluated but rather serve at the pleasure of the University.  Thus, their evaluations, when done, are not as detailed or persnickety.  She said that there will be a conversation about feedback on the EPA side, but there is no formal process or mandate on the horizon.

Senior Director for Benefits and Work Life Ashley Nicklis announced that the University will resume issuing benefits statements in 2013.  She passed around a sample benefits statement.  She said that the statements will be effective as of December 31 and employees should expect them in the mail as of February 25.  Secondly, Nicklis noted that the State life insurance vendor will streamline the statement of health process for employees.  This enrollment will take place in the second week of March.  All employees will receive an enrollment packet for an on-line enrollment process.  Carleta Long asked about the prospect of life insurance upgrade for employees about to retire.  Nicklis said that term life insurance plans can be converted to an individual plan as long as the employee can prove insurability.  James Holman asked why the cost of conversion is so high.  Nicklis recalled that the cost of insurance for older employees is more expensive.  She said that the rates for insurance will not necessarily go up beyond the age-dependent adjustments.  The Chair asked how these benefits statements will be different than ORBIT.  Nicklis said that the statements will contain the total compensation for an employee and will show what the employee has contributed to date as well as the value of leave earned over the year.  Dan Barmmer asked if the statements will go to employees’ home addresses.  Nicklis said that the statements will go out via campus mail in sealed envelopes marked “for addressee only.”  Carleta Long asked about possibilities for more choices from the State Health Plan.  Nicklis noted that the State Health Plan has proposed changes which have been taken to the oversight board.  The changes must receive legislative approval that might see additional revisions.  Nicklis said that the Affordable Care Act will lead to different options.  The Chair asked about the depiction of health care charges on employees’ W-2 tax forms.  Nicklis said that this change is due to the Affordable Care Act.  Charges depicted include cancer and critical illness treatment plans, although dental plans are not included.

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the January meeting.  She noted that Harlis Meaders’ name was incorrectly spelled.  Dan Barmmer made this motion, seconded by Koyah Rivera.  There was no discussion, and the motion was approved with one abstention.

Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Campus Community Garden was producing around 50 pounds of vegetables a week.  The Garden is looking for a replacement chef.  The Chair asked Medder and Christina Lebonville to send out e-mails to the Forum listservs detailing the Garden’s progress.  Medder noted that employees can use their community leave to work at the Garden on Wednesday afternoons.  Charles Streeter reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee was working on InTouch and was seeking additional articles.  Streeter also reported that the Education and Career Development committee was working on a survey to find out employee needs.  He said that the committee was developing ideas for the use of the Staff Development fund.  Streeter also reported for the Membership and Assignments committee that electronic voting efforts are underway.  He asked that employees agree to respond to pilot ballots.  He also said that the committee will need to work out logistics for access for employees without ready use of campus computers for electronic voting for delegates.  Streeter discussed the layout of the ballot.  The Chair encouraged delegates to look for new employees to serve as candidates for office.  She thanked Carleta Long for bringing prospective new delegate Shelby Long from her department.

The Chair welcomed James Holman of the Personnel Issues committee, noting that Holman had recently had his mother pass on.  The Chair noted that she had visited Holman’s home around the time of the funeral.  Holman thanked the Chair and everyone else for the cards and e-mails of support.  Holman said that there had been no meeting of the committee this month due to his mother’s passing.  He said that he hoped to get a resolution on sexual assault awareness month considered on the agenda next month.  He also hoped that the UNC System Staff Assembly would do something in this area.  Dan Barmmer noted that the Staff Assembly needed to move right away to draft its own document.  The Chair said that the Staff Assembly does not need anything from the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum to draft its own document.  She said that the Assembly often provides a good foundation for Assembly resolutions without credit.  She anticipated that the Forum could pass a sexual assault awareness resolution in April.  She noted the appointment of a new Title IX officer on campus in the wake of recent reports.

Chris Meinecke said that the Recognition & Awards committee had met by e-mail to discuss criteria for the Kay Wijnberg Hovious Outstanding Employee Forum Delegate award.  The committee plans to have criteria available for the February 19 Executive Committee.  Additionally, the committee will send out a call for the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool).  The Forum Peer Recognition Award banquet will take place the afternoon of Thursday, May 30, in Hyde Hall.  The committee will use the new electronic voting process to handle these nominations.

John Gullo said that the UNC System Staff Assembly had met January 29 and heard two presentations from General Administration.  First, the Assembly heard from the budget officer and new liaison who appeared confident that General Administration could influence the Legislature.  The Chair noted the Strategic Directions advisory report had gone to the Board of Governors for consideration.  Danny Nguyen said that the Assembly had worked on a salary raise resolution and a personnel flexibility guiding principles document.  Additionally, the Assembly had considered a victims’ disaster relief resolution.  Finally, the Assembly heard plans for the June 12 Janet B. Royster Memorial golf tournament to raise money for staff scholarships June 12.  The Board of Governors will consider the budget at its meetings on February 7 and 8.  Nguyen noted that the Legislature has over 100 freshman and sophomore legislators.  He said that the Legislature had lost many champions for the UNC System in recent elections.  The Governor’s budget will be released on March 18 to go to the Senate, then the House, then a conference committee.  The Chair noted plans to vote on a budget by June.

The Chair reported that she had been assured that personnel flexibility issues will be going forth in the current legislative session.  She noted that the Staff Assembly’s Have a Heart campaign will collect food through February.  The UNC-Chapel Hill Forum will contribute to this effort by holding a food drive at the Florida State men’s basketball game Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center.  She said that the local Interfaith Council will pick up food from this event.

The Chair noted that the Chancellor’s search process is going full throttle, with reference checks now occurring on remaining candidates.  The committee will narrow down a very diverse pool over the next three weekends in airport interviews.  The Chair said that the new Chancellor will be great at leading Carolina.  She hoped that the new Chancellor would be a female, a historic first.  The Chair noted that Peter Hans, chair of the Board of Governors, had sent his regrets.  She asked Forum Assistant Matt Banks to work with Hans’ schedule to bring him to a future Forum or Executive Committee meeting.  She commented that Hans is an interesting man, very personable and receptive to concerns.  She said that his remarks would be especially telling given efforts to remove the University System from the Office of State Personnel.  Carleta Long confirmed that Senate Bill 575 had not been approved but efforts for personnel flexibility were still continuing.

Tammy Cox reported that the Provost’s search committee has 21 members representing students, faculty, staff, and administration.  She said that the committee had received its charge from the Chancellor and hoped to be ready with a candidate by April.  The Chair noted that the new Chancellor will have the new Provost and Development person appointed simultaneously.

The Chair asked what was on delegates’ minds.  Ellen Donna Brooks said she was very happy to have the Chair back from her surgery.  The Chair said that she felt stronger every day and that it had been a very scary episode.  Carleta Long asked if there was any news about the Governor’s salary increase, and whether this was a signal of a general salary increase for staff.  The Chair said that she heard that revenues have been flat.  John Gullo said that he had heard that there will be a 2% staff salary increase proposed in the Legislature.  The Chair said that the recent elections boded different tidings for the University System.  Chris Meinecke thought that recent discussions have been very civil on the Forum listserv.

Concerning the sexual assault issue, the Chair noted that the noted discrepancy in reported assaults depends on which process the victim uses.  The victim has an option to report to Public Safety or Student Affairs, with Public Safety being required to report the assault to Student Affairs but not the reverse.  It was noted that the student has the final say as to whether to report at all.  There are laws that protect the student’s privacy, such as the Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Dan Barmmer noted worries about threats that are not reported or acted upon.  The Chair said that Public Safety will not be able to connect the dots about assailants if there is no report in their system.  There were calls to invite the University’s Title IX officer to discuss this situation.  Marilyn Couch noted that many housekeepers work in dark and isolated areas that could see them vulnerable to attack.  The Chair proposed inviting Chief Jeffrey McCracken or someone from Public Safety to discuss these concerns as well as the implementation of the new park and ride lot changes.  Regarding the park and ride lots, the Chair said that the Town was moving towards charging for use of their lots in parallel with the University’s imposition of fees.  Carleta Long confirmed that Health Care System employees will also face charges for park and ride lots starting in August.  The Chair noted that the Board of Trustees had approved of this change in March and the Forum discussed this plan last January.  She asserted that there will no longer be free parking at the University as of August 15.  She said that the Town of Chapel Hill leases some of its park and ride properties from the University for $1/year.  Marilyn Couch asked about night parking charges.  The Chair said that night and weekend parking will be charged.  She said that Public Safety has subsidized these areas for years but could not do this anymore.  She commented that visitors can park in visitor’s lots such as Rams Head, Morehead and others.  Dan Barmmer noted that the bus system will still stay free.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:22 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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