January 19, 2016 Executive Committee minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Gena Carter, Clare Counihan, Phillip Edwards, Chrissie Greenberg, Arlene Medder, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner (via phone connection)
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:35 a.m. He welcomed Devin Ross and Burnice Hackney of the Orange County Justice United Project to speak about possible partnerships between the Project and the University. Ross described the Project’s role in developing affordable housing in Orange County. He noted that the Project has worked to address the top concerns of low income tenants, including many of those in slum housing. He noted that the organization has helped manage money devoted to affordable housing through local bonds. He hoped that this meeting would result in a partnership between the University, the UNC Health Care System, and his organization.
Burnice Hackney described the process that went into developing the St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church Village development at the corner of Rogers Road and Purefoy Drive. The St. Paul’s campus would have a workshop campus, daycare, banquet center, conference room, teen center, senior center, and museum. The campus would also have recreation and education opportunities, as well as a medical facility. Organizers have met with Piedmont Health to provide medical aid. The campus would include 85 units of housing, namely senior and individual market rate housing. Hackney noted the great need for affordable housing in Orange County.
Ross asked for help finding Forum members who earn less than market rate for Orange County. He said that there is a deep injustice when employees are not able to live in the town in which they work. John Gullo, chair of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, District 25, asked whether Justice United planned to concentrate on renovation or new construction. Ross said that the St. Paul’s Village will be new construction. The Chair noted that many University housekeepers live in apartments, not houses.
Clare Counihan asked if Justice United is a primarily faith-based organization, requiring members to be of a certain faith. Ross said that membership includes faith-based and secular-based members. Arlene Medder asked if St. Paul’s Village will contain separate or joint senior/teen centers. Hackney said that the idea is to increase multigenerational interaction through close location between the senior center and the Village.
The Chair asked how the Employee Forum could help Orange County Justice United to become a University partner. Ross hoped that the Forum could connect United with employees in need of affordable housing at the University and the Health Care System. He hoped to engage the University in a substantial conversation regarding workforce housing. He hoped to learn the interest of the administration in this issue. Counihan asked if United had contacted student groups. She suggested finding groups through the Daily Tar Heel, among other resources. Bonita Brown asked how much progress the St. Paul’s Village development has made. Hackney said that the development has acquired land and received approval from Chapel Hill and the Orange County Board of Commissioners. He noted that there is a $5.8 million bond for water and sewer projects for the area. The Village development will require final architectural renderings before site work can begin. Site work would occur in phases, with medical facilities and affordable housing built first.
Ross hoped to have further conversations with employees and department heads. The Chair suggested that Ross and Hackney meet with Anna Wu of Facilities Services. Ross said that Justice United had already made contact with Wu. The Chair said that the Executive Committee would discuss the possibility of taking on further work with Justice United in future discussions.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the December Executive Committee meeting minutes. Clare Counihan and Katie Turner had submitted edits to the minutes prior to the meeting. Arlene Medder moved that the minutes be approved with submitted edits, seconded by Katie Turner. The minutes were approved.
Matt Banks submitted the Forum’s monthly budget report. He noted that the Forum’s staff development fund would pay for travel for Dante Peace to give a talk at the February book club.
The Chair noted that he, Kirk Montgomery, and Katie Turner had seen the Student Stores RFP. He hoped that questions would be answered concerning the RFP at the February Vice Chancellor representatives meeting. Turner thought that the revised version had been well done. She noted the two options available regarding outsourcing the entire Student Stores or the textbook function. She also noted that the former director of the UNC-Chapel Hill Student Stores, John Gorsuch, has taken a similar position with the Duke University bookstore.
The Chair asked delegates to read the RFP before the Vice Chancellor’s meeting February 11th. He would send out the RFP to the delegates’ e-mail list.
The Chair asked all committee chairs to make sure that all events are submitted to Matt Banks for placement on the Forum calendar. He noted that the higher education mini-conference, Forum elections, a Day in the Community Garden, peer recognition banquet, the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament, and professional development grants are among the events which will take place this spring. He said that the Staff Assembly would likely decide on its Royster Scholarship service awards in the coming weeks. The Chair also noted that Ronda Manuel will lead the Carolina Family Scholarship fund steering committee. He said that the Forum will need to ask for additional funds for the Scholarship. Katie Turner recalled that she had voted against the Forum’s assumption of responsibility for the Scholarship. She believed that this function belongs with Human Resources.
John Gullo asked concerning the Chancellors’ Cup whether the University will host the tournament this year. The Chair said that the University will not do so.
Clare Counihan reported that the Forum needs to find volunteers to administer its peer recognition banquet as the Education and Career Development committee is already laden with work this semester. The Chair said that the Executive Committee would need to consider this need at a future meeting.
The Chair reported that Kirk Montgomery has taken a new position in State Government and so is no longer with the University or the Forum. He said that the Forum will need to find a new Vice Chair for this year. He also said that the Forum will need to work on transitions for the new slate of Forum officers. He clarified that the Vice Chair typically serves when the Chair is unavailable but does not have many other set duties. He hoped that Forum delegates will run for all of the officer positions when the time arrives in June.
The Chari said that he would introduce a slight change to the Forum Bylaws regarding changing the date of the Forum retreat from June to July. He said that this change would allow the new Chair time to set an agenda at the July retreat without need for elections.
The Chair asked members opinions on the Orange County Justice United group. Arlene Medder noted the general community interest in affordable housing given the controversy over adverse weather for commuting employees. Chrissie Greenberg was uncertain what the Justice United group wants from the Forum. The Chair said that the group seems to want to find champions and partners for its moves to address affordable housing. Greenberg was in favor of supporting Justice United “100%.” The Chair said that the concept of having employees live closer in town was in concert with the Task Force on the Workforce of the Future. He hoped that Task Force would gain further traction as other University task forces wind down.
There was no update concerning the Carolina Blood Drive, as the most recent meeting had been canceled due to adverse weather.
Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden hopes to dedicate its new greenhouse in March. The Chair proposed that the Forum hold an event at the Garden to mark Earth Day this year.
Katie Turner said that the Communications and Public Relations committee had sent out the Forum newsletter InTouch. The committee will send out another edition in February. She noted the new Career Corner column by the Education and Career Development committee. She also noted the upcoming social media workshops and book club events. She hoped that the Forum could find someone to take over the book club functions from the committee soon.
Kathy Ramsey reported that the Membership and Assignments committee met Friday to discuss upcoming Forum elections. She went over a timeline for events that began February 15th and ended in April at the new delegate orientation.
Chrissie Greenberg said that the Personnel Issues committee has discussed the Student Stores RFP question. The committee has discussed the idea of the Forum issuing a focused message from the Forum concerning outsourcing. She said that the view of outsourcing is very different than it was 20 years ago when the Forum first addressed this question. She hoped that the Forum could influence the Student Stores RFP process to write employee protections into any potential contract. The Chair said that delegates should inform themselves concerning outsourcing and higher education. He noted generational changes that will influence how universities administer their workforces in the future.
Katie Turner voiced displeasure concerning the proposed provision of Auxiliary Services work with private companies such as the possible new private managers of Student Stores. She said that it was not fair for Student Stores to have to pay the huge auxiliary tax that it has absorbed in recent years.
Chrissie Greenberg said that the University should provide more options for employees seeking advanced degrees. The Chair noted that the majority of materials deal with employee work towards an undergraduate degree. He said that the Forum needs the campus climate survey to find additional information to support an argument in favor of additional advanced degree options. Greenberg noted that Penn State University offers its employees exceptional accommodations and financial incentives when pursuing advanced degrees. The Chair proposed looking into the Forum passing a resolution on this question.
The Chair had no updates from the UNC System Staff Assembly. He said that the monthly meeting will feature Vice Chancellor Joel Curran, Director Natalie Vizuete, and Professor Tanya Shields. There has also been a request for a presentation by members of the University combined campaign.
Bonita Brown asked about obtaining a copy of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. The Chair said that the Forum does not have any loaner copies. He noted that his friend, Dante Peace, is the uncle of Robert Peace, who advanced out of poverty to Harvard University, only to return to home and die in a drug related shooting in his hometown of East Orange, New Jersey. The Chair said that this book has obtained national attention in recent months. The Chair noted also that February is Black History Month.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:11 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary