Agenda — January 8, 1997
9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
* Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd
IV. Special Presentations
* Jane Brown, Chair of the Faculty Council
* Ruth Lewter, Rebecca Mabe on Progress of Quality Initiative: Departmental Accounting System Team (DAS)
V. New Business
* Swearing In of New Delagates
* Election of 1997 Forum Officers—Candidates’ Brief Remarks
V. Approval of Minutes of the December 4, 1996 meeting
VI. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Ann Hamner
* Forum Executive Committee Annual Report Complete
* Responses Mailed to Fall Community Meeting Questioners
VII. Unfinished Business
* Personnel Policies Committee Proposal for University-wide Compensatory Time Policy
VIII. Committee/Task Force Report
* Personnel Policies
* Compensation and Benefits
* Public Affairs
* Recognition and Awards
* University Committee Assignments
* Career Development
* Salary Task Force
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs
* Land Use Planning
* Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee Representative—Janet Tysinger
X. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
January 8, 1997
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Ann Hamner “
” = Ex-Officio
Call to Order and Welcome to Guests
Chair Ann Hamner called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m., noting that during the course of the year she had tried hard to start every meeting punctually. She welcomed all of the new and returning members, reminding them they should sign in before each meeting and examine the routing files as they are circulated during the meeting. She welcomed guests and introduced Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd for opening remarks.
Floyd began by thanking Chair Ann Hamner for the leadership provided during the past year. He felt she did a superb job in providing leadership for the Forum, a group he thought would continue to be vitally important to the University’s future.
Recalling the last year, Floyd thought it was a unique one in many respects. The University survived Hurricane Fran. The University persevered through the great catastrophe of the Phi Gam fire. Sadly, we had probably more deaths associated with persons at the University than we’ve had in a very long time. Thinking about all the tragedies that occurred last year, Floyd remembered how the year began with snow and ice. Overall, he was appreciative that we came through these experiences rather well because all of us, as a community and a family worked together to make this the best University possible.
Given these accumulated tragedies, Floyd thought it entirely possible the University would not have recovered as well or as quickly as it had. He was appreciative for what Employees have done in each of their individual units to bring the University through this difficult year. Floyd said that Employees’ wholehearted participation in campus affairs made all the difference in the world.
The Chancellor, through his leadership, has been remarkably successful with the Legislature during the short session. The Chancellor or Elson will discuss the University’s legislative agenda at a future Forum meeting, once it has been finalized. Floyd needs to get concurrence of the Chancellor on several legislative points, and will forward a written version of the University’s agenda to the Forum Office within the next couple weeks.
Of course, salaries will be part of the legislative agenda, both for staff and for faculty. These will be an important part of the University’s legislative agenda, along with other initiatives.
Floyd addressed the recent press coverage on the subject of the University’s charging occupancy tax at the Carolina Inn. He noted an inquiry from a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council concerning the applicability of the occupancy tax related to the Executive Conference Center under construction. Reviewing the enabling statute governing assessment of the occupancy tax, the University found it inappropriate to charge an occupancy tax for persons staying at the Conference Center. Moreover, according to the enabling statute, the University should not be charging a tax for guests meeting certain criteria while residing in the Carolina Inn.
Thus, the University has stopped charging the occupancy tax for these certain guests at the Inn as it has no legal authority to do so. Floyd noted that there would be financial implications for the County and the Town of Chapel Hill. However, he said that the University simply cannot charge a tax that is inconsistent with enabling legislation.
This issue has captured attention of the media, and has also been couched somewhat in terms of the University not being good citizens or good neighbors to the community. Floyd feels this assessment categorically untrue. He believes the University is a very good community member of Orange County and the Town of Chapel Hill. On many issues, the University has been very aggressive in acting as full partners with the Town and the County, and will continue to do so.
Tommy Brickhouse asked whether the provisions of the housekeepers’ settlement are open to other Employees in pay grades 50-54. Floyd asked Laurie Charest to respond to Brickhouse”s question in her Human Resources Update, since she is closer to the applicable terms of the settlement.
Rachel Windham asked if the presidential literacy work-study program would mean that less work-study student time will be available for departments. She noted the importance of work-study students to performance of departmental duties. Floyd replied that this is not the case. Instead, President Clinton has appropriated (additional) dollars for the work study program. The new federal program is very advantageous for the University as it will supply all of the funds previously matched by State dollars, essentially providing 100% funding for the new program, in addition to the program already in place. All of this means that there will no apparent change in the amount of funding for work-study students for departments. Floyd emphasized the importance of these students in carrying on the University’s work.
Floyd anticipated that this year will be most interesting and looks forward to working as partners with the 1997 edition of the Employee Forum. He said that the Forum had helped tremendously as a sounding board on many issues facing the University. The Administration would continue to request the assistance of the Forum in this manner. Floyd ended by thanking Chair Ann Hamner for her leadership during her tenure.
The Chair introduced Chair of the Faculty and Professor of Journalism Jane Brown. She said it had been a great pleasure of hers to work with Jane this year, noting the two groups shared space on the second floor of Carr Building. Jane has been wonderful about answering questions, and the Chair was pleased to welcome her once again to address the Forum.
Jane Brown stated it was a pleasure to return and address the Forum. She welcomed all of the incoming Delegates and other members, and praised the accessibility of the Forum’s room arrangement.
When elected as Chair of the Faculty Council a couple of years ago, Jane and Cindy Wolf-Johnson (Division of Student Affairs) were on a panel together discussing how the University is organized. To begin, Jane spoke on the important roles and responsibilities of the faculty. Afterwards, Cindy gave a memorable presentation on the work of staff and other employees at the University: “Here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there are more than 6,000 staff and about 2,000 faculty. Even if there were no faculty here, we would have a smooth-running, complex community.” Then Cindy described what staff do:
“The non-faculty Employees here run a mail system, prepare food for more than 25,000 people each day, provide health services, parking–for at least some of us–health care and police protection. Employees admit and register more than 23,000 students, make sure they have paid their fees, help them with financial aid and provide many of them with housing. Employees orient freshmen students and often help them find the classes they need.”
In short, Cindy said, “Employees run this place. And it would run just fine if faculty didn’t even show up.” Jane said she was humbled, and had never looked at it that way. Jane thought there might be less point to having a University if the faculty didn’t show up, but Cindy’s depiction helped her see what a vital role Employees play here.
“We would not have a University if it were not for you and we appreciate that. It certainly would not be the remarkable first-rate University it is if it not for you, the Forum, and all the Employees you represent. Over the past couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of working with all the chairs of the Employee Forum. Each of them is a remarkable woman and I’ve had great pleasure in working with each.
“You and your predecessors have made a great impact and a big difference in how this University works. What I also notice here is that the Employee Forum represents a somewhat different and new concept in terms of University governance.
“I am in a long-standing tradition of Faculty Governance at the University. Faculty for a long time have been expected and obligated to participate in how the University is run, from the departmental level all he way to the top. And what you have done as an Employee Forum is to say Employees need a place in how the University works as well.
“I think you all have served as a wonderful example and I know that others have come to look at how you work to see how this could be done at other universities as well. So I think you are in a marvelous experiment that has already served the University well.
“What you do here, I would say, is community-oriented and generous. What you do indicates care about how this community functions; it indicates that you care that Employees are treated with respect, and that your service and contributions to the University are recognized and fairly compensated. Important business.
“You do that out of your interest in and commitment to your fellow Employees and the University. You deserve our gratitude. So I sincerely appreciate that and I know that other members of the faculty and the rest of the community appreciate what you do here.
“Now, in the coming year a number of important issues are on the table. Elson has already spoken about a few. I hope we will continue to work together on these issues and whatever else inevitably will come up. My kind of motto as Chair of the Faculty has been that `No one of us is as smart as all of us.’ I’ve seen this be true over and over again–while one of us may not have the answer, if we put our heads together we often come up with solutions that better than that we arrive at alone.
“One of the first issues that I dealt with as Chair of the Faculty was how basketball tickets should be distributed. It took us about a year to come to an equitable solution on that one—now we all just sit up in the rafters.” The assembly gave Jane a round of appreciative laughter.
Jane continued: “This past year the faculty, staff and students have all worked together to examine women’s issues on campus. We’ve produced a remarkable set of recommendations that will guide us in the future and I hope will lead us to a women’s’ center that serves faculty, students and staff. We also currently have six committees that include faculty, staff and students working on ideas for enhancing the intellectual climate. Your wonderful assistant, Matt Banks, proposed a wonderful idea about putting poetry on the buses as an idea for enhancing the intellectual climate. I love this idea. As far as I’m concerned Matt enhances the intellectual climate all the time, especially in the Carr Building. Every time I come in he’s got some great idea.
“I’d say one of the most important ways faculty and staff have worked together over the past couple of years has been with the Legislature. We still have a long way to go, but I think the faculty are beginning to realize that we are State Employees, also. I think for a long time we didn’t realize that. Faculty tend to think that we don’t have any bosses. In recent years, however, faculty have come to appreciate the fact that our salaries are determined by the General Assembly.
“I think we made a big difference a couple of years ago when the dramatic cuts to the University budget were proposed. We rallied on the Polk Place lawn, we went to Raleigh together, we spoke our case and I think we made a big difference.
“I’m pleased to note that this year General Administration has specifically stated as one of its top legislative priorities for 1997, `a meaningful salary increase for all SPA employees.’ The Forum, I believe, has made a significant difference because General Administration did not used to mention this topic.
“I say that faculty are committed to continuing to work with you, especially on salary issues. We are pleased that the University seems to arrived at some initial resolution for housekeepers on campus. Many faculty were concerned about this issue but were not certain exactly how we could help. Thus, we’re pleased that there has been some progress in this area.
“We continue to be concerned about how the privatization studies will develop. You should know that in October the Faculty Council unanimously endorsed a resolution passed by the Forum in May that enunciated principles to guide privatization efforts. The Council agreed that efforts to realize savings through privatization should not result in less favorable wages, benefits and working conditions for Employees. So we appreciate that you created that resolution and provided us the opportunity to endorse it.
“Many more issues will arise in the coming year and the faculty look forward to working with you on them. What I have realized in the couple years I’ve been thinking about these things, is that just when you think that you can take a sigh of relief, we’ve got something handled, something else will come up. And it will look like a bigger problem than you’ve ever had before. You won’t know very much about it. You’ll think it’s impossible.
“What can you do? What I, in my better moments, what I arrive at is: It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity. If we work on it together we can find a solution that works for us all. So, solutions arise like putting poetry on buses or having a rally on the lawn.
“As a representative of the Faculty, I am committed to continuing to work with the Forum. I look forward to it. In July there will be a new Chair of the Faculty and I will insist that whoever that is takes on the same commitment to continue to work with you. I look forward to your letting me know when there are opportunities for us to work together on issues that we can make a difference on.
“Finally, I’d like to thank the outgoing Chair Ann Hamner. I loved being her neighbor in Carr Building this year, and have enjoyed serving with her on more meetings than we ever knew existed. She is a straight thinker, creative and enthusiastic, and I’ve simply loved her this year and I know you’ll miss her as Chair.”
Jane presented Ann Hamner with a proclamation of appreciation for service to the Faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Forum applauded both Jane’s fine speech and the proclamation honoring Chair Ann Hamner. The Chair hoped the Forum would have another chance to participate in a bowling match with the Faculty, and thanked Jane for her kind words and fine leadership.
The Chair introduced Ruth Lewter and Rebecca Mabe to make a presentation on the Quality Initiative surrounding the Departmental Accounting System. She recalled that work on this subject began to coalesce around the Executive Committee’s discussions in 1995, under the leadership of past Chair Rachel Windham. She applauded the efforts of Ruth and Rebecca, along with other Employees, to address concerns about compatibility among accounting systems at the University.
Ruth noted that the Quality Initiative: Departmental Accounting System Team
was chartered in April of 1996, and held its first meeting April 25, 1996. Ten members work on the team, which has met frequently since its creation.
The team’s task is to recommend a strategy to the Administration for implementation of a comprehensive and integrated departmental accounting system that will meet institutional, school and departmental needs. team members report there has been an enormous amount of work associated with this task.
Following its inception, the team initiated meetings, refined objectives, developed its plan and reviewed its original charge. It decided that its process would be to recommend a solution that will support department accounting activities and integration with other systems. This solution must provide a tool for customers to access current data and support streamlined and timely processes. The team will review existing systems and identify and review available options for system implementation.
In sum, this means that the team will employ an open mind, examining all possible alternatives. It may recommend buying a system, or building one, or improving on systems already in-house. The team might recommend a partnership where the University would hire someone to build a system.
From July to October 1996, the team began contacting its key “customers,” the users of computerized accounting systems across campus. It sent out surveys to more than 800 people across campus. Unfortunately, not all 800 responded. The team asked those contacted to distribute copies of the survey to others who might be interested in revising the departmental accounting system.
From the 800 Employees originally contacted, the team received about 180 responses, providing some very good information. The team decided to elaborate and clarify this information by conducting focus groups with respondents. Fifty-nine of the 180 respondents agreed to participate in a focus group, with eventually 90-100 people involved.
These focus groups proved to be very helpful because people were able to elaborate on responses from their surveys. Group participants provided personal, specific ideas about their ideal accounting system.
Rebecca Mabe addressed how this information was compiled and summarized. The team hired an individual to transcribe the focus group sessions, so that no essential points were lost. Rebecca compiled these notes and drafted a set of functional requirements. Thereupon, she organized this material into a working document describing campus needs and preferences for the University’s departmental accounting system.
The team believes it has arrived at a general solution to the problems presented, but Rebecca said that the process is by no means complete. The team’s working document will continue to be refined until the University is ready to implement recommendations.
Rebecca emphasized that the team is still open to input from the campus community. It will check back with all those contacted initially and seek out broader feedback about the working document’s recommendations. She encouraged the Forum to examine thoroughly the working document. The Departmental Accounting System team has a web page address (http://www.adp.unc.edu/das) that has the team’s charter, a copy of its survey, its “working document” and other updated information.
The Chair thanked Ruth and Rebecca for their presentation.
The Chair asked Delegates and First Alternates to rise and recite the charge to Forum members. This would allow newly elected members to conduct Forum business as official members, and recommit continuing members to the duties of service. Members recited the charge:
Charge to Forum Delegates
I share the Employee Forum’s vision to seek to continually improve the quality of life at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its Students, Faculty, and Employees through mutual understanding, recognition of Employee contributions and respect for the worth of the individual.
I promise to seek out the issues, interests, ideas, and participation of Employees and to bring items needing further consideration to the Forum’s attention. I also will endeavor to develop a greater understanding of the University’s operations and its personnel policies.
I will work to develop proactive, progressive recommendations and advocate these to the Administration and to Employees , and to provide an effective two-way communication link between the Administration and the Employees.
I will help foster an open, positive environment throughout the University and will support achievement of the University’s mission of teaching, research, and public service.
Next, the Forum took up the election of its 1997 Officers. The Chair asked 1996 Forum Secretary and Nominating Committee Chair Dianne Crabill to preside during the election. Dianne recalled that on October 21, 1996, she sent a note to all 1997 Delegates calling for nominations for the three Forum Officers. The deadline for these nominations was November 15. Dianne noted that there were two declared candidates for the three offices: Peter Schledorn for Chair, and Janet Tysinger for Vice-Chair.
Dianne began by reading the duties entrusted to the Chair, as described in the Forum Guidelines:
A. Chair–The Chair is responsible for conducting the Forum meetings and meetings of the Executive Committee. The Chair will appoint committee chairs and serve as an ex-officio member of each committee. The Chair shall serve as liaison between the Forum and the Faculty Council. Informal duties of the Chair include meeting periodically with the Chancellor, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, and other appropriate University officials.
Dianne Crabill noted that ballots for the office of Chair had been distributed to each Forum Delegate. As Peter Schledorn had been nominated before the November 15 deadline, his biographical sketch had been included in the January agenda packet.
George Sharp had approached Dianne before the meeting to inquire about the possibility of submitting a proxy vote, since he had recently injured his foot and could not attend the day’s meeting. As this question was not addressed in the Guidelines, Dianne called for a motion from the floor to accept George’s proxy vote. Libby Evans made this motion, and Tommy Nixon provided a second.
Dianne asked if there were any discussion on the issue. Anne Montgomery inquired whether other absent Delegates knew of the opportunity to submit a proxy vote in advance of the meeting. Dianne replied that George was the only Delegate to inquire about the possibility and that other absent Delegates did not know of this option, since George had raised the point only two days beforehand.
Margaret Balcom recalled that during her term as Forum Chair, it was emphasized that all Delegates should be informed of any change in the Guidelines or standard operating procedures. She thought that the Guidelines should be changed to codify, before the fact, the opportunity for Delegates to exercise a proxy vote. Then, everyone would know of this option.
Dianne recalled that the question is not addressed in the Guidelines. Margaret replied that to her knowledge, precedent was that Delegates needed to be present to vote, and so absentee ballots were purposely excluded.
In the absence of further discussion, a vote was taken. Eleven Delegates voted in favor of the motion to accept George’s proxy ballot, and twenty-four against. The motion was thus defeated.
Dianne called for nominations from the floor for the office of Forum Chair. Anne Montgomery rose to make a nomination. She cited her presence as a Delegate four years ago when the Forum was established. During Forum service, Anne chaired several Committees, and served for a year as Vice-Chair of the Forum. She feels that during her 32 years of service to the University nothing has been more important for staff than the establishment of the Forum. She is extremely proud of what had been accomplished.
Anne nominated Bob Schreiner for the office of Forum Chair. She said Bob is a creative, committed and skillful leader, who would well fill the important position as leader of the Forum. Also, Anne added that she was happy to see the men finally step up to run for this position.
Milton Anthony rose to nominate Rosa Nolen for the office of Forum Chair. Dianne asked that Delegates enter the names of nominees Rosa Nolan, Bob Schreiner and Peter Schledorn on their ballot for Chair. Dianne called for a motion to close the floor for nominations. Janet Tysinger made this motion, and Jeffery Beam provided a second. There was no discussion, and the motion to close nominations was approved.
Peter Schledorn rose to give a personal statement. He noted that his biographical sketch had been included in the packet, and he had passed out a short resume that described his experience with groups such as the Forum and other activities. Peter continued:
“I would like to say that it has been quite an opportunity, in not a problematic sense of the word, to serve on the Forum both this year as a Delegate and last year as First Alternate. I would look forward to serving in whatever capacity my fellow members of the Forum would like me to serve in.”
Bob Schreiner gave his personal statement: “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to ask for your vote. I’d like to provide you a couple of reasons why you might vote for me. I’m a 22-year UNC employee. The first 8 and a half or so as an SPA Employee and the last 14 as EPA non-faculty Employee. I’m currently Director of the Division of Computing and Information Services at the School of Public Health. This is a service organization and I think we have a pretty good reputation for service within our school and across campus.
“I have a fair amount of service experience, leading the State Employees’ Combined Campaign at the School of Public Health in 1989 in a campaign that exceeded our goal. The last three years I’ve served on the Employee Appreciation Fair Planning Committee and the University Blood Dive Planning Committee. I’ve also served on every information technology planning committee that has been on this campus for the last decade or so.
“My vision for the people who work at Carolina and for the students we serve is one where Employees, Administration, and Faculty work together with pride and mutual respect toward the mission of the University. Specifically for Employees, I want us to be able to view the University as a good place to work, a good place for a career, where people get a fair shake. And especially as a place where there are educational opportunities and opportunities for promotion for all.
“How would I serve as Chair? I believe that a strong forum is made by its Delegates. Delegates who are effective, Delegates who represent their constituency, who listen to our fellow workers and promote their ideas. I believe that the chief responsibility of the Chair is to facilitate the work of the Delegates, to help people work together, participate widely and be effective. I will work hard for Delegates and together we can work hard for improving the life of all Employees.
“Specific points that I would emphasize: I would very much like to see the Committee and Task Force approach continue and be strong. I believe it is the best opportunity for all of us Delegates to realize our own initiatives.
“I would continue to promote faculty/student/administration awareness of issues that are important to employees. I would like to continue Ann’s and others’ work in promoting Employee Forums in other places across the State and together share ideas in the development of staff promotion.
“But most important to me is to promote continued development of educational opportunities for all Employees on this campus. These opportunities can lead to promotion. I refer to the Human Resources short courses which have greatly improved over the years. Information Technology short courses are very important. UNC credit courses via continuing education and emerging areas of distance learning provide opportunities also.
“I’m a new Delegate. Why would you vote for me and why would I run? First of all, I believe I can be effective and I know I would work hard. I believe I have the experience to do the job. Why would I run? This is the kind of thing I gain a lot of personal satisfaction from and a lot of learning and I know I would really enjoy the job. Secondly, I believe I would have the time to do the job. There are only two opportunities to run and I don’t want to lose one. Thanks very much for your consideration.”
Rosa Nolen rose to give her personal statement. “Good morning: to my opponents, Employee Forum Delegates and guests. I am Rosa Nolen. I do not have a written document before me but I want to say a few things about myself and what I plan to do as Chair. I have worked 23.5 years here as a State and University Employee. People say I look young: thank you! I have served and am still serving in various capacities at the University. I have been part of the University Employee Grievance Committee for around 15 years, and was one of the first co-chairs appointed by the Chancellor. I have served on the State Employee Combined Campaign, the Employee Forum Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force (since inception), the University-wide Blood Drive, the Employee Forum Nominating and Orientation Committees.
“We are working in a very high-tech environment. We have computers on most desks; e-mail, fax machines, cellular telephones, Internet and much more. Management has come to believe that things are done with a magic wand or the push of a button.
“The purpose of the Employee Forum is to be the voice of the Employees and the ears of the Administration. We must keep the fact alive that the human resources the University possesses are the most vital resources. We serve in a time when the demand for services is increasing, while the resources provided to accomplish these tasks are drastically decreasing. We are at an all-time high for stress and frustration, and an all-time low for morale and unity.
“As Chairperson of the Forum, I would like to see the Forum promote interaction with all of the sixteen University System campuses; conduct a full-blown Employee Forum Fair, to demonstrate to the campus and the community the full range of Forum accomplishments; see that Forum Delegates receive recognition on WPPRs during their time of service.
“I have gained a full working knowledge of the Forum during my first year as Delegate. I have seen how each Committee has taken their assignments and worked diligently to achieve their goals. The Forum is an advisory committee to the Chancellor, and I would like to insure that the Forum remain an effective communication link with the Chancellor, the Administration and the Employees.
“I would like to leave you with my suggested theme for 1997: Together We Stand in the 21st Century.”
Dianne asked that members mark their ballots for Chair. Ruth Lewter asked to make supporting comments for one of the candidates. The Chair said that as this had not been done before and was not specified in the Guidelines, these statements could not be allowed. Kathy Dutton and Mona Couts, members of the 1996 Nominating Committee, collected the ballots and left the room to count them.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the December 4, 1996 meeting. Tommy Goodwin made this motion, with Tricia Mitchell seconding. There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved as submitted.
The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had completed its Annual Report for 1996. This document was included in the January packet. She thanked Executive Committee members for the time put in throughout the year, particularly attendance at extra meetings required of the Committee. She told new Delegates that service on the Executive Committee is a good way to learn all that occurs at the University, at least on the staff side. Delegates will choose their representatives to the Executive Committee at the January 17 Retreat.
With the help of Human Resources and Public Safety, responses to Community Meeting questions have been forwarded to the appropriate questioners, as known. Some Delegates have been asked to forward responses to those Employees they spoke for at the meeting. These responses have been posted on the Forum’s web page at http://www.unc.edu/staff/forum.
As a last item of business, the Chair noted that there was some prospect of adverse weather that morning. She recalled her term had begun with a controversy about adverse weather, and might possibly end with it as well. When she arrived at the Forum Office that morning, she dialed 685-8100 to check the Inclement Weather Hotline, and insure the line was in order. Also, the Hotline number has been posted to the Forum web page and has been sent to those subscribing to the Forum newsgroup. She encouraged Delegates to help Human Resources provide accurate information to co-workers.
At the request of the Personnel Policies Committee Chair, Peter Schledorn, discussion of the Committee’s proposal for a University-wide Compensatory Time Policy would be delayed until the February meeting.
The Orientation Committee Co-Chair, Delores Jarrell, noted agendas for the January 17 Retreat were included in the agenda packet. She asked that Committee members try to show up around 7:30 a.m. and Delegates and First Alternates arrive around 8 a.m. In response to a question, Delores said members did not need to confirm their attendance.
Committee reports were interrupted when the ballots for Chair had been counted. The Chair announced that the Chair of the Forum for 1997 is Bob Schreiner. Dianne then moved on to the election of Vice-Chair before Committee reports continued. She noted that members who ran for the position of Chair could run for any of the other offices in question. Dianne read the Guidelines’ description of the Vice-Chair’s duties:
B. Vice-Chair–The Vice-Chair shall chair the Forum in the Chair’s absence. He or she shall serve as chair of the Employee Presentation Committee, which is responsible for producing the two Community meetings.
Janet Tysinger had been previously nominated, and her biographical sketch had been included in the January agenda packet. Dianne called for further nominations from the floor for the position of Vice-Chair. There were no further nominations. Dianne called for a motion to close the floor to further nominations. Eddie Capel made this motion, with Delores Jarrell seconding. The motion was approved without opposition. Dianne noted that if there is only one candidate for an office, only a voice vote is required to install that candidate. The Forum thus elected Janet Tysinger to the office of Vice-Chair by general acclamation.
Dianne moved on to the election of the office of Secretary. She described the position’s duties, noting that the Executive Committee may examine creating a separate Chair for the Nominating Committee:
C. Secretary–The Secretary of the Forum is responsible for the accuracy of the minutes for all Forum monthly meetings. The Secretary shall maintain a roster of Forum Delegates and Alternates, with the Alternate list maintained for each district in order of vote count. The Secretary shall serve as chair of the Nominating Committee and shall issue all warnings and terminations resulting from non-compliance with attendance policies.
As there were no members previously nominated for this position, Dianne called for nominations from the floor. Janet Tysinger rose to nominate Libby Evans, thanking the Forum for its vote of confidence by elected her Vice-Chair. Janet has worked with Libby for several years, and said she was someone she greatly admired.
Tommy Gunter nominated Beverly Williams. Dianne called for a motion to close nominations. Eddie Capel made this motion, with Norm Loewenthal seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved.
Libby Evans gave her personal statement to the Forum. She has worked for nearly 14 years at the University, int the Department of Psychiatry, the Office of Information Systems in the School of Medicine, and the Carolina Population Center. She described herself as a “humanist computer geek” and noted she had acquired an undergraduate and masters’ degree at Carolina. She is a part-time Ph.D. student, and has been an SPA, SPA exempt and an EPA non-faculty Employee, as well as a visiting instructor at the University. She is proud to have worked with many different people on campus and appreciated all that the University has given her as an Employee and a citizen of the State. She looks forward to working with the Forum, no matter its decision on her election.
Beverly Williams gave her personal statement to the Forum, noting she has worked with the University since 1963. She has seen much change and progress during her years here. Beginning work as a temporary for the University in 1963 while raising her children, Beverly has been a permanent Employee for the past seventeen years.
Beverly was a charter member of the Employee Forum, and has been pleased with the development of the Forum since its first year. She believes that the Employee Forum has the potential to serve the Employees more effectively than any group on campus. She believes in listening to Employees and serving with an open mind. She has served enthusiastically on the Compensation and Benefits Committee. If elected, she promised to do her best to meet the objectives of the Forum and be worthy of the position.
Dianne asked that members write the names of Libby Evans and Beverly Williams on the ballot for Secretary, and vote for one choice. Kathy Dutton and Mona Couts collected the ballots and left the room to count them.
Continuing with Committee reports, Peter Schledorn of Personnel Policies had nothing further to report beyond work on the Compensatory Time policies. The Committee is always interested in the ideas and concerns of Employees. The Chair praised the active work of this Committee and said it brought many good, well-researched ideas to the Forum for discussion.
From Compensation and Benefits, Tommy Brickhouse noted a request to examine the 85 Rule. This Rule was thought to refer to the combination of years of service and accumulated leave time that governs when an Employee may retire. In fact, the `85 Rule refers to when the statute was enacted.
Also, the Committee is examining possible tax shelter status for parking fees. This subject drew a great deal of interest at the Fall Community Meeting. Tommy said that the Committee will work closely with Laurie Charest on a range of issues, including the In-Range Salary Adjustment policy, and how the Policy applies to departments and Employees. The Committee may seek some statistical data on application of the policy.
From the Public Affairs Committee, the Chair noted the group would meet that afternoon in the Forum Conference Room. She noted ongoing plans for Legislative Day and said that the Day is a very important event for the Forum that will require much detailed planning. The Forum is working with members of the Faculty Council, Student Government and University Administration to make this a special day. She encouraged members to commit themselves to the Committee if interested in the event. Norm Loewenthal reiterated that this endeavor will demand input from all groups across campus.
Nancy Klatt of Recognition and Awards reported the group had met socially in December to celebrate the year’s closure.
In the absence of other speakers, the Chair explained that the University Committee Assignments Committee works to find Employee volunteers for different University Committees in need of staff representation, often on short notice.
Norm Loewenthal noted that the Career Development Committee had done a great deal of work over the past year, providing recommendations for use of the Staff Development Fund and proposing initiatives to increase Employee educational opportunities. The Committee conducted surveys to provide an objective basis for these recommendations. Norm thought implementation of these proposals could lead to substantially more opportunity for Employees. As a member of the Forum and an Employee in Continuing Education, Norm thinks that the Career Development Committee will concentrate on securing implementation of these proposals.
Committee reports were again interrupted after ballots for Secretary had been counted. The Chair announced that Libby Evans had been elected the Forum’s Secretary for 1997. She thanked Dianne Crabill and the Nominating Committee for conducting the day’s elections and thanked Kathy Dutton and Mona Couts for their work counting ballots behind the scenes. The Chair praised all candidates for their participation and willingness to serve.
Committee reports then continued. The Chair asked if the Faculty Council Committee on Partner Benefits will continue work on its charge. Peter Schledorn, Liaison to that Committee, thought it would, noting that the group plans to contact the University Insurance Committee and to determine if the Committee will secure inclusion of domestic partners in the renegotiation of future contracts up for bid, among other items the Committee will address in the coming year. The Chair anticipated work between the Faculty Council and the Forum will continue in this area. There was no report from the Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs.
Margaret Balcom, Liaison to the Long-Range Land Use Planning Committee, noted that consultants have revealed their final plans for use of the Horace Williams and Mason Farm tracts. There are few differences between that plan and the one discussed in the spring. The University Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on approval of the plan at its January meeting. Margaret explained that the proposal is less a set plan than a conceptual idea of what could be done in these areas and encouraged interested Employees to examine the proposal on file in University libraries.
Janet Tysinger had nothing to report from the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee.
Human Resources Update
The Chair introduced Associate Vice Chancellor Laurie Charest to give the Forum’s customary Human Resources Update. She took the opportunity to thank Laurie for her continual, support and good advice during her tenure as Forum Chair, and declared that the Forum is lucky to have Laurie as its liaison to the Administration.
Laurie wished the Forum well and returned to Tommy Brickhouse’s question relating to the housekeeper’s settlement and whether these items in the settlement applied to all Employees or only housekeepers. She responded:
“The answer is that everything in the settlement applies to all Employees unless it specifically stated as applicable to the Housekeeping Department. So, I think [Tommy’s] reading is correct.
“There were a number of items addressed in the settlement. One of these was the provision of in-range salary adjustments in the Housekeeping Department. The same In-Range Salary Adjustment Policy applicable throughout the University was used to give in-range salary adjustments within Housekeeping. The settlement agreement made those adjustments retroactive to July 1. Only the provision of actual salary increases provided housekeepers from their Division’s budget was excluded other Employees. This Policy providing for these increases is available to all departments.
“Another major part of the settlement agreement is a New Careers Training program available to Employees in salary grades 50 to 54. An announcement of the creation of that program has already been mailed to all employees in salary grades 50 to 54 and within the next week or so a form will be going out soliciting nominees to the program’s Board.
“Employees from any department in salary grades 50 to 54 are eligible to serve on the Board governing this program. There are approximately 525 Employees in these salary grades. This New Careers Training Program Board will make decisions about the programs and activities that will compose the New Careers Training program. The University is anxious to get the board elected so that it can initiate these activities.
“All Employees at the University are eligible to participate in the New Careers Training program, not just Employees in salary grades 50-54. However, it is anticipated that the programs supported will be especially designed to provide upward mobility and development opportunities for Employees in the lowest salary grades.
“Another item within the settlement unique to the Housekeeping Department is the specification of workplace quality meetings. This provision applies only to the Housekeeping Department, but other departments certainly have the option to pursue such meetings.
“All other provisions of the settlement— child care, elder care, the scholarship fund and so on—are currently available to all Employees and will continue to be so. Unless a provision specifically designates the Housekeeping Department, it applies to all Employees.”
Laurie noted that a flyer describing winter/spring workshops on family development issues were on the back table. She hoped that Delegates would distribute these flyers to their departments.
An item that the University Insurance Committee has selected for its attention and interest this year is the possible provision of a long-term care plan to Employees. This would be an employee-paid program if enacted. Long-term care insurance is a relatively new product in the insurance market. The University Insurance Committee has solicited proposals from companies and received 7 responses, which will be evaluated in the next few months.
First of all, the University will need to decide whether it wishes to have such a program. Secondly, it must determine the best way to pursue such a plan, whether through individual contracts, group contracts, or another option. The University Insurance Committee is in the beginning stages of this evaluation.
If the Committee decides to pursue this proposal and select a program it will probably be January of 1998 before coverage is available to Employees. Laurie encouraged Delagates and Employees to share thoughts about long-term care insurance with her, Benefits staff or the University Insurance Committee.
A memo will be sent to participants in TIAA-CREF supplemental disability plan regarding rate changes and minor changes in coverage. This plan is a supplemental disability plan that is available to people who are members of the optional retirement plan.
Laurie explained that program rates have been extremely stable, with no increases imposed for a long period of time. Since last year incurred many claims in this plan, TIAA-CREF has enacted rate increases in the supplemental disability plan. While the rate increase is a fairly high percentage, about 25 percent, premiums are rather low and so not a lot of money is involved. A typical increase would be a rise in premiums from $2.10 to $2.63 a month.
Training & Development staff are working on new brochure to publicize the Education Assistance, Tuition Waiver and Dependent Scholarship Programs. While Human Resources continues to distribute information about these programs, it has found that people still do not know about a lot of opportunities that are available.
Regarding adverse weather, Laurie repeated that the University’s Inclement Weather Hotline is 685-8100. This is a long distance call for Employees living outside the Triangle. The number is now in service.
Laurie emphasized that the adverse weather policy itself has not changed. What the University wants to do through establishment of the Hotline, is a better job of communicating that policy itself to people.
In the end, except for those Employees who have been told that they are critical Employees and must come to work, University policy allows Employees to exercise judgment about whether or not it is safe for them to travel to work. Employees must make this judgment themselves. However, Employees must also account for any time lost due to adverse weather; these are not “free days.” This fact has not changed.
Laurie reminded the Forum after Hurricane Fran that the University is not likely to be granted any kind of special dispensation in terms of time off. She also reminded the Forum that announcements made about the working status of State Employees may not apply to this campus as it is technically a 24-hour facility.
Human Resources has mailed out wallet-sized cards with memos to remind Employees about adverse weather provisions, information which had also been mailed in December 1996. Laurie reiterated the bottom line: Employees should use their own judgment about whether it’s safe to come to work or not.
Given that it is nearly 1-year anniversary of the adverse weather of January 1996, Employees who have not yet made up adverse weather time are now must utilize vacation time to make up absent days or lose pay. Laurie hoped many departments have worked to help affected Employees find opportunities to make up time and that Employees have taken advantage of this opportunity. Laurie anticipated further questions on this issue throughout the month.
Laurie took a moment to thank Chair Ann Hamner for her continuing willingness to help the University in her capacity as leader of the Forum. She noted the Chair’s agreement to meet repeatedly with Employees desperately concerned about the privatization issue, attending as many as ten meetings in two weeks to give presentations and answer questions. Laurie reported that Ann had agreed to make even more presentations on the subject in the New Year, and emphasized that the Forum Chair was thought to be the only person with credibility among all parties to make this presentation. Laurie thanked the Chair for her help and devotion to the University.
Announcements & Questions
Norm Loewenthal asked leave to read an impromptu resolution before the Forum. His resolution follows :
Whereas the mission of the Employee Forum is to address constructively the concerns of the Employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and
Whereas these concerns include recognition of individuals who have distinguished themselves in service to the University community so as to encourage similar achievement among the remainder of the community’s members; and
Whereas an individual among us has distinguished herself by extraordinary resolution and high devotion to duty to the University and its workers; and
Whereas this individual has not only carried out her regular duties in service to this University but has also acted with diplomacy, compassion and achievement as Chair of this Forum in the year 1996; and
Whereas these qualities have resulted in the gracious resolution of many challenging issues facing the University community; and
Whereas this individual has served the University and this Forum with dignity, vision and good humor and done so in a year that was marked by substantial damage to her home and possessions by the wrath of Hurricane Fran;
Therefore, the Forum extends its heartfelt gratitude to Ann Hamner for her steadfastness and devotion to the welfare of this University, its Employees and this Forum in a time of significant personal dislocation and loss.”
Eddie Capel moved that the resolution be adopted by the Forum, and Ruth Lewter provided a second. There was no discussion, and the motion was approved unanimously. Members gave Ann Hamner a warm standing ovation.
Ann said: “You all don’t usually see me with tears in my eyes. But I am touched and surprised and I thank you all. It has been a great pleasure, a privilege and an honor to work with each and every one of you. I will move back to the corner, to join the corner crowd as ex officio Chair.”
Ann asked Bob Schreiner to come to the podium. She recalled that a year ago, Rachel Windham presented her with the Forum’s gavel. Thankfully, she had not needed it during the year. The gavel was originally presented to the Forum by Professor Jim Peacock, past Chair of the Faculty Council and the first recipient of the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool). The gavel was carved by Jim Peacock’s father from the original Davie Poplar, and the Faculty Council has a similar one in their office. She presented Bob with the gavel as symbol of his assumption of the responsibilities of the Chair of the Employee Forum.
Chair Bob Schreiner noted the great duties and expectations for him in his new office. He looks forward to working with the group throughout the year, beginning with the Annual Retreat at the Friday Center January 17. He thanked Ann for her fine service and pledged to carry on her examples of open discussion and warm inclusion.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. Ruth Lewter so moved, seconded by Nancy Atwater. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:04 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary