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Employee Forum Agenda

July 13, 2011

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

I.            Call to Order

II.           Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.         Special Presentations

    • Kevin Seitz on Carolina Counts (Finance)
    • Carolyn Elfland on Carolina Counts (Energy Services)


IV.          Human Resources Update—   Senior  Director of Employee Management & Relations Gena Carter

V.          Approval of June Minutes

VI.          Old Business

VII.        New Business

VIII.       Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Sarah Poteete
  • Communications and Public Relations: Jerry Waller
  • Compensation & Benefits: Dan Barmmer
  • Education and Career Development: Rick Bradley
  • Legislative Action: Ellen Donna Brooks
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards:  Chris Meinecke
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton

IX.       Announcements/Questions

X.        Adjournment


July 13, 2011 Employee Forum minutes


Delegates Attending: Kittie Allen, Dan Barmmer, Josh Boone, Ellen Donna Brooks, Rhonda Craig-Schwarz, Jasper Fleming, David Fraley, Sharon Glover, John Gullo, George James, Carleta Long, Denise Mabe, Chris Meinecke, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Sarah Poteete, Myra Quick, David Schwartz, Renee Sherman, Beverly Sizemore, Jonathan Stephenson, Charles Streeter, Jerry Waller, Clifton Webb


Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She welcomed guests Gary Moss, Ashley Nicklis, Gena Carter, and Matt Brody, among others. She swore in Vice Chair Marc ter Horst with his oath of office. Ter Horst introduced Chemistry chair Matt Redinbo and Director of the X-Ray Facility Peter White. Redinbo praised Ter Horst’s management of 8-9 world class laboratories and his work on the Forum. The Chair swore in Treasurer Denise Mabe. Mabe introduced Head of User Services for the Health Sciences Library Fran Allegri, who she described as a friend and mentor. Allegri described Mabe as a gemstone who works everyday to help students. The Chair then swore in Secretary Myra Quick, UNC System Staff Assembly delegates Danny Nguyen and Jonathan Stephenson, and UNC System Staff Assembly alternate Clifton Webb. The Chair said that she hoped to set cadence on how the Forum does its work this year starting with today’s meeting. She thanked the Forum for its vote electing her chair for a second term.

The Chair introduced Kevin Seitz, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance, to make a presentation on Carolina Counts in Finance. Seitz thanked Janet Kelley-Scholle, Director of Communications and Training in Finance, for her help with the presentation. Seitz noted that Finance had worked to make procurement all electronic and paperless. Finance was still working to get catalogues and short order processes on-line. He noted that the University has changed its method of paying for employee use of cell phones and personal data assistants. Now, the University pays a monthly amount to each employee using these devices for University business. This streamlining has reduced documentation and has resulted in an estimated savings of $1 million. Seitz said that Finance had had to work hard to navigate State policies to find ways to revise its organizational structure, reducing the number of levels from eight to six and increase the span of control from 3.9 to seven. Seitz said that he believed in communication as a way of advancing his department’s mission and he asked listeners to feel free to contact him with ideas. Joshua Boone asked how Finance put together vendor catalogues. Seitz said that some companies are reluctant to put in the effort to place a catalogue on line. Ter Horst asked about Fisher Scientific. Seitz replied that Fisher Scientific plans to enroll but must make an investment in the process as well to get on the list. Ter Horst asked how budget cuts would change Finance’s plans. Seitz said that money saved through various initiatives would stay in Finance. He said that Finance wants to be as efficient as possible without shifting the burden to units. Danny Nguyen asked about exceptions to the eProcurement rules. Seitz granted that there will always be exceptions to rules as departments seek the best prices. Carleta Long asked about departments using their own vendors such as Wal-Mart or Target when prices through Stapleslink are sometimes so high. Seitz said that there are always certain areas in which things are not price competitive. He said sometimes that the overall impact on the institution is less expensive when buying from a preferred vendor than when buying from an outside one. Nguyen cited a case in which a new printer cost $1,000 more from Stapleslink than the best price available. Seitz said that Nguyen should give Procurement a call to double-check on possible exceptions. David Schwarz asked how switching to eProcurement save money for the University. Seitz said that the initiative was part of Connect Carolina as part of a cooperative effort with NC State University. He said that the initiative hoped to target pricing when developing technology, in order to make the University more efficient.

The Chair led the room in a series of introductions. She then welcomed Senior Director for Employee Management and Relations Gena Carter to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Carter congratulated the new Forum officers on their election, saying that she looked forward to working with them in the coming year. She said that PRM had interviewed approximately 2/3 of the Housekeeping population, around 357 interviews in all. She said that the next set of interviews will be with managerial employees and others. She said that PRM is on target to meet its July 18 deadline, with a goal of issuing recommendations in mid-August. Carter announced that Ashley Nicklis had been hired as the official Senior Director of Benefits. Nicklis noted that there will be a second enrollment for employees seeking to change their plans from July 18-29. She said that rates and premiums will increase, with all premiums and deductions effective September 1. She said that the Legislature had removed BMI and smoking cessation requirements to enroll in the 80/20 plan. She also said that Benefits will be able to provide information on the new rates and other plan changes at its website at Carleta Long asked if there were another option besides Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Nicklis noted that the State Plan is self-insured and Blue Cross/Blue Shield serve only as administrators. She did not know when the State might eventually return to health maintenance organizations.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the May minutes. Chris Meinecke made this motion, seconded by Myra Quick. The minutes were approved by acclamation.

The Chair noted that there was no new or old business. She asked committee chairs to comment on their work. Sarah Poteete thanked Joshua Boone for serving in her place on the Community Garden Advisory committee. She said that the committee hoped to improve distribution by giving out food at 6 a.m. some mornings when Facilities Services workers are able to come get vegetables. She said that a record number of participants were recorded this year. She also said that the committee had worked with Housekeeping Services interim director Lea Holt to secure participation of employees and supervisors. The committee hopes to secure community leave for employees to work in the garden and also hopes to diversify its advisory board. The Chair said the committee hopes to make the garden sustainable financially. She noted that the garden will likely have to relocate long-term as it is in a desirable spot for construction. Jerry Waller of the Communications and Public Relations committee said that group was calling for submissions to future editions of InTouch. The Chair asked if the committee had plans for social media such as Facebook. Waller asked for volunteers to help with this project and others. Dan Barmmer said that the Compensation & Benefits committee would meet to discuss legislative proposals for a 1% merit raise next year. The Chair noted that Senate Bill 575 was not dead given that it would be reintroduced in various other bills.

Charles Streeter said that the Education & Career Development committee met three weeks ago. The committee planned to invite Human Resources officials to discuss how to use Staff Development funds available. Vice Chancellor Matt Brody advised the Forum to move aggressively to use this fund, now holding in excess of $100,000, to make sure that it is used for the benefit of staff. Ellen Donna Brooks of the Legislative Action committee said that the group wished to focus on tuition waivers, extra leave days as a substitute for raises, and pay equity. It was suggested that Brooks contact Donna Bickford of the Carolina Women’s Center for background on the pay equity question here at UNC, as the Center had done a survey previously. Brody suggested that Brooks contact Jessica Moore with Human Resources for further information. Myra Quick said that the Membership and Assignments committee would work on the Forum’s 20 th anniversary event, to take place on March 7, 2012. All former chairs and chancellors will be invited. Chris Meinecke of the Recognition & Awards committee said that group had held its peer recognition event on June 17. He noted that around 70 people attended the event. He also said that approximately 25 $35 one-time bonus awards were given to peer recognition winners. The committee will look to move up the peer recognition process next year. David Schwartz suggested that the committee read something from the nomination form for each winner to provide context for the awards. Brody said that the Human Resources Facilitator of the Year award banquet had projected quotes on the wall during the event. The Chair praised Hyde Hall administrators for allowing the Forum to use the University Room for the event for free. She also praised Meinecke for his master of ceremonies duties. Denise Mabe said that the Staff Relations, Policies and Practices committee had not met in June.

The Chair noted that the UNC System Staff Assembly would meet August 1-2. She would meet with the Chancellor to discuss nominees for the new Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration. She also noted that the Executive Committee will deal with challenges such as the upcoming 18% budget cut. She said that the UNC Health Care System had donated $20 million to UNC-Chapel Hill to help it overcome its budget difficulties. Concerning the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration search, the Chair said that the search committee had pared 30 applications down to 10, then again down to four campus visits. She said that the four finalists include two women, one black male, and one white male, meaning that the face of South Building is about to change. The Chair noted that UNC-Chapel Hill had been named the number one student chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Habitat Executive Director Jonathan Reckford is a UNC alumnus. Reckford has said that this was the first time that any University had built ten houses in one year. The Chair said that Phoenix Place, the location of the Habitat houses, has a capacity of over 200 houses for future construction.

The Chair said that the Forum had taken budget cuts leading the Forum Assistant’s position to be cut to 75%, raised to 80% thanks to the Chair’s cutting the budget in other areas. She said that the Forum Office will be closed Fridays. She asked Sarah Poteete to help professionalize and clean the Forum Office, given that the furniture there came from Surplus. She said that the Office needs a thorough cleaning and asked delegates for volunteers to help. Marc ter Horst asked if new furniture were contemplated and the Chair responded that she thought this would occur eventually.

Jonathan Stephenson said that the GOP had given State employees the benefit of State Health plan supervision by the State Treasurer’s Office instead of the Legislature. He said that the majority party had made it illegal for the State Health plan to be awarded via top-secret no-bid contracts. He also noted that State employees will serve on the consumer oversight board of the State Health plan. Finally, he said that the GOP had fully funded the State retirement system, the first time that this had been done in ten years.

Danny Nguyen reported that he serves on the IT Steering committee. He noted that there will be a fee change for departmental networking based on a departmental algorithm. The Excellence in Management award committee will meet next week. Chris Meinecke said that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares group will meet two times in the coming month to discuss the upcoming campaign.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 10:53 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary



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