July 23, 2013 Executive Committee Minutes
Attending: Dan Barmmer, Gena Carter, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Jill Crowder, Lois Douglass-Alston, Paula Goodman, John Gullo, Michael Highland, James Holman, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Jillian Molee, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. He led the room in a round of introductions. Tammy Cox noted that Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone had especially mentioned the Forum during remarks to the Human Resources Council. The Chair had directed that condolence gifts be made with cards and small plants rather than floral arrangements. He said that purchases cannot be made for State employees but can rather honor relatives of State employees. Gena Carter asked what the definition of a family member would be. The Chair said that practice had just extended to immediate family. He asked that this standard go into the minutes to define standard practice in this matter.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the May meeting. Michael Highland made this motion, seconded by Tammy Cox. There were none opposed, but Matt McKirahan abstained from the vote. The motion was approved.
Tammy Cox and Matt Banks presented the Forum’s monthly budget report. Cox noted that in the last fiscal year, the Forum’s trust account had been overspent by $32, whereas the overhead account had come in exactly on budget. She said that she had transferred the Daily Tar Heel expenditure from the Staff Development fund account to the overhead account given defined needs. Cox noted that the Staff Development fund, provided by an allocation from the Coca-Cola Foundation, has approximately $120,000 in its spendable portion, as the interest on the endowment. The Chair noted that expenditures from this fund must be approved by the Chancellor. He cautioned that the Forum must move to use these funds soon. Cox noted that the $32 overextension had not been removed from this year’s budget. Matt Banks presented the Forum’s budget priorities, asking the committee for its guidance. Paula Goodman raised questions about the expenditure of money for table and chairs set-up each month. Banks noted that the Forum needed to pay for table moves each month to meet meeting requirements. He said that voluntary moves of the tables would likely diminish over time, leaving him and the staff at the Library to take care of the moves each month. Members discussed moving the Forum meetings to different locations that would not charge for table set-up each month. Turner suggested the Hitchcock Room in the Stone Center because they are usually open to waiving fees for university organizations and have staff on site to set up the room and provide A/V support. Goodman said that she would look into options for a different location that is easy to access from South Building, has adequate parking, free table and chair service, is available every month, and has appropriate media provisions. The Chair noted that the Forum will meet in the Upendo Lounge in SASB North August 7. The Upendo Lounge will set up tables for free, but is not available every month.
Dan Barmmer asked about the progress of using the Forum’s equipment instead of Carolina Copy for copying, scanning, and faxing needs each month. Banks said that the Forum’s current scanner is old, meaning that the office cannot be nimble to meet copying and faxing needs without the Carolina Copy copier. Members discussed the relative merits of Carolina Copy versus a private all-in-one copier. The Chair wanted to insure that any change will make the office more efficient. Katie Turner asked about providing funds for the professional development of the Forum Assistant, given the Forum’s stance on professional development for other employees. Banks noted the range of services provided by Training and Development. Turner responded that funds are needed to cover external trainings through places like the Odum Institute so the forum assistant can take classes to learn Qualtrics for the annual delegate elections. Members suggested this is a good idea and that perhaps funds could be requested from the Staff Development Fund. Paula Goodman asked about the relatively high cost of University Day supplies. Banks said that this expense came from the purchase of nametags and lanyards. He would look up the purchase to see why the figure had been so high. (Banks later found that the cost included an all-campus memo to all employees inviting them to attend University Day.) Turner urged that the Forum find funds for the newest version of Adobe Acrobat. Charles Streeter said the purchase was necessary and authorized Banks to acquire the software.
The Chair turned to ideas submitted by Forum delegates for the upcoming year. He had synthesized earlier documents into one overall package. Michael Highland suggested extending the Forum’s presence and awareness on campus as a general theme for discussion. Katie Turner suggested asking Dr. Tim McMillan of the African, African-American and Diaspora department to provide a tour of University history. Jill Crowder noted that Tom Bythell of Grounds does a different version of this tour. Jillian Molee said that the Forum could provide a spotlight on a staff or faculty member in its InTouch newsletter. The Chair noted that bowling leagues are no longer available on campus. He wanted to insure that any off-campus event will have a commitment from a number of Forum delegates before going ahead. Michael Highland said that the cost of reserving lanes for bowling can be prohibitive. The Chair presented a proposal from Student Body President Christy Lambden that the Forum participate in a mass dance called the Wobble in the Pit along with students and faculty. The Chair did not know the exact date of this event yet but he hoped that the Forum could order t-shirts for this purpose. He said that the event would take place in the time between when the first-year students and the other students arrive on campus.
The Chair said that he envisioned the Forum producing a series of videos for its website and other media opportunities. He said that the website needs these done as a top priority. Katie Turner said that the Forum would need to obtain a budget for this purpose and for any accompanying brochures. Turner said that the Public Relations and Communications Committee could take the lead on the brochure project. Michael Highland said that he has video production expertise. The Chair hoped that videos could be available to present to the new Forum class in May 2014. The Chair also said that the Forum needs to produce a copy of its logo in a transparent format that can be stretched and manipulated digitally. Tammy Cox offered that the book that previous Chair Jackie Overton had cited called “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader” by Mark Sanborn would be an interesting subject for a book club. Highland said that different faculty members could give talks for a book club. Paula Goodman suggested Barbara Frederickson and her work on positivity and positive emotions as another possibility for discussion. The Chair said that this discussion would be ongoing. Dan Barmmer asked that the Forum’s Sharepoint site have threaded conversations on this topic. The Chair noted this could be done. Lois Douglass-Alston asked about having someone to discuss the Affordable Care Act, particularly whether the University will need to bear health care costs for temporary employees.
Katie Turner raised the question of a possible Bylaws survey of issues to be addressed by the Forum. She said that there are many ways to approach the Chair’s term in office, for example. Electronic voting is another item for discussion, as well as overlapping terms and disenfranchisement. Turner said that the Bylaws Committee needs feedback from the survey or another method of soliciting forum members’ opinions on various proposals. Matt McKirahan noted that changes to the Bylaws will require a 2/3 vote. He said that the committee will need to present each change in a separate proposal. Dan Barmmer recalled that during the last revision, a list of major changes was presented and the full Forum discussed and voted on each item. Turner said that discussions of the Bylaws have gone relatively slowly so far. She said that the Committee will receive help from the Law School in August. She thought that the Forum needed a comprehensive and thorough review of its Bylaws. Dan Barmmer relayed a shared sentiment among Forum delegates that the previous revision had been inadequate, as it was not comprehensive, and that the changes made weren’t initiated by Forum delegates. The current bylaws committee is made up of delegates interested in resolving major issues, such as chair and officer elections, as well as minor ones that deal with clarity and grammar.
Highland noted that provisions for electronic voting are not identified in the Bylaws. Gena Carter asked whether the Bylaws needed a total overhaul versus a bit of tweaking and tuning. She asked why the Forum needed to do this as it had revised the Bylaws only a year and half ago. She said that external influences should not stifle conversation, but she thought that the previous revision had done fine work. Turner said that most organizations do Bylaws reviews regularly. She said that the Bylaws outline practices that the Forum has gotten away from, such as that of the Executive Committee setting the Forum agenda. Carter thought that these areas might be questions of practice and discipline. Barmmer noted there were several areas in need of updating. As one example, Barmmer related an instance in which electronic voting was asked to be used for a Forum vote, without a standard procedure, a rule that isn’t included in existing Bylaws. He said the subject of the vote in question had obvious support, but since no precedent for electronic voting had been established and the Bylaws provided no procedural guidance, it became a controversial issue at the time. He said that there are those who don’t care about voting procedures, but those who do care care a lot, so the Bylaws need to be updated to reflect current electronic voting procedures mirroring Robert’s Rules of Order. The Chair said that the Forum could pull the previous minutes to see what had been done on the Bylaws to bring them in line with current practice. He said the question needs investigation but he did not want the process to drag on for the entire year. Matt McKirahan said that it would behoove the Forum to resolve small inconsistencies to prevent confusion going forward.
Katie Turner asked if the Forum could conduct a survey or focus groups to get input on Bylaws revisions without having to redo proposals too many times. The Chair said that changes highlighted in meetings can be discussed on-line before final approval. He said that some delegates have no idea about the need for change. The Chair said that ideally the Bylaws Committee could present its proposals in ten minutes to the full Forum. He asked that the committee continue its discussions on-line. Streeter said he would speak to former Chair Jackie Overton to clarify what her vision was for the committee when she called for its constitution.
Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden committee was working to track the Garden’s work this summer. The Garden is also seeking to expand its footprint. Matt McKirahan reported that the Education and Career Development committee will meet Friday, July 26 from 2-3 p.m. in Vance Hall. Paula Goodman of the Membership & Assignments committee said that group will meet to discuss electronic voting, among other items. James Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee will meet July 30 from 11:30-1 p.m. in the Forum Office. Michael Highland said that he had met with Chris Meinecke in his capacity as Recognition & Awards Committee chair. He planned to extend the Forum’s presence by recognizing employees on campus.
John Gullo said that the UNC System Staff Assembly had heard from Charlie Perusse, the Chief Operating Officer of the University of North Carolina. Perusse referred to proposed changes to the SPA system in the Senate. There is a move to limit the turnaround on grievances to 90 days, as previously grievances have stretched out to one year or longer. The Assembly also heard from the Vice Chancellor for Technology and Learning. Gullo noted that the Chancellor’s Cup golf tournament had raised approximately $23,000 to benefit the Janet B. Royster Memorial Staff Scholarship fund.
Katie Turner of the Communications and Public Relations committee said that the group needs Forum delegates and other to write for InTouch. She listed a number of possible stories for the upcoming issue in August. The Chair noted that the Chancellor had approved the provision of Staff Development funds for the hard-copy publication of InTouch in FY13-14. He said that it would be good if all committee chairs could provide articles for InTouch. The Chair also emphasized the importance of keeping the Forum website up to date, noting that previous Chancellor Holden Thorp had sought out items on the website. The Chair noted that the Staff Assembly will meet July 30. The Board of Trustees will meet July 24. He noted that he had been told that he would meet with the University Relations subcommittee of the Board, rather than the Budget and Finance committee. Gena Carter said that Chancellor Folt felt that there had been some redundancy in the previous make-up and moved to reformulate committees. The Chair said that he needed to seek further information about the reassignment. Katie Turner asked the charge of the respective committees. Carter noted that Human Resources had also moved over from Finance and Administration to University Affairs.
The Chair emphasized to listeners the importance of taking care of work first before Forum business. He said that job responsibilities must come first. He urged delegates to open a dialogue with supervisors. He noted the move to keep better track of time devoted to Forum service. He also noted the recent document from Human Resources setting maximum amounts of eight, ten, and twenty hours per month for regular delegates, committee chairs and executive committee members, and the Forum chair. The Chair said that he does not have the authority to make a supervisor provide a delegate give time off for Forum work. He said the most he could do in the case of a supervisor restricting delegate service is to describe what the delegate is doing for the University. He said that the Forum has no authority over what goes on in individual departments. He said that sometimes employees must be strategic in how they handle their time. John Gullo noted that he was in a similar situation with his supervisor and the Staff Assembly. Tammy Cox suggested that the Forum have supervisors sign and return a letter of commitment. Paula Goodman thought that this might be a bit too much to ask. Gena Carter said that in at least one instance, the letter from the Chancellor or Human Resources announcing appointment was the first time a supervisor learned about a delegate’s prospective service on the Forum. She said that delegates should consult with their supervisors before agreeing to Forum service. The Chair said that commitment to job performance must be primary among all employees. One cannot expect to do extra duties if the primary duty is not completed. Tiffany Carver said that some supervisors will say no to Forum service simply to exercise control. Lois Douglass-Alston suggested that delegates make their supervisors aware of duties beforehand.
The Chair urged delegates to consult Sharepoint for further discussion of issues. He noted that the Sexual Assault Task Force was working on definitions of terms. The Forum will host Christi Hurt, the University’s new Interim Title IX Coordinator, at its August meeting. The Chair noted the Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting to take place on Thursday, August 8 from 10-11 a.m. in the second floor of South Building. He urged delegates to write the Forum Assistant with topics for discussion, and to make time to attend the meeting to discuss these topics.
Arlene Medder moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Jillian Molee. The meeting adjourned at 1:34 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary