Agenda — July 9, 2003
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
IV. Special Presentations
· Dr. David J Weber, Professor, UNC School of Medicine, on University SARS Situation
V. Employee Presentations or Questions
VI. Human Resources Update
· Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VII. Minutes of the June 6, 2003 meeting delayed
VIII. New Business
· Proposed Resolution on University Construction of Parking Deck, Chiller Plant and Student-Family Housing (1st Reading)
· Distribution of Nickled & Dimed Reading Selection for August Retreat (Not Homework!)
IX. Stretch Time 6
X. Forum Committee Reports
· Recognition and Awards: Katherine Graves/Shirley Hart
· University Committee Assignments: Tom Arnel
· Career Development: Ray Doyle
· Communications: Brian White
Þ Forum Newsletter
· Employee Presentations: Joanne Kucharski
· Nominating: Katherine Graves
Þ Forum Elections
· Orientation: Meredith Clason
· Personnel Issues: Tom Rhyne/Delita Wright
XI. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin
· Carolina North Project—Tommy Griffin
P = Included in Agenda Packet
July 9, 2003
Wilson Library Assembly Room
“ = Ex-Officio
Mary Ann Vacheron
The Chair called the meeting to order at 9:34 a.m. He recognized Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest, acting director of the Human Resources generalist program Claire Miller, generalists Dan Rosenberg and Connie Lewis of the academic affairs team, Doreen Montgomery of the administrative student services team and David Phillips of the health affairs generalist team. He also welcomed Dr. David Weber and Director of Facilities Planning Bruce Runberg.
Dr. Weber spoke on the recent SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) situation here at UNC-Chapel Hill. He noted that SARS is a chronovirus which originated in China and has traveled to Hong Kong, Singapore and Toronto in recent months. A contract employee of the University contracted SARS after visiting a sick relative in Toronto. This employee has received care and has not required hospitalization. Two additional cases showing similar symptoms were eventually admitted to Western Wake hospitals, and have since left the hospital.
In response to information that this contract employee did indeed have SARS, the University built a tent city in the parking lot across from the Horney Building at which nurses could screen Employees who felt they might have SARS. Of the fifty people screened, eight saw a physician and one was treated for non-SARS illness.
Dr. Weber noted that officials of the School of Public Health had made recommendations on dealing with any future SARS outbreaks once the students arrive in late August. There are questions also as to whether the disease might flare up during the winter cold and flu season.
The Chair asked if there were any way to protect oneself from SARS. Dr. Weber said that one should avoid situations similar to those by which the common cold is transmitted. He also noted that sewage backup had been one source of transmission in China. The disease is thought to have an incubation period of ten days. As of now, there is no treatment and efforts are underway to find a vaccine. People with SARS are usually quarantined.
Katherine Graves asked how the University would identify a person at risk for SARS. Dr. Weber said that the University would ask incoming students to self-identify if they had traveled to at-risk areas or had SARS-like symptoms. He said that Employees with further questions could call 911 in an emergency, call the county health department, or Epidemiology at 966-4131, at which there is a professional on call 24 hours a day.
The Chair introduced Runberg to talk about plans for a parking deck in the Cobb dormitory area as well as a chiller plant. He said that these plans were important to the University’s future. He said that the proposed parking deck and chiller plant would abut South Road and Country Club Road. Currently all that is there now is asphalt and a chain link fence. Runberg noted that the University needs a new chiller plant to meet the cooling needs for new buildings under construction. He said that the University has proposed a parking deck situated north of the cemetery of roughly 600 cars, although this number could be reduced. Currently, there are 350 parking spaces in this area, and the deck would add another 250 spaces along with six tennis courts, a basketball court, and associated brick walkways and pedestrian considerations.
An Employee asked why the Town Council might oppose this project. Runberg noted that the Council approved the 50 year campus master plan along with a new development ordinance. He noted that plan assumed construction of a parking deck on Manning Drive, but the University’s Advisory Committee on Transportation (ACT) has come up with a proposal which would preclude construction of this deck.
Runberg noted that there has been much concern about construction of this deck, particularly among neighbors of the Gimghoul neighborhood. Runberg said that the University plans to build a traffic signal, landscaping and other improvements to make the deck aesthetically pleasing. He noted that engineers can do a lot to improve the aesthetics of parking decks these days. He would speak with Gimghoul residents at an upcoming public hearing.
The Town Council has delayed hearings on the deck, the chiller plant and a proposed Jackson Circle parking deck until August 25. He said that staff need to get word out that the project is a good one. He noted that the master plan had pledged to construct a pedestrian-friendly campus, but he said that the campus would never be completely void of vehicular traffic. The number of parking spaces will increase given planned construction, but the University will continue its work to improve mass transit, building over 1,500 park and ride spaces on the perimeter of Chapel Hill. Runberg said that any new development in Chapel Hill tends to face a range of sensitivities and challenges.
Tom Arnel asked what would happen to people displaced by this construction. Runberg said that the University would probably use a rotation system for these Employees, but developments have not yet moved to that point. Arnel said that he and other Employees use that lot right now and were adversely affected by the gating of the lot last year. Runberg said that the deck was still in the concept phase.
Cheryl Lytle asked if this deck would have enough access points in and out. Runberg said that the deck would have two access points, with about 20% of traffic emptying out onto Raleigh Road, and would receive traffic signals and other improvements. Lytle said that she was interested because she had had a wreck there. Runberg noted that disabled people currently experience difficulties at that intersection which the improvements would help alleviate. He noted that the deck would designate one access point according to traffic flows, having all traffic flow in during the morning and out during the afternoon. According to traffic engineers, this improvement should help traffic flows. Lytle said that she wondered whether only two entrances would adequately address the additional traffic, and hoped that the traffic engineers know what they are doing. Runberg said that he had worked with this group for several years, and had no reason to doubt their analysis.
Joanne Kucharski asked the time frame for construction of the deck and chiller plant if the Council approves the project. Runberg said that the project would take at least a year and a half before shovels would go in the ground. Kucharski asked the student reaction to the proposal. Runberg said their reaction ranged from neutral to positive. Several students participated in the project’s preliminary design and added improvements such as pedestrian flow and meeting areas.
Runberg noted that the project must meet the new Chapel Hill noise ordinance. He noted that the traffic flow had been surprisingly quiet. He also noted that thermal plane windows had reduced noise in the nearby, newly renovated dorms.
James Curtis asked if neighbors objected more to the chiller plant or the traffic from the proposed deck. Runberg said that different neighbors have different concerns. In fact, the proposed solution of one set of neighbors, moving the proposed deck to the surface lot near the School of Government on Highway 54, angered other neighbors who live near that deck.
Runberg noted that the University’s presentation to the project’s neighbors is on-line at fpc.unc.edu. He noted that the University had worked to lower the height of the chiller plant 10-12 feet, so that none of the structure would rise higher than the Cobb dormitory. He said that the chiller plant would meet the Chapel Hill noise ordinance of 55 decibels, leaving the main issue as traffic and parking.
Runberg noted that some of the Gimghoul neighbors had proposed just taking one level of the deck away, reducing the deck size by 100 cars. Other neighbors oppose the deck in any form.
Another positive of the plan is that it would contain visitor parking for undergraduate admissions, and would provide more parking for Playmakers Theater, Forest Theater and evening sports events. Michael McQuown noted that the deck would take pressure off of the Gimghoul neighborhood during these evening events.
Matt Banks asked about the chiller plant’s impact on the cemetery, given a recent report in the Chapel Hill News. Runberg said that the University would improve the masonry and other landscaping around the cemetery as part of the project. He noted that two buffers would be constructed, and the facility would have brick walkways. The entire complex would not be higher than the Cobb dormitories. Runberg said that Leyland cypress trees would also help to buffer the noise. The Chair commented that he had looked at the plans and thought the design was very good and aesthetically pleasing. Graves asked the cost of the project; Runberg responded that he did not recall, but thought the cost was around $12 million.
The Chair said that the University had already cut down on the amount of parking and so did not need to lose additional spaces. Runberg noted that the master plan does not say that the University will not add spaces on the main campus, rather than it will try to reduce the number of spaces on campus due to mass transit, park and ride and other strategies. He thought that critics had misinterpreted the plan in this area.
Graves asked from where the money for the deck and chiller plan would come. Runberg said that Parking and Transit would provide funds for the deck, and funds for the chiller plant would come from utility services and delivery revenue. Graves confirmed that no State or bond money would fund the project.
The Chair recognized newly appointed Delagates Daniel Chegash, Curtis Helfrich and Anthony Eubanks.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest noted that the Legislature had recently approved its budget, which contains a number of provisions related to Employees. She noted that SPA and EPA Employees on the payroll as of October 1, 2003 will receive a one-time bonus of $550. This bonus is not related to disciplinary actions or salary range limitations. She did not know when the bonus will appear in paychecks, but she did not think the bonus would arrive until at least the end of October.
The Chair asked if Employees who retire in September would receive the bonus. Charest said that Employees must be in service on October 1, 2003 to receive the bonus. She conceded that the provision was not rational.
Syed Mustafa asked if the bonus would be added to base salary. Charest said that it would not. Charest noted that SPA Employees on the payroll as of July 1, 2003 will receive ten days of additional bonus leave, which can be used for annual leave and which is not subject to the 240 hours limit for carryforward. The Chair recalled a question that asked if this leave could be taken away, and Charest said that the State could not take this leave away.
Amy Gorely asked if EPA Employees would receive this leave provision also. Charest said that EPA non-faculty and 12-month faculty would receive the leave days, but not 9-month faculty.
Charest noted that the State had changed its disability rules for State employees. Now, a State employee must not be able to perform their own occupation or any occupation in the State to receive disability, whereas before the employee’s injury only had to prevent them from performing their own occupation. Charest did not know how the State proposed to administer this provision, and whether employees affected could be forced to take positions in other locations around the State.
Charest reported that health insurance rates have increased with the new fiscal year, although there has been no change in the deductible Employees must pay. She noted that the Employee and children coverage has risen to $89.11 per biweekly pay period or to $178.22 per monthly pay period. Family coverage has risen from $234.70 per biweekly pay period or $478.40 per monthly pay period.
As for good news, Charest noted that a new provision extending emergency coverage to Employees traveling out of state has become available. The State plan will no longer hold members responsible if they have to pay higher than the allowed payment for emergency services out of state.
Charest noted that a State level budget review committee has studied Employee portable paid insurance benefits. She said that the University will also look at this possibility. She also noted concerns as to whether a State-wide committee would represent Employee interests. However, this initiative had not passed.
Concerning oher non-budget news, Charest said that the three hospitals that had not re-signed new contracts with the State plan have narrowed down to one. Now, Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem is the only one at which Employees are subject to additional charges. She said that Employees would receive news if or when the State plan concludes its negotiations with Baptist Hospital.
Also, effective September 1, employees living outside of North Carolina will have access to a preferred provider network of state health care systems. These members will not be billed for charges above the customary and reasonable amount. Employees will receive more information during the annual enrollment period. Charest said that this change represents a significant improvement for Employees traveling or supporting out-of-state dependents.
The new web-based Training and Development registration system should go on-line July 18. This system will allow Employees to check classes, sign up for wait lists, cancel reservations and review training records, all on-line. Human Resources will continue to accept paper registration as before. The new system will be available from the Human Resources main web page.
Charest noted that Holly Teamon, formerly of Heels for Health, will provide health and wellness training through the Training and Development programs.
Joanne Kucharski asked how the web-based training registration system would insure supervisory approval. Currently, paper registration requires a supervisor’s signature. Charest said that by submitting an application, an Employee hereby asserts that they have obtained supervisor permission.
Syed Mustafa asked the names of the other two hospitals that had delayed signing contracts with the Health plan. Charest said that hospitals in Elizabeth City and Statesville had delayed signing.
Kucharski asked if Charest had any word about the career broadbanding pilot for technical positions. Charest said that the University is a pilot site for technical and law enforcement broadbanding, and she said that this process had almost finished. The University still awaits approvals from the Office of State Personnel.
Charest also noted that the new adverse weather policy had received approval from the State Personnel Commission, but she had not received the new official policy yet from Raleigh.
Matt Banks apologized that the June minutes had been delayed.
On first reading, the Chair read resolution 03-04 supporting University proposals to build the two parking decks on central campus, the chiller plant on North Campus and family-student housing on Mason Farm Road. He reported that he had attended the Town Council meeting at which the Council had voted 4-4 on approval of these plans, and said that the University needed to obtain only one vote to find approval. He said that the University will be able to maintain its parking space number even if the Council does not approve the project. However, he said that the chiller plant represents a critical need for the academic affairs side of campus. He said that transit fee increases are set according to the number of parking permits sold. The Chair also noted that the University will soon need to replace family student housing soon to be lost at Odum Village.
Graves asked what will be done on Mason Farm Road close to the Smith Center. The Chair said that the housing will be located on the next hill over, not near the Smith Center. He said that he hopes the resolution will receive approval from the Forum at its next meeting.
The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had authorized purchase of the copies of “Nickle & Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich in parallel with the University’s summer reading program. The Orientation committee had hoped that Delegates might be willing to discuss the book at the Forum’s August 6 meeting, which will take place at the Kenan Fieldhouse.
At this point, the Forum took a five minute break.
Katherine Graves, co-chair of the Nominating committee, said that group had received many nominations for Forum delegate positions. She said that nominations would close on July 14.
Tom Arnel, chair of the University Assignments committee, said that he had contacted Pat Clark about getting staff employees appointed to University search committees. The committee had also updated contact names and e-mail addresses of University committees on the Forum website. He personally was serving on the excellence in management committee. He looked forward to broadening the base of Employees serving on University committees. The Chair asked that Employees hearing of the establishment of new University committees to contact Arnel or the Forum Office.
Ray Doyle, newly appointed chair of the Career Development committee, noted that the group had met July 2 in the Giles Horney building. The committee primarily discussed the demise of the Hanes computer training classes. The Chair commented that he hoped that work on the University’s part-time degree initiative would continue, noting that 1995 Forum Chair Rachel Windham had recently completed her degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. He hoped that more UNC Employees would have a similar opportunity in the future.
Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, reported that the group had worked on finishing up the University Gazette insert. He thanked Scott Ragland and his staff for their work on the insert and Delita Wright and the Personnel Issues committee for their fine article. He said that insert would appear with the July 16 issue of the Gazette. The Chair said that from what he had seen of the insert, it looked to be a very good one.
Meredith Clason said that plans for the August 6 mid-year retreat were still underway. The committee would meet again July 14 in the Forum Office.
Tom Rhyne, co-chair of the Personnel Issues committee, said that subcommittees had met mainly for the purpose of the University Gazette insert article mentioned earlier. He thanked co-chair Delita Wright for her work on the story.
The Chair noted that he continues to sit on the search committee for the new Human Resources senior director. He had also met with state senator Ellie Kinnaird concerning finding State funds to support the Heels for Health program in spite of the current budget crunch. He noted that the Faculty Council and the University Managers’ Association had joined the Forum in trying to find ways to maintain the program. He hoped that when money becomes available the program will re-establish itself.
The Chair recalled attending the Chapel Hill Town Council meeting concerning the parking deck and chiller plant project. He noted that support for the chiller plant will help keep University buildings air conditioned and working well.
As a piece of good news, the Chair has been granted “participant” status on the Board of Trustees Finance committee, starting July 23. He said that this post will serve as a strong communication point for the Forum. the Chair said that he would need to learn a lot in a hurry but that this is an important step forward.
The Chair noted that the Carrboro Board of Aldermen had approved the Winmore project, which will provide affordable housing for University and Town employees. He noted that the Orange County Housing Trust had passed on several great deals for affordable housing. The Winmore project would offer $110,000 houses in an area in which the average price of a home is $375,000. Apartments in Winmore would go for $400 a month.
Chris Koltz asked how long it would take the developers to complete the affordable housing portion of the project. The Chair said that the units would take 2-3 years at the earliest. He also noted that the first stage of the project would contain these units, and the developer plans to introduce two more stages. Thus, the developer has incentive complete these units as soon as possible.
Tom Arnel asked whether the discussion had addressed clear cutting and stormwater issues. The Chair said that the discussion had touched on these issues as well as traffic, schools, fire protection, security and safety for residents. He had been very impressed with the project. He also thought that the developer had pledged not to cut more trees than necessary, and would leave more green space than housing in the tract. In addition, the project will have natural areas and walking trails.
Arnel noted concerns in the media about clear cutting trees. The Chair said that the developer had planned to leave as many trees as possible. He also said that the developer had sought to turn a portion of the tract over to the Botanical Gardens for their use, but found that the Gardens could not afford to maintain a new site. All of the units will use OWASA connections, and will follow the University procedure for managing stormwater runoff through cisterns and green space.
The Chair had nothing new to report from the Carolina North Users’ group. Construction is supposed to begin at the Carolina North tract in 2005. He said that there has been a lot of good work done in planning for the project, however the University will need to find funds for transit and construction. He noted that the State must find money to maintain the buildings it has already constructed.
Items from the Floor
The Chair invited members to speak one by one to state their opinion on any matter they chose. Cynthia Cowan suggested that the Forum consider the chiller plant/parking deck question. She noted that some people do not like parking decks for security reasons.
Katherine Graves noted that she had questions about security last year in the Health Affairs deck. She said that the new deck would need to have a lot of light to maintain security levels.
Tom Arnel and Tom Rhyne favored the proposal. Arnel was concerned about displacement of current Employees’ parking during construction. Meredith Clason also supported more parking and shared the concern about displacement in the interim. Debra Banks shared this concern also.
Ruth Williams said that she favored more parking for staff. Debra Banks and Martha Barbour were undecided. Cynthia Cowan asked where service people would park when working on the chiller plant. The Chair said that there would be access for these vehicles in the service plan for the plant. He thought that the landscaping and recreation facilities also improved the project. Amy Gorely also favored the improvement for students in this small amount of space. She thought that security might need more attention. Lauren Mangili asked if adding a visitor lot near there was still an option, and asked if the Forum could receive information from the engineers’ report.
Michael McQuown wondered if the engineers had come up with an adequate compromise concerning traffic flows. The Chair said that the Advisory Committee on Transportation had studied traffic flow reports before making its recommendations. He noted that placing the deck at Highway 54 near the School of Government was a very difficult proposal given the amount of traffic there. Corrie Mimms said that she needed more information before making a decision. Carol Payne worried that the two access points for the deck might make traffic around the deck worse.
James Curtis said that the University needs more chilling capacity for its work. He said that closing the entrance onto Raleigh Road while adding crosswalks in the area seemed like a good idea for pedestrians. Overall he thought that the plan was a good idea, as did Chuck Brink and Mack Rich. Ray Doyle thought the University should address security concerns, but thought the project would improve the quality of life for students in the area.
Joanne Kucharski said that she wanted to take a closer look at the project website. She noted that traffic backs up now around the area without a deck. She granted that the campus needs another chiller at that end of the campus. She felt concerned about the way the deck will be funded and its effect on permit prices. Her instinct was that the deck would drive up permit prices for Employees. She did favor more parking facilities, particularly for visitors, but wanted more numbers on the structure of costs and benefits. The Chair responded that both costs were figured into the five year plan, and noted that as the University shed debt load on the decks it should decrease the cost of permits. He hoped that the rate of permit fee increases would level off in the coming years.
Graves noted that the University had based increases on salary, making the load on lower-paid Employees not as heavy as before. She thought the idea was a good one but a bit confusing..
Scott Ragland commented that he was impressed by the overall concept. Brian White felt encouraged that the project would not grow taller than the Cobb dormitory. He often walks near the cemetery on Country Club Road, and identified the tennis court area there as one of the ugliest places on campus.
The Chair thanked Delegates for their attention and work on behalf of the University.
In the absence of further discussion, Ray Doyle made a motion that the meeting be adjourned. The motion was approved by acclamation, and the meeting adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary