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Annual Retreat Agenda

June 10, 2014

8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hitchcock Multi – Purpose Room, Sonja Haynes Stone Center


8:15 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.              Delegates convene and socialize


8:45a.m – 9:00 a.m.                Welcome and opening remarks

Charles Streeter (Employee Forum Chair)


9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.              Introductions and Ice breaker


9:20 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.              Find Your Division


9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.              HR Update


9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.             Recognition of Outgoing Delegates


10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.          SEANC presentation


10:15 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.          Officer Elections

        • Description of officers’ duties
        • Last call for nominations
        • Two minute speeches
        • Voting


10:40 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.          Break


10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.          Year End Committee Reports

        • Carolina Blood Drive: Todd Hux
        • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
        • Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner  (20150601 CPR Annual Report); (Presentation)
        • Education and Career Development: Shane Hale
        • Recognition & Awards
        • Membership & Assignments: Karen Jenkins
        • Personnel Issues: Yvonne Dunlap
          • Compensation & Benefits: Chrissie Greenberg/Kelli Raker
          • Legislative Action: Kirk Montgomery
          • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices
        • UNC System Staff Assembly: Shane Hale/James Holman/Charles Streeter
        • Executive Committee: Charles Streeter


11:30 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.          Committee Selections

        • Set meeting times
        • Select a committee chair
        • Begin discussing activities for the year
        • Issues/activities/speakers


12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch and introduction of special guests

    • Janet Bunch, Chair of the NCCU Staff Senate
    • Bruce Cairns, Chair of the Faculty Council at UNC-Chapel Hill
    • Susan Colby, Chair of the UNC Staff Assembly
    • Robert Davis, Chair of the NC State Staff Senate
    • Wyona Goodwin, Chair Elect of NC State Staff Senate
    • Steve Leonard, Chair of the UNC Faculty Assembly


1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.              Goal Planning

Dr. Belinda Locke, Coordinator for Assessment in Student Affairs


3:00 p.m. – 3:15p.m.               Break


3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.              Finalize committee plans for 2015 – 2016 year


3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.              Committees report to entire group on projected goals for 2015


4:15p.m. – 4:30p.m.                Wrap Up


4:30 p.m.                                 Dismissal



June 10, 2015 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Jo-Ann Blake, Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Deborah Bush, Clare Counihan, Tammy Cox, Lois Douglass-Alston, Phillip Edwards, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Emily Gomez, Paula Goodman, Christine Greenberg, Lori Haight, Victoria Hammett, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Susan Lucas, Ronda Manuel, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Kirk Montgomery, Jackie Overton, Michael Penny, Christopher Powe, Shamecia Powers, Krista Prince, Kelli Raker, Kathy Ramsey, Samara Reynolds, Nakenge Robertson, Anna Schwab, Charles Streeter, Nihlei Tial, Ben Triplett, Katie Turner, Barbara Williams, John Williams

Excused Absences:  Shane Hale, Kathy James

The Chair called the meeting to order at 8:45 a.m.  He welcomed all to the Forum’s annual retreat, the purpose of which is to plan the upcoming year.  He led the Forum in a round of ice-breaker and team-building exercises.

Senior Director for Training and Talent Development Kathy Bryant presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Bryant said that the Legislature in House Bill 495 is considering changing the probationary period for new hires back to twelve months from the current twenty-four months.  The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering House Bill 94 concerning budgetary issues for the University.  Senior Director for Benefits & Work Life Ashley Nicklis said that new and not new benefit issues are also under discussion.  Tammy Cox noted that performance reviews are due at the end of the month.  Deborah Bush confirmed that the House budget would provide a 2% increase for State employees, a 2% increase for retirees, and 5 days of bonus leave, among other items.  However, the Senate will pass its own budget, meaning the two budgets will probably go to conference committee later in the summer.  Nicklis noted that all benefits enrollments have gone seamlessly, but there is a possibility of a slight mistake with delayed benefit deductions.  One can check the status of benefits enrollment under “Self Service” in ConnectCarolina.  She hoped that benefits information will be easier to find through the new ConnectCarolina system.

It was also noted that the UNC Moves relocation service is available to new and continuing employees.  This information is available on-line at

The Chair introduced Ardis Watkins, Director of Legislative Affairs for the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina (SEANC).  Watkins noted that SEANC helps members solve issues in State departments, not simply lobby legislative officials.  She noted the various proposals under discussion by the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office for State employee raises.  She noted that the House has proposed that State employees receive forty hours bankable leave, while the Senate is viewed as more hostile to this idea.  She noted SEANC’s role in getting out votes to achieve a supermajority in the House side for its budget.  She noted that the House budget maintains Office of State Human Resources protections for State employees.  She hoped that the House’s supermajority would convince the Senate to move quickly and in favor of State employees.

Watkins noted legislative moves to raise health care costs for State employees.  She said that containing program costs is a better solution to State Health Plan budget concerns.  She noted a problem with House Bill 495 that would provide policy making authority to State agencies.  She thought that the State Legislature should retain this authority.

Watkins outlined the benefits that SEANC provides its members, including various insurance plans.  She also noted the various member discounts provided.  John Gullo asked about the reported benefits of House Bill 495.  Watkins said that bill is appealing to legislators because it reduces the State employee probationary period.  However, the bill also devolves policy-making authority from the Legislature to State agencies.  She had advised legislators to vote against the bill unless this provision is removed.  She asked the benefit of reducing new hires’ probationary period if employees’ career rights and due process rights are lost.  She said that SEANC would likely advise a vote to concur in conference, to fix the problem mentioned.  She also noted the problem with a change in the requirement that employees be “most qualified,” which could open the door to political hiring.  Watkins noted that the State Personnel Act was meant to protect State Government from political hires.

A listener asked about the recent scandal involving former SEANC executive director Dana Cope.  Watkins characterized Cope as a mercurial figure, who was recently accused by SEANC members of taking SEANC funds.  The Attorney General has ordered the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to conduct a new audit following SEANC’s own independent audit.  It is believed that around $500,000 was taken from SEANC coffers.  However, Cope’s 2012 contract gave him wide latitude in spending.  The current executive director Mitch Leonard has put in place practices to keep this embezzlement from happening again.  Watkins anticipated that the SBI would finish its investigation soon.  She noted that SEANC is member-driven and should not be staff-driven.

The Chair opened the floor for Forum elections.  He took a moment to describe the duties of each office.  Parliamentarian Matt McKirahan opened the floor for nominations.  Charles Streeter was nominated.  Streeter recalled that he would be entering his third year as chair.  He felt that he had a much better position to create and implement ideas for improvement of the Forum in his third year.  He thought that the Forum would likely do well to find a chair-elect for the following year.

For the office of Vice Chair, Matt McKirahan and Kirk Montgomery were nominated.  McKirahan noted that he had served two years as Parliamentarian.  He had worked to bring the Forum into accordance with its Bylaws.  He hoped to continue to change the Bylaws to conform with current practices, he hoped to implement more community meetings, and he hoped to be an active liaison with Forum committee chairs.

Kirk Montgomery cited his nineteen years of State service in different sections of State Government.  He thought that employees should be heard.  He noted his attendance at the State Legislature as part of University Day expressing the concerns of employees.  He also noted his work in the UNC System Staff Assembly and his meetings with the Human Resources Council.

Kathy Ramsey was the only delegate to accept nomination for the office of Forum Secretary.  She was elected by acclamation.  Shayna Hill similarly accepted election as Forum Treasurer.  Phillip Edwards sought election as Forum Parliamentarian and was unopposed.

It was announced that Kirk Montgomery was the winner in the election for Forum Vice Chair.

The Chair asked Forum committee chairs to report on the activities of their groups through the past year.

Katie Turner shared a Prezi presentation of the Communication and Public Relations committee’s work this past year.  She noted that the committee is looking for volunteers to run the Forum’s scavenger hunt this fall.  She said that the committee had worked on the Forum website, the monthly newsletter InTouch, the Forum book club, and creation of social media classes.

Samara Reynolds noted that the Education and Career Development committee had worked on the Carolina Family Scholarship effort, the Professional Development Grant implementation, the Peer Recognition Awards event, and the Higher Education Panel, among other items.  Some of these items were part of the Recognition and Awards committee’s work, which was folded into the Education and Career Development committee’s brief this year.

Karen Jenkins noted that the Membership and Assignments committee had worked to plan the Forum elections, the orientation for new delegates, and the annual retreat.  The committee has planned quarterly socials for the Forum.

Yvonne Dunlap detailed the work of the Personnel Issues committee, addressing among other issues the 24-month probationary period for new hires.  The committee has addressed the 9.9% limitation on staff salary increases.  She noted the committee has hosted Human Resources experts to discuss the American Disabilities Act, the compensation and classification system, parking, and the ombuds office.  Representatives from the committee attended the University’s Legislative Day to speak about employee issues.  She hoped that new members would join the new committee chair Chrissie Greenberg to continue the important work of the group.

UNC System Staff Assembly chair Susan Colby spoke on the work of the Assembly in bringing together the seventeen System campuses in discussion with the Board of Governors.  She noted that the Assembly has worked on various issues such as fundraising through the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament.  The Chair noted that UNC-Chapel Hill may host the Chancellors’ Cup this year.

The Chair announced the winners of the Kay Wijnberg Hovious Outstanding Delegate Award for 2015:  Tammy Cox, Yvonne Dunlap, and Karen Jenkins.  He presented each winner with a plaque, noting that the idea for the award came in 2013 from James Holman.

The Chair asked delegates to decide on their committees’ activities, goal-setting, issues, and speakers for the coming year over lunch.  He was proud to welcome Dr. Stephen Leonard of the UNC Faculty Assembly, Janet Bunch of the NC Central Staff Senate, and Robert Davis and Wyona Goodwin of the NC State Staff Senate.  He hoped that the Forum could continue its collaboration with these different groups.

Following a presentation on goalsetting from Dr. Belinda Locke, the Forum committees came back to discuss tentative plans for the year.

Kathy Ramsey said that the Membership & Assignments committee planned to work on celebrating employee work through the quarterly socials.  The committee also wants to work on a February food drive, as well as the Forum elections, new delegate orientation, and Employee Appreciation Day.

Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden wants to find ways to increase staff and community involvement, both in work at the garden and in other healthy initiatives.

Chrissie Greenberg reported that the Personnel Issues committee will have John Williams as its Compensation & Benefits subcommittee chair, Christopher Powe as its Legislative Affairs subcommittee chair, and Barbara Williams as its Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices subcommittee chair.  The Personnel Issues committee will work to finish the 9.9% limitation resolution, and then move to other issues such as expanding higher education options for staff employees.  She noted that Clare Counihan’s “low hanging fruit” child care initiative also deserves Forum support.

Samara Reynolds of the Education and Career Development committee said that the committee will look to expand the higher education panel to a half-day mini-conference.  The committee hopes to author a “Career Corner” column in the InTouch newsletter.  The committee hopes to crystallize ideas to raise money for the Carolina Family Scholarship in cooperation with the staff organizations at NC State and NC Central.

Katie Turner of the Communications and Public Relations committee reported the group would concentrate on accessibility, functionality, and outreach concerns this year.  Regarding accessibility, the committee will concentrate on who will be able to receive Forum communications and the format of these communications.  The committee will look at search engine optimization (SEO), which will likely require hiring a consultant for this purpose.  Functionality questions will lead the committee to investigate whether its work meets the needs of the organization.  Outreach efforts will seek input from other campuses.  The committee plans to continue the book club and hopes to start a photo contest on Instagram.  The committee also proposes to change the scavenger hunt to the date of the Employee Appreciation Fair to reduce conflicts.  Turner said that this change would allow the committee to hide vouchers in one set spot for employees to discover.

The Chair said that the Executive Committee will work to find funds for the Carolina Family Scholarship effort and will work on the next five-year transit plan.  He noted that the campus is torn about the night-time parking issue.  He said that the Forum will possibly need to prepare to host the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament next spring.  The Forum will decide soon about having a tailgate at a UNC football game.  He noted that Chrissie Greenberg and Kirk Montgomery will serve on the UNC Faculty Welfare committee.  The Chair plans to push for more joint committee service with the faculty.

Chrissie Greenberg asked if the Forum should hold its retreat on the first or last week of June given the end of fiscal year duties that some employees undergo in June.  The Chair said that the retreat was moved from the first week in June to accommodate Facilities Services’ Summer Splash event that occurs the first Wednesday in June.  He proposed that the Forum investigate holding its retreat in July after electing its officers in June.  Shayna Hill noted that performance reviews are due at the end of June.  She thought perhaps holding the retreat the second week of July, after the week of the July 4th holiday, made the most sense.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 3:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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