Agenda — June 2, 1999
9:30 a.m.—Meeting, Wilson Library Assembly Room
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests, Members of the Press, New Delegates Bethany Cowan and Elvin Munn
III. Opening Remarks
- To Be Announced
IV. Employee Presentations
- Aaron Nelson and Willie Scroggs, Special Olympics P
V. Special Presentations
VI. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VII. Approval of Minutes of the May 5, 1999 meeting P
VIII. Unfinished Business
- Discussion: Insurance Tradeoffs: Higher Premiums or Reduced Service?
IX. New Business
- Provost Search Committee: Staff Perspectives on New Provost
- Discussion: University Budget Situation
X. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Jane Stine P
- Employee Diners’ Club Cards?
- Question on Evening Classes Funding and Forum Appointment
- Employee Appreciation Fair Drawing and Survey Results
- Retired Employees Eligible for Free Parking?
- Point to Point Service Question
- Question Concerning Possible Nurses’ Day
- HEELS for Health Resolution Transmitted to Chancellor
- Guidelines Review Process
- Direct Deposit Questions
- Sliding Parking Fee Scale Discussion: Employee Survey?
- Possible Executive Committee Retreat
XI. Stretch Time
XII. Committee/Task Force Reports
- Career Development—Bobbie Lesane
Þ Employee/Manager Responsibilities in Staff Training/Education (draft)
Þ New Careers Training Board: Connie Boyce/Ken Perry
- Communications—Joanna Smith
- Employee Presentations—Vicki Pineles
Þ Get the Inside Scoop: Spring Community Meeting June 23 10-11:30 a.m. Hanes Art Center Auditorium
- Nominating—Lynn Ray P
Þ Forum Elections
- Orientation—Linda Drake
- Personnel Issues—Martha Barbour
Þ SPA Exempt Survey
Þ Child Involvement Leave Expansion?
- Recognition and Awards—Betty Averette
- University Committee Assignments—Denise Childress
Þ Committee Appointments?
XIII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
- Buildings & Grounds—Ruthie Lawson
- Master Plan Executive Steering Team—Jane Stine
- Outsourcing Team Representatives—Bennie Griffin/Ann Hamner
- Transportation & Parking Advisory —Betty Averette
- University Priorities & Budget—Jane Stine
- Provost Search Committee—Jane Stine
- Faculty Council Liaison—Jane Stine
June 2, 1999
“ = Ex-Officio
Dee Dee Massey
Call to Order, Welcome to Guests
The Chair called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. She welcomed Associate Vice-Chancellor for Administration Jim Ramsey and Associate Provost Ned Brooks to provide opening remarks.
Ramsey began the meeting by welcoming the chance to get feedback and input on the myriad of issues facing the University. He was delighted with the return of Chancellor Michael Hooker, who returned to work on June 1. In addition, he noted that Provost Dick Richardson had returned to his post as well. Ramsey thanked Employees for keeping the pair in their prayers over these last difficult months. He praised the outstanding leadership of acting chancellor Bill McCoy and acting provost Brooks in their roles.
Ramsey noted the difficulty in maintaining continuity, as the Forum had met with Hooker in April at the Social Work building, and heard from McCoy in May. He hoped that the University was back on the path now.
Ramsey noted his first UNC graduation ceremony had taken place on the floor of the football stadium, and had been a great weekend and a testament to the quality of Chapel Hill and the campus. He thanked all that worked to make graduation a special event.
Concerning the University budget, Ramsey noted that the Governor had introduced his State budget 4-5 months ago, with budget cuts greater than previously thought from a State perspective. He knew of pieces of the budget, which include provisions recommended by the Governor. In addition, the budget contains cuts in the University continuation budget including cuts for fringe benefits and utilities. Both of these moves give the University less money to spend. The State House has gone ahead with these recommendations. However, the General Assembly has returned the 5% of overhead once sent to the General Administration back to the Chapel Hill campus. This windfall represents an additional $3 million for the University. However, the University faces a reinstatement of the 1% reversion back to the State. Last year, the 2% reversion was returned to the University, and it is hoped that the return of the 1% reversion might be delayed. Still, the Senate is yet to take up the higher education budget, and the conference committee is yet to meet. There is a long way to go before the campus sees its final legislative allocation.
On the campus level, the University has known for a while that it needs to prepare for a difficult budget year. Through a variety of bad circumstances, the University is in an even more difficult budgetary situation. To begin, the State budget cut will probably total around $1.7 million. Secondly, the University must pay out on a number of legal liabilities into the next fiscal year.
Thirdly, the University faces the 27th biweekly payroll problem. The University has known about this problem for around eleven years, since the last time this problem occurred Statewide. However, it has not grasped the opportunities t o fix this problem. The University is expected to pay out on its obligations to Employees on a cash basis, as it conducts its accounts on a cash and not an accrual basis. This liability in the new fiscal year is expected to total $4.8 million, not counting funds of other sources.
The University is expected to identify its commitments and priorities, and to reallocate funds from one set of activities to another. Hooker, as well as the Forum and the Faculty Council, have worked on the difficult issue of resource reallocation through the past year and a half.
The University must match its recurring resources with recurring programs. In the past, the University has made the decision to fund recurring funds with one-time monies, piecing together the gaps through interest income. However, now the University must go back to match recurring expenditures with permanent monies. These problems altogether represent a $10 million problem.
University administrators have tried to deal with this problem over the last several months by talking with the University community to make sure that all understand the issues involved. There will be a special meeting of the University Priorities and Budget Committee tomorrow as well as a cabinet meeting to discuss these questions. No decisions have yet been made on how to deal with these problems.
As a result of campus discussions, administrators have decided that this is not the appropriate time to set up a budget reserve. As most people try to keep savings accounts, most institutions try to establish rainy day funds. However, the University cannot create such a contingency without adding to the University deficit.
The second bit of advice is to allow administrators the option to spread out their cuts over four years. As the University did not find itself in this situation as a course of one year’s action, the consensus was that it would be best to spread the year’s cuts over a longer period of time.
Finally, discussants thought it best to place 40% of the cuts on the academic side of the University and 60% on the administrative side, given that the University’s primary function is to educate its students. This choice however is very difficult for the administrative side of the University, which has undergone the $1.7 million budget cut, mandated by the span of control study (of which Business & Finance absorbed $1 million).
Brooks said that the process of determining cuts as acting provost had been exhausting, with information changing from day to day. His group had worked to understand the dimensions of the University budget problem before making decisions about its resolution.
He noted that the $9.8 million issue came from a number of commitments, which responded to needs expressed by staff, faculty, and students. Still others came from the top levels of administration, to move the University forward and fulfill its mission. Brooks said that these choices were not whims but were decisions well thought out and fundamentally important to the University’s future.
Brooks said that the Provost’s Office had not escaped unscathed from the recent budget cuts, as it will absorb $3 million of the $9.8 million. Administrators have established three levels of priority: as the University exists to educate students and generate new knowledge, the core part of the University is its schools and libraries. Schools and libraries are considered priorities and so were protected as much as possible, although they did not emerge unscathed.
The second priority on the academic side is the University’s research centers, which generate a lot of money and serve many faculty and student functions. The University must be careful when cutting in its research, as it does not want to “eat its seed corn.” Research centers must have a certain amount of money to generate the funds that they do, which currently number in the tens of millions of dollars.
The third priority on the academic side is everything else. These areas, including the Ackland Art Museum, the Black Cultural Center, the Arboretum, the Botanical Gardens, and the Morehead Planetarium, perform important and valuable tasks but will receive serious examination in the coming weeks. However, the University will not simply lop off a percentage of each area’s budget without serious consideration of the functions and roles of each area.
Brooks emphasized that the Provost’s Office is searching for savings but will seek to protect valuable Employees. The last thing anyone wants to do is to cause layoffs unless fundamentally necessary. Consultation with the Forum, as well as with departments and schools, is an integral part of the budget process. Then, decisions about how to deal with the apportioned cuts will be left to the deans and directors of various units. Brooks said that administrators in South Building would not make what should be localized decisions.
Brooks and Ramsey asked the Forum to make its thoughts and opinions known on the process, so that administrators might keep its position in mind if the budget situation changes.
Eileen McGrath asked how much the budget problem is unique to UNC-Chapel Hill, since she had little conception of the situation on other System campuses. Brooks said that the campus had caused the lion’s share of the problem itself, rather than the State or General Administration. The University has roughly $9 million in resources to apply for the coming year, compared with $19 million in commitments. The University would have more resources if it were not forced to revert some back to the State. However, the University has needed to reallocate its resources if it is to make the new commitments necessary to improve, as per Chancellor’s Hooker’s mandate. While University income is not growing by leaps and bounds, the University is not a stagnant organization and is committed to moving forward with various initiatives.
Ramsey noted that every campus has a .5% base budget cut, but expansion funds are driven by a student credit hour driven formula that rewards growing campuses. Other System institutions have elected to increase their enrollments, but UNC-Chapel Hill has decided to focus on its academic quality by maintaining stable enrollments. This decision means that Carolina will not receive new State money for salaries and utilities, among other sources of expansion dollars.
Sherry Graham asked how the University planned to handle the 27th payroll period problem. Ramsey said that his office is exploring three or four different proposals, but he could not say exactly how the University would decide to handle the problem in 2011. Brooks said that the Employee Forum should have a role in addressing the problem. He understood one solution would be to simply move all SPA Employees to a monthly payroll system, similar to the rest of State Government. The University will need to think through various approaches and their ramifications. Graham noted that some institutions pay their Employees twice a month rather than biweekly, which would decrease the number of overall pay periods administered annually.
Betty Averette asked in light of Brooks’ remark that no decision has been made concerning departmental layoffs, why some rumors have department heads not filling vacant positions or laying off certain Employees. Brooks said that the University has not yet implemented a specific plan, but some managers might have chosen to pre-empt cuts by not filling vacant positions which might later be cut. He emphasized that the University has not yet finalized or implemented a decision in its discussions, but thought that some managers might be reacting to the “writing on the wall.”
Karen Geer said that her department had received a memo asking managers to prepare for a worst case scenario. She asked what the estimate of the administrative cut might be. Ramsey said that the percentage of each unit’s cut has not yet been calculated, and he did not yet know what it would be. Administrators will look at every option, such as vacancies, other fund sources, and other initiatives such as the Empower and InDepth projects to create efficiencies and realize savings. He praised Laurie Charest, Roger Patterson, Bruce Runberg and Carolyn Elfland for their efforts to reduce paperwork and increase productivity through these projects. The administration will look at these initiatives when determining its final budget projections and recommended cuts.
Ramsey noted that the policy of the campus is not to increase its student population unless it has the funds to support this increase in population through current services. He said that the Board of Trustees understands that it cannot increase the campus population considerably without appropriate levels of faculty and staff support. The University is exploring various ways that it can capture support funds and operational costs with the State Treasurer, a goal that it must accomplish if it is to continue to bring in more federal dollars for campus projects. Ramsey noted that the University had recently lost Jerry Fife to Vanderbilt, where he will have the luxury of a larger staff and more resources to carry out his work with contracts & grants.
Peggy Berryhill said that a major disconnect exists with academic departments trying to register students before the State census date. She said that the Graduate School has urged students to register before this date, so that the University may receive appropriate credit with the State for these students. Ramsey said that the University is aware of the collective problem of when 500 students register after the census date, and is working to alleviate this problem.
Secondly, Ramsey said that the University would need to examine its overall organizational structure, to find various operational efficiencies. Several academic programs with overlapping missions may be asked to work as one. This is a longer term issue of the University’s central administrative functions, and will require set criteria and measurements to quantify productivity and contributions to the University mission. The University Priorities and Budget Committee has begun to work in this area, but it is difficult to identify priorities clearly in a time of budget cuts.
Robert Thoma recalled that a month ago the Forum had received news of an excess of vacant positions. He asked if the University’s priorities had changed concerning these vacancies. Laurie Charest noted that monies encumbered for vacant positions cannot be unencumbered and put forward to cut departmental budgets in many cases. There are ways to unencumber salaries and pay workers without losing the vacancy permanently. She noted that lapsed salaries could be used to meet temporary budget targets, but not the recurring dollars that the University now needs. As long as a vacancy continues, its encumbrance on departmental funds continues, and as long as a position is continued, the department receives temporary savings.
Linda Drake appreciated the vigilance of the administrative team in coming to grips with the University’s budget problem. Ramsey noted that the campus has tried to stay on the cutting edge of higher education, which has led it in some cases to finance permanent needs with temporary dollars. However, the University must find a permanent funding source for these endeavors. He said that the University has not grown its funding sources, but is working on ways to increase its overhead dollars. It is hoped that more federal grants will include provisions for operational costs.
Another thing the University is looking at is the campus-based tuition initiative. This idea is something of a political buzzsaw in North Carolina, a traditionally low-tuition State. However, it may be desirable to look at tuition and whether students should pay a greater share of the cost of their education. Students at UNC-Chapel Hill generally pay about 12% of the cost of their instruction, apart from administrative costs; the rule of thumb is that students should pay about 25% of their costs. As the University receives around 17,000 applications for 4,000 places in each freshman class, demand for places could sustain a tuition increase. However, there are downsides to this suggestion.
Lynn Ray asked if the University has taken a look at reducing capital projects as a way to save money for the future. Ramsey said that the General Assembly has mandated a study of capital needs, which has recently been completed by Eva Klein, who reported in April that the UNC System has a capital deficiency of approximately $6.9 billion. The Board of Governors has endorsed a financial plan to pay for needed new facilities and the renovation of existing facilities via a bond issue. In the past, the UNC System has paid for its capital needs on a pay as you go basis, but the new bond package will function much as a home mortgage works.
Ramsey said that the University needs to find more space, even thought this will create pressures on the operating side of the University.
The Chair thanked Brooks and Ramsey for attending the meeting.
The Chair introduced Aaron Nelson and Willie Scroggs to make a special presentation on the upcoming Special Olympics, and how the event will affect the University campus. Scroggs wished the Forum good morning. He noted that the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill areas had moved five years ago to attract the World Special Olympic Summer Games. Around 4,000 students will be housed on campus in late June and early July. Events will take place in the Smith Center, on Fetzer Field, and in Wollen Gym. In addition, the Student Union will become an Olympic Town for athletes and their parents.
Scroggs said that the event would not mean that significantly more people would be on campus than is normal in late June or early July. Dining Services and Housing are well prepared to deal with the influx, which is not nearly as many people as the University handles during summer school.
Scroggs said that no one will be forced to do anything out of the ordinary for their jobs, and no one will be forced to pay for anything out of pocket to assist the Special Olympics effort. Around 10,000 athletes will participate in what has been billed as the largest sporting event in the world this year.
Scroggs emphasized that the Special Olympics is not a spectator driven event, and should not disrupt normal activities such as summer school.
Nelson passed out an information sheet detailing campus events. Employees desiring more information can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or access http://www.unc.edu/99games Also, 1610 A.M. will provide up to date information as the Games progress.
Nelson noted that Stadium Drive would be closed to all but public transit for the duration of the event. Independent of the event, Manning Drive is undergoing a streamlining project, which will reduce traffic to two lanes and one lane at certain points. Nelson said to look for an excess of transport vehicles and trucks transporting athletes to and from campus.
Employees desiring more information on how to volunteer for the event and code volunteer hours can consult the Human Resources web page.
The Special Olympics will affect parking, but departments affected should receive a direct communication from Public Safety. Nelson apologized in advance to any Employees forced to move, but reminded listeners that the Special Olympics represents a wonderful cause.
Access to the McCall Building and the Student Union will be restricted to those carrying special identification, due to the political sensitivity of the event.
Dorothy Grant asked how the traffic and construction on Ridge Road would affect parking through the duration of the event. Scroggs said that Employees should have full access to Ridge Road unless they park on Stadium Drive.
Sherry Graham asked a question on behalf of an Employee desiring to volunteer but stay on the Chapel Hill campus. Nelson said that the University has no control over the administrative procedures governing the Special Olympics. He noted that the event must administer needs across the Triangle for 35,000 special volunteers, and so could not promise to accommodate every volunteer’s needs. Scroggs urged those looking to volunteer to watch one of the events, and said that there will not be an admissions charge.
Bethany Cowan asked Public Safety would guard overflow lots to insure Employee parking in these areas. Scroggs noted that volunteers and participants would come and go throughout the day, but said that Public Safety would guard affected ungated lots during normal working hours.
Betty Averette asked when the events would take place. Scroggs said that the events would take place all during the day and into the evening, throughout the ten days of the event. Select levels of competition have been matched against one another, and will participate against one another throughout the week.
Sherry McGrath suggested that Public Safety move to protect parking spots for Employees working during weekends. Scroggs said that the small number of spectators for events should not make these measures necessary.
Robert Thoma asked about the procedures by which facilities services would receive picture identification for access to sensitive areas such as dormitories. Scroggs said that the measures should not make it difficult for facilities personnel to get such access. He asked Thoma to contact him for further discussion.
Human Resources Update
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest noted that workshops on the new grievance procedures would take place June 3 from 1-2:30 p.m. and June 11 from 9-10:30 a.m. at 725 Airport Road.
The Human Resources advisory board has been created at General Administration, with members serving a 3 year term. Each of the University’s sixteen campuses has been asked to submit a plan of operation concerning classification levels. Carolina has hosted the first of these site visits, and has currently received authority to cover over 90% of SPA positions at UNC. The University has requested classification authority for all positions to reduce turnover time. However, the University must act within the existing Classification Board. Charest would keep the Forum abreast of developments in this area. Part of the University’s classification study will deal with the status of law enforcement officers.
As a legislative update, Charest noted that the State budget currently includes a 3% raise for SPA Employees. Of this, 1% is considered a cost of living adjustment and 2% a career growth bonus. Additionally, each Employee would receive a $125 bonus for all as of July 1. On the EPA side, departments will receive a pool of money equal to a 3% increase, with an additional $125 per Employee.
WPPR evaluations are due to Human Resources. Charest asked if any Employees, specifically non-supervisory, would be interested in interested in serving on the University’s performance management review board.
The Prudential term life insurance policy is due to receive a significant rate increase in June. The University Insurance Committee has elected to review the waiver of the premium provision for disabled Employees, and will issue a request for proposals for term life insurance to replace Prudential. Charest envisioned that a conversion might take place by next year.
Charest was sad to announce that Lindsey Reeves had accepted a position to move to Georgia to follow her husband. She said that the HEELS for Health program and the University would certainly miss her.
Approval of the Minutes
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the May 5, 1999 meeting. Linwood Futrelle made this motion, seconded by Linda Drake. Matt Banks noted that Eileen McGrath had been incorrectly listed as absent, and that the Louis Round Wilson Library had been misidentified. Accepting these corrections, the Forum approved the minutes as amended.
Nora Robbins reported that David DeVries had been heavily involved in the recent legislative session. She was confident that the prescription drug card would go through, although this provision would raise the premium costs slightly higher. Rates are now expected to rise 30% for family coverage under the State plan. With the prescription card, Employees must still make their co-payment, but will not have to apply for reimbursement. Policy deductibles will continue as before.
The Chair noted that the Forum had been asked to make comments on the selection of the University’s new Provost at a meeting on June 10. All Forum members and Employees are invited to attend.
The Chair said that she would continue to forward comments and questions to Jim Ramsey and Ned Brooks on the budget situation. She offered to forward anonymous comments when requested. She hoped that the University would find a way to move forward through this problem as painlessly as possible.
The Chair hoped that Janet Tice would be able to make a special presentation to the Forum in July on the new Diners’ Club Card policy. She understood that the new cards are meant to speed reimbursement costs when prepaying registration and airline tickets. Peggy Berryhill noted that when calling to activate the card, Employees could submit their Personal Identification Numbers (PIDs) to activate the cards. The Chair noted that some Employees are upset about the perceived requirement to incur travel debt on behalf of the University. She hoped that Tice would explain the policy and its workings in detail.
Lynn Ray asked whether information sessions about the card would be scheduled. Eileen McGrath said that many Employees do not welcome another credit card, and did not like the feeling that the University was unilaterally deciding to meddle in their financial affairs. Berryhill noted the caveat that use of the card is optional, but recalled the perception that Employees will not be able to get advances on things such as hotel bills. Robert Thoma said that the card is a charge card that requires Employees to pay in full every month, but which gives 60 days to repay. He noted also that the University would have to pay the $6 for cash advance charges.
The Chair reminded members that they must obey all State rules in terms of per diem expenditures on the card. She looked forward to continuing this discussion next month.
The Chair reported that there had been some wrangling over funding for evening classes between Arts & Sciences and the Provost’s Office. A task force has been created to look at how better to realize the goals of evening class work in Continuing Studies, and Libby Evans has agreed to serve on this committee.
The Chair thanked members for serving on the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force. She noted that the Forum Office would soon count the Employee surveys.
The Forum Office had fielded a question concerning free parking for retired Employees, and had received an answer from Public Safety stating that retired Employees may receive free parking if an application is received from their department.
The Forum Office has advised Point-to-Point to publicize the availability of free ‘U’ and ‘Reverse U’ buses to Employees denied service. Lynn Ray has consulted with Jim Magyar on behalf of Employees working in the Kenan Center.
The Chair forwarded a question to the Recognition & Awards Committee and Gwen Burston concerning the creation of a Nurses’ Day similar to Secretaries’ Day for University nurses.
The Forum’s resolution supporting permanent funding for HEELS for Health has been forwarded to the Chancellor.
The Executive Committee will examine the Forum Guidelines at its June and July meetings. Members with proposed revisions to the Guidelines should contact the Chair or the Forum Office.
Pete Andrews has forwarded a survey on direct deposit questions to the Forum Office.
Derek Poarch and Carolyn Elfland will attend the next Executive Committee meeting to discuss the overhead costs associated with implementation of a sliding scale for campus parking permits.
Committee & Task Force Reports
Bobbie Lesane, Chair of the Career Development Committee, noted that the group has been engaged in brainstorming on ways to implement a statement on manager support for staff training. The group has also been brainstorming ideas for pamphlets for staff training, to make Employees aware of current opportunities. Lesane was encouraged by faculty member Ron Strauss’ participation in these meetings as a member of the Faculty Council Executive Committee.
Vicki Pineles announced plans for the spring community meeting, to be held June 23 at 10 a.m. in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium.
The Nominating Committee is moving forward with its call for nominations letter, which should go out in July. The group is also looking at alternatives to a special election in Division 2.
The Orientation Committee will meet June 28 at 10:30 a.m. in Room 202 Carr Building.
Dorothy Grant reported to the Personnel Issues Committee about the problem of a blind student unable to get into the school via service vehicles on weekends. Tommy Brickhouse and Point-to-Point have pledged to deal with this student in the future.
The Personnel Issues committee has begun to analyze the data concerning the SPA exempt survey. Martha Barbour, chair of the committee, had not anticipated the amount of time the survey would take to classify and analyze. In addition, the group had been forced to sort the data by excluding anonymous responses due to a programming error, which will skew the final analysis somewhat. The committee plans to analyze the anonymous data separately.
The University Committee Assignments Committee has made two appointments, with another five in the works. Denise Childress specifically mentioned the need for non-supervisory Employees to serve on the Performance Management Review Board.
Employees with comments or questions on the budget situation should contact Jane Stine at email@example.com or 962-1939. She would respond and pass on comments as appropriate. She asked members to help dispel unfounded rumors rising across campus about the budget process.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:34 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary