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UNC–Chapel Hill Employee Forum Annual Retreat Agenda
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Freedom Forum Room, 305 Carroll Hall (School of Journalism)

9:00-9:15 AM             Morning Refreshment—Coffee, Tea, Pastries

9:15-9:20 AM             Call to Order, Welcome Guests

9:20-9:40 AM             Opening Remarks from Larry Hicks

9:40-10:00 AM           Human Resources Update with Brenda Malone

10:00-10:30 AM         Business

10:30-11:00 PM         Committee Descriptions by Current Committee Chairs

11:00-11:10 AM         Break

11:10-11:30 AM         Election of Forum Officer Candidates

(Nominations and speeches from the Floor will be accepted)
• Forum Chair
—Candidates: Charles Streeter
• Forum Vice-Chair
—Candidates: Dan Barmmer
• Forum Secretary
—Candidates: Paula Goodman, Anna Schwab
• Forum Treasurer
—Candidates: Tammy Cox
• Forum Parliamentarian
—Candidates: Matthew McKirahan

11:30-12:30 PM          Lunch

12:30PM-1:15 PM

1:15-1:45 PM              Delegates’ Selection of Forum Committees

1:45-2:45 PM              Committee Breakouts, Initial Meeting to Establish Plans for the Year.

2:45-3:15 PM              Committee Reports

3:15-3:30 PM              Closing Remarks and Adjournment


June 5, 2013 Employee Forum minutes

Delegates attending (those who signed in):  Dan Barmmer, Nancy Beach, Ellen Donna Brooks, Deborah Bush, Tiffany Carver, Karen Cheek, Jacquelyn Copeland, Tammy Cox, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Paula Goodman, Maggie Grant, Christine Greenberg, John Gullo, Melissa Haugh, Michael Highland, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Shelby Long, Matthew McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Danny Nguyen, Aluoch Ooro, Jackie Overton, Myra Quick, Kathy Ramsey, Koyah Rivera, Christina Rodriguez, Anna Schwab, David Schwartz, Tara Smith, Charles Streeter, Jerry Waller

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  She noted this was her eleventh day in a row working.  She said that the meeting has a full agenda.  She was pleased to introduce Director of Housing Larry Hicks, recalling that the last time Hicks spoke to the Forum he received an impolite reception.  She said she personally apologized for this treatment and vowed that it would never happen again while she was on the Forum.  She felt it important to leave the Forum in better shape than how she found it.  She then led the room in a series of introductions.

Hicks related that he had been involved in the initial discussions regarding creation of the Employee Forum.  He noted that his department oversees 10,000 on-campus residents and maintains 3.3 million square feet of building space and 89 campus structures.  The department has a $53 million budget, all based in operations revenues.  The Division of Student Affairs, of which the Department of Housing is a subsidiary, has a $97 million budget, of which 4% is State funded.  Hicks said that he works to keep the primary focus on student learning and success.  He said that every interaction matters, recalling the experience of one housekeeper who became a student’s “Carolina Mom” due to their interaction over four years.  He praised the appearance of Carolina, and noted the goal of the former director of Grounds to make every campus location the backdrop of a postcard.  He said that everyone here makes a difference whether we know it or not.  Hicks said that he had remained at Carolina 35 years for the students, above all.  He enjoyed the opportunity to watch students grow during their time at Carolina as they venture forth to “conquer the world.”  He quoted the late Student Body President Eve Carson, “learn from every single being, experience, and moment. What joy it is to search for lessons and goodness and enthusiasm in others.”  The Chair asked if Hicks would do it all over again.  Hicks said that the example of the students drove him to continue on.  He looked a life as a series of learning experiences.  The Chair thanked Hicks for his words and his work.

The Chair welcomed Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Malone noted the recent 25-year service award banquet, at which one 45-year service employee from Fencing and one 50-year employee from Anesthesiology were recognized, among others.  Malone praised Chris Meinecke and all those associated with the Forum’s Peer Recognition Banquet the previous week.  She said that the Human Resources Transformation of Service Delivery will start delivery of services soon.  She said that the existing model of Human Resources Facilitators will change to a more thoughtful and accountable approach.  She said that the transition will begin in July.  The last HR Facilitator meeting took place in April, with the newly designed Carolina HR Council to begin soon.  This training will align with the implementation of PeopleSoft, all in lockstep towards the GoLive date of January, 2014.  The system will be driven by the roles and responsibilities of Human Resources operation.  She praised her team’s work on the process of transition.

Malone noted the past two years which have been filled with lots of issues involving Human Resources and the Employee Forum.  She thought that the bond between the two had strengthened, although the two have not always seen eye to eye.  She said that both institutions want to work to support and maintain this fabulous institution.  She praised the Chair and the Forum’s leadership group.  She presented the Chair with a couple of gifts, an OHR hat and a journal.

The Chair noted that the Forum minutes required a couple of grammatical corrections.  She asked for a motion to approve the minutes as amended.  Myra Quick made this motion, seconded by John Gullo.  The minutes were approved by acclamation as amended.

Charles Streeter presented the Forum with a proposal to use the Staff Development fund for 3-month employee Rosetta Stone subscriptions.  He said that the subscriptions would cost the Fund $5650 for twenty subscriptions for one year.  He noted that Jerry Waller had mentioned the University’s recent subscription to LiveMocha, a similar service.  He had sent an e-mail to the Rosetta Stone representative asking if this meant that the Forum would be duplicating services.  He noted that Rosetta Stone has recently acquired LiveMocha.  Lois Douglass-Alston asked if these subscriptions would be reserved for housekeepers only.  Streeter said that this would not be the case.  Matt McKirahan asked if asked about possible payments for live interaction with native speakers.  Streeter said that he would look up this item in the proposed contract.  McKirahan noted Rosetta Stone’s recent scaling back of live native support.  McKirahan also said that he uses a non-Rosetta Stone headset for his work with the program.  He noted that some hardware is unable to run the program well.  Streeter asked if Human Resources had implemented a test run when it began its program for housekeepers.  David Schwartz asked the Forum to evaluate the program for purchase without too much emphasis on technical complexities.  Jerry Waller noted his involvement with the implementation of the LiveMocha program.  He said that LiveMocha is available to University employees with no extra charge.  He did not think that the Rosetta Stone proposal is a bad idea.  Dan Barmmer asked when the LiveMocha proposal will end.  Waller said that it will finish at the end of the next fiscal year.  Schwartz said that he was reluctant to hold off on moving forward with this proposal.  Koyah Rivera asked how the Forum would advertise the Rosetta Stone proposal.  Streeter said that it would be first-come, first-serve via a gravity form on the Forum website.  Christine Greenberg said that since the University had purchased the other platform, the Forum could use this fact to negotiate more licenses for the price mentioned.  Tammy Cox clarified that the Forum wanted to use its Staff Development funds wisely.  Michael Highland asked why the University is offering a vanity service in LiveMocha.  He asked how the University will make sure that subscribers are making viable progress.  McKirahan said that this system had been well-received at other schools. Streeter noted that LiveMocha is a cloud-based service.  McKirahan moved to close discussion and to table the Rosetta Stone proposal until a comparison between that and LiveMocha could be drawn.

Danny Nguyen noted the Forum’s responsibility not to duplicate services.  Streeter said that employees would need to work on Rosetta Stone on their own time and own computer.  He asked how successful LiveMocha would be serving the University community given the dearth of publicity so far.  Lois Douglass-Alston asked about the Education and Career Development committee’s charge.  Streeter said that the committee is charged to provide opportunities for professional and personal enrichment.  Christine Greenberg noted that the Forum does not have to spend this money.  Anna Schwab said that the committee had entertained other ideas, such as a cooking class for employees.  Chris Meiencke proposed that the Forum monitor LiveMocha use to determine the number of people interested in language training.  Streeter commented that a study would be best if it studied both services at once.  Highland raised a concern that the Forum would purchase the Rosetta Stone service without providing other support.  Matt McKirahan reiterated his motion to end discussion and table the idea until July.  Nguyen suggested doing a survey of potential interest in the service.  Tammy Cox seconded McKirahan’s motion.  A majority were in favor, with one voting against and one abstention.

At this point the Forum presented Chair Jackie Overton with an engraved picture frame to mark her time on the Forum.  James Holman presented Overton with a plaque noting her work on behalf of University housekeepers.  The Forum then approved resolution 13-03 making Overton a lifetime honorary delegate of the Forum.  Charles Streeter then shared a brief slideshow marking Overton’s time as Chair.

The Chair asked committee chairs to speak briefly on their groups’ charges.  At this point the Forum took a brief break.

The Chair asked for nominations from the floor for Forum Chair, noting that Charles Streeter was the only candidate nominated.  As there were no other nominations, the Forum accepted Streeter as Chair by acclamation.  The Chair asked for nominations from the floor for Forum Vice Chair, noting that Dan Barmmer was the only candidate nominated.  As there were no other nominations, the Forum accepted Barmmer as Vice Chair by acclamation.

The Chair asked for nominations from the floor for Forum Secretary, noting that Paula Goodman and Anna Schwab had been nominated.  Schwab withdrew her candidacy in favor of Goodman.  The Chair asked for nominations from the floor for Forum Treasurer, noting that Tammy Cox was the only candidate nominated.  As there were no other nominations, the Forum accepted Cox as Treasurer by acclamation.  The Chair asked for nominations from the floor for Forum Parliamentarian, noting that Matthew McKirahan was the only candidate nominated.  As there were no other nominations, the Forum accepted McKirahan as Parliamentarian by acclamation.

In the interlude before lunch, the Chair shared life lessons from Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone including, “be true to yourself,” “stand in your truth,” “be the change you want to see in the world,” “leave the world a better place,” and “strive for balance in life.”  She confessed she was still working to find a balance between work, rest, and play given her commitments.  She had not had ten weekends off in the past ten years.  Other quotes were “even when afraid, do something,” “laugh often,” “pay it forward,” “speak truth to power,” “keep the University’s vision in view,” and “don’t sweat the small stuff.”  She recalled being an abused employee by a manager who pulled out a KKK card every time she underwent a review.  She had gone to her director and Human Resources but without help.  She was pleased that this wound did not hurt so much anymore.  Michael Highland encouraged her to rip up that metaphorical KKK card.

The Chair presented certificates of appreciation to outgoing delegates and those delegates who have finished a term of service.

Chris Meinecke presented Bob Henshaw, Academic Outreach Consultant with Information Technology Services and the Center for Faculty Excellence, with the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool award).

The Chair presented Paula Schubert with a plaque noting her status as honorary lifetime delegate.  Schubert recalled her time in the 1980’s and 1990s advocating for employees through the media and rallies at Old Well.  She recalled that decision-makers thought there would not be so much media attention if employees were granted something like the Forum as a way to provide feedback on employee concerns.  She noted that it was up to the Chancellor to keep the body going.  She sent salutations and regrets from first Forum Chair Kay Hovious, who recently experienced quadruple bypass surgery.  She said that the Forum expanded itself to include not only SPA employees but EPA non-faculty as well.  She noted the expansion of this classification in recent years.  Schubert urged the Forum to stand against efforts to remove itself from the State Personnel Act.  David Schwartz asked why she opposed this move.  Schubert said that doing away with Chapter 126 would do away with protections regarding work hours, vacation, sick leave, promotional opportunities, and grievance procedures.  All employees would become at-will employees.  She said some of the changes would not be bad, but some would be very detrimental to employees’ lives.  The Chair noted that the Forum was on record as opposing personnel flexibility.  Schubert recalled that the legislation to remove UNC Hospitals and ECU Hospitals from the SPA was appended to the end of a budget bill as a rider included at the last second.  She urged employees to be vigilant against these kinds of changes.  She also urged delegates to say what is on their mind without fear of retaliation or retribution.  Schubert greeted people that she knew such as Dan Barmmer and James Holman.  The Chair said that the Forum’s progress is an embodiment of what Schubert and Hovious had saw twenty years ago.  She said that when she speaks she speaks no for herself, but for those whom she follows.  She recalled she was told it would be impossible to bring a woman chancellor to Chapel Hill.

Chris Meinecke presented James Holman, Jackie Overton, and Charles Streeter with the inaugural Kay Wijnberg Hovious Outstanding Delegate award.  He noted that Hovious sent her regrets that she could not attend due to illness.  The Chair praised Holman’s and Streeter’s hard work on behalf of the Forum and University employees.

Delegates then chose their committees, and broke into the year’s first committee meetings.  Following these meetings, Arlene Medder noted that Shelby Long will join her on the Carolina Campus Community Garden advisory committee.  Medder said that the garden has generated 50 pounds of food in the last week.  The Chair noted that the Forum helped start the garden and help procure permanent funding for the coordinator.  Christina Lebonville reported that James Holman will take over the chair’s position of the Personnel Issues committee.  The Chair noted the Legislature’s chipping away at employee rights.  She urged delegates to be vigilant against these changes.  Mike Highland was announced as the new chair of the Recognition & Awards committee.  Charles Streeter noted that Jackie Copeland had agreed to become the new photographer for the Forum.  Matthew McKirahan and Lois Douglass-Alston will co-chair the Education and Career Development committee.  Katie Turner will chair the Communications and Public Relations committee, and Paula Goodman will chair the Membership & Assignments committee.  It was proposed to invite housekeepers to attend the September social.  John Gullo reported that the Bylaws committee met to focus on succession and electronic voting issues.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 11:30-1:30 p.m. in the Forum Office.  The Vice Chancellor/Provost meetings will take place the second Thursday of even numbered month from 10-11 a.m. in South Building.  The Chair encouraged all delegates to attend at least one of these meetings a year.  Chris Meinecke asked about coding Forum work as work time.  James Holman said that delegates are not required to report these hours yet.  The Chair disagreed, saying that reporting Forum work in TIM is a good practice.

The Chair discussed the Forum’s accomplishments over the past three years.

The Chair announced that the University will conduct an emergency drill June 19 from 9-2 p.m.  She said that this drill should not disrupt the majority of campus.  The Forum Office will be closed from June 11-June 26.  The Chair noted that she would be on vacation from June 18-24 to see her grandchild in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She said that Vice Chancellor Karol Kain Gray had agreed to cover the Forum’s $1100 budget shortfall for this year.  She praised Tammy Cox for putting together a plan to avert further shortfalls in the future.  The Chair said that one cannot operate in fear and one should feel free to ask.  She said that she would take a sabbatical to recover from her exertions following colon surgery in January.  She recalled the extreme time commitments related to the Chancellor’s search committee.  She will be intentionally busy with training sessions for the next three Forum meetings, but she would still be around.

The Chair encouraged delegates to share their thoughts as the retreat was about to close.  Among other items, John Gullo asked that the Forum concentrate on collecting data about its operations.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 3:39 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary




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