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Employee Forum Agenda

March 2, 2011

9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I.            Call to Order

II.           Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.         Special Presentations

    • Associate Vice Chancellor Carolyn Elfland on Carolina Counts
    • Ombuds Officers Wayne Blair & Laurie Mesibov

IV.          Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.          Approval of February Minutes

VI.       Old Business

VII.         New Business

  • Bylaws Revisions (First Reading)
  • Resolution 11-01 Concerning the Promotion of Fair and Equitable Human Resources Policies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (First Reading)

VIII.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Sarah Poteete (February 15 minutes)
  • Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Aldrich
  • Compensation & Benefits: Dan Barmmer (January 27 minutes)
  • Education and Career Development:
  • Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen  (minutes combined with Compensation & Benefits)
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards:  Chris Meinecke (February 23 minutes)
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman (January 26 minutes)
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:  Chuck Brink
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton  (January 18 minutes)

IX.       Announcements/Questions

X.        Adjournment


March 2, 2011 Employee Forum minutes

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She welcomed new delegate Teri Augustine. She introduced Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to make the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Malone thanked the Forum for sponsoring a campus-wide notary public class to be held on May 12. Human Resources is looking to begin other programs such as on-line training for Microsoft Office. Human Resources is accepting applications for the ULEAD managerial training program. The deadline for these applications is March 15. She said that this course would provide skills needed to be an effective leader in an academic environment.

Malone noted that the University’s FMLA standards were not compliant with Office of State Personnel standards. Now, they are triggered after a qualifying condition of ten days absence. Human Resources will promulgate the new policy in the next couple of weeks. Malone noted also that concerning the housekeeping Request for Proposals (RFP), the University had reviewed all proposals and should come to a decision in the next couple of weeks. Chuck Brink asked if the University could extend this proposal to all of Facilities Services. Malone said that the University cannot change the scope of the RFP in a significant way.

The Chair introduced Ombuds Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov. Blair noted that the Ombuds office maintains confidentiality in conversations and so any conversation does not put the institution on formal notice. He noted that the office is required to break confidence in event of imminent risk of physical harm or the endangerment of children, elderly, or the disabled. The office tracks patterns and trends and is designed to be neutral, answering only to the Chancellor. Blair introduced Executive Assistant to the Office Victoria Dowd.

Regarding the current budget crisis, Blair noted that there are two schools of thought: 1) put one’s head down and don’t address anything and 2) fight every little thing. Things that would have been resolved in a brief conversation two years ago now are degenerating into adversarial confrontations. Blair reported that people are beginning to police one another, creating great challenges for departments. Blair reported having at least two facilitated conversations a week before Christmas. He also reported an increase in the need for confidential translators. He said that the office’s case load had dipped around the end of the spring semester then had risen again once work performance evaluations were completed. Blair cited an increase in faculty cases as well as an increase in mainly graduate students seeking help from the office.

Blair said that there has been a rise in ADA requests for accommodations as people look to use formal processes to fight the possible loss of their jobs. There has also been a rise in violence in the workplace filings, many of which do not rise to the level of this kind of complaint. He said that this route is used by some to bully other employees, leading some managers and employees to feel ganged up upon. Blair bemoaned a lack of communication leading to fracture lines within the campus community. Blair also noted the placement of items on Facebook that have compromised people’s integrity. He said that whatever one posts on-line always gets back to others. Ashley Fogle said that the Carolina Women’s Center is often asked to interpret the violence in the workplace policy. When does verbal communication rise to the level of the policy. Malone said that Human Resources takes all such complaints seriously. She said that the nature of the behavior is considered in the disposition of the case and some cases fall into grey areas. Martha Fowler said that some conduct may fall into the area of unacceptable personal conduct. Blair said that context plays a role. Fogle asked if Human Resources could partner with the Women’s Center to publicize the policy. Malone said that Human Resources would be happy to do so. Mesibov said that the form for citing complaints asks that complainants read the policy beforehand. Jill Crowder praised Fowler’s presentation on workplace violence and harassment that she made to the Grounds department months ago. Malone offered that Fowler could make a similar presentation for the Forum. Chuck Sockell urged the Ombuds Office to do more marketing as he had not heard of the group previously. Malone reminded listeners of the existence of the Educational Assistance Program and the Deer Oaks counselors for those facing trouble. John Gullo asked the proper use of computers for Facebook purposes. Blair said that people have used Facebook for their own purposes privately then others had accessed their pages. As a closing statement, Mesibov urged delegates to get more exercise, to act with more compassion, and to try to enjoy the good things in life.

Chuck Brink urged the Chair to take roll of delegates present. The Chair confirmed that the Forum had a quorum. She asked for a motion to approve the February minutes, stating that the minutes incorrectly referenced the John Locke Foundation and Representative Thom Tillis. Sandra O’Buckley had submitted grammatical corrections earlier. The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Chris Meinecke made this motion, seconded by Sarah Poteete. The motion was approved by acclamation.

The Chair updated the Forum on the approval of the Forum Bylaws. She recalled reading the Bylaws for the first time and finding some inconsistencies. She met with Professor Judith Wegner of the Law School who directed her to Professor Thomas Kelley of the School’s Clinical Law Programs. Kelley assigned a third-year law student to do the drafting. The Executive Committee discussed proposed changes in October and December. The student submitted a final draft in February, which the Chair immediately forwarded on to the Executive Committee. The Chair had asked Matt Banks to itemize the changes for the Forum’s vote on each. At the end of the day the student hopes to have the changes approved so she can get credit for her class. The Forum would consider the changes on first reading then make a final vote for approval in April. Chuck Brink said that there was no discussion in the Executive Committee and things seem to be moving with undue haste. He said that this is not the way that things should be done. The Chair said that the Staff Assembly was one example of how to do things. Brink moved that the Forum return these changes to the Executive Committee to be properly vetted. Chuck Sockell seconded this motion. The motion did not carry, by a vote of 4 in favor and 9 against. Sockell then moved that the Forum move forward with the proposed changes. Chris Meinecke seconded. The motion was approved with ten voting in favor, three against, and two abstaining.

These are the itemized changes with discussion and voting totals.

1. Change Employee Forum “Guidelines” to “Bylaws.” This change was approved with 24 in favor, 0 against, and 0 abstaining.

2. Elimination of Section II. 4. “Present the needs and described working conditions of University and State Employees to the North Carolina General Assembly, the University of North Carolina Office of the President and the general public of the state.” This change was approved with 16 voting in favor.

3. Addition of “…mandated by the University” to Section III. A. Eligibility. This change was approved with 19 voting in favor.

4. Change to Section III. B. 1. c. Re-election: “Upon completion of the third term, elected Delegates shall not run for and serve in the office of Delegate for one year.” The Chair noted that she had appointed between twelve and fifteen delegates in the past year, with still only 29 delegates serving actively. She had worked to get delegates appointed by various measures, including asking the Administration to provide help for employees seeking to serve. She said that the Forum had not had a full complement of members in a year and a half. She also said that the Executive Committee had approved these changes tentatively. Brink thought that employees should take a break for the good of their own jobs and the Forum. Marc ter Horst said that he supported the proposed change, given that people who want to leave the Forum can go when they like. Brink thought that supervisors might not allow the change. The Chair said that she had spoken with Human Resources and Finance about increasing Forum participation. Carleta Long said that tensions were beginning to rise and she hoped that they would not lead to a split. She thought that people should serve as long as they wish and are able, given their job situations. Chuck Sockell asked if the change would affect current members, to which the Chair said this would take place if the Forum chooses. Kitty Allen reported that the Grounds department had lost its representative recently and had relied on Brink to bring reports from the Forum. Paul Kimple suggested putting a time limit on the extra term for delegates. Malone pointed out that the Forum could always amend its Bylaws again in the future. The Forum voted in favor of the change with 20 votes in favor, 4 against and 2 abstentions.

5. Removal of Section III. B. 2. Appointed (Chancellor’s Appointments). Malone noted that this proposed change would call into question the Forum’s status as an entity of the Chancellor. The Forum voted to retain this section with 24 votes to retain, 0 votes to remove and 0 votes to abstain.

6. Addition to Section V. “Employees attending Employee Forum meetings may speak, but shall not vote.” The Forum voted to accept this change with 23 votes in favor, 0 against and 0 abstaining.

7. Change to Section VI. B. 1. Nominations: “The Membership and Assignments Committee shall solicit nominations for Delegate elections and present a slate of nominees to employees via “hot memo” no later than March 1st of each year. Elections shall be completed by mid-April according to procedures approved by the Employee Forum and the Chancellor. The names of the new Delegates shall be reported to the Chair of the Employee Forum and the Chancellor by April 30th of each year.” The Forum voted to accept this change with 24 votes in favor, 0 votes against and 0 abstaining.

8. Question about VI. B. 2. c. Electoral Divisions: “Electoral divisions are based on federal employment categories.” Chuck Brink had a question about the placement of employees in electoral divisions. The Chair asked him to investigate the question in light of career banding. Chris Meinecke moved that the Forum remove this sentence. Twenty-one votes were in favor of this motion, with none against and none abstaining. James Holman confirmed that this change would not affect the Forum’s delegate elections this year, pending investigation by the Executive Committee.

9. Additions to VI. C. 1. Purpose:

“Pursuant to Section I (Mission) of the University of North Carolina Staff Assembly Bylaws, the University of North Carolina Staff Assembly (hereinafter “Staff Assembly”) shall gather and exchange information on behalf of the staff of The University of North Carolina System (hereinafter “University System.”) The Staff Assembly shall, through the appropriate channels, advise and communicate with officers of the University System, and through these officers, the Board of Governors, on matters of importance to staff members in the University System. The Staff Assembly shall foster and nurture the establishment and growth of staff organizations of the constituent institutions of the University System and of the General Administration. The Staff Assembly will represent all permanent employees of the University System except the faculty.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 17 in favor, 0 against and 5 abstentions.

10. Addition to VI.C.2. Staff Assembly Delegates: “Upon election, Staff Assembly Delegates shall be voting members of the Employee Forum Executive Committee.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 23 in favor and 1 abstentions.

11. Change to VII. A. Operating Year: “The Employee Forum operating year shall begin July 1st and end June 30th.” [Deleting reference to “fiscal year”] The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

12. Addition to VII. B. Monthly Meetings: “If a monthly Employee Forum meeting falls on the week of a University Holiday, the Executive Committee shall recommend any necessary schedule changes to the Employee Forum Chair. All schedule changes will be confirmed by the Employee Forum Chair and Delegates will be notified of said changes via email. The Forum shall notify the general public via its web site.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

13. Addition of VII. F-H.

  • Annual Retreat

An Employee Forum Retreat shall be held annually on the first Wednesday in June. Delegates are required to attend the Annual Retreat and Officers are required to present annual reports as prescribed in Section VII (G) of these Bylaws.

  • Annual Reports

A written report of the business of the Employee Forum and written reports from standing and special Employee Forum committees shall be prepared by Officers and made public annually at the June retreat.

  • Annual Orientation

An Employee Forum Orientation shall be held annually prior to the Employee Forum Annual Retreat. Newly elected and appointed Delegates are required to attend Annual Orientations. Outgoing Officers shall attend Annual Orientations and present written annual reports as prescribed in Section VIII (G) of these Bylaws. Chris Meinecke moved that “written annual reports” be inserted into the Annual Orientation section. Brink confirmed that the Chair should provide reports on meetings she holds with various University officials. The Forum voted in favor of this change with 23 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention.

14. Addition to VII. J. 2. Attendance: “The Delegate who wishes to be excused on this ground [Family & Medical Leave Act] must timely notify the Secretary of the Employee Forum in writing or via email.

“Should a Delegate’s employment duties require him or her to be absent at the time of a monthly meeting, the absence will be considered excused if the Delegate timely notifies the Secretary of the Employee Forum, in writing or via email, regarding the absence.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 19 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

15. Addition to VII. K. 1. b.: “Staff Assembly Delegates shall report to the Employee Forum in the same manner as Employee Forum Committees. A written report shall be presented to the Employee Forum Executive Committee should such an Executive Committee meeting occur before the full Employee Forum meeting.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 23 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention.

16. Deletion from VII. K. 1. d.: “If the Employee Forum has taken a position by vote, motion or resolution or other vote….” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

17. Addition of VII. K. 2.: “Attendance at Staff Assembly meetings

Staff Assembly Delegates shall attend all regular meetings of the Staff Assembly in person. Staff Assembly Delegates may attend special meetings of the Staff Assembly, or any committee meeting, in person or by means that allow for simultaneous two-way communication.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

18. Addition to VIII. A. Chair: “The Chair may appoint Delegates to replace any inactive committee, assist with any standing committee or request reports from appointed Delegates at monthly Employee Forum meetings. “ The Forum voted in favor of this change with 19 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

19. Change to VIII. F. Term of Office: “The Chair shall assume his or her duties on July 1st and shall serve a two-year elected term.” The Chair recalled Dan Barmmer saying that it would be easier to remove a bad chair who was serving a one-year term rather than a two year term. Chuck Sockell confirmed that a chair could in effect serve six consecutive years if elected. The Forum voted not to accept the proposed change, 0 in favor, 23 against, and 0 abstentions.

20. Deletion in VIII. F. Term of Office: “The immediate past Chair , Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Employee Forum, shall serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the Employee Forum until the term of their successor ends. An officer may be re-elected during his/her Delegate term.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

21. Changes to Section X. Amending the “ Bylaws

Recommendations for changes to the Employee Forum Bylaws must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Delegates present at a meeting where quorum exists. Recommendations for changes to the Employee Forum Bylaws shall be made in writing and distributed to Delegates at any monthly Employee Forum meeting, and shall be voted upon at the subsequent Employee Forum meeting. In keeping with the spirit of cooperation and communication, recommendations for changes to the Employee Forum Bylaws shall be simultaneously communicated to the Chancellor. As part of its committee charge, the Executive Committee will determine the necessity of and timetable for annual review of the Employee Forum Bylaws.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

22. Change to Appendix I. 1. When and By Whom: “Election of officers shall be held at the Annual Retreat and conducted by the Secretary. In the event the Secretary is nominated for re-election, the responsibility shall pass to the Chair, then the Vice Chair. If all three of these officers are nominated for re-election or are no longer Delegates, elections shall be conducted by a Delegate of the Employee Forum appointed by the Executive Committee.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

23. Change to Appendix I. 6. Absentee Ballots: “Delegates eligible to vote at officer elections, may do so by absentee ballot. Absentee ballots shall be made available to Delegates 15 days prior to the date on which the officer election is to be held. Delegates may request an absentee ballot in person, in writing, by email or by telephone, no earlier than fifteen (15) days and no later than two (2) days prior to the date on which the officer election is to be held. In case of emergency, an election official may in his or her discretion, shall allow an absentee ballot to be requested on election day.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 23 in favor, 0 against and 1 abstention.

24. Addition of Appendix II. 3. Alternate Staff Assembly Delegates: “Delegates receiving a minority vote at the Staff Assembly elections may serve as Alternate Staff Assembly Delegates. Alternate Staff Assembly Delegates shall assume the roles and responsibilities of Staff Assembly Delegates in his or her absence and as outlined by Section VII (K) of these Bylaws.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 23 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

25. Change to Appendix II. 4. Special Appointments of Staff Assembly Delegates: “In the event that the Employee Forum cannot fill one or more of its allotted Staff Assembly Delegate positions, due to the resignation and/or termination of elected Staff Assembly Delegates, the Chair shall have the authority to appoint Staff Assembly Delegates from a list of Delegates or Alternate Staff Assembly Delegates, approved by a quorum of the Executive Committee. These newly appointed Staff Assembly Delegates shall serve until the next available election cycle, at which point they may be re-elected to the Staff Assembly subject to the election procedures of these Bylaws.  Staff Assembly Delegates appointed to the Staff Assembly in this way may serve no longer than one year, and such service shall not count against their eventual election as Staff Assembly Delegates.” The Forum voted in favor of this change with 24 in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions.

  The Forum heard the first reading of Resolution 11-01. In the interest of time, the Forum agreed to consider the resolution in more detail on second reading in April. The Chair said that she had asked committee chairs to submit their minutes for inclusion in the monthly agenda packets. Chuck Brink reported that the Staff Assembly had heard that Article 16 providing for flexible Human Resources policies would soon be reconsidered by the General Assembly.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks, Recording Secretary


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