Employee Forum Agenda — March 3, 2010
9:15 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
* Chancellor Holden Thorp
* UNC System Staff Assembly Chair Kelley Eaves-Boykin
* William Thomason and Ivanna Gonzalez of the Public Service and Advocacy Committee of Student Government
V. Human Resources Update with Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone
VI. Employee Presentations or Questions
VIII. Old Business
IX. New Business
X. Stretch Time
XI. Forum Committee Reports
* Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Goldsmith
o Forum Newsletter
* Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach: Teena Burton
* Compensation & Benefits:
* Education and Career Development: Cate Cunningham/Koyah Rivera
* Legislative Action: Jonathan Stephenson
* Membership & Assignments: Aluoch Ooro
* Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Marc ter Horst
XII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XIII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
XV. “Go Around the Room”: A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue
Most on their Minds
March 3, 2010 Employee Forum Meeting
Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. He welcomed press and guests. He noted that the Forum had held a drive to raise food for the CORA food bank in Chatham County and Loaves & Fishes in Alamance County. Todd Hux assisted in a drive to collect shoes for the people of Haiti. The Chair thanked the UNC Moving Crew for helping to collect all of the food. The Chair then introduced Chancellor Thorp to make opening remarks.
Thorp said that he missed the previous meeting due to the death of a great-aunt who had lived to be 98 years old. He said that the budget news could be worse but still will see a cut of 5% or more. The University had planned for a 5% cut since last September and has not yet felt the need to revise this number. He said that the Budget Committee would understand the University’s financial situation with more clarity once April 15 has come and gone. He praised the work of Joe Templeton and Mike Patil on the Carolina Counts effort, noting that the University would look to find cost-saving strategies wherever possible. He said that the University would leave realized savings within units. Thorp thanked the Forum for its input and asked that employees also submit their responses to the upcoming Human Resources survey.
Thorp hoped to name a new provost in the next few weeks. He thanked Treasurer Marc ter Horst for his work on the search committee. He also thanked Vice Chair Jackie Overton for her work in the emergency planning exercise. Overton commended Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone for her compassionate response during the exercise. Thorp asked for Forum support for the University’s Habitat for Humanity and State Employees’ Combined Campaign efforts.
Lucy Lewis noted that the four finalists for the provost position were all white males. Thorp said that he regretted that the search process had not been more diverse in its results. He said that a silver lining to the process was that there are now occurring conversations about how to diversify processes in the future. He said that on-line diversity training will help in the recruiting of a more diverse faculty, since the more conscious the University is about a diverse pool, the better.
Faith Thompson asked how the Forum could come together with the Faculty Council on issues regarding health policy. Thorp said that there was already pretty good coordination already, but more could occur to create a unified message. Todd Hux asked how the University could get more from the State Employees’ Combined Campaign. Thorp said that if the Forum took a bigger investment in the Combined Campaign it could create continuity in its actions and become more effective. Ter Horst asked about the Governor’s executive order listing suggestions to meet with employees, noting that the University already does this to a certain degree. Thorp thanked ter Horst for the chance to again to visit this question but said that he needed to study the executive order further before commenting.
Brenda Malone said that the Forum had a fabulous opportunity to help make inroads into University culture by participating in the State Employees’ Combined Campaign. He said that the Forum would need to appoint three people to serve, with one to rotate off every year.
The Chair introduced UNC System Staff Assembly Chair Kelley Eaves-Boykin. Boykin noted that the Student Government Association had been in place since the 1800s and the UNC System Faculty Assembly since 1961. She outlined the history of the Staff Assembly in its organization and praised Faculty Chair Judith Wegner for working to put faculty and staff on the same page. She noted the importance of communication (with President Bowles and various campuses), collaboration (between the Staff Assembly and the Faculty Assembly), staff development (with various on-line training tools), and community service (the UNC Day of service) and their importance to the work of the Staff Assembly.
Marc ter Horst asked whether the UNC Staff Assembly worked with outside agencies, and Boykin said that it does not, as President Bowles wants work to occur from within the UNC System. Ter Horst said that he was encouraged and wanted to hear more about activities on other campuses. Boykin said that the Staff Assembly will soon produce a newsletter detailing activities on other campuses. She invited ter Horst and others to attend the quarterly Staff Assembly meetings. The Staff Assembly is looking at taking up collections to endow scholarships.
Lucy Lewis thanked Boykin for her work. She asked what ideas the Staff Assembly had to improve the working conditions of workers, particularly with regard to literacy programs, grievance panels, ESL translators and advocacy for no layoffs for employees. Boykin said that she spoke from the heart about the need to have safe working conditions for staff. Faith Thompson cited the Chairs’ committee meeting which asks each campus to give the top 3 issues for discussion. She said that this venue could be a stronger voice for campuses. Boykin noted that the Staff Assembly had been instrumental in changing the State Health Plan’s proposal to do mouth swabs instead of spit tests for tobacco testing. Lewis hoped that employees would not have to undergo any tests at all.
The Chair asked who would pay for work time and travel for the tobacco testing? Brian Usischon said that these questions were still unanswered, but that the test should not take place at the employee’s expense. He said that the Office of State Personnel would decide how to classify the time.
Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone gave the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She asked that employees fill out a survey on Human Resources effectiveness by the end of the week. She noted the joint literacy program between the Chancellor and the Employee Forum, but said that there had not been much energy around participation. She said that the Orange County Literacy Council had been very professional but that there had not been many takers for the program. Lucy Lewis asked whether the lack of incentives had led to low participation. She thought that it was problematic to gauge success until there is a stronger culture of support for the program. Malone said that most participating in this project were in the Facilities Services area. Lewis thought that lower-level supervisors might be less inclined to support efforts in this area. Malone invited Lewis to continue discussions off-line to create a meaningful program.
Malone noted that Human Resources had been active planning for the threat assessment protocol. She thanked Senior Director Gena Carter for her work on this initiative. Carter said that immediate threats such as weapon display or destruction of property should lead one to call 911. Threats with the potential for violence such as confrontational behavior or conversations about violence should lead to a call to Employee Manager Relations at 3-3444. This phone call will activate an Employee Threat Assessment and Response Team (ETART) to look into the threat from all over campus. Human Resources will create a workplace reference guide to give more context on possible threats or causes for concern. Faith Thompson suggested that Human Resources create a punch-out wallet card with this information.
The Chair welcomed Ivana Gonzalez of the Public Service and Advocacy Committee of Student Government to discuss student engagement with faculty and staff. She invited employees to participate in a survey at http://bit.ly/uncservice on this topic. Lucy Lewis asked the scope of the advocacy of the group. Gonzalez said that the group has advocated on behalf of the homeless community, among other items.
Lucy Lewis noted that the Eve Carson garden will be dedicated on March 4 at 4 p.m. Faith Thompson noted that on April 24, a walk to end violence versus women and girls will take place.
Senior Director for Benefits and Employee Services Brian Usischon noted that attestation of tobacco non-use applies only for employees and spouses, not for children. Seventy-eight percent of University employees receive employee-only coverage. The testing process will involve spitting in a cup to measure if an employee uses tobacco products. The testing threshold will be very high and should not register if an employee is only exposed to second-hand smoke. Employees will take the test with them after it is finished. If an employee tests positive, that employee will undergo another saliva or blood test to determine use.
Regarding body mass index (BMI) testing, Usischon said that the request for proposals (RFP) for the test specified biometric testing involving blood pressure and cholesterol testing. The Plan will look to create incentives for employees to participate in the future. The RFP will receive questions through March 15 and will begin testing in September or early October. Employees have until then to enroll in a tobacco cessation program. Faith Thompson asked if costs for this program will be borne by the employee. Usischon said that employees will receive four nutritional visits, six nutritional visits if diabetic, requiring only copayments. Annual enrollment will take place from April 1-April 30.
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the January and February minutes. Marc ter Horst made this motion, noting that “Funk and Associates” were the consultants used for the Provost search process. The Forum agreed to approve its minutes by acclamation.
Under old business, the Forum asked delegates to submit their questions for the Provost/Vice Chancellor meetings well in advance and to show up for the meeting to present their questions.
It was noted that Public Safety had decided not to raise parking permit fees for this year. Public Safety will review and revamp its entire parking policy, including discussions of night parking and a nominal charge for park and ride use. This conversation will begin in April.
Jackie Overton noted that April 21 will see the University involved in a full blown emergency exercise, with a mock active shooter situation. Debbie Dehart said that she did not hear a siren from her office. She said that she did not get an e-mail in her department either.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:42 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary