Agenda — November 1, 1995
9:00 a.m.—Reception for Newly Elected Delegates and First Alternates
9:15 a.m.—Forum Group Photograph, Front Steps of Wilson Library
9:30 a.m.—Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests
III. Opening Remarks
•Chancellor Michael Hooker
IV. Employee Presentations—Scott Blackwood
V. Approval of Minutes of the October 4, 1995 meeting P
VI. Chair’s Report: Rachel Windham
- University Day October 12
- Clifton Stone, Bill Bates No Longer Division 2 Delegates, Replaced by Karen Torry and Bobbie Lesane; Carroll Swain Becomes New First Alternate
- Diversity Training Opportunity with Faculty Council
- Resolution Honoring Physical Plant, Others Who Fought Flood of August 27, 1995 Transmitted to Chancellor, Bruce Runberg, Herb Paul and Hardy White for Distribution
- Salary Task Force Report Recommendations Delayed Pending Executive Committee Meeting with Human Resources
- Response Sent to Appalachian State University Staff Council
- Letter to President Spangler Regarding Staff Salaries
- Complaint About Disorganization and Inconsistency in University Phone Book
VII. Unfinished Business
- Ratification of Forum Guidelines Revised October 1995 P
VIII. New Business
- Need for New Representative to the Executive Committee from Division 2
IX. Special Presentation on Relaxation by Lindsay Reeves, Director, Heels for Health
X. Committee/Task Force Reports
- Nominating—Scott Blackwood
Þ Call for Nominations for Forum Officers P
Þ Biographical Sketches Due December 15
- Orientation—Debi Schledorn P
Þ Orientation October 18
Þ Delegate Buddy System
Þ January Retreat
- Personnel Policies—Pat Staley
Þ Update on Policy Options for Elimination of Priority Transfer Pool for Layoff Candidates
Þ Other State Personnel Policy Changes?
- Compensation and Benefits—Archie Lassiter/Tom Hocking
- Public Affairs—Delores Bayless
- Recognition and Awards—Ann Hamner
Þ Community Award (3-Legged Stool) Nominations
- University Committee Assignments—Libby Chenault
Þ Request for Nominee to Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee
- Career Development—Sharon Bowers
Þ Chancellor Hooker’s Support for Audio and Video Training & Development Library
Þ Allocation of Staff Development Fund for Fiscal Year 1995-96
Þ Update on Concern about Lack of Evening Classes
- Salary Task Force—Delores Bayless/Trish Brockman
Þ Discussion Scheduled for November Executive Committee Meeting
- Faculty Council Liaisons
- Partner Benefits—Linda Cook/Peter Schledorn
- Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington/Tom Hocking
- Land Use Planning—Ann Hamner
XI. Human Resources Update
- Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
- Joe Totten, Director of Counseling Services
- Chilly Climate Discussion Group
- Information on Food Drive Authorization
November 1, 1995
“ = Ex-Officio
Call to Order and Welcome to Guests
Chair Rachel Windham called the meeting to order at 9:31 a.m. She welcomed the incoming Delegates and Alternates, stating that she thought that outgoing members were proud to be replaced by such a capable group. The Forum, she said, is a wonderful opportunity to learn about and participate in the activities of the University. Yet, she cautioned that new members will be expected to work very hard to fulfill their responsibilities as representatives to the Forum while at the same time managing their job responsibilities.
The Chair introduced Chancellor Michael Hooker. Chancellor Hooker welcomed the new Forum members, saying that he looked forward to working with them in the months ahead. The Chancellor shared, for the benefit of new members, that custom usually involved him making opening remarks then receiving questions from the assembly. Although he intends to appear at the monthly meetings as often as he can, the Chancellor emphasized that when Dr. Elson Floyd, Chief of Staff of the University, appears in his place, Elson speaks for the Chancellor and the Administration.
Since the last meeting, the Chancellor said, his Administration has fully launched its efforts to address the concerns of the housekeepers. These concerns fall into three areas: (1) professional development, job advancement prospects and training; (2) quality of supervision; and (3) salaries. All of the University’s basic entry-level salaries are too low, the Chancellor said, and are not competitive with those of the labor market in the Triangle area. He noted that many Employees come to work at the University because it is a good place to work, but cannot continue to work here because the salaries are inadequate. Often, our best Employees receive better offers elsewhere. Also, our most loyal, long-term, Employees have suffered incremental salary increases that are less than the cost of living and have not kept up with real income growth enjoyed in the broader labor market. After these Employees serve a few years and are vested into the State Retirement System, it becomes very difficult to leave even if they wish to do so.
Accordingly, the Chancellor said that he is acutely aware that salaries are an important issue to all Employees, particularly those at the lowest pay levels. He said that the Administration would work to bring these facts to the Legislature’s attention, especially with our local delegation, in an effort to get salary floors raised. Yet, he said we would be kidding ourselves to think that this task will be easy, given the current public mood to cut government and hold salary increases for government workers to a minimum. As a result, we must work even harder.
Regarding the other areas of housekeeper concern, the Chancellor felt much more sanguine. A professional development program for housekeeping supervisors began last week. He noted that housekeepers had particular concern about the relationships between supervisors and Employees. The Chancellor hoped that this area would show improvement soon with a substantial difference in evidence within six months.
The Chancellor paused to note the recent controversy over the brochure the Student Health Service was in the process of developing on the AIDS problem. In this case, Chancellor Hooker felt that perhaps the press had sensationalized the story before it was really a story. Once the information was in the public domain, the Administration had to react to public perceptions that it was using student money to publish a “superfluous” brochure. The Chancellor asserted that the brochure, if published, would not have been superfluous; rather, it would have been a sensitive effort to educate students about the importance of protecting themselves against this horrible disease. He drew a distinction between reacting to negative public image and supporting the Student Health Service and its important mission in altering risky behavior among an at-risk population. Since AIDS is on the rise, Chancellor Hooker said, as responsible citizens and as a responsible institution, we must do all we can to fight this horrible disease. He regretted the press approach to this issue which might have miscommunicated what the Administration was trying to do. He did not want anyone to underestimate the importance of AIDS as a public health issue and, thus, the responsibility of educating our students about its effects.
Peter Schledorn asked what the Chancellor’s response was to General Administration’s study of privatizing housekeepers. The Chancellor responded that the Legislature directed General Administration to do a number of studies, one of which dealt with possible privatization of housekeepers. He noted that General Administration had not yet begun this study or requested any information from the University, but when it did, the Chancellor said that he would emphasize sustaining salary levels and benefits for Employees. He said it would be unconscionable to implement a program that saved money for the University by cutting Employee benefits and salaries. Beyond that, the Chancellor said he had few opinions on the subject. He said that at the University of Maryland, housekeeping had been out-sourced. There, in the middle of a contract period, the Administration paid in more to the vendor in order to insure higher wages for these workers. Thus, he knew that one could exercise control over benefits and wages in a privatization situation.
The Chancellor said that there are benefits to out-sourcing housekeeping that those who have not been in such an environment may not appreciate. For one, they generally train their workers better for the job of housekeeping, since these companies make their living by doing good work and receiving contract renewals. While they tend to have strong training programs for housekeeping that probably exceed our own, they would have no interest in training housekeepers to move into other, better-paying professions. This is a difference between a private company and the present posture at the University. These companies tend to have better equipment than public institutions since they can buy in bulk, tend to get better deals and are more sensitive to quality in the course of their business. Anything done by a professional company concentrating on that one activity will tend to be more efficient than that done by an institution, the primary emphasis of which is education.
The Chancellor reported that he heard that at East Carolina University, the management of housekeepers was privatized, and they are generally happier than they were with their prior housekeeping management. He anticipated that General Administration would examine this move in considering this option on other campuses. Any action by the General Assembly on this issue should not occur soon because the deadline for response from General Administration will preclude movement on the issue in the Legislature’s short session. Rather, the Chancellor speculated that the General Assembly may take the issue up as much as one and a half to two years from now.
In the absence of further questions, the Chancellor thanked the Forum for the chance to speak. The Chair thanked the Chancellor for meeting with the Forum. She also thanked the Orientation Committee for their hard work organizing the morning reception for the new Delegates which allowed the Forum to save money on catering costs. She asked Debi Schledorn, Committee Chair, and other members of the Committee to stand and be recognized. The assembly applauded their work.
Scott Blackwood welcomed all new Delegates. He explained that this session was the time for Employees to present their concerns to the Forum for advisement and possible action. This morning, Scott introduced Chair Rachel Windham who spoke at his invitation, sharing a presentation she made to the Faculty Council on October 13.
Rachel indicated that upon receiving George Lensing’s request that she share how faculty and Employees might work together more fruitfully, her mind had raced to ideas about projects, since she generally was an outcome oriented person. Yet, she decided to speak about barriers which are central to our working together more fruitfully. The three barriers included roles, skills and manners. If these are managed appropriately, Rachel shared that she felt projects would come and would get done.
Regarding roles, the University has leadership and followership roles that are often defined by boxes and lines on organizational charts. The people at the top lead and those at the lower levels follow. We know the position reserved for the faculty, and the spot occupied by the staff. Strict adherence to these lines and boxes may be what causes some of our problems.
Rachel shared that she read in the Harvard Business Review once that leaders and followers share a number of essential qualities:
- They manage themselves well.
- They are committed to the organizations of which they are a part and to a purpose or person other than themselves.
- They build their competence and focus their efforts on maximum impact.
- They are courageous, honest and credible.
Leaders and followers share these qualities. Yet, she asserted, we seem more comfortable with stereotypes. By definition, leaders lead and followers, must be led, she said, which is poppycock.
Our mistake is that we accept that followers are people when the real truth is that following is a role and what distinguishes followers from leaders is not intelligence or character, but the roles people play. We could work together more fruitfully if we all would accept that some days we lead and some days we follow and it is situations, not boxes, that determine which it will be this day or this minute or this meeting.
Regarding skills, the Chair asked her audience of faculty how many had taught a member of their staff anything this week? She did not mean it as an admonishment, but as a thought to ponder. She asked faculty why they did not share their skills and talents with those who could use what they learn to help them do your work better and faster?
At a minimum, one should either teach or see that staff acquire three critical skills. Productive staff function as productive team members if they have solid technical skills, conceptual skills and human relations skills. We could work together more fruitfully if faculty would share their talents in the workplace—not just in the classroom.
Finally, on the subject of manners, the Chair recalled the findings of the Joint Committee on Faculty/Staff Relationships. Many of our difficulties, that group found, stem from poor manners. She asked if it were not remarkable that at our wonderful University which takes such pride in educating and being an example of all that is good that we have people in some spots who simply do not understand that we must treat each other with dignity and respect? And do not think for a moment, she said, that it does not go both ways. However, it is her perception and that of her Employee colleagues that the faculty has a decided advantage in terms of how it is tolerated. Sparing the war stories, she thought those assembled would be appalled at some of the things she had heard, seen and experienced personally.
The Chair went on to say that she would not point fingers since the people who behave with such “lack of rearing” were probably not in the room, but the behavior of these people sends a message, a loud one, that they do not love this University. Because if they did, they would not allow their behavior to gnaw away at the core of teamwork. They are not on the Faculty Council because they are not that dedicated. She summarized by sharing what Eliza Doolittle said to Professor Higgins at the end of her makeover: “the only difference between a flower girl and a lady is not in the way that she behaves, but in the way that she is treated.”
In spite of all the consultants and training we may receive or direct on faculty/staff relations, the bottom line is what Eliza told the Professor. The difference between Employees who perform well and those who perform poorly is not in how they behave or even how much they are paid, but in how they are treated.
The Chair concluded by sharing how every day she is encouraged by the strides made in improving faculty/staff relationships. It seems clear, she said, that it matters as much to faculty as it does to staff. She thanked those assembled for that fact and said that we are working together more fruitfully. Yet, she envisioned a time when there would be no need to ask how we might, because working together more fruitfully will be so ingrained in our culture that the only times we will notice is on those rare occasions when we do not.
Dee Marley asked how the Faculty Council reacted to the Chair’s speech. The Chair replied that there was some squirming, some faculty rose to give her a standing ovation, but others stayed seated. Following the meeting, several faculty were very cordial and asked if the Chair would send them a copy of the talk to share with their departmental colleagues.
Approval of Minutes of October 4, 1995 Meeting
The Chair asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the last meeting. Tom Hocking made this motion, with a second by Archie Lassiter. There was no discussion, and the minutes were approved unanimously.
On University Day, the Chair reported that there were 234 Employees scheduled to march in the day’s processional, with some extras added at the last minute. She thought the day went well, and the Installation Committee did a great job putting the event together. The Chair encouraged members to pass on their compliments to Clifton Metcalf, Kat Williams and Nancy Cheek, among others, for their hard work.
Clifton Stone and Bill Bates are no longer with the Forum, the former terminated for missing three meetings and the latter moving to a job outside the University. The Chair recognized Bobbie Lesane and Karen Torry, the new Delegates from Division 2, and noted that Carroll Swain becomes the First Alternate from that Division for the remainder of the year. The Forum welcomed the new Delegates.
Concerning Diversity Training with the Faculty Council, the Chair reported that because the sessions have been undersubscribed, there would be only one session held, on Friday, November 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carolina Club in the Alumni Center. She asked interested members who had not signed up to contact the Forum Assistant about the last-minute possibility of adding future sessions. The Chair said she would discuss with Pat Fischer, facilitator of the program, why turnout was so low among Employees, faculty and administrators.
The approved resolution honoring those who fought the flood of August 27 was forwarded to the Chancellor, Bruce Runberg, Herb Paul and Harvey White for their consideration and distribution.
The Salary Task Force discussion with Human Resources was delayed because of difficulties in scheduling a time to meet in October. Members of the Task Force and Drake Maynard, Director of Administration for Human Resources, have been invited to the November 21 meeting of the Forum’s Executive Committee for consideration of the Task Force’s recommendations. A report should be available at the December Forum meeting.
The Forum Office has responded to the Appalachian State University Staff Council’s letter initiating contact with other staff organizations in the System.
Also included in the Routing Folder was a letter to President Spangler expressing appreciation for his comments supporting staff concerns during the recent tuition increase debate. This letter emphasized that Employees do not want to gain by taking away from faculty salaries, student aid or funding for the libraries. President Spangler responded positively with a letter which states that he will endeavor “to be effective in arguing for better benefits, including salaries,” for Employees.
Through Cheryl Ward, the Chair received a complaint about how the University Phone Book is organized. She took the liberty of forwarding this criticism to Annette Harmon, Campus Directory Coordinator, who stated that she is very willing to hear from Employees about how to improve the phone book. Interested Employees should contact her with suggestions. Ms. Harmon seems happy to respond to comments which she believes are essential in improving the book for its users.
The Chancellor has created a new Internal Communications Task Force aiming to create a communications master plan. Thanking Libby Chenault and Ned Brooks for their replies, she asked that members forward any feedback (which she had requested via e-mail) to her before November 13. This is an opportunity for input which she hoped members would not ignore. Copies of the e-mail message requesting feedback would be sent via campus mail to Forum members not on-line.
The Chancellor’s initiatives for housekeepers are available in printed form from the Forum Office and are documented in the November 1 issue of the Gazette.
Ratification of the Forum Guidelines
Given their final form, the Chair asked for a motion to formally ratify the Forum Guidelines. Kay Spivey made this motion with Dianne Crabill seconding. There was no discussion and the Guidelines were approved as revised in October 1995 without opposition.
Need for Representative to Executive Committee from Division 2
The Chair asked Delegates from Division 2 to select a representative to the Executive Committee after the meeting. She noted that this representative’s term on the Committee will span only the November and December meetings after which the new Division 2 delegation will elect its 1996 representative.
Committee/Task Force Reports
Chair Scott Blackwood of the Nominating Committee acknowledged the members of that Committee: Dee Marley, Mona Couts, Peggy Barber, Peggy Cotton, Marshall Wade, Kathy Dutton and Cheryl Ward. He warned these members that their work was not quite over because of the upcoming election of officers. Mona Couts noted that the form calling for officer nominations was included in the November agenda packet and is due back by November 17. This form, in accordance with the revised Guidelines, was sent only to continuing and incoming Delegates. Mona asked members to ascertain that nominees are willing to serve.
The Nominating Committee will present its slate of nominees in December. Candidates should provide their biographical sketches to the Committee by December 15; a form for these sketches will soon be available from Scott Blackwood and the Forum Office. These sketches will be included in the agenda packet preceding the January 3 meeting. At that meeting, members can submit last-minute nominations from the floor, and candidates will have the chance, if they choose, to speak on their own behalf before the election that day. Mona encouraged members to consider whom they wish to lead the Forum and to submit nominations.
From the Orientation Committee, Chair Debi Schledorn recalled that the formal Orientation session for incoming Delegates and First Alternates had gone very well. She thanked her Committee and the Forum Assistant for their work in making the day go smoothly and hoped that the session achieved its goals. Evaluation of the session will be postponed until March to give the new members a chance to become accustomed to Forum work and accordingly to have some experience from which to judge the Orientation. She noted that three new members have yet to collect their notebooks and hoped that they would soon (available from the Forum Assistant).
Debi hoped that returning Delegates had already contacted their “buddies.” The Forum Retreat is scheduled for January 18 during which members will sign up for committee service. Debi asked that all Committee Chairs be prompt in preparing their annual reports for the December meeting so that the 1996 class may better determine its interests. The Orientation Committee had heard from all of its Retreat speakers except the Chancellor. The Committee will try concurrent breakout sessions: for new Delegates, a presentation from Barbara DeLon on effective committee work and for continuing Delegates, a review of the activities of the past year and issues for the future. Debi emphasized that members still have the chance to submit their suggestions to the Committee for the Retreat or the buddy system.
Chair Pat Staley from the Personnel Policies Committee said that at its meeting that month, there had been no further exception taken or alternatives discussed about the Reduction in Force policy change discussed at the last Forum meeting. The Committee had decided to learn which policies have been approved and list them by title and post them to the Forum electronic mail list. Members interested in perusing or discussing a particular policy should contact Pat Staley for a copy. This area will stir more interest once Human Resources begins to translate these State edicts into University policy.
Compensation & Benefits and Public Affairs Committees each had not met nor had anything to report. These Committees will meet in November to create their annual reports.
From Recognition & Awards, Chair Ann Hamner reported that the criteria for the Community Award (3-Legged Stool) were being distributed at this meeting, along with the minutes of the Committee’s last meeting. Attached to these materials was a nomination form and some notes to assist members in writing their nominations. As time had grown short, while the Committee incorporated suggested revisions from the Executive Committee to the Award criteria, she asked that the Forum accept the criteria as written this time around and provide feedback to the Executive Committee for further review. She noted that nominations must be submitted to the Forum Office by November 15 so that the Executive Committee will have time to select a nominee at its next meeting. She emphasized that there is nothing in the rules that stipulates the Award must be given every year. The Chair thanked Ann for her Committee’s work fashioning and revising the Award criteria in time for Delegates to submit nominees.
Chair Libby Chenault from the University Committee Assignments Committee thanked the Forum for responding to the multiple requests that have been put forth for nominees to different University committees. She said that it was very helpful to the Committee to have names available when it became difficult to know where individuals’ interests lie. Following up on items mentioned at the last meeting, Libby noted that the Committee had recommended Paula Schubert as the Employee representative to the 15-501 Community Advisory Committee.
Following up on Judith Scott’s request, the University Committee Assignments Committee found that the Forum was asked to provide a list of Employees to serve on the Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee from which Judith would select representative(s). The Employees suggested included: Peggy Cotton, Deborah Harris, Jacqueline Resnick, Darryl Russell and Kay Wijnberg. Ann Hamner made a motion that the Forum accept the University Committee Assignments Committee’s recommendations for nominees to the two Committees with Tom Hocking seconding. There was no discussion, and the motion carried by voice vote. The Chair asked that Libby notify those Employees and the Committees involved of the Forum’s action. Libby said that she would do so. She also thanked the Committee for its responsive work supplying suitable nominees to different University committees and said she looked forward to hearing about the work of these committees.
From the Career Development Committee, Chair Sharon Bowers announced that the Chancellor had approved the Forum’s recommendation to use the Staff Development Fund to create an Audio-Visual Training Library under the auspices of Ken Manwaring in Human Resources. She further reported that the Staff Development Fund had been allocated $7,400 for fiscal year 1995-96. The Committee asks Employees to forward suggestions for use of this money for the next year. The Committee will look into the lack of evening classes for Employees at its next meeting.
The Chair asked if the Committee would work with Ken Manwaring to determine purchases for the Audio-Video Training Library. Sharon indicated that would be the case and that the Committee would meet to review tapes for purchase. The Chair shared that Human Resources has expenditure authority for the Fund. Laurie Charest responded that it did, but that Human Resources would wait for Committee approval of materials before spending funds.
Lindsay Reeves, Director of Heels for Health, noted by way of introduction that she had been asked to give a 10 minute presentation on how to feel better during the working day. Rather, she would give some information about Heels for Health and offer some quick tidbits on relaxation. Members stood and stretched in preparation for the presentation.
H.E.E.L.S. for Health stands for Helping Employees Enhance Lifestyles. The program is designed to help the morale and well-being of Employees as the University. Exercise, fitness and aerobics programs are offered and popular, with 1,300 Employees using exercise facilities three to four times a week. This is a drastic improvement over 1990, when around 50 Employees made regular use of the facilities.
Heels for Health touches 5,000-5,500 Employees through its outreach programs such as stress management, eating right, massage and relaxation. Heels for Health staff will “go on the road” to departments so that Employees do not have to make a trip to utilize these services. Employees may work on incentive programs through the mail as well. Heels for Health has worked with housekeepers and Physical Plant staff on ways to protect their back during work. Also, they do mini-Health Fairs with blood pressure, cholesterol level, flexibility and heart rate checks. Lindsay said that all of these programs are a benefit free of charge, although Employees will need to purchase a gym/pool privilege to use gym facilities. She presented several handouts on Heels for Health services and ways to “make the day easier.”
Members did a series of stretches and relaxation exercises with a taped accompaniment. These exercises accentuated good posture, attention to breathing and conscious relaxation of muscles. Allowing muscles to take short breaks makes them more productive, Lindsay said. She encouraged those assembled to breathe deeply and slowly, allowing themselves to relax. Progressively, Lindsay encouraged members to relax different parts of their bodies, finally envisioning themselves in a place they enjoy best. Concluding her presentation, Lindsay said that activities such as this presentation have a tremendous effect on one’s mental and physical well-being. The Forum applauded Lindsay for her wonderful presentation and for the fine work of her office.
COMMITTEE REPORTS (CONTINUED)
Chair Delores Bayless of the Salary Task Force noted the delay in meeting with the Executive Committee and a representative from Human Resources but indicated that the meeting would occur in November.
Peter Schledorn, Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Domestic Partner Benefits, had nothing to report beyond the recommendations at the last meeting.
Tom Hocking, Liaison to Legislative Affairs, noted that the Committee met and would meet again at 11 a.m. that Thursday at West House to identify legislative members to contact about University issues. Much of this work awaits legislative assignments in the short session. Tom said he would share that information with the Forum Chair and the Forum Office when available.
Ann Hamner, Liaison to Long-Range Land Use Planning, had nothing to report.
The Chair again reiterated that Annual Reports from Forum Chairs would be due November 29. She said that she would send the recommended formats for these reports to Committee Chairs in the next week and expected that the reports would not exceed one page. Packets for the December meeting will go out November 30.
HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE
Laurie Charest yielded her time to Joe Totten, Director of the Counseling Service, to speak on changes in the Disciplinary Procedure. He distributed a handout and said he would give only the highlights since his time was limited.
First, the disciplinary procedure is no longer progressive, but is now successive. By no longer progressive, the concern about job performance now does not necessarily follow the old track of oral warning, written warning, hearing prior to dismissal. All disciplinary action, be it a written warning, suspension without pay, placement status or dismissal must be in writing with specificity (what, when, where and how).
Copies of disciplinary actions must be forwarded to the Counseling Service which will then forward this information to Employee Records. In the past, Joe said, this information has not been stored in one place. This change will enable Human Resources to prepare the Annual Report now required by the Office of State Personnel. Also, in order for any disciplinary action to be valid, a copy must be forwarded to the Counseling Service.
One must receive approval from management in one’s department and the Counseling Service in order to enact disciplinary action relating to demotion, suspension without pay and dismissal.
The first disciplinary act issued or received (including unsatisfactory job performance) must now be a written warning. Oral warnings as of October 1, 1995 have been eliminated. Managers are instructed to remove any oral warnings from the particular Employee’s personnel file, along with any supporting documentation.
After an Employee has received an active written warning for job performance, if there is a need to move to the next step, it may be a written warning, demotion or suspension without pay. This suspension without pay must last one full work week beginning 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning through 12 midnight Saturday.
There is now a time limit of twelve months on disciplinary actions for personal conduct and grossly inefficient conduct. If there is no other disciplinary action on an Employee’s record for twelve months, record of the disciplinary action is removed from the personnel file. Or, if an Employee receives a “Good” or better on their annual performance evaluation, and receives a “Good” or better in the area cited, the action is removed from the personnel file. This time limit only prohibits use of previous actions as a building block in future disciplinary actions against an Employee.
Whenever an Employee is deprived of a property right (suspension without pay, demotion or dismissal), they are entitled to due process and a pre-disciplinary conference. Advance notice of where, when and the subject of the conference is necessary for due process.
In order for an Employee to be dismissed for job performance they must receive either two active written warnings or one active written warning or another action involving demotion or suspension without pay. Suspension without pay is increased from 3 days to 1 week.
Investigatory status with pay is increased up to 30 days. This status is used to allow time to conduct an investigation, to protect the safety of clients, co-workers and property and/or to schedule and conduct a pre-disciplinary conference.
The new category “Grossly Inefficient Job Performance” is defined as “…an Employee’s job performance or failure to perform that results in (1) the creation of the potential for death or serious bodily injury to an Employee(s), members of the public, or to person(s) over whom the Employee has responsibility, or (2) the loss of or damage to University property or funds that results in a serious impact on the University and/or work unit. This disciplinary action does not have to be successive, meaning no prior warning is required.
Anytime an Employee is dismissed for job performance, they must be given 2 weeks notice or 2 weeks pay in lieu of notice. This does not apply to dismissals for personal conduct or grossly inefficient job performance. For personal conduct, there are no changes in disciplinary policy.
Dee Marley asked whether Investigatory Status involved an Employee who is not working, but is being paid while being investigated. Joe Totten replied that was correct, and that the Employee is in pay status during this time. Before, this Employee would not have been paid in this status.
Rosa Nolen asked whether the time limit for this status is 30 calendar days or 30 work days. Joe replied that it is 30 calendar days. Rosa asked that this fact be made clear in written materials, and Joe indicated that he would do so.
Peggy Barber asked whether it was true that the record of disciplinary actions will be housed in the Employee Records Division and not the Counseling Office as before. Joe Totten replied that this supposition was true, as Employee Records is the official depot point for personnel files. The reason the Counseling Service handles the files is for creation of an Annual Report on disciplinary actions required by the Office of State Personnel in accordance with the wishes of the General Assembly. Peggy asked who would monitor removal of the actions from Employees’ personnel files once the actions become inactive. Joe replied that Human Resources will set up a tickler file that will notify the relevant supervisors, departments or HRM one month prior to the time limit. He noted that supervisors may decrease the time limit on specific actions should they see fit.
Peter Schledorn asked what type of incident would involve disciplinary action for Grossly Inefficient Job Performance in the area of “loss of or damage to University property or funds that results in a serious impact on the University and/or the work unit.” As an example, Joe Totten mentioned a cashier trained repeatedly not to accept a check for a debt with the message “PAID IN FULL” written in the memo line. Since a check is a legal document, if UNC Hospitals accepts a $200 check so labeled for a debt of $20,000, the hospital legally accepts the terms of the document and swallows the remainder of the debt.
Peter asked about an Employee who has had an accident in a State car. Joe recalled an Employee who drove an automatic State car as a stick shift, an action which ruined the transmission. Under the new policy, this situation would be considered Grossly Inefficient Job Performance. Though the University had not taught the Employee to drive, the Employee should know as a driver that this action would be negligent/grossly inefficient.
In the absence of further questions, Joe Totten concluded his presentation. The Chair assumed that Joe would be available for other questions, and she encouraged members to share this information with members of their departments. The Chair thanked Joe for his presentation.
The Chair noted that Student Government hosted the Chilly Climate Discussion Group’s second meeting on October 27. Ned Brooks, Dianne Crabill, Trish Brockman, Ann Hamner and Marshall Wade each attended and each had many good things to say. She observed that there were many more students at this meeting and that many students wanted to proceed to develop an agenda for action. She lauded their desire to act, but recalled that the initial purpose of the group was strictly for conversation and the exchange of views. The Chair stated that the session was open and interesting with particularly telling comments made regarding acquisition of knowledge about black culture. She hoped that the Faculty Council would be willing to host the next Chilly Climate Discussion.
Regarding University authorization of a possible Forum food drive, Matt Banks reported that the Administrative Council had decided in 1981 to limit campus fundraising strictly to the State Employees’ Combined Campaign (SECC). This policy was designed to limit solicitation to the captive audience of Employees by University sanctioned organizations. Susan Ehringhaus indicated that the Forum could lobby to change this policy, or that individuals could raise money on their own, but that University sanctioned bodies could not sponsor activities not directly associated with the University. Helen Iverson said that SEANC would appreciate any aid Employees could provide to its volunteer action committees.
The Chair asked that departing members return their blue notebooks to the Forum Office or write a check for $7 as a replacement fee. Checks should be made payable to the Employee Forum and will be deposited into the Forum account. These notebooks should be sent to the Forum Office and not brought to the monthly meeting.
Recalling her message in News & Notes, the Chair announced that Relax & Chat III would take place at Pantana Bob’s on Friday, November 3, at 5:30 p.m. Should attendance be sparse at the event, she imagined there would not be a Relax & Chat IV.
The Chair shared her sympathies with Sue Morand, whose husband had just passed away. She said that Sue had been very brave in appearing and encouraged members to share their sympathy.
Tom Hocking asked that the Compensation & Benefits Committee meet for a brief time following the day’s meeting.
Margaret Balcom reported that Barbara DeLon and the Women’s Status Committee had initiated an electronic survey on women’s issues as part of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Women. The Task Force hopes to assess the services UNC offers to women and to make recommendations as to how these services can be improved. This survey will be available on the World Wide Web. Men and women are encouraged to respond to the survey. Registration shall be by social security number, not UNC One Card number, so that anonymity will be protected. Margaret encouraged Employees to read the University Gazette for more information. Barbara DeLon would be in the lobby until 11:30 a.m. to answer any questions.
In the absence of further discussion, Tom Hocking made a motion to adjourn, with Peggy Barber seconding. The Chair noted that refreshments were still available in the lobby and encouraged new and old Forum members to take the opportunity to socialize, given the early adjournment. At 11:08 p.m., in the absence of further business, members voted unanimously to adjourn.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary