November 20, 2012 Employee Forum Executive Committee minutes
Attending: Dan Barmmer, Tammy Cox, Mari Forbes, David Fraley, Lawrence Giffin, John Gullo, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Valerie Madill, Arlene Medder, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Myra Quick, David Schwartz, Charles Streeter
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. Forum Treasurer Tammy Cox reported on budget shifts between the Forum’s trust fund and overhead accounts. She noted that University policy states that trust fund monies cannot be used for salaries. She stressed the importance of staying in compliance with University policy. Cox said also that she had worked with Wilhelmina Stein to secure salary support for the Chair’s position for last year and this year. The Chair noted that this had been a continuing problem, with instances of money not being paid at all or being paid late to the Chair’s department. She said that movements in Human Resources should improve efficiency. She also said she hoped to have a stipend dedicated to the incoming Chair rather than the department. She said that the recent delays would hurt a State-funded department. She said that the University should change its procedure to fund the entire salary support at one time, rather than stretching it over two payments.
The Chair noted developments on the front page of the Daily Tar Heel in recent weeks. One of these involved $121,000 unaccounted for from the Carolina Center for the Performing Arts. The Chair said that heads would roll in this case. She noted that this shortfall occurred under a previous administration. In addition, a scandal at the School of Public Health involved two married employees who were involved in accessing child pornography on campus. The Chair said that federal officials typically do stings across the United States once or twice a year. She said that 3-4 people across the University each year are fired for accessing pornography from work. She noted also that the husband of the School of Public Health pair had been found to have knives and guns in his office by federal law enforcement officers, a felony offense.
Lawrence Giffin and Christina Lebonville spoke on a possible endorsement of or partnership with the NC Vision Coalition. Giffin said that Monday’s meeting of the group was smaller than usual because of the upcoming holiday. James Holman said that staff have not comprised a strong enough presence on the committee. Lebonville said that the Coalition was seeking to list specific concerns about the upcoming changes related to the advisory committee on strategic directions. The Chair said that an influential member of the committee, Art Pope, was scheduled to address the Carolina Black Caucus. The Chair said that every institute and center, along with the Humanities disciplines, was in danger because these are not seen as effective in helping students find jobs. Lebonville thought that the Forum should brainstorm ways that staff would be affected by these possible cuts. Giffin proposed that the Forum’s Communications and Public Relations committee work on getting the word out. Giffin thought that the Forum might use its divisional listservs to distribute a clear message about the Forum’s concern about possible changes.
Charles Streeter asked if the Forum’s new discussion boards should be limited to staff employees only. The Chair said that only staff should have access as the students have their own discussion boards. David Schwartz said that the Forum could work on organizing teach-ins about the possible upcoming changes. Holman suggested that the Forum invite Chris Fitzsimon from NC Policy Watch and Art Pope to speak. Schwartz said that the Forum would need a very effective moderator for such a discussion. He asked what would occur if points were not offered in good faith. The Chair said that she would let listeners make their own decisions. The Chair proposed to invite Pope to address the Forum in March or April. She said that Board of Governors Chair Peter Hans had agreed to address the Forum in February. The Chair said that the Forum must work to keep staff apprised and involved. Streeter said that the Forum’s InTouch should be sent out on a more regular basis to listservs. She agreed that Lebonville should invite someone from the NC Vision Coalition to address the Forum in December. Schwartz said it was important for the Forum to articulate its own vision. Giffin noted that the UNC Tomorrow study process involved faculty, staff, and students over a long period of time. Schwartz said that the Forum needs to articulate its own vision. Lebonville noted that the Coalition hopes to reach out to all UNC campuses.
The Chair brought up the question of the Forum’s online policy. She introduced a draft policy. Charles Streeter said that the Forum would require all users of the Forum discussion boards to agree to this statement. Myra Quick moved that the Forum adopt this policy, seconded by Arlene Medder. The motion was approved with no opposition and no abstentions.
The Chair asked for possible topics for the Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting December 13. Mari Forbes noted that questions about a hostile work environment must determine if workplace violence is involved. James Holman noted worries that since Tonya Sell had been fired that Human Resources had removed “hostile work environment” from the grievance form. Forbes said that this was a miscommunication. Forbes said that she would speak with Chris Chiron and Brenda Malone about this question. She said that employees cannot file joint grievances. The Chair noted that housekeepers recently had filed a joint complaint about a particular supervisor. Forbes emphasized that grievances are always individual. She noted that the issue is already in process. Holman said that the issue is taking too long and abuse is continuing. Holman said that the Office of State Personnel allows group grievances. Forbes said that this is true for certain protected classes. She said that class action suits go to a higher level.
The Chair noted the Human Resources/Executive Committee lunch to take place Monday afternoon. The committee agreed to cancel the December 13 Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting. The Chair directed that delegates who have missed two straight meetings without excuse to receive a notice asking if they intend to continue with the Forum. She said that the Forum would appoint Todd Hux to serve as a delegate.
Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden continues its winter work. Charles Streeter said that the Education and Career Development committee was working on its laptop loaner and professional development grant proposals. Streeter said that the Forum needed evidence that the laptop loaner program is needed. He proposed that the Forum conduct a survey of employees in December. Others noted that Divisions 2 and 3 will need a hot memo to be adequately represented in the survey. Streeter said that the Forum’s electronic survey instrument would also be used in its electronic voting next year. Myra Quick said that the Membership & Assignments committee was working on its December social and on the on-line voting process next year. James Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee had not met in October due to a conflict with the Forum Executive Committee meeting. Lawrence Giffin said that committee members met with the NC Vision Coalition. Danny Nguyen and John Gullo noted that the UNC System Staff Assembly was working on providing information for the strategic development committee.
The Chair noted that the Chancellor’s Search committee had decided to take December off. She said that she could not divulge the names of potential internal candidates. She noted that the Board of Trustees had decided to go ahead with the Provost search. Chancellor Holden Thorp has asked the Forum to name a representative to this committee today. Tammy Cox volunteered for the position, saying it was essential to find a suitable replacement for Provost Carney.
The Chair said that Peter Hans, the Chair of the Board of Governors, would address the Forum in February. She urged delegates to speak up when it comes time for questions. She noted the Forum would hold its social at 9:15 a.m. December 5 prior to the full Forum meeting. She asked that delegates invite their supervisors and managers. She also asked that the Forum Assistant invite the Chancellor’s Cabinet, Human Resources staff, and all who have addressed the Forum in the past year. The Chair thanked Katie Turner, Charles Streeter, and Matt Banks for their work on the new website. She said that from the first day she became chair she wanted to replace the old out-of-date website. Charles Streeter brought up the question of whether one has to request permission to post pictures of UNC employees. The Chair said that she had received many positive comments from the Board of Trustees about the pictures she includes with her presentations. The Chair proposed that the Forum view her University Day speech at the December meeting. She will be away convalescing from surgery on that day. The Chair said she would share contact information with the Forum via the Forum Assistant.
The committee heard a proposal on replacing the Carolina Copy copier with a fax modem and desktop printer. The committee generally agreed to this proposal.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary