Agenda — November 5, 2003
9:30 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
REMINDER: The Forum Portrait will be Taken for the 2003 Forum at 9:15 a.m. December 3, at the Wilson Library, Just Before the December Meeting
I. Call to Order & Charge to New Forum Members P
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Opening Remarks
· Leslie Strom, University General Counsel
IV. Special Presentation
· Peter Reinhardt, Director of Environment, Health & Safety on Dealing with Indoor Air Quality Issues on Campus
V. Employee Presentations or Questions
VI. Human Resources Update
· Laurie Charest, Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
VII. Minutes of the October 1 meeting P
VIII. New Business
· Proposed Guidelines Change (1st Reading) P
· Proposed Resolution 03-07 Honoring Past Forum Chair Rachel Windham (1st Reading) P
· Speeches from Forum Officer Candidates and their Nominators
Þ Forum Chair: Tommy Griffin P
Þ Forum Vice Chair: Tom Arnel & Katherine Graves P
Þ Forum Secretary:
IX. Stretch Time 6
X. Forum Committee Reports: Committees are Reminded that Annual Reports are Due by December 31
· Personnel Issues: Michael McQuown/Delita Wright
· Recognition and Awards: Katherine Graves/Shirley Hart
· University Committee Assignments: Tom Arnel
· Career Development: Ray Doyle
· Communications: Brian White
Þ Forum Newsletter
· Employee Presentations: Tom Arnel
· Nominating: Katherine Graves
Þ Forum Elections
· Orientation: Meredith Clason
XI. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Tommy Griffin
XII. Task Force/University Committee Reports
· Advisory Committee on Transportation—Tommy Griffin
· Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace—Tommy Griffin
· University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Tommy Griffin
· Carolina North Project—Tommy Griffin
P = Included in Agenda Packet
November 5, 2003
Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
“ = Ex-Officio
Chair Tommy Griffin called the meeting to order at 9:38 a.m. He welcomed guests Peter Reinhardt and Ron Howard from the Environment, Health and Safety office, and Noreen Montgomery, Julie Allen and Jessie Moore from Human Resources. He finally welcomed Rachel Windham, the Forum’s 1995 Chair. The Chair then led the Forum’s newly elected Delagates in the charge of office.
Then, the Chair invited new University Counsel Leslie Strom to make a special presentation on behalf of her office. Strom noted that the Chair had been one of the first people to greet her upon her appointment July 31. She noted that the General Counsel’s office had moved into the Bank of America building on Franklin Street this year, opposite the location of the Forum Office. Strom narrated a computer presentation that depicted the roles counselors and staff in her office, including attorneys who represent over 68 years of experience at the University and staff who represent another 77 years of service. These include Roberto Corfesi and Sandra Caulberg, who handle public records and open meetings matters, Pat Crawford, who addresses contract, property and gift and tax matters, David Parker, who works with technology transfer and copywright matters, Joanna Carey Smith, who works on personnel issues, civil rights, open meetings and privacy and security concerns. Strom was proud that the University had not received citations for any Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) violations for this year. Paul Meggett works with the University and the UNC Health Care System (HCS) on professors’ contracts, research agreements, debt collection and other matters. Erika Nunn works with Pat Crawford on HIPP compliance, along with Adrian Shelton’s work with research compliance standards. Mary Sechrest has been active in the student affairs area on such matters as campus safety and alcohol abuse.
Syed Mustafa asked if the University Counsel’s office would be available to help patients trying to figure out medical care contracts and similar things. Strom said that her office does not work on health care issues, but hoped to develop some programs to help Employees. Mary Johnson asked if her office might direct some law school students to help campus Employees in a legal clinic. Strom said that law students often clerk with the University Counsel office, but that office must work to protect confidentiality issues in this work. She advised that approaching the Law School might be a better avenue to establish such a program.
Michael McQuown noted a brick sidewalk next to the Public Health building which presents a tripping hazard, on West Columbia near the Public Health and Pharmacy buildings. There were no warning signs up notifying pedestrians about the hazard. He said that this obstruction might present a problem to the visually or physically impaired. Strom said that she would contact Facilities Services to inform them of the hazard.
McQuown then asked about the role of the University Counsel’s office in Level 4 grievances. Strom said that her office represents the University as an institution in such grievances. McQuown commented that many perceive the grievance process as favoring supervisors over grievants. He asked what her office did when supervisors proved to be on the wrong side of a grievance. Strom said that the University Counsel’s office takes each particular case on its own merits. She said that when such a situation occurs, there is a full review and the supervisor is given guidance on future situations.
Strom noted that her office has no reporting relationship with Office of the President counsel, although the two work together from time to time. The Chair thanked Strom for her remarks and responses.
The Chair welcomed Peter Reinhardt and Ron Howard from the Division of Environment, Health and Safety (DEHS) to speak on indoor air quality issues. Reinhardt noted that the issue of mold and indoor air quality had arisen through the media this summer. He said that often one person will find themselves allergic a room or building, while another person does not. He said that many reactions look like allergies, such as runny noses and itchy eyes. This area is another area in which people have individualized responses. He said that when groupings of people have problems, DEHS tries to customize a solution to fit a building’s particular situation.
Ron Howard handed out a copy of the University’s indoor air quality recommendations. He said that Employees with particular concerns should feel free to access the division’s website at http://ehs.unc.edu He also said that his office consults with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on how to address different indoor air quality problems. DEHS works with Facilities Services, the University Occupational Employee health clinic and Student Health to devise remedies to allergic reactions.
Often, investigators find it difficult to determine the cause of declining air quality in a particular building. Howard said that DEHS had put together a database outlining work done on each campus building.
With the recent media reports, Employees are contacting DEHS more often to handle moisture concerns. In addition, this summer has been exceptionally wet and humid, so moisture damage has grown at a disproportionately fast rate. Finally, at North Carolina Central, many old buildings there have trouble circulating air due to the age of the attached HVAC systems.
When receiving a call, DEHS investigators must do a kind of detective work to find the source of complaint. Sometimes, the investigator will treat only a small part of the affected area to see if the minor change has alleviated the problem. Some of the campus’ buildings are so old, their HVAC systems can have trouble turning over the air. Additionally, the campus often installs workers in places not meant to serve as offices.
Katherine Graves asked about the declining frequency of housekeeping shifts in the School of Public Health. She said that she had seen garbage lie uncollected for two and three days and had never seen air conditioning vents cleaned on her floor. Reinhardt said that there are many things which Employees can do to improve their air quality, such as discarding old dusty papers and not running window-installed air conditioners, both of which give mold and mildew improved conditions for growth. Reinhardt said that DEHS would work with Facilities Services and Housekeeping to keep these conditions under control. John Adams commented that Housekeeping will pick up garbage on “non-pickup” days if the Employee will leave their trash out in front of their office door. One might wish to contact the housekeeping zone director to confirm this arrangement beforehand.
Dale Bailey said that when he worked in a building leased by the Medical School, his office had not been swept in four years. The lease specified that the building would not receive any carpet or sweeping services in the written contract. Reinhardt said that he would like to discuss this subject in more detail. He said that Facilities Services typically handles leasing and rental arrangements, and should address long-term cleaning specifics in these negotiations.
Martha Barbour said that she had never heard back from DEHS after making a phone call about an area in the School of Dentistry. Howard said that he would follow-up on this subject when he returned to see the report on the subject.
McQuown asked the typical response time to complaints given to DEHS. Reinhardt said that this question depends on how complicated the repair, given that a more extensive repair would take longer. Additionally, a more complicated repair will require more money, which many departments are reluctant to pay. McQuown noted that an intake vent in the Biology building has had black crud on it for more than four years. Reinhardt said that with the recent media attention, people have followed up more quickly on mold-related air quality concerns, which might account for the longstanding nature of the problem. He said that work teams are responding quickly to concerns.
Bailey said that some graduate students have been reluctant to complain about poor air quality in fear of retaliation from members of the faculty. Reinhardt said that his office will investigate anonymous complaints. Mustafa asked if DEHS should possibly appoint office leaders to follow up on air quality issues. Reinhardt said that his office was increasing public relations work in this area.
An Employee asked who was responsible for air quality maintenance in rental properties and new construction. Reinhardt said that whomever set up the agreement for each building was responsible to insure that cleaning services are covered. Rachel Windham said that most contracts go through the Property Office.
An Employee asked about the number of air quality complaints in newer buildings such as the Neurosciences building, among them animal odors and dandruff and outside diesel fumes. Barry Gravern said that in some cases there have been bad design choices, but for the most part these buildings are better designed and less prone to air quality problems. Howard said that including the University Architect’s office and the Planning Office in air quality discussions might also be a good idea.
The Chair introduced Nikki Working, Assistant Editor of the Daily Tar Heel. Working said that the DTH would publish a four part series on Employee concerns in the following week. These articles will address equity concerns, retention, respect, among others. Employees who are interested in contributing similar stories should contact working at firstname.lastname@example.org or 2-0372. Michael McQuown asked what the Daily Tar Heel writers would do with Employees who wanted to comment anonymously. Working said that the editor would take each concern on a case by case basis.
Human Resources Update
The Chair welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Laurie Charest for the customary Human Resources update. Charest announced that Senior Director for Human Resources Administration Drake Maynard will leave the University to return to the Office of State Personnel November 30. The University will conduct a national search for his replacement, while Joanna Carey Smith will serve as acting senior director. Charest said that she would miss Maynard but hoped that he would be able to help the University some in its dealings with OSP.
Charest reminded listeners that North Carolina Flex applications are due at 725 Airport Road by the end of the day Friday, November 7. She noted that the program will not take faxes or copies of the application. She noted that the program produced tangible tax savings for enrollees, and she encouraged Employees to submit their forms by Friday.
Charest said that Human Resources would premier a revamped website December 1. The website will provide three different paths for Employees, departments and those seeking employment. She said that the new website would have new addresses for important pages. McQuown asked if the website would have pointers to the new pages, and Charest said she would check to be certain.
Also, Human Resources will roll out its on-line orientation program in early December. New Employees can still attend a lecture for their orientation, but the on-line option will save many Employees a trip down the hill to 725 Airport Road. Michael McQuown asked if veteran Employees can access the orientation website to review benefits and other materials. Charest said that Employees can indeed check out the orientation program. Mary Johnson asked if the website would have a phone number at which Employees could call for more information, and Charest said that there will still be a human contact for orientation sessions. John Heuer asked if Human Resources planned to update the video which had accompanied the in-person orientation of new Employees, and Charest said that the department’s focus had been on the on-line improvements.
David Brannigan asked if Human Resources planned to commission a Spanish-language version of the orientation website, and Charest said that her office did not have plans for this work at present. Brannigan noted that exclusively Spanish-speaking Employees from Grounds had not had translators present during their orientation. He said that sometimes departments have merely asked that another Spanish-speaking Employee join the new person at the session to translate. Charest said that there has not been a high demand for translators for this service but said that her office would arrange a translator if contacted in advance of the orientation.
The Chair noted a proposal to revise the Forum Guidelines had been presented to the Forum for first reading. The Forum will discuss the proposal in more detail at its December meeting.
The Chair read an honorary resolution recognizing Rachel Windham, 1995 Forum Chair, upon her retirement. The Forum voted to set aside its rules and approve the resolution. In response, Windham said that this honor marked a sad and happy time. She felt privileged to work for the University and the Forum and had had her share of fun on campus.
Lauren Mangili served as acting chair during the series of nomination speeches for Forum Officers. She noted that Tommy Griffin had been nominated to serve as Forum Chair. Katherine Graves rose to nominate Griffin formally for the position. She said that Griffin had served with distinction over the past two years, and his work had seen a number of concrete improvements for staff in the areas of salaries, parking and career advancement. She also noted that he had secured non-voting representation on the University’s Board of Trustees Finance Committee, and had made a strong case for Employee concerns before the full Board.
Griffin said that he looked forward to using his experience as Forum Chair to improve the lives of University Employees. He noted that many Delagates feel they have just begun to understand the workings of the Forum by the end of their first year. He asked that Delagates vote to return him to office.
Mangili noted that further nominations from the floor for the office of Forum Chair can be made at the Forum’s December meeting.
Mary Johnson rose to nominate Tom Arnel for the position of Forum Vice Chair. She noted that Arnel had worked at the University for upwards of 17 years, and during that time had achieved a master’s degree in library science from North Carolina Central University. She said that Arnel had involved himself in community and University issues during his time on campus, and served the Forum as interim Vice Chair in 2003.
Arnel praised the significant progress the Forum had made in its discussions with Provost Shelton and Vice Chancellor Suttenfield. He felt excited to be part of these changes. He said that the University needs to work to establish a living wage for all Employees and to deal with the health insurance problem, possibly by pushing for a sliding scale. He looked forward to the University’s implementation of Task Force on a Better Workplace recommendations.
Delita Wright rose to nominate Katherine Graves for the position of Forum Vice Chair. She had grown impressed with Wright since first meeting her last year. She praised Graves for her service chairing both the Forum Nominating and Recognition & Awards committees, and on the Forum Executive Committee.
Graves recalled her work last year with the Career Development committee. She currently serves on the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace, and had worked to increase the number of nominations for Forum delegate positions as Nominating committee chair. She recalled her passion about the work of the Forum.
The Chair reminded committee chairs that the annual reports for their committees are due December 31. Matt Banks would send out a copy of the preferred guidelines for the report. The Chair had finished and turned in the annual report required by the University and the Office of the President.
Delita Wright, co-chair of the Personnel Issues committee, said that she had just returned from a thousand-mile drive to be at the meeting that day. She said that the committee was working on a recommendation to the Chancellor’s Task Force concerning benefits, position management and salary administration. She noted that career banding was moving into different departments following its debut with Public Safety and Information Technology Services. She noted also that the committee had pressed for some study of the University grievance process and the installation of a campus ombudsman.
Katherine Graves, chair of the Recognition & Awards committee, said that group had distributed 27 gift baskets as recognition for achievement, as nominated by their peers. Mary Johnson, Delita Wright, Tommy Griffin, Tom Arnel, Pam Siler, Meredith Clason and Mack Rich helped the committee distribute the gift baskets in person across campus and down into the Pittsboro satellite office. Many offices held special celebrations honoring their award winner; the committee distributed nine baskets a day for three days straight. She said the committee hoped to distribute 36 or even 50 gift baskets next year.
Graves, chair of the Nominating committee, urged Delagates interested in running for Forum Officer positions to phone her at 3-4900. She felt proud of the newly sworn-in Delagates and looked forward to the new year.
Tom Arnel, chair of the Employee Presentations committee, said that group would host a community meeting with State Health Plan Director Jack Walker, from 3-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 12. Unfortunately, this date conflicts with a Chancellor’s Task Force meeting, but difficulties in scheduling the room and speaker led the committee to settle on this date and time.
Corrie Mimms of the Career Development committee said that group was continuing work on behalf of the part-time adult degree program here at UNC-Chapel Hill. She said that the committee was working to bring back the basic clerical skills program as well as increase the number of Employees working on their GED.
Brian White, chair of the Communications committee, said the group had held a small meeting in October. The committee will meet again in November to develop its final editions of InTouch for the year. The Chair reported that the President of the University of Michigan had praised the Forum’s InTouch newsletter following her remarks at University Day.
Meredith Clason, chair of the Orientation committee, praised that group’s efforts during the October orientation. She noted that the Forum’s annual retreat is scheduled for the Friday Center on Friday, January 9, 2004.
The Chair noted that continuing and new Delagates will need to consider on which committees they would like to serve. These Delagates will receive a selection sheet this coming month. The Executive Committee will make all assignments of committees this year in order to avoid a misbalance of members.
The Chair noted that the Chancellor’s Task Force for a better workplace would hold a half-day retreat November 11. He said that many good things had come out of the survey of Employees about working life here at UNC.
The Chair said that the Advisory Committee on Transportation would work to create a five year plan to govern transit issues.
The Chair noted that Forum Delagates would meet with Provost Shelton and Vice Chancellor Suttenfield on November 7. He recalled also that staff were well-represented at University Day. He noted that the Forum Officers had met with Board of Governors chair Brad Wilson to press for adoption of the tuition increase that would provide $1.4 million for staff salaries. He had participated in a Student Fees committee meeting which had discussed raising fees $106 this year, a number he considered rather high.
The Chair noted the recent celebration of excellence event at Carmichael Auditorium. He thanked everyone who attended and noted that one of the newly elected Forum Delagates had won a gift certificate during the day.
There was no report from the University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee (UPBAC) or the Carolina North group. In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:44 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary