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October 18, 2022 Executive Committee minutes

Attending: Sharron Bouquin, David Bragg, Shane Brogan, Tiffany Carver, Elizabeth Dubose, Stephanie Forman, Leah Hefner, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, James Holman, Todd Hux, Kira Jones, Amber Meads, Arlene Medder, Katie Musgrove, Joe Ormond, Sara Pettaway, Laura Pratt, Charlissa Rice, Lori Shamblin, Janet Steele, Annetta Streater, Matthew Teal, Jacob Womack

The Chair called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She opened the meeting with a budget report, in which she requested feedback from the group regarding allocations for the coming year. Annetta Streater advised that the Forum could build into the budget a small percentage for contingency in case of emergencies such as the recent pandemic. Streater said that this would be a safer choice as long as this money does not revert back to the university at the end of the fiscal year. Shane Brogan agreed that starting a contingency fund would be a good idea. The committee had no further comment on the budget.

The Chair moved to discussion of the 30th anniversary event, showing a spreadsheet which detailed expenditures made for the event. Matt Banks would soon divide these expenditures into those funded by the Chancellor’s Office and those for which the Forum would apply for a reimbursement from the Chancellor’s Office, which committed to funding the event. The Forum will do a journal entry for this latter amount. The Chair shared a copy of the original budget request to the Chancellor which was approved before the event.

Matt Banks noted that the Forum will also bear the expense of the Staff Assembly delegates’ trip to Elizabeth City the following week until the System Office provides reimbursement, similar to the process done with the Chancellor’s Office. Banks did not know if the System Office had reimbursed the Forum for a similar expense from last year.

Shayna Hill noted that she met with Cheryl Gerringer and Candi Daye from the OHR Business Office to discuss possible arrangements for the fiscal management of the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament. Hill said that the school of the Staff Assembly’s current chair has been expected to manage disbursement of expenses for the tournament. Hill raised this point because she will run for Staff Assembly Chair at the Elizabeth City meeting the following week.

She planned to advocate that the UNC System Office assume responsibility for this task, but she wanted to make the Forum leadership aware of the possibility that it would have to manage this event. The Chair agreed that the UNC System should take on this burden. Hill estimated that this year the golf tournament saw $90,000 in revenue against $50,000 in expenses. Hill said that if elected, she would spend a year as Chair-Elect then would become Chair at the end of 2023, with a two-year term, then a one-year term as immediate past Chair.

The Chair raised the question of the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum establishing a similar succession plan for its leadership, following the example of the UNC System Staff Assembly and the UNC-Chapel Hill Faculty Council. She noted that this process would simplify the succession of Forum leadership, removing the pressure to find leadership candidates each year. The Faculty Council will consider a resolution to this effect at its November meeting.

The Chair noted that the Forum would already need to do Bylaws revisions related to changes in committee descriptions and incorporating the Staff Advisory Committee to the Chancellor into the Bylaws. Stephanie Forman thought this was a great idea and noted that the Forum’s Personnel Issues committee observes a similar process with its rotating chairs. This process has been helpful with workload and onboarding new delegates.

Forman asked if Forum Chairs receive a buy-out for their time away from the office. The Chair replied that she personally receives $5,000 of a $15,000 stipend, with the remaining $10,000 going to her department. She envisioned that only the acting Chair would receive this stipend, not the Chair-Elect or immediate past Chair. Shayna Hill noted that the innovation to pay the Chair directly came from her term as Forum Chair. She added that if the Forum moved to a Chair-Elect system, it would be difficult to change course later. She thought that if the Forum chooses to mirror the Faculty Council’s process, it should request a stipend commensurate with what the Faculty Council officers receive.

Forman asked if the Forum could request more money for the Chair’s role currently. The Chair said that the Forum could make this request. She noted the odd equity problem between the Faculty Chair who is said to negotiate with their department for their stipend along with their dean and the Provost. Shayna Hill thought that this question could be a great resolution for the UNC System Staff Assembly. The Chair asked that this question be tabled for the time being.

The Chair asked Vice Chair Keith Hines and Secretary Tiffany Carver to speak on the 30th anniversary events which occurred the previous week. She praised the event as “absolutely fantastic…a team effort” which received great praise from all attendees. Carver thanked all who participated in the planning and implementation of the two events in question. She said it was great that delegates jumped in to help the Membership & Assignments committee in this effort. Members particularly praised Inaugural Forum Chair Kay Wijnberg Hovious for her appearance and remarks. Matt Banks noted that other previous Forum Chairs did not attend this edition of the Forum’s anniversary celebration. Others suggested perhaps following up with each individually next time.

Conversation turned to the Forum History which was written by graduate student Jennifer Standish and shared with Hovious and other Forum leaders. The Chair suggested that the Forum at some point may choose to hire another graduate student to finish this history, which currently spans from 1992-2006 or so. Arlene Medder noted that the University Library Archives would be a great resource and repository for the history once it is up to date.

The Chair praised Medder and the delegates involved in the cookie giveaway on University Day at the Old Well. Keith Hines said that the cookie giveaway was a blast, with cookies left over for delegates and housekeepers to return to their departments. He thought that perhaps the Forum had ordered too many cookies but also, he worried about running out. He emphasized that the cookies were from staff in his conversations with recipients. Members then discussed the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament as well as prospects for future anniversary celebrations.

Shane Brogan discussed plans for the scavenger hunt to occur in conjunction with the Employee Appreciation Event on October 21st. He said that his group had worked to gather prizes to distribute from remote and in-person clues. He asked if listeners could spare time to volunteer distributing clues that morning. The Chair thanked Brogan and the Communications and Public Relations committee for their work in carrying on the scavenger hunt. Matt Banks had organized the table stations for the departmental fair to take place that day.

The Chair brought up the free speech implications of the Finance & Operations memo which the Forum had discussed at the Vice Chancellors’ Representatives’ meeting on October 13th. She noted the need for a presentation providing guidance on these issues similar to the recent presentation to faculty that month. Members discussed the demarcation of speaking for oneself versus speaking on behalf of the university in light of the memo. The Chair asked members’ thoughts on the October 13th discussion.

Jacob Womack asked if preliminary minutes from that meeting were available. Matt Banks said that these were in process but were not yet complete. Keith Hines thought that representatives, particularly Nate Knuffman, were receptive to points made by delegates. He thought that the representatives recognized that the way the memo was worded was not easily understood by all people and required explanation. Stephanie Forman noted the reason given for the memo was that Facilities personnel have received information that they later failed to acknowledge receiving. Forman thought that this explanation was an alarming example of these teams being treated differently than other staff on campus.

Sharron Bouquin thought that the wording of the memo opened the possibility that management could pick and choose when to require signatures on policies versus simple communication. Keith Hines recalled comments from the Vice Chancellors’ representatives’ meeting that the memo was developed in advance of the publication of the article about Housekeeping pay in the Daily Tar Heel. Members discussed the timing of the memo versus the timing of the Daily Tar Heel article.

The Chair proposed organizing a presentation to the Forum in November on this subject in the interests of moving quickly. She thought that the Forum could organize publicity to attract attention to the event. Members discussed possible guests for this presentation. Shayna Hill proposed a future community meeting on this topic featuring speakers from all stations of campus. Hines thought that perhaps Finance & Operations could send out a follow-up memo to clarify the first one. Forman thought that the Forum could follow this memo with another one providing staff guidance on these topics aside from F&O.

The Chair hoped to invite someone from the Law School as well as someone from the University Counsel’s office to speak in November. She would seek clarifying information about the explicit line of what is permitted for employees here at the university regarding these questions. She wanted the discussion to be tangible more than conceptual or theoretical. Members suggested possible speakers for the presentation.

Annetta Streater asked if the Forum has a history of employing or using its own legal counsel. Matt Banks said that the Forum is not permitted to engage its own legal counsel. Streater, Matthew Teal, and the Chair resolved to work on an email to University Counsel representatives to communicate these needs for November’s presentation. Members discussed other possible presentations for the November 2nd meeting. The Chair hoped to follow up with Nate Knuffman and Anna Wu regarding the process and implementation of the original memo.

The Chair noted that Randall Borror had brought forth questions regarding the Forum’s election process. In his absence, she pledged to bring this issue forward to the November 15th Executive Committee meeting.

Matthew Teal asked for additional time to prepare discussion regarding his proposal for a Forum Sustainability committee. He asked that this discussion be tabled until November as well.

The Chair outlined that Leah Cox will discuss the Campus Climate survey at the November meeting. Rick Wernoski later confirmed that he was willing to defer his presentation until December. The Chair noted that the Forum has received proposals regarding graduate student program presentations. She hoped to bring these latter presenters to the Forum in December.

The Chair asked delegates’ thoughts on asking Cathy Brennan from Environment, Health, and Safety to do a presentation on lead testing in campus buildings. Members generally thought that this was a good idea, given the number of questions that employees have about this situation.

Joe Ormond had no further comments from the Communications & Public Relations committee. Jacob Womack had to leave the call and thus could not report out on the Community Service committee.

Laura Pratt reported that the Carolina Blood Drive will have a table at the October 21st departmental fair next to the Forum table. The winter drive will take place Wednesday, December 7th in the Fetzer Gymnasium. Amber Meads said that the web link for donors and volunteers will be live by the end of the week. The summer drive will take place Wednesday, May 3rd, a Forum meeting date but also a reading day for the spring semester. The Chair thanked Pratt and Meads for their work organizing both these events.

Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Community Garden is organizing fundraising for the American Indian community garden, which features plants important to various American Indian cultures.

Janet Steele reported that the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee had recently secured appointments to the University’s DEI Council.

Laura Pratt noted that Education and Career Development committee co-chair L.E. Alexander had recently given birth. She shared a picture of the new mother and child. Pratt noted that the committee has successfully opened its round of professional development grant applications, which will remain open until October 30th. The committee is searching for two more reviewers to read applications. She asked volunteers to contact her by email.

Tiffany Carver had no further comments from the Membership & Assignments committee. Matthew Teal reported that the Personnel Issues committee hopes to work on questions related to the F&O memo discussed earlier, as well as other Vice Chancellors’ representatives’ meeting questions which were not addressed at the October 13th meeting.

There was no update from the UNC System Staff Assembly representatives. The Chair said that the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament had gone very well. She thanked all the Forum’s volunteers for this effort.

Matthew Teal noted that the university’s Policy Review committee had discussed the possible need for a policy on minors in academic spaces, primarily when a parent brings a minor to campus lacking childcare. The committee has heard from the university’s Protection of Minors coordinator who had received some complaints in this area. However, no real university-wide data exists on this issue.

Annetta Streater asked if the committee featured someone from healthcare spaces in the meeting. She noted that patient clinics in the Adams School of Dentistry are housed within the academic setting for students, leading to concerns about patients bringing their children to the clinical setting. This situation represents a safety issue. Streater was interested in how the committee’s discussions will impact healthcare settings. Teal pledged to follow up with Streater following the meeting to connect her with Starr Sanders of the University’s Protection of Minors office.

The Chair recalled that Arlene Medder had raised the question of expanding childcare for university community members at a recent Vice Chancellors’ representatives’ meeting. Medder said that the group hoped to revisit this question but noted financial constraints. The Chair said that the issue of childcare is not limited to one or two departments but rather has emerged throughout the university. She said that the university may need to explore expanding or establishing a new childcare center.

There was no report from any other university committee representatives. Members finalized their plans to accomplish the day’s tasks.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 1:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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