October 15, 2013 Executive Committee minutes
Attending: Dan Barmmer, Gena Carter, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Lois Douglass-Alston, Yvonne Dunlap, David Fraley, James Fuller, Paula Goodman, Shelby Long, Arlene Medder, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. He said that the Staff Assembly meeting that morning had been very interesting. He said it was good to compare the workings of the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum with those of other campuses.
Katie Turner passed around fliers for the monthly book selection. The Chair noted that Dr. Malinda Lowery had agreed to speak at the Forum’s November meeting. Turner noted the complexities of identity of the Lumbee Indian Nation. Jackie Copeland noted that some Native Americans might identify more with a local place than with kin. Turner hoped the Forum could conduct a more formalized book club. The Chair asked Matt Banks to schedule him a meeting with the Chancellor before her remarks to the full Forum in November. The Chair noted that UNC System Staff Assembly Chair Chuck Brink finished his two year term that morning. He said that the Forum should recognize Brink’s service in some way. The Chair noted that he had asked the NC State University Staff Senate Chair to speak at the Forum’s December meeting. He was interested to learn that NC State has its own life insurance, retirement options, and other benefits not offered by the State. He noted that other UNC staff organizations feature regular dinners with their Chancellors, cook-offs, community officers and history officers. He noted that Brenda Denzler had done some work on the history of the Forum. He also said that the Forum should add the Erskine Bowles award to the Recognition and Awards committee’s responsibilities.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the August minutes, noting that he had a few changes for the minutes. He noted that Chris Kielt and Priscilla Alden were incorrectly identified. He also noted that the Forum Assistant’s hours were incorrectly portrayed as .8 FTE instead of 80% of FTE. Arlene Medder moved that the August minutes be approved, seconded by Shelby Long. The motion was approved by acclamation. Shelby Long moved to approve the September minutes, seconded by Yvonne Dunlap. The September minutes were approved by acclamation.
The Chair reported that the Chancellor had asked that the Forum keep its annual Staff Development budget to under $18,000. She urged the Chair to consider professional development grants in excess of $250, as the lower figure may not allow employees to attend important conferences. The Chair said that the Forum would need to scrutinize applications very well before they are approved. There is still the question of what to do if employees cannot pay for these courses in advance, then receive reimbursements.
The Chair reported that the Chancellor had offered to absorb the cost of a speaker honorarium each year for the Forum, instead of using the Staff Development fund for this purpose. Katie Turner noted this was a very generous offer, but worried that the Forum’s choice of speaker would be contingent on the Chancellor’s approval each year. She felt it was important that staff have independence in this area. She suggested that the Forum request speakers as a committee. The Chair said that the Forum would need to write justifications for programs with the aid of Treasurer Tammy Cox. Turner thought that the Forum could create an ad hoc speaker selection committee. The Chair thought that the Forum should survey its constituents and let them vote. He said that speakers would ideally appear in the spring but not conflict with the Forum community meeting. Turner asked about a budget for advertising the speaker. Gena Carter asked if advertising has been a cost for the Forum previously. The Chair said that this is a special event that had not been attempted before.
Dan Barmmer asked if the Chancellor had considered reinvesting the approximately $140,000 that the Staff Development holds aside from its annual earnings. The Chair said that he had not had a chance to raise this subject during his meeting with the Chancellor. Barmmer suggested perhaps the Forum could use this fund to renovate the Forum Office. The Chair added that the Forum Assistant needs a new computer. He thought that the Forum would need to find items from surplus as these things were not in the Forum’s operational budget. Barmmer noted that former delegate Alan Moran had asked that the Forum find ways to support staff other educational opportunities that would only be utilized by administrative staff (such as conference attendance). Jackie Copeland noted that students applying for scholarships typically are asked to supply budgets in their applications. She said that this practice eliminates much of the work on the front end when evaluating applications. The Chair asked that the Forum create a budget for the Staff Development fund in July of each year.
The Chair said that the domain forum.unc.edu would need to be replaced by employeeforum.unc.edu in order to distinguish its web presence from forum.web.unc.edu, which is used by the Word Press group on campus. Members said that they supported this change as it was easier to remember and a better match for the organization. Katie Turner confirmed that the change would not force retrofitting of already existing web pages. The Chair said that ideally the Forum’s web address and e-mail address would be nearly the same.
The committee discussed the proofs of the new Forum logo. The Chair suggested that the Forum create a set of bookmarks for the Employee Appreciation Fair, perhaps with the cooperation of ITS or Student Stores. The Chair suggested that the Forum create a large calendar with information on holidays and paydays for next year’s Fair. Katie Turner said that she would have sign-up sheets for the Forum book club. Gena Carter offered to loan the Forum a suggestion box for employee feedback.
The Chair noted a letter from former delegate Steve Hutton regarding Equal Employment Office information collection practices. He had invited Hutton to attend the Forum’s November meeting to discuss the letter. He asked the Executive Committee what it desires to do about this situation. Katie Turner confirmed that Hutton is a retired employee who worked in Biostatistics and was a member of the Forum and SEANC. The Chair wondered if this letter was beyond the scope of the Forum’s expertise. Turner also asked if the Forum should be involved in policing departmental reporting processes. The Chair pointed out that an intelligent response would take months to research. Gena Carter said that Brenda Malone was still becoming accustomed to her role as interim head of the EEO at UNC-Chapel Hill. She said that the function Hutton refers to is a very complicated process. Yvonne Dunlap was concerned that UNC-Chapel Hill had not met its goal in this area. Dan Barmmer asked about the creation of a standard letter to employees or others who bring concerns to the Forum. The Chair said that it was important that he consult with the Executive Committee to bring members into the decision-making process. The question arose as to how James Holman received a copy of the letter as he was not directly copied in the relevant e-mail.
Katie Turner reported the opinion of the law students group that the Executive Committee cannot vote electronically as this process would be a violation of the Open Meetings Law. She was not certain this opinion was correct, noting concerns about meeting asynchronously. She thought the law students’ group was concerned about different information influencing the vote if members vote at different times.
Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Community Garden Advisory Committee would meet the following week.
Katie Turner said that the Communications and Public Relations committee had already produced its work earlier in the meeting.
Lois Douglass-Alston said that the Education and Career Development committee would discuss the day’s discussions at its next meeting. The Chair asked to be copied on these discussions if they occur by e-mail.
Paula Goodman said that the Membership and Assignments committee had not met. The committee will hold a brief social for Chancellor Folt at the Forum’s November meeting and will host a winter celebration at the December meeting. The committee will solicit donated items for the winter celebration in November. The Chair asked that delegates invite their supervisors and that the Vice Chancellors also be invited. He hoped to invite speakers since the June 2013 meeting as well. He hoped to arrange some musical entertainment for the event as well.
Yvonne Dunlap said that the Personnel Issues committee will meet October 29 with Omdus officer Wayne Blair.
It was noted that the Recognition & Awards committee had met to discuss other ways to recognize employees.
The Chair noted that UNC-Chapel Hill’s Staff Assembly delegation had added James Holman, Michael Highland, and Clifton Webb. He noted that the new President of the UNC System Staff Assembly is Susan Colby from NC State University.
The Chair said that the Executive Committee had been involved in developing grants and brochures associated with Employee Appreciation Day. He asked that volunteers to work the Forum table be there on time. He said that the November meeting would start at 9:30 a.m. in order that delegates could have their pictures taken with Chancellor Folt. He said that the Forum should investigate commissioning advanced notary public classes in response to a request from an employee. There was also concern that some employees are missing out on crucial information by opting out of the University’s “Informational” e-mails.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 1:18 p.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary