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Employee Forum Agenda

October 5, 2011

9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I. Call to Order

II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III. Special Presentations

  • Carolyn Elfland, Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Services, on Carolina Counts
  • Brenda Denzler, Breast Cancer Awareness Month

IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V. Approval of September Minutes

VI. Old Business

VII. New Business

VIII. Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Sarah Poteete (September minutes)
  • Communications and Public Relations: Jerry Waller (September minutes)
  • Compensation & Benefits: Dan Barmmer
  • Education and Career Development: Gene Burns
  • Legislative Action: Ellen Donna Brooks
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman (September minutes)
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:  Danny Nguyen/Jonathan Stephenson
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton (August minutes)

IX. Announcements/Questions

X. Adjournment


October 5, 2011 Employee Forum minutes

Attending: Kittie Allen, Dan Barmmer, Joshua Boone, Ellen D. Brooks, Gene Burns, Peggy Cotton, David Fraley, Sharon Glover, John Gullo, James Holman, George James, Carleta Long, Denise Mabe, Chris Meinecke, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Sarah Poteete, Myra Quick, David Schwarz, Renee Sherman, Charles Sockell, Charles Streeter, Jerry Waller, Clifton Webb, Aaron Williams

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Services Carolyn Elfland to discuss Carolina Counts efforts in her area. She manages Energy Services, Facilities Services, Auxiliary Services, Public Safety, Student Stores, Trademark Licensing, and the Airport. She said that spans and layers efforts have saved the University $1.6 million annually. Her area has been busy reengineering business processes, consolidating warehouses, and reorganizing service delegations. She noted that Facilities Services had instituted a second shift to reduce overtime expenditures and had created its own temporary service to reduce costs. Facilities Services has created web interfaces to handle calls electronically, particularly with regard to shipments of chemical and biological materials. Elfland said that the motor fleet had returned 60 vehicles to the State, saving departments money. Energy Services has saved a great deal in efficiencies by using employees’ ideas to save energy. Energy Services has also created a web-based dashboard allowing employees to see the energy consumption of every building on campus. Energy Services will also write a Request for Proposals (RFP) to pay for improvements out of energy savings. The department will also investigate methods to recover excess heat to heat buildings. In Facilities Services, there has been increased use of electronic signage to reduce printing costs. The department will study consolidating housekeeping and recycling work in a matter similar to Environment Health & Safety’s consolidation of biological and chemical inspections.

The Chair said that this activity and savings were phenomenal. Jerry Waller confirmed that federal audits of chemical and biological shipments were surprise audits. Kittie Allen asked about a rumor that the Carolina North project will work to use methane from the landfill to power buildings. Elfland said that this project had not yet completed the approval process. She was excited about the idea’s prospects. She said that Orange County will partner with the University to develop use of landfill methane for Carolina North. Elfland said that the University wants to make Carolina North as carbon-neutral as possible. She said that the University will try to cool buildings with sewer effluent as much as possible to preserve potable water sources. These plans are still under development however. George James asked about the University’s plans to reduce carbon input. Elfland noted that the University has committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. She said that 90% of carbon emissions come from campus buildings. Getting off of coal will be key to this initiative and the University will try to burn 20% of its energy needs via biomass by 2015 and will try to stop using coal altogether by 2020. Dan Barmmer asked about geothermal alternatives. Elfland said that student fees had put a solar collector on the Bell Tower parking deck. However, solar will require 40-60 years to payback investment. She said that solar could be used as a demonstration method. She added that geothermal takes a tremendous number of wells to work efficiently. She said that Carolina North will redevelop its brownfield site with wells in a way that would be impossible on the main campus.

The Chair introduced Brenda Denzler to speak on breast cancer awareness month. Denzler noted that there had been a deadline set for 2020 to come up with a cure for metastatic breast cancer. She reminded listeners that they do not need a lump on their breast to have breast cancer. She said if one notices something odd on one’s breast, one should consult a breast cancer specialist if it does not resolve itself in a week. She also encouraged women to get mammograms. Denzler asked listeners to “think before pink,” meaning to donate directly to breast cancer research instead of spending money on pink-themed items. Denzler noted that early detection of breast cancer is not saving lives as it should, meaning that the mortality rates for breast cancer have not improved. She said that 30% of women receiving breast cancer diagnoses will suffer a recurrence, with many suffering the metastatic Stage 4 aspect of the disease. Denzler said that breast cancer becomes most deadly when it moves from the breast to elsewhere in the body. She said that rates of death from metastatic cancer have remained steady since 1975.

Denzler lamented that only 2% of research dollars are spent on metastatic cancer research, with the rest spent on cellular biology, detection, and screening at earlier stages of the disease. The National Breast Cancer Coalition has set a deadline of 2020 to cure metastatic breast cancer. She said that the goal is to get more research dollars for this area, perhaps through the development of a vaccine. Denzler urged support of an effort to fight a disease that will likely kill friends of hers. The Chair thanked Denzler for her remarks.

Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone noted that University benefits enrollment ends on Friday, October 28. She noted that Employee Appreciation Day will take place on Friday, October 21 at the Student Union and Pit. She hoped that all employees could attend the event. She also noted that Human Resources had launched Work Well/Live Well, the campus wellness initiative. She hoped that employees would participate in challenges related to mind, body, balance, and community. Malone also noted that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares campaign continues. Employees can donate to this campaign on-line or via payroll deduction. The University has set a goal of 30% participation in the campaign.

Regarding the PRM report, Malone said that it had been released Thursday and immediately posted. The Chancellor released an announcement last week concerning the report. Additionally, Facilities Services has placed copies of the report where housekeepers can access them. The University is translating the report into multiple languages. Malone noted that PRM had interviewed approximately 400 employees. The report had identified a pervasiveness of feelings concerning reports of concern and discontent with regard to dignity, respect, and how assignments are given, among other items. Thirty percent or lower of interviewees feel disenfranchised, a number that was not as pervasive as it could have been. Still, that amount of dissatisfaction means that the University must address perceptions and beliefs. The Chancellor has decided to establish an advisory committee of housekeepers, as well as to add supervisory training. Human Resources will incorporate report feedback into performance management systems. The University plans to use all information gained from the report in a constructive way. Malone hoped that the University could introduce performance management feedback as a tool after the first of the year. Malone noted that PRM challenged the University to have positive and open communications, meaning that if employees cannot understand one another they cannot communicate. Thus, the University plans to have English as Second Language courses with some required participation on worktime. These courses will offer the opportunity to increase proficiency and engagement. Additionally, the University plans to translate its policies into different languages. Malone said that it was critical that the advisory committee get started immediately. She said that administrators will be busy implementing recommendations and giving employees the opportunity to contribute. She said that what is different about this effort is that the University has firm data obtained from an outside consultant which had found that the Housekeeping department has as many employees with no problem with the current system as those who have a problem. She said that the hiring of this outside consultant demonstrated the University’s willingness to change the environment. Carleta Long asked how the performance review feedback loop would work. Malone said that Housekeeping would undergo a pilot of the loop. She said that it is a slippery slope but it is the University’s intention as part of the performance management process to implement feedback mechanisms. Dan Barmmer asked if this feedback loop would function like a 360 evaluation. Malone said that was somewhat the case as the feedback loop would present the opportunity for employees to provide some constructive feedback. Carleta Long asked if Malone could update the Forum on plans for personnel flexibility. The Chair said that President Tom Ross will address this topic during his remarks on University Day October 12. The Chair took a moment to acknowledge Vice Chair Marc ter Horst’s support in serving on various search committees and other University committee such as the Student Fees Advisory subcommittee, the Student Fees Advisory Task Force, and the President’s installation at NC A&T University October 6.

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the September minutes. She had amendments to the minutes. David Schwarz moved that the minutes as amended be accepted, seconded by John Gullo. The minutes were accepted as amended by acclamation.

Josh Boone read proposed Bylaws revisions related to removal of Forum delegates. Gene Burns confirmed that 2/3 of Forum delegates required would be of a quorum or the entire Forum roster. The Chair said that a quorum is sufficient. Chuck Sockell asked why the Forum would need to rewrite its Bylaws in this manner. The Chair said that the Forum had found it had not process to recall delegates and members believed there needed to be a mechanism to do so. Sockell asked if 2/3 vote of the Executive Committee is needed to remove appointed delegates. The Chair said that this was the case, and 2/3 vote of the full Forum is required to remove elected delegates. She said that the Forum will not likely be in the business of removing people. Dan Barmmer proposed removing the word “consultant” from the description of the parliamentarian. The Chair said that the Forum will consider these revisions on second reading in November.

The proposed Conduct Agreement was read. The Chair said that the Forum needed to implement these changes to remove delegates who behave in a flagrantly inappropriate manner. She said that she was trying to professionalize how the Forum does its work, exemplified by the recent cleaning of the Forum office and changing of the Forum logo. She wanted people to know that the Forum is serious about what is being done here. The Conduct Agreement would become part of the handbook for delegates. The Chair said that if delegates threaten or endanger someone in an e-mail or otherwise, they would have to go.

The Chair said that President Tom Ross was to be inaugurated at NC A&T University tomorrow. All of the chairs of the UNC staff organizations were invited. She noted that she had been asked to give remarks at University Day October 12. She praised the work of John Gullo and Peggy Cotton on the Employee Appreciation Day organization committee. She asked Forum delegates to wear their shirts on that day, October 21. The Chair noted that Chuck Brink will be sworn in as Staff Assembly Chair October 18. The Executive Committee will move its meeting from that date to October 13, following the Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting in 3020 Steele Building. The Chair noted that Habitat for Humanity had recognized the Forum for its contributions. She said that the Chancellor had agreed to sponsor the Forum’s 20 th anniversary event March 7, 2012. She said that Brenda Denzler had agreed to write the history on the second decade of the Forum. Next month, Student Body President Mary Cooper and football coach Everett Withers will address the Forum.

Sarah Poteete said that the community garden had distributed over 4,000 pounds of food this year. She said that the community garden committee was working on strategic plans to expand distribution and coordinate volunteer efforts. The committee will continue fundraising and will plan a day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Marc ter Horst asked if the garden was getting enough volunteers. Poteete said that busloads of people have turned up to help. She said that the garden was part of the freshman class’ week of welcome. James Holman asked if Building and Construction planned to build a shed on the site. Poteete said that the committee has always assumed it would have to move to another central location, such as possibly Carolina North. Jerry Waller said that the Communications & Public Relations committee had set up an electronic sign-up sheet for Employee Appreciation Day. The committee has also started an electronic version of InTouch and encourages submissions. David Schwarz suggested creating a subscribe calendar whereby people can have Forum events placed into their personal calendars. Waller said that this was new to him and that the Forum relies on Microsoft Exchange infrastructure. The Chair asked that delegates submit their ideas to Waller.

Barmmer reported that the Compensation & Benefits committee had not met but was working on counseling letters and disaster relief reform. Gene Burns reported that the Education & Career Development committee held its first meeting and had heard about on-line training options such as the Microsoft IT Academy. The committee also received new information on the current Staff Development budget. The Chair thanked Burns for stepping up and leading the committee. John Gullo reported that the Legislative Affairs committee meeting had been cancelled. Myra Quick said that the Membership & Assignments committee will work on the 20 th anniversary event and planned to meet in October. Chris Meinecke of the Recognition & Awards committee said that group had not met yet but would work on Peer Recognition awards in the spring. Carleta Long said that the Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices committee had worked on the Forum handbook and a counseling letter resolution. The committee was also interested in adding hours for Forum delegates each month. She asked if the Chancellor had spoken with the Executive Committee in the past. The Chair said that the Chancellor would address the Forum in December. Long said that the Forum should hold a pot-luck event prior to the December meeting. Danny Nguyen reported that the UNC Staff Assembly will install Chuck Brink on October 18. The Chair recognized representatives from the University Gazette, Human Resources, and the University Counsel’s office.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:18 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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