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Employee Forum Agenda

October 6 , 2010

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

    • Aimee Krans of Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares
    • Larry Conrad of Information Technology Services
    • Brenda Denzler on Breast Cancer Awareness Month

IV.          Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.          Approval of August Minutes; September Minutes

VI.       Old Business

VII.         New Business

VIII.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Goldsmith
  • Community Affairs and Outreach: Nadeera Salam
  • Compensation & Benefits: Chuck Brink
  • Education and Career Development: Cate Cunningham
  • Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards:  Chris Meinecke
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman September minutes
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton  August minutes


IX.        Staff Assembly Updates/Reports

X.       Announcements/Questions

XI.        Adjournment


October 6, 2010 Employee Forum minutes


Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. The Chair noted that Brenda Denzler was personally responsible for her decision to run for chair. She thanked her for her work. She also noted that the Executive Committee had held a joint meeting with members of the Human Resources cabinet. She acknowledged the contributions of the Board of Trustees and the Thorps of $35,000 for the Employee Forum house in the Build a Block campaign. She had asked Marc ter Horst to spearhead the group’s effort in this project.

Aimee Krans spoke about the kickoff of the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares campaign, formerly known as the State Employees’ Combined Campaign. She said that the campaign hopes to have a greater than 30% participation rate. Payroll deduction contributions to the campaign must equal or exceed $5 a pay period but employees may also write a check to the campaign.

Larry Conrad, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO, gave a presentation on his area’s efforts in the Carolina Counts savings effort. He noted that of 1,100 information technology employees, 40-45% work with the central office. He said that Information Technology Services (ITS) had developed the IT Partnership Program with services already in place. The project will determine what services should be centralized versus decentralized, among other choices. Conrad outlined a list of priority projects that included server housing and hosting and 24/7 help desk consolidation, among other items. All told, ITS had saved $6.5 million and another $150,000 through its Carolina Counts efforts. He noted that the standardization of software and equipment offered the University better pricing when purchasing is predefined, but predefined purchasing is not the optimal choice given the wide range of creative and individualistic personalities in the University faculty. Charles Sockell asked if anyone was aware if the School of Medicine IT desk had cut staff or reduced duplication of services. Conrad said that he was not aware if anyone had been laid off when these services were moved to ITS. Danny Nguyen asked about efforts to communicate the successes and initiatives of ITS in Carolina Counts. Conrad said that he is not a marketer by training but that his department would work to communicate its successes more efficiently.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Brenda Denzler, an inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) survivor, gave a talk on the effect of that disease on her work and personal life. She cautioned men and women alike to check themselves for breast cancer, noting the increased rate of detection possible for those who check themselves regularly. She described the particular feeling of persistent itching that had led to her diagnosis. She felt fortunate to be enrolled in the State Health Plan and also to be located near the UNC Cancer Center which had provided her efficient care. She noted that IBC has a particularly virulent form of cancer that had forced her to make exercise and nutritional improvements in her life to survive.

Senior Director Gena Carter presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update in the absence of Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone who was absent due to a death in the family. Carter saluted Denzler’s courage and strength in the face of such a difficult disease. Carter noted that Employee Appreciation Day will take place October 22 from 9-3 p.m. in the Student Union and Pit. The State Personnel Commission has postponed approval of the University’s revised grievance policy until October. Carter noted that supplemental enrollment will take place through October 29.

The Chair asked for a motion to approve the August and September minutes. Myra Quick made this motion, with Chuck Brink seconding. Brink noted that he had not said that the policy is not consistently applied across the University. He also had said that 360 evaluations across campus would allow improvements. The Forum moved to approve the minutes as amended.

The Chair noted that Nadeera Salaam was no longer on the Forum. She had asked Sarah Poteete to be the Forum’s representative to the Carolina Community Garden committee. Chuck Brink reported that the Compensation & Benefits committee had worked on a furlough resolution that had been sent back to have some language changed. He hoped to have a resolution available for November. There was no report from the Education and Career Development committee. Danny Nguyen reported that Sarah Poteete had joined the Legislative Action committee. He noted that the Legislature will begin meeting again at the end of January.

Nguyen asked if he should return to the State Personnel Commission’s (SPC) hearing to represent the Forum’s position on the proposed grievance policy revisions. Sockell recalled that he had abstained from the initial vote and noted that Vice Chancellor Malone had chastised the Forum for its stance in the matter. He did not think that the Forum needed to go back into the question. Brink thought that the Forum needed to represent its constituents by commenting at the SPC meeting. Sorhab Habibi asked a general question as to whether the Forum, an advisory body to the Chancellor, should send Nguyen to speak against a policy that the Chancellor’s representatives have recommended. Ashley Fogle thought it important that the Forum have a consistent record of comments. Myra Quick agreed. The Forum voted to send Nguyen to make remarks again to the Commission.

Carter thought it important to clarify that it was not Malone’s intent to “chastise” the Forum, rather to express disappointment with the Forum’s decision. Sockell said that he did not mean any disrespect to Malone and he understood that differences of opinion can arise.

Myra Quick said that the Membership and Assignments committee will meet again in the spring. Quick will work on the Forum bylaws revision in coordination with a UNC Law School Clinic. James Holman reported that the Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices committee met September 29 to discuss the upcoming housekeeping meeting with Chancellor Thorp. The committee discussed policies and procedures. Two other meetings have since been scheduled. The Chair said that the more that the committee had dug, the more it had uncovered. She said that she would meet with the Carolina Black Caucus meeting then go to South Building on this question that afternoon. The Chair directed that the 1969 Faculty Committee on Non-Academic Employees report be scanned and sent to the Forum.

Nancy English asked if these discussions dealt with solely Housekeeping or all of Facilities Services. The Chair said that all of these issues dealt with Facilities Services. Brink said that these questions involved inconsistent application of University policies across the school and system that would not change without 360 evaluations of one’s supervisors. Peggy Cotton asked if the Chancellor had formed a task force to deal with this subject. The Chair said that she, Brenda Malone, Van Dobson, Gena Carter, Wayne Blair, James Holman, and David Fraley have all been assigned to this task force. The Black Caucus has petitioned for a seat at the table as well. The Chair noted that she and the Forum have been working on this issue every other day. Habibi commented that his remarks on performance based incentives may have been misunderstood at the September Forum meeting. English said that in Mail Services she was bothered by the rule that employees have to go down the hall to tell their supervisors that they need to use the bathroom. The Chair said that she had heard these complaints previously.

The Chair said that the UNC System Staff Assembly would meet Monday and Tuesday of next week. She said she would attend following the University Day processional October 12. She had supported Brink’s bid to become Chair Elect of the Staff Assembly.

Habibi noted that transportation forums will take place October 25. He offered to take forward employee comments and questions to this meeting in a way that would try to be consistent and succinct. He asked delegates to submit comments by October 16.

The Chair noted that Chancellor Holden Thorp and his wife Patti and the Board of Trustees had secured $35,000 for the Employee Forum house in the Build a Block initiative. This effort will supply houses to ten employee families over ten months of building. Employees interested in working on the project should contact Marc ter Horst. The Forum will participate in a kickoff event on Sunday, October 10. Employees can sign up to work on Fridays from 12-4:30 p.m. or Saturdays from either 8:15-12:15 or 12:30-4:30 p.m. Brink thought that skilled craft and other Facilities Services personnel would be willing to use community leave to serve. He suggested that a note be sent to the Facilities Services listserv. Kathy Bryant said that the University Gazette and the Human Resources facilitators’ listserv could be other means of communicating this opportunity. Ter Horst said that all skill levels are welcome.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:27 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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