August 8, 2013 Employee Forum Vice Chancellor/Provost Meeting
Attending: Gena Carter, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Karol Kain Gray, Michael Highland, James Holman, Brenda Malone, Charles Streeter, Carol Tresolini, Anna Wu
Brenda Malone called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. She welcomed Charles Streeter, the newly elected Forum chair, and led the room in a round of introductions. Streeter noted conversations that Forum delegates have had about using the Staff Development fund to pay for professional development efforts. Streeter said that the original proposal would provide $250 grants to 40 employees, twenty in the spring and fall. Tammy Cox added that these grants would be for non-academic credit such as certifications. She said that the fund has already been used for notary public classes, among other purposes. She noted questions about two $500 uses of the fund for Kaplan courses. Malone thought that professional development grants would not seem an inappropriate use but the proposal would need tight criteria to obtain approval from the Chancellor. Streeter said that last year’s Education and Career Development committee had waited upon a Human Resources survey of possible need before presenting the proposal to the full Forum. He recalled that the Forum’s laptop loaner program of the last decade had difficulties with a lack of statistics on use. Karol Kain Gray noted that the request for stipend had been approved. Malone emphasized the need for a tight well-designed program. Tammy Cox took a moment to thank Gretchen McCoy for her work with the Forum’s accounts.
With regard to University budget developments, Karol Kain Gray said that the Board of Governors estimate of cuts is 2.5% net/net with the State appropriations budget cut of 4.1%. UNC-Chapel Hill was also hurt by the Legislature’s decision to take 50% of its repair and renovation budget. She said that the University Budget Committee will decide how strategically to make cuts. There will not be across the board cuts. James Holman asked if there would be layoffs this year. Gray said that there would not be layoffs in her area or in the housekeepers’ area. There might be a freeze on positions. Tammy Cox asked if it was safe to report a 2.5% cut to deans and directors. Gray said that the cuts will depend on the health of each school. She said that the 4.1% cut represents around $21 million. She noted that enrollment and tuition dollars have yet been undetermined by the Board of Governors. All topics are open for discussion as the Board will meet that day.
Brenda Malone recalled Matt Brody’s update that there will not be salary increases this year and probably next year also given that this is the first year of the biennium. She noted that the Legislature did relax the lockdown on salary improvements, expanding the range of possibilities. Karol Kain Gray said that the Board of Governors’ Promotion and Tenure committee will look at any increase exceeding 10%. She noted that each System institution’s Chancellor will be expected to answer on any of these increases to the Board. She knew of only two faculty members receiving such increases at UNC-Chapel Hill. James Holman asked about the possibility of restoring the Forum Assistant’s fifth work day. Malone noted the cuts that Human Resources and the Forum have absorbed over the last five years. She said that unless funds are restored it will be difficult to replenish the position. She valued the input of Forum delegates on this question.
Regarding the PeopleSoft project, Karol Kain Gray said that the January 1, 2014 date is not achievable. With this knowledge, project managers have stepped back and will set a new live date shortly. Tammy Cox agreed that if the system is not ready the launch should not be done. Gray said that the system must work correctly from the beginning if it is to be trusted. Michael Highland asked the general response to this news among users. Cox said that it was one of relief. Gray recalled that the student portion was the last stage implemented at her previous institution. She noted that the University must get its payroll system correct or prospects are very bleak indeed. Malone said that she had never heard of doing the student portion first. Jackie Copeland noted that the financial aid portal is very old and is not cost efficient to support. Gray said that the portal is 44 years old, with only one person still conversant in the KOBOL software. She said that the new PeopleSoft system will be very good with financial aid.
Brenda Malone asked delegates to keep in mind the five days of FY14 leave. She said that Human Resources had not captured how many people did not use this leave in FY13. She said that if many had lost this leave, Human Resources would have heard complaints. James Holman said that the only problem was that many employees left using the leave until the very end of the fiscal year. He said that the leave is hard to track since it does not appear on employees’ pay stubs. The leave does appear on TIM accruals, however. Gena Carter hoped that TIM administrators would catch excessive balances before they expire. Malone noted the difficulty in making the University community aware on a variety of topics. She was optimistic that the Human Resources leads would be able to help communications on a variety of topics. She asked that Forum delegates serve as an ambassador for FY14 leave and other initiatives.
James Holman noted a question about the submission of Family and Medical Leave Act medical certifications to supervisors. Anna Wu said that these certifications should go directly to Human Resources due to HIPAA privacy restrictions. Holman confirmed that supervisors should sign FMLA request forms but not medical certifications. Wu said that employees need both forms to finish the process.
Charles Streeter asked about the printing of the Human Resources handbook. Brenda Malone said that the handbook will include links to actual policy but will be readable. She said that the handbook will be on the HR website. She said that the new Chancellor is preparing a welcome to go in the printed version of the handbook.
Brenda Malone noted questions about the new law allowing weapons to be brought to campuses in locked vehicles. Charles Streeter said that Public Safety had said that they must redo their program in response to the law. Karol Kain Gray reiterated that the University must abide by the law. Anna Wu asked whether the University could request an exemption for large facility spaces, such as Kenan Stadium and the Smith Center. Gray said that weapons can be locked in a car on campus but cannot be brought out on campus. James Holman noted the “Shots Fired” training class that the Forum had viewed four years ago. Streeter said that he planned to hold a similar training once Public Safety is prepared to incorporate the new law.
Brenda Malone noted that these meetings will now occur every other month, barring some exigency. She looked forward to more good conversations and wished all a productive year.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:46 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary