Attendees: Dan Barmmer, Gena Carter, Karol Kain Gray, John Gullo, Todd Hux, Brenda Malone, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Carol Tresolini, Anna Wu
Brenda Malone called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. She welcomed guests in a round of introductions. Anna Wu noted that outside contractors are required to have I-9 and eVerify background checks for their subcontractors. She said that there are questions about immigration status in background checks. She said that the University fully expects contractors and subcontractors to comply with federal and state regulations. She said that there would be zero tolerance for inappropriate conduct, and she hoped that employees would report such conduct if they see it. Dan Barmmer said that Alan Moran had not mentioned such incidents but rather had sought to represent workers’ concern that they compete on an equal footing with contractors. Dan Barmmer asked about the proposal to raise the bid amount from $300,000 to $500,000. Jackie Overton said that this change might be part of the personnel flexibility bill.
John Gullo asked how various campuses across the University System have access to data. He said that General Administration officials encouraged him to go back to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Human Resources division for data. He was particularly interested in how many employees take tuition waived classes during the year. Brenda Malone said that much depends on who does the collecting of the data. She said that if someone has a need or interest in this data the University will always try to respond to Freedom of Information Act request. She said that Human Resources tries to respond to all requests unless they are very difficult. She said that if Human Resources cannot provide the information Institutional Research can provide much of this data on-line. Todd Hux noted that the Friday Center should have information about tuition waived classes. Dan Barmmer asked about other System institutions. Malone said that she had not seen their data on tuition waivers. Malone noted that in a previous position, she had been asked everyday about the exact number and percentage of staff and faculty. She encouraged Gullo to access oira.unc.edu/facts-and-figures as a starting point for more information.
Brenda Malone asked if the group intended to take a break in these meetings in the summer time. Jackie Overton said that the group planned to take a break in June and July. John Gullo supplied attendees with a copy of General Administration’s proposed legislative initiatives. Malone hoped that the University could capture costs that the Affordable Care Act would require for temporary employees working over 30 hours a week. She knew that this change would cost the University but she did not yet know how much. She hoped that the State would introduce a different package for these employees otherwise the University will end up paying very high premiums for this population. The University will wait on an IRS ruling on this question, saying that if temporary employees are housed in the current State Health Plan it will cost the University quite a bit.
Carol Tresolini noted questions about modifying the definition of volunteer in the legislative initiatives. Jackie Overton said that now retirees must wait six months to return to work for the State. The legislative initiatives propose reducing this wait to 30 days. Brenda Malone noted that recently retired faculty cannot volunteer to work with their charges during the six month window.
Danny Nguyen recalled a conversation with James Holman in which he noted that employees’ W-2 forms were delivered on campus without the designation “Confidential” or “Addressee Only.” Brenda Malone said that she had committed Human Resources to maintain this rule, but W-2 forms come from the Payroll office. Karol Kain Gray said that she did not realize W-2s are sent to employees via campus mail. She asked why this is done. Jackie Overton said that the University probably does this to avoid paying the cost of postage. Gray said that she knew some campuses distribute their W-2 forms on-line for employees to print. Overton asked if PeopleSoft could handle this task. Gray said that this could not be accomplished before next year. Anna Wu said that Facilities Services would need to print out statements for those without computers. Malone clarified that she could not make the entire University follow her rulings. However, she said that W-2 forms are a pretty big item in terms of possible damage, as they contain employees’ social security numbers. Dan Barmmer said that this kind of breach is very unlikely to happen. Malone said that she would work to make these transmissions more secure.
Danny Nguyen asked about SPA and EPA non-faculty employees teaching as adjunct faculty at their original or another UNC System institution. He said that Office of State Personnel rules imply that instructors who are SPA or EPA non-faculty employees can teach only twelve months. He said that his other institution at which he serves as an adjunct faculty member, NC Central University, seemed to know little about these rules. He thought that the State would want to encourage employees who want and are capable of teaching. Brenda Malone understood that employees non-exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cannot teach as adjuncts at UNC, as there is no way to track hours for this work. Danny Nguyen noted that the borrowing agency reimburses the paying agency. Karol Kain Gray said that there needs to be an agreement between Nguyen’s UNC and NC Central departments which is expressed in a Human Resources form. Danny Nguyen asked if he had to redo this form each semester. Malone said that the University has a dual employment policy in which there is a need for part-time consulting from employees with limited special knowledge can work in a secondary capacity for twelve months. She said that the State policy implies that this is a limited term. Nguyen asked if he could re-up for another twelve months once the first term is finished. Malone said that there is no rollover provision mentioned in the policy but said that she would get more information. Gena Carter said that she would look at the Office of State Personnel policies to provide Nguyen an answer.
Todd Hux asked about rumors of a 3% reduction in the University budget. Karol Kain Gray had heard of a 2% reduction potential for FY13-14. Carol Tresolini said that the Provost had asked departments to plan for reductions of 2% and 5%. Hux asked if these funds would come from Facilities Services. Malone said that managers are stressing over the different scenarios. Gray said that this year should be alright. She noted that the new leadership in Raleigh will likely have pressing requirements for the University. Hux asked about possible leadership in Building Services. Anna Wu said that Facilities Services is working with Human Resources to find someone.
Gena Carter said that she had not found anything regarding adjunct teaching beyond the twelve month period. Nguyen asked about the possibility of challenging or changing the Office of State Personnel policy. Malone said that any revisions would need to be done for the entire State. She said that this situation is another example of the need for personnel flexibility, as different State agencies have different needs and expectations.
Dan Barmmer asked how the Strategic Initiatives report will impact staff. Brenda Malone said that General Administration will address this question partially in an upcoming conference call. Karol Kain Gray noted the possibility of many consolidations at smaller campuses. Malone noted that other state systems of higher education had gone through this process 8-9 years ago. She said that there had been talk of partnering UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State. The two schools’ boards of trustees held a joint meeting last month to talk about possible efficiencies like the shared Temporary Targeted Staffing effort. Jackie Overton recalled that the Board of Governors had approved the report at its meeting on Friday. Dan Barmmer asked if staff will be affected as much as faculty and students by the report. Carol Tresolini voiced concern that the University will not meet accreditation standards if required to impose standardized tests as suggested by some legislators. Malone said that the prospect of personnel flexibility may look better to the Forum given the intervening circumstances. Todd Hux asked about the University’s lobbyist in this discussion. Overton said that Director of State Relations Jennifer Willis will address the Forum next month.
Jackie Overton noted that the Forum will sponsor a food drive at the UNC men’s basketball game against Florida State University on Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center. Overton asked that notice about the food drive go out. Anna Wu said that her office could help distribute information. Overton said that Todd Hux will serve as the point person for the drive.
Malone wished the group a Happy Valentine’s Day.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:54 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary