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September 17, 2013 Employee Forum Executive Committee minutes

Attending:  Dan Barmmer, Gena Carter, Tiffany Carver, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Jill Crowder, Yvonne Dunlap, David Fraley, Paula Goodman, James Holman, Shelby Long, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m.  He noted that he had met with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp to discuss ways of publicizing what the Library offers to staff.  He also said that he would like the staff to sit beside the faculty at University Day, but had been told this would not be possible.  Jill Crowder noted that the budget for University Day this year is very tight and so delegations will be arranged by quadrants.  Katie Turner noted that organizers may wish to spotlight the faculty’s regalia for television.  The Chair reported that he would meet with the Chancellor on Tuesday.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the July meeting.  Katie Turner moved that the Forum approve the July meeting’s minutes, seconded by Yvonne Dunlap.  The motion was approved without opposition.  Katie Turner had added clarifications on the August minutes.  The committee agreed to delay consideration of these minutes until everyone had a chance to examine Turner’s modifications.

The Chair noted that the Chancellor has approved use of the Staff Development fund for the Forum’s brochures and logo redesign.  He suggested that the Forum create bookmarks for the Employee Appreciation Day October 18.  Tammy Cox noted that the bookmarks will tie into the Forum’s book reading program this year.  Cox noted that she had requested a $3500 increase to the Forum’s overhead account to meet obligations that were lost during the cut of the Forum Assistant’s hours to .8 FTE.  She anticipated that the University will approve this request.  She noted that the Forum’s trust fund account was committed down to almost the last dollar.  The Chair said that the Forum had examined possible ways to reduce expenditures including doing away with the office copier and reducing table move expenditures associated with the Forum’s monthly meetings.  He said that the Forum would need to request additional funds for its trust fund account also.  The Chair noted that the Forum had ordered a plaque to present to outgoing Vice Chancellor Karol Kain Gray on Friday afternoon.

The Chair asked for suggestions for line items for the Staff Development fund annual budget.  He would use these suggestions in meeting with the Chancellor the following week.  He noted that the Forum has advocated for funds use for notary public classes, professional development grants, and other items.  He noted that the fund has a balance of approximately $130,000 and it earns approximately $18,000 a year.  It was suggested to increase the publication schedule of InTouch, the Forum newsletter, from three to four print editions a year.  Katie Turner suggested that the Forum use the fund to purchase shelf copies associated with the Forum’s monthly book selection.  Tammy Cox said that the School of Information and Library Science could house these copies for staff use.  Matt McKirahan noted that staff participation in off-campus trainings is hindered by up-front costs.  He suggested that the fund meet these up-front costs for qualifying staff employees.  Gena Carter thought that the University had begun technical training through ITS.  Jill Crowder commented that this training is all on-line, and many employees need hands-on training in a classroom setting.  McKirahan asked how much the fund should set aside for professional development grants.  The Chair thought that $10,000 a year would be a good pool of funds to support this need.

Tammy Cox asked what initiatives the Forum wished to support.  She noted recent discussions supporting diversity and sexual assault prevention training, among other items.  Tiffany Carver suggested first aid training in campus units.  James Holman recalled that Ray Doyle had often asked Facilities Services employees to sign up for these kinds of courses.  The Chair said that the professional development grants could be used to support courses that do not award a grade.  James Holman suggested that the fund support the cost of books associated with this training.  Matt McKirahan said that, in the absence of the third tuition waiver for University or community college attendance, the fund could set aside support for this third course a year.  Tammy Cox noted that the fund now supports employees with payment of up to $500 for tuition and $200 for books.  McKirahan asked how this support is administered.  Carver said that there is an application for these funds available through Human Resources.

McKirahan supported using the fund to support first aid and CPR training and to purchase accompanying devices necessary for this training.  He noted that the purchase of these resources ties in with training but often places a burden on participating departments.  Shelby Long related the story of a medical student who had her heart stop in her department.  She said that no one was present trained to use the defibrillator needed.  She also noted that the phone call to ‘911’ went to the Hospital number ‘911,’ which then had to be transferred to the main ‘911’ town line.  She noted that the response from Public Safety had been rather lax in this case.  The Chair proposed inviting Environment, Health and Safety to a future Forum meeting.

Dan Barmmer asked who would administer the professional development grants.  It was suggested that the Forum Assistant administer these grants or Human Resources could go on administering these grants.  Gena Carter noted that there is a link to the appropriate application available on the Human Resources website.  Paula Goodman said that employees often have no idea of the programs that Human Resources offers.  Gena Carter suggested that Ashley Nicklis discuss educational tuition programs as well as benefits enrollment at the Forum’s October meeting.  Yvonne Dunlap confirmed that permanent full- and part-time University staff are eligible for these programs.

The Chair noted that the Forum does not have a signature event similar to the Black Caucus’ semester opening event or Student Affairs’ FallFest.  He proposed that the Forum use its March anniversary to provide coffee and doughnuts to employees prior to the monthly meeting.  He thought this event could increase the profile of the Forum across campus.  Paula Goodman liked the idea, particularly as it seemed to correspond with the Forum’s election season.  The Chair asked how much it should request to publicize this event.  He suggested buttons noting the Forum’s founding.  Tammy Cox commented that every day she encounters employees who have not heard of the Forum.  Yvonne Dunlap said that the Forum could conduct an information session at the Friday Center for employees, perhaps as an annual event.

The Chair suggested that the Forum partner with other campus organizations.  He suggested that the Forum request a $1,000 programming budget to support things like the campus Thinkposium.  He also supported requesting a $1,000 discretionary fund for the Chair.  Dan Barmmer asked if the Forum planned to reinvest the remainder of the fund.  The Chair said that this question should be decided by the full Forum.  He asked members to review the proposed Staff Development fund budget.

Katie Turner said that the law clinic students associated with the Bylaws committee said that they were unsure whether the provisions for electronic voting by the Forum Executive committee were legal.  However, she noted that the students were somewhat confused as to whether the Forum is a non-profit organization or a public body.  She said that the Forum tends to operate like a non-profit but is technically a public body.  She said that the students still need to research what electronic voting and voting by phone would require under the open meetings law and other laws.  She noted that members of the public must have the opportunity to sit in on these meetings in some form.

Turner recalled that the Forum Executive committee has the right to act between meetings on behalf of the full Forum.  She said that defining how the public could participate in discussions related to these actions is a bit murky.  The Chair noted that public bodies can operate in closed sessions, but Dan Barmmer noted that this exemption is only available for personnel discussions.  Turner noted that some delegates did not want to reveal how they voted in order to keep this information from their supervisors.  She said that public record access and general statutes recommend recording votes and not allow secret voting procedures.  Gena Carter suggested reaching out to General Counsel for advice on these questions.  Turner thought it best to give the law students and Professor Tom Kelly a chance to look at these issues further before going to University Counsel.  Carter cautioned that the Forum should not make a change in this area without hearing from University Counsel.  Turner recalled that the Executive committee has power to set the agenda for the full Forum and make decisions between meetings of the full Forum.  She noted the immense task before the Bylaws committee to evaluate these different questions.  Dan Barmmer noted the general statute for public bodies that allow members of the public to receive notices of electronic meetings.  The statute allows a member of the public to listen electronically to meetings for a charge of $25 per listener, to support the cost of setting up electronic arrangements.

Katie Turner had nothing else to add from the Bylaws committee.  Matt Banks volunteered to schedule the next Bylaws committee meeting.

Arlene Medder reported that the Carolina Campus Community Garden hoped to find money for a split rail fence for the garden.  She noted that the garden received a $600 grant from Marathon Petroleum.  The Chair suggested that the Forum find Staff Development funds to support the garden, given its role in supporting staff employees.

Matt McKirahan reported that the Education and Career Development committee had not met that month.

Paula Goodman of the Membership & Assignments committee said that group was planning to hold a coffee and doughnuts social for the Chancellor before the November meeting.  She confirmed that the committee had a budget of $170 for socials in November and December.

James Holman reported that the Personnel Issues committee had not met yet.  He thanked Gena Carter for meeting with the committee last month to discuss the change in probationary status for new employees.  Now, new employees must finish a two-year probationary period before obtaining career status.  Before, the University had the option to reduce this requirement to 90 days.  The committee will now concentrate on ADA and career banding questions at its next meeting.  Jill Crowder reported that nine Grounds employees have received 4%, $896 raises to come up to market rate.  Matt McKirahan noted the recent memo from Human Resources concerning FY14 leave and sick leave.  Gena Carter urged all to read this e-mail for clarification on FY14 leave.

Jill Crowder reported that the Recognition & Awards committee met last Friday.

The Chair noted that the Staff Assembly will meet October 14 and 15.  The Forum now has the names of three candidates to serve on the Assembly.

Katie Turner reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee had worked on the pilot monthly book selections.  She noted that the Bull’s Head bookshop has agreed to feature these selections in the store and to grant a 25% discount for staff.  Turner said that the committee should publicize the program via listservs.  She said that staff should have the option to plan discussion groups of the books.  She noted that the committee will meet with UNC Creative to discuss the Forum logo redesign as well as creation of a Forum brochure.  Amanda Slater will be the designer on this project.  The Chair proposed that the Forum ask the University Gazette publicize the book selection program.

James Holman asked about sending out the newsletter InTouch on the Forum’s divisional listservs, as many employees were out of town when the previous issue came out.  Katie Turner suggested that the Forum send out a link to the Forum website.  Turner asked about the Forum inviting Melinda Lowry to speak as part of the book selection program at the Forum’s November meeting.

The Chair said that he would meet with the Provost on Thursday.  He said that former Senator Ellie Kinnaird and current Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt are scheduled to speak at the Forum’s October meeting.  He asked that Kleinschmidt speak on his office’s initiatives and relations with the University.  He hoped that Kinnaird would talk about voting rights in the State.  He noted that the Forum planned to distribute football tickets at the October meeting.

The Chair noted that he would present greetings from the staff at the Chancellor’s installation at University Day October 12.  He asked that Paula Goodman work with the Forum Assistant to staff the Forum table at Employee Appreciation Day October 18.

Dan Barmmer noted talk about inviting Reverend William Barber to one of the Forum’s meetings.  The Chair said that the Forum might invite Barber to a community meeting.  Katie Turner suggested that the Parr Center for Ethics might be interested in co-sponsoring this event.

The Chari noted that Brenda Denzler suggested that SEANC lobbyist Chuck Stone come to the Forum to discuss the Affordable Care Act.  Katie Turner noted that Scholars for a Progressive North Carolina will speak on a panel Thursday afternoon.

In the absence of further discussion, Yvonne Dunlap moved that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Tammy Cox.  The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 1:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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