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Employee Forum Agenda — September 5, 2007

9:15 a.m.—Reception, Lobby of Wilson Library

9:45 a.m.—Meeting: Wilson Library Lobby Pleasants Family Assembly Room

I.            Call to Order

II.           Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.         Opening Remarks

IV.          Special Presentations

    • Robert Agans, Wallace Ambrose & Ernie Patterson on Health Insurance Issues

V.          Human Resources Update

VI.         Stretch Time


VII.      Minutes

VIII.    Old Business

IX.        New Business

    • Chancellor’s Request for Input (pdf) on Timing and Issues Related to UNC 100-foot No Smoking Boundary
    • Proposed Guidelines Changes to Extend and Align Delegate Terms with the UNC System Staff Assembly and Election of Delegates to the UNC System Staff Assembly (First Reading)

X.           Employee Presentations or Questions

XI.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Communications and Public Relations: Brenda Denzler
  • Community Affairs, Recognition, Awards and Outreach: Jane Tornow
    • Peer Recognition Awards
  • Compensation and Wages:  Alan Moran
  • Education and Career Development: Jane Majors
  • Health Benefits:  Robert Agans
  • Legislative Action:  Mike Hawkins
  • Membership and Assignments:
  • Staff Relations, Policies and Practices: David Brannigan

XII.        Chair’s Report (Executive Committee):  Ernie Patterson

XIII.       Task Force/University Committee Reports

  • Board of Trustees Finance Committee—Ernie Patterson
  • University Priorities and Budget Advisory Committee—Ernie Patterson

XIV.       Announcements/Questions

XV.        “Go Around the Room”:  A Chance for Attendees to Share the Issue Most on their Minds

XIV.       Adjournment



September 5, 2007 Minutes


Chair Ernie Patterson called the meeting to order at 9:35 a.m.  He welcomed guests from the morning’s reception, including delegate supervisors and unsung hero award winners.  The Chair said that he had spoken with Mike Freeman, the acting director for Facilities Services, to work on having a paper pay stub for paychecks.

The Chair welcomed Robert Agans, chair of the Forum’s Health Benefits committee, to make a presentation comparing the State Health Plan with Blue Advantage.  Agans outlined the statistical parameters of the study, including plan deductibles and copayments.  The study attempted to portray individual scenarios through monthly costs and premium costs.

Agans found that the Blue Advantage plan was significantly less expensive for those adding their spouse or family coverage.  Maternity costs, however, were more expensive, since one must pay Blue Advantage more for each child covered.  The State Plan (indemnity and PPO) has one higher fixed cost for family coverage.

The Chair raised the question of why the State Plan costs so much more than Blue Advantage.  He said that the State Plan should reveal its actuarial data to demonstrate why employees must pay two to eight thousand dollars more over the course of their lifetimes.

Ramona Kellam raised the point that Blue Advantage can drop you at the end of the year if you file too many expensive claims.  She said that this was one reason Blue Advantage costs less.  Another attendee raised the question of pre-existing conditions.  She noted that the State Plan does not normally turn subscribers away for pre-existing conditions, but Blue Advantage retains that option.

Agans concluded that coverage of females under Blue Advantage is more expensive than the State Plan if one has three or more children.  Agans said that the Health Benefits committee is wrestling with what to recommend to an employee who cannot afford to add a spouse or child to their coverage.  He also noted the possibility that as more people turn to private insurance they will dedicate less money to the State system, undercutting its long term financial stability.

David Brannigan proposed asking the Health Benefits committee to work with UNC System Staff Assembly delegates to expand the conversation across the state.  Kellam noted that the state has a separate insurance program for dependent children under age 18.

Lucy Lewis noted that the State Plan does not change its rate based on whether the employee is male or female.  She thought that the Blue Advantage’s differing rates made little sense.  She suggested that the Forum forward this information to local media and legislative representatives such as Verla Insko.  David Brannigan urged the Forum to take up the issue of universal health care.


The Chair welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s monthly Human Resources update.  Malone thanked the Forum for its warm welcome and pledged that the Office of Human Resources would work with the Forum to address things that it can.  She recognized members of her Human Resources team, including Vicki Bradley, Jerry Harris, Jessica Warren, Gina Carter, Dave Phillips, Bob Eatmon, Chris Chiron, and Kathy Bryant.

Malone noted that the University will hold its Employee Appreciation Day October 18.  There will be an Employee benefits fair, an expo in the Student Union, and the Bull’s Head bookstore will offer discounts on purchases that day.  Brenda Denzler asked Forum delegates to sign up for the Employee Forum’s booth.

Malone noted that the special enrollment period for the State Health Plan will end September 14.  North Carolina Flex enrollment will run from October 1 to November 2.  Health care and day care spending accounts must be resubscribed each year.  Frank ? said that Human Resources will roam the campus to help Employees with the online enrollment process.  He noted that Employees may enroll from their home computers as well.  Malone said that enhancing communications and staying current with technological advances will characterize her work with Human Resources.


The Forum then considered resolution 07-10, concerning censorship at UNC-Chapel Hill, on second reading.  There were several textual amendments from the floor.  The motion to approve the resolution was made and seconded.  The Forum voted in favor of the resolution with one delegate opposing and no abstentions.


Moving to new business, the Chair noted that the Chancellor had sent a request to the Forum that it provide some input on the new smoking limitation policy.  A Forum group had met with Carolyn Efland to urge that the University take a health-based rather than a punitive approach to this question.  Brannigan confirmed that the new policy would not prohibit all tobacco use, just smoking within 100 feet of buildings.  He noted that smokers near the hospital now sometimes lurk in the shrubberies outside the building, creating a potential safety hazard.


The Forum considered possible guidelines revisions on first reading.  These revisions would shift the Forum to a fiscal year and extend the terms of current delegates by six months.  The reason for these changes was to synchronize the Forum with the UNC Staff Assembly calendar.  The Forum heard the changes on first reading and would consider passage in October.


Alan Moran introduced resolution 07-11 concerning electronic pay stubs on first reading.  The Forum would consider the resolution’s passage at its October meeting.  Brannigan noted the importance of allowing people to continue to receive paper pay stubs if they desired them.  Lewis noted the importance of improving reading and computer literacy among employees.  Moran said that there are estimates that approximately 500 people would need computer training to deal with the proposed on-line procedures.  The Chair noted that the University must address the literacy question in its different forms.

Chris Chiron said that a manager can override the time management system’s preference to award comp time in lieu of overtime.  Jill Crowder noted the anxiety among Grounds employees about the new online timekeeping system.  Chuck Brink said that an implementation team at Facilities Services should help troubleshoot problems to some degree.

Sue Field showed photographs and read tributes to employees named in the Community Affairs, Recognition and Awards committee’s Unsung Heroes awards.  These award winners included Brenda Ambrose-Fortune, Dr. Mauricio Cohen, Dawn Edgerton, Joe Ellison, Linea, Melissa Godwin, Scott Hudson, Beverly Thomson, and Lee Williams.

In the absence of further discussion the meeting adjourned at 11:44 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,



Matt Banks, Recording Secretary


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