June 5, 1996
Agenda — June 5, 1996
9:30 a.m.–Meeting, Assembly Room of Wilson Library
I. Call to Order
II. Welcome Guests
III. Opening Remarks
* Executive Vice Chancellor Elson Floyd
IV. Special Presentations
* Patti Smith, Programs Manager, Human Resources—Update on University Recognition Policy
V. Employee Presentations—Kay Spivey
=> Moment of Silence
=> Forum Preference for Open Mike, Legislators or Both for Fall Community Meeting?
VI. Approval of Minutes of the May 1, 1996 meeting
VII. Chair’s Report (Executive Committee): Ann Hamner
* Jennifer Pendergast New Executive Committee Representative from Division 7
* Inaugural Meeting of University Council
* Privatization, Housekeepers’ Resolutions, Severe Weather Proposal Forwarded to Chancellor Hooker
* Recommendation for Use of Staff Development Fund for Career Counselor Position Approved by Chancellor Hooker
* Executive Committee Meeting with Executive Committee of N.C. State University Staff Senate Tentatively Scheduled for July 9
* Lobbying Rules Clarified by Paul Baldasare (Included w/Public Affairs Minutes)
* Laurie Charest, Drake Maynard, Employees Given Instructions to Access Forum E-Mail List
* Welcome to New Delegates Frank DiMauro, Laura Grady, Creola Scurlock
VIII. New Business
* Proposed Resolution Regarding Employees’ Efforts to Obtain Degrees, Education
* Proposed Resolution Regarding SPA Employee Pay Raise Bill (SB 688/HB 925; from Compensation and Benefits; Based on N.C. State Staff Senate Resolution)
* Proposed Resolution Regarding Creation of a University and State-Wide Salary Adjustment Fund
* Proposed Resolution Opposing House Bill 1139 (State Personnel Grievance Procedure)
* Invitations to William Friday, Ken Manwaring to Give Separate Special Presentations to the Forum?
IX. Committee/Task Force Reports
* Nominating—Dianne Crabill
* Orientation—Leon Hamlett
* Personnel Policies—Peter Schledorn
* Compensation and Benefits—Frank Alston
* Public Affairs—Helen Iverson
=> Lobbying Rules; Governor & House Proposed Budget; University Legislative Initiatives
* Recognition and Awards—Nancy Klatt/Pamela Shoaf
* University Committee Assignments—Vicki Lotz/Jennifer Pendergast
* Career Development—Sharon Cheek
* Pan-University Task Force—Ned Brooks
* Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force—Marshall Wade
=> Recap of Appreciation Fair
* Faculty Council Liaisons
* Partner Benefits—Peter Schledorn
* Legislative Affairs—Laresia Farrington
* Long-Range Land Use Planning—Margaret Balcom
X. Human Resources Update
* Laurie Charest, Vice Chancellor, Human Resources
June 5, 1996
Tommy Griffin, Jr.
Marshall Wade, Jr.
” = Ex-Officio
Archie Phillips, Jr.
Dr. Floyd noted it had been a busy month and while Commencement was very fine, it was greatly overshadowed by the tragic fire at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. The University was saddened by the loss of life and injuries caused by that incident. Dr. Floyd praised the University community for pitching in to assist workers and victims in the fire’s aftermath. Teamwork such as this exemplifies the spirit and esprit de corps of the University and the Chapel Hill community and he was proud to be part of the University family pulling together in time of crisis.
Dr. Floyd declared the Employee Appreciation Fair to be a “spectacular event,” and thanked Employees for their hard work on the Fair. The Chancellor also enjoyed the Fair so much that he and Dr. Floyd would like to have a booth of their own at next year’s fair to which Employees could come to ask questions and offer comments.
Regarding the In-Salary Range Adjustment Policy, Dr. Floyd reported that the Administration will finalize its recommendations on the policy by which the University can grant such in-range increases. In-range adjustments can be from 1% to a 10% maximum, consistent with State policy. Budget reserves will be used to finance these adjustments; such reserves will remain at the local (departmental) level to fund these Salary Adjustments.
Secondly, the Administration has completed its Pan-University allocations, which reflect the Chancellor’s commitment to moving the University forward while examining the its institutional priorities. Hard decisions were made about funding various needs, but he thought the budget requests from the Employee Forum received equitable treatment. Dr. Floyd had spoken earlier with the Forum’s Executive Committee about the distributions of Pan-University funds.
With respect to the Legislature, Dr. Floyd emphasized that it is extremely important that Employees support education and an educational agenda that includes K-12, Community Colleges and the University System. The Governor’s budget proposed salary increases of 7% for faculty and 6% for other categories of State Employees. The House responded in its budget with salary increases of 3% for all of these categories of Employees. He said he would provide copies of bills affecting the University to the Forum Office. Dr. Floyd did not know how far these bills would progress within the General Assembly, but wanted to make sure that the Forum had as much information as the Administration did in terms of this legislative session.
Dr. Floyd asked if members had questions. Helen Iverson wanted to confirm that the Pan-University budget had, in fact, been approved and Dr. Floyd replied that it had. Sue Morand asked if there was word on possible positions cuts, and particularly where the cuts would be made. Dr. Floyd noted that there is some legislative discussion of repealing the State’s 4% food tax. Marvin Dorman (Office of State Budget and Management) had sent a memo detailing the reductions in SPA positions that would be necessary if the food tax were completely eliminated. The memo contained some inconsistencies in its estimate of University positions to be cut in that some non-State-funded positions were included in the estimate. Thus, this information needs further examination. Dr. Floyd offered to provide a copy of this memo to the Forum Office for those who would like to see it.
Dr. Floyd thanked the Forum for the opportunity to speak. The assembly gave him a round of applause.
Patti Smith, Program Manager for Human Resources, gave the Forum an update on the University’s new Recognition Policy. The Chair included a copy of the Forum’s May 3, 1995 minutes discussing the Policy, when Patti had made her original special presentation and promised to update the Forum in one year on the progress and implementation of the Policy.
Since implementation of the University’s Recognition Policy on April 1, 1995, sixteen departmental recognition programs have been developed. Twelve of these programs are complete, and the other four are in progress. Of the twelve completed programs, all have a monetary component, averaging $250 annually. In addition, 42% of these departmental programs have a paid time off component averaging 2 days of leave. The majority of programs have a combination or at least one monetary award per year.
Most recognition awards are made at an annual ceremony which provides an opportunity for the department to get together and recognize an individual or a team. Patti noted a growing trend for departments to focus on teamwork and team recognition. There has also been more of a customer service orientation among departmental awards across the University.
Another positive addition to recognition programs has been peer recognition. In the nomination process, Employees are encouraged to nominate and recognize their peers, a process different from the past when Employees were nominated primarily by supervisors.
Patti indicated that there has been a wide distribution in the size of departments instituting recognition programs. She had worried that only large departments could take advantage of the monetary component and the paid time off. However, departments ranging in size from five Employees to one thousand Employees have developed programs with monetary and paid time off components.
Overall, feedback to the Recognition Policy has been very positive. Most groups see the Policy as a guideline or resource to assist them in setting parameters for developing their programs, rather than limitations. From what she had heard, the Policy has had a very positive effect across campus.
Issues requiring clarification include record retention requirements for nomination forms. This is currently three years, though she and Human Resources were working on a reduced retention and disposition schedule so that departments would need to retain forms for only one year.
Most clarification was needed concerning how departmental recognition programs are tied to the Chancellor’s Award and the Governor’s Award programs. Many departments are concerned that winners of their departmental award programs must be nominated for the Chancellor’s Awards, which is not the case. Departmental winners must be considered for nomination but do not have to be nominated. This stipulation allows departments a bit more flexibility if there are other Employees that the department would like to nominate as well. Nominations for the Chancellor’s Awards are not restricted to departmental recognition award winners.
Finally, Patti noted that Employees may have heard of the Recognition Policy Committee when the Policy was being developed. This Committee has changed its name to the Recognition Committee. It meets twice a year to review the Policy and evaluate new programs.
Patti asked if members had questions. Dianne Crabill asked how the paid time off award works and was told that paid time off is added to an Employee’s annual vacation leave. On the recipient’s time sheet, the only change to be documented is that the time off is part of an Employee recognition program. Dianne then asked what the cost of this time off is to participating departments. Patti answered that there is no direct cost to departments, which is one of the great benefits of this option for departments who not have funds to dedicate for their recognition program. In many cases, Patti said, Employees expressed a preference for paid time off since a monetary award would be taxed.
Patti presented the results of the Forum’s survey taken at the Employee Appreciation Fair. Three hundred-fifty two Employees responded to the question, “does your department or office have an Employee recognition program in place?” Fifty percent of those replying indicated no recognition program, and 36% responded that their department did have a recognition program in place, 9% did not specify and 5% of respondents were not sure. Patti was encouraged that 36% of respondents were aware that their department has a recognition program. She hoped to do more “marketing” of recognition programs to other departments on campus in hopes of reaching the other half of survey respondents.
In short, Patti felt it had been a good inaugural year for the Recognition Policy. Over the next twelve months, she planned to continue marketing the Policy and develop more recognition programs across campus. She encouraged Forum members and other Employees to call her for any assistance in developing a program.
Eddie Capel asked if Patti knew of the distribution of these programs between Academic Affairs and Health Affairs. Patti did not know this distribution, but said she would put this information together for the Forum.
The Chair asked if Delagates had any comments regarding their own departments’ recognition programs and how they are working. George Sharp asked whether departments’ creation and participation in Employee recognition programs was voluntary, or whether there were any requirements. Patti replied that participation was strictly voluntary.
Tommy Brickhouse stated that University Mail Services has an Employee of the Year Award program in which ballots are sent out to all Mail Services Employees. There are no established criteria for this Award, and the winner receives a plaque and a lunch from the department. Tommy asked if this program tied into Patti Smith’s efforts. Patti replied that she did have a copy of Mail Services’ program on file. She lauded the program’s flexibility so that Employees can nominate for any criteria they deem appropriate. She thought it important that the department’s program meet the needs of its Employees. If the program does not recognize what Employees feel important, they will be less likely to appreciate the recognition. This caveat also applies to departmental awards; if the program does not take Employee interests into consideration Employees will not see how the award benefits them. Patti asked if the Mail Services’ program was working out well. Tommy replied that it was working very well, even if some Employees are reluctant to participate.
Helen Iverson said that her department, UNC Physicians & Associates, began with a peer nomination process, but found that no one would nominate anyone else. Then, the department tried improving teamwork, challenging an Employee team to bring in a certain amount of money per quarter, for example. If the team met its goals, it would be taken out to lunch by all the departments involved. Helen reported that this process worked better.
Sue Morand said that in her department there used to be an Employee of the Month program in which faculty voted for staff. Unfortunately, the program turned into a popularity contest and was discontinued. Patti noted that this possibility made departments reluctant to create their own recognition programs. As a palliative, she recommended the peer nomination approach to remove some of this kind of bias.
Helen asked if recognition program nominees must be approved by their departmental manager. Outside of her department, she had heard of cases when Employees would be recommended for an award and managers would not send the nomination through. Patti indicated that nominees have to be supported by their departmental manager, particularly if nominated for the Governor’s or Chancellor’s Award.
The Chair asked Vice Chair Kay Spivey to lead the assembly in a moment of silence in memory of the students killed in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house fire on Graduation Day. Kay noted that all Employees have been touched by the memory of these five students. At a memorial service held at the Carolina Inn two weeks ago, Kay read the following remarks: “I did not have the pleasure of knowing Joanna Cristine Howell, Ann McBride Smith, Mark Riggs Strickland, Robert Joshua Weaver, or Benjamin Watson Woodruff, but the imparting of your memories and stories and how much these students meant to you who knew them moves me to share a brief passage from The Little Prince. `In one of the stars I shall be living, and when your sorrow is comforted, time soothes all sorrows. You will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend.'” Kay asked the Forum to observe a moment of silence.
The Chair praised the work of Kay and the Employee Presentations Committee in producing the Spring Community Meeting; there had been a good turnout and that the presentations were excellent. She noted that in the day following the Meeting’s “Trip to Cyberspace,” over 100 Employees had visited the Forum’s web page. She attributed much of this increase to Janet Tysinger’s and Matt Banks’ fine presentation. She thanked the Employee Presentations Committee for inviting Michael Williamson and Mike Boone to speak at the Spring Community Meeting. Further, the Chair reported on comments from Employees who felt stimulated and hopeful about their individual potential to make a difference in their departments. The Chair accordingly felt that the Spring Community Meeting had been a success.
The Chair asked if Kay would speak about the Fall Community Meeting. Kay recognized the contributions of Kathy Dutton, Laresia Farrington, Thomas Goodwin, Leon Hamlett, Sue Morand and Mary Woodall on the Employee Presentations Committee. The Spring Community Meeting could not have occurred without these Delegates’ efforts. She also thanked Ann Dodd for coming to the Meeting to clear up any questions specific to UNC-Chapel Hill Quality Management efforts. She thanked Elson Floyd for appearing at the beginning of the Meeting to meet with Employees. Kay lauded Janet Tysinger and Matt Banks for their efforts on the Forum Web Page, and the Forum gave them a round of applause.
Kay asked the Forum what it wished to do for the Fall Community Meeting. One suggestion developed at the January Retreat was to feature a panel of legislators not only from Orange County but from the surrounding counties where many staff Employees live. There has also been interest in an open mike format for the Fall Community Meeting, at which any Employee on campus could share a topic. Kay felt that a disadvantage of this format is not knowing in advance what an Employee may present or what questions their presentation may generate. This format also does not allow for preparation time to provide an immediate response; the Forum would have to get back to individuals after the Meeting with an appropriate answer.
Kay thought that the Employee Presentations Committee would appreciate hearing the Forum’s opinions on this question. Should the Committee pursue one or both of these ideas, or explore another idea for the Fall Meeting?
Peter Schledorn thought the open mike format would be very valuable. While presentations to Employees are certainly interesting, he thought that the main focus of the Community Meeting ought to be the Forum as a body reporting to our constituents and they in turn speaking to us. He thought that part of each meeting should be devoted to an open mike, not with the expectation that the Forum provide answers right away, but that the Forum could pull together issues of interest to the University Community. Afterward, the Forum could examine these issues or refer them off to Forum or University Committees for further deliberation. Peter felt that part of each Community Meeting should be devoted to an open mike. In fact, the Forum may wish to hold a separate series of meetings for the presentations and panels that have characterized the last three meetings. This would allow the Forum to make valuable information available to Employees while not shortchanging the important need for two-way, “open mike” communication. Peter felt that the Fall Meeting would be a good chance to have the legislative panel mentioned since the long session will begin in February. He hoped that the legislators could stay for the open mike session.
The Chair asked if Peter had in mind combining the two ideas. He replied that he envisioned combining the two programs or holding a separate meeting for each. The Chair asked if any Delegate had attended the open mike meetings two years before. She asked if Employees really did bring their concerns and spoke up at the Meeting. Peter stated that the first two open mike Community Meetings were more than two hours solid with questions and responses.
Norm Loewenthal thought that an open mike session would be a useful opportunity for the Forum to communicate with Employees. He proposed that it would be helpful in preparing for the meeting to send out materials in advance reviewing the purposes of the Forum. The Forum should make it clear in advance that the Meeting will not address personal grievances or solve all problems on the spot. The Chair thought Norm’s idea was a good one.
The Chair felt that the Forum had given the Employee Presentations Committee good feedback and encouraged Delegates to contact Kay with their thoughts. Kay said that she had heard from two Delegates out of forty-five and so would be interested in others’ thoughts. The Chair said that if Delegates had nothing more to say about the Meeting they should email her with their ideas to Kay or the Employee Presentations Committee.
Approval of the Minutes of the May 1, 1996 Meeting
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the May 1 meeting. Helen Iverson made this motion, with Rosa Nolen seconding. Norm Loewenthal pointed out that the word “spending” was omitted from the third paragraph, fifth line on page 3. This correction was agreed to and made. There was no further discussion, and the minutes as amended were approved unanimously.
Noting that she had skipped her report the previous month, the Chair began by welcoming Jennifer Pendergast as the new Division 7 representative to the Forum’s Executive Committee. She thanked Jennifer for taking on the responsibility of her new appointment.
The Chair reported that the University Council had its inaugural meeting May 20. The Council will be composed of Chancellor Hooker, Faculty Council Chair Jane Brown, Student Body President Aaron Nelson, President of the Graduate and Professional Students Association Katherine Kraft, and Forum Chair Ann Hamner. The group met with no agenda and spent most of the hour discussing concerns about drinking on campus in the aftermath of the Phi Gamma Delta fire. Ideas about changing rush or improving the intellectual climate of the campus to give students less time to drink were discussed at the meeting.
The University Council has tentatively agreed to meet monthly, with its next meeting June 27. The Council spoke generally about agenda items for the next meeting and the next year. Concerns examined included safety on campus, food service, and building renovation. The Chair saw the Council as a fairly informal group, and she felt comfortable sharing ideas. The Chancellor said he would look to the group for advice about what different constituencies were thinking. The Chair said she would continue to report back about happenings in the University Council.
The Chair has forwarded the Forum’s privatization and housekeepers’ resolutions to the Chancellor, along with the severe weather proposal. The Chancellor has approved the Forum’s recommendations regarding use of the Staff Development Fund to create a Career Counselor position.
The Executive Committee will meet with the Executive Committee of N.C. State’s Staff Senate July 9 at 2 p.m. in 206 Poe Hall on the Raleigh campus. Tentative agenda items are salaries, privatization, domestic partner benefits, and inviting representatives from North Carolina Central University to the next meeting between the two schools. North Carolina Central University has a Professional Office Workers’ Association and is looking into the possibility of creating a formal staff council of their own.
The Forum Office forwarded instructions on how to access the Forum’s listserv (firstname.lastname@example.org) to Laurie Charest and Drake Maynard. Others interested should contact the Forum Office.
The Chair welcomed the Forum’s newly promoted Delegates: Frank DiMauro, from AHEC (Division 7); Laura Grady, from Dental Ecology (Division 5); and Creola Scurlock from Physical Education, Exercise and Sports Science (Division 2). The Chair looked forward to the contributions of these new Delegates.
The Chair presented a resolution recognizing Employees’ efforts and achievement in obtaining degrees and education. These Employees include Karen Haywood, Monica Leach, Katrina Coble, Meredith Arnold, Kathleen Brooks and William “J.R.” Key, among others who have used the free tuition and educational assistance programs. The Chair called for a motion to accept this resolution. Peter Schledorn made this motion, with Dianne Crabill seconding.
Helen Iverson asked if the Forum Office could provide a title heading with each resolution in order that each may be more readily identified. The Chair agreed to make this change, and thanked Helen for her suggestion.
The Chair offered a friendly amendment to the resolution. Recalling Chancellor Hooker’s May 17 remarks to the Board of Trustees regarding expanding Evening and Weekend class offerings, she proposed adding as a next-to-last clause: “And be it further resolved, that the Employee Forum supports the efforts of the Chancellor to expand the University’s educational offerings in the evening and on weekends, as a means of furthering this pursuit among Employees and citizens.” She applauded the Chancellor’s leadership of the University to accommodate the increasing number of North Carolinians attending college in the future. Further, the Chair noted the Forum’s long interest in expanding the number of evening classes. Peter agreed to accept this friendly amendment.
The Chair presented a resolution supporting Senate Bill 688/House Bill 925 funding the Comprehensive Compensation Package. This resolution originated from the N.C. State Staff Senate and was rewritten by the Forum’s Compensation and Benefits Committee. The Chair called for a motion to adopt this resolution. Sue Morand made this motion, with Pamela Shoaf seconding.
The Chair asked if anyone wished to speak on the resolution. Eddie Capel asked where the Forum intended to send this resolution. The Chair proposed as a friendly amendment to the resolution, adding as a final clause that the Chancellor and his Administration support the concepts of the resolution in dealings with the University General Administration and the North Carolina State Legislature. She offered that the wording of this clause needed some clarification but asked if Sue accepted the general intent of the motion. Sue accepted this motion as a friendly amendment.
Peter Schledorn asked if this clause would prevent Forum members from communicating with the Legislature themselves. He felt that the Forum should enlist the Chancellor’s help but also should let the Legislature know as a body that it supports full funding of the Pay Plan. The Chair recalled that the Forum’s role is as an advisory body to the Chancellor and the Administration, so the Forum is obligated to work through these channels. Peter replied that Forum members still have the right to contact the Legislature. Kay Spivey cautioned that Delegates have this right as individuals, not as representatives of the Forum. As a body, the Forum communicates its resolutions to outside parties through the Chancellor.
Rosa Nolen pointed out that the resolution was improperly dated 1995. Sue accepted a friendly amendment to change the date of the resolution to 1996. There was no further discussion, and the motion to adopt the amended resolution was approved.
The Chair presented for discussion the third resolution regarding creation of a University and State-wide Salary Adjustment Fund. The Chair called for a motion to accept this resolution. Peter Schledorn made this motion, with George Sharp seconding.
Peter Schledorn pointed out that this resolution originated from the Personnel Policies Committee. In the wake of the In-Range Salary Increase policy, the Committee felt that as the number of possible salary increase options increases, tension will likely result between richer and poorer departments.
Peter noted that there has been a State-wide Salary Adjustment Fund supported in the distant past. Accordingly, the State and the University should work to identify broader sources of funding for this proposal. Otherwise, Employees will grow to feel the In-Range Salary Adjustment Policy is unfair. It will become damaging to morale if some Employees are denied access to these opportunities simply because they are in a department that is heavily State funded, as opposed to grant- or receipt-funded. A central fund would be more flexible in this respect, also.
Peter recalled the active sentiment expressed in favor of this idea at the May Forum meeting. As a result, the Committee produced a resolution to the Chancellor proposing that this idea be kept on the “front burner” of University concerns.
The Chair proposed as a friendly amendment to the last paragraph, that it read: “Be it further resolved that the Forum urges the University Administration to work towards establishment of a State-wide Salary Adjustment Fund to equalize this opportunity among all State agencies through the UNC General Administration and the General Assembly.” Peter agreed to accept this amendment. There was no further discussion, and the motion as amended was approved unanimously.
The Chair presented a final resolution opposing House Bill 1139, regarding changes to the State Personnel Grievance Procedure. The Chair called for a motion to accept this resolution. Peter Schledorn made this motion, with Delores Jarrell seconding.
Peter reminded members that the actual bill had been distributed with the meeting packet. He asserted that the bill would make radical and ill-informed changes to the State grievance procedure. The bill would limit the contents of grievances made at the agency level. There have always been limits in what can be brought forward as a potential case in Step 4 of the grievance procedure. The bill extends these limits to cases brought at the agency level which would reduce much flexibility for local agencies.
The bill would shorten the time period for adjudication of a grievance. Peter conceded that this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it may place the Employee in a straitjacket of having to commit to a contested case hearing before they may receive a satisfactory answer at the local level. As a result, Peter believed that the bill would lead to an increase in Step 4 hearings, with correspondent increase in expenditure of State funds and personnel hours.
The bill includes a mediation step, but in some cases the mediation would be required and the opportunity for a case hearing before an administrative law judge would be barred. Currently, Employees with a grievance at Step 4 have the option of making their case before a judge to receive a ruling. In many cases, grievances are satisfied by submission to the mediation process.
Another problem with the bill is the new power of the State Personnel Commission to overturn local grievance resolutions that are not forwarded to the State level. The bill makes additional changes mandatory at the agency level such as barring any representation or assistance on the part of the Employee during agency conferences.
Adding to the bill’s problems is the tight time limits put in place to complete a grievance. Less than a year ago, the State Personnel Commission mandated much more careful time limits which have currently been implemented by agencies now. In fact, the University has moved to implement these time limits over the next few months, if the bill does not pass. So, what the bill intends to do in this area has already largely been done by State agencies.
Peter admitted that there are a couple of good things about the bill, but asserted that on the whole the bill’s changes are not good for agencies’ ability to handle Employee grievances. The Personnel Policies Committee felt that major changes to the State grievance procedure should be postponed until the long session of the Legislature to discuss the issues involved in more detail and especially to allow legislators to hold hearings on proposed changes. Peter worried that the bill may be attached as a rider to a budget bill and may not receive necessary consideration by legislators. In sum, House Bill 1139 is not in the best interest of State Employees, Peter said.
The Chair thanked Peter for his presentation on the resolution. Eddie Capel asked if Laurie Charest and Drake Maynard could comment on the bill, since it was a very complex document that mainly addresses their department.
Kay Spivey asked if the Personnel Policies Committee had consulted with the Office of Human Resources in the process of preparing its resolutions. Peter replied that Drake Maynard had brought the matter to the Committee’s attention, subsequent to a long discussion on the bill.
Kay recalled that a resolution brought previously to the Forum proposed legislation to rectify a problem when it could have been as easily addressed through the Office of State Personnel. Since the Forum asks the Office of Human Resources to forward proposed policies and procedures for its input, the Forum and its Committees should similarly forward proposed resolutions and motions that may impact Human Resources. As a Forum Delegate, Kay said that she would like to know what officers from Human Resources think about the Forum proposals. This did not mean that the Forum had to agree with Human Resources, but it should consult with the Office in advance concerning its ideas and proposals.
As background, Drake Maynard reported that the bill was the result of public hearings held last year. Work on the bill has been done in secret with little public discussion of the bill during its formation from the Office of State Personnel to University and agency Human Resources offices. Last week, at the Personnel Directors Roundtable (a meeting of Personnel Directors and Human Resources Directors from all State agencies and universities), House Bill 1139 was roundly denounced.
Whatever else is said about the bill, it wipes out the internal grievance procedure of this University and every other State agency and university. It does this in a “back-door” method of giving 30 calendar days for the University and the Employee who has a grievance to resolve their situation. Drake stated that this is not enough time to do anything of substance in these matters.
Drake appreciated Peter’s comments that Human Resources is already investigating ways to shorten the grievance process. Yet, House Bill 1139 stipulates that a dismissal grievance must be resolved within 90 days, and all other grievances completed in 120 days. Drake asserted that Human Resources can accomplish this task, but the bill’s 30 day requirement for grievance resolution is impossible to accomplish fairly. Sometimes it will take Human Resources 30 days to determine what has occurred in a particular situation.
There has been some movement by the authors of the bill, particularly William Sherrill, to increase the time for resolution to 45 days. Drake did not think an increase to 45 days would be an additional help.
The bill greatly impacts UNC-Chapel Hill’s current grievance procedure. Our procedure is extremely open to any concern or issue that an Employee wishes to bring forward as a subject for a grievance. That fact has made State Employees at other agencies and universities very jealous because the specific purpose of the bill, as stated by the legislative committee, is to make sure that “nobody had a better grievance procedure than anybody else.”
Drake extended his point to venture that the purpose of the bill is to throttle down UNC-Chapel Hill: agencies that are not quite as willing to consider issues as Chapel Hill would not have to follow to the University’s example. Grievance resolution at UNC-Chapel Hill would be reduced to the lowest common denominator. The bill specifies only thirteen issues which may be the subject of a grievance.
Another bothersome portion of the bill states that if the University disagrees with the State Personnel Commission’s decision, the University cannot seek a court review of that decision. If an Employee disagrees with the State Personnel Commission’s decision, the Employee can seek such a review. Drake said that this provision was unprecedented.
In his opinion, House Bill 1139 is a very bad bill for UNC-Chapel Hill. The bill may not be as bad for other agencies with grievance procedures that do not work or work less well than at the University.
Drake stated that at the University, 60-70% of all grievances are resolved in-house. He liked to think that what the University does indeed works, although procedures can always be improved. The bill will no longer give universities and agencies a chance to fix what is wrong with their procedures in-house, at the lowest level of decision-making.
Frank DiMauro asked what would motivate legislators to create such a bad bill. He wondered if significant cost savings might result from the bill. Drake Maynard replied that in his opinion no significant savings would result from the bill. Laurie Charest interjected that the University saves money because it manages to resolve so many grievances in-house, at the University level. In fact, the bill would require the University to hire “qualified neutral parties” at more than $100/hour to adjudicate mediated grievances. Under the bill, the University would bear the full cost of these adjudications, after the 30 day grievance process.
Drake speculated that Employees at agencies where the grievance procedure is not so effective pushed for some of these changes with the Legislature. There was no opportunity for other Employees to present their viewpoint on the bill in public hearings.
A featured provision of the bill is that it tightens up the time frames for grievance procedures, Drake noted. Yet, the time frame in the bill shaves only 10 days off that of the Personnel Division’s current policy, which has not yet been fully implemented. Drake did not think the bill would speed up the process appreciably or make the process any cheaper or more effective for Employees. He thought the bill would destroy a valuable resource for many Employees, the internal grievance process.
Laurie Charest commented that the bill would completely eliminate Step 3 in the University’s grievance procedure. She ventured that Step 3 is when Employees feel they have received the most fair hearing. She thought the bill would be costly to Employees because of its increased reliance on Step 4, a Step in which Employees typically hire an attorney to complete.
Concerning the fourth whereas of the resolution, (Whereas, the proposed procedure gives the State Personnel Commission absolute veto power over any agreed-upon resolution of any grievance; and) Laurie Charest noted that the condition described already exists. Peter asked whether there was an approval process, or whether grievances were only filed with the Commission. Laurie replied that there exists a process in which the Office of State Personnel carries out the Commission’s function, since the Commission meets only periodically. Usually the Office recommends approval of grievance findings to the Commission, Laurie said.
Frank DiMauro asked if the relevant paragraph should be removed from the resolution. Laurie said that the clause was not inaccurate, but it did not represent a change in current procedures. Peter asked if the membership wished to remove the clause. George Sharp thought that the clause would weaken the thrust of the resolution, if its purpose is to protest the possibility of adoption of House Bill 1139. Protest of the clause mentioned might cloud the issue.
Sue Morand proposed that the clause could read, “Whereas, the proposed procedure continues to give….” in order to register protest with current procedure. Peter accepted George’s suggestion to delete the clause as a friendly amendment to the resolution.
Eddie Capel asked where the resolution would go and how would it get there. Peter assumed that the resolution would be forwarded to the Chancellor. Also, the Forum’s passage of the resolution is a public statement that hopefully would inspire citizens to fight the bill. Eddie asked if the Forum should not resolve to request that the Chancellor forward the bill to the UNC General Administration and the General Assembly, as occurred with other resolutions. Peter accepted this clause as a friendly amendment.
There was no more discussion on the motion and the resolution, as amended, was accepted unanimously. The Chair thanked the Personnel Policies Committee, Chair Peter Schledorn, Laurie Charest and Drake Maynard for their hard work on the resolution and their lucid explanations.
As a final item, the Executive Committee had recommended inviting Ken Manwaring and William Friday to give special presentations to the Forum in August and January, respectively. The Career Development Committee had requested that Ken Manwaring give a special presentation in August about career training opportunities at the University. Also, if the Forum agreed, the Chair would proceed through proper channels to invite Dr. Friday to its January 1997 meeting. The Forum agreed to both of these invitations.
Dianne Crabill, Chair of the Nominating Committee, emailed a draft of its solicitation letter to each Committee member for review. The Committee hoped it could forego its May 10 meeting, unless absolutely necessary.
Leon Hamlett, Chair of the Orientation Committee, reported the Committee had not met but would convene briefly after the day’s meeting. The Committee had received confirmation of the Contractual Agreement with the Friday Center to hold its Orientation Retreat on January 17, 1997. The Committee will begin to prepare facts and figures for the Retreat and the Orientation session for new Delagates held in late October. More specifics will be available soon. The Chair reminded continuing Delagates to reserve January 17 on their calendars.
The Chair asked Personnel Policies Committee Chair Peter Schledorn if he had anything further to report. Peter responded that the Committee continues work on stand-by callback pay. He encouraged Forum members and other Employees to contact him or other Personnel Policies members via email, phone, or a post to the Forum listserv. The Committee will meet Friday, June 21, in the Forum/Faculty Council Conference Room, 202 Carr Building from 12-1:30 p.m.
The Chair announced that Tommy Brickhouse will replace Tom Hocking’s as Chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee. Frank Alston will remain as co-Chair. Tommy noted that the Committee minutes were included in the agenda packet and that it would meet on Thursday, June 13.
Helen Iverson, Chair of the Public Affairs Committee, referred members to the Committee’s minutes that were included in the agenda packet. On June 10, State Employees and Teachers will meet at 5:15 p.m. at the Legislative Offices. She noted that some legislators have proposed to save $900 million in its “rainy day” fund. Employees will attend the event with umbrellas to indicate that the weather is stormy for State workers, and ask that the Legislature fund the Governor’s pay program. Employees will attend as individuals, representing themselves and their families.
Also, Helen said that a van will leave from the Friday Center at 8 a.m. on June 18 for SEANC’s Legislative Day. The fee for the van is $7; only two Forum Delagates had signed up for the van at the May meeting. Employees were encouraged to contact Helen for more information, but they cannot attend the event on work time.
Norm Loewenthal shared a message from Representative Joe Hackney stating that the Legislature “has money for more than a 3% increase approved by the Republican House, and we should do better. I support doing more. Thanks for taking the time to write.”
Pamela Shoaf, Co-Chair of the Recognition and Awards Committee, asked members to consider an issue raised by the Executive Committee regarding possible dedication of the Community Award. She noted the Committee had raised three ideas: one, naming the Award after Dr. William Friday; two, naming the Award after some unknown staff member from history whose life and service exemplified the values of the Award; and three, leaving the Award undedicated because it had already obtained an amount of recognition in its current incarnation. Pamela asked Forum members to contact her or other members of the Committee with their feelings on the subject.
Vicki Lotz, Co-Chair of the University Committee Assignments Committee, reported that the group was in the process of developing a letter to send to all University Committee Chairs to update its database information. The Committee would use this information to contact University Committee members appointed by the Forum to determine if they need to report to the Forum.
Vicki encouraged Employees to check out the interest form developed by Janet Tysinger. This electronic form would enable Employees to indicate their interest on serving on a Forum Committee automatically and is located at http://www.unc.edu/staff/forum/committees/comm_form.html. The Committee also distributed this form at the Employee Appreciation Fair.
From the Career Development Committee, Chair Sharon Cheek reported the group had met May 16 and had its minutes in the Forum agenda packet. The Committee heard from Delegate Norm Loewenthal, Senior Associate Director of the Division of Continuing Education on the subject of evening classes. Sharon noted the Committee had begun discussion of this issue in September, 1995, and directed Employees to contact her or the Forum Office to obtain a copy of these minutes. Norm gave a good presentation to the Committee and would provide it a list of evening courses available to Employees. The Committee will continue to explore the issue in the months ahead.
The Chair thanked convenor Marshall Wade and the rest of the Employee Appreciation Fair Booth Task Force for their work in making the booth so splendid this year. She apologized to Peggy Cotton for neglecting to put her name among the members of that group in her News & Notes. She was encouraged by the high number of Delagates working at the Booth and felt there was a lot of Employee interest in what the Booth had to offer as well. She commended Marshall and the Task Force for attracting so many Employees to the Booth.
Marshall thanked Task Force members Dianne Crabill, Peggy Cotton, Laresia Farrington, Kay Spivey, Sue Morand, Sharon Cheek for all their hard work. There will be a list of prizes and prize winners given in the upcoming edition of News & Notes.
Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Partner Benefits Peter Schledorn had nothing to report. Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Legislative Affairs Laresia Farrington reported that Faculty Council members are working very hard in this legislative session for the University. Faculty are planning bus trips and taking time out in the middle of the week to go to Raleigh and have a presence with the Legislature. She encouraged faculty to join other State Employees at upcoming legislative events. The Chair thanked Laresia for her update.
Margaret Balcom, Liaison to the Faculty Council Committee on Long-Range Land Use Planning, noted that there was a story on the issue in that day’s University Gazette. Two plans each have been revealed for the Horace Williams and Mason Farm tracts. The Mason Farm plan is very different than before. Margaret invited Employees to send relevant questions to forward to those developing plans for the property. Or, Employees can send their comments to Ted Hoskins in Facilities Planning and Design. The Chair noted that a copy of the latest plans were on file in the Forum Office.
Laurie noted that the Administrative Council had passed the In-Range Salary Adjustment policy, with the only substantive change being a change in the minimum adjustment from 2% to 1%. The policy goes before the State Personnel Commission June 6. It has been reviewed by staff of the Office of State Personnel, who have recommended to the Commission its approval. She had every expectation that the policy will be approved and become effective July 1. Human Resources has a communication ready to go out to campus if the policy is approved.
The date for submittal of WPPRs has passed, Laurie said, and Human Resources will begin its data entry process soon. Information is out on campus about this process. Responding to the perennial question: does my WPPR make a difference as to what salary increase I will get? Laurie responded that she did not know yet. She noted that the Governor’s budget plan had recommended a 6% for State Employees to follow the Comprehensive Compensation Plan. The House has 3% budgeted with it unclear whether it intends to follow the Plan in distribution of these funds. Whether the increase will be across-the-board or according to the Plan is also unclear, but the State Employees’ Association has advocated that any increase follow distribution under the Plan. There is also the possibility of a one-time bonus included for State Employees. All depends on the work of the Legislature. Human Resources will work to keep Employees informed about the process and to implement an increase as quickly as possible.
Announcements and Questions
The Chair reported with sadness that it has become necessary for Burke Riggsbee to resign from the Forum. She asked members of Division 3 to assemble after the meeting to select their new representative to the Executive Committee.
In the absence of further discussion, the Chair called for a motion to adjourn. George Sharp made this motion, with Dianne Crabill seconding. There was no discussion, and the meeting adjourned at 11:04 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary