September 4, 2013
Employee Forum Agenda
9:15 a.m. —-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter
II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press
III. Special Presentations
- Kay Wijnberg Hovious, First Forum Chair
Kay Hovious is the first Chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum. She worked at the School of Law as Director of Administration from 1985-2003. She also served as President of SEANC as well as a host of other State and local offices.
- Kiran Bhardwaj, President, Graduate and Professional Student Federation
Kiran Bhardwaj is a fourth-year Royster Fellow doing her Ph.D. in philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is serving as the President for the Graduate and Professional Student Federation (GPSF) for 2013-2014.
- Christy Lambden, UNC-Chapel Hill Student Body President
Christy Lambden is the Student Body President for UNC-Chapel Hill. He is pursuing a B.A. in political science and philosophy.
- Jan Boxill, Chair of the Faculty
Jan Boxill is Chair of the Faculty. She is a senior lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Parr Center for Ethics. She specializes in social and political philosophy, and feminist theory.
- Beth Walden, American Red Cross, Triangle Region (with Abby Cameron, Regional Disaster Specialist and Sarah Rhyne, Regional Casework Specialist)
Beth Walden is the lead disaster specialist with the Red Cross. She is also regional training coordinator for the agency.
IV. Human Resources Update—Senior Director Gena Carter
V. Approval of August Minutes
VI. Old Business
- Election of New UNC Staff Assembly Delegates
VIII.Forum Committee Reports
- Bylaws Committee: Rotating Chair
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Shelby Long/Arlene Medder (August minutes)
- Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
- Education and Career Development: Lois Douglass-Alston/Matt McKirahan (July minutes)
- Membership & Assignments: Paula Goodman (August minutes)
- Recognition & Awards: Michael Highland
- Personnel Issues: James Holman (August minutes)
- Compensation & Benefits: Shelby Long
- Legislative Action: David Fraley
- Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: Yvonne Dunlap
- UNC System Staff Assembly: John Gullo/Koyah Rivera/Charles Streeter
- Executive Committee: Charles Streeter
September 4, 2013 Employee Forum minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Dan Barmmer, Deborah Bush, Jackie Copeland, Yvonne Dunlap, Paula Goodman, Christine Greenberg, Michael Highland, George James, Karen Jenkins-Cheek, Myra Quick, Kathy Ramsey, David Schwartz, Tara Smith, Charles Streeter, Myint Thaung, Clifton Webb
Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. He welcomed the Forum back to its normal meeting space. He welcomed guests and members of the media. He also welcomed first Forum Chair Kay Wijnberg Hovious. Hovious was glad that the Forum was maintaining traditions of the past. She was honored that the Forum had named its Outstanding Delegate award after her. She noted the many challenges the Forum faces. She wished the Forum all the best for its relations with Chancellor Folt.
The Chair welcomed Student Body President Christy Lambden. Lambden recalled coming from England in search of a liberal arts college. He was spellbound by alumni memories of Carolina as the “closest place to heaven on earth.” He appreciated the warmth and generosity of Carolina’s community members. He planned to work on academics, affordability and safety during his term as President. He noted the budget constraints that face the University this year and difficulties with faculty retention and decreasing student class sections. He said that the University must minimize costs to students wherever possible. He also said that campus safety is the bedrock of the Carolina experience and must be preserved. He said that the perception of safety on campus is lacking among students. David Schwartz expressed surprise that students do not feel safe on campus. He asked the reason. Lambden said that the sexual assault policy and discussion in the past year had led to this perception. He also noted a lack of faith among students in the Alert Carolina system, which has not informed students about crimes until 24-48 hours after the fact. He said that this lateness was unacceptable. Yvonne Dunlap asked if things were improving. Lambden said that they are given that the University was not on the front page of the New York Times, Raleigh News & Observer, or Daily Tar Heel for these questions.
The Chair introduced the President of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, Kiran Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj noted the large number of graduate and professional students who study on campus. She said that this population is older than one would think, with 10% of the population coming from abroad. She noted that these students also serve as employees of the University as EPA part-time temporary employees. She thanked employees for their work helping students negotiate the University.
Jan Boxill, Chair of the Faculty, said that she wanted to continue the tradition of the various heads of University organizations meeting with the Chancellor. She said that now is a good time to show solidarity. She reported that previous Forum Chair Jackie Overton had received a good citizen award from WCHL radio. She noted the great feeling that campus members have for Carolina, and she thanked employees for their service. Paula Goodman asked what could be done to bridge the gap between faculty and staff. Boxill said that she refers to staff as partners in faculty meetings. She noted that people tend to work in silos here at Carolina. She had worked to appoint staff to faculty committees to retain their unique perspective.
The Chair welcomed Beth Walden, Abby Cameron, Regional Disaster Specialist and Sarah Rhyne, Regional Casework Specialist from the Triangle Region of the Red Cross. Walden noted that the Red Cross had been very active in the response to the flood on June 30, 2013. She said that flash flooding had affected Cameron Village and Carrboro, flooding more than 160 homes. The Red Cross had opened a shelter and provided funding for medication and mental health care. Volunteers from Durham, Raleigh, and Fayetteville provided assistance, but Walden criticized the response from Chapel Hill/Carrboro itself as inexcusable. She noted that the Red Cross sponsors shelter classes on-line. Shelter managers are also welcome and needed. She said that everyone needs an emergency services kit to take care of themselves when the power goes out. She said that flooding will return to Orange County and people should prepare themselves. Abby Cameron noted the Rainshare Project that provided a holistic approach to replacing furniture and effects lost by the flood. The Project allowed family members to select from a showroom floor to replace their possessions. George James asked if the Red Cross had input into the Town’s discussions of the storm water maintenance system. Walden said that the Town Council controls whether to condemn or build facilities. David Schwartz asked why stormwater management was so difficult near University Mall. Walden said that none of the houses there could be built today given today’s more stringent building permitting process.
The Chair asked if any University employees used the Red Cross’ services following the flood. Cameron said that one employee did use these services. The Chair asked what help did the University provide. Walden said that groups of students volunteered, but there was not help from the community at large. David Schwartz was surprised and dismayed that there were not volunteers from Chapel Hill, a town that is famous for civic spirit. He suggested that the Red Cross place “volunteers needed” signs around town to obtain more support. The Chair suggested that the Carolina Center for Public Service become involved in planning for future instances. Paula Goodman commented that obtaining certification to help does take time and commitment, as well as a background check.
Senior Director Gena Carter presented the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She noted that the University will host a Thursday night football game on October 17. The University will not shut down early in this instance, but will encourage supervisors to allow employees flexibility to beat the traffic that afternoon. Carter said that Human Resources will generate a memo with more details in the next day or so. Carter noted discussion of health plan increases at the Forum’s August meeting. She said that details would be available on the Human Resources website hr.unc.edu when available. Director of HR Communications Kathy Bryant noted that State Health Plan, NC Flex benefits, and University benefit plans will all have the same enrollment period in October this year. Bryant said that Human Resources will hold several enrollment sessions across campus in October. Michael Highland said that he had experienced difficulty finding where to mark one’s primary health care provider and tobacco assessment on the State Health Plan website. Associate Vice Chancellor Matt Brody said that the University had limited input into the design of the website. Bryant noted that the Human Resources newsletter, Headlines, goes to divisional HR offices first to allow departments to provide their own tidbits specific to their areas.
The Chair recalled a case of an employee who was irate about the health assessment’s questions. Matt Brody said that he was disturbed that the health assessment was not user-friendly, but he noted the right of the Legislature to demand more information when providing an additional benefit. He granted that concerns remain about the health assessment process. Christine Greenberg said that her frustration continues to grow along with health care premiums, given the lack of salary increases. Brody thought that the cost coverage for dependent care has seen dramatic changes. He said that General Administration has lobbied repeatedly for relief in premiums and family coverage from the State. He said that the wellness survey should not detract from the issue of family coverage. He said that the expense of family coverage has hurt recruiting for faculty. Brody said that this question is not off the radar for the administration or System lobbyists.
Kay Hovious asked if the State Health plan will maintain confidentiality. Kathy Bryant said that the plan has assured confidentiality of health assessments. Christine Greenberg said that the laws could change. Brody doubted that the information shared with the Legislature would be personal but rather would be reported in the aggregate. The health assessments will drive communications to individuals. Brody respected anyone who chose to opt out of the assessments. David Schwartz asked what the State Health plan does to control expenses out to providers. He noted the sense that providers make money hand over fist. Brody said that this question speaks to the nature of the national health care system. Paula Goodman suggested discounting gym memberships as a means to improve employee health and drive down claims. Brody said he had seen this benefit extended at other universities. Deborah Bush said that the future of health care involves extensive use of electronic health care records. Brody said that he would pass on feedback to Brian Usischon of General Administration. Gena Carter said that she appreciated the thought-provoking discussion and partnership that the Forum provides.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the July meeting, noting a need to format the minutes differently. David Schwartz made this motion, seconded by Christine Greenberg. The motion was approved by acclamation.
The Chair noted the need for the Forum to elect Staff Assembly delegates for the two-year, three-year, and alternate terms. Clifton Webb declared his interest in the two-year position. Michael Highland said that he could help but would have to give up work on other committees. In the absence of further candidates, the Forum agreed to open the question again at the October 2 meeting, keeping Webb and Highland on the list.
Yvonne Dunlap read a proposed resolution honoring Vice Chancellor Karol Kain Gray. David Schwartz proposed a possible wording change to the resolution. Lois Douglass-Alston asked for background on the reasons for the resolution. The Chair noted the financial support accorded the Forum Chair’s department, the dynamic, friendly, and open nature of her work, and her support of reform in her area as reasons for the resolution. He noted James Holman had originated the resolution and would have other reasons. Myra Quick noted the impression that Gray had made on housekeepers Holman and James Fraley. The Forum voted to suspend its rules to consider the resolution on second reading by a vote of 16 in favor and 1 abstaining. Dan Barmmer moved that the Forum approve the resolution, seconded by Clifton Webb. The Forum then approved the resolution on second reading by a vote of 15 in favor and 2 abstaining. The Chair said that he would keep delegates up to date on when he would present the resolution to Gray.
The Bylaws Committee discussed the possible need for the Forum to use electronic voting in some circumstances. The committee proposed to restrict this practice to the Executive Committee, given its authorization to decide on issues on behalf of the full Forum.
It was reported that the Steering Committee of the Carolina Campus Community Garden met the previous week.
Jackie Copeland reported that the Communications and Public Relations committee had held its last meeting to effect publication of InTouch. The committee is working to establish a book discussion group with University authors.
The Education and Career Development committee did not meet.
Paula Goodman reported that the Membership and Assignments committee met August 6 to discuss electronic voting and Forum socials.
Michael Highland reported the Recognition & Awards committee will meet Friday, September 13 to discuss plans for the year. The Chair asked that the Forum pay some attention to submitting nominations for the Staff Assembly’s Erskine Bowles Award. He noted that UNC-Asheville had won the award two years running.
Yvonne Dunlap said that the Personnel Issues committee had submitted minutes in the monthly agenda packet. She said that Gena Carter had met with the committee at the last meeting. The committee will meet again with HR personnel on September 24.
The Chair said that the Staff Assembly had not met since the last meeting of the Forum. He reported the Assembly had had an interesting discussion with William Fleming, the Vice President for Human Resources for General Administration on legislative changes to the University. He noted that the University’s probationary period will extend from three months to 24 months. It was noted that policies can vary from campus to campus. Gena Carter said that State policy allows employees to achieve career status after 24 months, but here UNC-Chapel Hill has allowed a shorter probationary period unless the employee is involved in grievances for harassment or discrimination. She noted that the new law makes the University change its policy.
The Chair noted an e-mail from David Brannigan regarding an irate employee angry about submitting a health assessment to the State plan. He said that the Forum needs more people like previous delegate Jonathan Stephenson to bring legislative issues to the Forum. He said that Forum delegates must be advocates and make others aware of what’s happening. Christine Greenberg suggested partnerships between legislative offices and the Forum. The Chair recalled publications from the School of Government could be a source of information. Greenberg said that the Forum had little power to change the health assessment law even if it knew about it. Kay Hovious noted the historic links between SEANC and the Forum on some legislative topics. Michael Highland said that the Forum would have difficulty doing this unless it pursued bipartisan efforts. The Chair said that he wanted to bring this item to the attention of the Forum. He also noted that the Forum will host former state Senator Ellie Kinnaird at its October meeting. He noted that the Forum is charged to do a budget for the Staff Development fund each year in order to remain in compliance. David Schwartz noted the sparse attendance this month at the Forum meeting. The Chair noted that this is a holiday week at which some people must stay in their offices to catch up. Others are busy attending the state’s SEANC convention in Greensboro.
David Schwartz moved that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Christine Greenberg. The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:42 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary