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2000-12-08 Federation Forum

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The Annual Forum of the North Carolina Federation of Cooperative Extension Associations was held on Friday, December 8, 2000 at the Lee County Extension Center in Sanford, North Carolina. The forum was called to order by President, Sandy Wiggins. Sandy welcomed everyone present. John Hall, Lee County Extension Director extended greetings and gave a brief background about the Swain Extension Center. A tour of the Worthy House will be held after the forum for anyone interested.

Karen DeBord led the group in an icebreaker using the alphabet for telling one sentence stories.

Following the activity, President Wiggins introduced the current officers and board members of the Federation. Representatives from the newly formed NC Association of Program Assistants, Associates, and Technicians were introduced as well as Bernadette Watts and Harriett Edwards who accompanied them.

Each association president or representative was asked to give a brief report of their activities.

NCACAA-James Cochran – The state meeting was held in Fayetteville. Dr. Ort attended their meeting and addressed several issues. A large delegation traveled to Mississippi to attend their national meeting. Several agents plan to attend the 2001 national meeting which will be held in New Mexico. The 2002 national meeting will be held in Savanna, Georgia and the 2004 meeting will be in Orlando, Florida and the delegation will attend this meeting to bid for the 2008 national meeting.

NCEAFCS-Susan Hamilton – Their state meeting was also held in Fayetteville, hosted by the South Central District. Sixty plus delegates attended the national meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland. She expressed several concerns by FCS agents. Hopefully some of these will be addressed today.

NCAE4-HA-Robbie Furr – The state meeting was held in Charlotte and was a great success. Fifty plus agents attended the national meeting which was held in Denver, Colorado. Their association also cited several items of concern.

NCACES-Steve Lilley reported for Steve Washburn – They hope to increase the number in their association. There have been problems with participation in meetings and functions. He reported similar concerns.

NCCESA- Christine Barrier – The association has 284 members. Many are serving on various committees, such as PODS-Blue Ribbon Commission, NCSU Staff Senate, district and state-level Search Committees and Extension Foundation. A statewide professional development conference was held April 13 & 14, 2000 in Raleigh with approximately 270 support staff in attendance. The state meeting was held at Atlantic Beach, hosted by the Southeast District. Awards were presented during the banquet. The 2001 state meeting will be hosted by the Campus Chapter in Raleigh. The 2000 Herter-O’Neal Scholarship of $350 was awarded to Libby Hodges from Surry County. A donation of $2,000 has been received from the Agricultural Agents Association. This generous gift will be used for professional development scholarships for support staff, awards and incentives, and to help off-set expenses for annual meetings.

NCAEPAAT-Aggie Rogers – This association is brand new and has come a long way. She thanked the Federation for their support and encouragement. Their first conference was held in August with 170+ attending and 125+ signed on as charter members. New officers will be elected next year. Several concerns were noted and have already been answered by Administration.

President Wiggins turned the floor over to Dr. Zublena and Administrative Representatives, Dr. Russell King, Dr. Roger Crickenburger, Dr. Dalton McAfee, and Dr. Sandy Zaslow. Dr. Ort was unable to attend because of commitments with the State Advisory Council. Dr. McAfee expressed thanks for the opportunity to be with us to share in the dialogue. He shared briefly with everyone an update at A & T. The new chancellor is doing a wonderful job as well as the new Dean, Dr. Dalton Thompson.

Dr. Zublena stated that all like issues and concerns had been lumped together and will be addressed.

Dr. King discussed EMAPS. He stated this was an organizational study, completing its first year. EMAPS is a result of recommendations from the counties. Consistency was a major concern. Evaluations are positive experiences for everyone, therefore everyone needs to have the best possible programs. Merit pay is in place and EMAPS determines how the merit adjustments are distributed. Program Assistants will be utilizing this system January 1, 2001. CED’s will provide to DED where agents are on the scale and will be looked at by districts to make sure all districts are consistent. Evaluation process begins January 1 – December 1.

A study on secretarial positions will not be re-done. This was done three years ago. Many counties are redoing county secretarial positions and Extension will accept recommendations and will look at readjustments if possible. If a county has reclassification of secretarial positions, this would be dealt with on individual basis, handled by in-grade adjustments but not much can probably be done to help unless challenged. Secretaries continue to need computer training, etc. If the level of training is not adequate, Administration needs to know. PODS should help in this area and secretaries are encouraged to be involved in the training that is needed. The secretaries are the only group that has completed their competencies. Administration is looking at possibly having desk-top publishing training for secretaries. Also there may be a need to look at license for software. It was also brought to the attention of the panel concerning the inability to print e-mail messages that are sent from the university because of the difference in computer systems. Administration will try and make specialists, etc., aware of this problem.

Dr. Sandy Zaslow addressed work titles. All titles should be the same across the state because of penalty mail requirements. She stated those titles are Agricultural Extension Agent, Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Education, Extension Agent, 4-H. Associate and Assistant are for payroll tracking purposes. Agents should use their working titles on business cards, etc.

Dr. Roger Crickenburger addressed the long-range plan. The current plan began in 1993. All groups need to be represented on long-range planning committee. Twenty-five are on the committee and felt there was adequate representation. Communication is important and if things are not working with the long range plan, please let someone on the committee know. Twenty programs have been defined and committees set up. Is this the right structure for managing the long range plan? How do we want to be involved in the thought process in making suggestions? Dr. McAfee suggested the State Advisory Council be involved.

Lunch was served. Christine Barrier gave the invocation.

Following lunch, the responses to concerns resumed by Dr. Zublena.

He stated the EPA employees have basically been at-will appointments. Term appointments are 1-5 years but not a tenure process like campus professors. Cooperative Extension is now looking at down-sizing, possibly by closing positions. The quickest way to get money would be through Operations but that budget is almost as low as it can get. Even if positions are closed, programs still need to be continued. One possibility is to have cross-county agents. One million dollars in salary needs to be cut by June. Early-out for federally appointed agents will hopefully be offered in January. A smaller workforce can improve efficiency. If someone retires from a position, that position must remain closed for one year. Possible offers for 50 years old and 20 years service or 55 years old and 30 years service and 55 years old with 25 years service for state: 2% loss of annuity per year for federal, about 3%/year for state. Letters will be going out soon for those eligible.

The business session was called to order by President Sandy Wiggins. Thanks were expressed to David Hays, Executive Director of the NC Ag Foundation, for all the support he has given to each association. She also addressed a couple of issues that the Federation has addressed this past year: Continued Education Policy-A new policy is in place thanks to Federation. This was approved by Administrative Council. Teaching at community colleges and being paid-Joe Dickens and Sandy Wiggins served on this committee. Agents can teach, if approved and cannot be done during the day, can’t get paid using Extension curriculum and cannot do it in your home county.

Karen Whitley presented the minutes. Corrections were made. A motion was made by Karen DeBord, seconded by Christine Barrier. Motion carried. The corrected copy will be posted on the web page.

Florence Brooks gave the treasurer’s report: Checking Account balance, $4,051.69. Share Account balance, $61.31. Balance on hand, $4,113.00. A letter will be written to the Soybean Association to increase their support due to the addition of the NCEAPAT. A motion was made by Florence Brooks to accept report, seconded by Aggie Rogers. Motion carried.

Standing Committee Reports:

Budget – Florence Brooks anounced that the projected income and expenses will remain the same.

Constitution – It was noted that another link needs to be added to Federation’s logo. This will be taken care of. It was also proposed to add a sixth position to our officers, the office of Webmaster. The Secretaries Association will be responsible for this position until 2002. A motion was made by Vickie Nelson, seconded by Teresa Clark to accept report. Motion carried.

Having no new business, President Wiggins made comments. She would like to see the Federation taken to a higher level. The Administration is looking at the Federation to help with issues and she asked that each association present concerns earlier enough to be addressed by Administration. These concerns could be placed on the webpage also. She also noted that by offering solutions as well as concerns has also helped Administration to address these concerns.

Karen Whitley installed the new officers:
President – Steve Lilley, NCACES
President-Elect – Denise Brown, NCCESA
Secretary – Joy Warren, NCAE 4-H
Treasurer – J. B. Coltrain, NCACAA
Past President – Sandy Wiggins, NCEAFCS

President Wiggins then presented the gavel to Steve Lilley, 2001 Federation President. Steve stated he was looking forward to serving as President and will notify Board members of the next meeting.

Thanks and appreciation were given to Lee County for hosting the Forum. Denise Brown asked that association presidents please forward to her the dates of district and state meetings so they can be added to the webpage.

Having no further business or announcements, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted:
Sandy Wiggins, President
Karen Whitley, Secretary

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