2002 Association’s Issues
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Professional Associations’ Issues
Presented November 2002 to Dr. Jon Ort, Dr. Joe Zublena and Dr. Ray McKinnie
These will not be discussed at the Forum on December 5.
Administration was asked to respond as requested in file.
The following two issues affect more than one specific group.
With the recent buy-out of Health Plan of North Carolina, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is considering a proposal to change from non-profit to for-profit, which could negatively impact insurance coverage and/or cost for all North Carolinians, including state employees.
Opportunity: Appoint someone from Human Resources to research this issue and draft a formal letter to the Attorney General and other appropriate contacts, opposing the transition, if the findings reveal the change will negatively affect health coverage/costs.
The massive destruction of open space, and the biological and ecological viability of, virtually all renewable resources is of concern. Already, other than lakes, there is rarely a square mile in the Piedmont without lights at night. Once developed, land will never (with trivial exceptions) be returned to production. Thus, every new house, ever subdivision, every “greenfields” factory represents a permanent loss. By subdividing the countryside, we are essentially eliminating it as a resource. Large areas of open space, whether in farmland, forest or protected natural reserves cannot be created out of reassembled smaller parcels.
Opportunity: The broader context of rural/urban interface should be explored in-depth and efforts made to readjust the balance within the broader system. We must actively work to make conditions less disadvantageous to those who grow our food and fiber, and the systems of community in which they are embedded. Those in the resource management business (including especially CES and its clientele) have a positive duty to point this out to the people of the state and legislature in the most urgent manner, both loudly and clearly, without mincing words.
North Carolina Association of County Agricultural Agents
Issue # 1:
County Allotment of Charge Vouchers From the Insect and Disease Clinic: It is not fair to allow some counties 15 vouchers, while others get 10 or 5. When you look at the situation totally based upon county population, this system makes sense, however in real life it makes no sense since larger counties often have staffs with specialized horticulture agents and larger and better library resources. Many of the smaller counties rely on staff with very little agriculture, horticulture or plant science backgrounds. Common sense would be to give all counties the same number (perhaps 10).
Required Pesticide Violation Reporting: Agents have been told that they are supposed to report pesticide violations on farms. Rumor is that one NCSU Specialist did report a farmer to NCDA. Is this true? If so, does Administration support this? This policy is extremely detrimental to our role as educators for the following two reasons: 1) Farmers will soon tell us we are not welcome on their farms; and 2) It has been well proven in research studies that farmers respond to education much better than regulation when it involves changing practices.
Farm Income Estimates: Extension Administration should insist that the Department of Economics get the forms to us at least by April 1. There was considerable nerve on the part of whoever sent and requested completion within a week. Furthermore, please work with Economics in making sure the end result is user friendly.
North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents
Transportation Liability: Agents and PAATs are required to drive youth to and from 4-H activities, however adequate liability insurance is not provided, making personnel assume personal responsibility and subsequent risk.
North Carolina Association of Extension Program Assistants, Associates and Technicians
Paraprofessional Classification Reference: PAATs do not want to be called paraprofessionals since we feel there is a professional regard for our positions, functions and impacts in NCCE.
Lack of Awards and Recognition Program More and better recognition of PAATs’ contribution to NCCE needs to be developed.
North Carolina Association of Cooperative Extension Specialist
Equity for Non-Tenure Track Extension Specialist and Associates: A task force was studying this and an October report was projected – Update: Dr. Ort has addressed this issue and offered some opportunities to correct
Promotion and Tenure: Specific as it relates to Specialist ability to work with field faculty
North Carolina Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Current data indicates a 29% loss of FCS positions. Based on that data, FCS had approximately 152 agents in 1993 and has 108 now per County Operations. 2000-2002 was the most significant period of loss (from 136 to 108). This loss has resulted in a void in FCE programming in some counties. Specialists are not being funded equitably among programming areas based upon the needs of county clientele.
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Secretaries Association
Secretarial Reclassification and/or Merit Inability Secretaries in counties that do not perform total county reclassifications are not being allowed to be reclassified and/or receive merit even if CED and DED have identified funds to do so. Some counties do reclassification and merit increases on a one-by-one basis during County Commissioner’ meetings which is causing the scale between CES and other department support staff to get off balance. Suggestion to allow CED and DED to make determination with salary inequity is occurring and funds are available.
SPA at Top of Pay Scale Inequity exists for COLA/Merit for individuals who have reached top of pay scale. Someone should work with appropriate state agency to rectify this situation. Maybe oversight committee should be formed.
Money for Secretarial Reclassification The two-year window of opportunity was identified for the January 2002 secretarial reclassifications, however a projected timeline for implementation has not been determined and/or released. In times of budget crisis, counties need as much notification as possible so that adequate arrangements can be made.