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November 2005

Delphi Coordinators Teresa Rivas (left) and Nancy Wade.

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinators (Teresa Rivas, left, and Nancy Wade). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential. They must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2, and on the Delphi Web site. Staff Notes Monthly publishes questions and answers of general interest to staff, and the Delphi Web site has a log of all questions submitted since 1995.

Delphi Questions: HR policies, office temperatures, driving through a stop sign.

Delphi Question #543 (received October 18): I tried to find a few items among the Human Resources policies and procedures and was unable to find them, so I have a few questions.

I think it would be good to add "Delphi Questions" to the Human Resources Alphabetical Index. Could we please do that?

Response (all responses October 26): The Delphi Service has a nice Web site and we will add a link from the HR page. The Delphi Service is provided under a UCAR Communications policy, so it has not been listed on the HR home page. I noticed that every other issue of Staff Notes Monthly this past year had a section on Delphi questions, so I think the Delphi Service gets a lot of publicity and is well known by most employees.
(Editor's note: The HR index can be found here.)

Question continued: There are some employees who dress as if our organization is more like a bar, club, or gym than a professional office. As representatives of our organization I feel appropriate dress should be expected. How does a new employee know what UCAR/NCAR's policies are for a dress code? Or is any kind of dress okay with Human Resources?

Response: UCAR does not have a formal dress code. As an academic institution with many folks from diverse backgrounds, it's hard to set a common standard that fits with everyone's individual taste. There are some departments that have a dress code of sorts; for safety, health, security, or customer service reasons some departments have requirements that employees must follow. In those areas, the department managers inform their employees of the requirements.

There may be rare instances when an employee's attire violates a UCAR policy and HR would become engaged, but otherwise HR does not get involved.

Question continued: Working at our desks for eight hours a day does not lend much time for making the kinds of appointments that are required in life, such as doctors appointments. It seems in our division that a personal call here and there to make arrangements has been considered acceptable. How does a new employee find out about the organization's policy on personal phone calls?

Response: Limited personal use is allowed under UCAR's Access to and Use of Computer and Information Systems Policy (1-1-15). Phones are considered part of UCAR's information systems along with computers. This policy says: "Employees may use some UCAR computer and information systems, such as telephones, computers, Internet access, and facsimile and copy machines, for limited and reasonable amounts of personal use. Employees shall reimburse UCAR for any personal use of UCAR telephones and facsimile machines for long-distance communications. In no event does personal use include personal business activities or any activity that would violate any UCAR policy."

You can ask your supervisor, division or program administrator, or Human Resources if you have questions about work issues.

Thank you for your time and advice on these issues.

—Bob Roesch, director
Human Resources

Delphi Question #544 (received September 25): From conversations with my colleagues at the Mesa Lab (mostly in the A-Tower), I understand that many feel cold in their offices during the summer months. A few may feel comfortable but no one whom I have talked to feels warm. Of those who feel cold, none are able to adjust the temperatures in their offices sufficiently with their thermostats. Some open windows to avoid shivering (an early symptom of hypothermia). Most find that they need to wear more clothes at work in summer than in winter.

Interestingly, I have heard such complaints from people in offices all over the U.S. But let's focus on NCAR. Why do we waste so much energy only to feel uncomfortable all summer long? By the way, I've never heard a complaint in winter.

Thank you in advance for your attention.

Response (October 27): The heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems at the Mesa Lab are currently being controlled in two different ways until the Mesa Lab Utilities Refurbishment project is completed in 2006.

Modifications to the HVAC system have been completed in the A-Tower and the public portions of the low building. This includes the main lobby, cafeteria, library, and the conference rooms on the first and second floors. In occupied areas, cool and warm air can be provided. The temperature control system varies the amount of air supplied to an occupied space as needed to satisfy the thermostat setting. With the exception of a few areas where two to three offices share a common supply, most occupied areas have a dedicated thermostat.

The building automation system (BAS) has the capability of controlling temperatures in these dedicated areas to within a few degrees. Several factors can impact the ability of the BAS to accurately control temperature in a given space. These include furniture placement, proximity to outside walls and windows, and the occupant's use of the room. Minor modification to equipment and programming can correct the majority of problems. The design of the system and controls will allow Physical Plant Services to fine-tune areas of the A-Tower to meet an occupant's needs.

It is the mission of PPS to provide facilities that meet the expectations of the staff. In many cases we are not aware that a problem exists until it is brought to our attention by staffers. Most HVAC control systems are designed and set to industry standards as a baseline for their operation. Customer input, such as you have provided, will help us identify problem areas and enable us to fine-tune the BAS to a level that provides an acceptable comfort level while maximizing energy efficiency.

A call to the maintenance request line at ext. 1120 is all that is needed to start the correction process.

Thanks for your question and input.

—John Pereira, director
Physical Plant Services

Delphi Question #545 (October 21): Is there anything that can be done about the disregard for the 3-way stop at the entrance to the FL campus? As a witness to, and near victim of, some UCAR staffers blowing through the stop sign in their cars, I know there is an accident waiting to happen. The parking shortage also contributes to the safety aspect as the Wild Oats folks park so near the intersection. What can be done about the safety of this intersection that is used by bicyclists and pedestrians alike?

Response (October 31): Thank you very much for letting us know about this situation. In the future please report these drivers to me as soon as possible (you can call me at ext. 8625 or e-mail me). The Health, Environment, and Safety Services (HESS) office takes prompt action when receiving these notifications. Responses include a conversation with the "offender" when that person can be identified and "ticketing" the described vehicle with a notice that inappropriate driving behavior was observed and asking that the behavior be discontinued.

The Boulder Police Department manages street parking issues. Parking violations can be reported directly to its communications line at 303-441-3333. If preferred, HESS will also pass along complaints about illegal parking from staffers to the police.

Additionally, HESS and the Physical Plant Services maintenance office have reviewed the intersection and found that it needs to be re-striped. PPS expects to have the intersection re-striped within the next couple of weeks.

—Milenda Powers, manager
Health, Environment, and Safety Services

Also in this issue...

HIRDLS comes through

Planning a national supercomputing center

RAINEX: Bad weather is good news

UCAR policy on classified research

Random Profile: Meg McClellan

COMET project wins recognition

Delphi Questions

Just One Look: Super Science Saturday


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