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October 2007

Delphi

Marc Genty

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator. 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: Employee discounts, contractors, shipping procedures, hiring confidentiality, CG fitness center

Delphi Question #575 (received August 2): In previous years, the Employee Activities Committee (EAC) helped sponsor discounts for employees with local businesses and vendors. I recently joined a local workout center and was disappointed to learn that UCAR/NCAR isn’t on its list of employers whose employees receive discounts on monthly rates. Can you tell me why EAC no longer works with local companies to provide this type of discount?

Response (received August 27): EAC welcomes new discounts, especially those that promote the well-being of UCAR employees. Since pursuing new discounts takes so much time, EAC members can only actively pursue a limited set. However, if any employee wishes to pursue a new discount, we encourage the interested employee to contact the vendor for information and details about that discount. We also ask the employee to write a description of the discount and how employees can obtain it, and then submit all the above to bholub@ucar.edu.

EAC will not keep track of discount participants. (Such as: “Get 25 friends and qualify for a discount.”) Nor will EAC handle any funds. Any discount must be completely between the employee and the vendor. Discounts must also fit guidelines of promoting the well-being of UCAR employees. Examples of this would be anything that promotes fitness, communication, recreation, health, and many other activities.
Once the employee has done the footwork, EAC will gladly add the discount to our Web site.
—Barbara Holub, EAC Discount Coordinator

Delphi Question #576 (received August 6): I recently heard that contract employees are not allowed to participate in our all-staff celebrations. I understand that they are not allowed to have a drink or a plate of food. But can’t we take them something? It just seems mean not to share with the few contract workers who may be working that day. The security staff who really help us out during these events come to mind, as well as the cleaning people who have to work harder to clean up after the events.

I know we hosted a retirement party for Ron Wicker (former security manager) before he left. How is it that we can host a party for one contract worker but not share with other contract workers when they are at the location where an event is hosted? And why is it such an issue anyway? It’s just a few drinks or plates of food.

Response (received August 10): UCAR’s practice of not sharing food and beverages with outside contractors is a commonly accepted business practice, and one that is consistent with the wishes of our security and custodial contracting organizations. We have recently reviewed this practice and are comfortable with our current policy. The referenced retirement party was contracted and paid for by a third party, not UCAR. UCAR of course does not determine who may partake in refreshments in instances of events paid for by others.
—Steve Sadler, Director, Safety and Site Services

Delphi Question #577 (received August 24): With ACD having moved to FL0, most of NCAR’s laboratories and divisions that receive sizable shipments via FedEx, UPS, or otherwise are located at the Center Green or Foothills campuses. Why is it that NCAR retains its official shipping address (not mailing address) at the Mesa Lab? Typically, most of the shipments are delivered by semi-trucks up the hill to the Mesa Lab, sorted, and then packed up on another semi-truck to be hauled to Foothills and Center Green. In addition, UPS shipments sometimes get delayed by several days because there is an apparent agreement that all UPS shipments (except overnight shipments) must go to the Mesa Lab, even if one tries to have them shipped to Foothills.

Aside from the environmental impact this policy is causing, it often causes precious time delays for urgently needed parts or tools for many research groups.

Wouldn’t it make sense to drop the Mesa Lab as the official shipping address and cancel the “special” UPS agreement that all UPS shipments must go to
the Mesa?

Response (September 20): Thanks for the question. While true that a single division moved to the Foothills campus, there remains a significant presence of all the other UCAR divisions, programs, and employees at various sites. As long as UCAR maintains multiple sites, daily “redistribution” trips are required. Moving “central receiving” to another site will not reduce the number of daily trips.

UPS delivers daily to the Mesa Laboratory at 10:30 a.m. (business days only). Packages are normally logged in, processed, and delivered before the close of the same business day. However, some packages arrive without any identification. This delays delivery while Logistics Operations researches where to deliver the package. Unfortunately, moving central receiving or changing the address will not alleviate identification issues, which constitute the majority of delayed deliveries.

While the Mesa Laboratory may not be perfect for central receiving, it remains the most viable alternative among existing sites. Storage, handling, and processing space is severely limited at other sites. There are insufficient docks and lifts at other locations. Moving central receiving to another existing location would jeopardize the health and well-being of Logistics Operations employees by increasing the amount of manual lifting required. It is not economically feasible to have independent delivery to each UCAR site as that would require additional staffing, space, and equipment. In summary, for all its apparent drawbacks, the Mesa Lab will remain our central receiving facility for the foreseeable future.

Logistics Operations strives to make all deliveries in a timely manner. If you have time-sensitive deliveries, feel free to contact Logistics Operations at ext. 1151 ahead of time and they can be on the lookout for your package. If you experience any problems, please contact Kerry Slaven at ext. 1151.
—Steve Sadler, Director, Safety and Site Services

Delphi Question #578 (received August 29): Are there policies and procedures in place regarding confidentiality in the hiring process? It seems that there is information leakage ranging from who is in the applicant pool to who has made the interview process, especially involving in-house applicants. These leaks are troubling, considering the “Does your supervisor know that you are applying for this position?” question.

Are hiring committees screened to see if members have taken HR’s Hiring Information, Resources and Enlightenment (HIRE) training session? Are the members quizzed on their relationships with the applicants? Shouldn’t committee members recuse themselves from portions of the hiring process if they have relationships with applicants?

Response (received September 10): Human Resources makes every effort to maintain the integrity of UCAR’s hiring processes, including the confidentiality of those applying. This topic is discussed and emphasized during Hiring Information, Resources and Enlightenment (HIRE) training. HIRE training is mandatory for hiring supervisors who are then responsible for the actions of all committee members.

When there are internal applicants it is often unavoidable that there is a professional relationship with some or all of the panel members. On occasion, interview panel members or the chair ask for guidance when they are acquainted with an applicant. HR advises individuals to recuse themselves from a process where there may be a real or strongly perceived conflict of interest, and to use their best judgment in this regard.

Your question is a good reminder to staff that confidentiality during any UCAR hiring process is essential. If an employee has serious concerns about a particular hiring process, he or she is encouraged to speak with HR about those concerns.
—Nancy Wade, Employment Administrator, HR

Delphi Question #579 (received September 4): I understood there was to be a fitness center at Center Green. I heard this in 2005, and then in 2006 I understood that we were awaiting recommendations from the Computer Facilities Planning Committee before proceeding. Can you tell me if we will be getting a fitness center at Center Green and, if so, what the current timeline is?

Response (received September 6): There are still plans for a fitness center at Center Green. As plans for the new supercomputing center developed, the possibility of utilizing the Mesa Lab computing room facility and its existing infrastructure needed to be evaluated and compared with the costs of providing a new divisional computing center at Center Green. The full utilization of NSF-owned facilities is particularly important. In addition, the evaluation will also include recommendations for cost allocation and management methods. These recommendations will be presented to the President’s Council this winter. Following the review of these recommendations, the design of a new fitness center could begin as soon as spring 2008.
—Marion Hammond, UCAR Facilities Manager for
Space Planning

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the Delphi Coordinator Marc Genty. 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


In this issue...

Ice in clouds

Surprise finding in the desert

Tackling disasters in an energy-restricted Boulder

Jeffco bears fruit

Short Takes

Getting their paws wet

Delphi Question

Random profile: Chris Golubieski

Just One Look


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