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It's All Good News at Staff Forum

University employees discussed plans to improve campus safety and enhance nearby Hillsborough Street at the staff senate's 2007 Open Forum Oct. 11. The three-hour meeting at the Witherspoon Theatre featured a parade of university officials and community leaders, including two state legislators.

State Senator Janet Cowell and Representative Jennifer Weiss took a bow for helping to navigate a pay raise for university employees through the General Assembly this year. They praised NC State for its contributions to the North Carolina economy.

"We believe in NC State because you are the job creators," Cowell told the audience.

Provost Larry Nielsen said the university will focus on highlighting its work in five key areas in the coming year: educational innovation, health, energy and the environment, leadership, and economic development.

"NC State is on a roll," he said. "We're in great shape. We have great leadership in Chancellor (James) Oblinger, we had a tremendously successful year working with the legislature, and we're focused on helping to solve the most critical issues of the day."

Nielsen said the university is planning to distribute a staff survey in 2008 to gauge employee satisfaction with pay, benefits and working conditions. Faculty members completed a similar survey last year.

Also at the meeting:

  • David Rainer, associate vice chancellor for Environmental Health and Public Safety, discussed emergency preparedness and crime prevention. He noted that the university recently began requiring background checks of all new employees, as well as employees who are being promoted into new positions. He said the university has several teams working on crisis planning, including a task force that will make recommendations to the state attorney general in November.
  • Roger Henderson, project director at Kimley-Horn & Associates, narrated a presentation about the long-anticipated Hillsborough Street Roundabout Project. He said the city of Raleigh recently approved final plans for the project, which will streamline traffic flow, increasing parking, and beautify the landscaping and sidewalks along the busy thoroughfare. Construction is scheduled to begin next April and continue for about 16 months at a projected cost of just under $8 million.
  • Dan Soper, chief operating officer of the State Health Plan, gave an overview of changes to the plan this year, including the elimination of the indemnity plan, which will no longer be offered after June 30, 2008. Indemnity plan members may select one of three PPO plans. Contact your benefits counselor for more information.

For more information about the staff senate, visit www.ncsu.edu/staff_senate