_Charles Streeter, an analyst in the Department of Information Technology, took over as chairman of the Employee Forum when Jackie Overton, who served as chairwoman for three years, stepped down in June.
Streeter sat down with staff writer Anna Long before the forum’s first session meeting Wednesday to discuss his transition into the job._
Daily Tar Heel: How would you describe the job?
Charles Streeter: The job of the Employee Forum chairman is to represent the forum as a body to upper administration — to be the mouthpiece of the forum to the chancellor, to the vice chancellors. To be the forerunner establishing new connections and keeping existing relationships going.
DTH: Why did you decide to run for chairman?
CS: I’ve been involved with the forum for a number of years. It’s definitely something I am heavily invested in. I felt that it was time to step up. There was a vacancy and a need for someone to come and say, ‘Hey, I really want to do this.’ I’ve been involved with it this long, and I need to go ahead and give it a little more. Give just a little more blood out of the turnip.
DTH: Has the job been demanding so far?
CS: I’ve only been in the job for a little over a week, and already I can see where it’s kind of quiet now, but things are slowly but surely creeping up.
I can clearly see, and I know from the previous chairwoman and her time commitments, that in order to be effective in the job, it is going to take a lot of time meeting with people, discussing things, doing planning, writing emails. That’s time-intensive.
DTH: What will be some of the biggest issues moving forward?
CS: (Pay increase) is always the hot topic, and the chancellor understands that, but neither the employee forum nor the chancellor of the University has control over when we get raises. We are definitely tied, and the chancellor is tied, too.
Having said that, I do think that another issue is going to be dealing with the budget and how that’s going to affect the University. In years when finances are lean, there tends to be a little bit more turbulence among employees in regards to things that are happening at work.
It’s understandable — when you’re not getting an increase in pay, gas is going up, overall cost of living is going up, but you get no more money to offset some of that, and you’re still where you were four or five years ago.
DTH: What do you hope to accomplish as chairman?
CS: I know sexual assault is big on the chancellor’s list, and it’s also something that a lot of members of the forum currently are interested in. It will be a concern for us — how we will add to the discussion about sexual assault and dealing with that on campus — because it affects everyone here at the University.
Another thing that I hope that we can accomplish is to find ways that we can be more visible to our constituents. We’re not hearing enough from (them) about what they want and how we can best represent their needs.
DTH: What advice did Jackie Overton give you?
CS: She gave me a lot of good advice. One of the most important things she told me was to always be prepared for meetings. That if you’re prepared beforehand, then nothing should rattle you. That’s the one little nugget, I think, that definitely stands out in my mind.
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