The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday December 4th

Parking tops Employee Forum list of concerns

The program, which was set to take effect Aug. 15 and expected to generate $600,000 a year, was to allow for time to address questions surrounding safety and equity of cost.

Charles Streeter, chair of the Employee Forum and a database analyst in the Student Affairs Office, said a realistic timeline for a new parking program is 2016, when the next five-year parking review is set to happen.

Matt Fajack, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said because of lower-than-anticipated costs, the University will only need to make up $500,000 of the $600,000 in revenue the University expected to get from the night parking fee during each of the next two years.

“We were able to find pieces of money in many different pots to piece together that amount,” he said. “We need two years worth of that money, so call it a million dollars to get to the next parking plan.”

Fajack said that amount will come from several different departments including $240,000 from his own.

“When it got canceled the day before, I thought that a lot of people would be happy about it,” Streeter said. “I decided I needed to actually find out from our constituents what people felt, and I was very surprised.”

Streeter said he received 200 responses in the first two hours of asking for employee feedback — some of which expressed frustration that the delay happened so last minute.

“They felt it did not reflect solidly on the University to put in all this effort into something and then pull it out at the very last minute,” he said.

Yvonne Dunlap, a member of the Employee Forum and a regulatory associate in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said employees were most frustrated with the inconsistencies among leadership and the decisions being made.

The last-minute call to postpone the parking program was a representation of that inconsistency, she said.

Fajack said he received limited feedback about the delay but what he did hear was mostly positive.

Only about one in every 20 respondents had concerns about the fairness of the current parking system, and only members of the parking department mentioned the timing of the delay, he said.

Michael Highland, a member of the Employee Forum and an academic coordinator in the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid, said the parking issue extends beyond night parking and is more about the sustainability of the system in general.

“This is sort of a series of steps that they’ve been thinking about in terms of how to meet parking and transportation needs of UNC employees,” Highland said.

Christine Greenberg, a member of the Employee Forum and a finance director in the Study Abroad Office, said she thought the frustration from employees came from a deeper issue than nighttime parking.

“We are stripped to the bare bones,” Greenberg said. “Everyone is doing more with less ... This was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

university@dailytarheel.com



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