April 25, 2005
Expanded spring town hall features panel of leaders
BY eric Rangus
Thirteen times Employee Council has hosted an autumn town hall meeting featuring Emory’s president, who answered any and all questions posed to him by staff employees. Frequently a representative from Human Resources would join him.
Come Tuesday, April 26, in Winship Ballroom, the council will hold its first spring presidential town hall. In some ways, it will resemble previous events. President Jim Wagner will be there, as will Human Resources, in the person of Senior Director Theresa Milazzo. But this upcoming town hall will be different in one very significant way.
Joining Wagner and Milazzo at the head table will be nearly all the rest of Emory’s senior administrators: Vice President for Equal Opportunity Programs Bob Ethridge, Provost Earl Lewis, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Mike Mandl and Senior Vice President for Development and University Relations Johnnie Ray.
The noon event is free and open to all Emory staff, but seating is limited. Attendees are encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch; light refreshments will be served.
“This is a first for staff,” said Employee Council President Susie Lackey. “The fact that we have been working so closely with key leaders—up close with issues like benefits, strategic planning and discriminatory harassment—is very encouraging.”
Following the Nov. 9 town hall, which was the most popular in the event’s history, Wagner suggested to Lackey and other council leaders that they hold another event in the spring, perhaps inviting other campus administrators who might be able to delve deeper into specific questions than he could.
“I think this is a good, visible sign that the administration is listening to staff,” said Ron Gatlin, co-chair with Sylvia Ennis of the council’s communications committee.
“The town hall is perfectly timed,” Lackey said. “That afternoon, the University Senate will be voting on the final recommendations of the Benefits Review Committee. I’m sure we’ll receive a lot of questions about benefits.”
That ad hoc review committee, of which Lackey was a member, was charged with reviewing Emory’s benefit package in comparison with its peer research institutions. Its yearlong work recently was completed, and after the full Senate reviews and votes on the work, any approved recommendations will be forwarded to Wagner.
“Interacting with staff at the town hall is a great opportunity for communications that are so essential to progress,” Wagner said. “I’m looking forward to an honest and open exchange based upon our common interest in making Emory a better place.”
Questions can be asked prior to the event by sending e-mail to TownHall2005@learnlink.emory.edu. A live web feed will be available by visiting the Employee Council website (www.emory.edu/EmployeeCouncil) and clicking on “Town Hall.” Staff unable to attend the event in person can upload questions during the event.
“I think we’ve created a great foundation not only for the council but for staff in general to get involved in decision-making at Emory,” Lackey said.