The Board of Governors met on Oct. 16-17, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Charlotte to discuss business important to state employees and retirees. District Chairperson Training Before the meeting began, district chairpersons, committee chairpersons, statewide officers and staff participated in a two-day training program aimed to prepare them for the coming year. Attendees heard presentations from Amanda Martin of Stevens Martin Vaughn & Tadych on the overall responsibilities of board members, Second Vice President Gloria Evans on setting up a district and conducting meetings, General Treasurer Darius McLaurin on district financial guidelines, Ardis Watkins and Marnie Walfoort of SEIU on ethics, Jonathan Owens on media relations and Tom Campbell of N.C. Spin on rebuilding SEANC’s brand. Treasurer’s Report Second Vice President Gloria Evans presented the financial report since it was for August 2015, when she was still General Treasurer. She told the board SEANC had collected 98.3 percent of the revenue it had projected the prior year, with September yet to be reported. In another record breaking year, SEANC made 110 percent of the projections for theme park revenue for the year, and has yet to account for September sales.
President’s Report President Ross Hailey asked the board to break up into five groups, one for each region, to discuss three big issues facing the board at the meeting: the public relations contract with Carolina Broadcasting aimed at rebuilding SEANC’s image, relief efforts for South Carolina in the wake of last week’s flooding and the decision on whether to send a delegation to the SEIU Convention next May.
In his report, he laid out his expectations for the board in the coming year. He asked that everyone remain cordial with each other no matter how heated the disagreements get. He also told the group he expects them to “dress up Monday through Friday and dress down on Saturdays” at board meetings.
He reminded the board that SEANC is still in the public eye, and board members should remember that they represent SEANC at all times.
Executive Director’s Report SEANC Executive Director Mitch Leonard informed the board that SEANC and Former President Charles Johnson are being sued by Betty “B.J.” Jones for comments made on the floor at the 2014 SEANC Convention. Jones is seeking $25,000 in damages from both Johnson and SEANC. Leonard gave an update on bank drafting of dues, insurance premiums and EMPAC donations. The accounts are now open, and SEANC will soon begin testing in hopes of launching bank draft as an option soon. One of the biggest hurdles left is in staffing. When NCAE moved its entire membership to bank draft, it had to hire six new people and still lost a lot of members.
Leonard also updated the board on a new report from the Joint Program Evaluation Committee that would severely weaken SEANC’s insurance programs and take away our ability to collect premiums by payroll deduction. The bill to take away members’ rights to have dues deducted from their paychecks will be considered again in the short session. Leonard and management are now considering restructure the Central Office staff, which he hopes to complete before the next meeting in February. He is looking at simplifying some processes in order to allow some existing staff members to be involved in the bank draft process. He pressed the need to hire at least a part-time backup for Cole Smith in SEANC’s IT department. As of now, only two people in the world know how to operate the software that manages SEANC’s membership database. If something happened to Cole, SEANC would essentially be unable to operate.
He also urged board members to support SEANC’s partnering with Carolina Broadcasting, which produces the N.C. Spin program, and to sign up for SEANC’s text messaging program. Simply text the word SEANC to 787753.
N.C. Spin Proposal During training, Tom Campbell of N.C. Spin, a weekly syndicated television show focused on state government issues, presented the board with a proposal for SEANC to work with his production company, Carolina Broadcasting, to improve SEANC’s image among lawmakers and the public.
Campbell, a former Deputy State Treasurer and SEANC member, told the board he was proud of the work state employees do, but that their side of the story isn’t being told. The proposal includes the creation of two commercials to be played on the show for 52 weeks, along with four op-ed pieces to be written by SEANC and published on ncspin.com and web banner ads directing folks to SEANC’s web page.
It also includes a mock N.C. Spin show at SEANC’s annual convention in September focused on state employee issues.
After discussion in the regional breakouts, the board unanimously approved a twoyear contract with Campbell and his company.
SEIU Convention The most contentious item on the agenda for this board meeting was the decision on sending a delegation to the SEIU Convention in Detroit next May. As instructed by President Hailey, the regional breakouts focused primarily on this issue. Each region took separate votes on whether or not to send a delegation at all, and if so, whether to send a partial or full delegation. To send any delegation at all, SEANC would have to hold an election that would consist of mailing ballots to all members at a cost of more than $45,000. Also, the projected cost of sending a full delegation is $140,000. District 70 Chairman Benny Brigman made a motion for SEANC not to send a delegation to the convention, saying the money saved could be used for SEANC needs. That sentiment was echoed in comments by Eastern Region Representative Keith Renner, South Central Region Representative Lewis Sasser, District 57 Chairwoman Daisy Stancill and District 20 Chairwoman Tammy Blake.
Immediate Past President Wayne Fish spoke out against the motion, stating that SEIU stood with SEANC in our darkest times over the past year. North Central Region Representative Wendell Powell said not sending a delegation was disrespectful, adding that “we are part of the family whether we like it or not.” District 26 Chairman Stanley Gales said we should work out our problems with SEIU on our own, but we are contractually obligated to go. District 39 member Mark Dearmon said he would prefer a compromise of SEANC sending a partial delegation, and District 63 Chairman Ricky Rivenbark agreed.
After much discussion, the group voted and the motion passed by a slim 31-25 margin. SEANC will not send a delegation to the SEIU Convention.
Flood Relief Effort District 26 Chairman Stanley Gales asked board members to help relief efforts for flood victims in South Carolina. He asked for each district to collect goods to send as well as money to our neighbors to the south. The goods will be collected at the SEANC office and hauled by volunteers to the neediest parts of the state.
Convention Report Communications Director Jonathan Owens reported the findings of surveys filled out at the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention in September. Overall, the surveys were very positive.
Of the 351 respondents, 95 percent rated the convention “fairly good,” “very good” or “excellent,” while 90 percent said they were satisfied with the convention overall. 94 percent were pleased with the venue as well. Youth Council Chairwoman Alicia Baucom said the council plans to work with the Emerging Leaders committee to find the next generation of SEANC leaders.
Policy Platform Chairman Jim Pressley announced that ballots from convention for ranking the Top 10 Policy Platform Objectives for 2015 had been lost in recycling. After a motion by District 47 Chairwoman Shirley Ballard, the board voted to take the lists back to each district and have delegates resubmit them by the end of November. Awards Chairwoman Pam Hailey stated that the awards committee would meet for the first time on Nov. 10. Bylaws Chairman Jimmy Davis was unable to attend the meeting because of health concerns.
EMPAC Statewide EMPAC Chairman Tony Smith urged district chairpersons to fill out their directories so he would know who is on the EMPAC committee. He also urged them to contact their legislators even when they are out of session. He also told the board about a complaint filed by the GOP in reference to a $5,000 donation EMPAC made to Linda Coleman’s campaign. Coleman gave the money back, but the GOP still contends that it was made during the legislative session and therefore invalid. EMPAC is submitting a response. EMPAC’s next meeting is on Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. at the SEANC Central Office. Emerging Leaders Chairwoman Felicia Chiambiro said her committee would hold its first meeting soon. It will focus on creating a succession plan for the organization, starting with a mentoring program that will show younger members what it means to be a SEANC leader and what the positions entail. She envisions a program where younger members can learn by shadowing the treasurer, VPs and even the President.
Expansion/Growth Chairwoman Gloria Upperman said her committee is still in the process of educating itself on the issues facing college athletes, local government employees and temporary employees in order to develop the best methods for recruitment. 4
Insurance Board of Trustees IBT Chairwoman Janice Smith said the trustees met on Oct. 7 for the first time. There will be a proposal at the February BOG meeting to allow the IBT to regain a percentage of the funds they now contribute to the general fund to set up a reserve. Membership Chairman Bill Spade announced that his committee is committed to 10 percent growth this year, meaning a net total of 5,300 new members, or roughly 1,000 new members a month to compensate for cancellations, deaths and deletions. He reminded board members that $1.80 a month of each $9 dues payment goes back to their districts. Spillman Grice of the growth and retention workgroup reminded members that the BOG approved a new membership policy that included a checklist of things that had to be accomplished in order to be considered for district of the year. One of those items was to have a representative attend membership training, which only 31 districts did. Also, 5 percent of each district’s budget should go to recruiting, and each must have three events. Member Discount Chairwoman Martha Fowler urged board members to let her committee know if businesses are no longer offering discounts so they could either be recruited again or be taken off the list. Member Strength Chairwoman Hiawatha Jones said her committee is excited about the prospects of working with legislators in the coming short session.
Retiree Council Chairman Spillman Grice announced that he had been re-elected as Chairman. He gave a review of SEANC’s involvement with The Fourth Branch and the N.C. Alliance for Retired Americans. He encouraged the board members to ask all SEANC members to go to The Fourth Branch’s website and register for updates. The council will hold its first meeting Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. at the SEANC Office. Scholarship Foundation Chairman Mike Bell announced that the board of directors would hold its first meeting of the year on Oct. 20.
Old Business District 37 Chairwoman Shirley Ballard asked if it were possible to get a financial report every month. Director of Operations Chuck Stone stated that creating a full financial report takes about three days of staff work time for two staffers. Doing this on a monthly basis is not feasible without hiring more financial staff.
President Hailey asked the board to help him fill the 12-member Audit Committee. As of now, several people have declined and he still needs a few volunteers.
New Business Membership Chairman Bill Spade announced that he spoke with a friend who is an insurance agent about bonding each of SEANC’s district treasurers. The estimate came to roughly $36 per district. Board members asked him to investigate further, and he said he would bring more details at the next board meeting,
Votes PASSED – A motion not to send a delegation to the SEIU Convention. PASSED – A motion to allow Mitch Leonard to enter SEANC into a two-year agreement for services with Carolina Broadcasting. PASSED – A motion to create a policy for bank fees. PASSED – A motion to alter travel reimbursement policy to allow for other mapping programs. PASSED – A motion to revisit the travel reimbursement policy. PASSED – A motion to add language to travel reimbursement policy to allow those who do not want to fly to be reimbursed. PASSED – A motion to take Policy Platform forms back to districts for input before end of November.