The Board of Governors met on Nov. 18-19, 2016, at SEANC Headquarters in Raleigh to discuss business important to state employees and retirees. Here are the highlights from the meeting. Highlights SEANC, NCAE call on Gov. McCrory to concede The Board of Governors voted to allow President Stanley Drewery to issue a joint statement with the president of NCAE calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to concede the election and allow EMPAC-endorsed candidate Roy Cooper to start his transition. Cooper leads the race by more than 9,000 votes as of Tuesday, but McCrory insists on contesting with baseless and targeted challenges. EMPAC has strong showing in election In what turned out to be an unpredictable election, EMPAC still managed to pull off another banner year. Candidates endorsed by EMPAC had an 85-percent win rate in the election, including two likely victories in what it deemed the most important races for state employees and retirees – for governor and state treasurer. The governor’s race has yet to be resolved, but it looks like Cooper will win. This will be a great thing for SEANC, which has access issues with Gov. McCrory. It will also allow state employees and retirees to have a stronger voice on boards for the State Health Plan and retirement board. EMPAC-endorsed Republican Dale Folwell won the Treasurer’s race in convincing fashion and can now work to stop Wall Street from taking retirement funds through outrageous fees. EMPAC’s pick for Attorney General, Josh Stein, also won. Sadly, Lieutenant Governor candidate Linda Coleman didn’t win. Fight over ECU/Vidant merger continues SEANC continues to advocate for employees at the East Carolina University Physicians practices in Greenville who are facing privatization in a “merger” with health care corporation Vidant.
A rally was held on Oct. 5 with EMPAC-endorsed candidates from the area and NAACP President William Barber that received strong news coverage from area television outlets and newspapers. SEANC has reached out to our new Attorney General-elect Josh Stein to ask him to help us in the fight, as well as Rep. G.K. Butterfield and Governor-elect Roy Cooper. We have also arranged to have a meeting with the Greenville mayor and city council, which meets on Dec. 5 at 5:55 p.m. SEANC’s Fight for $15 ramping up When you think of the Fight for $15, you probably think of fast food workers. But did you know that 25 percent of state employees in North Carolina do not make $15 an hour? Pres. Drewery has launched a committee to draw attention to this fact and the need for a $15 per hour minimum wage both in state government and beyond. BOG members were given fliers for their district members to fill out and return, along with a picture. The hope is that if we tell the true story about who makes less than $15 an hour, we can help sway public support for an increase. A Day of Action is planned for Nov. 29 all over the country. More details will be available soon on SEANC’s involvement that day. General Counsel reviews board’s fiduciary responsibilities SEANC’s General Counsel Hardy Lewis reported on the fiduciary responsibilities of the board. He said the relationship is one-sided in that it is only meant to meet the needs of the organization, not individual board members, staff or anyone else. Board members have a duty to take measures to make sure decisions they make are focused on the mission of the organization. A breach of that duty can subject them to personal liability. He asked that board members take these responsibilities seriously. New SEIU VP Heather Conroy introduced Heather Conroy, the new SEIU Vice President, stopped by to introduce herself to the board. She was recently elected to lead the public sector division. She comes to SEIU’s international office from a local in Oregon that was once very similar to SEANC. It once represented only state employees as well. It then expanded to the private sector. She said SEIU contributed more than $1 million to election efforts in North Carolina this year, and that money was raised from janitors in Los Angeles, nursing home workers in Miami and SEIU members all over the country. She recognized SEANC’s Member Political Organizers for their hard work knocking on doors and getting out the vote this year. In an 8,000-vote election like the governor’s race, she said, that’s what matters.
Reports Treasurer’s Report Second Vice President Darius McLaurin reported on the final finance report for the 2015-16 fiscal year. SEANC ended the year with a surplus with all accounts in good standing. General Treasurer Chevella Thomas presented the report for 2016-17, which contained little information because the fiscal year is only a month old. President’s Report President Drewery asked that all board members be unified with one goal of bettering the lives of SEANC members. He asked that everyone work together over the next year for that purpose. He asked district chairpersons to get more people involved in their districts so they don’t have to serve in several different roles. He commended District 25 Chairman and Piedmont Region Representative Kirk Montgomery for taking an active role in SEANC. He closed by asking members to leave the BOG this weekend with one thing on their minds: Accomplishing something for our members. At the beginning of the meeting, Drewery also presented Past President Ross Hailey with a photo album recognizing his time as president. Executive Director’s Report Mitch Leonard reported that he will be attending a meeting in Chicago in early December to help SEIU set up its new retiree program. SEANC’s retiree involvement will be a model for the group. He commended the whole staff for spending a tremendous amount of time with the election since convention. He said he was proud of the work SEANC and EMPAC did in the election. He was disappointed that we couldn’t move enough seats in the House, but overall we did surprisingly well. He played a “Thank you” video message from Treasurer-elect Dale Folwell. He also recognized the MPOs, saying they played a crucial role in the election, especially in the governor’s race. He expects the General Assembly to return for a special session in early December. Although their purpose in the special session will be emergency funding for Hurricane Matthew relief, Leonard said that members should be ready to come to Raleigh to advocate for your payroll deduction rights. With McCrory likely losing thanks in large part to our support, there’s no telling what could come up. The upgrade of the audio equipment in the conference rooms will begin Dec. 19. The firm has been chosen to study IT needs, and that process is underway.
Committees Audit Chairman Keith Renner reported on the committee’s goals for the year. It plans to audit three random districts and one office function. It has already completed three audits and is working on three more. He implored districts to take good records! The committee nominated two new members – Regina Hill and Gene Mills – to replace Chevella Thomas and Betty Jackson. The board approved them. Bylaws Chairman Jimmy Davis announced his committee members. The committee will meet in January to review the bylaws and make sure that all bylaw changes have been put in place. The Statewide Bylaws Committee meeting will be held on July 19 at 10 a.m. at the SEANC Central Office. Every district must be represented. Connections Committee Chairwoman Linda Rouse Sutton reported that the committee is currently working on relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims. She encouraged district chairpersons to find members who lost everything and are in bad shape from the flooding. She also asked members to consider donating to the effort. Make checks payable to SEANC Disaster Relief Fund. SEIU is sending funds for Hurricane Matthew relief as well. The committee will also work on relief for wildfire victims in the west. Steve Lawson also brought up a GoFundMe page that has been set up to help Brenda Johnson’s family deal with medical expenses as her son Adam battles liver disease. The goal is $30,000. Members can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/adamjohnsons-medical-fund Executive Director Search Committee Chairwoman Martha Fowler reported that the committee is gathering information and reviewing things like job description, pay, etc. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 12. The committee intends to have something to report this summer. Pres. Drewery mentioned that they are looking at both inside and outside applicants. Emerging Leaders Chairwoman Emily Jones announced that she is still trying to fill the committee. A meeting is planned for January. EMPAC Statewide EMPAC Chairman Tony Smith reported on EMPAC’s election activities (see highlights section.) He said that SEIU’s involvement with other races helped EMPAC focus its money on Dale Folwell’s race, which likely put him over the top.
He hopes that more BOG members will get involved in their area and statewide EMPAC meetings. He hopes to publish a newsletter of EMPAC activities in the future, but needs more participation. Insurance Board of Trustees Chairwoman Janice Smith reported that the IBT met on Nov. 9. She encouraged everyone to switch to one of SEANC’s alternative payment options as soon as possible. She asked for a motion to allow the Insurance Department to run a commercial on NC Spin as part of its current contract. The board approved the motion. She said she has received positive responses from the billboard advertisement the board purchased for the month of September. But the best advertising SEANC Insurance can get is word of mouth from you to our members. Details are being finalized with United Healthcare for the new dental policy. The contract was finalized on Friday, so now it will start moving forward. Members can expect new cards toward the end of next month. Operations Manual Parliamentarian Kim Martin reported on the committee’s efforts for Chairwoman Marilyn Jean Martin. The committee has made many changes to the manual. The changes include clerical errors like the realignment of the Table of Contents and the addition of job descriptions as well as more substantial changes like the process for dissolving districts and adding the new Code of Ethics. President Drewery recommended that BOG members take the updated manuals back home and read them, then come back to the February BOG meeting with questions and to vote. Membership Chairman Ron Fields said he hoped that when Cooper takes office access problems will be resolved, particularly at the Department of Transportation. He has been going to sheriff departments to sign up people for alternative payment options. Ron said his job is to help members recruit members. He encouraged members to call him (preferably a day in advance) if they would like him to come help them recruit new members. He announced two new challenges – for each new member recruited from Nov. 17Feb. 23, the recruiter will be entered into a drawing for $100 in addition to the usual $5. There is also a district challenge – the district that recruits the most new members in the same time period will receive $100.
Member Discount Chairman James Hartley reported that the committee is focusing on cleaning up and maintaining the businesses we have. He asked that members make sure stickers are in place at businesses in their areas that offer discounts. Policy Platform Chairman Jim Pressley reported that the committee recommends reorganizing the Policy Platform document into a three-tier structure: Foundation, Framework and Capstone. The Foundation tier will contain compensation, healthcare and retirement objectives. The Framework tier will contain objectives dealing with day to day issues, working conditions and items specific to certain agencies. Capstone objectives will contain objectives regarding rights of workers and retirees. The traditional Top Ten Objectives will be eliminated as the new structure will provide prioritization of objectives. Chairman Pressley also brought three objectives that needed action by the Executive Committee: 1. SEANC is to appoint a working group for the sole purpose of developing comprehensive short and long term disability programs for all state employees. The deliveries of this working group would be drafted into proposed legislation to be introduced at the earliest opportunity. (A motion was made to move forward with this objective and was found favorable). 2. SEANC recommends that an odd number of diverse and talented SEANC members and consultants be commissioned to draft language relative to change the retirement system from a sole fiduciary to a committee before December 2011. This proposed policy is in keeping with the recommendation that evolved from the July 2010 Statewide Policy Platform meeting. North Carolina’s use of sole fiduciary is obsolete. (A motion was made to form this group and was found favorable). 3. SEANC will appoint a working group to develop a feasibility study of the organization’s providers, resources and mediators who can assist SEANC members with workplace and non-workplace issues. (Motion to appoint this group failed). The committee will hold a teleconference training for Policy Platform chairpersons on Jan. 9. A state Policy Platform committee meeting will be held on July 20 at the SEANC Central Office and all districts must be represented. Planning First Vice President Gloria Evans reported that the committee’s first meeting would be in January.
Public Relations Chairwoman Hiawatha Jones reported that this committee’s mission is to regain, understand and support our active, future and retired members. The committee will meet in January ahead of the opening of the General Assembly. Objectives: • Promote the interest and function of SEANC • Cultivate and enhance the SEANC community • Build a relationship with each legislator • Serve as a source of action with the staff lobbyists • Serve as a liaison The committee will work with Government Relations and Communications on preparing members to meet legislators. Scholarship Chairman Mike Bell announced that based on better than expected returns on investments and interest earned, the board added $2,000 in scholarship awards for next year. Thus, the total scholarship awards will be $40,500, as follows: • Four-year Merit - (16) $1,000 • Four-year Financial Need – (16) $1,000 • Two-year Merit – (4) $500 • Two-year Financial Need – (4) $500 • Member Only – (9) $500 The bowling tournament/silent auction fundraiser will be on May 20 after the May BOG meeting in Raleigh. Now is the time to solicit items for the silent auction. The scholarship schedule will be the same as in past years, with April 15 as the deadline for scholarship applications to be submitted to SEANC Central Office. The annual judging for statewide winners will be conducted May 23-25, 2017. He encouraged districts to complete the forms correctly. The Piedmont region needs a replacement. If you have members from your district/region who are interested in being considered, please have them submit an email with a short biography to President Drewery (and copy Mike Bell) as soon as possible. The board would like to have this position filled before the annual judging. The Scholarship Board would like the members’ input/feedback on the format and scheduling for the annual scholarship training. The training was held on Friday at last year’s convention. It was well-attended, but it was very expensive.
Standards Review Committee Chairwoman Tara Minter reported that the committee is still looking for members. She and Chuck Stone will meet with Hardy Lewis for his assistance in getting a nonprofit expert to help with the review. Retiree Council Chairman Benny Brigman said the committee met on Nov. 10. District 7 Chairman Henry Belada will fill an empty slot on the committee. He said 104 retiree volunteers (two from each district) are needed to work on signing up members for SEANC’s alternate payment options. We may be able to give the volunteers per diem for their expenses, but no salary. The council’s next meeting is on Feb. 9. Votes PASSED – A motion from the Audit Committee to fill two vacant slots – Regina Hill and Gene Mills. PASSED – A motion from the Executive Committee to forgive the debt owed by the Scholarship Foundation to SEANC accrued since 2007, amounting to an estimated $19,000. PASSED – A motion to split three options motion presented by the Policy Platform into individual motions to consider separately. PASSED – A motion to place $60,000 in the Ad Hoc Committee’s line item. PASSED – A motion from the Insurance Board of Trustees to allow one of the N.C. Spin commercial slots to be used to promote SEANC Insurance. PASSED – A motion to extend Hardy Lewis’ contract through Sept. 30, 2017.