The Board of Governors met on July 22-23, 2016, at SEANC Headquarters in Raleigh to discuss business important to state employees and retirees. Here are the highlights from the meeting. Highlights Board approves Five-Year Plan, budget for 2016-17 The board approved a long-range plan for the future of the association and a budget for 2016-2017.
The Five-Year Plan was developed by a subcommittee of the Planning Committee led by District 19 member Martha Fowler, who presented the plan to the board. It is the first five-year plan the association has developed in more than a decade and includes an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing SEANC, as well as a broad range of items and needs that are critical to the future of the organization.
The plan calls for a dues increase, which if passed by the convention would be the first since 2007. The association also has dire needs in several areas. For starters, the Information Technology infrastructure at SEANC is outdated and in need of thorough replacement. We must also start to move more members to bank draft and away from payroll deduction so we wonâ€™t be under constant threat from hostile legislators who use our payroll deduction abilities to control us.
SEANC also needs to establish a larger reserve to be able to meet any unforeseen challenge that may occur.
Board members broke into regional groups to discuss the plan and the budget, then returned to a full group to discuss the matters further before passing motions to approve both the plan and the budget. A bylaws change for a $5 dues increase for all members was supported by three districts and passed the Statewide Bylaws Committee last Wednesday. It will be
brought before the convention in September, and has the support of the Retiree Council as well.
A broader explanation of the Five-Year Plan will be sent to district chairpersons.
OSHR Director presents state employee compensation plan Office of State Human Resources Director Neal Alexander and others from his staff presented to the board the governor’s plans for a statewide compensation plan for state employees. State employee pay plans have not progressed and pay structures are exactly the same as they were in the 1980s. Beginning last summer, OSHR began to develop a modern updated compensation system plan.
The vision for the plan is to have “Fair and equitable compensation, provide opportunities for employees to acquire new knowledge and skills, opportunities for growth and career development, and for the state to be an employer of choice.” Key principles for the plan include market responsiveness, equitable and affordable compensation and pay for performance.
OSHR wants to create a system with more flexible pay ranges and raises, a new and progressive salary program where employees can map out career goals, and the ability to hire, promote and compensate the workforce in a more competitive manner. BOG members questioned OSHR officials on everything from longevity pay to disciplinary actions to evaluations to pay increases.
Implementation of the plan has been delayed until 2017, partly due to a problem brought up by several BOG members – money. All the pay plans in the world don’t mean anything without funding, and legislators control that funding.
SEIU representative presents plan for unity moving forward Kathy Eddy of SEIU presented the board with “Our Joint Plan to Build Power for N.C. Workers” as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen ties between SEANC and SEIU. Eddy’s presentation was a follow-up from SEIU President Mary Kay Henry’s visit to the SEANC Executive Committee’s June meeting. Eddy laid the foundation for why it is in best interests of both associations to work together on a variety of issues. This includes a renewed national retiree program and support of SEANC’s political plans for the 2016 election.
SEANC will also join in on the Fight for $15 in North Carolina, with more than 2 million workers who make less than $15 an hour, including more than 20,000 state employees.
ECU official presents on Vidant merger plans Al Delia, the Director of Office of Health Access at East Carolina University, presented to the board the ongoing plans to merge parts of ECU’s medical practices with Vidant Health, which currently operates the hospital in Greenville. The merger was brought about by a need for increased cooperation between the practices and the hospital. Rather than Vidant simply taking over the practices, a new non-profit entity was created for the endeavor. He pledged that both sides would be open and transparent with state employees there as the merger progresses, but as of yet there are still many unknowns. He pledged that the job cuts were not the goal of the merger, and that town hall meetings would be held with the state employees there to keep them informed.
The board passed a motion in support of the employees there and planned to continue to monitor the merger.
Board approves Retiree Council motion to pay SEIU dues again SEANC voted in favor of a recommendation from the Retiree Council to once again pay full SEIU dues for all retirees ($.50 per month). If you’ll recall in October, the board voted to stop paying dues for all but one retiree per district at the request of the Retiree Council because it felt SEIU had not lived up to expectations it put forth at the time of affiliation. SEANC will once again pay dues for all retirees beginning in August. The dues payments withheld since the October decision still sit in escrow. SEANC will work with SEIU to determine what happens to that money.
Presentation on Human Resources needs at SEANC office SEANC Director of Operations Chuck Stone presented the findings of a comprehensive study of SEANC’s Human Resources needs that were developed by District 3 members Anne Castro and Doris Greer. Both Greer and Castro were unable to attend the meeting.
Greer and Castro interviewed 34 out of 40 employees at SEANC in their study. It revealed many strengths and weaknesses of the current structure at SEANC. They recommended that SEANC hire either a part-time or full-time HR Director in the near future. The board voted to study the costs of contracted HR services versus hiring another staffer.
Treasurer’s Report General Treasurer Darius McLaurin reported that SEANC’s finances were on target to meet projections for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and may even come in well under budget. He commended Executive Director Mitch Leonard and Chuck Stone for this, saying “There really hasn’t been much spending. Staff has been managing based on what they have. So far, they are doing a great job not overspending.” District 60 Chairwoman Hiawatha Jones and District 17 Chairman Dan Efird both commended McLaurin for revising the financial report so it is more easily read and understandable. McLaurin responded that he feels it his duty is to go through it verbally so he can answer any questions.
McLaurin then introduced SEANC’s new Chief Financial Officer Brian Keel, who gave a brief report on the 2014 Audit Report, which is now available for the entire board to review at the SEANC Office.
President’s Report President Ross Hailey thanked Ray Evans for filling in for usual parliamentarian Roy McGalliard. He noted that this was the last BOG meeting before convention and thanked the officers for their support. He said the last two years have been the worst in SEANC’s history, but that SEANC has withstood the hard times and come out stronger. He wants members to come to convention energized and strong, ready to tackle the important issues facing us.
He asked that members come to convention ready to give their reports. Even though we will have an agenda, sometimes it needs to be adjusted, so come prepared to give your report at any time during convention. “We will be moving fast and continuously, so come prepared.” He said he also has doubts about OSHR Director Neal Alexander’s plans and questioned why it had taken him three years to come up with it.
Executive Director’s Report Executive Director Mitch Leonard reported that SEANC was very disappointed in the outcome of final state budget negotiations at the legislature. The mix of a 1.5percent raise and bonuses for state employees and a bonus for retirees makes it clear this was not a good year for us.
He announced that all incoming district chairpersons and district treasurers should attend one of three trainings to be held next month – in Raleigh on Aug. 9-10, Greenville on Aug. 11-12 and Hickory on Aug. 17-18. This training will replace the treasurer’s training normally held at convention and is designed to help the incoming chairperson and treasurer hit the ground running.
He said this was a critical time in SEANC’s history, and urged board members to support the Five-Year Plan, the dues increase and the budget in what he called a cloudy, if not uncertain future. The next few months of decisions by the board and the convention will determine whether the association survives. There’s lots of work to be done, and it starts with shoring up our finances and getting our endorsed candidates elected. Legislative Update SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins gave an overview of the recently completed General Assembly session, reminding members that it began with the governor’s rejection of leave for SEANC’s convention.
She commended Rep. Nelson Dollar and Rep. Gary Pendleton for putting themselves under the bus with their own party by supporting our cause. Republicans actually gave money to another candidate to get rid of Dollar. He had to pay $500,000 for his campaign. The media hit Dollar and his wife hard.
Watkins commended retirees for showing up at the GA for two different causes on several occasions. It was their presence at the GA that made the difference. “This has been our dream – to have member presence at the GA.” She said SEANC needs both more money in EMPAC and member participation in lobbying. She encouraged BOG members to contribute and/or increase their donations to EMPAC.
Convention Update Meetings and Convention Planner Alicia Miller gave a quick overview of planning for the 33rd annual SEANC Convention, which will be held Sept. 7-10 in Greensboro. The biggest change this year is due to a loss of sponsorship dollars. Tickets to this year’s Thursday night buffet will be $40. She also reviewed deadlines for registration. Awards The deadline for nominations was July 23 by midnight. The State Awards Committee will meet August 4, 2016, to judge and finalize the award selections.
Audit Eastern Region Representative Keith Renner reported that the Audit Committee met on June 9. Anne Marie Bellamy was added to the committee.
The committee is currently reviewing the finances of several districts, and the results and recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Committee once they are completed. It is also developing an Audit Committee Procedural Manual and Review Procedures to go into the SEANC Operations Manual.
Resumes for Audit Committee candidates for 2016-2017 SEANC Convention elections will be reviewed at the committee’s next meeting on August 9.
Bylaws Chairman Jimmy Davis reported that the Bylaws Committee met on Wednesday and decided that 11 amendments will be passed on to the convention. Packets containing those amendments were passed out. Davis told BOG members to take them back to districts and make copies for members.
He reminded members that delegates that can’t be on time at convention will not get keypads. He also said this year when you vote, if your keypad is not working you will be given a piece of paper to write your vote on and your keypad will be taken.
Speakers will be limited to two minutes and each amendment will receive 20 minutes of discussion, as usual. Members can then vote for a 10-minute extension of the debate. Amendment forms will be available at the end of each table. EMPAC Chairman Tony Smith encouraged the entire BOG to come to the EMPAC meeting immediately following the BOG meeting. It featured interviews with Gov. Pat McCrory. His opponent Roy Cooper will be interviewed on July 30. He urged members to support Dale Folwell for Treasurer and Linda Coleman for Lieutenant Governor. Smith said members must get more involved financially and with their time in EMPAC. He said the proposed dues increase is a must for SEANC to survive.
He pointed out that without EMPAC’s support of key House members like Rep. Nelson Dollar, state employees would not have gotten a raise this year. State employees have no friends in the Senate or the governor’s mansion. We must come together as one and be united in support of Dollar and others. He showed a Powerpoint on the need for more involvement. EMPAC is not raising enough for today’s politics – 23,512 active members do not contribute. If every member gave $5 per month, that would raise more than $6 million. He encouraged BOG members to be the first to donate EMPAC and passed out a commitment to EMPAC to donate at least $3 and 3 hours of time. Insurance Board of Trustees Chairwoman Janice Smith reported that the board voted to do virtual signage in Wake County as a pilot advertising campaign. She reported that there were still openings on the board in all of regions. Its next meeting will be at convention.
Membership Chairman Bill Spade reviewed blitzes and events that have taken place since the last BOG meeting – 122 new members were recruited at blitzes in Guilford and Buncombe counties. SEANC Super Recruiter Ron Fields has recruited more than 300 new members this year. Spade recognized Janice Smith of District 3 and Debra Dunston of District 43 for their recruiting efforts as well. The $5 per person recruiting incentive has been extended to August 29.
Member Discount Chairwoman Martha Fowler reminded the board that in order to be considered for one of three awards given out to the top discount recruiters at convention, the discounts must be turned in by Sept. 30.
Member Strength Chairwoman Hiawatha Jones said the committee will meet again in September. She thanked the board for supporting the $5 dues increase. The committee plans to give out T-shirts for delegates at convention to promote the Five-Year Plan, SEANC A.C.T.S.
Operations Manual Committee Piedmont Region Representative Jean Martin, who chairs the committee, announced that it had only heard from one or two people on the changes made to the operations manual. She is still waiting on items from the other BOG members to finish the process. She implored the members to read the Operations Manual. Policy Platform Chairman Jim Pressley reported that the committee met on Thursday of last week to consider policy platform changes to be voted on at convention. The policy platform information will be sent to district chairpersons so that delegates can come to the convention prepared. As of now only online ballots will be counted. In the event of technical problems, paper ballots will be issued.
Planning Most of the report centered on the Five-year Plan/budget discussion. First Vice President Stanley Drewery, who chairs the Planning Committee, encouraged board members to be more involved and request to be on a committee. He said right now some people are on four or five committees. “Let’s give them some relief,” he said. “We need new faces.” Scholarship Chairman George Theissen reported that the Scholarship Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser held on May 21 made a profit of $3,560. He thanked all those who participated, volunteered, donated silent auction items and sponsored the fundraiser.
The Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors reviewed 114 applications for state level awards. After three days of judging, the board awarded 47 scholarships totaling $38,500. Theissen emphasized the importance of tracking and monitoring the district raffle tickets for convention, ensuring that all tickets, sold and unsold, are brought to convention along with district checks made payable to the Scholarship Foundation Board. All districts must turn in their tickets and funds to the Scholarship Board at the booth outside the convention hall no later than the close of business on Friday afternoon.
Retiree Council Chairman Spillman Grice thanked retirees for coming to Raleigh to fight for a COLA during the legislative session. He announced there are several openings for seats on the council. At its last meeting, the council had a lengthy discussion on a possible dues increase, and passed a motion in support of it.
Eileen Kirlan of SEIU was also at the last council meeting to discuss the formation of an International Retiree Council. The council also passed a motion to restart paying SEIU dues for all retirees, which was also approved by the BOG. • •
Announcements District 26 Chairman Stanley Gales announced he will seek the office of North Central Region Representative. District 2 Chairman Cliff Johnson announced he will seek the office of Western Region Representative.
Votes PASSED – A motion to endorse the HR Report and immediately look into the possibility of contracting HR Services and an outside source to investigate fiscal complaints. PASSED – A motion to adopt the 2016-2017 SEANC Budget. PASSED – A motion to accept the 5-Year Plan as proposed. PASSED – A motion that Retiree Council recommends to pay $.50 for retiree dues to SEIU for all retirees. The effective date will be August 1, 2016. PASSED – A motion that the SEANC Board of Governors support and represent the interests of the state employees in the ECU/Vidant merger. PASSED – A motion to accept the 2014 Audit Report.