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THE

P ublication of the S tate E mployees A ssociation of N orth C arolina • A ug . 2010 • V ol . 28 N o . 4 • C irculation 55,000

SEANC Protects State Employees’ Jobs and Benefits in Tough Times

Furloughs, Layoffs and Pay Cuts Stopped Days before the budget came up for a vote, a threat of 20 hours of mandatory furloughs for all state employees was floating around the legislature. SEANC was able to keep the hours out of the final proposal, though the legislature gave the UNC system authority to furlough their employees. SEANC also helped state employees dodge pay cuts and broadbased layoffs for the second year in a row with multi-billion dollar budget deficits. Jobs Saved This year, SEANC saw employees of the deaf and blind schools and advocates like recreational therapist Kim Stewart, who spoke at lobby day, have their services and jobs restored as members and staff showed legislators the results of their jobs – essential services to North Carolinians, such as the children and physically challenged they serve, who count on them every day. Political Favoritism at UNC System Prevented SEANC worked for the passage of a “Mary Easley” provision that requires the university system to report personnel actions and pay increases to the Office of State Personnel and the Office of State Budget Management quarterly – a requirement that didn’t previously exist which will help prevent favoritism such as Mary Easley’s 88 percent pay raise in 2008. Due Process and SPA Protections Maintained SEANC, who believes employees are innocent until proven guilty, was able to get a provision passed in the ethics bill that would protect employees’ information during investigations into personnel matters. State Personnel Act (SPA) protections, which are a target every session, were also maintained this year.

By Doranna Anderson, District 47, and Mary O’Neill, District 39

The Democratic leadership paralyzed any changes in the State Health Plan this year, including moving oversight away from the legislature and striking the body mass index penalty set to begin next July, by refusing to vote on the bills in committee. See more on page 2.

On July 9, when we got the emergency call from SEANC Lobbyists Ardis Watkins and Suzanne Beasley to come to the General Assembly, we Anderson O’Neill didn’t hesitate. We knew it was important to have us – real-live state employees – by their side in the last hours of the legislative session. You see, legislators were still working on two bills that would greatly affect us – and you: 1) An ethics bill attempting to open the floodgates on our privacy (including files with medical information relating to personnel actions) and 2) An amendment defining how agencies determine 1 percent cuts. So after working a full day, we headed to Jones Street. And there we stayed until 4 a.m. We’ll admit, we got a little punchy. Chocolate and caffeine came to our rescue at 2:30 a.m. But we were there to do important work. Unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never know how crazy the legislative process is. We sat in session, as our lobbyists sat outside the chamber doors listening online strategically positioning themselves to talk with key legislators who emerged. We helped them literally chase down important legislators to ask for their support. It’s a lot of work, and our lobbyists should be applauded for doing this day-in and day-out every session. They accomplish a lot with their expertise and passion for our issues. When you go to the General Assembly, you really understand that legislation changes quickly. Negotiations happen on the chamber floors and in closed-door meetings. One word can change our fate. As members, we put a face on the legislation. Legislators seemed surprised to see us there, especially in the wee hours of the morning. But we wanted them to know their actions directly affect us, and we wanted accountability from our elected leaders. At the end of the day…er, in the early morning hours…our privacy was protected in the ethics bill. Unfortunately, politics won over policy with the 1 percent agency cuts. The House passed the amendment requiring agencies to consider cutting operational expenses before positions, with strong support from both parties, but the Senate (especially Republicans) wouldn’t budge. We encourage SEANC members to take part in the legislative process. It’s exciting. It’s exhausting. It affects our way of life. Our dues are well worth the professional representation SEANC offers. Come to Raleigh next session and see for yourselves – armed with chocolate and caffeine, of course.

ebaldwin@seanc.org

danderson83@nc.rr.com, ncst8_lady@yahoo.com

By Erica Baldwin

For the first time in seven years, the state legislature approved a final budget by the start of the July 1 fiscal year – a $19 billion budget that, in the midst of an economic downturn, spared the vast majority of state employees from major job losses, furloughs and pay cuts, thanks to SEANC’s work around the clock. Budget provisions and other legislation affecting state employees and retirees include the following:

Our All-Nighter at the General Assembly

Privatization Blocked Privatization of prison maintenance staff is now prohibited. Retirement Funding Raided The retirement system took one of the biggest hits, losing another $139 million in state pension fund monies – meaning the fund will need $310 million to stay properly funded. In a pension fund that’s designed to pay for its own benefit increases – and has fallen short due to years of minimal or no employer contributions – even more funding will be needed for cost-of-living adjustments and employer contribution increases in future years. 1% Agency Cuts Enacted The General Assembly ordered 1 percent budget cut in all agencies – giving managers flexibility to make the cuts. These “contingent” cuts were ordered effective July 1, even though Congress could provide $519 million to North Carolina that would make these cuts unnecessary. SEANC worked to get a provision to require agencies to slim down administrative costs and vacant positions before cutting jobs, but legislators refused even though a similar provision exists for local school administrative units. Privatization Study The legislature ordered the Department of Correction to develop a pilot program to study privatization of probation services. SEANC will work to make sure probation problems are fixed and better funded, instead of being farmed out. State Health Plan

THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

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public policy

Legislators Block Efforts to Move State Health Plan Oversight By Mary Adelaide Bell Riddick during a June 17 House Insurance Committee meeting that oversight of the SHP would be one of the last issues the task force discusses. Several committee members, including Rep. Van Braxton (D-Lenoir), echoed that the issue needed “more study.” During the same meeting, Rep. Dollar spoke in favor of moving the health plan immediately. “I think we need to move forward, that we can take action during this session of the General Assembly to address some of these issues,” Dollar told the committee. “State employees and retirees who are members of our association want this thing [SHP] moved, and they want it moved as expeditiously as possible to an executive branch agency – somewhere out of the General Assembly,” SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins said on June 17. “But most importantly – no matter where it moves – that the General Assembly relinquish any and all control over it,” she added. SEANC is concerned with legislators’ refusal to move the plan, especially in light of political contributions by Blue Cross, who can currently bill the SHP for everything but the kitchen sink in their claims processing contract. Holliman made it clear that oversight of the SHP would stay right where it is for now, and leaders of the

committee refused to take up the bill for a vote. Reps. Dollar, Blackwell, Hurley and Dale Folwell (R-Forsyth) also filed House Bill 1968 at SEANC’s request to repeal the body mass index (BMI) penalty that lawmakers put in place last session, which would move plan members with a high BMI to the 70/30 health insurance option on July 1, 2011. However, once again, legislators stalled this bill in committee. mariddick@seanc.org

PHOTo BY Erica baldwin

Despite legislative claims of a $400 million projected shortfall for FY 2011-2013 and two audits recommending the State Health Plan’s (SHP) oversight transfer away from the General Assembly, legislators refused to vote on bills affecting the SHP before the session closed. This means that the campaign cash from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. – who has a sweetheart no-bid, cost-plus contract with the SHP – continues to flow into legislative races this year. “I guess the lure of those sweet Blue Cross dollars was too much for legislators to give up its SHP oversight in an election year,” said SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope. In May, Reps. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), Hugh Blackwell (R-Burke) and Pat Hurley (R-Randolph) filed House Bill 2037 at SEANC’s request to transfer the SHP’s oversight from the legislature, where oversight has been spotty for years, to an agency with expertise in insurance management. To date, two audits reporting to the Blue Ribbon Task Force show that the SHP is not receiving adequate oversight in the General Assembly and should be moved as soon as possible. Despite the audits, House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman (D-Davidson), who co-chairs the task force, stated

SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins, left, and Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) discuss oversight transfer of the State Health Plan from the General Assembly following a committee meeting on June 17.

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2

THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

Toni Davis, Editor-In-Chief Erica Baldwin, Managing Editor Mary Adelaide Bell Riddick Associate Editor, Advertising Manager Amber Ernst, Associate Editor State Employees Association of North Carolina P.O. Drawer 27727 • Raleigh, NC 27611 1621 Midtown Place • Raleigh, NC 27609 Telephone 919-833-6436, 800-222-2758 www.seanc.org

Advertising Policy SEANC accepts advertising material from companies and persons seeking to communicate with SEANC members. Acceptance of this advertising does not indicate SEANC approval or endorsement of any representation that the message, product or service is as represented by the advertiser. SEANC accepts no responsibility and shall not be liable for any use of or reliance on any such information, product or service. SEANC is a private entity and is under no obligation to carry advertisements of any nature, political or otherwise, that may be viewed as contrary to the interests of the association and its membership.


public policy

SEANC Victorious in Supreme Court Public Records Case A North Carolina trial court must hear SEANC’s public records lawsuit against former state Treasurer Richard Moore according to a June 17 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned a 2009 state Court of Appeals decision on the basis that judges, not public officials (in this case Moore), determine when a public records request is fulfilled. “This ruling is a victory for state employees’ retirement security, open government and public accountability from its elected officials,” said SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope. SEANC initiated the public records request and subsequent February 2008 lawsuit after a March 2007 Forbes magazine article, “Pensions, Pols, Payola,” featuring Moore insinuated a “pay-to-play” system in the then-$75 billion pension fund. Specifically the magazine article drew a disturbing connection between Moore’s campaign contributions and his hiring of pension fund managers. The article led SEANC to file a records request in order to determine if investment decisions were based on political favors or North Carolina state employees’ best interest — a question still pending today. SEANC was supported in its appeal by the North

F eb. 24 - Forbes magazine article, “Pensions, Pols, Payola,” sent to SEANC highlighting state Treasurer Richard Moore’s practice of hiring money managers who invest state pension money and are also campaign contributors.

Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) and the North Carolina Press Association (NCPA) with a Friend of the Court brief. Charles Coble, an attorney for the NCAB said, “The [Supreme] Court spoke strongly on the importance of transparency in government. This victory will benefit citizens, media organizations and other groups such as SEANC in their efforts to monitor the activities of public bodies and public officials.” In November 2009, the Court of Appeals ruled against SEANC in a 2-1 decision saying those requesting public records should list the documents by name. The decision was perplexing to SEANC attorneys who prepared requests asking for specific documents that the association had yet to receive. The dissenting vote that enabled SEANC’s Supreme Court appeal was cast by Judge Rick Elmore, a SEANC District 41 member. Less than a handful of states still use a sole fiduciary to oversee their pension fund. SEANC continues to advocate in the General Assembly to end the sole fiduciary system where one person makes all the investment decisions, lessening the likelihood of investment-related favoritism or political gain.

SEANC General Counsel Tom Harris leaves the state Supreme Court in March following SEANC’s public records case against former state Treasurer Richard Moore. The Supreme Court ruled in SEANC’s favor on June 17.

SEANC Public Records Request Timeline

tdavis@seanc.org

Oct. 16 - SEANC sends Moore second public records request reiterating March 1 request and seeking additional items.

March 27 Moore provides 700 pages of documents.

PHOTO BY TONI DAVIS

By Toni Davis

Dec. 21 Treasurer’s office sends SEANC letter asking SEANC to narrow and prioritize request.

2007

Jan. 15 - SEANC again sends letter to Moore requesting specific records by Jan. 18 or SEANC will consider legal action.

Jan.

Feb.

March

June

July

Aug.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan. 24 - SEANC sends final letter to Treasurer’s office requesting unfulfilled records or “convincing evidence” that Moore’s office acted as required by public records law by Jan. 29 or face lawsuit.

2008 March - Oct. SEANC staff reviews documents; finds key information missing.

March 1 - SEANC sends letter to Moore requesting public records related to Forbes article.

Feb. 1 - SEANC files lawsuit.

Dec. 6 - SEANC sends Moore follow-up to public records requests, noting association will consider legal action if records are not received by Dec. 31.

Aug. 17 - SEANC appeals dismissal order.

2009 Jan. 29 - Records are not provided by deadline.

July 9 - Trial court dismisses SEANC lawsuit for “failure to state a claim.”

Jan. 7 - Treasurer’s office sends SEANC letter asking SEANC to note items missing from March request.

Dec. 2 - SEANC appeals Court of Appeals decision.

Jan. 18 - Treasurer’s office sends SEANC 190 pages of documents of incomplete correspondence between the Treasurer’s office and Forbes.

Jan. 14 - North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and the North Carolina Press Association file a Friend of the Court brief in support of SEANC.

June 17 - SEANC victorious in Supreme Court, sending the case back to trial court.

2010 Nov. 3 - N.C. Court of Appeals rules against SEANC in a 2-1 decision. Judge Rick Elmore of District 41 dissents, noting that Moore had likely withheld documents requested by SEANC.

March 23 - Supreme Court hears oral arguments in case.

THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

3


public policy

Quotes to Note

Want to see more SEANC in the News? Check out www.seanc.org under “News.�

“Unless the General Assembly acts, I will not be able to do the job I am so passionate about, serving the disabled. On a piece of paper, I am just another position being eliminated. But I have a name, and I matter.� SEANC District 57 member Kim Stewart in the June 8 News & Observer article “State workers rally to save jobs.�

“I think that it sets a horrible precedent. What’s next – personal cell phone records of every public employee?� Watkins on the State Highway Patrol seeking employees’ personal cell phone records on NBC 17’s July 15 story “Troopers’ personal cell phone records.�

“The bottom line is the average rank-and-file state employee isn’t getting what folks connected to the political system are getting.� SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins on the disparity of longevity pay rates for legislative staff during WRAL’s July 6 report “State workers’ longevity pay less than legislative staffers.�

“The decision is the most important statement by the North Carolina Supreme Court on open government in 20 years.� John Bussian, an attorney for the North Carolina Press Association, in the June 24 Carolina Journal article “N.C. Supreme Court broadens protections of public records law.�

“Our biggest fear would be people’s jobs. One percent is a big cut at this point in time – after everything that’s already been cut out of their budgets.� SEANC Lobbyist Suzanne Beasley, noting agencies need to cut administrative costs, not people, on ABC 11’s June 30 report “Perdue signs $19B budget bill.�

“I think that anytime a group comes and weighs in, the SEANC is an important group, I think it will make a difference.� Rep. Paul Luebke (D-Durham) on NBC 17’s June 8 story “State employees rally against layoffs.�

“[Former Treasurer Richard Moore said,] ‘I bring them in my office and I sit them down. I look them in the eye and determine if they have North Carolina’s values at heart.’ That’s how you’re making investment decisions? Somebody else needs to be in the meeting besides him looking into their hearts.� SEANC Communications Director Toni Davis in the Fayetteville Observer July 3 article “Open Access: High Court ruling a victory for accountability.�

“It’s shocking they would export jobs when the Research Triangle area has all the manpower and expertise to accomplish the task. Blue Cross is sitting on billions in reserves and paying millions to its top executives. I would prefer that they use some of that money to hire some IT workers in North Carolina.� SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope in the May 29 News & Observer article “BCBS tests outsourcing to India.�

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010


public policy

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

5


columns

Counselor’s Comments

President’s Message

by Tom Harris

by Tony Smith

On Course for the Future All hands on deck, it’s time for convention! It’s been an exciting and exhausting two years, and it is with sadness that I will turn over my captain’s hat to another leader. Membership has been a primary focus of my tenure as president. I issued more challenges than you can shake a stick at, and I am so pleased at the number of members who have risen to meet those challenges. There is still time before this year’s convention to add to your district’s ranks and possibly gain an additional delegate – you guessed it, another challenge. I wrote earlier this year about participation and accountability as the keys to a strong democracy – and SEANC is a democracy. I challenge you all one Smith last time to become active within the organization. The mast of SEANC is sturdy and strong, but the more hands we have on deck, the more efficiently and thoroughly we can get all the work done necessary to keep this great ship pointed to the horizon of our future. We have cemented our affiliation with SEIU as SEANC, SEIU Local 2008, and together we are charting the course to a strong and powerful future. This has been a year of member action. Members have spoken up for their jobs and proved the power of a united voice can save vital services. Now is not the time for member action to cease. This is an election year, and we have an opportunity to send a message to the legislature with our votes. We are the 11th largest political action committee in the state. Each district has an Employees Political Action Committee chairperson. Become involved – legislators will see just how mighty we are as we pull into port. Together we will make our voices heard through our votes! I am so proud of what we have accomplished as an organization over these past two years. In two of the worst economic years this state has seen in decades, we have fended off countless attempts at mass layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs. Through it all, our losses as state employees have been hard, but not nearly as bad as other states around the country. We should all give a hearty thanks to our SEANC staff, especially our lobbyists, without whom none of it would have been possible. Each and every day the folks at the central office work hard on behalf of our membership, and words alone are not enough to express my gratitude. We have all worked hard to build our membership. I want to thank all of the members who rose to the occasion and accepted all the recruitment challenges I have issued. I especially want to thank the individuals who have served on the Board of Governors, as officers and chairpersons, and members who have served on our statewide committees. Your efforts and willingness to serve and support SEANC, giving time out of your lives, has been essential to the success of this organization. Through challenges and stormy seas, we have weathered it together. I look forward to joining you all once again at convention in September. The work we have to do is vital to keeping SEANC on course for the future. tsmith@seanc.org

Budget Cuts Around the Nation States with populations similar to North Carolina • Georgia furloughed all state employees for three days and mandated 12 furlough days for health and human service workers. • Michigan cut 10 percent from all agencies (forcing layoffs of over 1,000 employees) and enacted five furlough days. • Ohio’s budget called for 3,000 layoffs and 10 mandatory furlough days. • Virginia’s governor eliminated 929 jobs after a January layoff of 678 transportation workers.

SEANC Chief of Staff/General Counsel

SEANC Seeks to Maintain a High Ethical Culture Recent state government scandals and the subsequent passage of ethics legislation have heightened SEANC’s awareness of the need for maintaining the highest level of ethical behavior by its own leaders and managers. Thus, the SEANC Board of Governors adopted an extensive new Ethical Code and Conflict of Interest Policy this past February. Every SEANC member is encouraged to familiarize themselves with this policy (posted on the SEANC website under Membership) and help SEANC maintain a culture that values high ethical standards as an essential part of its identity. Purpose:  Association members place tremendous Harris trust in their leaders and managers. SEANC’s elected officers and managers owe not just fiduciary obligations to association members but, given the moral purpose of our mission, those leaders owe members the highest level of ethical behavior in the exercise of all leadership decisions and financial dealings on members’ behalf.  Members have a right to have proper stewardship over association resources and transparency in the expenditure of association dues.  Misuse of funds or leadership authority undermines the confidence members have in the association and weakens it.  Corruption in all forms will not be tolerated in SEANC. The new code and policy strengthens SEANC’s ethics rules, practices and enforcement standards and thus enhances the association’s ability to accomplish its important mission.  Persons Covered: The substance and procedures of the new code and policy is binding upon all of SEANC, including each of its districts, boards and committees, statewide officers, district chairmen and treasurers, and managerial employees. Ethical Standards: The following categories of standard are addressed in the code and policy: imposition of a general duty to protect members’ funds; prohibition of ownership or other substantial financial interest which conflicts with leader’s fiduciary responsibility to the members; prohibition of the receipt of payments or gifts from certain employers, members or vendors; prohibition of converting funds or property to personal use or advantage; prohibition of loans to officers or to employees; imposition of a duty to safeguard SEANC’s separate legal status with respect to related organizations; imposition of a requirement that SEANC condition contributions to a related organization on that organization’s adoption and submission to SEANC of a code of ethics; and prohibition of officers’, managers’ and supervisors’ involvement in the hiring or supervision of relatives or a person with whom they have a significant personal relationship, as defined in the code and policy. Enforcement: The code and policy establishes the SEANC general counsel (yes, me) as the ethics officer to whom members and staff can approach for ethics advice or questions and to file ethics complaints. All complaints will be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to conduct a complete and fair investigation. Retaliation against employees for making good faith ethics complaints, reports or inquiries is strictly prohibited. Ethics complaints about staff members will be promptly referred by the ethics officer to the executive director for investigation and appropriate action. Ethics complaints about member leaders or the executive director will be referred to the SEANC Executive Committee for investigation and action. Conclusion: By adopting the new Ethical Code and Conflict of Interest Policy, the Board of Governors has sent a strong message that SEANC highly values ethical behavior by its leaders and managers in the handling of SEANC business. Therefore, all SEANC members and staff are strongly encouraged to bring to my attention, as ethics officer, any allegations that the code and policy has been violated.

tharris@seanc.org

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010


CONVENTION

On Sept. Sept. 9-11, 9-11, approximately approximately 850 850 delegates delegates from from across across North North Carolina Carolina On will convene convene at at the the Koury Koury Convention Convention Center Center in in Greensboro Greensboro to to make make will important decisions decisions on on behalf behalf of of SEANC’s SEANC’s 55,000 55,000 members. members. important THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

7


CONVENTION

Ahoy,Matey!

What’s Happening @ Convention 2010

• Elect statewide SEANC officers and regional representatives to the Executive Committee

• Determine SEANC’s Top 10 Policy Platform Objectives • Vote on SEANC Bylaws amendments • Join the Pirate Night Buffet Dinner on Thursday for a swashbuckling good time • Enjoy Saturday evening’s ”A Night with the SEANC Stars” banquet •P  articipate in the community service food drive project

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State Employees Association of North Carolina Proceeds benefit the SEANC Scholarship Foundation

8

THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010


CONVENTION

Candidates for SEANC Statewide Office Announced By Amber Ernst SEANC leadership for 2010-2011 will be determined by approximately 850 delegates at the 27th Annual SEANC Convention on Sept. 10. SEANC Bylaws require members to announce their candidacy in writing or in person to the Board of Governors no later than 45 days prior to the annual convention or nominations can be submitted from the convention floor. Statewide officer terms are for one year and begin Oct. 1 and run through Sept. 30, 2011. Officers may hold the same office for two consecutive years. The EMPAC chairperson’s term is for two years and begins Jan. 1, 2011, and runs through Dec. 31, 2012. In addition to statewide officers, district chairpersons will elect regional representatives to the Executive Committee by their respective regions (East, South Central, North Central, Piedmont and West). Only 2010-2011 chairpersons are eligible to run for these positions.

Community Service Service Project Project Community

So No One Goes Hungry By Amber Ernst This year at convention, SEANC districts and delegates are asked to reach into your hearts and pockets…so no one in North Carolina goes hungry. Six food banks work hard every day across the state to help the hungry; they are MANNA Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina and The Food Bank of the Albemarle. For every dollar donated, North Carolina food banks can return more than $8 worth of food to the communities they serve. Delegates and guests are asked to each bring a few non-perishable items (see list below) as part of this year’s community service project. Districts may also bring monetary donations to convention to be presented to the food bank that serves their area during the business session.

aernst@seanc.org As of press time, the following members had announced their candidacies for statewide SEANC office:

Candidate for President

Candidates for First Vice President

Jim Rowell, a District 12 member and Marshville resident, currently serves as the immediate past chairman and Policy Platform chairman for his district. He is a retired 27-year state employee from the Department of Correction.

Sidney M. Sandy, a District 11 member and Indian Trail resident, currently serves as the chairman of his district, the Piedmont Region representative to the Executive Committee and Area 6 EMPAC chairman. He is a retired 33-year state employee from the Department of Transportation.

Candidates for Second Vice President

Mike Kollock, a District 66 member and Kinston resident, currently serves as the chairman of his district. A 17-year state employee, he is a Food Services Manager for the Department of Health and Human Services, Caswell Center.

Cheryl Moon, a District 43 member and Knightdale resident, currently serves as treasurer. She is a retired 30-year state employee from the Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles.

Candidates for Treasurer

Tommy Griffin, a District 25 member and Moncure resident, is currently a member of his district’s scholarship committee and area EMPAC. He is a retired 38-year state employee from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Marilyn Jean Martin, a District 12 member and Salisbury resident, currently serves as her district’s chairwoman. A 29-year state employee, she is a Captain at Piedmont Correctional Institute in Salisbury.

Candidates for EMPAC Chairperson

Amaka Flynn, a District 42 member and Garner resident, currently serves as the vice chairwoman of EMPAC and as Area 10 EMPAC chairwoman. A 14-year state employee, she is a Financial Analyst for the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance.

Jim Pressley, a District 1 member and Cullowhee resident, currently serves as the chairman for the Communications/Public Relations Committee. A 14-year state employee, he is a Technical Support Analyst for the Department of Transportation Division 14.

Most Needed Products: • Canned meals: stews, soups, tuna, ravioli, etc. (pop-top cans a plus!) • Peanut butter • Cereal • Canned fruits and vegetables • Rice, pasta and dried beans • H  ygiene items: toothpaste, shaving items, soap, etc. • I nfant products: diapers, wipes, formula, infant cereal (no loose glass or plastic jars of baby food) • Paper products: toilet paper, paper towels, etc. All items donated will be divided to benefit all six food banks that serve North Carolina. For more information, please visit the community service project page of the convention website at http://www.seanc.org/convention/commsvc.aspx or contact Amber Ernst at aernst@seanc.org.

Charles Johnson, a District 45 member and Raleigh resident, currently serves as second vice president. An 18-year state employee, he is a Correctional Captain at Central Prison in Raleigh.

THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

9


CONVENTION

2010 Convention Training Thursday, September 9

Convention Delegate Checklist Visit the convention website at www.seanc.org/convention to complete the following by Sept. 1: ❑ R  eview the proposed changes to the SEANC Bylaws and Policy Platform.

New Delegate Orientation Find out what convention is all about and what your role as a delegate means. SEANC Media Training 101 Each year the SEANC Central Office receives numerous requests for members to interview on radio, TV and in print. Learn the ins-and-outs of news interviews and speak with confidence before the media on matters important to state employees and retirees. SEANC Media Training 101 will be a handson training where participants will practice their interview skills and help film other participants.

❑ C  omplete the Delegate Contact Information Form.

Scholarship Training A must for all incoming scholarship chairpersons. Find out what you need to do early to have a successful scholarship program.

❑ S  ign up for training sessions.

No Permanent Friends or Enemies, Just Permanent Issues Learn how to lobby your legislators at home or in Raleigh.

Do you have questions about convention? Contact Amber Ernst at aernst@seanc.org, 919-833-6436 or 800-222-2758.

Your Life Depends on It Learn how SEANC’s supplemental insurances will help members navigate through the different stages of their lives. How SEANC is Using Its New Meet and Confer Rights Find out what Executive Order 45 means for SEANC, North Carolina state government and collective bargaining and how you can become involved. Portfolio Construction: Managing Through Difficult Markets Shawn Mischmeier, Chief Investment Officer for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, will help you with your retirement planning in a tough economy.

Friday, September 10 Membership Recruitment – Tackling the Tough Questions This training is designed to address the tough questions you may face during your membership recruitment efforts. State of the State Health Plan Learn the latest facts on the critical condition of the State Health Plan, probable recommendations by the Blue Ribbon Task Force and what member lobbying can do to help solve the crisis. Building Support for Essential Public Services in the Face of Anti-Government Attacks Voters are frustrated with government, but still strongly value the services government provides. Much of what is measured as anti-government sentiment is actually negativity toward politicians and politics. Learn how to discuss quality public services in a way that speaks to voters and legislators. SEIU Retiree Advisory Council’s Vision For Retirees SEIU’s national retiree program provides guidance, support and accountability to locals building and strengthening their retiree programs. Discussion will include a vision overview, structure, governance and staffing of the division and how SEIU will support locals in their efforts to recruit and involve retirees in their organization. District Treasurer Financial Duties & Responsibilities 2010-2011 incoming district treasurers learn the duties, responsibilities and reporting requirements associated with the position of SEANC district treasurer. Session is only open to district treasurers or district chairmen. Getting More Involved with SEANC (presented by the Youth Council) Develop your SEANC knowledge and help the YC recruit more members age 40 and under. This training is for the young and the young at heart.

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010


columns

Fighting for Jobs Without Making a Sound It’s hard for a state employee to lobby the legislature for your job once it’s been put on the chopping block – budget deficit or no budget deficit. If a person or group of employees wants to save their job, they first call SEANC. But that same person also has to find the courage to fight, to speak out in public and to articulate key points that are going to sway legislators to save your public service. In other words, SEANC and the affected employees have to make some noise. Now imagine you can state your point, but no one at the legislature can hear you. Such was the case for SEANC member-employees at the Cope Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson and the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton who received RIF letters after the Sunday night residential program was terminated earlier this year at their schools and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. Each employee who worked in residential services was given the option to take up to a 20 percent pay cut or lose their jobs. And, in Wilson in particular, SEANC members lost their jobs in a terrible economy with staggering unemployment. Now there are many reasons that legislators may tell you why they believed the residential program needed to be reduced, but the first reason is always money. This year North Carolina faced an $800 million budget deficit and the people they initially chose to fill it were residential staff earning $19,163 per year. But what may have caught legislators by surprise was the grit and determination of the SEANC members to fight not only for their jobs, but for the public service they provide. In this case cutting the residential program meant that children in Wilson of both sexes and all school ages were housed in a single dorm. The result was a safety hazard and reduced classroom time. And these cuts were personal because many of the residential staff members are also alumni of the schools. It took determination and SEANC’s help organizing public hearings in Wilson and Morganton with the press and lobbying the legislature before and on lobby day to make it happen. For the first time ever, SEANC hired sign language interpreters to help get our message out into the press and the halls of the legislature. From The Wilson Times to WRAL news to The Morganton News Herald, the press heard stories from parents of the students as well as the employees. I am so proud of our SEANC members who worked hand in glove with our lobbyists to get their funding restored and their jobs back. These members walked the halls with their interpreters paid for by the association and were heard without making a sound. When you provide a valuable public service such as rearing the next generation of North Carolinians, it’s time for people to hear about it. Make no mistake about it, if the employees had stayed silent, their jobs would be gone today. So the next time you hear of a RIF in your department, don’t go quietly. Call the SEANC Central Office, no matter what the obstacle, and together we’ll find a way to make some noise. dcope@seanc.org

Have you moved? Changed state agencies? Retired? Contact Carri Derrick at the SEANC Central Office at 800-222-2758 or cderrick@seanc.org to give her your new contact information.

Doug Sutton Insurance Services Providing quality and affordable insurance to SEANC members for over 30 years. We appreciate doing business with you!

Please call us if we can be of service.

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

11


member action

District 21 Energizes Retirees

District 7 Appreciates Our Troops

District 16 Hosts Retirees Photo by Mitch Leonard

Contributed by Henry Belada

Photo by sophie brauns

District 21 hosted 55 members at a Retiree Fair on Granville Community College’s South Campus on June 7.  The retirement fair featured SEANC retiree benefits and helped energize retirees about health plan and retirement actions.  During the event, District 21 signed up seven new members. 

District 16 hosted a Retirees’ Forum on June 10. More than 50 members attended and listened to presentations on Social Security and Medicare. The forum ended with an update on the legislature and door prizes.

J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center retiree Sheila Roberts, pictured, with the help of District 7 members, filled nine boxes with writing materials, toiletries and snacks and mailed them to District 7 member Sgt. Daniel Johnson and his unit serving in Afghanistan. District 7 encourages your district to share a bit of home with the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.

Photo by Vickie Cook

District 40 Member Receives Special Recognition

District 65 Raises Money and Awareness for Cancer By Debbie Austin, District 65

Kelton Hinton, right, presents the 2010 Richard Caswell Award to Harold Webster of District 40 at the Johnston County Law Enforcement Appreciation Supper on April 13. Webster is the assistant superintendent for programs at Johnston Correctional Institution. The Richard Caswell Award Program, established in January 1998 for state employees with 45 or more years of service, is designed to acknowledge and express appreciation for noteworthy extended dedicated service. Congratulations, Harold!

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

District 65 Holds Successful Golf Tournament By Debbie Austin, District 65 District 65 held their Fourth Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament on June 3 at the Ayden Golf and Country Club with 12 teams participating in the event. The district sends out a special thanks to the businesses that served as hole sponsors and donated door prizes or items for participants’ bags. Approximately $2,000 was raised – $1,000 will go to the district’s scholarship fund and $1,000 will go to the local Down Syndrome Foundation.

Photo by Lynn Tuthill

Photo by mike stater

District 65 had two teams, the Purple and the Gold Crusaders, participate in the 2010 Pitt County Relay for Life on April 23-24, raising approximately $7,000 for the American Cancer Society. District 65 is committed to giving back to its community, and cancer is something that has impacted many of us. Relay for Life is a two-day event that thousands of people participate in to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer and to help fight back against the disease.


member action

State Employees Helping State Employees: Free Help Navigating the State Health Plan Contributed By Jamiela Young, District 41 Confused about your health insurance or frustrated because you’ve been denied coverage? Contact the Managed Care Patient Assistance Program (MCPA) for free help. MCPA is a special part of Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office that assists North Carolina consumers who have health insurance questions, including state employees and retirees covered by the State Health Plan. MCPA specialists are experts on health insurance who can help you with: • Appeals and grievance issues when your insurer denies a claim

Use payroll deduction for all your important purchases. Purchasing Power is a unique member benefit program, which helps you purchase the new, brand-name computers, electronics and home appliances you want and need for you and your family through the ease of payroll deduction.

Go online today to see the latest products Purchasing Power has to offer! Visit www.SEANC.PurchasingPower.com or call 800-903-0703 Group Code: SNC2191

• General information about your benefits and how your plan works • Questions about coverage and approval for certain medical procedures If your health insurance company denies a claim, you can dispute the decision at no cost. First, call your plan’s member services department to see if they can resolve the issue. If that doesn’t work, contact MCPA as soon as possible. The earlier you contact us in the appeals process, the more we can help you. When you call, be sure to have a copy of your explanation of benefits and/or denial letter available. But you don’t have to wait until there’s a problem before you contact MCPA. Learning how your health insurance works will help make the plan work better for you. Our specialists can help you understand your coverage before a problem arises, so you can make informed decisions about your health care. We can also explain changes to the plan during your enrollment period. MCPA can also answer your questions about obtaining prior approval from your plan for certain services. For example, we can help you and your physician determine the information needed to obtain approval for a procedure. If your insurer denies the request, we can explain and assist with the appeals process. Don’t hesitate to contact MCPA for help at 1-866-867-6272 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or by e-mail at mcpa@ncdoj.gov. jlyoung@ncdoj.gov

Save the Date

Contributed by Debbie Austin

Fourth Annual Broughton Hospital Reunion for Broughton Retirees and Former Employees October 6, 2010 At the Broughton Shelter Smoke-Free Campus & Handicap Assistance Offered Noon-3:00 p.m., Covered Dish Lunch & Door Prizes SEANC President Tony Smith and SEANC Retirees Director Mitch Leonard will be available to answer questions on retirement and State Health Plan issues. For more information, please contact Vernie Chapman at 828-437-8441.

District 65 Raises Money for Children’s Hospitals District 65 members volunteered during the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon June 5-6 in Greenville. More than $1.1 million was raised, and all the proceeds will go toward helping children’s hospitals in eastern North Carolina.  THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

13


scholarship

SEANC Awards Annual Scholarships

Compiled by Mary Adelaide Bell Riddick

Kristin Hammond Shelby School: Appalachian State University Daughter of SEANC District 4 Member Stephen T. Hammond, Department of Transportation

This year, the SEANC Scholarship Foundation awarded 30 statewide scholarships. Scholarships were also awarded on the district level. The five categories of scholarships include:

Kuylain C. Howard Kannapolis School: Elon University Son of SEANC District 10 Member Rashan Howard, North Carolina Courts

Four-year financial – a $1,000 scholarship to attend a junior college or four-year university Two-year financial – a $500 scholarship to attend a community college, technical school or trade school

Charity Anne Rayburn Asheville School: Clemson University Daughter of SEANC District 2 Member Sherry P. Rayburn, Buncombe County Schools

Four-year merit – a $1,000 merit scholarship to attend a two-year college or four-year college or university Two-year merit – a $500 merit scholarship to attend a community college, technical school or trade school Member only – a $500 scholarship awarded to state employees who are SEANC members

Allen Tedder Linwood School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nephew of SEANC District 16 Member Phyllis Comer, Department of Correction

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients! mariddick@seanc.org

Four-year financial ($1,000) William Alexander Allen Fayetteville School: North Carolina State University Son of SEANC District 22 Member Shelia Buskey-Allen, Fayetteville State University Arsanuos A. Balamoun Raleigh School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Son of SEANC District 36 Member Wafaa Dawoud, Department of Health and Human Services, Dorothea Dix Hospital Avery Brown Wake Forest School: University of Maryland Eastern Shore Daughter of SEANC District 21 Member Ramona Brown, Department of Health and Human Services, Murdoch Developmental Center David Michael Cook Morganton School: Gardner-Webb University Son of SEANC District 6 Member Jonathan Cook, Department of Health and Human Services, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center

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THE REPORTER AUGUST 2010

Christopher Samuel Dudley Gastonia School: University of North Carolina at Charlotte Son of SEANC District 7 Member Mary Alyce Dudley, Department of Health and Human Services, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center

Courtney M. White Whiteville School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Daughter of SEANC District 23 Member Jerry White, Department of Transportation

Two-year financial ($500) Lauren Elizabeth Davis Forest City School: Isothermal Community College Daughter of SEANC District 4 Member Jimmy Davis, Department of Correction, Division of Probation and Parole Brandon Edward Luther Albemarle School: Stanly Community College Son of SEANC District 11 MemberTommy Luther, Department of Transportation

Four-year merit ($1,000) Joey Arthur Waxhaw School: North Carolina State University Son of SEANC District 11 Member Cheri Arthur, Union County Public Schools

Cassie L. Bagwell Durham School: Appalachian State University Daughter of SEANC District 38 Member Cynthia S. Bagwell, Department of Public Instruction

David Gu Raleigh School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Son of SEANC District 44 Member May X. Gu, Department of Public Instruction Stephen J. Hunt Wilmington School: Duke University Son of SEANC District 62 Member Tammy G. Hunt, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Stephanie Michelle Huston Gastonia School: North Carolina State University Daughter of SEANC District 9 Member Dennis Noble, Gaston County Schools Abigail Killam Morganton School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Daughter of SEANC District 5 Member Melissa Reep, Department of Correction, Western Youth Institution Benjamin Keith Rice Marshall School: North Carolina State University Son of SEANC District 2 Member Keith Rice, Department of Correction

Patrick Allen Royal Raleigh Duke University Son of SEANC District 26 Member Mark A. Royal, Retired from Department of Health and Human Services, Dorothea Dix Hospital Shannon L. Taylor Winston-Salem School: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Daughter of SEANC District 16 Member Gregory C. Taylor, Winston-Salem State University

Brooke N. Wolford Randleman School: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Daughter of SEANC District 17 Member Joyce B. Wolford, Randolph Community College


scholarship

Two-year merit ($500) Jessica Faith Kidd Wallace School: Sampson Community College Daughter of SEANC District 61 Member Shelby W. Kidd, Sampson Community College

Barber and Johnson Win Don Jones Memorial Golf Tournament SEANC Scholarship Foundation Chips in $3,600 By Toni Davis

Member Only ($500) Mark Anthony Cable Whitsett School: Guilford Technical Community College Member of SEANC District 17, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Bettye “Renee” Carter Fayetteville School: University of Phoenix Member of SEANC District 22, Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office

Veineta L. Howard Goldsboro School: Mt. Olive College Member of SEANC District 58, Department of Correction, Pamlico Correctional Institute

Angela Keith Wilmington School: University of North Carolina at Wilmington SEANC District 62 Member, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Anita King Goldsboro School: University of Phoenix Member of SEANC District 60, Department of Health and Human Services, O’Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center Latina Shelley Greenville School: Mount Olive College – Washington SEANC District 64 Member, Department of Health and Human Services, Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center

PHOTOS BY MITC H LEONARD

Brandon Tisa Youngsville School: Wake Tech Son of SEANC District 39 Member Rosalie Tisa, North Carolina State University

Teresa Johnson, Ladies’ Winner

Jim Barber, Men’s Winner

John Corbett, Senior Winner

Teresa Johnson of District 3 and Jim Barber of District 20 won the Ladies’ and Men’s Championship Flights at the inaugural Don Jones Memorial Golf Tournament held at Hyland Golf Club in Southern Pines June 18-19. John Corbett of District 37 won the Senior Flight Championship. Johnson was on a winning streak, as she also won the golf club raffle sponsored by Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company. The annual tournament was renamed this year in memory of Don Jones, the longtime chairman of the SEANC Scholarship Golf Tournament who recently passed away. What hasn’t changed is the tournament’s mission to provide funds for the SEANC Scholarship Foundation. The tournament raised $3,600 for the SEANC Scholarship Foundation. Congratulations to all the winners! tdavis@seanc.org

2010 Don Jones Memorial Golf Tournament

Special Thanks

to our sponsors! Event Sponsors SEANC, Doug Sutton Insurance Services

Gold Sponsor Boston Mutual Insurance Company

Blue Sponsors Mitch, Lorraine, Scott and Leighann Leonard

Raffle Sponsor Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company

Hole Sponsors The Southerland Benefit Group SEANC Districts 3, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 20, 21, 22, 38, 39, 42, 44, 47, 58 and 60

Merchandise Acudata, Alabama Theatre, Carolina Mudcats, East Coast Digital Printing, Edward D. Jones and Company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, State Employees’ Credit Union, Tweetsie Railroad, Wet’n Wild

josephmeigs.com The novel starts with murder and humorously explores paranoia, academia, and an odd love affair. Available now from AuthorHouse www.authorhouse.com You can order this title at your local bookseller or preferred online retailer. 978-1-4490-9713-4 (SC ISBN) 978-1-4490-9714-1 (HC ISBN) THE REPORTER AUGUST7/7/2010 2010

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12:54:50 PM


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August 2010 Reporter