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THE

State Employees Association of North Carolina, SEIU Local 2008 P.O. Drawer 27727, Raleigh, NC • www.seanc.org 800-222-2758 • 919-833-6436 • Circulation 55,000

December 2012

• Vol. 31, Issue 2

SEANC Has Strong Showing in Election 90% of EMPAC-Endorsed Candidates Win; Coleman Comes Up Just Short by Jonathan

Owens

SEANC Asst. Director of Communications

EMPAC-Endorsed Winners For a complete list of statewide and General Assembly winners who were endorsed by EMPAC, turn to page 4.

SEANC’s influence as a major player in North Carolina politics was further solidified in the 2012 election, when more than 90 percent of the candidates endorsed by EMPAC won their support for Coleman even in defeat. The TV and radio their races for statewide and General Assembly offices. commercials, web advertising and robocalls to members and the Four of the five statewide candidates EMPAC endorsed public helped get out the vote. Members made phone calls, put were winners, including Elaine Marshall for secretary of their boots on the ground and their hearts on the line for one of state, June Atkinson for state superintendent of public SEANC’s own because it was the right thing to do. instruction, Beth Wood for state auditor and Steve Troxler “With all the odds stacked against her, the grassroots effort for commissioner of agriculture. from members allowed Linda to remain far more competitive Of the 67 legislative candidates that EMPAC endorsed, all than most expected,” said SEANC Executive Director Dana but eight won. Almost half of the Cope. “I strongly believe that if we N.C. Senate members and nearly a don’t swing for the fences, we’re never “I strongly believe that if we going to hit a home run. This race was third of all N.C. House members in don’t swing for the fences, the upcoming General Assembly were unbelievably close, and should serve endorsed by EMPAC. notice that SEANC and its members we’re never going to hit a In one of the closest races in are a force to be reckoned with in state home run. This race was the nation, Linda Coleman nearly politics.” unbelievably close, and pulled off a victory in the lieutenant A 30-year SEANC member, should serve notice that governor’s race thanks to SEANC Coleman became SEANC’s hero back SEANC and its members are in 2005 when she single-handedly members’ hard work on her behalf. In the end, the forces working a force to be reckoned with held up the state budget in support against Coleman were too powerful: of vital public services and the people in state politics.” a loss by President Obama in North who provide them. No politician has SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope Carolina and a double-digit loss for done that before or since for state Walter Dalton in the governor’s race employees. In 2008, Coleman was meant Coleman received little help from the major candidates awarded the first EMPAC Legislator of the Year Award for her in her party. But even with Dalton’s lackluster numbers, efforts to secure pay raises for state employees. she nearly pulled it off. She received more votes than the Cope said SEANC would work with the new administration president and Dalton, and came within 6,858 votes — out of to make sure those who provide valuable public services always more than 4.3 million total — of winning in a year when the have a voice in Raleigh. Republicans swept the top two spots on the ballot with ease. “I congratulate Dan Forest on a hard-fought win,” Cope said. Once the provisional ballots had been counted, Coleman “Now that the election is over, we must work with the newly decided against calling for a recount in the lieutenant governor’s elected administration to continue making North Carolina a race that would have cost the state millions of dollars, instead great place to work and live.” graciously conceding the office to Dan Forest. SEANC members should stand tall and be proud of jowens@seanc.org


Counselor’s Comments By Tom Harris

SEANC Chief of Staff/General Counsel

Proposed rules show why SPA matters

T

he State Personnel Commission (SPC) has just issued proposed rules that drive home why it would be harmful to UNC employees if a law is passed exempting them from the State Personnel Act (SPA). Unlike the SPC, the UNC system is exempt from the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). It is not subject to the APA process that requires a public hearing on proposed rule changes as well as the opportunity for members of the public — including state employees — to send the rules to the General Assembly for review before they take effect. So if SEANC’s efforts are unsuccessful Harris in attempting to halt passage of future SPA-exemption legislation for UNC employees, they will have no way to block adoption of any employeeharmful personnel rules proposed by the UNC Board of Governors through the APA process. The SPC’s proposal attempts to conform its current rules on employee reduction-in-force (RIF) rights to changes made to the RIF-rights statute during the 2011 legislative session. While the proposal has several questionable provisions, the one that is clearly most detrimental to state employees would result in employees’ losing their RIF rights if they decline a permanent position within 35 miles of their current work station, regardless of the salary or classification of the offered position. Thus, employees notified of a RIF could be offered a permanent position with substantially lower pay and salary grade and, whether the employee accepts that offer or not, they would lose their priority re-employment rights. This proposal is unnecessarily harsh to state employees. Not only is the policy not mandated by the RIF-rights statute, it is questionable whether it is even legal according to that statute, which gives employees priority re-employment rights that last 12 months from the date they receive notice of their RIF. There is no mention in the statute of their losing the RIF rights under any circumstances. SEANC plans to use as much of the APA process

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The Reporter • December 2012

as necessary fight the implementation of this and other proposed employee-detrimental rules from taking effect. First, we plan to submit written comments to the Office of State Personnel (OSP) during the public comments period required by the APA. This may result in the OSP recommending to the SPC that it change its proposed rules. If this does not work, SEANC will seek to have the SPC change its proposals by speaking at the public meeting during which the SPC will consider adopting the proposals as final rules. And if that move still does not get the desired result, SEANC will take the next step of objecting to the rules when that are under review at the Rules Review Commission (RRC). Finally, if all of those steps do not get the results we seek, SEANC will collect and file 10 written objections with the RCC, which will cause the effective date of the rules to be delayed until the General Assembly convenes and has at least thirty days to review them and fill a bill to nullify the rules. The APA process for preventing new rules from taking effect is an important tool that SEANC has used successfully in the past to protect state employees from the adoption harmful personnel rules. If UNC employees are exempted from the SPA, SEANC would not have this tool available to stop UNC from adopting harmful personnel policies because the APA process does not apply to UNC.

tharris@seanc.org The Reporter, USPS 009-852 (ISSN 1069 2142), is published nine times a year in the months of February, March, April, May, June, July, September, November and December for $2.50 per year, per member, by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, Inc., P.O. Drawer 27727, Raleigh, NC 27611-7727. Periodicals postage paid at Raleigh, NC, and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: THE REPORTER P.O. Drawer 27727 Raleigh, NC 27611-7727


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EMPAC

SEANC-Endorsed Candidates Who Won in 2012 Statewide n Elaine Marshall for secretary of state n June Atkinson for state superintendent n Beth Wood for state auditor n Steve Troxler for secretary of agriculture District 4 District 5 District 6 District 7 District 11 District 12 District 18 District 22 District 26 District 27 District 28 District 30 District 32 District 33 District 36

N.C. House

Jimmy Dixon Annie Ward Mobley Paul Tine Angela R. Bryant Duane Hall George Graham Susi Hamilton William Brisson Leo Daughtry Michael H. Wray J.H. Langdon, Jr. Paul Luebke Nathan Baskerville Rosa U. Gill Nelson Dollar

District 37 Paul Stam District 38 Yvonne Lewis Holley District 39 Darren Jackson District 41 Tom Murry District 50 Valerie Foushee District 57 Mary (Pricey) Harrison District 58 Alma Adams District 59 Jon Hardister District 60 Marcus Brandon District 62 John M. Blust District 64 Dennis Riddell District 70 Pat B. Hurley District 71 Evelyn Terry District 72 Edward (Ed) Hanes Jr. District 77 Harry Warren District 78 Allen Ray McNeill District 80 Jerry Dockham District 83 Linda P. Johnson District 88 Rob Bryan District 94 Jeffrey Elmore District 95 C. Robert Brawley District 114 Susan C. Fisher District 117 Chuck McGrady

N.C. Senate District 4 District 5 District 8 District 9 District 10 District 13 District 14 District 16 District 19 District 21 District 22 District 23 District 25 District 26 District 28 District 32 District 33 District 36 District 45 District 48 District 49

Ed Jones Don Davis Bill Rabon Thom Goolsby Brent Jackson Michael Walters Dan Blue Josh Stein Wesley Meredith Robert B. Clark III Mike Woodard Ellie Kinnaird Gene McLaurin Philip E. (Phil) Berger Gladys A. Robinson Earline W. Parmon Stan Bingham Fletcher L. Hartsell Jr. Dan Soucek Tom Apodaca Martin L. Nesbitt

THE

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Toni Davis, Editor-In-Chief Jonathan Owens, Managing Editor Alicia Miller, Associate Editor Johnny Davison, 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.

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The Reporter • December 2012


Public Policy

Quotes to Note

“If we had it to do over again, we “Publicly disclosing what turns out to wouldn’t have changed a thing be an unfounded accusation is not on our side. But now that the race only unfair but could be a violation of is over, I congratulate Dan Forest an employee’s constitutional right to on his win and pledge to work with due process and equal protection.” him. State employees are going SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins, to back strongly, regardless of on state employees’ right to privacy in political party, those who value personnel matters in a Nov. 2 News & Observer article, “Candidates for governor support quality public service, who want to prying open some government records” help protect the tax payers of North Carolina, who fight for working families. I hope Forest does that.” SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope in a Nov. 19 News & Observer article, “Linda Coleman concedes, Dan Forest next lieutenant governor”

“There are a lot of times I’ve had to stick up for my employees, and to fight for them during budget sessions, and I think they’ve noticed that.” Secretary of Agriculture Steve Troxler, highlighting his EMPAC endorsement in an Oct. 16 News & Observer article, “Agriculture commissioner candidates offer divergent visions”

“We’re going to do the maximum support that we can to help make sure that every vote that was cast is properly counted.” SEANC Political Director Kevin LeCount on the tight race for lieutenant governor in a Nov. 7 Associated Press article, “Race for N.C. lieutenant governor not over yet”

FROM SEANC SOCIAL MEDIA

My vote was cast yesterday and my choice was Linda Coleman for Lt. Governor. District 5 member Douglas Bannister on Oct. 25 in response to The Charlotte Observer’s endorsement of Linda Coleman.

Linda Coleman is a first-class person and a staunch defender of working people. We were proud to stand with her in this election. @SEANC2008 on Nov. 19 after Linda Coleman announced she would not seek a recount Be sure to follow the association’s Twitter feed @seanc2008 and “Like” SEANC on Facebook at facebook.com/seanc.Local2008

The Reporter • December 2012

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Member Action

State Health Plan

New Medicare Drug Plan Eliminates Donut Hole

Two from SEANC win Governor’s Awards

By Chuck Stone

SEANC congratulates two members for their recognition as 2012 recipients of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence.

SEANC Lobbyist

cstone@seanc.org

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The Reporter • December 2012

Laura Matthews District 9 Department of Public Safety

Michael Southern District 44 Department of Cultural Resources

The Ferry Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation, which includes several SEANC members, was also honored.

Photo by steve Lawson

If you are a Medicare-eligible State Health Plan member, important changes are in store for your prescription drug plan. The State Health Plan will implement an Express Scripts Medicare™ Part D Prescription Drug Plan for all Medicare-eligible members effective Jan. 1, 2013. As part of this change, the coverage gap known as the “donut hole” will be eliminated. Out-of-pocket costs will remain capped at $2,500 annually and co-pay levels will remain the same, with the exception of some specialty medications which may cost less. Diabetic supplies and immunizations will remain covered. The plan adds numerous additional benefits. Members will no longer have to pay the cost difference on brand name drugs with a generic equivalent. It offers a premium reduction of more than $50 per month on dependent coverage for Medicare-eligible dependents, as well as the availability of specialty medications at any in-network pharmacy and no copay for 31 days of over-the-counter heartburn medications with a prescription. Medicare retirees are automatically enrolled in the new plan unless you opt out. If you wish to opt out, you should immediately call State Health Plan Customer Service at 888234-2416. Prior authorizations for medications will not carry over to this new plan. Members will need to obtain a new authorization within 60 days of their effective date. To initiate a new review, call 800-935-6103. You will receive a one-time transition supply (31 days) until you obtain a new prior authorization. The new plan also switches a member’s pharmacy benefit to a calendar year, which means your out-of-pocket maximums do not change, but will start over Jan. 1, 2013. The pharmacy out-of-pocket maximum of $2,500 will be cut in half to $1,250 for the period July 1-Dec. 31, 2012. Refunds for the total amount over $1,250 will be issued the first quarter of 2013. If you have questions, please visit tinyurl.com/cj5xrm8 or the State Health Plan website at www.shpnc.org.

District 10 member Kenneth Richardson, an officer at Albemarle Correctional Institution, won two tickets to the UNC vs. Idaho football game on Sept. 29 as part of a member recruitment drive.


Member Action

SEANC Hits the Polls on Election Day

District 22 member Donna Maguire places a sign out in support of Linda Coleman at a Cumberland County polling place on Election Day.

Photo submitted by Flint Benson

Photo submitted by A.J. Albertson

Members were out in full force on Nov. 6 to spread the word about Linda Coleman’s campaign all over the state.

District 60 Vice Chairman Lloyd Kline speaks to a voter about Linda Coleman’s candidacy for lieutenant governor.

Photo submitted by Flint Benson

Photo submitted by Flint Benson

District 60 Chairwoman Hiawatha Jones speaks with a potential Linda Coleman voter at the Wayne County Library on Election Day.

District 59 members Lorice Worrells, William Berry and Carolyn Sutton Woodman show their support for Linda Coleman at a precinct in Wayne County.

The Reporter • December 2012

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Periodical Postage PAID Raleigh, NC P.O. Drawer 27727 Raleigh, NC 27611

State sides with SEANC on Unfair X-Ray Billing By Jonathan Owens

Asst. Director of Communications

The N.C. Department of Insurance ruled in SEANC’s favor on Nov. 16 in the association’s fight to stop double billing by hospitals on radiological exams. The decision will save the State Health Plan and its members more than $5 million annually. SEANC partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, who administers the State Health Plan, in the fight. “This decision is only fair, and will save our members money,” said SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope. “We applaud the Department of Insurance for standing up for working families who already pay far too much for health care.” The complaint stemmed from an unfair but not uncommon practice where hospitals and providers charge

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The Reporter • December 2012

patients each time an image was taken for so-called “technical component” fees on services like preparing an exam room or setting up IV fluids – even though those services had only been performed once during the session. The Department of Insurance ruled that BCBSNC could move forward with a proposed policy to stop paying double for those services once – similar to how Medicare reimburses for radiology procedures. The fight began in September 2011 and the state initially sided with the providers. SEANC then joined the fight, filing legal briefs in support of BCBSNC’s policy, which led to last month’s decision. Providers and medical groups have vowed to continue to fight the ruling by appealing it to Superior Court.

jowens@seanc.org

December 2012 Reporter  
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