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THE

State Employees Association of North Carolina, SEIU Local 2008 1621 Midtown Place, Raleigh, NC 27609 • www.seanc.org 800-222-2758 • 919-833-6436 • Circulation 55,000

November 2015

• Vol. 34, Issue 1

Budget passes with $750 bonus, no COLA By Jonathan Owens SEANC Director of Communications

After the longest negotiation in 13 years, the House and Senate finally agreed to a state budget on Sept. 18 that provides just a $750 bonus for state employees – a one-time payment that will have no lasting effect on salaries. The legislature also decided not to call for a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees even though investment gains would fund a 1-percent increase without costing the state a dime. If you will recall, the House, thanks to EMPAC Legislator of the Year Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), had proposed a 2-percent pay increase and 40 hours of bonus leave for active employees and a 2-percent cost-ofliving adjustment for retirees. Neither the Senate’s plan nor the governor’s plan included raises at all. The bonus leave was also cut from the final budget. The $750 bonus equates to around 1.75 percent of the average state employee’s salary. For anyone making less than $37,500 a year, it would be more than 2 percent of salary, more than they would have received in the House budget. Still, SEANC pushes for salary increases rather than bonuses because increases have positive effects on not only pay in the future but also retirement benefits. The bonus will be distributed to employees in December, according to

Details of the final 2015-16 state budget • Includes a $750 one-time bonus for state employees and teachers. No COLAs or bonus leave, which were part of the House’s original proposal. • Includes salary increases for community college employees at the discretion of the system. • Includes step increase and market-based salary increase for state troopers, magistrates and court personnel. • Includes custody-level pay adjustment for some correctional officers. SEANC has yet to see the final plan for this. • Includes funding for the retirement system. • Doubles wellness premium surcharges on State Health Plan. • Maintains State Health Plan benefits for 2016, but will likely lead to cuts in 2017. • Raises teacher starting salary to $35,000. • Includes funding of teaching assistant positions at 2014-15 levels. • Contains no prison closures. • Includes start-up funding for Samarcand Training Academy. • Funds community corrections safety equipment and electronic monitoring. • Moves the N.C. Zoo, N.C. Aquariums, state parks and other state attractions to the Department of Cultural Resources, which will now be called the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources will now be called the Department of Environmental Quality. • Creates cabinet-level agencies to oversee Information Technology and Veterans’ Affairs.

language in a technical corrections bill passed on the last day of the session on Sept. 30. The deal also includes step-pay increases for state troopers, magistrates and teachers. It also includes pay raises for community college workers, but leaves the amount up to individual college administrations. Some correctional officers will receive a custody-level pay adjustment for some correctional officers. SEANC has yet to see the final plan, though,

and has no details on it at this time. More than 9,000 teacher assistant jobs that were cut in the Senate budget received funding in the final budget. But the legislature put restrictions on that funding to force local school districts to use that money to pay for teacher assistant salaries only. Some districts used that money to pay teacher salaries in the past. Starting teacher salaries were also raised to $35,000. jowens@seanc.org


President’s Message By Ross Hailey SEANC President

'I want us to be bigger and better' The following is SEANC President Ross Hailey‘s acceptance speech after his swearing in as president at the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention on Sept. 12. ood evening, ladies and gentlemen. Delegates, thank you for electing me. I look forward to the honor of serving our membership in the coming year. I thought about tonight and what it would be like, and my first thought was thank you to my wife, Pam, for seeing me through this venture. District 58, thank you for your support and encouragement and for giving me excused absences while I was visiting other districts. Next, I thought about my parents and brother who are no longer with us. I miss them every day and I would love for them Hailey to be here. My brother would be laughing at me in a tux; his idea of dressing up was a shirt with a collar. Mom would be hiding tears and very proud. Daddy would still be shaking his head and saying, “They’re paying you what?” Now for what I want out of my term. I want us to be bigger and better than we have ever been – not just in the amount of members, but in the unity in our numbers sending a common message to our legislators. I recently learned that in a past election only 30 to 40 percent of state employees voted. We must increase that percentage drastically. We are a diverse group of Democrats, Republicans, independents, conservatives, liberals or whatever. I am asking you to consider registering unaffiliated. Being registered as Democrats, Republicans or independents limits your choices in the primaries by not allowing you to pick the party of our endorsed candidates. If we are unaffiliated, we could win elections in the primaries by voting for EMPAC endorsed candidates, whatever party they represent. I’m not asking you to change your political beliefs. I’m asking you to consider another way to promote SEANC’s causes in the primaries at no cost, only benefits. Candidates for the General Assembly would have to broaden their base of emphasis because unaffiliated is the fastest growing group, not party, in North Carolina. Another thing I’m asking is to never give up and never admit defeat. If a candidate that is not a friend of SEANC

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The Reporter • November 2015

is elected, contact him or her more often with letters, emails, phone calls or visits. Let them know that it’s not over until we say it is. Get family and friends involved, other non-member state employees — stay on their minds. They may come around just to get you to go away. I want better communications and there are many easy ways to accomplish this. Open your emails and read The Reporter. Less than 40 percent of emails from SEANC to members were opened last year and many members don’t read The Reporter, and yet some of these members complain that they haven’t been told of SEANC news. Regional representatives can help immensely by giving information to the district chairpersons. If the budget allows, the Executive Committee will have scheduled meetings between regular BOG meetings sharing the information with their districts. The districts can help themselves by putting their scheduled meetings on our website and requesting that staff and officers attend. And next year, let’s try to better coordinate our annual meetings so that we won’t have six or seven on the same night. Spread them out a little and share the date with the other regional chairpersons. I want us to utilize our staff as intended. We need to conduct membership drives and have them assist us. We need to be member driven, with members recruiting members. Accompany our lobbyists at the legislature. We can express our needs better because it’s personal. Ask legislators to your district meetings, but have lots of members, no scripted parts, just speak the issues and let them know the effects of their actions, putting a face and a name with a member. Lastly, please respect each other. We will not always agree but we can agree to give our fellow members the courtesy of voicing opinions without ridicule. I want to tear down barriers within our association that have distracted us from our common goals; we have been friends too long and have worked together in the past. Let’s do it again. This is my request and my heart-felt desire that the leaders of this association come together and serve as we know we can. I’ve told you some of the things I want, but it’s not about me. It’s about what we want. I’ll be there for you and I hope and pray you will be there for us. Thank you. I love you and God bless you. rhailey@seanc.org


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The Reporter • November 2015

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THE

Jonathan Owens, Editor-In-Chief Beth Dew, Managing Editor Alicia Miller, Associate Editor Amanda Wise, Associate Editor State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place • Raleigh, NC 27609 Telephone 919-833-6436, 800-222-2758 www.seanc.org The Reporter, USPS 009-852 (ISSN 1069 2142), is published six times a year in the months of February, April, May, July, September and November for $2.50 per year, per member, by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, Inc., 1621 Midtown Place, Raleigh, NC 27609. Periodicals postage paid at Raleigh and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: THE REPORTER 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609

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The Reporter • November 2015

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.


PHOTO BY LYNN TUTHILL

MEMBER ACTION

District 65 hosted a membership recruitment luncheon. Pictured from left are Debbie Austin, Member Action Coordinators Denise Jones and James Vaughan, Dwayne Mackey, District 65 Chairwoman Alicia Simpson and Member Action Field Operations Manager Tiffany Woodard.

PHOTO BY CHUCK LANDEN

District 6 hosted a recruitment event during New Teacher Orientation for Burke County Schools. Carla Kincaid (left) won theme park tickets for joining SEANC.

District 65 members with others helped construct a Habitat for Humanity home in Farmville. Pictured from left are members Lynn Tuthill, Debbie Austin, Andy Brown, Priscilla Mackey, District 65 Chairwoman Alicia Simpson, Gina Betcher, Jacqueline Caudill, Teresa Davis and Jake Smith along with volunteers and the homeowners.

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The Reporter • November 2015

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PHOTOS BY VEE SEWARD

2015 CONVENTION

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) accepts his second Lisa B. Mitchell Legislator of the Year award.

Rep. Gary Pendleton (R-Wake) accepts the Lisa B. Mitchell Freshman Legislator of the Year award.

Dollar, Pendleton honored by EMPAC By Jonathan Owens SEANC Director of Communications

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) and Rep. Gary Pendleton (R-Wake) were honored by EMPAC at the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention on Sept. 12 in Greensboro for their efforts to represent the needs of state employees in the 2015 General Assembly session. Dollar was presented the Lisa B. Mitchell Legislator of the Year award for the second time. The award is presented in honor of Lisa B. Mitchell, an outstanding and dedicated state employee and SEANC member from District 27 in Durham. She worked for North Carolina Central University and served EMPAC for several years. Lisa Mitchell passed away in 2008 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. She is remembered for her spirited support for SEANC, her love of EMPAC and her dedication to the cause of state employee and retiree rights. Statewide EMPAC Chairman Tony Smith of District 5 presented Dollar with the award, calling him a “watchdog for state employees.” “(Dollar) has always been a friend to state employees,” Smith said. “When he sat in the back of the chamber as a member of the minority party, he was a supporter of state employees. And nothing changed when he took one of the most powerful gavels in the building as House Appropriations Chair.” Dollar called the award “the highest honor I personally could receive in my legislative career.” “The lives, health, education, safety and quality of life in North Carolina depend on you,��� Dollar said. “I am going to continue to fight for you and what you deserve beause I

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The Reporter • November 2015

know how important you are and what you do. And I am never going to stop until you are truly valued for what you do.” Smith pointed out that Dollar’s budget gave a 2-percent raise and five days of bonus leave to state employees and a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment to retirees. “This didn't make him too popular with the Senate, who put in nothing for a raise, or with groups who feel like spending money to help your employees keep up with the cost of living is wasteful,” Smith said. “None of that mattered to him. What matters to him is doing what's right.” Pendleton received a special award, the Lisa B. Mitchell Freshman Legislator of the Year award, for his willingness, even as a new member of the legislature, to stand up for state employees. Smith pointed out that after the House budget came out, Pendleton sent a letter to his counterparts in the Senate just so he could point out that no matter what they did in their budget, they needed to include a pay raise for state employees. Pendleton has been a SEANC member dating back to its predecessor organizations in the early 1970s. “I am totally floored by this award,” Pendleton told delegates. “I don't forget things like this. I am a very loyal person.” SEANC looks forward to working with Dollar and Pendleton, as well as any other legislator regardless of party affiliation who values public services and the people who provide them, in the future. jowens@seanc.org


2015 CONVENTION

Delegates elect new slate of officers By Jonathan Owens

Delegates at the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention elected a new slate of officers to lead the association in the upcoming year on Sept. 11 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The new statewide officers are: n President – Ross Hailey of Washington, a retired Department of Transportation engineer with 27 years of state service. n First Vice President – Stanley Drewery of Grifton, retired from both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety with 30 years of state service. n Second Vice President – Gloria Evans of Winterville, an administrative support specialist with the East Carolina University School of Medicine, with 13 years of state service.

PHOTO BY VEE SEWARD

SEANC Director of Communications

SEANC’s 2015-16 statewide officers are (from left) General Treasurer Darius McLaurin, First Vice President Stanley Drewery, President Ross Hailey, Second Vice President Gloria Evans and Past President Wayne Fish.

n General Treasurer – Darius McLaurin of Raleigh, a business officer in the Department of Public Instruction, with 22 years of state service. n In addition, Wayne Fish of Maggie Valley will serve on SEANC’s Executive Committee as Immediate Past President. Fish is a correctional food services manager II at Craggy Correctional

Center in Asheville with 17 years of state service. Statewide EMPAC Chairman Tony Smith of Morganton was elected to a two-year term in 2014 and did not face re-election. He is a maintenance supervisor at Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton with 23 years of state service. jowens@seanc.org

Convention raises nearly $13,000 for scholarship foundation By Beth Dew

Then-President Wayne Fish chose the SEANC Scholarship Foundation as the Community Service Project for the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention, and issued a challenge. “Last year we shaved President Sandy’s head because we raised so much money,” Fish said. “As you can see, shaving my head wouldn’t do too much good! So, we’ve decided if we get $12,000 in donations Scholarship Foundation Board Chairman Mike Bell will get a pie in the face. If we raise $15,000, I'll get a pie in the face.” District representatives approached the four floor microphones and announced their donations ranging between $100 and $200. A few districts donated $500 and one district donated $1,000. But the pie-throwing was just out of reach until the challenges began. Past Scholarship Foundation directors challenged current and past scholarship directors. Retirees challenged retirees. Teachers challenged teachers. Veterans challenged veterans. Animal lovers challenged animal lovers. People gave as they

PHOTO BY VEE SEWARD

SEANC Communications Specialist

Scholarship Foundation Chairman Mike Bell and then-President Wayne Fish throw pies in each others faces for a great cause.

were able, with some donating $5, many donating $25 and a couple of people donating $500. In the end, the delegates met the first part of President Fish’s challenge by raising more than $12,000 which meant that Bell would be the only one to get a pie thrown in his face. But District 70 Chairman Benny Brigman came up to the mic and suggested to President Fish that he should “go out (of office) in style” and challenged him to take a pie to the face. President Fish accepted the challenge and in the end, two pies were thrown and close to $13,000 was raised to help state employees and their dependents attend college. bdew@seanc.org

The Reporter • November 2015

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2015-2016 SEANC BOA

2013 CONVENTION Executive Committee President Ross Hailey District 58 Washington Department of Transportation (retired)

District Chairpersons South Central Region Lewis Sasser District 62 Wilmington Department of Insurance (retired) Eastern Region B. Keith Renner District 69 Elizabeth City Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

First Vice President Stanley Drewery District 67 Grifton Department of Public Safety (retired)

Western Region Barbara Leatherman District 9 Newton Department of Transportation

Second Vice President Gloria Evans District 65 Winterville East Carolina University

Retiree Council Chairman Spillman Grice District 66 Kinston Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

Treasurer Darius McLaurin District 40 Raleigh Department of Public Instruction

Insurance Board of Trustees Chairwoman Janice Smith District 3 Fleetwood Appalachian State University

Past President Wayne Fish District 2 Maggie Valley Department of Public Safety

President’s Assistants Piedmont Region Marilyn Martin District 12 Salisbury Department of Public Safety (retired)

North Central Region Wendell Powell District 41 Raleigh Department of Public Safety

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Secretary Betty Gautier District 38 Benson Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Parliamentarian Roy McGalliard District 5 Morganton Western Piedmont Comm. College (retired) Parliamentarian Kim Martin District 10 Concord Department of Public Safety

The Reporter • November 2015

District 1 Jim Rowell Cullowhee Western Carolina University (retired)

District 10 James Hartley Landis Department of Public Safety

District 2 Cliff Johnson Waynesville Department of Public Safety (retired)

District 11 Kenny Brower Wadesboro Department of Transportation

District 3 Pat Reighard Blowing Rock Appalachian State University (retired)

District 13 Linda Colbert Charlotte Central Piedmont Comm. College (retired)

District 4 Tim Southard Shelby Department of Transportation (retired)

District 16 Willie Bailey Pfafftown Winston-Salem State University (retired)

District 5 Sherry McCracken Morganton Western Piedmont Comm. College (retired)

District 17 Dan Efird Asheboro Department of Public Safety (retired)

District 6 Sonya Akbar Morganton Department of Health and Human Services

District 18 Lisa Martin Rockingham Department of Public Safety

District 7 Henry Belada Morganton Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

District 19 Marie Tate Efland Orange County Public Schools (retired)

District 8 Leonard Reynolds Jonesville Department of Transportation (retired)

District 20 Tammi Blake Raeford Department of Public Safety


ARD OF GOVERNORS District 21 Janice Bass Oxford Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

District 37 Furman Beckwith Apex Department of Transportation (retired)

District 46 Randy Bruton Clayton Department of Revenue

District 22 Deborah Harney Cameron Department of Public Safety

District 38 Margaret Reader Raleigh Office of Administrative Hearings

District 47 Shirley Ballard Clayton Environment, Health and Natural Resources

District 23 Harold Faulk Nakina Department of Transportation (retired)

District 39 Doug Skinner Durham N.C. State University (retired)

District 56 Grace Edwards Henrico Halifax Comm. College (retired)

District 24 Charlotte Williams Lumberton Robeson Comm. College (retired)

District 40 Vernice Whyms Raleigh Department of Public Safety

District 57 Daisy Stancill Wilson Department of Public Safety

District 25 John Gullo Durham UNC-Chapel Hill

District 42 Sarah McDonald Knightdale Department of Health and Human Services

District 58 Marie Stone Goldsboro Wayne County Schools (retired)

District 26 Stanley Gales Durham Department of Public Safety

District 43 Debra Dunston Raleigh Department of Transportation

District 59 Kathy Merritt Goldsboro Department of Health and Human Services

District 27 Sam Rogers Durham N.C. Central University

District 44 Pat Holcomb Wake Forest Secretary of State’s Office

District 60 Hiawatha Jones Goldsboro Department of Health and Human Services (retired)

District 28 Felicia McKinnie Raleigh Department of Health and Human Services

District 45 Joyce Yelverton Goldsboro Department of Public Safety

District 61 Ricky Rivenbark Willard Department of Public Safety (retired)

District 63 Marion Drake Windsor Department of Public Safety (retired)

District 64 Gene Mills Greenville East Carolina University (retired)

District 65 Alicia Simpson Greenville Town of Ayden

District 66 Francisco Duarte Kinston Department of Health and Human Services (retired) District 67 Patricia Moore New Bern Department of Public Safety

District 68 Rita Woods Creswell Department of Public Safety

District 70 Benny Brigman Pink Hill Department of Public Safety (retired) Note: Regional representatives also serve as chairpersons of their districts. PHOTOS BY VEE SEWARD

The Reporter • November 2015

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2015 CONVENTION

Executive Director Mitch Leonard gives his report to the delegation.

District 7 members Jill Fletcher, Gwyn Wilkes and Sandra Bristol during the business session on Thursday.

District 3 members Kathy Howell, Doris Greer, Teresa Johnson and Teresa Canton model their '80s theme attire during the President's Reception.

President Wayne Fish and District 28 Chairwoman Felicia McKinnie at the Youth Council Luncheon.

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The Reporter • November 2015

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and a District 20 member, spoke at the Friday business session.

District 38 member and former House member Linda Coleman greets District 56 Chairman Raymond Vaughan.

District 22 member Charles Miller reviews the 2015 Policy Platform Objectives.

District 22 member Chenell Rose on Friday evening.


2015 CONVENTION

District 65 member Angela Easter adds her name to the bone marrow registry at the Delete Blood Cancer booth.

District 41 member Patience Reid and District 66 member Preston Moore enjoy a game of Bingo after dinner on Thursday night. SEANC Member Action Coordinator C.J. Stephens and District 44 Chairwoman Pat Holcomb light a candle in honor of those members who passed away in the last year.

President Ross Hailey, then First Vice President, speaks with District 58 member Connie Barton.

District 67 member Thomas Singleton sings the National Anthem.

District 41 member Eddie Sanders, Rep. Pat Hurley (R-Randolph), Rep. Allen McNeill (R-Randolph), District 17 members Walton Jones and Kemrey Lamarr and Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) stop for a picture during the EMPAC Reception.

Piedmont Region Representative Marilyn Martin announces a donation to the Community Service project.

District 37 delegates share a laugh during the EMPAC Reception. PHOTOS BY VEE SEWARD

The Reporter • November 2015

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2015 CONVENTION

A NIGHT WITH THE SEANC STARS

President Wayne Fish presented the entire 2014-2015 SEANC Executive Committee with President's Awards for their work during a trying year.

District 7 Chairman Henry Belada received the District Chairperson of the Year Award and District 7 received the Category A District of the Year award.

Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins received the Darrell Arnold Award for excellence as a SEANC staff member.

District 65 Chairwoman Alicia Simpson received the Category B District of the Year Award.

District 16 Chairman Willie G. Bailey was named SEANC’s Member of the Year.

District 22 Chairwoman Deborah Harney received the Category C District of the Year Award.

President Ross Hailey of District 58 was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.

PHOTOS BY VEE SEWARD

MEMBER DISCOUNT CONTEST WINNERS

SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION RAFFLE WINNERS

MEMBERSHIP CONTEST WINNERS

First Place ($500) Sharron Patterson (District 18); 62 new businesses Second Place ($300) Henry Belada (District 7); 22 new businesses Third Place ($200) T. Glen Allen (District 64); 4 new businesses

Grand Prize ($6000) William Gilmore of Wake Forest Second Prize ($3000) Evelyn Henry of Currie Third Prize ($1000) Timmy Brown of Kinston

First Place ($300) Ron Fields (District 20); 496 new members Second Place ($200) Tony Smith (District 5); 58 new members Third Place ($100) Alfred Johnson (District 42); 34 new members

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The Reporter • November 2015


2015 CONVENTION

Bylaws changes voted on by convention delegates

Delegates voted on 10 bylaws amendments at the 32nd Annual SEANC Convention on Sept. 11.

The following bylaws amendments passed: ■ Amendments necessary to create a standing audit committee of members that will report each year to the Board of Governors on the finances of the association. This committee will consist of members elected by delegates at the annual convention. Delegates voted to remove a portion of the original amendment to remove the SEANC First Vice President, Second Vice President and Treasurer from the committee. The committee will select an independent accounting firm to prepare an annual audit. It will meet no less than six times a year to review all disbursements including credit card charges and wire transfers. This was recommended by SEANC’s most recent audit by national firm Bond Beebe. ■ An amendment to allow temporary state employees to join SEANC.

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■ An amendment to place the First Vice President in charge of the planning committee and make the Second Vice President a voting member of the planning committee.

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pay 100% of the cost. TWC does not endorse the insurance products offered by Travelers, MetLIfe Auto & Home, and Liberty Mutual and do

Coverage provided and underwritten byTravelers, Liberty Mutual Company andMutual. its affiliates,175 Berkeley Boston,must MA.communicate directly with Travelers, Met MetLifeInsurance Auto & Home, and Liberty Employees who enroll Street, in the program Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. To the extent permitted by needs. TWC does not, in any way, mak related questions. There may be other insurance products in the marketplace that better meet your law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. The program cannot guarantee coverage. A consumer your family. report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report, on all drivers on your policy, may be obtained where state laws and regulations allow. In TX: Auto coverage provided by Liberty County Mutual Insurance Company and home insurance provided by Liberty Insurance Corporation. CA Department of Insurance license number: 0F52897. Liberty Mutual is an Equal Housing Insurer. © 2015 Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

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The Reporter • November 2015

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PUBLIC POLICY

2015 General Assembly Session in review The legislature adjourned at 4:18 a.m. on Sept. 30. The adjournment resolution calls for the short session to convene on April 25, 2016. With legislators out of town for the year, here’s a look back at the 2015 session for state employees. For a recap of the state budget, turn to Page 1. Human Resources Act Perhaps the biggest victory of all for SEANC this session was the mitigation of House Bill 495, which would have made several harmful changes to the State Human Resources Act. The bill is a pet project of Gov. Pat McCrory and his State Human Resources Director Neal Alexander. SEANC had serious problems with the bill since it was changed in a House committee in May from a simple technical corrections bill to include changes to due process, hiring and reduction-in-force rights procedures and political hirings provisions. SEANC was able to negotiate changes and amend parts of the bill, but serious problems remained. SEANC lobbyists pressed House members not to concur with the bill. The House voted unanimously not to concur with the Senate’s version of the bill, sending it to a conference committee. The bill passed in a form much less harmful to state employees on the last day of session. DOT Jobs Near the beginning of the session, there was a threat to cut the gas tax from 37.5 cents to 35 cents and pay for that cut by eliminating 500 filled and 50 vacant jobs in the Department of Transportation. SEANC lobbyists worked with legislators like Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake), who proposed a successful amendment to remove the job cuts from the bill. Stam also announced on the last day of session he would not seek re-election. The Senate proposed cutting 56 administrative jobs in its budget. Members from DOT showed up at the legislature to successfully lobby against the job cuts. The final budget includes 50 identified jobs being cut, 29 being from the Senate budget list (originally listing 56) and 21 jobs left up to the agency to cut with applicable vacant jobs to be cut as well – meaning if there are vacant jobs open in that same particular unit or division as the filled position they are wanting to cut, they must cut the vacant job as well. Also, the budget requests that DOT conduct a study to find ways to cut 10 percent of the overall agency by next session. Originally, lawmakers requested that DOT just

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The Reporter • November 2015

make a 10-percent cut of the whole agency by the end of the 2015 year. Without SEANC's lobbying efforts, this may have happened instead of studying the request first. Even though it is sad and painful news that some DOT workers will lose their jobs, the cuts could have been much more severe. At the beginning of the session, there were rumors of DOT job cuts “in the thousands.” Retirement System Unlike recent years, this session saw little change in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System. We were deeply disappointed that the state budget didn’t allow for a much-needed cost-of-living adjustment for retirees even though investment gains would have paid for one without costing the state a dime. The legislature did fully fund the Retirement System for the fifth year in a row by contributing 9.15 percent to the retirement system. The defined benefit retirement plan was also maintained, though there was discussion of changing new employees to a defined contribution retirement plan. Health benefits for future retirees were also maintained, even though the Senate budget originally cut all retiree health benefits for those hired on or after January 1, 2016. State Health Plan The General Assembly maintained State Health Plan benefits for 2016, but hinted that massive changes may be in store for 2017. The budget included $146 million in funding for the plan, contingent on “further cost savings.” It also requires a 20-percent reserve be established. It also maintained retiree coverage for future retirees, but this topic is sure to come up again in the short session. SEANC Dues Deduction As the session drew to a close, SEANC’s lobbyists were keeping a watchful eye on Senate Bill 3, which was proposed in the first week of the session and would have taken away state employees’ right to have their SEANC dues deducted from their paychecks. There was heavy discussion that the language in that bill and its House companion, House Bill 862, would be slipped into another bill during the flurry of legislation passed at the end of the session, perhaps in the Medicaid reform bill, the technical corrections bill or the transportation bonds bill. Thankfully, that did not occur. It never was brought up in committee, allowing our lobbyists the time to advocate for the issues that really matter for state employees.


PUBLIC POLICY

State may limit employees' supplemental insurance options By Ardis Watkins

SEANC Government Relations Director

A new scheme from the governor’s office would limit options in supplemental insurance programs offered to state employees and likely lead to higher premiums on life, dental, vision and other programs currently offered by SEANC. The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Committee on Oct. 7 issued a 40-page report on perceived “problems” with the supplemental insurances bought by state employees that would essentially turn over management of those offerings to the governor’s office.

The report recommends replacing all agency insurance committees that currently exist with a single entity for all state employees. All insurance carriers, including the ones who work with SEANC, would have to be approved through the Office of State Human Resources, whose director is appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory. This would essentially allow a few bureaucrats picked by the governor in Raleigh to decide what is the best insurance product for all state employees. No input would be given from the employees as is done with the present insurance committees. The governor’s plan would also stop payroll deduction of insurance

policies sold by any entity other than the ones chosen by the Governor’s committee, including SEANC. This would tremendously harm SEANC’s ability to offer insurance products and premiums would skyrocket. Also, state employees could only enroll in the supplemental programs that are available to them online, and there would not be any agents available to talk with employees in the workplace any longer. SEANC is working with legislators and other lobbying interests to maintain insurance choices for employees. awatkins@seanc.org

What did SEANC do for members this year? Results by the Numbers • House bills reviewed by SEANC: 944 • Senate bills reviewed by SEANC: 722 • Committee meetings covered: 564 Pay • $750 one-time bonus paid in a separate check on Dec. 21, 2015 • Custody level pay increases for correctional officers to be implemented over the next two years • Preserved longevity pay Personnel Rights • Preserved due process rights and 14th amendment property rights (protected by the State Human Resources Act – formerly the State Personnel Act) • Stopped legislation that would have given the Office of State Human Resources the power to make rules that have the same effect as law regarding personnel issues and diminish priority rehiring rights State Health Plan • Maintained State Health Plan funding for active employees at the current level • Kept retirees returning to work 30 hours or less on the State Health Plan • Maintained health benefits for retirees, even though the Senate budget originally cut all retiree health benefits for those hired on or after Jan. 1, 2016 Job Losses • Stopped massive job cuts in the Department of Transportation — up to 800 positions in jeopardy due to required reductions and attempts to privatize

Privatization • Prevented privatization of the N.C. Ferry System • Acted quickly to enlist friendly legislators to squash any discussion of privatizing prison maintenance Retirement System • Fully funded the retirement system for the fifth year in a row by contributing 9.15 percent to the Retirement System • Maintained the defined benefit retirement plan even though it had been talked about in committee to change new employees to a defined contribution retirement plan • Increased retiree health care benefits from $762 million to $778 million ($16 million increase for maintaining retiree health care benefits SEANC Operations • SEANC worked to ensure that no legislation was filed that would take away state employees' right to have SEANC dues conveniently deducted from their paychecks And it continues... • The General Assembly is still holding meetings and there are still major privatization efforts happening • The effort to privatize the UNC Student Store is ongoing and SEANC is meeting with university officials and some key legislators as well as media outlets to hopefully deter the privatization of these jobs The Reporter • November 2015

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Periodical Postage PAID Raleigh, NC 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609

State Health Plan open enrollment ends Nov. 15 By Chuck Stone

SEANC Director of Operations

The State Health Plan will hold open enrollment through Nov. 15. As you consider making changes to your coverage, keep these tips in mind: n Read and keep all State Health Plan mailings! n Retirees, be aware that premiums for the Medicare Advantage Enhanced Plans will increase for 2016. As a result, all members enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Enhanced Plan will be moved to the Medicare Advantage Base Plan administered by Humana or UnitedHealthcare. You’ll be moved to the plan that is with the same company that now administers your Medicare Advantage Enhanced Plan coverage. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Base Plan or the Traditional 70/30 Plan and you wish to remain in that plan, no action during annual enrollment is required. n DO NOT WAIT! Waiting until the last minute means phone lines and the website may be overloaded resulting in members failing to get through. This could cause you to pay as much as $1,080 extra for failure to complete wellness activities, inability to change plan options or add or drop dependents until the next open enrollment period. n When conducting enrollment activities online, always

SEANC can help you save $$$

Before you look at NC Flex, be sure to take a look at SEANC's supplemental insurance offerings! Members can find competitive rates for dental, vision, term, whole and universal life insurance, as well as plans to cover accidents, cancer, disability, critical illness and more. To find out more, visit seanc.org/insurance or contact an insurance specialist at 800-222-2758.

scroll to the very bottom of the page, ensure you click “Submit” and print and retain all confirmation documents to prove you completed the required activities. n When conducting enrollment activities by phone, always record the name of the person you speak with along with the date and time of the conversation. n Active state employees should use eEnroll to make changes to their State Health Plan and NCFlex benefits. Retirees may enroll using the ORBIT system. n Active employees and pre-Medicare retirees selecting either the Consumer Driven Health Plan or the Enhanced PPO must complete wellness activities in order to avoid the wellness premium surcharges which could cost as much as $90 per month. Print copies for proof of completion. cstone@seanc.org


Nov 2015 Reporter