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The SEANC Scoop STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF NORTH CAROLINA IMPORTANT LINKS

Member-Only Discounts SEANC Insurance SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

January 3, 2014

Cope Calls on Legislators to Raise Pay for All State Employees in Next Session The next General Assembly session is months away, but the debate over pay raises for state employees is already heating up. In an interview with News 14 Carolina Thursday, SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope called on legislators to do the right thing and give state employees a raise. “We are very hopeful that it will be in the three percent pay range,” said Cope. “We think the state budget can afford it, and we think it is the only fair thing to do seeing as there hasn't been a significant pay raise in the past five years.” The N.C. House’s chief budget writer, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) said “We want to be able to do raises. But we also have to have Medicaid under control,” in the same article. The next session of the legislature is set for a May 14 start, and SEANC’s lobbyists will be on the ground advocating for public services and the people who provide them in what is sure to be a fast-moving election-year session. Stay tuned!

More Problems Cited with State Health Plan To the surprise of no one at SEANC, the News & Observer on Thursday highlighted continued problems with enrollment for the State Health Plan. SEANC brought these issues to light at the November State Health Plan Board of Trustees meeting, to several media outlets and in SEANC's December Reporter and the Dec. 6 Scoop. State Treasurer Janet Cowell’s office acknowledged that as many as 105,000 state employees still do not have insurance cards used to obtain medical care, while “a billing glitch left confusion and questions at the end of December when health insurance coverage was not deducted from pension checks.” On Twitter, Dana Cope called this a "Train wreck coming down the line for health plan members" on Nov. 22.


SEANC Scholarship Applications Now Online! One of the outstanding benefits of membership with SEANC is its scholarship program. Active and associate members, their spouses and their dependent children are eligible to apply for scholarships to attend technical schools, community colleges, trade schools, junior colleges and four-year universities or colleges. For more information and to download applications go to the SEANC website. Applications must be received by the District Scholarship Chairperson postmarked no later than April 15.

Member Discount: Monster Jam SEANC members can get a discount of up to $10 off tickets to Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at the Greensboro Coliseum Jan. 10-11 by purchasing tickets through the link below. Monster JamÂŽ trucks appearing include North Carolina's own Grave Digger, Monster Mutt, Samson, Higher Education, Iron Warrior, Shock Therapy, Ground Pounder and Shockwave! Visit our member benefits page to access the deal.

Upcoming Event: Employee Rights Forums What once was the State Personnel Act (SPA) is now called the State Human Resources Act (SHRA) and SEANC is planning forums around the state to help members understand the changes associated with their worker rights. The forums will focus on the State Human Resources Act and what it means to state employees and will be held in January and February throughout the state. Come learn about your Top 10 workplace rights, how they have changed and why you should care. Click here for more information on attending a forum near you.


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The SEANC Scoop STATE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION OF NORTH CAROLINA IMPORTANT LINKS

Member-Only Discounts SEANC Insurance SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

January 10, 2014

Pay Raises for Active Workers and Retirees a Top Priority in Upcoming GA Session SEANC is gearing up for the return of the General Assembly to session in May and will press legislators to provide funding for a pay raise for active employees and a costof-living adjustment for retirees. Executive Director Dana Cope and our team of lobbyists haven’t been coy about our pay raise request, speaking out on TV news, in newspapers and on the radio letting the public and lawmakers know that in 2014 a pay raise is our top priority. As you may know, 2013 SEANC Convention delegates made salary considerations the top legislative priority for the coming year. Read more from Cope here.

SEANC Employee Rights Forums Charlotte – Jan. 15 Central Piedmont Community College Cato Campus Auditorium Morganton – Jan. 21 Western Piedmont Community College Auditorium Raleigh – Jan. 28 N.C. State University McKimmon Center Wilmington – Feb. 5 New Hanover Cooperative Extension Goldsboro – Feb. 6 Wayne Community College Moffatt Auditorium

Employee Rights Forums Begin Next Week SEANC will host the first of its Employee Rights Forums at Central Piedmont Community College’s Cato Campus next Wednesday, Jan. 15. The forums will focus on changes to the State Human Resources Act (formerly the State Personnel Act) and will feature presentations from SEANC’s labor law experts as well as a town hall meeting for questions from members. Forums are planned for Charlotte, Raleigh, Morganton, Wilmington and Goldsboro and are open to all SEANC members free of charge. Each forum will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Contact SEANC's Central Office for more information.


The SEANC Store is now online! Visit today to show off your SEANC pride with a shirt, hat, jacket, bag and more, all with a flat-rate $5 shipping fee. Shop from the comforts of your own home and have items delivered right to your door.

SEANC Hires National SEC Expert to Investigate Retirement Fund Investments SEANC announced on Monday that it has retained the services of an independent, nationally known expert in retirement system forensics, Edward Siedle, to conduct a comprehensive review of the $83 billion Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System for conflicts of interest related to TSERS investments and potential violations of the federal securities laws. SEANC’s action comes on the heels of a $1 million “placement agent” report requested and issued by the state Treasurer Janet Cowell which focused on secret payments to intermediaries who helped secure retirement fund business — referred to as “pay to play” by the Securities and Exchange Commission — in former Treasurer Richard Moore's administration. Given the improprieties found in the treasurer’s report, SEANC wants to learn more and broaden its review of TSERS through the present. Siedle is a former attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission and recently conducted a similar investigation in Rhode Island that uncovered a “license to steal” for Wall Street hedge fund managers.

SEANC in the News SEANC’s retirement investigation garnered huge interest from news outlets both in the state and beyond this week. The Associated Press, The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, WRAL-TV and the Triangle Business Journal all published stories on the announcement. At least one TV news outlet in Rhode Island aired a story as well. Several blogs also weighed in on the investigation. Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins will discuss pay raises and the retirement investigation on State Government Radio’s People in Politics show on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. It can be heard in the Triangle on WPTF 680 AM and on other stations throughout the state. Also this week, the News & Observer published an editorial calling on state Treasurer Janet Cowell to fix the many ongoing problems associated with the State Health Plan’s recent enrollment.

More State Workers Side with SEANC


Congrats to the 61 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide recently by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services and Public Safety, Carteret Technical College, Central Piedmont Community College, Gaston Community College, Pitt Community College, Wayne Community College, Cumberland County Schools, Guilford County Schools, Harnett County Schools, Rockingham County Schools, Wake County Schools, Wilson County Schools, NC State University, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and UNC-Pembroke. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Discount: Office Depot SEANC is proud to announce the addition of Office Depot to the Member Benefits program. SEANC members will enjoy exclusive 5-15 percent off program pricing that deeply discounts Office Depot’s already low prices and enjoy special discounts on copies and printing. Members must fill out the discount card form and take it to an Office Depot location to receive the discount.

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org


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January 17, 2014

Treasurer and Retirement Board Side with Wall Street over Retirees, Denies COLA Request

SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

The Retirement Systems Board of Trustees, led by State Treasurer Janet Cowell, sided with Wall Street and turned its back on retirees Thursday by failing to take action to fund a much-needed cost of living adjustment and other benefit enhancements. During its meeting SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins proposed the board support: • • •

SEANC Employee Rights Forums Morganton – Jan. 21 Western Piedmont Community College Auditorium Raleigh – Jan. 28 N.C. State University McKimmon Center Wilmington – Feb. 5 New Hanover Cooperative Extension Goldsboro – Feb. 6 Wayne Community College Moffatt Auditorium

A 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees An increase in the retirement formula to 1.83 percent $7 million to fully fund the state’s Annual Retirement Contribution.

Combined, these proposals would equal nearly a 3-percent increase in retirees’ checks. Watkins also proposed a way for the retirement system to pay for SEANC’s proposals without asking the General Assembly for a dime. Watkins told the trustees that the system could pay for all three proposals if State Treasurer Janet Cowell would pick up the phone and renegotiate its fees to Wall Street money managers. The system paid more than $365 million in fees and costs in the last fiscal year – enough to pay for a 10-percent COLA. Instead, Cowell and the board recommended that the legislature fully fund the system with a $7 million request but no COLA request. SEANC’s lobbyists will continue to advocate for the COLA when legislators return in May even without the board’s support. Read the full text of Watkins’ speech here.


The SEANC Store is now online! Visit today to show off your SEANC pride with a shirt, hat, jacket, bag and more, all with a flat-rate $5 shipping fee. Shop from the comforts of your own home and have items delivered right to your door.

Employee Rights Forums Now Underway SEANC’s Tom Harris conducted the first of the association’s Employee Rights Forums at Central Piedmont Community College’s Cato Campus on Wednesday. The forums focus on changes to the State Human Resources Act (formerly the State Personnel Act) and will feature presentations from SEANC’s labor law experts as well as a town hall meeting for questions from members. The next forum is planned for Tuesday at Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton. Forums are also planned for Raleigh, Wilmington and Goldsboro and are open to all members free of charge. Each will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Contact SEANC's Central Office for more information.

SEANC in the News SEANC’s announcement in last week’s Scoop that it would seek a 3-percent pay increase for active and retirees in the upcoming General Assembly session made news on Saturday, with the uncovering of a memo from the Governor’s Office that shows Gov. Pat McCrory may seek a raise as well in his budget proposal. Also this week, SEANC filed a public records request for documents pertaining to investments made by the treasurer with funds from the North Carolina Retirement Systems pension fund as part of an ongoing investigation into investments made by the fund. State revenues are running ahead of projections with an $83.5 million surplus for the first half of the fiscal year. This is a move in the right direction for state employees and retirees and hopefully will translate into pay and cost-of-living increases.

Discount: The Circus is Coming! SEANC members are in for a treat as The Greatest Show on Earth returns to North Carolina for shows in both Greensboro and Raleigh in February. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will appear at Greensboro Coliseum Feb. 7-9 and at PNC Arena in Raleigh Feb. 20-23. For details, visit SEANC’s Feature Discounts page.


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Member-Only Discounts SEANC Insurance SEANC in the News Update Contact Info Calendar of Events The Reporter

SEANC Employee Rights Forums Raleigh – Jan. 28 N.C. State University McKimmon Center Wilmington – Feb. 5 New Hanover Cooperative Extension Goldsboro – Feb. 6 Wayne Community College Moffatt Auditorium

The SEANC Store is now online! Visit today to show off your SEANC pride with a shirt, hat, jacket, bag and more, all with a flat-rate $5 shipping fee. Shop from the

January 24, 2014

Salary Adjustments are Not Across-the-Board Pay Increases for All State Employees Gov. Pat McCrory announced this week that more than 3,000 state employees would receive pay increases from the Salary Adjustment Fund this year in an effort to reduce turnover in state government. Funds for these raises were included in last year's budget and in no way affect SEANC 3percent across the board pay raise request for state employees and retirees in this year's session of the General Assembly which convenes in May. The salary adjustment fund is used to address market conditions and bring pay for certain state jobs closer to the salaries being paid to the private sector. Salary adjustment funds will be used for employees who assumed greater job responsibilities but have not been compensated because of a salary freeze. Funds are also used to lessen the wage disparity between similarly qualified employees who are performing comparable duties. This week's announcement marked the first time in five years the state has been able to give raises from this fund due to economic instability. The salary adjustment fund was last used in 2007 under Gov. Bev Perdue. In all, 3,221 state employees will get an average 4.2 percent salary increase. Approximately 1,200 nurses and 600 law enforcement employees will receive increases up to 4 percent while the remainder of employees will receive varying increases of up to 10 percent. There are more than 90,000 state employees who could all use a raise after five years of increasing prices and little change in their paychecks. SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope told the News & Observer this week that while he supports raising employee salaries closer to market rates, he continues to push legislators to give all state employees and retirees a 3-percent boost in their paychecks. SEANC will continue to advocate for fair pay for all state employees


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and retirees, and hope that the legislators and the governor realize that much-needed increases are crucial to moving this state forward.

Employee Rights Forums Continue Next Week As part of an ongoing statewide tour, SEANC's Tom Harris will conduct an Employee Rights Forum on Tuesday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center. The forums focus on changes to the State Human Resources Act (formerly the State Personnel Act) and will feature a presentation from Harris as well as a town hall meeting for questions from the audience. Forums are also planned for Wilmington and Goldsboro and are open to all members free of charge. Each forum will start at 5:30 p.m. Contact SEANC's Central Office at 1-800-222-2758 for more information.

SEANC in the News Possibly feeling the heat from SEANC's ongoing investigation into investments with the state retirement fund, State Treasurer Janet Cowell told Pensions & Investments magazine this week that she has named a commission to study, among other topics, an end to the sole fiduciary system that places the State Treasurer in charge of all investments for the $83 billion fund. SEANC Legislative Director Ardis Watkins was quoted in the same article saying, "There are no checks and balances. We don't have enough structure in place. It's a system that invites bad actors ... to do business with (the state)," and "It's about who is treasurer 100 years from now. Our legislature and governor have about a quarter of the power of the treasurer. We want to know that it's going to change."


More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 52 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Public Safety and Revenue, the Administrative Office of the Courts, school systems in Duplin, Iredell, Johnston, Moore, Pitt, Wake, Watauga, and Forsyth counties, Fayetteville Technical Community College, McDowell Technical Community College, Pamlico Technical College, Robeson Community College, South Piedmont Community College, Wilson Technical College, East Carolina University, N.C. State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNCCharlotte and Winston Salem State University. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Discount: Biltmore Estate Looking for a romantic Valentine's Day getaway with your sweetie? Use your SEANC membership for discounts at Biltmore Estate in Asheville, including a special two-day ticket. Click here to place your order.

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org

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January 31, 2014

Meetings on Pay Raises, State Health Plan Highlight a Busy Week for SEANC SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope, Chief of Staff Tom Harris and Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins met Thursday with Gov. Pat McCrory at the Governor’s Mansion to discuss state employee/retiree pay raises and cost-of-living adjustments, SEANC’s retirement system investigation and workplace safety. We’ll continue to update you on these topics and more as events progress. As reported in the February edition of The Reporter, SEANC's top priority for the upcoming General Assembly session is a much-needed pay raise for state employees and retirees. Also the State Health Plan Board of Trustees is meeting today in Raleigh, and SEANC's lobbyists are on hand to advocate for members. Follow along with the meeting on SEANC's official Twitter feed.

SEANC Employee Rights Forums

SEANC In the News Wilmington – Feb. 5 New Hanover Cooperative Extension Goldsboro – Feb. 6 Wayne Community College Moffatt Auditorium

The SEANC Store is now online! Visit today to show off your SEANC pride with a shirt, hat, jacket, bag and more, all with a flat-rate $5 shipping fee. Shop from the comforts of your own home and have items delivered right to your door.

Speaking of pay raises, House Speaker Thom Tillis told WRAL-TV this week that legislators are planning to increase compensation for both teachers and state employees in the next budget. "We're in ongoing discussions with the Senate and the governor," Tillis said after a meeting of the General Assembly's Government Operations Committee, an oversight group comprised of the legislature's top leaders. "As the economy trends in the direction that it is, it's going to give us the flexibility to do it, and we're looking forward to being able to outline that over the next month.” We look forward to holding Speaker Tillis to that promise. Also in the news this week, Edward Siedle, an attorney SEANC hired to investigate investments with the state retirement systems, wrote about some interesting findings he has already uncovered pertaining to class action lawyers and the system on Forbes.com.


SEANC Wins Fight to Save on Health Care Costs for Members on Radiology Exams SEANC scored an unexpected victory this week in its efforts to cut health care costs for State Health Plan members when hospitals and providers decided to give up their fight and stop double-billing practices for radiological exams. SEANC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which administers the plan, partnered in the complaint, which the N.C. Department of Insurance sided with last year. The decision should save the State Health Plan more than $5 million annually.

Thank You to State Employees Who Kept State Moving Forward During Snow Storm North Carolina kept moving forward through the snowstorm that gripped the southeast this week thanks to hardworking state employees. Folks at the Department of Transportation worked overtime to prep the streets before the storm hit and scrape them clean afterwards. Workers at N.C. Emergency Management got little rest over the week because they were busy informing the public on the situation and dealing wth crises that popped up. Employees at many other departments were not fazed by the icy conditions and went to work while their friends enjoyed snow days, such as members of the State Highway Patrol who cleared wrecks and kept our highways in order, workers at Department of Health and Human Services who helped people in need, and officers at the Department of Public Safety who kept the bad guys locked up. We extend a big "thank you" to all of our members who sacrificed for our state – and continue to sacrifice – during this difficult week and beyond.

More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 50 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Revenue and Transportation, school systems in Alexander, Martin, Pitt, Rowan and Union counties, Craven Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, N.C. Central University, East Carolina University, Winston


Salem State University, UNC Hospitals and the General Assembly. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Discount: Flowers for Valentine's Day SEANC members can save 25 percent on flowers for that special someone this Valentine’s Day by using the Perks Card Network. Visit fromyouflowers.com/ perkscard to access this deal before it’s too late!

State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org

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