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March 7, 2014

Budget Director Calls Pay Raises a Priority Sends UNC System Back to Drawing Board

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

Gov. Pat McCrory’s Budget Director Art Pope told UNC System officials to “try again” this week with their budget proposal. The system requested more than $288 million in additional funding this year, an 11.3 percent increase, despite Pope’s request that no department expand more than 2 percent. What’s more, the request included more than $163 million in building repair and renovations, when the entire state government’s renovation fund is just $150 million. The proposal didn’t include raises for UNC system employees and would more than likely take up all the funding needed to give all state employees and retirees 3-percent raises this year.

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As Pope said in his memo, “The limited increase in revenue and availability must first be applied to mandatory obligations, such as the growth in Medicaid, and overall priorities, including a pay raise for teachers and state employees.” SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope commended Pope's willingness to stand up to the UNC system, pointing out on Twitter, "they want more (buildings) but no pay raise for low wage SPA employees." The News & Observer also said Pope was right to question the proposal. We are thankful that he has made much needed pay increases a priority in the upcoming budget process.


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SEANC’s ongoing investigation into the state retirement system made the news this week after forensic investigator Edward Siedle uncovered that State Treasurer Janet Cowell may be paying huge hidden fees without disclosing them to the public. SEANC Past President Charles Johnson spoke out on a WRAL-TV report saying, "There's no way we should be spending millions of taxpayer and member money and not have any idea who's getting paid." Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins added, "They're hiring other people to manage it and then everybody gets a cut. Everybody's getting rich off this except the state employees and retirees." Statewide syndicated columnist Scott Mooneyham called on Cowell to be forthcoming with information on the investment fees, writing, "Whether it is uncomfortable or not, elected state treasurers must put those numbers out there to be accountable to pensioners and the public." The News & Observer wrote a story on the controversy as well.

Get Money for Saving Money! Let SEANC know how much money you save during the month of March utilizing the discounts you get as a SEANC member. The member who saves the most will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be featured in SEANC’s publications! All other entries will be entered in a drawing to receive a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for details. Start saving today by checking out SEANC’s Featured Discounts!

More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 60 new members who chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the departments of Administration, Health and Human Services and Public Safety, schools in Davidson, Davie, Randolph, Wake and Wilkes counties, Beaufort County Community College, Lenoir Community College, McDowell Technical Community College, Wayne Community College, Winston Salem State University, UNCChapel Hill and UNC Hospitals. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.


Discount: WWE Live SEANC members can get an exclusive discount of up to $15 off a ticket to “WWE Live: Road to Wrestlemania” at the PNC Arena in Raleigh on March 28. Click here for ordering information.

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


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March 14, 2014

SEANC Stands Up for Children in Need

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

The public, including SEANC’s Legislative Affairs team, was denied a chance to speak out this week at a Joint Legislative Committee meeting on reduction-in-force plans at the Department of Health & Human Services’ Children's Development Services Agencies by its chairman, Sen. Ralph Hise. As part of last year’s budget, DHHS was charged with reducing funding for the agency by $8 million this year and $10 million next year. To accomplish this, DHHS has proposed consolidating four CDSA branches in the eastern part of the state, including those in Rocky Mount, New Bern and Wilmington, into one branch in Greenville. The services those branches currently provide, including service coordination, physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as family support for children up to age 3, would be taken up by a new agency in Greenville under contract with East Carolina University that would serve 28 counties.

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The plan would cause a reduction-in-force of 177 current positions. Though 150 new positions would be created by the merger, there’s no guarantee given to those RIF’d employees that they would be rehired by ECU. Also, there’s no guarantee that ECU would hire workers with the same skill sets. It’s important to note that all four of the branches in the current set-up have received the highest ratings possible from the federal government. No one can say that the employees there are doing a bad job. This action will adversely disrupt and impact services to the children and families served by the targeted branches and will run off state employees who are currently serving the state’s developmentally challenged children. It’s also important to note that these cuts come in a department that recently paid a pricey private consultant more than $300,000 and has very little to show for it. SEANC continues to meet with legislators on this important matter, and SEANC General Counsel and labor law expert Tom Harris is reviewing the process for compliance with state policy. SEANC will


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also repeat its request to speak at the committee’s next meeting on March 26. Members and parents of the children in the affected areas are encouraged to contact their legislators to discuss this proposal. If you are a parent affected, please contact SEANC as well. We want to hear your story and see how we can best assist you.

Get Money for Saving Money! Let SEANC know how much money you save during the month of March utilizing the discounts you get as a SEANC member. The member who saves the most will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be featured in SEANC’s publications! All other entries will be entered in a drawing to receive a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for details. Start saving today by checking out SEANC’s Featured Discounts!

More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 109 new members who chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC this week! Welcome new members from the departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services and Public Safety, the Administrative Offices of the Courts, schools in Cleveland, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Sampson, Scotland and Wake counties, Johnston Community College, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. Central University, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.


Discount: Monster Jam Save $4 off admission for adults to see Monster Jam on April 1112 at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Also, children's tickets are just $10 if purchased through SEANC's special group buying discount page. Discounted tickets are available for the 7:30 p.m. show on Friday, April 11, and the 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. shows on April 12. For more information, click here.

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


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March 21, 2014

SEANC to Cowell: Let the Sun Shine on Retirement System Fees

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

SEANC continued this week to expose the hundreds of millions of dollars in direct and indirect hidden fees being paid out by the state retirement system, and authorized by state Treasurer Janet Cowell. As part of its ongoing investigation, and in honor of Sunshine Week, SEANC called on Cowell to come clean with the public about these fees. So far, the treasurer has disclosed a total of $416 million, which is outrageous, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. "It is time for Treasurer Cowell to show transparency and accountability by immediately disclosing all of the retirement fees as the current law requires her to do," SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope said. "It shouldn't take an investigation to make her do the right thing. As an elected official, she should be ready and willing to be honest with North Carolinians."

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SEANC's pension expert Ted Siedle contends that Cowell is in violation of laws requiring the treasurer to disclose in her required quarterly reports a specific listing of all direct and indirect placement fees, asset fees, performance fees and other money management fees incurred by the state. Siedle believes these fees could total nearly $1 billion for the $86 billion fund. Also this week, Siedle wrote a letter to state Auditor Beth Wood in which he called for an investigation of Cowell and the lack of disclosure of these fees to the N.C. General Assembly Joint Government Operations Committee, the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations and Finance committees and the Fiscal Research Division.


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SEANC in the News SEANC’s ongoing investigation into the state pension plan fees being paid by N.C. Treasurer Janet Cowell to Wall Street money managers continued to make the news this week. On Thursday, SEANC’s Legislative Director Ardis Watkins appeared on Time Warner Cable’s Channel 14’s “Capitol Tonight” to discuss the pension plan, saying, "What we want to see is stop paying outrageous fees for subpar performance. ... We need to see transparency. We need to see good decision making." Earlier in the week, in a News & Observer story, Watkins accused Cowell of "not reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in fees." Watkins also spoke to Bloomberg News, noting that in the last 10 years, the pension plan fees paid by North Carolina have risen 400 percent, saying, "When fees are increasing as fast as ours are, and the value of the fund isn't going up as fast, then we have a problem." But it's not just the staff at SEANC that realizes there is a problem. SEANC member Dan Efird also spoke to WFMY News 2. In that same story by WFMY, Watkins noted that based on last year's below average pension fund return, "Treasurer Cowell is at best a C- student." But the state pension plan was not all that SEANC was focused on this week. SEANC lobbyist and health care expert Chuck Stone also spoke out in concern to the Wilmington Star-News about the planned consolidation of Children's Developmental Services Agencies in the New Bern, Rocky Mount and the Cape Fear regions. Not only, he said, will the closures hurt children with developmental disabilities and their families, but also state employees who are being told that even as East Carolina University expands its CDSA, it is not interested in the services of those being laid off: "It's one thing to reorganize departments or programs in state government and it's a totally different issue to take people who have dedicated their lives to serving children with disabilities so their families can also carry on that therapy … and just say, 'Your services are not needed.'"

More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 57 new members who chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC this week! Welcome new members from NC Central University-Durham; UNC-Chapel Hill; Central Carolina Community College; schools in Scotland, Wake, Catawba and Davidson counties; the state


departments of Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation and state Treasurer. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Get Money for Saving Money! Let SEANC know how much money you save during the month of March utilizing the discounts you get as a SEANC member. The member who saves the most will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be featured in SEANC’s publications! All other entries will be entered in a drawing to receive a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for details. Start saving today by checking out SEANC’s Featured Discounts!

Gain Peace of Mind with SEANC Insurance There's strength in numbers, and SEANC's group buying power means great rates on insurance for members! Did you know that SEANC offers competitive rates on everything from auto to life to home to pet insurance, and even identity theft? Click here to start saving today!

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


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March 28, 2014

SEANC presents proposals to improve the State Health Plan

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

After being denied the opportunity to speak last month, SEANC is on the agenda during the public comment period at today's State Health Plan Board of Trustees meeting, which is currently in session. If allowed to speak, SEANC’s Legislative Affairs team will ask for eight meaningful policy changes that will save members money. Among other requests, SEANC plans to formally ask the board to eliminate payment in instances when hospital errors result in additional expense to the plan, to line up the Medicare Retiree enrollment and the federal Medicare enrollment periods, to reimburse members for overdraft fees and bad check charges arising from mistakes by the plan and its vendors, to provide more information to members about the products offered by the plan, and to apply similar ethics in politics standards to the SHP’s vendors as to the Board of Trustees. For a complete and more detailed list of SEANC’s requests, click here.

Register for SEANC's Scholarship Strikeout! April 12 AMF East Carolina Lanes in Greenville Click here for more information and to register And don't forget, there will be nearly 20 raffle prizes to

Chuck Stone, SEANC's health care lobbyist, plans to speak for the association at the meeting. He explained that SEANC chose to focus on these changes in order "to reduce member premiums, member surcharges and provide improved benefits." Be sure to continue to follow SEANC on Facebook Twitter for live updates from this afternoon's meeting.


register for while there, including tickets to an ECU home football game, Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe, the NC Zoo, an NC aquarium, the NC Symphony, The Carolina Opry and much more.

Want help paying for college?

EMPAC endorsements coming The state committee for EMPAC, SEANC's political arm, will meet in Raleigh this weekend to decide the PAC's endorsements for the 2014 primary election. SEANC will announce those endorsements early next week. If you are not an EMPAC donor take a moment to explore the PAC's section on our website, as well as SEANC's legislative priorities. And consider joining today!

Time is running out. Applications must be postmarked April 15.

Scholarship Applications Available Online

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More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 65 new members who chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC this week! Welcome new members from UNCCharlotte; NC State University; Appalachian State University; Caldwell Community College; Winston-Salem/Forsyth County; Central Carolina Community College; UNC-Chapel Hill; NC Central UniversityDurham; schools in Henderson and Pitt counties; the state departments of Public Safety, Health and Human Services, Commerce, Transportation, Cultural Resources and the state Employment Security Commission. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Get Money for Saving Money! Let SEANC know how much money you save during the month of March utilizing the discounts you get as a SEANC member. The member who saves the most will receive a $50 Visa gift card and will be featured in SEANC’s publications! All other entries will be entered in a drawing to receive a $25 Visa gift card. Click here for details. Start saving today by checking out SEANC’s Featured Discounts!


Discount: Blue Man Group SEANC members receive a discount to April 15 and April 17 performances of the wildly popular and incredibly unique Blue Man Group at the Blumenthal Performance Arts Center in Charlotte. Combining comedy, music and technology, the Blue Man Group is exciting, outrageous, and with no spoken language, perfect for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Click here to order.

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

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