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May 16, 2014

Legislative Update: McCrory releases budget as General Assembly reconvenes

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

Become a SEANC Warrior! Want to talk to lawmakers face-to-face and make sure your voice is heard? Then sign up to join SEANC's professional lobbyists each Monday night while the General Assembly is in session.

Set SEANC's policy platform SEANC members decide every year what the association's legislative priorities will be for the upcoming session. Learn how SEANC's policy platforms are created and then get involved.

SEANC was on hand as the General Assembly opened its doors Wednesday to kick off its short session. Lobbyists were there to greet members, urge them to support public services and the people who provide them by providing a muchneeded and muchdeserved raise to state employees and retirees. While there, lobbyists also handed out copies of the report on the forensic investigation commissioned by the association into the state treasurer's management of the pension fund. Also on Wednesday as the legislature began to gear up for work, Gov. Pat McCrory introduced his full 2014-15 budget proposal, complete with raises for both state employees and retirees. The highlight of McCrory’s $20.9 billion spending plan for 2014-15 is his proposal to give state employees a base salary increase of $809, and a 1.9 percent cost-of-living adjustment for retirees. The Office of State Budget and Management originally reported the raise as a $1,000 increase to state employees, but when questioned, has admitted the base salary increase is only $809. SEANC is awaiting more details from OSBM on where the other $191 will go. Another concern of SEANC's is a proposal to transfer two administrative law judges responsible for hearing and ruling on employee grievances from the Office of Administrative Hearings to the Office of State Human Resouces - a move that SEANC General Counsel explained to WRAL would create a new system lacking in impartiality and due process.


Of additional concern is a proposal to cut 356 positions from the state Department of Public Safety.

Annual meetings are just around the corner Want to become more involved in SEANC, perhaps become a convention delegate? It all begin at your district's annual meeting.

SEANC, however, is advocating against any proposal that would harm employee rights and harm vital public services and the people providing them, and will continue to follow the action closely during the General Assembly session. Click here to read the full Legislative Update.

State Treasurer trying to maintain pension control Award season is here! Award nominations for outstanding SEANC members and districts are being accepted through July 26. Email your nomination today!

Take our EMPAC survey Please take a moment to answer this SEANC member survey about EMPAC.

The SEANC Store is now online!

State Treasurer Janet Cowell gave her recommendations to the General Assembly this week as to how she believes the N.C. Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System needs to be reformed. Her recommendations were based largely on those provided by her hand-picked review panel, with one glaring exception. The panel voted to recommend ending the sole fiduciary system and replacing it with a board to oversee the investment of pension funds. Her recommendations to the legislature said any such changes should wait at least until 2015. SEANC Legislative Affairs Director Ardis Watkins, in a News & Observer story, expressed extreme disappointment in Cowell's lack of action. "The treasurer is trying to control the debate over the control she has," Watkins said. SEANC believes the sole fiduciary should be replaced with a board, and is advocating for legislation this session that would make the retirement system more transparent and require increased reporting of all current hidden fees and other investment information.


SEANC speaks to protect state employee rights SEANC General Counsel Tom Harris spoke out for state employees in front of the Rules Review Commission Thursday in Raleigh. Harris raised objections to several temporary rules brought forth to implement changes to the State Human Resources Act ordered by the General Assembly last session. Among Harris's concerns was an attempt to nullify priority rehiring rights from a state employee who lost their job if that employee declined an interview for another job. Harris argued that an employee may be going for multiple vacancies and should be able to pick the interview they wanted to take without losing their rights. Harris also pointed out that reinstatement and back pay for employees who are found to have been harassed, retaliated against or are whistleblowers had been omitted from the rules.

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 Mayland Technical College, Robeson Community College, Fayetteville State University, N.C. State University, and the state departments of Health and Human Services, Public Safety and Transportation. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.


Take a Thrill Ride with SEANC Looking for a great way to spend a summer day? Check out the rides and attractions at Dominion

Carowinds and Kings amusement parks.

You can purchase discounted tickets at any State Employees' Credit Union branch. We challenge you to ride as many roller coasters and water slides as possible this summer!

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


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May 2, 2014

Don't Forget to Vote

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

Early voting is winding down, with the last day on Saturday. But that's not the last day to cast ballots. Election Day for the 2014 primaries is Tuesday. The lawmakers in the General Assembly are the people who decide pay raises for state employees and retirees, as well as legislate any changes to the State Human Resources Act, the State Health Plan and the N.C. Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System. In order to make sure your interests and those of your fellow state employees' and retirees' are protected, your voice is needed. Every vote counts! For a list of our legislative priorities, which are voted on by members, and which we encourage lawmakers to support, click here. For a list of EMPAC-endorsed candidates, click here. For polling locations and times, visit your county board of elections office website. To help you find it, click here.

EMPAC survey Please take a moment to answer this SEANC member survey about EMPAC.


Retiring from State Employment? Then don't forget to attend one of retirement planning outreach sessions offered by the State Health Plan. These sessions are designed for people turning 65 in the next year and planning retirement.

For information and locations, click here.

Award season is here! Award nominations for outstanding SEANC members and districts are being accepted through July 26.

Email your nomination today!

The SEANC Store is now online!

CDSA Consolidation Plan Halted The Wilmington Star-News reported this week that the proposed plan to consolidate the Cape Fear, New Bern and Rocky Mount Children’s Developmental Agencies into the one at East Carolina University in Greenville has fallen through. According to the story, ECU officials made the decision to not expand their program’s catchment area, meaning it will not be taking over as originally planned. Under the original plan, the three agencies were to close, resulting in the loss of 175 jobs. ECU proposed to hire 150 new employees for its agency, but current employees were not even guaranteed consideration for those positions. There also were concerns voiced that those employees who might have been hired back would have been forced to work at lower salaries. The changes were to have taken place by July 1, but Dr. Deborah Carroll, head of DHHS Public Health Early Intervention had said publicly late last month that would not be possible. In the Star-News story, she said that the consolidation of the CDSAs under ECU was only part of the state's plan to achieve $10 million in recurring savings, beginning next fiscal year, and that the division would move forward with other cost-cutting measures. She did not elaborate as to what those are. SEANC fought back against these cuts, speaking out at the General Assembly and seeking to publicize the harm they would do to state employees and the families they serve. SEANC will continue to watch as these new measures are announced and implemented to ensure that lawmakers and leaders in DHHS value public services and the people who provide them. CDSAs are part of the Early Intervention Initiative focused on helping children with developmental delays and disabilities, and their families, access services, including therapy and support services.


SEANC feature: Spotlight on Division of Mental Health in honor of April's Public Health Week This week, we are taking a look at the mental health system. Mental health in North Carolina is a vast and complex field – one that intertwines public and private agencies and providers. The complicated network is a result of the reforms begun in 2001 and continued and adjusted through today. But there are dedicated state employees who work diligently every day to ensure that people requiring mental health services are able to receive the care and attention they need, despite the frustrations associated with dealing with such a disjointed system. "It's not a unified system," said Ashley McKenna, a rehabilitation counselor for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Alamance County since 2012. "And that’s frustrating." For more on the role state employees play in the state mental health system, click here.

Introducing Identity Theft Protection by InfoArmor Did you know that last year, identity theft was a $21 billion crime impacting more than 13 million Americans? Luckily a new solution is available to SEANC members. InfoArmor’s industry-leading technology seeks to detect fraud at the source – when thieves first use your information to apply for accounts. This allows InfoArmor to detect misuse sooner and minimize damages. Enroll today to protect yourself and your family. To learn more and to receive special discounted pricing, click here. For questions, call InfoArmor at 1-800-789-2720, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST).

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


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May 23, 2014

Legislative Update: N.C. Department of Public Safety deals blow to privatization efforts

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

The highlight of this week at the General Assembly was the release of a report by the N.C. Department of Public Safety on the potential privatization of prison maintenance operations. The report, which stemmed from a contentious debate in the General Assembly in 2011 over a bill to privatize all prison maintenance operations in North Carolina, confirmed what SEANC has said all along – privatization is a losing proposition for the state and for taxpayers.

Become a SEANC Warrior! Want to talk to lawmakers face-to-face and make sure your voice is heard? Then sign up to join SEANC's professional lobbyists each Monday night while the General Assembly is in session.

Set SEANC's policy platform SEANC members decide every year what the association's legislative priorities will be for the upcoming session. Learn how SEANC's policy platforms are created and then get involved.

"Based on the analysis contained in this report, the department has concluded that there are no significant savings to be realized through the privatization of prison maintenance operations," the report's conclusion states. SEANC member Wayne Talbert, who retired in 2012 as the assistant superintendent of custody and operations at Dan River Correctional Institution, said the findings were common sense for people in his department. "We’ve always known we can do a much better job than some private company can," he said. "Hopefully legislators will take this report to heart and realize that privatization is costly and dangerous in our prisons." In other news from Raleigh, State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced that the planned 2.14 percent hike in premiums under the State Health Plan was not needed for the coming year, saving the state $23 million. SEANC is lobbying for those funds to be returned to state employees and retirees in the form of lower premiums. Click here to read the full Legislative Update.


Annual meetings are just around the corner Want to become more involved in SEANC, perhaps become a convention delegate? It all begin at your district's annual meeting.

Award season is here! Award nominations for outstanding SEANC members and districts are being accepted through July 26. Email your nomination today!

Take our EMPAC survey Please take a moment to answer this SEANC member survey about EMPAC.

The SEANC Store is now online!

SEANC to open membership up to student-athletes at state universities SEANC made headlines across the nation this week with the announcement that the Board of Governors voted to open up membership in the association to student-athletes at state universities. The discussion arose out of recent efforts in other states to begin organizing student-athletes following the National Labor Board's decision to classify student-athletes on scholarship at Northwestern University in Illinois as employees. The issues that SEANC may eventually work with student-athletes could include safety and the compensation earned by the colleges and the coaches. "Because of that ruling there is a national movement to organize those folks and their parents, to bring them in so they can start discussing their issues," SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope explained to the BOG, following the Executive Committee's recommendation on May 16. "Most of those issues are safety issues and concerns, depending on which sport it is. That's the No. 1 concern from what I'm hearing. The other big issue is the compensation of the coaches and the university systems. These student-athletes are the workers who perform. They make lots of money for the university and the coaches." The vote simply changed the association's rules to allow studentathletes to join. Any potential changes in organizational structures, such as the creation of a committee similar to the Retiree Council or Youth Council, is just now under development and will depend in large part on the student-athletes who join. SEANC Director of Communications Toni Davis also emphasized in stories by The Associated Press and on ESPN Radio out of Fayetteville, that the association has no preconceived plans for student-athletes and that any priorities will be set them and the rest of the membership.

State employees play vital role for hearing and visually impaired The public services that state employees provide are as diverse as the needs of North Carolina’s nearly 10 million residents. Among those are services to residents who are hearing or visually impaired. This month, because May is known as Healthy Vision Month and Better Hearing and Speech Month, SEANC is recognizing those state employees who work hard every day to make North Carolina a better place to live for people with vision, hearing and speech impairments. Click

here

to

read

more.


More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 94 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Pembroke, UNC Hospitals, the state departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Transportation, and schools in Wake County and Weldon City. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Save at Office Depot Save at Office Depot! SEANC members can enjoy an exclusive 5- to 15-percent off pricing program that deeply discounts Office Depot's already low prices. Members can also enjoy special discounts on copies and printing. To take advantage of these offers, though, members must fill out the discount card form and take it to an Office Depot location.

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


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May 30, 2014

Legislative Update: N.C. Senate budget proposal fails state employees, retirees

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

With the bill filing deadline passing on Wednesday, attention turned this week to the Senate's proposed 2014-15 spending plan - one that not only continues to fail to provide state employees with a meaningful pay raise, but also reduces the recommended cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees. Written quickly, released late Wednesday night and moved through the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday morning, the Senate’s $21.2 billion spending plan has received little scrutiny so far. While SEANC is advocating for the Senate to improve its plan for state employees and retirees, we are already working with House Speaker Thom Tillis and the rest of the House leadership to do better.

Stay Connected! Sign up today for our new text messaging service to receive Special Action Alerts about what's happening at the General Assembly or for urgent member news. Just text the word SEANC to 787753!

Become a SEANC Warrior! Want to talk to lawmakers face-to-face and make sure your voice is heard? Then sign up to join SEANC's professional lobbyists each Monday night while the General Assembly is in session.

Just like Gov. Pat McCrory's earlier proposal, the Senate budget would provide a disappointing $809 salary increase, plus the mandated employer contribution of 6 percent for retirement and the employer taxes that are required by law. Even more disappointing, the Senate's plan would provide retirees with only a 0.8-percent COLA - much less than the already small 1.9percent increase recommended by McCrory. Along with the budget discussion, SEANC also is following a number of other bills that were up for discussion this week. These bills dealt with increased transparency in the state retirement system, antispiking measures for the state retirement plan and discounts on vision services and products important to members of the State Health Plan. Click here for the Legislative Update.


Set SEANC's policy platform SEANC members decide every year what the association's legislative priorities will be for the upcoming session. Learn how SEANC's policy platforms are created and then get involved.

Annual meetings are just around the corner Want to become more involved in SEANC, perhaps become a convention delegate? It all begins at your district's annual meeting.

SEANC member leads charge to improve employee wellness A smoking cessation program. A fully equipped gym. A healthy nutrition program. At Broughton Hospital, workplace wellness is more than just a simple catchphrase. Over the last five years it has become a way of life - and it’s largely because of efforts of state employees themselves. Sherry Helton of District 6, is the hospital's radiology director and serves as the coordinator of the WorkHealthy initiative. In late April, Broughton became the first state agency to earn Excellence Recognition from Prevention Partners for meeting the organization's highest standards for a healthy workplace - an achievement that Helton said was possible only because of the buy-in from the employees. Click here to read Sherry Helton's and Broughton's full story.

SEANC statewide committee elections Award season is here! Award nominations for outstanding SEANC members and districts are being accepted through July 26. Email your nomination today!

Take our EMPAC survey Please take a moment to answer this SEANC member survey about EMPAC.

With convention around the corner, the following committees are looking for people to fill vacancy for the 2014-15 year. Deadline to submit your name is by close of business on July 17. 

Insurance Board of Trustees - one vacant board seat open in each region; chairpersons must submit nominations with a biography of the member to Doranna Anderson and Brenda Hooker. Retiree Council - one vacant board seat open in each region; if you are interested in serving on the Retiree Council, please submit your name and information to Spillman Grice and Mitch Leonard. Scholarship Foundation Board - one vacant board seat open in the following regions: Western, Piedmont, North Central and Eastern; if you are interested in serving on the Scholarship Board, please submit your name and information to Shirley Ballard and Beth Dew.


Strive for 55 Campaign Calling all volunteers! The SEANC Youth Council is holding a community service project - a Habitat for Humanity build! If interested in joining, meet at the SEANC office, 1621 Midtown Place, Raleigh, at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 28. It should last 3 to 4 hours.

The State Membership Committee is committed to bringing as many state employees and retirees as possible into SEANC's ranks and as part of its Strive for 55 Campaign it is recognizing SEANC's top recruiters. For the most recent period, which ran from Feb. 21 to May 23, the top recruiters in each region were:   

The SEANC Store is now online!

 

West (three way tie): Sandra Bristol of District 7 - 10 new members, Sherry Helton/Rometta (Dale) Shaffer, both of District 6 - 20 new members Piedmont: Ron Fields of District 20 - 220 new members North Central: Douglas Murray of District 26 - 31 new members South Central: Joe Cagle of District 22 - 50 new members East: Russell Anderson of District 60 - 30 new members

The top recruiters in each region can win $100. The next contest period runs from June 25 to Aug. 25.

Beat the heat this summer with SEANC Summer temperatures are finally here and it's time to take advantage of SEANC's great deals at area water parks. Hit the waves at Jungle Rapids in Wilmington, at Myrtle Waves in Myrtle Beach, or at Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro. Be sure to check the parks' websites for hours and dates of operation. Members can purchase discount tickets for these water parks at any State Employees' Credit Union Branch. Click here to find an SECU branch near you. State Employees Association of North Carolina 1621 Midtown Place Raleigh, NC 27609 800-222-2758 | seanc.org


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May 9, 2014

McCrory announces pay raise proposal for state employees

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

Gov. Pat McCrory announced Wednesday morning that his budget proposal for fiscal year 2014-15 will include a pay raise for all state employees. The governor said he is proposing a flat $1,000 raise for all employees, which works out to about 2.7 percent for most. For state employees on the lower end of the pay scale, it equates to more than a 3 percent increase. However, McCrory knows it is not enough. "I know that's not as much as you want or need, but it is a beginning," McCrory said. "We're fulfilling that commitment to all state employees because they deserve that money. They work hard. They're under a lot of work stress. They're putting in incredible hours. And we're trying to do everything we can in tough budget circumstances to put more money in their pockets, and it starts with this budget right now."

Become a SEANC Warrior! Want to talk to lawmakers face-to-face and make sure your voice is heard? Then sign up to join SEANC's professional lobbyists each Monday night while the General Assembly is in session.

EMPAC survey

SEANC Executive Director Dana Cope called it a "fantastic start," but now our attention to turns to the General Assembly, where SEANC will urge lawmakers to go even further and increase those proposed raises, as well as provide an equal cost-of-living-adjustment for retirees, too.


Please take a moment to answer this SEANC member survey about EMPAC.

Retiring from State Employment? Then don't forget to attend one of retirement planning outreach sessions offered by the State Health Plan. These sessions are designed for people turning 65 in the next year and planning retirement.

For information and locations, click here.

Legislative Update: Short Session Set to Begin with Pay Raise/Retiree COLA as Member's Top Priorities On Wednesday, May 14, the N.C. General Assembly will begin its short session with a number of issues on its plate, the most important of which for state employees and retirees is an increase in salary. Lawmakers have said they only plan to be in Raleigh for a few weeks this year, in what is truly a "short session." In many ways, the legislature's "short session" is simply a continuation of the prior year's "long session," and there are certain rules that determine what bills can be debated. And, of course, the hottest topic this year will be pay raises for state employees and retirees as Gov. Pat McCrory has already announced he is seeking a flat $1,000 raise for all employees, despite the Office of State Budget and Management predicting budget shortfalls that will have to be filled.

Award season is here! Award nominations for outstanding SEANC members and districts are being accepted through July 26.

Email your nomination today!

The SEANC Store is now online!

For more on this and other priorities SEANC is focusing on, click here to read The Legislative Update.

SEANC's PAC wins 81% of Endorsed Legislative Races in Tuesday's Primary Congratulations to the 81 percent of EMPACendorsed bipartisan legislative candidates who won their primaries and are moving on to the November ballot. And thanks to all the hard-working SEANC members who helped put out signs and man the polls during early voting and on Tuesday. SEANC is particularly proud of Erica Smith-Ingram (D-Northampton) for defeating longtime incumbent Clark Jenkins in Senate District 3. For the state Senate: Stan White (District 1, D-Dare), Erica SmithIngram (District 3, D-Northampton), Don Davis (District 5, D-Greene), Stan Bingham (District 33, R-Davidson) and Bob Rucho (District 39, R-Mecklenburg).


For the state House: Ray Jeffers (District 2, D-Person), George Cleveland (District 14, R-Onslow), Phillip Shepard (District 15, ROnslow), Jean Farmer-Butterfield (District 24, D-Wilson), Leo Daughtry (District 26, R-Johnston), Michael Wray (District 27, DNorthampton), Cecil Brockman (District 60, D-Guilford) and Rena Turner (District 84, R-Iredell). For more on the results of Tuesday's primary, click here.

More State Workers Side with SEANC Congrats to the 85 new members who recently chose to empower themselves and the public services they provide by joining SEANC! Welcome new members from the state departments of Agriculture, Environment, Health and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, Revenue, Secretary of State, Transportation, Treasurer, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the N.C. Education Lottery, N.C. A&T State University, N.C. State University, Craven Community College, Robeson Community College, and school systems in Durham, Moore, Richmond and Wake counties and Weldon City. Contact Lynn Cote for more information on hosting an event at your worksite.

Cool Off at Water Country USA Looking to cool off during the long, hot summer? Then whether you like slipping down thrilling slides, relaxing by the pool or on a lazy river, or watching an amazing dive show, there's something for the whole family at Water Country USA. And now SEANC members can purchase special discount tickets through the Benefits page on the SEANC website or by calling the SEANC office and speaking with a Member Benefits Program Specialist.

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


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