SEANC

Dale Folwell is not a "friend" of state employees

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Friends don't try to get your children booted off your health insurance:

Since he took office in 2017, Folwell has repeatedly advanced or acquiesced to policies that would ultimately reduce the number of people on the SHP rolls. In May of 2017, for example, state employees received an email and letter sent via “junk mail” rate postage instructing them to resubmit a copy of the first page of their tax returns, or children’s birth certificates in order to prove they are not fraudulently covering spouses or dependents under the SHP.

After receiving the letter, I for one thought that it was a scam since it had all the telltale signs, and I had already recently submitted my tax return to prove that my children are my children, and are eligible to be covered on my plan. Folwell’s letter said I had to submit copies of their birth certificates by July 31 through an online portal, or my children would be removed from my health insurance plan on August 1. Six hundred people were removed from the SHP for the rest of 2017. Of that number, how many were actually fraudulent?

In a sane world, the employees' union would have pushed back on that, and made sure that nobody (or their children) fell through the cracks. But "sane" and "SEANC" probably shouldn't be used in the same sentence. Tweets I saw back then were completely supportive of Folwell's "fraud" claims, and SEANC's website itself published Folwell's entire statement with no comments or rebuttal:

Will Josh Stein continue his fight to keep state employee from having OAH hearing?

On May 18, 2017 Administrative Law Judge Julian Mann, III sent notice to me and NC Assistant AG Joseph Finarelli a 'Notice of Contested Case and Assignment'.

This was in response to my request to have a hearing to contest that I was improperly reclassified by Governor McCrory as 'managerial exempt' even though I managed no people, no programs, never met anyone from the McCrory administration, and, after I was fired, the McCrory administration did not ask me to turn over a single file or document.

Josh Stein continues to wage legal battle against vested state employee's right to a hearing

Attorney General Josh Stein continues to use state tax dollars to wage legal battle to deny vested state employee his right to a hearing at OAH

I am a former state employee with 'career status'.

SEANC members to choose Dana Cope's replacement

A chance to right the ship and move forward:

The outsider candidate is Art Anthony, one of two former board members who blew the whistle by bringing evidence of misconduct to The News & Observer.

The insider candidate is Ross Hailey, SEANC’s first vice president and sole member of the committee that initially investigated allegations of misconduct.

No doubt there is a flurry of e-mails and backroom bullying going on that would rival NCDP maneuverings, but hopefully members will note the significance of having a long weekend to contemplate their decision. By 1893, over half of the states had enacted Labor Day holidays, but North Carolina was not one of them. And right now, our state has the lowest union membership rate, hovering close to only 2%. And the *worst* effect Dana Cope had on SEANC is to reinforce the prejudicial and management-fostered meme of corrupt union bosses. Business as usual ain't gonna work anymore:

Is a $750 one-time bonus better than nothing?

It's been almost 30 years since I was a state employee in North Carolina, so it's hard to put myself in the shoes of those serving the state today. But judging from comments made by one of SEANC's lobbyists, I know I wouldn't have much confidence in their pussy-footing around.

Grand Jury indicts Dana Cope

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He should have flown away in his little plane when he had the chance:

A Wake County grand jury indicted Cope, 45, on two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He had been SEANC’s director for 15 years before resigning in February, shortly after Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman launched a criminal investigation.

The case has also prompted the resignations of two other top SEANC officials: Tom Harris, counsel and chief of staff; and Toni Davis, communications director. SEANC’s financial director was demoted and its member services director was put on a year’s probation.

I take no satis...Okay, I take some satisfaction in his downfall, but I sincerely hope SEANC recovers (quickly) from this mess. State employees need and deserve a strong Association to help them weather the GOP storm, which would reduce their ranks significantly if left unchecked.

With Cope gone, SEANC wakes from its slumber

Only to find itself in an anti-government nightmare:

Buried deep in the Senate budget proposal that lawmakers passed last week is a provision that would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees who are hired after January 1, 2016. “This puts the state at a major disadvantage in the recruitment and retention of state employees, teachers, and university faculty compared to other states,” said Chuck Stone, director of operations for the State Employees Association of NC (SEANC), of the Senate’s push to jettison the health retirement benefit.

Dana Cope always prided himself on knowing what Legislators were planning to do, and working his little back-room deals that (supposedly) benefited his members. But aside from throwing NCAE under the bus over the paycheck dues issue, the rest appears to have been smoke and mirrors:

Dana Cope's fall from grace continues

Leaving sweat stains on his proper shirts:

The News & Observer independently obtained additional records of Cope’s spending. They show he used a SEANC credit card last fall for purchases from a luxury tour company, a North Hills art gallery, a Texas purveyor of upscale Western wear and a London clothier.

Those sorts of expenditures have prompted Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman to ask investigators to broaden their inquiry into Cope’s spending. In addition, SEANC is working to claw back a severance payment given to Cope when he resigned.

Don't have much sympathy for SEANC's efforts to "claw back" (love that terminology, by the way) whatever size pile of money they gave Cope when he exited the stage. They had ample evidence he had sunk his claws into a lot of Association funds for personal use in recent years, so throwing more money at him was inappropriate at best. Here's some of that personal use:

Dana copes with a hook in his mouth

Whether by phone, letter, e-mail or text, two of the most feared phrases in the state of North Carolina sometimes originate from 215 South McDowell Street and begin something like this... “It has come to our attention” or, “I’d like to ask you about.”

Probe into Cope's financial irregularities gets serious

Not exactly sure how serious, but SEANC's 55,000 members deserve better answers than they've gotten so far:

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday she is asking the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal inquiry about possible financial improprieties at the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

Freeman said the SBI inquiry is one step short of a criminal investigation. The SBI will review and attempt to validate information provided to Freeman. "Regardless of how outrageous people may feel the conduct has been, the question is whether there is evidence a crime has occurred," Freeman said. "Poor judgment and abuse of authority does not necessarily equal criminal activity."

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