The SEANC View

Examining the issues and topics concerning public employees and retirees in North Carolina. SEANC is the South’s leading state employee association, with 46,000 members in all 100 counties in North Carolina.

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Episodes

Thursday May 16, 2024

The SEANC staff provides an update on the early weeks of the General Assembly short session, including a revised revenue surplus projection and its effect on possible pay raises and bonuses for state employees and retirees.
The ongoing vacancy crisis in state government has strained services and the people who provide them. The state must invest now to tackle this issue head-on. We also discuss the plight of state retirees and the likelihood of cost-of-living adjustments this year.
If you would like to take action and contact your legislators, please visit SEANC.org/engage.

Wednesday May 08, 2024

Four law enforcement officers, including two members of an elite team from the Department of Adult Correction (Sam Poloche and Alden Elliott), died in an ambush while serving a warrant last Thursday in Charlotte. In this episode, we discuss the prevalent risks and sacrifices of these and other public workers daily. 
We also discuss Gov. Roy Cooper's state budget proposal, released last week, which included pay raises, retention bonuses, and a bonus for retirees. We discuss a study highlighting the disparity between the cost of living in cities like Raleigh and the salaries of state employees, and how the N.C. Senate's bill to spend nearly a half-billion dollars on private school vouchers will impact funds available for raises and COLAs if it passes the House. 
We also talk about potential DMV privatization and last week's State Health Plan and retirement systems meetings, including a major increase in premiums for the state's Medicare Advantage plans. 

Wednesday Apr 24, 2024

In this episode of the SEANC View Podcast, host Jonathan Owens, Executive Director Ardis Watkins, and SEANC's Government Relations team discuss the challenges and expectations in the General Assembly's short session, which began April 24. GR Director Suzanne Beasley, Political Director Flint Benson, and Lobbyist Chris Hailey, Jr., delve into the uphill battle retirees face for cost-of-living adjustments, high state hospital and prison system vacancy rates, and legislative lobbying efforts. The episode also underlines the invaluable role the SEANC Policy Platform Committee plays in representing public employees at the state level when making pivotal decisions on pay, retirement, and healthcare.
The team also discusses Ardis' recent trip to Washington with SEANC President Kirk Montgomery and his wife, Pam, to lobby members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation and Sen. Bernie Sanders on the need for more affordable prescription drug prices.
Ending on a high note, the team shares laughs over some of the most bizarre bills they've encountered in their collective years of service.

Friday Apr 19, 2024

In this episode of the SEANC View podcast, we welcome an insightful conversation with Representative Donna White, a vocal advocate for state employees and a serving member of the North Carolina State House of Representatives. A former state employee and a registered nurse, Donna provides a unique perspective on the profound vacancy crisis currently befalling North Carolina.
Donna describes her journey as a state employee working in various health departments and how her experiences have fueled her dedication to tackling recruitment and retention issues in the state’s government workforce. Recognized as Legislator of the Year at the SEANC 2023 Convention, Donna illuminates the existing challenges and the impact of this worsening crisis on the delivery of essential public services.
We also discuss the unexpected backlash from our interview with a representative from CVS Caremark.

Tuesday Mar 26, 2024

The North Carolina State Health Plan will end coverage of GLP-1 drug for weight loss drugs on April 1. In this episode of the SEANC View Podcast, hosts Jonathan Owens and Ardis Watkins, in conversation with Dr. Daniel Knecht from CVS Caremark, navigate the convoluted issues concerning obesity-related drugs, particularly GLP-1 drugs, and their high costs.
The discussion expands to encapsulate how these innovative but hefty-priced drugs impact the financial ecosystem of healthcare and are a burden on the national economy, affecting millions of Americans who are grappling with obesity. Through a comparative analysis of drug pricing in the United States and Europe, industry professionals aim to unravel the pricing strategies, market dynamics, and economic modeling in the pharmaceutical sector.
A notable focus is on the role of pharmacy benefits managers like CVS Caremark who are continuously engaged in price negotiations with drug manufacturers. The episode further scrutinizes government-run healthcare systems, the appealing lower drug prices they offer, and the concept of socialized medicine. In light of these issues, the importance of forcing hard negotiations with drug companies and the necessity of regulatory measures to control escalating drug prices are highlighted.

Tuesday Mar 12, 2024

We're joined this week by North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley and Chief Deputy Secretary Mark Benton for a deep dive into the triumphs and pressures facing the agency and its 18,000 employees.
The in-depth discussion sheds light on various topics — managing the immense pressures on state psychiatric hospitals, the systemic reliance on DHHS facilities, job vacancies and the challenges of hiring, the interaction between HHS and the criminal justice process, making mental health services accessible, and the crucial role played by state employees. We also take a look back at the COVID-19 pandemic, which began to pick up steam four years ago this week. 
Join us for this enlightening podcast episode that critically assesses North Carolina's healthcare policies, their implications, and the journey ahead.

Thursday Mar 07, 2024

SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins and Communications Director Jonathan Owens take a deep dive into the results of Tuesday's Primary Election in North Carolina, including some unexpected outcomes and the implications all the races have on state employees.
We react to Nikki Haley's departure from the Republican presidential primary, opening the floor for a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Then, we take a look at the state gubernatorial election, which will pit Attorney General Josh Stein against Lt. Governor Mark Robinson.
We also explore whether the "SEANC View podcast bounce" led to Wesley Harris's success in the nomination for State Treasurer, as well as some shocking upsets in Council of State and legislative races.

Wednesday Feb 28, 2024

In this episode, SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins and Communications Director Jon Owens are joined by Government Relations Director Suzanne Beasley to discuss possible efforts to privatize the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, the upcoming primary election, and more.
Dale Folwell received more votes than Donald Trump, Josh Stein, and Mark Robinson in statewide general elections in 2020. He also beat Trump and Stein in 2016. So why isn't he the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for Governor? We tackled that question and discussed our interview with State Treasurer candidate Wesley Harris.
Plus, a few fun topics are thrown in there.

Wednesday Feb 21, 2024

In this special election episode of the SEANC View Podcast, hosts Jonathan Owens and Ardis Watkins sit down with Rep. Wesley Harris, a Democrat who has been endorsed by EMPAC for the office of State Treasurer. Harris shares his views on the state's finances, the state treasurer's office's critical role in the lives of state employees and retirees, and his vision and strategy if elected.
The state treasurer's office is responsible for managing the retirement system and the State Health Plan, both of which greatly impact state employee families. Harris speaks about the similarities and differences between his approach and that of current State Treasurer Dale Folwell. 
Early voting has begun in North Carolina for the March 5 Primary.
 

Thursday Feb 15, 2024

State Treasurer Dale Folwell joins a special Election 2024 episode to discuss his run for governor. SEANC Communications Director Jonathan Owens and Executive Director Ardis Watkins discuss his efforts for state employees and retirees as Treasurer and his unparalleled focus on pension and State Health Plan transparency.
Folwell, who has been endorsed by EMPAC, SEANC's political action committee, for governor, shares his vision for North Carolina, touching on his approach to leadership — one grounded in conservatism, common sense, humility, and ethical decision-making. He contrasts his own style with Lt. Governor Mark Robinson and outlines his initiative to restore customer service culture within the state government.
 

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State Employees Association of North Carolina 

 SEANC is the South’s leading state employee association, with 46,000 members in all 100 counties in North Carolina. To keep up on SEANC’s daily news, follow us on Twitter @SEANC and “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/SEANC1947.

Visit our website at www.seanc.org

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