State government’s human resources department is paying for Facebook ads to promote its leader’s criticism of the State Employees Association of North Carolina.
SEANC has been calling for across-the-board raises for state workers, while Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget instead includes targeted raises for hard-to-fill positions. State Human Resources director Neal Alexander, who was appointed by McCrory, fired back in a recent letter to the editor published in The News & Observer.
SEANC, he wrote, “should know better ... If SEANC genuinely supports the state employees from whom it collects dues, it should be more aware of the significant advances being made.”
The Office of State Human Resources then praised Alexander’s letter on its Facebook page. It paid to promote the post to Facebook users who don’t follow the agency.
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“Excellent article on state employee pay in North Carolina,” the post says, linking to the letter.
The agency initially not respond to multiple requests for the amount spent on the Facebook ads. After this story was published online Friday, spokesman David Prickett said the cost was $100 for four days of Facebook promotion. He says it reached 90,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64.
“We boosted Director Alexander’s letter on Facebook to increase its reach,” Prickett said in an email. “It was important to do this in order to counter the inaccuracies and misinformation put forward by a SEANC representative in the original article. Since recruiting is a core function of OSHR, it is important for us to make sure job candidates and the public know the facts.”
SEANC’s government relations director, Ardis Watkins, criticized the agency’s move.
“Unfortunately for Mr. Alexander, state employees aren’t buying what he’s selling,” she said. “The interesting thing about Mr. Alexander’s letter to the editor and subsequent advertising of the letter is the anger of the state employees commenting in response. Clearly, state employees see through this bizarre attempt to convince them they have been treated fairly by their employer. “