Leaders in the state’s main employee union will again receive three days of paid leave to attend their annual conference, in an executive order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper’s action on Thursday reverses an order by the previous governor, Pat McCrory, in December 2015 eliminating the benefit to officers and delegates of the State Employees Association of N.C.
McCrory contended the paid leave cost the state $425,000 annually and affected about 800 employees. SEANC said that was inaccurate; more than half of that number constituted retirees or employees not eligible for administrative leave.
Cooper’s order also guarantees that SEANC representatives can meet with department heads and recruit members at executive branch offices, which McCrory’s order had prohibited. It ensures annual meetings with the governor and quarterly meetings with the state’s personnel director.
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Cooper also recommends the UNC and community college systems, the state Board of Education and the heads of each Council of State agency offer the same benefits.
SEANC’s executive committee attended an order-signing ceremony at the Executive Mansion on Thursday.
“This increased cooperation between management and employees can only result in positive outcomes for the state and the taxpayers,” SEANC Executive Director Mitch Leonard said in a statement released Friday. “We look forward to working with the Gov. Cooper’s administration to make sure more of the best and brightest choose careers in state service.”
The governor’s office released a statement from Cooper.
“I want to encourage state employees to participate in an ongoing dialog about the direction of state government,” Cooper said. “This Executive Order will help facilitate opportunities for state employees to voice their perspectives, ideas, and concerns with leadership moving forward.”