State Politics

There’s a new boss for North Carolina’s state employees lobby

Outgoing SEANC Executive Director Mitch Leonard, from left, with new SEANC Executive Director Robert Broome and SEANC President Stanley Drewery.
Outgoing SEANC Executive Director Mitch Leonard, from left, with new SEANC Executive Director Robert Broome and SEANC President Stanley Drewery. SEANC

The main lobbying group for North Carolina’s current and retired state employees has a new leader.

Robert Broome, a veteran lobbyist and public relations pro, will take over as the executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina on January 1. SEANC has tens of thousands of members and advocates for better pay, benefits, pension raises and workplace conditions. Since collective bargaining isn’t allowed for public employees in North Carolina, it’s the closest thing state workers have to a union.

“SEANC has a proud history of advocating for thousands of public servants who have dedicated their lives and careers to moving North Carolina forward,” Broome said in a statement. “It is an honor to be entrusted with this tremendous responsibility by the members, and I am thrilled to become part of this talented team.”

Broome worked as a real estate lobbyist for years in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, according to a SEANC news release, and in 2016 became the communications director for the N.C. Department of Transportation. He was also the interim director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

He has also served as a political consultant and was an analyst for the Tennessee state legislature earlier in his career.

Broome is taking over from Mitch Leonard, who had been the executive director ever since the previous executive director, Dana Cope, stepped down amid a corruption investigation in 2015. Following a News & Observer investigation into his finances, Cope plead guilty to stealing half a million dollars from SEANC and is scheduled to be released from prison in 2020.

Leonard made a $123,759 annual salary, according to SEANC’s 2016 tax records. It wasn’t immediately clear what Broome’s salary will be.

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