President’s Message: June-July 2022

This is my last letter to you as President of NCRGEA. I do hope that you have found these letters to be informative about what we do for you and how much we consider each of you a member of our public servant family. And what do families do? We stick together and support one another. Well, as I leave my two-year tenure as
your President and 10 years as a Board member, I want you to know that we need to keep on sticking together. You did your duty even in the tough times, and now it’s time for state and local officials to do their duty to our many retirees, whether it be pensions, COLAs or health insurance!

You have heard already that, after 10 years, the Supreme Court ruled on the Lake Case in the favor of state public servants who had joined the State workforce for a salary often below the market rate, with the promise that health insurance would be provided at no cost for an 80/20 plan. When the State reneged on that promise in 2011 by charging a fee for our health insurance, 28 plaintiffs, including Justice I. Beverly Lake, and one past and one current NCRGEA Board member, sued the State. NCRGEA supported that suit on behalf of our members from the very beginning and has spent over $300,000 supporting that effort. Yes, it was a gamble over those 10 years when the outcome was not certain, but we knew NCRGEA needed to stand up for its members and all other retirees. Look for more news about the Lake case in this newsletter on page 2.

Previously, I announced that we had hired an interim ED while we searched for a new one. I want you to know that Bryan Setser and his team have not only kept the trains running on time, but they are producing more new services than ever before. If you have checked our website, you have already seen the first efforts at making the site more modern and user friendly while adding much new content. Over the next few years, you will find the NCRGEA website to be the “go-to site” for the lifestyle of retirees. We want to be the one place where you can go to be connected to all kinds of services you need to live a better, richer life. As I write this letter in April, we are in the midst of the Executive Director search led by Martha Sue Hall. Hopefully, we will be informing you of the new Executive Director at our June board meeting.

Elsewhere in this publication, you will learn details about one of the staff’s greatest achievements – a week-long virtual celebration of Public Service and Public Servants for the first full week of June. Instead of a few district meetings this Spring, all 65,000 of you will have access to presentations spread over most of the week, so you
can choose what topics you want to learn about. The topics are those traditionally offered at our district meetings, plus many, many more. You can read much more about these opportunities in this newsletter on page 4 and on the website and social media.

You will also find in this newsletter several opportunities for you to participate in our efforts to recognize the contributions you and others make to our state, counties and municipalities. As a family of public servants during our careers, and even in retirement, let’s celebrate that.

You and I are proud to have been public servants and I am honored to have served you on our Board.

Vann Langston, NCRGEA President