Shaver Protests Boylan Endorsement
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The endorsement of Joe Boylan by State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) is drawing protest from Bud Shaver, one of two unaffiliated candidates for the District 52 state House seat.
Some SEANC members are adding their objections as well.
The association gave Boylan its blessing prior to the primary election in May, then added its general election endorsement in late September.
However, Shaver is one of the principals who were involved in a celebrated class action lawsuit filed against the legislature in the 1990s over the inequality of the state's taxation of state and federal retirees' income. The suit challenging the state's taxation method was successful and resulted in a $799 million settlement benefiting thousands of state and federal retirees.
"This is very disheartening," Shaver said Monday. "For over 10 years, I worked with SEANC only to have SEANC endorse a guy who has done absolutely nothing for SEANC."
Jack Overman, retired commander with the U.S. Navy, said Monday that Shaver received "a bum deal" from SEANC.
"Bud Shaver has probably done more for state employees in getting recognition and refunds than anyone," Overman said in a telephone interview from his home in Manteo. "No one in the organization (SEANC) has done more for them than Bud."
Overman is co-chairman of the organization known as the 4th Branch, the panel that continues to monitor the retirement income taxation issue on behalf of state and federal retirees.
"I am very much interested in correcting any misconception they might have about Bud," Overman said.
He went on to say that about 27 states have entered into similar taxation agreements and that several of those states patterned their efforts after the successful movement in North Carolina in the 1990s.
Overman said he received a refund of several thousand dollars as a result of the lawsuit and said he knew of one retiree whose refund was large enough to purchase a new car.
However, Cliff Brown, immediate past president of SEANC, said that the endorsement was initially made prior to the primary election and that the association does not "change horses in the middle of the stream."
Neither Shaver nor Gerald Galloway, another unaffiliated candidate for the House seat, were in the running in the May primary election, when Boylan defeated veteran state Rep. Richard Morgan 52 to 48 percent.
Boylan was running as a Republican. The Democrats did not field a candidate.
After the election, Shaver, a registered Republican, tossed his hat into the ring as an unaffiliated candidate, something he can legally do under state elections law without relinquishing his Republican affiliation. He was followed shortly by Galloway, a former Democrat who had registered as unaffiliated a few years earlier.
In announcing his candidacy, Shaver said he was doing so as a protest against the pressure applied by the state GOP leadership to influence the outcome of the Republican primary election here.
"He's a Johnny-come-lately," Brown said of Shaver.
Brown said that the association rarely changes its endorsement after a primary election unless the endorsed candidate is the loser.
Brown said that Boylan made a favorable impression when interviewed by the Area A EMPAC, the regional employees' political action committee for SEANC. He said Morgan had never supported state employees and did not attend the EMPAC endorsement interview.
Morgan, who was seeking his 11th term in the House, had become an influential Repub-lican in state politics until he lost favor with the state GOP leadership, which launched vigorous efforts to oust him from office.
Morgan is a former House majority leader, a former co-speaker of the House and presently holds the position of speaker pro-tempore.
Brown said Shaver's support of SEANC on the taxation issue does not matter when it comes to endorsement.
"He's probably a good man," Brown said. "Yes, he's probably worked hard for state employees, but he should have gotten in the race when it was a primary election. He's kind of tied our hands."
Brown, who lives near Pinebluff, is retired from the N.C. Department of Corrections. His term as SEANC president ended Oct. 1.
Brown said SEANC leaves the endorsement matter up to EMPAC, with a committee established for different areas around the state.
Endorsements are made on the basis of EMPAC votes after interviewing candidates and studying their background and platforms. Brown said endorsements are not made on the basis of association leadership decisions or a vote of the total membership.
"I can see why Bud would be upset," Boylan said when asked Tuesday to respond to the endorsement issue.
Boylan called the SEANC endorsement a contributing factor to his May victory.
He also picked up other endorsements since the primary, including that of the National Rifle Association, which endorsed Morgan in the primary campaign. Boylan said he also has the endorsement of the North Carolina Right to Life organization and Americans for Taxpayer Reform.
"I am pleased to get the SEANC endorsement," Boylan said.
He attributes the endorsement not only to the interview but also to the interaction he experienced in his door-to-door campaign in the spring. Boylan said he talked to a number of state employees during these home visits.
"They got a lot of feedback from their own base," Boylan said.
Boylan said that state employees have been feeling "left out" because of a number of factors involving state government, not the least of which is the lack of meaningful pay raises in recent years.
State employees received a more substantial raise from the legislature this year, but it was the first one in several years. Boylan said state employees feel discriminated against when it comes to compensation provided to teachers, who are also state employees. He called it an equity issue with non-teacher employees regarding themselves as ignored by the legislature.
In a news release issued this week, SEANC said it is endorsing Boylan because "Boylan will provide the effective leadership Moore County needs to bring more high-paying jobs and lower taxes."
Brown said in the news release that as a Moore County native, he is "proud to support Joe Boylan." He added that Boylan can be expected to "fight for the rights of ALL state employees" and said "it is time Moore County had leadership that cares about North Carolina's workforce and will fight to support them."
SEANC is the largest nonunion public employees association in the nation, representing all employees and all retired employees.
But a number of SEANC members, especially retirees, ex-pressed open dissatisfaction with the Boylan endorsement.
In a series of e-mail messages to and from Shaver, several members have expressed concern and outrage that SEANC would even consider endorsing any candidate other than Shaver.
"I just don't understand how SEANC could be so misinformed in this political race," Clark Edwards said in an e-mail to Mitch Leonard at association headquarters. "There is no question that Bud has been a leader in our many legal battles as well as a leader in the 4th Branch. I think the people who made the decision should be called together and informed of Bud's many contributions."
Edwards is a past president of NCSEA and founding co-chairman of the 4th Branch.
He said Shaver "has been a very hard-working and productive friend of and supporter of very important issues that have benefited state, federal and local employees (active and retired). I regard not endorsing Bud Shaver as the most grievous mistake SEANC and IMPACT has ever made."
Shaver has also communicated his concern to Leonard.
In one e-mail to Leonard, Shaver said that "your headquarters people have failed to do their homework regarding the current political situation in Moore County."
Shaver said that one reason Morgan lost to Boylan in May is because of the corporate money poured into the Moore County primary campaign in an effort by the state GOP to unseat Morgan.
"In addition, so many people were turned off because of the negative literature flooding Moore County like a tsunami wave that less than 14 percent of those eligible to vote voted," Shaver told Leonard.
Shaver predicted that either he or Galloway would win the three-way race in November.
"Boylan, who receives his financial support from Raleigh, will come in third," Shaver said. "If I am wrong, I will buy you a dinner with three martinis. By the way, Galloway is a retired chief of police of Southern Pines whose retirement is not taxed by the state. I told him I would never comment about that fact during the election race."
In lauding Boylan, the SEANC president (Brown) is not helping the association, Shaver continued, adding that he was disheartened by "the politics that go on in Raleigh, particularly among those who forget who their friends have been."
Shaver said that the 4th Branch, formed in the 1990s after the lawsuit settlement, was established to keep an eye on the legislature and make sure lawmakers remain friendly to retirees. He said the 4th Branch does not function as a political action committee, does not solicit or proselytize, is nonpartisan and nonprofit.
Boylan is a businessman who makes his home in Pinehurst. He is a native of California.
Galloway was born in Sanford but has lived most of his adult life in Moore County. A graduate of Campbell College, he joined the Southern Pines Police Department in 1975 and was promoted to chief in 1988, a position he held until his retirement last year.
Shaver, who lives in Seven Lakes, is a retired Army major general with 33 years of service. In addition to the retiree taxation suit, he was also instrumental in the success of another class action lawsuit, this one involving the state's taxation of intangibles property.
As Shaver puts it, much of the trouble lies with state politics.
"It's the stinking politics in Raleigh that's so bad," he said Monday.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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