Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Three incumbent SECU directors seeking re-election

There will be a contested election for seats on the board of the State Employees’ Credit Union, the second-largest U.S. credit union with $50 billion in assets, 2.7 million members and offices in every N.C. county.

Three incumbent directors were recommended by a nominating committee made up of five current SECU directors, and one former director, according to a letter posted on the SECU website Friday.

They are: Jo Anne Sanford, Alice Garland, and Thomas Parrish. Sanford is a Raleigh lawyer and a former N.C. Utilities Commission chair. Garland was the top executive at the N.C. Lottery from 2010 to 2018. Parrish is a veteran state information systems executive who works at the N.C. Department of Public Safety and Department of Adult Correction.

Three other candidates will appear on the ballot for election after securing at least 500 signatures, the letter said. They are Michael Clements, Barbara Perkins and Chuck Stone.

Clements is a retired state employee in Winston-Salem who worked in public health in several counties. Perkins is a Raleigh accountant who worked in finance jobs for state and private companies. Stone lives in Goldsboro and worked as a healthcare administrator at state mental-health hospitals. He is a former operations director at the State Employees Association of North Carolina.

The election is set for Oct. 10, when the credit union holds its annual meeting in Greensboro.

Clements, Perkins and Stone received more than 4,000 signatures for their nominations. They have questioned policy shifts approved by SECU’s board following the 2021 hiring of CEO Jim Hayes. He left this summer to take a CEO post at a Maryland credit union. His successor, Leigh Brady, has worked for SECU for more than 35 years.

Eleven people submitted applications to SECU’s committee, with 10 taking part in interviews. The board favored Garland, Parrish and Sanford for best meeting “the evaluation criteria to continue to be effective directors,” the nominating committee letter notes. The other applicants were not disclosed.

Members can vote via absentee ballot between Sept. 1 and Oct. 3, or at the Oct. 10 meeting. The 11 members on the board are not paid but exert influence on one of the state’s biggest financial institutions.

“A contested election should benefit all employees and help clarify and explain the future direction of SECU,” former SECU CEO Jim Blaine said in an Aug. 14 post on his website. Blaine, who led the credit union from 1979-2016, has organized a website that questions SECU’s leadership and decisions on a nearly daily basis.

SECU had $31 billion in loans and reserves/retained earnings of $4 billion as of July 31.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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