Friday, May 17, 2024

SECU CEO explains “doesn’t play fair” comment

Last week, after the annual meeting of the N.C. State Employees’ Credit Union, CEO Leigh Brady said former CEO Jim Blaine “doesn’t play fair.” Her comment followed the election of three new directors to the $50 billion credit union’s board, ousting three existing directors. Blaine promoted the new directors, while the incumbents were favored by SECU’s board and management.

After an SECU member asked Brady to explain her comment, Brady sent this email. She shared it with Business North Carolina, asking that it be published.

Good afternoon Ms. XXX:

I understand that you had concerns about my statement regarding Mr. Blaine providing misinformation and not playing fair. My comments do stand and I had provided the [Business North Carolina] reporter with some context, but he did not publish the items. Thought I would provide you with a couple of examples of misinformation.

  • Jim Blaine led readers on his blog to believe that the 500 signatures in 10 days requirement for outside Board candidates to be put on the ballot was just implemented this year. The truth is that the requirement of 500 signatures in 10 days was put in under Jim Blaine in 2015. And when I tried to correct that misinformation via a posting to his blog, it didn’t get posted.
  • Jim Blaine also mocked the Board spending members’ money at Sanderling Resort in Duck, N.C. – insinuating that they were on a lavish retreat. The fact is for many years SECU’s Board of Directors have visited retreat sites twice a year for their Board Planning sessions.  The last time I went to the Sanderling Resort was when Blaine was CEO and I went there accompanying Mr. Blaine and the Board for their Board Planning retreat. Mr. Blaine led the readers of his blog to believe that this was a new practice. I tried to correct his misinformation via a posting to his blog and again, it didn’t get posted.

These are just a couple of items and there are numerous others, but I hope these examples help you understand my statement. Playing fair would be allowing differing views in order to provide for healthy debate on a topic, but that is just not happening. Playing fair would have been Mr. Blaine agreeing to meet with McKinley Wooten, Bob Brinson and Jo Anne Sanford last year to discuss his concerns (he refused). Playing fair would have been meeting with me when I reached out to him via text in June, inviting him to lunch to see what I might do to gain his support and guidance. He refused and instead chose to post our text message exchange on his blog and belittle me (a reason I now choose to no longer view his blog and a reason I have lost great respect for him).  I am embarrassed and disappointed at the bullying and name-calling he allows on his blog. It’s just not professional and shouldn’t be encouraged.

If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out. I value your service to SECU and I promise you, we are working hard to move SECU forward and make changes that really are vital to the organization.

Thanks so much.

Leigh Brady, CUDE  (she)

President/CEO State Employees’ Credit Union

Editor’s note: Blaine was CEO of SECU from 1979-2016, including a period when Wooten, Brinson and Sanford were directors. He says he declined to meet with them because he wanted to meet with the entire board. 

Blaine says his blog has received more than 1 million page views since its launch in February. He says election rules approved in June were more detailed and restrictive than previously. He says Brady is welcome to post signed comments on the blog.




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