... 'De Judge!
Well, you heard the saga of the visit which Barbara Perkins and I made over to the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees Association (NCRGEA) earlier in the week [see 9/14 post]. Ms. Perkins is a member of NCRGEA and a MEMBER NOMINATED CANDIDATE for the SECU Board. You also read the response from NCRGEA, through their legal counsel Mr. Jack Cozort, to the proposal made at that meeting [see 9/15 post]. So let's do Round 3:
Mr. Jack Cozort, Legal Counsel - NCRGEA
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dear Judge Cozort,
Was surprised to hear from you! Must be at least 25 years since we last spoke. Think it was around the time you were considering a run for governor; glad your better judgment prevailed!
Probably not necessary to thank you for your letter. But, I would like to make a few brief points in response. The letter sent to Mr. O'Connell was on behalf of Ms. Barbara Perkins, the NCRGEA member and SECU candidate. Just a suggestion - since Ms. Perkins was the focus of the meeting; it might be wise to send her a copy of your letter. Strong, intelligent women sometimes get offended these days if "overlooked". Ms. Perkins most certainly falls in that strong, intelligent category - as her candidacy indicates! But, your call.
Despite your remark, there was no request made in the letter for NCRGEA to change its position - none. No one questioned NCRGEA's authority to make endorsements. The request was only to send NCRGEA members information on all 6 SECU candidates - all 6 of whom were certified as qualified board candidates by the SECU Nominating Committee. If NCRGEA does not wish to provide complete candidate information to its members, that is NCRGEA's prerogative, too. A short "No way, Jose!" note from you would have sufficed.
You did not address the following statement from Mr. O'Connell's letter: 'We
understand that the opposition candidates who are running seek to undo
much of the progress that has been made, claiming to represent the will
of the membership but in fact, they represent only a small faction."
Mr. O'Connell freely admitted that he did not know and had never met any of these candidates - Perkins, Clements, Stone . The statement is just not accurate and does not reflect the goals of - Perkins, Clements, Stone. It would be very helpful if NCRGEA would simply admit that statement might suffer from a bit of "irrational exuberance". Not that hard to do.
Now the real touchy part of your letter Judge is that last paragraph about "threatening, intimidating language and bad behavior". I, of course, can't speak to Mr. O'Connell's sensitivities and sensibilities as an individual - and you of course weren't there. But, hope you will put your Appellate Judge's robes back on for a moment and consider the following:
- The tone and content of the letter sent to Mr. O'Connell did not appear to be intimidating nor threatening, did it? De-escalation was the theme, helpfulness the goal. No demands, no threats. Please go back and read it again. [see 9/14 post].
- As a judge, I hope you would also take notice that there was an "eye-witness" present at the meeting - Ms. Perkins, your NCRGEA member! If you do send her your letter, it might be an opportune time to ask about whether that "intimidation, threatening, bad behavior" occurred? Hope you're not disappointed in her answer - even if it may come across as a little too "strong and intelligent"!
Lastly Judge, I listened to one of your interviews online recently, in which you told a great story which summed up the essence of your career: "If Jack Cozort told you that, you can count on it!" Hope no one can argue about that as a guiding principle in life!
So, in reviewing my original letter, your letter and this response, I hope you will consider the fact that neither Ms. Perkins nor I have survived around Raleigh - like you for over 50 years - without also practicing your "You can count on it!" philosophy. If in doubt, review the evidence.
Same applies to the intentions of the 3 MEMBER NOMINATED CANDIDATES - Perkins, Clements, Stone - in the SECU election. Those three people are loyal, dedicated members of longstanding - not in "opposition", nor opposing progress, nor representative of a "small faction".
Your letter accurate? Don't think so, but you be the judge, Judge. We'll "count on it"!
Hope this response is not too abusive and that all is well with you and yours.
September 15, 2023
As a member have you noticed, nothing is ever easy with SECU anymore?