State Employees Association of North Carolina tomorrow will sue several state officials as well as trustees of the $59 billion North Carolina Retirement System for using state funds to balance the budget, rather than contribute to the retirement system. The suit claims state Treasurer Richard Moore, Gov. Michael F. Easley, the state comptroller, the state budget officer and the system trustees violated their fiduciary duties by taking $129 million set aside for state contributions and using it to balance the budget. As a result, the state did not contribute anything to the retirement system last year, said Dana Cope, executive director of the employees association. State lawmakers last year approved slashing the states contribution to the system to 1.97% of pay, from 5.3%, while raising contributions to the retirement system for state legislators to 23.2% of pay, from 22.7%. At the time, the employees retirement system was 108% funded, according to Fred Hartman, spokesman for Mr. Easley.
In a similar suit last year, a state judge ruled the association did not have the right to sue. That suit is now before the state court of appeals in Raleigh, Mr. Cope said.