<p>RALEIGH, N.C. – State Employee's Credit Union here has unveiled a new image campaign, but it's not for the credit union. State Employee's Credit Union's new campaign is aimed at helping to build the image of state agencies in North Carolina. This generous move to help improve the public's view of their state agencies, which are often vilified, does of course indirectly benefit SECU as the bulk of its membership is made up of state employees. "North Carolina's state employees make up a vast majority of our membership base, and we feel it is our responsibility to highlight the excellent programs they provide to citizens," said SECU President/CEO Jim Blaine. The $8.2 billion credit union has funded an image campaign to make citizens more aware of the many services they receive for their tax dollars. "In the past, people used to view state employees as having a wonderful position," said SECU Consumer Education Senior Vice President Leigh W. Brady. "Now between a budget deficit and large job cuts the morale just has not been great. So this campaign is our way of giving back and doing what we can to fix this image problem." The "What's in It for You" radio campaign kicked off January 28 with NC State University Women's Basketball Coach Kay Yow as the first spokeswoman. According to State Personnel Director Thomas Wright, this project has been a long time in the making. "The state had been wanting to do something like this for the past year but there was simply no money in the budget," said Wright. "We are proud of the services state agencies provide and value the employees who so diligently serve this state and we appreciate SECU's financial support in making this campaign possible." The initial campaign is slated to run for five weeks and features one of 10 different state employees, each promoting their agency and a program or service that benefits fellow North Carolinians. SECU worked in conjunction with the state's network of public information officers to determine which stories to feature in the ads. Some departments were recognized for their extraordinary efforts in the past year most notably the Department of Transportation for handling the frequent snowfalls and the state laboratories in helping deal with anthrax issues. In response to critics who suggest the credit union should be returning those funds spent on the state employee image campaign to members, Brady says "The fact is that with budget deficits predicted to be in upwards of $900 million this year many state employees won't be getting much of a pay raise if at all, so right now this is something they really need. This campaign is about helping to boost their morale by letting them know just how valuable they are and how much they are appreciated." In addition to the radio campaign, residents can also access an informational Web site www.whatsinitforyou.org, which includes links to various state agencies and universities. "The Web site will spotlight two agencies and one university each month," said Brady. "We all tend to take our state agencies for granted, thanks to them we've got roads, law enforcement, adoption agencies, museums and here in North Carolina it is a state agency that helps the 30,000 blind and handicapped individuals and the list goes on and on. So our goal for this campaign is for it to be a real eye-opener." It certainly is getting a lot of attention. According to Brady, plans for a newspaper campaign are currently being discussed and at press time a local news station had picked up the story. [email protected]</p>

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