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Don't Let OPM Force Locality Pay on Guam

IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment because it suggests action to be taken in support or against legislation. Do not send emails or faxes on this issue to government officials using government equipment.

Background


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is again trying to save money at the expense of working men and women. OPM wants to replace the Non-Foreign Cost of Living Adjustments paid to civilian government workers in Guam and other locations with Locality Pay. For DDESS educators working on Guam, this means their pay could be slashed to a rate comparable with that paid by Guam public schools.

OPM claims the change would benefit workers because Locality Pay, unlike COLA, counts toward retirement. However, there would be no true benefit since the Locality Pay in a location such as Guam would amount to less than DDESS employees have been receiving from their salaries alone under the current system.


What Can You Do?


FEA members and their supporters EVERYWHERE are urged to take action to support our fellow members on Guam. Send a message to Senator Daniel Akaka, Chair of the Senate's Federal Workforce Subcommittee. Sen. Akaka is requesting input on the proposed change from those who will be affected by it. LET HIM KNOW YOU DO NOT WANT THIS CHANGE.

Use the talking points below to compose a letter or email and/or call the Senator's office to register your opposition to Locality Pay for civilian employees on Guam. Feel free to paraphrase this information, but please DO NOT COPY IT VERBATIM. The messages Senator Akaka receives must be personalized and individual, not just form letters.


How to Send Your Message


Contact Senator Akaka via email
Note: the email contact form on the Senator's Web site does not list Guam as an option for State in the address portion. If you have a mainland U.S. address you can provide, use that. Otherwise, use the fax number below to send your message.

Or Fax the Senator at his Office address:

United States Senate
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Tel: (202) 224-6361
Fax: (202) 224-2126



Guidelines for Your Message:


  • In your email or fax, mention that you are an employee of the Department of Defense Education Activity working in a DoD schools on Guam. Mention your school and your specific job; personalize your message in anyway you can so that it does not appear to be a form letter.
  • Clearly state your purpose for writing the Senator: To ask him to oppose changes proposed by OPM that would replace Non-Foreign Cost of Living Adjustments with Locality Pay for government civilian employees on Guam and elsewhere.
  • Point out that pay for school employees in Guam is very low compared to most locations within the U.S. and implementing Locality Pay will make it very difficult for DoDEA to recruit high-quality staff to come to the island.
  • Contrary to claims by OPM, Locality Pay will hurt employees' retirements because average salaries in Guam are significantly lower than the those paid by DoD schools.
  • Examples of Guam's problems retaining teachers can be found on Google and other sites. Look them up, or preferably use a story of your own knowledge about Guam's recruitment/retention problems as a result of its low pay for school employees.
  • If you are not presently an educator on Guam, but are employed elsewhere in DoDEA or another school system, make a point of saying how implementing Locality Pay for schools on Guam would make it less attractive to you as a potential future work location.
  • DoDEA schools, such as those located on Guam, rank among the best school systems in the U.S., both in standardized test scores and in minority achievement gaps. Brag about your own students and their performance.
  • If DoDEA cannot recruit and retain the best teachers, due to low Locality Pay, the quality of education available to military dependents will suffer, as will overall Quality of Life for the military parents of those students. Cite examples of parents telling you how great the DoD schools are and how they improve military Quality of Life.
  • Re-state your request of the Senator: That he oppose implementing Locality Pay for DoD civilians on Guam or elsewhere.
  • End with "thank you" or other appropriate closing and sign your name.

Please email, fax or phone your message to Senator Akaka's office as soon as possible, Do not send your message by mail, as that will take too long to reach the Senator.