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December 4, 2013 FEA Europe Update

1. Nearing the Break
2. Area Directors' Travels
3. Suggested Mail-by Dates
4. OPM Open Season
5. DoDDS Reunion
6. Update
7. Debt Letters
8. Summer Seminars for Teachers
9. FEA Board of Director's Meeting
10. Mark Your Calendars
11. Area JCC
12. Grievance Procedure
13. 2013-2014 Excessed Placement and VERA/VSIP Information Page
14. Camp Humphreys Middle/High School

1. Nearing the Break -- As you receive this there will a relatively short number of days before it is time for Winter Recess. I know that we all need it to recharge our batteries for what appears to be a very cold winter, as predicted by most prognosticators. I also remind you all that this is one of the seasons during the school year when allegations of child abuse and the like seem most rampant. Look after yourself and your colleagues and always keep in mind to be aware of your Weingarten Rights. Know that FEA stands ready to help you in any unfortunate event, but know that first and foremost we want you to be safe and diligent.

2. Area Directors' Travels -- I just returned from the States this past Saturday, November 30. We had a very productive BoD meeting and I then also had the opportunity to travel to NJ to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. This was very special to me, especially this year. Moving forward, I will be visiting Netzaberg and Grafenwohr schools this week, and next week will be traveling, along with Lisa, to the Area JCC in Wiesbaden on the 10th.

3. Suggested Mail-by Dates from European Theater to U.S. - First Class/Priority: Dec. 10; Express Military Mail Service: Dec. 17 As you can see, time is running out.

4. Office of Personnel Management Open Season - Each year, Open Season runs from the Monday of the second full workweek in November through the Monday of the second full workweek in December. This year, Open Season runs from November 11, 2013 through December 9, 2013.This is an opportunity to change insurance plans and to elect other Federal benefits, such as the flexible savings accounts. This is the last time that I will mention this for this year as by my next Update the window will have closed. http://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/open-season/resources/

5.. DoDDS Reunion -- This year it will be held from July 17 until 20 in Richmond, Virginia. For registration information: click here . Members who have attended past events always comment on how nice it was to catch up with former colleagues. Last reminder - Registration prices will be going up on December 31.

6. Update -- I anticipate that my next Update (and last for 2013) will be on December 18. If anything comes up in the meantime, we will keep you informed. Also, remember to check www.feaonline.org for the latest news.

7. Debt Letters -- I had thought that this was slowing down but I was wrong as I discovered in my travels over the last week. DFAS is still issuing debt letters at an astounding rate. If you find one of these in your stocking on December 25 please remember to follow all guidance that has been issued on how to proceed. If you are unsure contact your FRS who has a copy of the pay problem package that our attorney Bill Freeman has put together for our use.

8 . Summer Seminars for Teachers - The National Endowment for the Humanities is a great PD opportunity with the added bonus of some funding to cover the expenses! NEH offers Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators. Each year, NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,200-$3,900 help cover expenses for these one- to five-week programs.

For more information and application instructions, please visit the website below.
NEH Summer Programs

(Thanks to Brian Chance of KMS for sharing this information.)

9. FEA Board of Directors' Meeting -- I recently returned from attending the FEA Board of Directors Meeting in Washington, DC. Many topics of interest to all were discussed, and the Board heard from a number of speakers both from DoDEA as well as NEA. Also, the Board said good-bye to Ms. Barbara Wright, who has been FEA Business Manager for over 25 years, and who is retiring on January 1. While all wished her the very best in the future, we also expressed our sadness at her departure. Good luck Barbara, and thanks for all you have done on behalf of all FEA members over the years !!

10. Mark Your Calendars --
December 9 - Open Season closes
December 23 - Winter Recess begins
December 25 - Christmas Day
January 6 - Winter Recess ends

11. Area JCC -- The next Area JCC will be held in Wiesbaden on December 10 (this is a change from the original date). This will be a combined November/December JCC. We will send out the minutes of this meeting as soon as they are available.

12. Grievance Procedure - The Negotiated Agreement lays out the Grievance Procedure and purpose. Article 12, Section 1 states: "The negotiated grievance procedure is established to provide unit employees with an opportunity to raise matters of concern or dissatisfaction for informal, and where appropriate, formal consideration and resolution." It further states, "It is the intent of the parties to resolve grievances informally at the earliest possible time and at the lowest possible level. The filing of a grievance shall not be construed as reflecting unfavorably on a unit employee's good standing, his/her performance, or his/her loyalty or desirability to the organization..." Please see your FRS for further information on the Grievance Process and timeline

13. 2013-2014 DODDS Excessed Placement and VSIP/VERA Information Page - Here you will find news and information from FEA about the 2013-2014 DODDS Excessed Placement Program and VERA

14. Camp Humphreys Middle/ High School - Go here for the newest photos of the latest star in the DoDDS universe.

(Courtesy of USAG-Humphreys -- U.S. Army photos by Edward N. Johnson)

Alex

Alex Veto
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel: 0160 2388051 Email