February 4, 2009 FEA Europe Update

Future Leaders Training
Transfer Program
NEA Representative Assembly
VERA for Europe
Retirement Briefings
To borrow from your TSP account
Updates each week
AD Travels
Comparing DDESS and DoDDS

1. This past Saturday found more members of FEA attending training at Schweinfurt to train those interested in being "Future Leaders in FEA" This is an on going imitative for both Chuck McCarter and myself. The training is much like an FRS training but geared for those with less experience. Both Chuck and I will continue to offer these trainings in our Area's. In fact, at this writing I am working on two more this month! One will be at Ramstein High School and one in the Bitburg/Spang areas Feb. 21st and 28th respectively. So far the training has met with wonderful evaluations. We would like to thank those that have given up a Saturday to attend the trainings. We try to keep the group small so individual questions can be answered and build their knowledge base.

2. The information below was from President Michael Priser's previous update. Since then the Transfer Program was announced. Initially the web page experienced some "technical" problems. FEA will continue to monitor the site and pass along to DoDEA-HQ any issues relating to the application and malfunctions.
Transfer Program: As I write there has been no official notification from FEA or DODEA when the Transfer Program will be released. Be assured that the program will be released soon. Please read the information carefully. Our members can access ‘Tips for Transfers' via

This is a time of questions, projections, and personal reflection and decisions for many of you. FEA will assist you as much as possible. An example of questions coming from members concerns a probationary question when moving between DoDDS and DDESS. TEAK President, Betty Gossett researched and provided this information:
Article 9, Section 3.b. of the FEA Stateside/DDess Master Labor Agreement provides:

"Newly hired permanent employees, with prior service in DDESS or DoDDS systems who have successfully completed a probationary period of at least one year, will not have to complete another probationary period."

Be careful on the following situation, however:

If a permanent DoDDS teacher applies for a TEMPORARY (Not-To Exceed) position at DDESS, that position will disappear and the teacher will no longer have a job, even though the teacher had a permanent status with DoDDS. In other words, the mere fact that a permanent employee occupies a temporary position with DDESS does not transform the position from temporary to permanent. If the position goes away, so will the employee. Bottom line: Permanent DoDDS teachers should not accept temporary positions with DDESS.

Information about the transfer program announced on Monday February 2, 2009 can be found at: the DoDEA Web site.
Also, you will find attached, Transfer program timeline, Announcement, Category listing, School District listing and Guam FAQs! Please remember to check the "Tips for Transfers" from Connie at FEA-HQ. You will need your membership number to log in to this section of the FEA web site!

3. NEA Representative Assembly will be held in San Diego this summer. (dates in our FEA calendar) RA Ballots will be sent out soon so please watch for them and then respond!

4. Chuck and I asked about another round of VERA for Europe. We have been told no decision has been made one way or the other at this time.

5. Just in case Excess visits your school please find attached both the flow chart and the explanation of the process. Admin. has the flow chart as I saw it in one of the recent Friday Packets (January 16, 2009)

6. Retirement Briefings will be handled a bit differently this year. (Electronically) According to Jeanne Scharch, the schedules are being finalized and will be published soon. There will be 3 briefings each for CSRS and FERS covered employees. HR will also tape the presentation so that if someone could not attend they can view the briefing at a later time. Questions can be answered by the District HR Specialists or Area Specialist. At the time of the briefings an audio link will be available so questions can be asked after the briefings.

7. To borrow from your TSP account, you must be a Federal employee in pay status. If you qualify for a TSP loan, the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow is $50,000.00. This amount may be different when you apply for a loan because your account balance is recalculated each business day based on the daily share prices. The current interest rate is 2.125%.

8. FRS's Normally, Chuck or I send out Updates each week. Please let us know if you or the POC in your school/complex does not receive these weekly updates. We try to combine information into a weekly format so that FRS's can expect to hear from us on Wednesdays unless it is urgent information. This way we do not over kill with constant bits of information but can be found in one source each week.

9. AD Travels: Chuck will be traveling this week: Tuesday, AFNORTH, Wednesday Geilenkirchen. He should be in the office Thursday as usual! Please allow for potential slow email responses.

10. Comparing DDESS and DoDDS in case you are thinking of making a move at some point. This information was requested by Pacific Area Director Debra Degalis and was shared with the other Area Directors. (Thank you Debra and Ed!)
  • DDESS only credits 5 years of non-Federal experience and DoDDS credits 10 years. DDESS also starts at step 0 and DoDDS starts at step 1. A new teacher with 10 years of creditable experience teaching in LEAs in the U.S. would start at step 5 with DDESS and step 11 with DoDDS. DoDDS teachers who move to DDESS positions could lose up to 5 years of experience credit.
  • DoDDS employees receive foreign area allowances (LQA, Post Allowance/COLA, Separate Maintenance Allowance, etc.). DDESS employees receive only their salary.
  • DoDDS employees are eligible for RAT and separation travel to their home of record. DDESS employees do not get RAT and when they retire or quit, they do not get a move to their home of record.
  • DDESS employees do not receive any COLA and do not receive any "locality pay", but their salary is determined based on the prevailing salaries of teachers in their location and all of their salary counts towards the "high 3" for retirement purposes. (Remember Guam is considered DoDDS for COLA and RAT for DoDDS employees)
  • DoDDS has 18 steps in their pay schedule and DDESS has 29.
  • Both DoDDS and DDESS employees work 190 days per school year.
  • A DoDDS teachers earns 10 days of educator leave per school year. DoDDS teachers must take a half-day or whole-day of leave as a minimum. DDESS teachers earn 12 educator leave days and 3 personal leave days. DDESS teachers can accumulate up to 6 personal leave days with any excess 'rolling over' to sick leave can take leave in 15 minute increments. DDESS teachers also earn 3 days of personal leave per school year and have a leave bank that they can donate leave to and withdraw leave from. This is an EMERGENCY leave bank for serious illness.
  • DDESS teachers do not sign a mobility agreement and do not participate in the Transfer Program, except for Guam DDESS teachers.
  • Retirement, health benefits, life insurance, social security, injury compensation, and TSP are the same for DoDDS and DDESS.

Respectfully submitted,

John Luchtman
FEA Europe Area Director
Federal Education Association
Work 354-6844 Civ 09721-4758012
Home Fax/Answering machine 09725-5372