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April 25 2012 FEA Europe Update

1. 21/26 Pay Period Election
2. Area JCC Minutes March 2012
3. EAC Meeting
4. Alex's Travels
5. Backlog of Retirement Processing
6. Dates to Remember for April and May
7. Administrator Placements
8. Goodbye Grievance Update
9. Kaiserslautern District HCR
10. Retirement Recognition


1. 21/26 Pay Period Election: The MOU governing the 21 or 26 pay period election is attached, along with the election form for 2012-2013. Note that the deadline is 31 May 2012 if you want to change your pay period election from 21 to 26 pay periods, or vice versa. Please remember that Bill Freeman recommends switching to 21 pay periods before you retire, so if retirement is in your plans for next year, the switch must be made before the end of this school year.

2. Area JCC Minutes: Attached are the minutes from the March JCC with the Area Office.

3. EAC Meeting: Alex and I will be in Wiesbaden next week attending our annual spring European Advisory Council Meeting, as well as attending the monthly JCC with the Area Office. There will be no update next week.

4. Alex's Travel Schedule: Alex will be in Bamberg Thursday, April 26th, and in Schweinfurt Friday, April 27th.

5. Backlog of Retirement Processing: Attached is an article from www.myfederalretirement.com, detailing the OPM's progress in processing retirements, along with an article dealing with the new TSP Roth IRA option.

6. Dates to Remember for April and May:
April 28 ---OSHA Established The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established on April 28, 1971. Since then, the nation has made dramatic progress in reducing work-related deaths and injuries.

April 26 ---Pay It Forward Day The Pay It Forward concept was first articulated by Benjamin Franklin, who realized that the world would be transformed if just a few people started doing good deeds and asking that those who they helped would pass along good deeds to others. The book and film of the same name helped to popularize the idea. See also Pay It Forward Day website .

April 26 ---Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Always the fourth Thursday in April, this program encourages parents to bring their kids to work with them and show them the wide range of jobs available to them. For more information, see the Daughters and Sons to Work website.

April 27 ---National Arbor Day Celebrated the last Friday in April, this event encourages people to plant and care for trees.

April 30 ---El día de los niños/El día de los libros/Children's Day Día, sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

May 1-31 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month A diverse group whose heritages represent more than 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made enormous contributions to the civic, cultural, and economic fabric of our nation. Read more at these sites: Teaching Asian Pacific Islander Heritage , Asia for Educators

May 1-31 Better Hearing and Speech Month provides opportunities to raise awareness about communication disorders and to promote treatment that can improve the quality of life for those who experience problems with speaking, understanding, or hearing. Learn more at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. 


May 1-7 National Physical Education and Sport Week For information on physical education and sport, see the National Association for Sport and Physical Education website and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition website and the Let's Move website.


May 1 Law Day The theme for this year is Law Day 2012 - The legacy of John Adams, from Boston to Guantanamo. Each year the American Bar Association holds a video contest for high school students grades 9-12. They are invited to use their history buff skills to create a video for the Law Day Video Contest. Four finalists win a trip to Washington, D.C.

May 3 World Press Freedom Day Every May 3, World Press Freedom Day commemorates the fundamental principles of press freedom around the globe and pays solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. For more information, see the U.S. Department of State website and the UNESCO website.

May 6-12 National Teacher Appreciation Week is the week to thank a teacher and take action to ensure public school educators are recognized, valued, and respected. Visit the National Teacher Day web page to learn more.

May 8 National Teacher Day is a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. Congress declared March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day for that year only. NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May. In May of 2009, a bill was introduced in Congress that created a national day of teacher recognition on the Tuesday of the first full week of May. See National Teacher Day web page.

May 5 Cinco de Mayo The anniversary of the unlikely 1862 Mexican victory over the French army at the Battle of La Puebla is more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, where it is considered a regional holiday.

May 5 Anniversary of the First American Man in Space On May 5, 1961, Mercury Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. (right, headed to launch) blasted off in his Freedom 7 capsule atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket (left). His 15-minute sub-orbital flight made him the first American in space.

May 8 Mother's Day honors mothers and motherhood.

May 9 National School Nurse Day School nurses work to promote health and provide the best care possible to students and their families. Take time on this day to look at the difference school nurses make in our schools. See School Nurse Day and learn more about school nurses at the National Association of School Nurses website.

May 17 Anniversary of School Desegregation Ruling On this date in 1954, racial segregation in public schools was unanimously ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment clause guaranteeing equal protection under the law.

May 20-21 Lindbergh Flight Anniversary of the first transatlantic solo flight. On these dates in 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop from New York to Paris.

May 22 International Day for Biological Diversity The United Nations proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. To learn more, visit the Convention on Biological Diversity website.

May 28 Memorial Day commemorates American men and women who have died in military service.

7. Administrator Placements: Attached is information provided to FEA, listing administrative placements. This information is not complete at this time.

8. Goodbye Grievance Update from Bill Freeman:
Hello all FEA-Europe Members,

I have great news! Arbitrator Sands has upheld the validity of Goodbye Grievances and blasted DoDDS and DFAS for "utter incompetence" and illegal debt collection practices. At least 90 percent of your "debts" are invalid. Many times, it is DoDDS who actually owes the teacher money. This Award makes for very interesting reading and vividly illustrates what I have been up against for the last 14 years. I have attached it here.

I have won refunds with interest for more than a thousand teachers who filed grievances. I have never lost. In 2002, DoDEA changed their strategy and had the audacity to tell me about it in an Arbitration. DoDEA said they would just wait until the teacher retired or separated and then collect the debt. DoDDS knew former teachers technically have no grievance rights. They are left on their own to hire private counsel at extraordinary expense. Effectively, they have no rights at all. I developed what later became known as the "Goodbye Grievance" in an attempt to preserve those grievance rights. There was no guarantee this would work.

DoDDS routinely "lost" Goodbye Grievances for years. Then they started issuing pro forma Decision Letters of denial. Our former teachers have filed and elevated at least one thousand Goodbye Grievances. As a result of Arbitrator Sands' Award, our former teachers are now protected if they follow the right steps. DoDDS will no doubt continue "denying" these Goodbye Grievances. Their "denials" will be irrelevant.

As many of you are aware, DoDEA followed through with their strategy of waiting to collect these bogus "debts." In the last two years alone, at least three hundred former teachers have received debt letters. Despite asserting their rights with our FEA Form, they have had money taken from their retirement checks, Social Security, and/or tax refunds. They have also had their credit ratings destroyed. Some of these "debts" are for as much as $100,000 and go back as far as 15 years. Imagine what your life would be like fighting a debt you did not owe, on your own, and with very limited funds.

Here is the bottom line: The Goodbye Grievance is reason enough alone to be a member of FEA. File and elevate a Goodbye Grievance before your last duty day in FEA-Europe. The Request to Elevate is the second and most important part. Keep copies of both as well as all your pay and personnel records forever. The federal government recently repealed the statute of limitations. If you receive a debt letter, use the FEA Form to timely assert your rights. The Government will almost certainly not provide you with all the records you need or an oral hearing before a disinterested judge. If they do, you will be the first. When they start collecting, contact me at Bfreeman@nea.org, and I will start the process to win a refund with interest. I will also have your credit rating restored.

I am once again attaching a copy of the Pay Problem Package that explains the process and has all the forms you need. Please keep it available. There is a good chance you will be needing it.

Bill Freeman
FEA-Europe General Counsel

9. Kaiserslautern District HCR: As a result of the recent elections, FEA now has a vacancy for the two-year term for Kaiserslautern District HCR. Applications will be sent out through the Kaiserslautern FRSs later this week. In accordance with past practice, the EAC will make a selection from the subsequent list of qualified candidates. Please send completed forms to aveto@live.com by COB Monday, April 30th.

10. Retirement Recognition: If you have members who are retiring this year, and you would like an FEA certificate to present to them, please send a list of your retirees to Marcia Anglim at Marcia.anglim@eu.dodea.edu. We will forward the lists to FEA HQ so that those members can receive a certificate of appreciation for their service and membership. Please include the address where the certificates should be mailed. In order to allow the certificates to be mailed out in a timely fashion, please submit the list of retirees no later than May 11th.

Have a great week!

Lisa Garmon Ali
FEA Europe Area Director

PSC 41 Box 5569
APO AE 09464
Tel: 44-1638527662 (outside UK)
01638527662 (local)
226-7662 (DSN)