June 13 2012 FEA Europe Update13 June 2012
1. Legal Updates
2. European Teachers of the Year
3. Masters +15 and Masters +30 Update
4. Debt Hearing Letter
5. Save the Date
Legal Updates: Attached are two legal updates from the FEA Washington office. The first, deals with important legal victories and the second concerns Overseas Allowances and Differentials for Domestic Partners of DoDEA Employees.
European Teachers of the Year: Congratulations to Jan Starnes, Lakenheath Middle School, and Danielle Massey, Vilseck High School, for being selected Teachers of the Year for the Isles and Bavaria Districts, respectively. Information for each of the teachers is attached. FEA is proud to have these two wonderful representatives of our profession as members.
Masters + 15 and Masters +30 Update: This is a brief excerpt from Bill Freeman's message which went out earlier this week.
Besides validating the Goodbye Grievance as a "lifeline," Arbitrator Sands recently held that DoDDS has been wrongfully granting Pay Lane credit for MA+15 and MA+30 for many years. DoDDS has been wrongfully granting only graduate credit earned AFTER the first Master's Degree was awarded. He made it clear that "graduate credit is graduate credit," regardless of when it is earned. This will result in a great deal of well-deserved money for MANY of our members in Europe and the Pacific. Under a best case scenario, it could total $35,000 in back pay and interest so far. It will also result in a higher "high three" for MANY retirement computations. We will be coming out with more instructions on what to do next fall. If you will not be in either the FEA-Pacific, or FEA-Europe Areas next fall, file and elevate a Goodbye Grievance now and keep copies of everything in order to preserve your rights.
VERY IMPORTANT: We are in the early stages of identifying those affected ad need your help. For now, if you think you could qualify, gather all of your transcripts this summer. The credits must be identified on the transcripts as "graduate credit."
Debt Hearing Letter: I really don't like ending the year on such a note, but a "new" debt claim response letter has come to my attention, and you all need to be aware of what it means in case you receive one. I have attached a copy of the letter for you to read, (SCAM pdf.) along with a pay problem package from Bill Freeman. Below is Bill's response to the member who received this debt claim letter.
"This is a scam they are perpetrating on everyone. I just had an Arbitration Hearing with Dr. McKissick and she was blown away by one of these. Notice the ‘hearing official' is anonymous…probably the same DFAS bureaucrat who calculated the ‘debt' with incomplete and erroneous records. Notice the teacher had none of the records needed to dispute the debt. Notice the burden of proof was on the teacher. This is one of the bogus procedures I warn our teachers not to buy into by using any of their forms. They are going to take this money, so file and elevate a Violation of Debt Collection Act Grievance now. See the attached package. Make sure copies of everything are attached to the grievance. I will eventually get all of the money back with interest, but there are 500 in front of this one, and DoDDS is making me arbitrate each one. Just let me know if any contact information changes."
Save the Date: FEA Association Day will be held September 22, 2012, in the United Kingdom. We are planning a great day of activities, hopefully to include a visit from a prominent NEA office as well. Mark your calendars now and look for more information early next school year.
Summer: In this, my last update of the school year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our UniServ attorneys for DoDDS-Europe, Jan Freeman, Sequitta Banks, and Bill Freeman. They work long hours protecting our due process rights and have earned a much-needed holiday. Thank you to all of my work colleagues, FEA Area Director for Bavaria and Kaiserslautern, Alex Veto, District Representatives, and the European Advisory Council, as well as the FEA Board of Directors. Most of all, thank you to our Teachers, especially those serving as FRSs and FRs, who have given tirelessly of themselves this year as part of the DoDEA team. Have a great summer---do at least one thing that you really want to do, and return to work in August, ready to face whatever the next school year holds in store. To our many retirees, or those leaving the system for other reasons, I wish you the best of luck in whatever your future endeavors may be.
Lisa Garmon Ali
FEA Europe Area Director
PSC 41 Box 5569
APO AE 09464
Tel: 44-1638527662 (outside UK)