June 3 2009 FEA Europe Update1. Area Directors' Travel
2. Arbitration Underway
3. Make Your Voice Heard
4. FEA Journal
5. EXCENT Compensation
6. GradeSpeed MOU
7. "What's Wrong With This Picture?"
8. NEA RA/FEA Annual Meeting
9. Working Together
10. Area JCC
11. Final Update
1. Area Directors' Travel - John and I have both been traveling quite a bit lately. I visited Menwith Hill E/HS last Wednesday and spent Thursday and Friday at the Alconbury Complex. Thank you to all those members who helped with my visits, took time to attend meetings, and or discussed issues with me. School visits are an invaluable part of our jobs and help us to identify and clarify issues.
2. Arbitration Underway - On Monday, I spent time in an arbitration hearing here in Wiesbaden. The hearing will continue through this week. Bill Freeman, our UniServ Director who deals with pay issues, is here to arbitrate a group grievance concerning pay issues for 14 teachers. Jan Freeman is here to assist him with the process. A number of teachers whose cases are part of the arbitration were also in attendance. It was an excellent chance for us to see our UniServ attorneys at work. Bill had obviously researched and prepared the cases very thoroughly and we are extremely fortunate to have him working for our members. His background in law and accounting, along with his years of experience with this system, make him uniquely qualified to present our members' cases. Bill was able to identify numerous errors DoDDS had made in alleged debts. In several cases, Bill was able to prove that DoDDS actually owed the teachers money! Unfortunately, it often takes a great deal of time, but FEA will continue to advocate for teachers throughout this process and insure that teachers are paid correctly.
* This is a good time to remind everyone that you should keep all your LES's and other pay records! These can be very important.
3. Make Your Voice Heard - FEA wants to hear from you on important issues. Members are reminded that our membership survey will remain available until July 1. To complete the survey, go to www.feaonline.org/survey.htm and log in using your FEA Membership ID Number and your last name. If you don't know your ID number, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Remember to use your home computer for this.) We've heard from several members who have had trouble logging in because of the security features on the survey software. The most common problems are cases where someone has already completed the survey on the same computer (the software allows only one response per computer) or the software is not properly recognizing their membership information. If you are an FEA member and have any trouble logging in, please contact us at email@example.com so we can work with you to resolve the problem. We want input from ALL members, so we appreciate your patience with this process.
4. FEA Journal - The latest issue of the FEA Journal should be arriving at your mailing address soon. This has your ID number on it for the survey and other protected portions of the FEA website.
5. EXCENT Compensation -- In response to a request from FEA, Dr. Miles has approved additional compensation for SPED educators who have had to put in excessive amounts of time dealing with Excent-related problems this school year. Building principals are to work with district and area SPED Coordinators to develop lists of which employees are to receive this compensation. The lists will then be turned over to DoDEA Headquarters so compensation can be arranged. SPED educators should check with their building principals to learn the procedure and criteria for seeking this extra compensation. Please keep your FEA building representatives informed of your efforts so they can pass any problems along to us.
6. GradeSpeed MOU - We received some questions recently concerning the GradeSpeed MOU, so I have attached it to this Update.
7. "What's Wrong With This Picture?" The grievance procedure outlined in Article 12 of the Negotiated Agreement was "established to provide employees with an opportunity to raise matters of concern or dissatisfaction..." Unfortunately, teachers who follow the contractual procedure for filing and elevating grievances have to wait months to receive answers, if they get an answer at all. FEA will continue to pursue answers to these concerns.
8. NEA RA/FEA Annual Meeting - Our FEA Annual Meeting will take place June 30 & July 1 in San Diego, followed by the NEA Representative Assembly. For further information on these important events, visit this page.
9. Working Together - In this time of change in DoDEA, it is clearer than ever before that we must work together and speak with a strong voice for our schools, our teachers, and our students. We must all maintain our focus and support each other. In doing that, we will continue to provide a world class educational system for our students and teachers. Be sure to check our website (www.feaonline.org) for the latest information.
10. Area JCC - The final Area JCC will be held Monday, June 8th. We will try to get the minutes out as soon as possible following our meeting.
11. Final Update - Barring any unexpected events, this will be my last Update for this school year. John will send out one next week. Let me take this opportunity to thank the many people who have worked so diligently this year for our members. This has been a difficult year, with many changes and challenges. First of all, a huge thank you to the FRS's and FR's who have done so much this year, including distributing information like our Updates and monitoring and reporting vacancies. The FRS's are vital to our organization and our members. Thanks also to the local officers who make our locals viable and who help our FRS's to serve our members.
Obviously, many thanks to John Luchtman, my counterpart...John is a true team player who works tirelessly for our members. I also want to thank our European Area Council. Alex Veto, Nancy Almendras, Lisa Ali, Kate Alexander and Linda Callender have all worked diligently for their members and have helped me immensely. Our UniServs, Jan & Bill Freeman and Sequitta Banks are amazing, knowledgeable and always available. Michael Priser and all of our At-Large Officers, as well as HT Nguyen and our whole DC staff are also valuable resources for me and for our members. And of course, thank you to each and every FEA member. FEA really is the "sum of its parts" and our strength is in our members. Thank you for your participation and support.
My thanks too, to those in management who have worked cooperatively in order to resolve problems.
Unfortunately, at the end of the year, we have to say goodbye to many wonderful people. Chris Havlik, our Administrative Assistant, will be leaving, and that will be a big loss for me. Chris is a wonderful help to me...organized, knowledgeable, and always upbeat. She has made my job and my life MUCH better.
Have a wonderful summer....if you are going on to "life after DoDDS," or moving to a different DoDEA region, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. If you are returning in August, I look forward to working with you again next year.
All the best,
FEA Europe Area Director
Tel/Fax: 0611-44756234 or
0611-44756131 or DSN 337-6251