September 22 2010 FEA Europe Update1. FRS Training
2. European Area Council Meeting
3. Spring EAC and Association Day
4. When Issues Arise…
5. AdvancED, QAR, or Other Visits
6. FEA Survey
7. Pay Problems
9. Mark Your Calendars
10. Keep Informed
12. FEHB Open Season
1. FRS Training --- The four district FRS trainings were well attended and well received. Many thanks to all of you who attended, and for all you do all year long. This brief, and very full day of training only gives FRS's and FR's the very basics, so please remember to contact your District Rep or Area Director when you have questions. Also, please contact us if you need any of the forms we referenced sent to you electronically.
Thanks to the four District Reps and all who helped make these training days smooth and productive. And a special thank you to the four District superintendents who visited the trainings in their districts. This type of open communication benefits us all.
2. European Area Council Meeting -- The European Area Council met Sept 16th & 17th for our fall meeting. In addition to our District Reps, European HCR Coordinator, and two Area Directors, also in attendance were Michael Priser, FEA President; HT Nguyen, FEA Executive Director/General Council; Sequitta Banks, UniServ Attorney for Bavaria and Kaiserslautern; Mimi Cuadrado, FEA Human & Civil Rights Coordinator; Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA and Gary Hritz, FEA's Communication Director. Many thanks to our guests who traveled so far to be with us. We appreciate their input and their expertise.
Also attending was Dr. Nancy Bresell, DoDDS --E Area Director, who took time to come and meet with the EAC for an extended discussion and question & answer session. The EAC appreciates the chance to speak with Dr. Bresell in such an open dialog.
The EAC and our guests spent two long days discussing issues which face our schools and our members and deciding how best to address these issues. Some issues will be addressed at local, district, or area levels while others will be referred to the Board of Directors or our Washington office.
3. Spring EAC and Association Day -- Plans are already underway for our spring EAC meeting April 27-29th, 2011 here in Wiesbaden. We are also planning an "Association Day" for Saturday April 30th. We hope to have guest speakers from both FEA and NEA. Mark your calendars now and watch future Updates for additional information in the spring.
4. When Issues Arise… -- Although the start of this school year seems to be smoother and less stressful than last year for many schools, a number of issues have still "cropped up." Please remember when issues arise in your school, work with your FRS and Administration to resolve them there. Frequent and open communication can help to resolve issues before they become larger problems. If issues cannot be resolved at the school level, they can be elevated to your District Rep.
5. AdvancED, QAR or Other Visits -- A number of our schools are scheduled for official "visits" this year. As you are planning for these visits, here is a reminder from the AdvanceED Guide: "Please note that team members are not allowed to accept gifts from the school (school pens, pads of paper, and other items to assist the team with their work are acceptable to provide)." As stated in the April 2008 Area JCC notes, there is also no expectation or direction that gift bags, baskets, or other special welcome items be prepared by teachers.
6. FEA Survey - FEA has sent out a survey for all Bargaining Unit Members. The survey was sent to all building FRS's with a request to have their bargaining unit members complete the survey. The FRS's were also asked to collect the completed surveys and return them to FEA by October 8th. In this time of transition in DoDEA, FEA believes it is important to hear directly from school level educators about what you feel the Association's priorities should be in working with DoDEA.
7. Pay Problems - FEA continues to hear of increasing numbers of employees who are receiving Debt Letters. If you receive such a letter from DFAS, be sure to invoke your rights immediately under the Debt Collection Act of 1982 and Article 45 of our Negotiated Agreement. See your FRS or contact your District Rep or Area Director for the form letter which FEA created and recommends. The letter should be sent "return receipt requested."
This is also a good time to remind everyone again how important it is to keep track of your pay and entitlements. See your FRS if you did not receive a copy of the Pay Organizers which we sent out.
8. SF-50's -- At the beginning of the school year, you should have received a new SF-50, showing your return to duty status, etc. If you have not, please check with your school secretary. Once you receive this, double check to insure that all the information is correct and save this for your records.
9. Mark Your Calendars --
Sept 25 -- FEA Local Leader & Member Training, Baumholder, POC: Alex Veto
Oct 1 -- Area JCC, Wiesbaden
Oct 16, 17 -- Strategic Leadership/Group Process Skills, Kaiserslautern, POC: Terese Sarno
Oct 18 - 22 -- FEA Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington DC
Nov 5 - 7 -- Social Justice and Diversity Training, Wiesbaden, POC: Nancy Almendras
Nov 8 -- Dec 13 -- FEHB Open Season (See below for more information.)
10. Keep Informed -- If you do not receive Michael Priser's "President's Report" directly, go to the FEA website (www.feaonline.org) and register to have it sent directly to you. In these changing times, it is very important to stay informed.
11. Resources -- The NEA website is a great source of information and resources. Currently there are resources for teaching Hispanic Heritage Month (http://www.nea.org/tools/13900.htm) and a variety of classroom management tips. (http://www.nea.org/tools/Works4Me.html)
12. FEHB Open Season - The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has announced the dates for the 2010 Federal Benefits (FEHB) Open Season: Monday, November 8, 2010 through Monday, December 13, 2010.
During the annual Open Season, employees can take the actions listed below for the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS), Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).
1. Enroll in a flexible spending account -- a health care and/or dependent care account, under the FSAFEDS Program. Unlike with other programs, employees MUST reenroll in FSAFEDS each year to participate. Enrollments DO NOT carry over year to year.
2. Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a dental plan under the FEDVIP Program.
3. Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a vision plan under the FEDVIP Program.
4. Enroll in, change, or cancel an existing enrollment in a health plan under the FEHB Program.
Thanks for all you do,
FEA Europe Area Director