June 12, 2014 FEA Pacific Update

Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
Stay Informed
NEA Representative Assembly Delegates
Last Minute Vacancy Announcements
Goodbye Grievance
Social Security
Remember to check those documents
Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Staffing and Involuntary Assignments
Legal Eagle Corner
Other Tidbits

Area Director Update: Good bye School Year 2013-14! We have survived and we continue to thrive. Your students are prepared for their next educational step. It is time for you to unwind and revive. With the appointment of a new DoDEA Director, FEA is hopeful that common sense and sanity will return. There is still that pesky federal budget, so don't let more cuts take you by surprise.

This is my last Update as FEA Pacific Area Director. You will be in good hands with the new Pacific Area Director Randy Ricks. He will be accompanied by an experienced team of District Presidents, including NEATA President Jeannette Ferguson, AEAO President Melanie Horton, and TEAK President Joan Oana. FEA Pacific staff includes Assistant UNISERV Stephanie Trotter and Pacific General Counsel Michael Bauernfeind. The leadership is strong. What more can I ask?

I want to thank the FEA HQ staff, legal, and the Board of Directors for all their support over the past 6 years. Hugs are on their way. It is difficult to recognize all of the local leaders and officers with whom I have worked over the years. Please know that I sincerely want to thank all of you who have stepped forward to serve your colleagues and the Association. It has been an honor working with you all.

On a personal note, I have decided to retire and begin the next great adventure! As FEA President Chuck McCarter put it, "You will now be bi-costal." I plan to live in both the San Francisco Bay Area as well as my beloved North Carolina on the coast near my family. As we say in the South, "Y'all come and visit, you hear?" You can contact me via my private email,

Stay Informed: Gentle reminder. You can receive the FEA President's Reports and other FEA update as soon as they are published. To do this, go to We recommend that you use your private email address.

National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly and FEA Annual Membership Meeting: Please don't forget. This year the NEA RA and membership meeting will be held in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado. The FEA Annual Membership Meeting will be held June 30 and July 1 followed by the NEA RA July 2-6. All members are welcome to attend the FEA Annual Summer meeting as well as the RA. Contact for more information.

Last Minute Vacancy Announcements: The unexpected openings in Bahrain and Cuba have kept all of us busy. FEA has worked with DoDEA HQ to allow as many teachers as possible to apply for these vacancies. The announcement added an unwelcome caveat. Locally hired teachers who receive a reassignment to one of these vacancies will not receive full overseas entitlements. FEA General Counsel, HT Nguyen, is working directly with HQ to modify this position. If a local hire is offered a position, accepts and is not given entitlements, FEA Legal will litigate.

Teachers have asked if Service Computation Date (SCD) will be used for vacancy selection. DoDEA HQ is allowing the principal to make selections among applicants. Unfortunately, announcements were delayed at some schools. FEA contacted the membership immediately. We have asked DoDEA HQ to extend deadlines because of the short suspense date. Teachers have also asked if there is a cutoff date. A cutoff date has not been provided. Applicants should provide summer contact information. Be sure to provide contact information to your school principal and secretary as well. If offered a position, the applicant can reject and remain in current position. The applicant will not be considered for any other positions.

Goodbye Grievance: Last reminder! If you will be retiring or separating from the Pacific Area you might want to file a Goodbye Grievance. DFAS has a cruel way of sending out debt notices once you have retired or separated. Work with your FRS and make sure that a copy is sent to the Area Director and to our UNISERV Attorney. You should know that the Final Decision will deny your grievance and the language used is boiler plate. Ignore it and send to us. You will receive FEA assistance if you receive a debt in the future.

Social Security Statement Online: We'd like to remind you to review your Social Security Statement online. The Statement has important Social Security information and, if applicable, estimates of your future benefits. Check to make certain that your earnings record is correct. The Statement also will help in planning your financial future. Here is the website: Thanks to Brian Chance for this tidbit.

Remember to check those documents: Please remember to check your documents such as driver's license, passport, ID cards, etc. Those suspense dates have a way of sneaking up on you.

TSP Loans: If you have a TSP loan and are paid on a 21 pay period schedule, then, you must file a Notification with TSP (TSP Form 41) through your HR Specialist. This is necessary because TSP will act as if you are not repaying your loan because no income is shown during the recess period. Failing to continue paying on your loan can cause some real problems to include penalties. So, do take the time to file this form, which is located on the Internet at: this site.

Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 8 describes Staffing Procedures while Article 10 covers Involuntary Reassignment.

Article 8 -Section 3.
An on-board unit employee who plans to return to the same school the following school year shall be notified of his/her teaching assignment and number of classes prior to the close of the current school year. Changes in such assignments will be limited to unexpected changes in curriculum, mission, staffing, and recruitment actions.

Article 10 -- Involuntary Reassignment
The need to effect a reassignment is a right retained by the Employer. While involuntary reassignments shall be kept to a minimum, pursuant to the Employer's education mission, it may become necessary to involuntarily reassign a unit employee either from one school location to another school location or from one assignment in one grade/subject area to another grade/subject area with different qualification standards from the grade/subject area currently being taught. Whenever possible, and if time permits, the Employer shall accomplish such reassignments through the use of qualified volunteers. Whenever qualified volunteers are not available, an individual may be selected for involuntary reassignment with as much advance notice as circumstances warrant. The written notice for involuntary reassignment will contain the following as a minimum:

A. reason(s) for the reassignment;
B. why the unit employee was selected;
C. an opportunity for the individual to give reasons why he/she should not be reassigned. In this statement the individual should include any extenuating circumstances of a personal nature which she/he feels should be taken into consideration.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner: Over the past 30 years I have worked side by side with 11 Area Directors in Europe and the Pacific. They have all brought to the Area Director position their own talents and energy. Every one of them had a firm commitment to service and to unionism. Importantly, we were all able to laugh and at times commiserate with one another. It has been a distinct privilege and honor to work with Debra Degalis during these past six years. She has given much to the Association in the Pacific.

DoDDS Reunion: Each summer there is a gathering of former and current DoDDS folks. Thanks to Gerri Berry-Mitchell for the correct information. The reunion will be held in Richmond, VA at the Marriot City Center, July 17-20, 2014. For registration information: go here.

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this site.

May we meet again. It is a small DoDDS world!

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director