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September 7 2011 FEA Pacific Update

Youkoso! Hwanyonghamnida! Welcome!
Area Director Update
FEA Pacific Structure
Two Year Interview
Stay Informed
Maximize the Learning
LES and SF50
ASPEN -- keep your leaders informed
Legal Eagle Corner --
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits


Welcome New and Returning DoDDS Pacific Educators: The summer break has ended, you have worked hard to prepare for your students, your students have arrived, and you have enjoyed the first holiday of the new school year, Labor Day. Whew! I hope you had time to reflect on the reason for the holiday. It honors you and all American workers and all that they do to make our country strong and productive.

Area Director Update: Once again FEA leaders and members were active over the summer. June 29 -- 30, FEA held its annual membership meeting in Chicago. After the membership meeting, delegates attended the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly, July 1-6. The Pacific was well represented. Check out the FEA Journal from August for more about the RA. I continued to attend meetings in July. First came sessions in Arlington pertaining to a new concept in labor law called Pre-decisional Involvement (PDI), July 21-22. Next, came participation on the Teacher Extended School Year task group, July 25-27.

Changes at DoDEA - During the summer, Charlie Toth, DoDEA Principal Director and Associate Director of Education, retired on August 2nd. Nancy Bresell, Europe Area Director, was assigned to fill in behind Mr. Toth for a period of 3 months. Marilee Fitzgerald remains the Acting DoDEA Director.

A number of Association leaders will be able to visit the Pacific this month. We are fortunate that FEA Vice President Bettylou Cummins and FEA Human and Civil Rights Coordinator Naomi Cuadrado will be able visit with our members.

Connected with fall contract training, we will have FEA President Michael Priser. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Dependents Education (ACDE). Because of this commitment he will not be able to attend the full Pacific training cycle in September. He will be visiting schools in Okinawa and Yokosuka. FEA Executive Director and General Counsel HT Nguyen will be able to attend training in Okinawa. Unfortunately, he will have to return to the States on Association business in DDESS. Pacific General Counsel Mike Bauernfeind will help present training in all three districts.

Michael Gavin from NEA Member Benefits will be able to visit all three districts in October. Mr. Gavin is working with your District Presidents to reach as many members as possible. Stay tuned for dates and times in your local area. We anticipate visits from American Foreign Services Benefits. This is a leading Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) insurance carrier for Federal employees working overseas. If you can, plan on attending a presentation in your area. Check with your FRS for dates in November.

Upcoming AD Activities:
  • September 15 Japan FRS Fall Training -- New Sanno

  • September 16 Japan PDI Training w/ administrators and FRS-- New Sanno

  • September 17 NEATA Board Meeting -- New Sanno

  • September 19 Okinawa PDI Training w/administrators and FRS - Camp Shields

  • September 20 Okinawa FRS Fall Training - Camp Shields

  • September 20 AEAO New School Year Social

  • September 22 Korea FRS Fall Training -- Yongsan/Seoul

  • September 23 Korea PDI Training with administrators and FRS --Yongsan

  • September 24 TEAK Board Meeting AM- Yongsan

  • September 24-26 Pacific Area Advisory Council -- Yongsan

  • September 27 Casey School Visit -- Camp Casey, Korea

FEA Pacific Structure: The FEA pocket calendar contains a wealth of information about your organization. You will find the FEA leaders, their contact information as well as a pay organizer, salary schedule, important regulations, upcoming school calendar dates and what to do in cases of child abuse and your right to representation.
  • Faculty Representative Spokesperson (FRS) - The FRS is your first and most important contact. If you have a concern that needs to be elevated, please go through your FRS.

  • District President -- The District President works with the District Superintendent and your FRS. When needed, the District President elevates issues to the Pacific Area Director. Japan/NEATA President is Jeannette Ferguson; Korea/TEAK President is Betty Gossett and Okinawa/AEAO President is Donald Kinghorn.

  • Pacific Area Director -- The Pacific Area Director, Debra Degalis, works with Ms. Diana Ohman, Director, DoDEA Pacific. The Area Director works closely with the Pacific General Counsel/UniServ, Michael Bauernfeind. Unlike stateside organizations, FEA UniServs are attorneys,

  • FEA Washington Headquarters and FEA Board of Directors --The FEA President, Michael Priser, works with the DoDEA Director, Ms. Marilee Fitzgerald. Michael is lucky to have an experienced staff in Washington. The Executive Director/General Counsel is H.T. Nguyen. The board is made up of the FEA president, Vice-President (Betty Lou Cummins), Secretary/Treasurer (Anita Lang), NEA Director for FEA (Brian Chance), Human and Civil Rights Coordinator (Noemi "Mimi" Cuadrado), the Europe Area Directors (Lisa Ali & Alex Veto) , Pacific Area Director and Stateside Area Director (Teri Arvidson).

Two Year Interview: Each year, new enthusiastic educators are hired locally or arrive from the States in the Pacific Area. These new educators are considered probationary teachers. I ask that you work with your FRS seeking help to navigate the intricacies of DoDDS. Unique among stateside education associations, the FEA offers assistance in almost every aspect of life overseas. The best advice I can offer you is simple. Consider your first two years as an interview and join FEA!

Stay Informed: FEA and NEA provide a wealth of information to you. Visit www.feaonline.org, www.nea.org, www.neaacademy.org, www.neamb.com. Remember to have your membership ID ready in order to access information for members only. You will find your ID number on your membership card. If you are a new member, ask your FRS to contact FEA for an ID number.

Maximize the Learning: FEA's goal this year is to maximize the time teachers have in the classroom to teach the students. The cliché we use, adding more to the plate, can't begin to describe the number of initiatives and directives that DoDEA expects our teachers to implement. If our goal is all-around well-educated students then this can only happen if our teachers are allowed to teach. Your FRS has received small posters and pins with the Maximize the Learning logo. To show support, display your poster and wear your pin.

LES and SF50: It is vital that you carefully check your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) each pay period. We strongly urge you to utilize one of the pay organizers we offer. You have one in your handy dandy FEA pocket calendar and I have attached an excel format pay organizer too thanks to FEA member, Larry Tjeltveit, in Europe. It is also vital that you review AND save your SF-50s (Standard Personnel Form). Your school secretary/payroll clerk should have given you your most updated SF-50 by now. More about what is on your LES and SF50 in a later update. If you have pay issues, please contact your FRS immediately, so we can get Michael Bauernfeind and Assistant UNISERV Stephanie Trotter involved.

ASPEN:- Does anyone need an aspirin? I ask that you keep your FRS informed if you experience problems with ASPEN.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner: This summer two arbitrations were scheduled for hearings in Washington, D.C. Both were fully resolved in favor of Association members.
AG 10-02 was a grievance filed on behalf of 12 individual claimants whose pay was illegally snatched by DFAS pursuant to a claimed indebtedness. The Debt Collection Act and other laws afford firm due process safeguards to federal employees. The pay of each member joined in the association grievance was simply taken by the Government without notice or in violation of one of the safeguards. In mid-June we held a settlement conference at DODEA HQs to reach stipulations and attempt resolution. The actual hearing was scheduled before Arbitrator Salvatore Arrigo on 30 June. After two full days of research and argument we were able to obtain appropriate relief for each educator. In most situations the illegally snatched pay was returned with interest. In other cases audits are still ongoing to adjust pay properly. Refunds and other payments should be completed within the next two pay periods.

The second arbitration was set for hearing before Arbitrator Lynn Mountz on 12 August. The issue involved a former FRS and long time FEA member. She retired from DODDS in 2009 while on medical leave. DODDS was not able to compel DFAS to reimburse her for certain PCS travel expenses connected with her husband's return flight to the States. Once she retired, it seemed as though DFAS simply would not move forward with reimbursement. Two weeks before the arbitration, DODDS reimbursed her for all out of pocket travel costs with interest. DODDS agreed to a settlement, agreeing not to raise any issue regarding standing to grieve or arbitrate. Retired members under federal case law can challenge debt notices that originated during the time that the retired educator was part of a bargaining unit like the Association.

There are ten more association grievances pending litigation all dealing with debt collection. Three more are in the hopper right now. These represent almost 200 fellow Association members.

Mark Your Calendars
Check the AD Activities for FEA leader visits in your area.
September 11- Day of Remembrance/Patriot Day
September 11- Grandparents Day
September 15 -- Hispanic Heritage Month (until 10/15)
September 17 -- U.S. Constitution Day

OTHER TIDBITS

Teaching about September 11 Using Primary Sources: http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2011/09/teaching-about-september-11-using-primary-sources-from-library-of-congress/

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to https://webapps.dodea.edu/lqarates/lqarates.cfm

Until the next update,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director