FEA President's ReportTO: FEA MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
FROM: BRIAN CHANCE, FEA PRESIDENT
RE: FEA PRESIDENT'S REPORT
DATE: NOVEMBER 14, 2020
SECOND FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Knowing that many Overseas members were not happy about the prospect of having to use their personal devices for second factor authentication to access DoDEA's Microsoft 365 platform, the Association worked with DoDEA HQ on a solution that will make electronic token devices available to employees in the near future. The Association was not given prior notice of the implementation plan to use personal phones/devices in the roll out of Microsoft 365. FEA only learned of this implementation detail when alerted by the members in the field.
Rather than using their personal cell phone or device to access 365, Overseas members will soon be able to request a token device through the Global Service Desk under IT Services. An example of that token device is shown under the heading "Hardware Token or Key" in this document from DoDEA's IT department.
Many thanks to the FEA leaders and members who identified this issue and brought it to my attention so we could address it with DoDEA HQ.
As the COVID pandemic continues what many experts believe will be a strong resurgence over the winter months, FEA continues to urge DoDEA to move to completely remote operation as a precaution. We remain unsatisfied with the general lack of information from DoDEA about the availability of cleaning materials and with the cleaning protocols that are in place, which continue to place unreasonable expectations upon classroom teachers. We fear we are heading toward a reckoning this winter season: one that can and should be avoided by moving to remote operation before the worst of the COVID resurgence hits everywhere. The health and safety of students, educators and their families should not be put at further risk.
TRACK YOUR PAY
We continue to work with DoDEA staff to resolve the numerous pay problems members are facing this year. Once again, we remind Overseas members to take advantage of the salary organizers available at this page to help you track your pay and look for any discrepancies.
Members are reminded to go to the MyPay site (mypay.dfas.mil) to download their current and all available past Leave and Earnings Statements and to keep those LESs permanently in a folder in case you should ever need them to resolve a pay or debt issue. The government does not make those LESs readily available beyond one year from the date they were issued, so it is important for you to keep your own records.
LESs are incredibly important. They provide documentation when a debt or alleged debt has been paid via deductions that appear on the LES. Several educators have received notices of debts that actually were paid years ago. Now the agency is attempting to collect for the same debt that was previously paid. The importance of these LES records in fixing pay errors and fighting against false debt claims cannot be stressed enough.
COMPLIMENTARY LIFE INSURANCE
The NEA Complimentary Life Insurance program is an important benefit that provides coverage automatically to EVERY Association member. It is vital for all members to designate their beneficiary in order to make processing the insurance easier, should it ever become necessary. To designate your beneficiary and to learn more about this valuable benefit of Association membership, go to NEA Member Benefits' Complimentary Life Insurance page.
AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK AND ESP DAY
November 16-20 is American Education Week, with Wednesday, November 18, highlighted as Education Support Professional (ESP) Day. You can learn more by going to NEA AEW page.
Of course, FEA believes that educators and support staff should be celebrated every day of the year, but this week is a great way to remind everyone of the amazing work and sacrifices put forth by school faculty and staff.
On behalf of all FEA, I wish all our members a great American Education Week. Thank you SO MUCH for the incredibly valuable and important service you provide to us all through your work and through your dedication to students and learning!
NATIVE AMERICAN AND ALASKA NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH
A reminder that November is designated as Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Check out these links to valuable resources and information to help in your observance:
NEA's Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month page
The Federal Benefits Open Season runs through December 14. Please be sure to visit OPM's Health Insurance Open Season page for links and information to help both current and retired members with your health coverage choices. In addition, here are a few specific resources that are particularly helpful:
· OPM tool to compare plans
· (Current DoDEA employees) FEHB enrollments/changes/terminations are made through the GRB Platform on the Army Benefits Center‐ Civilian (ABC‐C) website at army.mil
· The American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA) hosts virtual meetings providing information on the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program and 2021 Open Season initiatives. You can view the AFSPA meeting schedule here