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December 2 2015 FEA President's Report

TO: FEA Members Worldwide
FROM: Chuck McCarter, FEA President
RE: FEA President's Report
DATE: December 2, 2015


TRANSFER PROGRAM

The application for the DODDS SY 16-17 transfer program is now available online. The application deadline is 5 p.m. local time on Friday, December 18, 2015. Those who meet that application deadline will be able to amend their applications up until 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 13, 2016. The transfer round is currently scheduled to begin on January 19, 2016. To access the transfer agreement and application, along with other relevant information, go to FEA's Transfer Page or to DoDEA's Human Resources page at this link.


TIPS FOR TRANSFERS

Now that the transfer agreement and application are finalized and have been made available by DoDEA, FEA's Connie Shanaghan is finalizing her Tips for Transfers, available exclusively to FEA members. Those familiar with Connie know that she is our in-house expert on the transfer program. Her tips can help members maximize their chances of getting the transfer they want. Those tips will be posted on the FEA site in the days ahead, so be sure to visit our transfer information page at this link periodically to look for them and check for updates.


VSIP/VERA

The deadline to apply for VSIP/VERA is this Friday, December 4. Information has been sent out by the Area and District offices in Europe and the Pacific (VERA/VSIP is not available in DDESS this year). Be sure to follow the procedures set forth in those documents from DODDS and be mindful of the December 4 deadline to apply. FEA will once again offer VERA/VSIP Verification for our members. If you applied for VERA/VSIP and want us to confirm that your name is included on DoDEA Headquarters' lists of VERA/VSIP applicants, send your name, current school and SCD to Connie Shanaghan.


SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

We know that teachers, particularly those working overseas, make travel plans far in advance. FEA has submitted proposals for the SY 16-17 Calendar for our overseas schools, but are still waiting for management's proposals and the opportunity to work out any differences in those proposals. We will work to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible so that educators can make plans accordingly.


OPM LAUNCHES CYBERSECURITY VERIFICATION CENTER

The Office of Personnel Management has created a verification center to help individuals who have had their personal information stolen in the recent data breaches against the federal government, or who are not yet sure whether they are victims.

According to information from OPM, this verification center will help those who believe their data may have been taken but have not received a notification letter from the government. The center will also assist individuals who have received a letter letting them know they were impacted by the background investigation records intrusion, but who have lost the PIN code that allows them to sign up for the free services that the Federal Government is providing.

The notification process is still underway. OPM is sending out about 800,000 notification letters each day and says they are on schedule to finish the mailing in the next two weeks. If you do not receive a letter by the middle of December, either the government could not identify a valid address for you after using both government and commercial data sources, or OPM's records indicated that your Social Security Number was not compromised in the intrusion.

Anyone who has not received a letter by the middle of December and who believes his or her data may have been taken is urged to reach out to the verification center so OPM can confirm your correct address and send you a letter. According to OPM, once you submit your information, you should receive a response in about two-to-four weeks.

You can access the online verification center through a link at OPM's cybersecurity resource center -- www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. Or, you may call 866-408-4555 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., Eastern Time, to speak to an agent.


OPEN SEASON

Federal health benefits open season continues until December 14. Visit OPM's Open Season page for complete information on your various plan options, as well as how to enroll or change your existing coverage.


PLAN AHEAD

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers a variety of summer programs for school, college and university educators to study humanities topics. Stipends are available to help cover expenses for the one- to five-week programs. Most programs have an application suspense date of March 1, 2016, so now's the time to start thinking about it and gathering the materials necessary to complete your application. Learn more by going to NEH's site. (thanks to NEA Director for FEA Brian Chance for supplying us with this information)


CLASS ACTION SUIT

FEA has been made aware of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of some DoDEA employees. That case, McKiernan vs. DOD, was filed by an outside law firm and FEA has no part in the matter. It is our understanding from talking with representatives of the firm handling that case that no action is required by DoDEA employees or retirees at this time. You can learn more about the lawsuit by visiting this site.