June 1 2014 FEA President's Report
With just a few more excess placements to be made and reconsiderations to continue through June 1, we expect the Excess Placement Program and VERA/VSIP program to close very soon. As soon as HQ notifies us that no additional VERA/VSIP offers will be made, we will announce that information.
Management recently notified us of a limited number of moves being made out of Cuba. While FEA maintains that this opportunity should have been made to all educators in hardship areas, management has determined to limit this to educators in Guantanamo. As we have always stated, the opportunity to request reassignment within DoDEA is vital to recruiting and retaining the highest caliber employees. It is important to the morale and the professional growth of our workforce. This is a top priority for FEA.
Anyone separating from DODDS at the end of this school year for any reason (retirement, LWOP, resignation, etc.) should be certain to file a Goodbye Grievance immediately. Excessed DODDS employees who are being reassigned to the Mediterranean next school year should make certain to immediately file the Goodbye Grievance as well, so that FEA will be able to assist with any issues that come up in the future regarding your time spent as an employee within FEA's bargaining unit. You must file the Goodbye Grievance immediately because your principal must be given seven calendar days to respond to your grievance before you can elevate it to the next level. That elevation must take place before your last duty day. For assistance in filing your Goodbye Grievance, speak with your FRS, your District Rep/Country President, or your Area Director.
KOREA POST ALLOWANCE
FEA and NEA continue working to reinstate the Post Allowance for Korea that was recently eliminated. NEA Government Relations staff are contacting the State Department, asking them to immediately undertake a new and more accurate survey of costs for Seoul and South Korea. We are optimistic such a survey will demonstrate the need to reinstate the Post Allowance.
The Post Allowance for Korea was recently cut from 20 percent down to zero. General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of the U.S. Army forces in Korea, has publicly stated his opposition to this cut and has pledged to work towards protecting the pay and benefits of civilian employees in Korea.
FEA will be asking its members in Korea to write to the State Department about this issue. We are currently working on a sample letter for you to use. Information on this effort will be distributed to our FRSs throughout Korea in the near future.
Many DDESS schools have already closed for the year and the rest will be closing soon. We know that a number of DDESS educators are still awaiting word about possible placements in the wake of the RIF notices that went out earlier this year. FEA Stateside Area Director Terry Arvidson continues to work with DDESS to make sure that all RIF procedures are being followed properly and that as many educators as possible are placed back within DODEA for next year.
Since my last report, I was able to attend great FRS trainings in Korea, Okinawa and Tokyo. FEA would like to thank DoDEA for continuing to support these important trainings by granting leave for our representatives. In addition, I was fortunate enough to attend the AEAO reception honoring Okinawa retirees as well as AEAO scholarship winners; it was a privilege to be part of the tribute to these educators and students. I was also able to visit numerous schools and speak with many educators while I was in the Pacific.
With me on my travels were our Executive Director/General Counsel HT Nguyen, Mary Kusler of NEA Government Relations, and Maury Koffman of the NEA Executive Board. Mary and Maury's presence is another example of NEA's interest in, and support of, our members.
While traveling in the Pacific, I heard numerous concerns. Among those most frequently heard were the importance of reinstating a transfer program, the unreasonable amount of time and work required by the AdvancED process, and the demands of too many initiatives. It is always good to hear first-hand what concerns our members most. Please know that your FEA leadership continues to work on these issues and a myriad of other concerns which our members bring to us.
I want to thank all the members who turned out to speak with us as well as the local leaders who helped make the arrangements for our visits.
GREAT WORK AT LOCALS
Each year our local associations give thousands of dollars in scholarships to worthy young students. In addition to the scholarships given by AEAO that I mentioned above, the Lakenheath EA annually holds a "Goods and Services" Auction to raise money for its scholarships. This year the Wiesbaden EA transplanted a tradition from Heidelberg and held a "Dessert Auction" to raise scholarship funds for community students. As it has for many years, the Baumholder EA also gave a scholarship to a deserving local student. I am sure there are many, many other examples of the generosity of our members and our locals. Please be sure to publicize the great work that you do!
Once again, I want to ask that you contact me via my NEA email address: firstname.lastname@example.org -- this is the quickest way to reach me. My access to DoDEA Outlook has been inconsistent, and I check the NEA email most frequently. And if someone has forwarded this Report to you, please remember you can sign up to get news sent directly to you by going to this page.
MAY FEA JOURNAL
The latest edition of the FEA Journal should have reached you by now. In case the mail is slow, it is also available at www.feaonline.org
FEA ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
The FEA Annual Membership Meeting will take place June 30 and July 1 at The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. As always, our meeting will immediately precede the NEA Representative Assembly. The FEA Annual Membership Meeting is open to any FEA Active or Retired member. If you will be in the Denver area at the end of June and are interested in attending the meeting, please contact FEA staffer Gary Hritz at email@example.com for information.
As I write, some of our DDESS schools are already out for summer vacation and school will be ending for others soon. Here's wishing all of our DDESS educators a great summer. For our DoDDS members, we will have one more Update before the end of the school year.