September 15 2012 FEA President's ReportTO: FEA MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
FROM: MICHAEL PRISER, FEA PRESIDENT
RE: FEA PRESIDENT'S REPORT
DATE: SEPTEMBER 15, 2012
AFFIDAVIT FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY PAY LANE CASE -- Current, former and new DoDDS Europe employees who believe they are owed a pay adjustment and/or back pay under the recent arbitration won by FEA must complete and return to FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman an affidavit detailing their situations as soon as possible.
Attorney Freeman recently sent out information on the decision by Arbitrator Sands that said, among other things, that DoDDS has been wrongfully granting pay lane credit for the MA+15 and MA+30 lanes for many years.
In explaining the decision and who it impacts, Bill wrote "DoDDS has been wrongfully granting only graduate credit earned AFTER the first Master's Degree was awarded. [Arbitrator Sands] made it clear that ‘graduate credit is graduate credit,' regardless of when it is earned. This will result in a great deal of well-deserved money for MANY of our members in Europe and the Pacific. Under a best case scenario, it could total $35,000 in back pay and interest so far. It will also result in a higher "high three" for MANY retirement computations. Here is the typical example of those who now qualify retroactively and prospectively: A teacher earns graduate credit to maintain certification and later earns a Master's Degree, in which that certification graduate credit was not counted. The same will apply to anyone who earns graduate credit not counted toward the Master's Degree."
Bill has created an affidavit to be filled out and returned to him by any current, former or new DoDDS Europe employee who believes they are affected by this case.
That affidavit, as well as the notices put out so far by Bill, can be found at this page on the FEA web site.
DoDDS Pacific employee are also covered by Arbitrator Sands' decision and separate instructions from Pacific UniServ Attorney Michael Bauernfeind are expected to be released soon.
DDESS employees, who are under a separate contract than DoDDS employees, are not covered by this decision.
RETHINK AUTISM -- FEA has reached an agreement on a new pilot for special educators helping students with developmental delays. DoDEA has purchased a limited number of licenses for this program. DoDEA will provide an overview/inservice for educators and after that training, educators can choose whether to pilot the program. Please review the MOUs (one for DoDDS and one for DDESS schools) on our website at www.feaonline.org/mous.htm
OPERATION TOMODACHI REGISTRY -- The long-awaited registry is now partially up-and-running. This first phase of the Tomodachi Registry to be made public at the above URL provides radiation exposure estimates for 13 different shore-based locations in Japan following the nuclear accident that affected that country in spring 2011. The registry reportedly will eventually contain estimates of radiation for 70,000 DoD-affiliated individuals who were in or near Japan during the incident. However, due to concerns about keeping database information private, individuals are unable to link directly to that database at this time. FEA has written to the Pentagon, asking that they make improvements to the database that would allow individuals to view their own information (and that of any dependents they have). We have also asked for a link individuals can use to contact the database administrator to confirm the validity of information on them and their dependents, as well as an assurance that the information in the database will be available to civilian employees and their dependents should they ever need access to it in the future.
MAIL ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS IN GERMANY -- FEA has written Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, asking him to take immediate action to ensure that FEA members and other civilian employees in Germany can continue to receive prescription medications via mail. The Germany government announced recently that shipments of such medications are not covered by the Status of Forces Agreement for Germany and may be confiscated prior to delivery. This, obviously, would cause a massive hardship for many of our members who rely on such shipments to obtain necessary prescriptions they are unable to obtain in Germany.
HATCH ACT -- A reminder to all FEA members during the current election season: the Hatch Act forbids you from engaging in political activity while on duty, while on government property or while using government equipment. FEA urges its members to review the U.S. Office of Special Counsel's information on the Hatch Act, including examples of both prohibited and permitted activities, available at the OSC web site.
STUDENT GAGGLE ACCOUNTS - DoDEA Headquarters announced that they will continue the contract with the student Gaggle accounts, and this will remain in place until a suitable replacement is in place. An official announcement from headquarters will be forthcoming.
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH -- September 15 to October 15 is recognized as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Lesson plans and other activities you can use in the classroom can be found at the NEA website.
TRAVEL -- I had a good visit to Europe earlier this week, where I attended leadership trainings in the Kaiserslautern and Heidelberg districts. I'm now in Tokyo for the NEATA trainings and will move on to Okinawa and Korea for their trainings next week before attending the Pacific Leadership Council meeting in Seoul next weekend. Then it's back to Japan for school visits at Sasebo and Iwakuni. Meanwhile, FEA Executive Director/General Counsel is finishing up his visit to Europe by attending the Europe Area Council meeting and Association Day events in Lakenheath next week. On the DDESS front, in addition to my recent visits to nearly every DDESS complex, FEA Director of Communications and Membership Development Gary Hritz will be attending the FEA Stateside Area Council meeting in Peachtree City September 20-22. We always learn so much by hearing directly from our members and local leaders in the field. Thanks so much for all you do and for the time you take to meet with us during these visits.
I hope you have a great weekend!