Information on Association Grievance 12-03 (Graduate Credit Earned Before Masters)

An addition update on this case was posted by Attorney Freeman in April, 2013. You can read that update here.

Legal Update from FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman
September 4, 2012

Hello all,

I was hoping to put this off until the dust settled, but I think I am just adding to the dust.

Please see below for my previous explanation of Arbitrator Sands' Award.

I have also attached his Award.

On April 25, 2012, we filed Association Grievance 12-03 on behalf of everyone affected. It is also attached.

Most importantly, I have attached an affidavit for those affected to fill out and return to my email address as soon as practicable.

Because of the importance of this case, I plan to put this on a fast track. Please understand that "fast" can be very slow in the legal process. Arbitrator Sands' Award came down more than two years after the Hearing. It has been six months since he ordered DoDEA to deliver an audit of the entire Pay Lane program, and they have delivered nothing. As always, FEA will have to force them with an Implementation Hearing. Impending Hearings is the only thing that DoDEA seems to understand.

Once we receive the audit in accordance with Arbitrator Sands' Award, I can compare it to our affidavits and go from there with the Arbitration of 12-03.

I included the part in the affidavits about illegal debt collections and interest payments for two very good reasons. I will eventually force DoDDS to deliver "full audits" for all of you. We might as well clean up all of your pay problems in the process. DoDDS' audits are usually filled with errors. I need your questionable LES's to verify DoDDS' "full audits." Do not worry about any "overpayments" discovered in the process. Your Arbitration Award will protect you from illegal collections.

There is no need for anyone to file an Individual Grievance or Pay Lane Application over this. It will only compound mistakes already made by DoDEA.

The only thing current employees need to do is fill out the affidavit, attach the relevant documents, and scan them to me at

Former employees need to do the same and include copies of their Goodbye Grievance and Request to Elevate. Any former employees who cannot produce copies of a Goodbye Grievance and Request to Elevate should fill out the affidavit anyway. I will try my best to win their case, but it may prove impossible. If any of you know any former employees who could possibly be affected by this, please forward this email to them.

I understand that many of you will have questions about this. There could be hundreds of you in this case, so please keep any questions to an absolute minimum. Hopefully, I have explained the criteria below. If not, you can refer to Arbitrator Sands' Award at pages 13 through 15 and page 43. Paragraph 3 of Association Grievance 12-03 recently filed on your behalf specifically includes former, current and new employees.

If you have any doubt, fill out the affidavit to the best of your ability. We will eventually check your transcripts and pay records anyway. I doubt if very many of you will ever have to testify. The affidavits should suffice.

At this point, we do not know how far back the back pay, interest, and TSP Lost Earnings will go. There is a six-year Statute of Limitations, but construction of it will get very complicated. Go back in time as far as you can.

Please do not contact your FEA leadership with questions. It will just add to their already heavy burdens, and they would have to contact me anyway.

This will take many years before everyone finally gets paid in full, so please be patient. Try to see this as a great investment. It does not matter if you leave DoDDS. You will continue to earn back pay, interest, and TSP Lost Earnings until I win your arbitration. If you ever change email addresses please let me know.

For those in and from the Pacific, you are also included. I have been coordinating with Michael Bauernfeind, and he will be coming out with separate instructions for you.

Bill Freeman
FEA-Europe General Counsel

Explanation of Arbitrator Sands' Award on Graduate Credits
Posted by FEA UniServ Attorney Bill Freeman June 11, 2012

Hello all,
Besides validating the Goodbye Grievance as a "Lifeline," Arbitrator Sands recently held that DoDDS has been wrongfully granting Pay Lane credit for MA+15 and MA+30 for many years.

DoDDS has been wrongfully granting only graduate credit earned AFTER the first Master's Degree was awarded. He 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.

We are in the early stages of identifying those affected and need your help. For now, if you think you could qualify, gather all of your transcripts this summer. The credits must be identified on the transcripts as "graduate credit." We will be coming out with more instructions on what to do next fall. If you will not be in either the FEA-Pacific or FEA-Europe Areas next fall, file and elevate a Goodbye Grievance now and keep copies of everything in order to preserve your rights.

Everyone have a GREAT summer!

Bill Freeman
FEA-Europe General Counsel

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