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February 21 2013 FEA Pacific Update

Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director

Area Director Update
CAC requirement/USB BAN
Furlough
Read Across America
Debt Letters and Pay Issues
NEA Representative Assembly and upcoming RA Elections
FEA Election for Officers
Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 21 -- Teacher Leave
Job Qualification
Legal Eagle Corner
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits

Area Director Update: First, I want to begin by expressing my appreciation and gratitude to the three District Presidents, FRSs and Officers. Recently we held a productive Pacific Leadership Council meeting in Okinawa. My visit to the schools in Okinawa and a general members' meeting were a great pleasure. It is always inspiring and humbling to meet our veteran and new teachers. There are too many people to thank for my successful visit, so I will not include names for fear of omitting someone. Please accept my ‘thank you' in this update.

The challenges that we are facing right now are intense and frightening. The budget wrangling in Washington has resulted in a cancelled transfer program and the possibility of a furlough. Strategic changes in our national defense posture have led to drawdown in Europe and large numbers of excess educators. There is uncertainty about how VERA and VSIP will be administered. To prevent cyber terrorism we are now seeing dramatic changes in the way we communicate electronically. The recent CAC mandate and USB ban only complicate our working conditions. I am not seeing the hysteria and anger that are often associated with dramatic changes. What I am seeing reassures me. Once again, you are taking all of this in stride and providing students with the best education possible. I have come to expect this. Our profession is healthy. Please take time to assess your own well being and take care of your needs. Reach out to your colleagues and offer or ask for help. Don't forget we are family.

Area Director Activities:

  • 2-3 February 2013 Pacific Area Leaders (PAL) Council Meeting, Okinawa
  • 4-8 February 2-13 Okinawa School Visits
  • 5 February 2013 Compassionate Reassignment Panel and Area JCC
  • 23 February 2013 NEATA Board meeting

CAC Requirement and USB BAN: At this moment, you, principals, ATs, ETs, supply clerks, the DSOs and Area Office with IT are all working at a frenetic pace to meet the CAC/USB ban suspense date of 25 February. Ms. Martha Brown, Acting Pacific Area Director, and I have been in constant contact on your behalf. There are many questions. It will take time to work out all the answers and kinks. Keep in contact with your FRS. Attached is the January 2011 CAC MOU.

Furlough: The budget battle at the national level may result in a 22 day furlough. You should have received a message from your principal concerning furlough as required by law. Ms. Brown and I are consulting on a tentative plan in case the furlough does become a reality. What can you do? Go to www.feaonline.org. Do this at home on your personal computer. The first announcement you see will send you to a link. It will take 5 minutes or so, and you can send information to your family and friends.

Read Across America: It is almost here! "Grab your Hat and Read with the Cat" is the 2013 theme of NEA's Read Across America celebration Friday, March 1, this year's official Read Across America Day. For more information: Visit this site

Debt Letters and Pay: It is a daily encounter. I see much communication regarding pay record issues and debt collection. I cannot stress it enough. When our members receive debt collection notification they should contact the FEA Pacific UniSERV/General Counsel, Michael Bauernfeind and his wonderful assistant Stephanie Trotter at feapac@comcast.net. Our advice, do not seek to pay off a debt with a personal check. Tracking such payments is remarkably difficult for DFAS. To avoid future debt problems seek advice and guidance from the UNISERV Staff. Our lawyer and Assistant UNISERV are skilled at navigating the morass of laws and regulations which govern educator pay and debt collection.

NEA Representative Assembly and FEA Annual Membership Meeting: This year's Representative Assembly and FEA annual membership meeting will be in Atlanta, Georgia. Dates for the FEA annual meeting are 29 June -- 1July. The RA follows 2-6 July. You will soon receive information about for the RA delegates as well your district officer elections. Be on the look out and throw in your hat for the RA. It is an amazing event to watch 9,000 delegates participate in the largest democratic body on earth.

FEA Election for Officers: FEA HQ has released the candidates for Board of Director vacancies. To find the latest information go to www.feaonline.org. You can also see the attachment that I ‘borrowed' from Alex Veto's update.

Do You Know your Negotiated Agreement? Article 21 -- Teacher Leave: Article 21 has 7 sections covering teacher leave: 1. Accumulation of leave; 2. Request for Leave; 3. Paternity Leave; 4. Adoption Leave; 5. Any Purpose Leave; 6. Withdrawal of Leave Request; and 7. Absence without Leave.

Job Qualification: Another borrowed item via Veto's update. Thanks to teacher, George Dunn of Vilseck HS.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner: Michael Bauernfeind has been one busy attorney on behalf of our members as your District Presidents are quite aware. I have given him a well-deserved break from the Legal Eagle corner.

Mark Your Calendars

FEBRUARY
1-29 Black History Month

Black History resources:
• Black History Month Lessons & Resources
• Black Labor History
• National Visionary Leadership Project
21 Mardi Gras
22 George Washington Birthday
22-April Orthodox Lent
22-April Western Christianity Lent
23 W.E.B. DuBois Birthday

MARCH
1-31 Women's History Month
8 International Women's Day
16 Publication of First Black Newspaper in America

For more information about any of these events, go to this page

OTHER TIDBITS

NEH Summer Programs in the Humanities for School Educators (most offered with college credit and $$)
These seminars and institutes are offered by NEH -- not DoDEA. Thank to Brian Chance, NEA Director for FEA for the following information.
• Most of these summer institutes have an application suspense date of March 4, 2013. Plan ahead for the application as the process may require gathering information and recommendations prior to the suspense date.
• Most of the programs will offer college credit at the expense of the participant.
• There are stipends tied to institutes based on the length of the institute.
• The detailed information is available on the web page for the individual institute.
Get more information here.

DoDDS Reunion: Each summer there is a gathering of former and current DoDDS folks. The reunion will be held in Dallas, Texas at the Marriot City Center, July 18-21. For registration information: Visit this site

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to this site

Until the next update,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director