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September 17 2010 FEA Pacific Update

SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
Debra Degalis, FEA Pacific Area Director


Area Director Update
FEA Survey Coming Your Way
Training Basics and Mandatory Training Change
FEA Pocket Calendar Correction
FEA Representative Volunteer Application
Sure Start Teacher Survey
Coach Certification Change
Professional Growth Plan (PGP)
Legal Eagle Corner --
Mark Your Calendars
Other Tidbits


Area Director Update: Your FRS and District Presidents have been working very hard on your behalf. I can vouch for that since I am one who has been inundating them with information requests and inquiries. School years start off with a bang not a whimper. As many of you are personally aware, teachers have been paid incorrectly and many of you have received depressing notices of alleged debts from DFAS. Fortunately for us we have Michael Bauernfeind and his assistant Stephanie Trotter, who can help sort out these pay difficulties for our members. Before you contact Michael, please review and check with your FRS on the steps that you should take first. Often the school secretary can answer your queries or resolve issues with Area Human Resource Personnel.

We are still working on finalizing and coordinating visits for the upcoming Fall Training. Training will involve one day of Joint Labor Management Training with principals and FRSs. One day is reserved just for the school FRS and FR. Hopefully, you will be able to meet directly with one an FEA National or Pacific Area leader during our visitation schedule. For now, you can see the scheduled visits below.

Upcoming AD Activities:

Sept. 30 -- October 2 Japan FRS & JLMT Training and NEATA Meeting - New Sanno
October 4-5 Okinawa FRS & JLMT Training - Camp Foster
October 7-9 Korea FRS & JLMT Training & TEAK Meeting - Yongsan Base/Seoul
October 9-11 Pacific Area Leadership (PAL) Council Meeting -Yongsan/Seoul
October 12 Visit Casey ES, Camp Casey
October 18-22 FEA Board of Directors Meeting - Washington, D.C.
October 29 Pacific Area Advisory Council -- New Sanno

FEA Survey: Your FRS should be receiving the FEA Survey for members and nonmembers. It is one page. Please complete and return to your FRS. FEA wants to hear from you.

Training Basics and Mandatory Training Change: It is vital that the new teachers and the teachers moving into new positions be trained in the DoDEA, Area, District or school programs. If you find that you are expected to implement a program and still have questions, please check with your colleagues first. The principal can work with you and arrange time for you to receive training during the duty day. If anyone is experiencing difficulties, please go to your FRS. The mandatory NO FEAR ACT & EEO Trainings are now required every two years rather than annually. There is no longer an annual requirement to attend in-person EEO training.

FEA Pocket Calendar Address Correction: Please note on the back of your pocket calendar, you will see the FEA Board of Directors contact information. FEA HCR, Noemi (Mimi) Cuadrado's, email address should be nccircle6@aol.com.

FEA Representative Volunteer Application: I have sent the application form to your FRS. If you are interested, please check with your FRS. We are asked many times to nominate teachers to represent the Association on task forces, workshops and other meeting that touch on working conditions. Let us know. As a member you are the Association.

Sure Start Teacher Survey: SS Teachers please be on the look-out for a survey via your FRS. A few concerns were brought to my attention and Area Office has asked me to verify and clarify. In order to make sure that I provide correct and relevant information, I decided it would be best to ask you directly. Thank you in advance for completing and submitting the survey.

Coach Certification Change: Please know that the Association is in active bargaining with DODDS Pacific over the newly introduced requirement that all athletic coaches receive a certification in coaching based on completion of two courses, "Fundamentals of Coaching" and First Aid for Coaches." Stay in contact with your local FRS to receive ongoing information regarding developments in bargaining.

Professional Growth Plan: Soon you will be requested to submit your PGP to your principal. Thanks to one of my counterparts, Alex Veto, for the reminder. Attached is a fact sheet that will assist you.

Pacific's Legal Eagle Corner:

1. EDUCATOR PAY -- Your pay is complicated. There is no question about that. In the era of IBM Selectric typewriters and snail mail it was easy to see how error could creep into the process. However, monster auditing programs run by the most sophisticated organizational entity on earth should now be able to pay employees accurately. Unfortunately, pay problems have increased.

There are essentially two types of pay problems. The first is a situation in which you are seeking to correct your pay. Your step placement is wrong; you notified DODDS that you have completed your masters degree and you see no change in pay; health insurance deductions are not coming out or your leave balance is incorrect. In all of these situations YOU want to modify your pay record. In these situations you should file a Pay Inquiry through your school administration. There is a form to fill out and send to the Customer Service Representative for your District. The Association protocol is for you to wait two pay periods for a response and satisfaction that your concerns are being handled. If you are even more frustrated after waiting two pay periods then please file a grievance. Your FRS can steer you in the right direction. It is your responsibility to write the grievance, however.

In the second type of pay problem DODDS wants something from you. M O N E Y! Receiving a debt collection notice from DFAS can feel worse than a root canal. The shock is immediate. The Debt Collection Act of 1982, Article 45 of our contract and the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 as well as the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the DOD Financial Management Regulation, court decisions and arbitration awards all help to define your due process rights. Here are your basic rights. You have the right to:

a. Notice before any involuntary deductions are taken out of your pay. Typically, you have a 70 day notice.
b. Receive an understandable audit of your pay which shows the debt.
c. Request a stay in collection of the debt pending a reconsideration and hearing.
d. Receive a hearing concerning the validity of the debt.

These are the basic rights. As Area Director Debra Degalis has mentioned, please let us know if you have a large debt that does not seem right to you. We will do our best to navigate the turbulent waters of pay inequity with you. Your FRS knows how to contact the UNISERV Office in the San Francisco area.

2. DEBT COLLECTION -- Stephanie Trotter is the new Assistant UNISERV replacing Gayle Parker in our office in California. She is a business graduate of University of Texas San Antonio, a former DODDS student, former Air Force spouse who lived for three years in Yokota, payroll supervisor for a large corporation with a payroll of 45,000 employees, a supervising auditor at Hartford Insurance and a mother of two, who rides her bike to work every day. She has some requests for those of you sending us debt notices.

a. Building a chronology helps us get stated.
b. Include any personal changes that might have affected your Post Allowance or LQA, like marriage, divorce, children aging up new additions to your family, moves or extended periods on LWOP.
c. Track down and forward electronically as much documentation as you can. Include pertinent SF 1190s, receipts for utilities, recons and of course relevant LESs.
d. Dates are very important if the debt involves TQSA and overlapping LQA.
e. For our colleagues in Korea, if have you received bi-weekly LQA payments in addition to the advance lump sum lease amount we need to see all of the transactions involving the lease and payment.

3. BALL OF SNAKES -- The IRS is worried that you might actually receive more money from DODDS when you PCS than you have spent. That extra money will be seen as income and taxable. Because it is the IRS they will tax the entire amount of money that you receive for your PCS costs.

To help you out you are able to file for the Relocation Income Tax allowance (RIT). This is an allowance designed to reimburse you for the substantial additional federal and state taxes on your PCS move entitlement. The RIT is typically filed when you next submit your IRS 1040 for income taxes.

Now comes the really confusing part. The Government allows you to collect an advance on the prospective tax liability that you will incur for taxes on the PCS move entitlements. This advance is called the Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA). It should cover all of the eventual tax liability that you will have.

Now comes the even more confusing part. If you do not file a RIT claim within 120 days of the calendar year following the calendar year in which you received the WTA, you will receive a dunning debt notice from DFAS. If you do not immediately file for RIT you will be indebted for the entire amount of the WTA you received! Gotta love the contorted minds who were able to get all of this through Congress.

Do you still have a colleague who has not joined the Association?

Mark Your Calendars:

Check the AD Activities for FEA leader visits in your area.
September 15 -- Hispanic Heritage Month (until 10/15)
September 16 -- International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Other Tidbits

Another helpful item shared by Europe Area Director Alex Veto is an acronym website passed on to him by former AD, John Luchtman. This should help new and veteran teachers with the many acronyms that we use in our work world. http://www.aconymfinder.com

Yen and Won Rates: To check the rates go to https://webapps.dodea.edu/lqarates/lqarates.cfm

Until the next update,

Debra S. Degalis
FEA Pacific Area Director