Legal Update on AG 08-08 (Reimbursement of Hotel Costs for Coaches)

To: FEA Leaders and Educators (For Immediate Distribution)
From: H.T. Nguyen, FEA Executive Director/ General Counsel
Date: March 23, 2010
Re: Legal Update on the Implementation of the Settlement Agreement in Association
Grievance 08-08

The Association continues to closely monitor the implementation of the settlement agreement in Association Grievance 08-08. As you may recall, under this settlement agreement, if the team (and/or parents of team members) wishes to stay in a hotel, the coach has to stay in the hotel with the team. Therefore, in accordance with the settlement agreement, if this sole condition is met, management is to reimburse the coach for the hotel costs incurred. There are three separate groups of coaches affected by the settlement agreement.

The First Group
The first group consists of coaches who, under the terms of the settlement agreement, claimed retroactive back pay, plus interest, for the hotel costs they incurred, and timely submitted their claims to Mr. Quinn Anderson at DoDEA headquarters. Our office has remained in contact with Mr. Anderson and DoDEA officials regarding the processing of these claims.
That said, due to the unfortunate series of disasters in Japan and the subsequent issues, DoDEA has been forced to redirect its resources to dealing with the crisis there. However, Mr. Anderson and DoDEA officials have informed the Association that these claims continue to be processed, but the diversion of resources to handle the Japan crisis means that the payments will be delayed. However, interest will continue to accrue during the delay.

The Second Group
The second group is made up of coaches who, subsequent to the settlement agreement, incurred hotel costs when the team (and/or parents of team members) wished to stay in a hotel, and in accordance with their duty, the coach stayed in the hotel with the team. However, when the coaches filed travel vouchers for the hotel costs, through the regular reimbursement procedures, their voucher claims were rejected.
Our office has been working with DoDEA officials to resolve this problem. As a result of these discussions, the Association recommends to coaches who have had their voucher claims for hotel reimbursement denied by management, to please resubmit your vouchers (with copies of your receipts) through your regular reimbursement procedures. The Association has been informed that coaches will be reimbursed these costs after they resubmit these vouchers and copies of the hotel receipts. Please contact our office immediately if you have any problems or are not reimbursed.

The Third Group
The third group is made up of those coaches who have requested travel orders, or will be requesting travel orders, for away games. These orders, or soon to be issued orders may contain new language that includes a number of requirements and steps, none of which were discussed, agreed to, or part of the settlement agreement. The new language includes the following statement:
"IAW DoDDS-E Interscholastic Athletic Policy Host schools are required to provide billeting for visiting teams and coaches. Coaches/sponsors are required to be with team members. Any exception to this, other than for tournaments/championships, requires a statement of non-availability from the host school at least five (5) days prior to the travel commencing if reimbursement of hotel costs is requested.

Please note that as long as the team (and/or parents of team members) wishes to stay in a hotel, the coach has to stay in the hotel with the team. In accordance with the terms of the settlement agreement, coaches should be reimbursed for such hotel costs.

If you do receive orders with the above-cited language, please ask that new orders be issued without this language. If the request is refused, or there is not enough time to request or be issued new orders, please go ahead and submit your request for reimbursement anyway.

Therefore, the Association advises that upon your return, coaches should submit their travel voucher, together with a copy of your hotel receipt(s), through the regular reimbursement procedures, even if your travel orders contain the above-cited language. After submitting your voucher and copy of your hotel receipts for reimbursement, if you encounter any problems with being reimbursed, or have your request for reimbursement denied, please contact FEA headquarters at immediately. Thank you