TO: FEA MEMBERS WORLDWIDE
FROM: BRIAN CHANCE, FEA PRESIDENT
RE: FEA PRESIDENT’S REPORT
DATE: AUGUST 26, 2020
For the first time in nearly six months, there are students and staff in some DoDEA schools. Nearly half the schools opened remotely and, as of this writing, DoDEA is STILL working on getting the Virtual Schools up and running. FEA still believes that a system-wide remote open would have been the safest and least chaotic choice to begin the school year. Obviously, we hope everyone remains safe and healthy, but we know that “hope” is not a plan, and we continue to have serious doubts about the planning and preparation that DoDEA management has put into place.
In addition to reporting them to your building administration, any member who encounters any sort of safety issue or deficiency is urged to immediately report it to their FRS/Building Representative so it can be elevated through the Association’s chain of command. It will be valuable for all levels of the Association to be aware of issues so that we have an idea whether any problems are widespread or isolated, and if patterns emerge in certain schools or complexes.
We are expecting any day to hear from the Federal Service Impasses Panel about its ruling on the disputed sections of the contract being bargained for the Overseas bargaining unit. Once we receive the FSIP ruling and a copy of the contract in its final form, FEA intends to hold a ratification vote among its Overseas members, asking them to approve or reject the contract put before them by DoDEA. We will send out advance notice to our Overseas members before that ratification vote. Voting will be conducted online through a service called ElectionBuddy.com. Overseas members will be sent an e-mail notification, asking them to vote for or against the contract as ruled on by the FSIP. That voting notice will be sent to the same email address this update is sent to, so if you are an Overseas member and did not receive this update directly in your Inbox, first check your Spam/Junk/Unread/All Mail box (wherever your email system stores messages it considers spam) and, if you’ve received no messages from FEA lately, let us know immediately what your current email address is so we can update your info in our membership system. Send email updates to email@example.com. DoDEA management is counting on the FSIP to take its side on all disputed articles in the contract — and there are many of them. We want to make sure every Overseas member has the opportunity to vote on what emerges from the FSIP.
As reported last week, DoDEA has told us that all Overseas members who had an erroneous 11th dues deduction taken from their pay in SY 19-20 have now been repaid. We urge anyone who was affected by DoDEA’s error to review their bank account records going back to April, to see whether you received a deposit from the government for the amount of that erroneous deduction. You should also have received an email notification from DoDEA. If you were a victim of that erroneous 11th deduction and still have not been repaid, send notice to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can track down the reason why. I wish also to thank Claudia Shaw at DoDEA HQ and all her staff who have put in many hours to resolve this situation. Your efforts to fix this problem are exemplary and are very appreciated!
A general salary organizer in PDF format and an Excel Spreadsheet, prepared by FEA member Larry Tjelveit at SHAPE Elementary School, are available at this page on the FEA web site. It is always a good idea to keep track of your pay throughout each school year so you can find and report any potential pay problems before they snowball.
Everyone, but especially those members under 26-period spread pay in SY 19-20 who experienced problems at the start of last school year, can still access the Excel spreadsheet prepared by Larry Tjelveit for SY 19-20 at this link. We recommend you review your SY 19-20 LESs one last time to make sure you have no outstanding issues.
FEA members will be asked this year to vote on proposed changes to the FEA Constitution that would make some technical corrections with Area Human and Civil Rights Coordinators and would also create a new position on the FEA Board of Directors, Education Support Professional (ESP) Coordinator. Information on this election was mailed to FRSs and Stateside Local Presidents in mid-August (mail delivery may be slow in some locations). Information can also be found at the FEA election information page or in the August FEA Journal, mailed to all members.
If you are enrolled in FSAFEDS, this is a reminder that the deadline to make changes to your existing 2020 election is this Saturday, August 29. To assist with the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, OPM gave FSAFEDS participants a 60-day limited period during which certain mid-year changes could be made to their existing elections. The limited period began on July 1, 2020 and ends 60 days later, which is August 29. All participants who have enrolled in a 2020 Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care Flexible Spending Account (LEX HCFSA), or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) will be allowed to make a one-time change (increase or decrease) in the amount of their annual election in each FSA account in which they are enrolled. Accordingly, participants cannot receive a refund of allotments from pay they have already made to their FSA account(s) year-to-date. To learn more about this and other changes related to FSAFEDS, visit www.fsafeds.com