National Association of Retired Federal Employees
MAINE FEDERATION OF CHAPTERS
Vol. Number 1 NEWSBITS Issue Number 1
Welcome to the first issue of the Maine Federation NewsBits. I will put one out periodically. I started to write up an article on the Convention Highlights but these written up by William Seavers were so good, and thorough, that I asked him if I could use them and he graciously consented.
by William Seaver, Convention By Laws Committee Chairman and Immediate Past President, Illinois Federation
There were roughly 1,640 persons registered for the convention at the Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel and Convention Center in Greensboro NC.
The following were elected: President - Charles Fallis of Roanoke VA; Vice President - Dan Galvan of Temple TX; Secretary David Sullivan of Springfield VA; Treasurer Michael Hoyman of Fort Myers FL.
The Convention was marred by a very unfortunate controversy in balloting for the office of President for which the contest was very close. A first count of the ballots indicated that Margaret Baptiste had won by the slimmest of margins, just 3 votes. As was his right, Charles Fallis asked for a recount. During the course of the recount, it was discovered that an administrative error had occurred due to a poor judgment call by President Atwater. What happened was that the Voting Certificate of the Voting Representative of a chapter in MO had been lost, misplaced stolen. She asked the Credentials Committee to replace it and they properly refused to do so.... because of the published guidance that lost Voting Certificates would not be reissued.
The individual then appealed to her Federation President and to her National Regional Vice President to help reverse the decision. They took it to President Atwater who ordered the Voting Certificate to be reissued. (This was an error in judgment and he should not have taken this action because there was some number of other lost Voting Certificates which were not allowed to be reissued... in accord with the published guidance. And there was no way to go back and attempt to reissue all of those.) Therefore, the MO chapter representative was allowed to cast the chapter's 33 votes. These votes, as it turned out, all went to Margaret Baptiste.
This situation would not have been critical except for the extreme closeness of the ballot count. The final outcome was that, after consulting with a lot of people, including the Convention Appeals Committee, and in the interests of justice, President Atwater reversed his prior decision and the MO chapter's 33 votes for Margaret Baptiste were not allowed to be counted in the recount. Therefore, the result of the recount was that Charles Fallis was declared the winner with a margin of 23 votes.
As you might guess, many people didn't fully understand the situation and felt that Margaret Baptiste had been treated unjustly. The decision to not allow the 33 votes to be counted was the right decision to be made no matter for whom the votes were cast. Margaret Baptiste was, understandably devastated by the outcome but, splendid lady that she is, declared that she would stand by the outcome and would not mount a divisive campaign to try to reverse the decision.
The Officers Salaries Committee recommended an increase of $6,000 in the Salary of the national Secretary on the basis that the responsibilities and functions of the Secretary have "increased considerably during the past few years". The $6,000 annual increase was approved by the delegates. This raises the amount which Secretary Sullivan receives from $71,000+ per year to over $77,000 per year. No other officers salaries were changed.
Of the 47 resolutions proposing changes to the Association Bylaws, all but one were recommended for rejection by the Bylaws committee, however, five were adopted in one form or another by the delegates:
Resolution #17 was rejected by the Bylaws committee but adopted by the delegates. Adoption of this resolution allows Retirement Life to be restored to some National Life Members who had been required to join chapters by the current Bylaws but refused to do so. An unintended (?) result of this resolution is that it allows any current Life Member to refuse to pay chapter dues and still be entitled to all national membership privileges. In effect, for any Life member, the Bylaws requirement that every member belong to a chapter has been negated.
Resolution #21 was rejected by the Bylaws committee but adopted by the delegates. Adoption of this resolution sets up a new and separate class of members, called Current Federal Employees (CFE). This allows the NEB to offer spousal memberships and set chapter dues/fees for this separate class of members for as long as they remain in the Federal workforce. Upon retirement, they will be required to transition to regular membership requirements. Retired and survivor NARFE are excluded from CFE dues arrangements.
Resolution #25 was amended by the Bylaws Committee but was passed by the delegates in its original form. This resolution provides some limitation to the authority given to the NEB at the last convention in San Diego for establishing incentive programs for recruitment and retention It still allows the NEB to establish a Membership Fee for such incentive programs. However, it provides for a two-year limitation on the programs and assures that Chapter dues of record will be remitted to the chapters during the two-year period.
Resolution #40 was rejected by the Bylaws Committee but adopted by the delegates. This resolution requires that the duties of the Nominating Committee "be confined to the verification of the eligibility of the candidates for National Office and refrain from putting forth a preferred slate". Passage of this resolution negates any need for a Nominating committee because the only requirement to be eligible for National office is to be a member of NARFE in good standing and this eligibility can be quickly verified by Hq. Staff. This means that the Committee's relatively independent, informed opinion as to which candidate(s) would be best suited for national office will no longer be available to the delegates.
Resolution #47 was rejected by the Bylaws Committee (on the basis that it is a procedural matter) but was adopted by the delegates. This resolution eliminates the requirement that resolutions which are rejected by delegates at a Federation convention must be sent forward to a national convention. Hereafter, they will be returned to the submitter.
Resolution 128 was adopted. This resolution directs our national Hq. to continue the current practice of encouraging heads of National Federal Agencies to allow and welcome NARFE recruiters into their field installations to talk about
Resolution 129 was adopted. This regulation directs the NEB to assure that NARFE informational materials are made available at meetings of employee organizations and associations in the Federal/postal community.
Resolution 130 was adopted. This resolution directs the NEB to develop a "pragmatic, practical recruitment plan" that takes into account all the employee organizations and management associations throughout the Federal/postal service.
Resolution 118 was rejected by the Bylaws Committee but was adopted by the delegates as amended by the Membership Committee. This resolution directs the NEB to "once again address the single dues issue with a referendum of $30.00 a year with $18.00 retained by National, $2.00 for the 10% Fund, and $10.00 for the Chapters".
Resolution 131 was adopted as amended. This resolution directs that NARFE negotiate with OPM so that NARFE is authorized as a provider of pre-retirement seminars in the same manner as other providers currently offering this service. For example, LifeSpan Inc. is an independent contractor based in Atlanta GA which presents PRS events for some Federal agencies, e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Resolution 136 was adopted. this resolution requires that Hq. NARFE share member e-mail addresses with Federations so that they may be used for NARFE business as is done with postal addresses and phone numbers. There is an opt-out provision so that members not wanting e-mails concerning NARFE business to be sent to them may have their e-mail address removed from the Federation listing.
Resolution 147 was adopted. This asks that NARFE propose that the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board install toll free numbers for members of the 'Thrift Savings Plan to use in transacting business related to their accounts.
Resolution 141 was adopted as amended. This requires that NARFE Hq. upgrade, update and place a high priority on its Service Officer/Service Center Program by formulating an in-depth nation-wide training program for Service Officer/Service Center personnel.
Resolution 144 was adopted as amended This requires that Hq. NARFE study the possibility of using up-to-date voting methods, e.g., electronic means, to assure an accurate count at national conventions.
NOTE: Because of the time spent on Bylaws Resolutions and on the national elections, there was no time available for consideration of many resolutions which were recommended for rejection by the Membership Committee and the Resolutions Committee. That was unfortunate because some resolutions addressed important issues which should have been dealt with by the delegates. However, in accordance with parliamentary procedure, these resolutions were acted upon by the NEB, at a post-convention meeting. They chose to follow the Committee recommendations in every case and all remaining resolutions were rejected.
The Legislative Committee developed a new Legislative Plan using the 60+ resolutions submitted on legislation. There may be a few quirks in it from prior plans, but essentially it seems to be similar in focus to prior years. It will certainly appear in Retirement Life soon and will be distributed to all chapters and Legislative Officers.
The prevailing opinion is that we can expect no great increases in retirement benefits, we will be fortunate to hold onto what we have. However, we can expect to have more increases in health insurance premiums and there will be an average increase of over 11% in premiums next year. Note that there is a new plan being tested by the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) which looks like it will erode our health insurance premium pool by siphoning off some of the younger, healthier workers.
By Richard Dauphin Maine Federation of Chapters President
The Darrah Retirement Party
Outgoing Region 1 Field Vice President, Sidney W. Darrah and his wife Bea were honored at a retirement party, at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke MA, on Monday October 28 2002. They were accompanied by their daughter Carol Bradfield and husband Jim, from Oregon and their son Martin Phelps and his wife Susan, from Connecticut.
The party was sponsored by the seven Region 1 Federations and hosted by the Massachusetts Federation, with Northampton Chapter 484 acting as the host Chapter. Barry Rock, incoming Region 1 Field Vice President. and his wife Reva were among the 144 attendees. Attending from Maine were: Maine Federation President Richard Dauphin and his wife Terry, Maine Federation 1st Vice President Arthur Pike and his wife Anna, Maine Federation Treasurer Charlie Kyes and his wife Mary, and Donald and Julie Brawn from Chapter 248, Augusta ME.
In honor of his 10 years in office, Sid was presented with cards and gifts from Federations, Chapters, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Mail Handlers and from individuals. Past Massachusetts Federation President Bill Sherwood read a letter from former National President Charles Chuck Jackson and Massachusetts Federation President Gilbert Blaisdell read a letter from Kim Ainsworth, Executive Secretary, Greater Boston Federal Executive Board, both congratulating Sid on his retirement.
Richard J. Dauphin, President
Maine Federation of Chapters, NARFE
216 Maquoit Rd
Brunswick ME 04011-7400
Anyone is welcome to contribute to NewsBits. Please send input via e-mail preferably but snail mail if e-mail is not possible. E-mail will reduce the editor's work. Thanks!