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Federation President's Message
Hopefully everyone has had a good summer and stayed cool whether you stayed here in Arizona or traveled to cooler places. Mike and I traveled to the Colorado Convention/Region VII Conference in Aurora. CO and then to Jacksonville, FL for the Federation President’s Meeting. Then took some personal time to travel to Maine and Rhode Island to visit family and friends. Now, we are back in Tucson and time to get back to NARFE work.

Many of our Arizona Chapters that went dark for the summer months will start holding their meetings again together with those chapters that have met this summer. I hope everyone spent some time recruiting new members. Although the M-260 report for July shows that there were no new members recruited by chapter members in Arizona.

Remember, the Arizona Federation has a Membership Incentive Program going on for the entire year of 2017 and as of the end of July, only one Arizona Member, Coral Van Hooser, has recruited 3 new members and will receive the $25 bonus. Several other members have recruited 1 or 2 new members. These incentive checks will not be issued until after the end of the year and the reports have been published around mid-January 2018.

This Membership Incentive Program also includes a Dues Withholding incentive. If you recruit a new member through Dues Withholding, you will receive a $25 bonus or an incentive is offered for signing up for Dues Withholding with a $15 rebate for the you. To receive this credit, you need to send a copy of your Dues Withholding form to cornerdnr@gmail.com. Remember, if you go on Dues Withholding, your national dues decrease from $40 to $34 per year. Active employees and Life Members are not eligible for Dues Withholding.

Mentioning new members, the NARFE National Office has announced that there will be another Membership Recruiting Drive for 2017 starting September 1st thru December 31st. By the time that you receive this newspaper, you will likely have received more information on this Recruiting Drive but it is expected to be similar to the 2016 Membership Drive.

The Region VII Conference was attended by 11 Arizona members (this includes Region VII VP Rodney Adelman). As previously noted to those members with email addresses, National President Richard (Dick) Thissen was unable to attend due to his wife’s health problems. National Secretary/Treasurer Jon Dowie was the Keynote Speaker. Also in attendance were representatives from both OPM and Social Security and they had access to their databases and could help anyone with personal questions. Many members took advantage of this. The new Executive Director Barbara Side was introduced and a Town Hall session was held where she asked questions of the members to get a feel for things that the members liked and disliked about NARFE and she made note of these on a flip chart.

There was some discussion on future Region VII Conferences and at the present time another conference is not planned.

The last item on the agenda for the Conference was a discussion on the proposed bylaw amendment to allow a National President to run for a 3rd term. Those of you with an email address have heard about this and others may not have. Originally this amendment was to only allow the current National President to run for a 3rd term. The National Executive Board (NEB) voted in early June to put this out for a vote by all the members. There was to be a ballot in the August NARFE magazine. But the emails started flying regarding the timing of this (most Arizona chapters were dark and had no way to discuss this) and the way this was being done. By the time of the discussion during the Conference, this amendment had been changed to allow any National President to request to run for a 3rd term. This request would be to the NEB and they would vote by ballot. The members would not get to vote on these requests. At this point the NEB had not voted on this new version. This discussion at the Conference had Jon Dowie providing the Pros and former National President Joe Beaudoin providing the Cons.

The following week the NEB had a Go To Meeting session and this revised amendment was not on the agenda but it was brought up and it was decided to put a vote on this revised amendment off until after the Federation President’s Meeting.

At the Federation President’s Meeting, we had a 4 plus hour discussion on the pros and cons of this amendment and the cost of $35,000 to have a special vote on this one item by all the members. It was then noted that the costs would be less than that amount but somewhere around $22,000 plus. Following all the discussion it was announced that the NEB would have a separate breakfast the following morning and at 8:20 am they would vote on this proposed revised amendment; everyone was invited to sit in on this vote. I did sit in on this vote and the results, after some discussion by the RVPs, was 5 Yes votes and 6 No votes; it needed a two-thirds vote to pass and was thus defeated.

At this time this proposed amendment is dead and that is the reason why there was no ballot in the August magazine. Now that does not mean that someone won’t submit an amendment to the NARFE National Bylaws for this very same thing and it will have to be voted on next summer when we vote on all proposed amendments and vote for the election of officers.

There is now some discussions going on about proposed amendments and not being able to discuss the pros and cons, such as we did at previous National Conventions. Those discussions provided pros and cons regarding each one and now that we voted to do this in advance of the National Conference, there will be no way to discuss these. This might be something that we could do at our Arizona Biennial Workshop that is now scheduled for June 6, 2018.

Mentioning the Arizona Biennial Workshop, it is scheduled for June 6, 2018, at the American Legion Post #44 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The agenda has not been finalized for this event and any suggestions are welcome. Also, the registration fee has not been set but it will include a noon lunch of baked ziti, spaghetti and meatballs, salad bar, garlic bread, coffee, tea, and water. This will be a 1-day Workshop starting at 9:00 am and running until around 4:00 pm. More information will be forthcoming. Mark your calendars and plan to attend this informative training session.

Included as a separate article is a slightly shortened version of a great summary of the Federation President’s Meeting that was held at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 10 thru 13. This summary was done by Lorna Howerton, Federation President from New Mexico. This article will give you some idea of what goes on at one of these meetings.

By the time that you receive this newspaper, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) Open Season will be upon us and health fairs will begin. As I write this article, the premiums for all plans are not known and I have not received the master list of the health fairs. Information from the Daily News Clips had an article noting that the Open Season will be from Monday, November 13, 2017 thru Monday, December 11, 2017. Now is the time to start thinking about what is best for each of you.

Once I get the Master List of health fairs for Arizona, I will divide it up by districts and send it to each District Vice President (DVP) and to each chapter president in that district. PLEASE review this list for your area. The Federation is looking for volunteers to attend these health fairs and try and recruit new members. If you are willing to attend particular health fairs in your area, please let me know and if NARFE is invited to attend that health fair, I will forward the invitation to you. Remember, this is one of the only ways we have to get into these Federal Agencies and talk with their employees. Please volunteer to help.

Remember, if you want to change insurance plans, either to a different insurance company or different plan within the same insurance company, you must complete the required form(s). This can be done online or using a paper copy. Retirees need to use OPM Form 2809, Health Benefits Election Form. Employees can do this within their agency. If you have questions on this, please feel free to call the National Office and ask for either Al Reeves or Monique Proctor in the Federal Benefits Division at 1-703-838-7760, Ext 269 or 271 or email them at areeves@narfe.org or mproctor@narfe.org. Or you can attend one of the health fairs and talk with some of the health insurance company representatives.

NARFE Perks – Have you used them? These partners and sponsors add non-dues revenue to NARFE and we need to use their services when possible. Some of the newer ones are Mini Moves, HearUSA, and Omaha Steaks plus many others as listed in the back portion of every NARFE magazine. If you are looking to cut costs, NARFE members can save money on these everyday products and services by using NARFE’s Affinity Partners. During our trip across the country, we used the Choice Hotels and were amazed just how reasonable these hotels were.

By using NARFE Perks, we also help NARFE. So next time you need something, take a look in your magazine and see if there is something there that would benefit you.

Dates to Remember & Mark Your Calendars:
June 6, 2018 – Arizona Biennial Workshop (Training and Discussions), American Legion Post #44, Scottsdale, AZ
August 26 – 30, 2018 – NARFE National Conference, Hyatt Regency Riverfront, in Jacksonville, Florida
August 30 – September 3, 2020 - NARFE National Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

Thank you for your support and taking the time to read the Arizona NARFE News



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UPDATED:  September 5, 2017