|As By now everyone must have heard the results
of the National Convention in Reno. The National
Executive Board (NEB) had recommended three resolutions
and two of them were passed. They are: Optional Chapter
Membership and One Member/One Vote. These two
resolutions will make some major changes in NARFE.
First, Optional Chapter Membership means that when someone joins NARFE, they will automatically be a National Only member. When the National Office sends out their membership information, they will be advised about Chapter Membership and given some information on how to join a chapter. I have not seen this information as yet and will be anxious to see it. Membership will now consist of Chapter Members and National Only Members. Our local chapters will continue to operate as they have been doing. These changes did NOT change anything to do with chapters except that a new member does not have to belong to a local chapter; that is optional.
One Member/One Vote means that EVERY National Only and Chapter Member will have the opportunity to vote for our national officers and all the resolutions. It will no longer be one delegate for each 50 chapter members doing the voting. The current National Life and National Only members, showing on your M-112 and M-114 reports, will now become National Only members and be able to vote.
The National Convention will change to a National Conference and we will not have to take up each and every resolution individually, discuss and discuss it some more, and then either vote by electronic ballot or by show of voting cards. At the August 2016 convention, on Monday, we stayed in session until after 7 pm reviewing and discussing all the bylaw resolutions that we would be voting on early Tuesday morning. This will not have to happen again because we will do that voting prior to the Conference. It is likely that the ballot will be provided to EVERY member in the NARFE magazine that you can use to vote or by using a link in an email to vote online. But, every member will need to do their research on each and every resolution and candidate. I am sure that the Regional VPs and Federations will be providing some training and also there will be plenty of information and training online at the NARFE website. Only time will tell us exactly how this will work.
Following the National Convention in Reno, the NEB met and voted to discontinue the eNARFE Chapter. This chapter was only created as an incentive for members to join and not have to belong to a traditional local chapter. These eNARFE members now are all National Only Members. These members can now join a traditional local chapter if they so choose.
Based on these changes, many of the NARFE forms are having to be revised. The November issue of NARFE has the new membership application in it. You can obtain this form by going to the NARFE website, www.narfe.org , Log In (recommend you use the “Secure Login”) and on the left side above the orange “Office Resources”, type “forms” and click on “Go”. On the next screen, click on “Click Here to Read More” under Forms by Form Number. You should review your forms to see if you have the latest version; if not you will need to submit an order. The new Membership Application Form is F-135 - Revision (10/16). Also, the F-10, Chapter and Federation Officers Manual has been revised ONLINE ONLY (9/16). If your chapter is making any changes, someone should review this Online Manual. As soon as they are available, each chapter should order a new one. Not all forms have been revised as yet such as the L-2 NARFE’s Legislative Program for the 115th Congress. So review this list often to be sure you are using the latest revisions.
As I stated, the National Convention format that we have had in the past will be changing. So mark your calendars now and plan to attend the 2018 National Conference at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront, in Jacksonville, Florida, on August 26-30, 2018. We do not know the new format but can expect sessions on various topics of interest. This conference will be a stepping stone for the 2020 National Conference that will be held at The Westin-Kierland in Scottsdale, Arizona, on August 30-September 3, 2020. The Arizona Federation will be the host of the 2020 National Conference and our Chairperson is Ron Castaneda. Ron is District Vice President (DVP) for District 1.
The COLA for social security and federal retirees is only 00.3%. With this very, very tiny increase, it could mean that those NOT under the “hold harmless clause” may see a very substantial increase in their Medicare Part B premiums; have heard it could be as high as $149/month. These are Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) retirees that do not receive Social Security and have their Medicare Part B premiums taken out of it. Also, there are some higher income retirees that are not held harmless. Our National Office team has been working with Congressional staff members on this problem while our representatives have not been in session. It is hopeful that Congress (House and Senate) can agree on a way to reduce this unfair premium increase for those not held harmless and hopefully they will find a permanent fix to this problem. But, to let you know, our National Office is working on this issue.
The Arizona Federation will again pay mileage and parking fees, if any, once the cumulative mileage by a recruiter, within one Open Season, exceeds 75 miles. Receipts for the parking fees must be attached to the Expense Voucher.
Open Season for our Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEBHP) was from November 14th to December 12th and by the time that you read this article, it likely has closed. I trust that you did review your current plan to make sure it now fits your needs considering all factors and you made the best choice for yourself. If or when a major health issue arises, we sure hope that we have made a wise decision.
As many of you have heard, the Flagstaff Chapter 1699 was closed on October 1, 2016. Those members were transferred to either the Bradshaw Chapter 2106 or the Mogollon Chapter 1235 except for those members that had a mailing address out of state or their Arizona zip code belonged to another chapter. The Prescott Chapter 0321 has been unable to get a president, secretary, and treasurer or a president and secretary/treasurer combined and they have voted to close at the end of 2016. A third chapter is having problems getting officers and by the time you read this, they will have held their annual meeting and if they could not get officers, they will have voted to close.
Many of our other Chapters have held their annual meetings and election of officers and I trust that EVERY MEMBER stepped up and offered your help to your chapter. Everyone needs to do their part. Chapters cannot function without officers and way too many chapters nationwide are closing because other members are not doing their part. One problem seems to be the secretary position – this position like the others can be a shared position; one person has their name on the officer roster and then one or more other members agree to take the minutes at each meeting. No one is expected to be at every meeting and there is no reason why someone else can’t fill in. So PLEASE look deep into your heart and volunteer to help your chapter.
I want to remind every chapter, whether you had an election or not, that either the President, Secretary, or Membership Chair needs to go online and complete a new F-7, Update to Chapter _(No.)_ Officer Roster. Please review all officer positions and change as needed but be sure to review the “Chapter Dues” and “Meeting Place” sections at the lower left part of the form. This information is used by the Arizona Federation and some of it is included in our Arizona NARFE News such as the location and time of your meetings. Some of our NARFE snowbird friends and visitors might like to visit your chapter and possibly join but they will not know when your chapter meets if the information is not there.
Shortly, it will be Income Tax time. This means that EVERY chapter without exception MUST file an IRS Form 990-N or ePostcard. You cannot file the e-Postcard until after your fiscal year ends (after December 31, 2016). The ePostcard is due by May 15, 2017. This is usually done by the chapter treasurer.
The 2016 Health Fair season has been completed. The list included 107 health fairs this season but there were 2 or 3 that were cancelled. Some chapters chose not to attend health fairs this year as there is no track record on how many new members we obtain by doing this. But, this is our ONLY way to get into these federal agencies and talk with some of their employees. Granted we do not get much time but for every one that we do talk with, those employees have at least heard of NARFE. Marketing the NARFE name, National Active & Retired Federal Employees, is important. Even if we can just get these employees to at least go to the NARFE website and see some of the benefits (such as the NARFE Federal Benefits Institute Webinars). National tells us that employees tell them that they want information. The webinars are a good place to get some of that. I do want to thank ALL of those that did attend the health fairs. I appreciate your taking your time to do this.
Upcoming 2017 Dates to Remember: 2017 District 1 & 4 Task Force Training – Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – at the United Methodist Cross Roads Church. All chapters are being invited to attend and by the time you get this newspaper, chapter presidents should have received the information. I’m told this training will have a different agenda than previous events. Please look this information over carefully and plan to attend. This is your chance to get some training.
2017 Arizona 58th Federation Convention celebrating the Federation’s 60th Anniversary. These numbers no longer agree since our Federation Conventions are now held every two years. This convention will be held at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 1600 S Country Club Drive in Mesa, on May 7th to 9th. District 4 (Scottsdale 1234, Mogollon 1235, Saguaro Mesa 1469, and Tempe 1505) will be hosting this convention and I ask that every Arizona chapter support District 4 by attending, with a Booster List, and taking an ad in their program book. The Convention Committee Chair is Susan Drane of the Saguaro Mesa Chapter. The hotel room rate is $89/night plus taxes and fees and does include breakfast. I would remind our members that these room rates are set to offset the cost of paying for the meeting rooms, microphones, screens, projectors, etc. So please plan to stay with us for the convention.
As I write this, all the information is not complete such as what choices we’ll have for the banquet but they are trying to keep the Registration Fee at $10, the Sunday Night Icebreaker at $25, and the Banquet at $35. These are the same prices as in 2015. The Federation is planning to have a 60th anniversary celebration during the convention. Come Sunday afternoon; you can attend the Federation Board Meeting and/or the President’s Meeting, and then attend the Icebreaker, meet new and old friends, and enjoy friendship with other members. Then you’ll be ready to start on Monday morning without worrying about the Phoenix area traffic. Complete information will be emailed to all Chapter Presidents and a hard copy mailed to each Chapter Secretary on February 1, 2017. Please share this information with all your members. If a Chapter President or Chapter Secretary has not received this information by February 10, 2017, please let me know.
Mentioning the 2017 Arizona Federation Convention, at this convention we will be electing new Federation officers and voting on all resolutions that have been presented to make changes in the Federation Bylaws. The Bylaws can be found on the Arizona website – www.narfeaz.com , click on “Free” on the left side, and scroll down to “Arizona Federation Bylaw & Policies_0916a” and click on it. The bylaws are near the end of this document; five pages. The way to submit a resolution will be included in the information provided on February 1, 2017. If you would like to run for Federation president, vice president, secretary or treasurer, please contact Thad Andreski, Chairman of the Nominating Committee. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are interested in any of the appointed officer positions, also let Thad Andreski know.
2017 Region VII Conference – By the time you receive this newspaper, the Call Letter should have been received by every Chapter President. Again, please share this information with all your chapter members. The Region VII Conference is for all Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming chapters. This is an excellent way to meet new people and learn how other chapters and states do things. It will be held at the Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast, 3155 S Vaugh Way, Aurora, CO on June 29 – July 1, 2017. The theme is “Transforming NARFE Together” and will be hosted by Colorado. The room rate is $119.00/night plus tax and fees. Breakfast is NOT included. Again I would hope that every Arizona chapter would support the Region VII Conference by having some members attend, with a Booster List, and by taking an ad. Advance information indicates a Registration Fee of $115.00 which includes the Thursday evening Reception, Breaks, Friday Lunch, and Friday evening Banquet with a choice of New York Strip Sirloin or Seared Atlantic Salmon. This is the same Region VII Conference that Arizona hosted in 2013 and the other states supported us; now it is our turn to support Colorado. If you have not received this information by now, please let me know.
Hopefully your Thanksgiving was a good one and you didn’t eat too much. I wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a healthy New Year in 2017. Stay safe and we’ll see you in 2017.
UPDATED: December 1, 2016