|Information is now available on the NARFE website (www.narfe.org) concerning the next NARFE National Convention in Orlando, Florida, August 24 - 28, 2014. The next Convention deadline is May 13, for proposed Convention Resolutions and Bylaw changes. Any NARFE Chapter may submit a resolution or Bylaws change for consideration by the Convention Delegates. If your Chapter would like to have the Arizona Federation endorse your resolution, I must receive a copy of the resolution by Wednesday, May 7. Credentials forms, designating your Chapter Delegates and Alternates, must be received at NARFE by June 28. Hotel reservations must be made by July 21. Individual convention registration must be completed (easily done online) by August 1. And proxy forms for Chapters that are not sending a delegate to the Convention must be received at NARFE by August 9. Please be sure that your Credentials form or your proxy form is submitted to NARFE on time, so that ALL Arizona NARFE members will be represented at this important National Convention.
Three Arizona NARFE members will be serving on National Convention Committees this year. Dee Price, Scottsdale Chapter 1234 President, will serve on the Ballot and Teller Committee. Vic Peterson, Sun City West Chapter 1789 Vice President, will serve on the Sergeant at Arms Committee. And I will be serving as the Vice Chair of the Bylaws Committee (also from Sun City West Chapter 1789). Accordingly, Etta Bryant, Federation Vice President, will be attending the Federation Presidents' meeting on my behalf. Remember, the Arizona Federation will reimburse $200 to each Chapter that sends a voting Delegate to the Convention (that is NOT an elected Federation Officer). Because of the votes expected on several of the Future of NARFE Committee recommendations, NARFE National President Joseph Beaudoin has called this one of the most important National Conventions in NARFE's history. Please encourage NARFE members to attend the convention and make use of some of your Chapter funds to reimburse them for their expenses.
What recommendations from the Future of NARFE (FON) Committee will be voted on at the upcoming National Convention? Delegates will be asked to vote on a resolution endorsing the "vision" for NARFE's future as outlined in the FON Committee report, and its use as a base document for short-, mid-, and long-term strategic planning. The National Executive Board will offer bylaw amendments that, if adopted, would: reduce the number of National Officers from four to two, abolishing the positions of National Vice President and National Secretary; make membership in Chapters optional, as it was until 1988; and open NARFE's membership up to anyone that supports NARFE's mission, including instituting a new "youth" membership.
The next Arizona Federation Executive Board meeting will be held at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, May 8, at the First Credit Union, 25 South Arizona Place, Chandler, AZ. The Board meeting is open to ALL NARFE members. One of the topics of discussion at the next Board meeting will be the FON Committee recommendations. Also, we will discuss the upcoming 2014 Arizona Federation Biennial Workshop, to be held September 26 - 27, 2014. More on the Workshop is in Vice President Bryant's article, which follows.
For the first time in many years, there is actually a lull in legislative activity that could be harmful to Federal employees and retirees. NARFE continues to carefully watch postal reform proposals for their impact on postal workers, workers' compensation recipients, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Now would be a good time to send a letter or email to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators, reminding them to support NARFE's legislative agenda. How? Go to the Legislative Action Center on the NARFE website (www.narfe.org).
In the last edition of the Federation newsletter, I gave a brief update on the progress of the Future of NARFE (FON) Committee. The full FON Committee report and supporting documentation are now posted on the NARFE website. A brief summary of the recommendations and the National Executive Board actions are included elsewhere in this newsletter. Also, a one-page summary was included on page 52 of the April NARFE magazine.
One of the most common questions asked about the FON Committee recommendations is, "How does this impact my local Chapter?" Local chapters would remain an important part of the NARFE structure as long as they continue to provide benefit to, and are supported by, their membership. Existing chapters would continue, virtually unaffected. Chapter membership dues would continue to be collected by Headquarters. An easing of bylaw and administrative requirements would allow greater flexibility for chapters to operate for the benefit of their membership.
Some have expressed concern with the recommendation that Chapter membership become optional. In a practical sense, this is no different from our current structure, where any member may join eNARFE (which is really a "Chapter" in name only), and not belong to a traditional zip code-based Chapter. By eliminating the Chapter membership requirement, many of the issues that eNARFE is causing (eDivisions, large voting block, etc.) will go away. We will also welcome back into the fold, with FULL membership rights, our current National Only and National Life members.
Finally, one of the FON Committee recommendations already adopted by the NEB is the reduction of NARFE's regions from ten to five. The "new" Region IV consists of the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, and the Republic of Panama (roughly the merger of the old Regions VI and VII, less the state of Wyoming). Because of this new regional alignment, the 2015 Region VII Biennial Conference has been cancelled. Also, while I was initially a candidate for the "old" Region VII Regional Vice President, I am now an announced candidate for the "new" Region IV Vice President position. I ask for the continued support and the votes of Arizona NARFE Chapters and members.
UPDATED: April 1, 2014