2014 NASCOE Convention is approaching!

The NASCOE convention in Oklahoma City is less than a month away! ¬†It’s not too late to make plans to attend ūüėČ

The Convention runs Wed, August 13 through Sat, August 16, with travel on Tuesday and Sunday.

Every state association is asked to send two delegates to the convention.  This year PACOE has selected Rick Csutoras and Kelly DeLucy as delegates.  There is a question and answer period every year with FSA Leadership, so if you have any specific question you want your delegates to ask please email us at contactus@pacoeweb.com.

Shorty after the convention, PACOE will be scheduling a conference call for all members and potential members to share what is learned from the convention.  Keep your eyes for details as time gets closer!

Also, check out more informationon the convention at  www.nascoe.org/Pages/NationalConventions.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

2014-2015 Officers & Executive Committee Replacements

The Executive Committee recently held a conference call to nominate and select officers for the 2014-2015 year.  New this year was the separation of the Secretary and Treasurer positions.  The results are:

President: Dan Smeal
Vice-President: Rick Csutoras
Treasurer: Dave Stratton
Secretary: Dodie Yohn

When officers are pulled from existing Executive Board members, an alternate is called to serve.  As a result, here are your new Executive Board members:

Area 1: Dolly Little, Mary  Jo Frazer, Ed Huston, Chuck Glasser
Area 2: Kelly Sundy, Trystan Corliss, Deanna Juart, Danadee Miller-Boyle
Area 3: Johanna Mutti, Judy Behney, Julie Hollan, Sharon Weigle

Your Officers and Executive Committee are here to serve you.  So if you have any questions or concerns please share them us and allow us the opportunity to address them.

Thank you!

 

Memorial Requests for Convention

Several years ago at our NASCOE Convention, a tradition was begun that has become a special part of the convention agenda. In honor of our deceased NASCOE members, we pause at the National Convention to remember those who have passed away in the last year. This very special service is a time that we pay tribute to those who were dedicated members of NASCOE and who promoted and supported our employee organization during their lifetime.

During this special observance, we recognize our deceased members with a touching Power Point presentation set to special music. We ask that you help us honor the deceased members from your state by submitting their information and a photo, if available, so they may be memorialized in the service.

Andrea Stafford, Program Technician from Tennessee, has volunteered to put the memorial service presentation together for the convention in August. Please submit the requested information along with a photo to Andrea. You may submit via email or send a hard copy by mail, to her addresses listed below. This form is also available at: www.NASCOE.org

Please send your submission as soon as possible but no later than July 1, 2014.

NASCOE MEMORIAL REQUEST FORM

http://www.nascoe.org/Documents/membership_2014_NASCOE_Memorial_Form_for%20convention_fillable.pdf

Legislative Conf Call

Your NASCOE legislative team has been busy!! ¬†We’ve all heard about the cuts in the president’s 2015 draft budget and potential office closings. ¬†Well, thanks in no small part to Hunter, our legislative consultant working on behalf of you guys, the¬†House sub-committee¬†version of the 2015 budget added FSA staff funding back in (161 million/815 positions)¬†plus an additional 27 million!!¬†They also included language prohibiting office closures and forced reassignments! ¬†It is our understanding that the Senate version will have similar language. ¬†This isn’t a done deal yet, as it has to clear both houses of Congress and get passed, but it’s a strong start! ¬†It is much much better to have it in the bill and risk having it removed versus not having anything in the bill at all. ¬†This kind of staff funding could be nearly 1000 more employees. ¬†How many offices could potentially benefit? ¬†This is a great example of how PACOE membership (and thus NASCOE membership) has very real benefits. ¬†Without you all we wouldn’t be able to have amazing folks like Hunter advocating for all we do. ¬†Thanks for being a member!
 
Take a look at the notes from the conference call here: Leg Conf Call. ¬†I’ll keep you posted as things progress.
 
Rick

Annual Meeting Report

I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who attended the PACOE Annual Meeting in Lancaster PA this year.  Now that the frantic pace leading up to the meeting and the holiday weekend has slowed some, I wanted to take a minute and give a run down on what was discussed at the meeting.

The meeting kicked off with a legislative update.  We noted the Farm Bill is passed and we briefly discussed the circumstances leading up to the 2015 budget.  This included a discussion on what we know and don’t know (which is most everything) about CBS and what NASCOE is doing in response.  Take a look at the NEA Legislative Update.  Also keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news on the legislative front very soon.

Michelle Smeal gave a verbal report on what was discussed at the NEA Rally in WV at the end of April.  All of the NEA chair reports were provided for attendees.  These reports are NEARally 2014 Reports 1 and 2014 Neg Items.  We discussed the upcoming NASCOE National Convention in Oklahoma City the week of August 11.  PACOE needs to send two delegates.  No delegates were selected at the meeting, so please let us know if you are interested.  The Executive Board will need to make their selection soon.

We discussed the proposed Bylaw amendments.  After a brief discussion, both amendments were voted on and passed.  Those are now incorporated into our bylaws and constitution Here.  Now that we know the Secretary and Treasurer positions are separate we will be scheduling an Executive Board Conference Call soon to elect officers for the 14-15 year.

The treasurer’s report (PACOE TREASURER REPORT2012-13) for last year was provided to the members as well.  As the PACOE balance is currently robust, there was some discussion on ways we can benefit membership.  Some suggestions include a membership drive with a cash incentive, a PACOE scholarship, and funding a trip to the National Convention for a member who has never been before.  On the note of membership, PACOE must maintain a 50% membership rate for all eligible employees in the state to maintain NASCOE affiliation.  We are currently at 55%.

As the last order of business before lunch we discussed old and new business.  With regard to old business, we were looking to see if we improved on our communication front.  Whether it is communicating vital information during the furlough or sharing upcoming management changes, we try to get the information we have out to you as soon as it’s available.  In addition to this meeting in Lancaster at the eastern side of the site, we are considering having a meeting in the fall at the western side of the state.  It was also suggested we have a conference call open to all PACOE members to share information.  We’ll be looking to schedule something soon.

With regard to new business, we shared efforts that we have taken to increase transparency in PA with regards to the TOA award process.  We have been engaged in discussions with the STO in order to clarify the methods that supervisors are to request and process TOA awards.  The STO issued a memo to PACOE, PACOE РTOAs, and we have requested further clarifications.  The SED has indicated he will look into it and follow up with a response.

After lunch we had a good hour long Q/A with SED Bill Wehry.  Notes from that session are here: SED Comments to PACOE 5-17-14.   STC Member Greg Hostetter also attended.  We appreciate their taking the time out of their schedule to be available to us.

Finally, our own John Lohr came and provided us with some retirement training on behalf of Dillard Financial Services.  His brochure is here: Dillard.  If you have any questions about retirement or need some financial assistance; I’m sure he would be happy to hear from you.

All in all it was a very full meeting.  Once again, our thanks to all who attended.  If you were not able to attend than hopefully you will be able to make a future meeting.  Also, don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  All of your officers and executives volunteer their time because we feel that PACOE and NASCOE provide an important service to all employees and in turn our producers.  We hope you feel the same.

Your PACOE Officers

Dan, Dave, and Rick.

2014-2015 Election Results -updated-

Thanks everyone for participating in the 2014-2015 PACOE Executive Committee.  Here are the results:

 

Dolly Little, Mary  Jo Frazer, Ed Huston, Dave Stratton

Johanna Mutti, Dan Smeal, Richard Csutoras, Sharon Weigle

Kelly Sundy, Jason Pontillo, Trystan Corliss, Deanna Juart  Due to the departure of Jason Pontillo, his seat on the board will be filled by the first alternate, Michelle Smeal.

 

Congratulations!  New committee members will take office beginning July 1, 2014.  The committee will soon elect your 2014-2015 officers and we will let you know as soon as those results are known.

Proposed Bylaw Changes 2014

One of the items on the agenda at the upcoming PACOE Annual Meeting in Lancaster are a couple of proposed amendments to the PACOE Constitution and Bylaws.  The only way to amend our bylaws is by the membership in attendance at an annual meeting.

I’d ask every member to take a couple of minutes and review these proposed amendments. ¬†As a reference, you can find our current Constitution and Bylaws here: ¬†PACOE Constitution and bylaws

The first is PACOE_BylawAmendment_AlternativeMember.  This resolution and proposed amendment to the PACOE Constitution and Bylaws is being offered for FSA Employees in the County Office from States that do not have enough total membership to meet the 50% or greater requirement for NASCOE affiliation and want to have or maintain full NASCOE Membership. Without being a member of a NASCOE Affiliate State Association in the State that they are employed in, these employees cannot be full members of NASCOE.  NASCOE updated their Constitution and Bylaws to allow affiliate State Associations, such as PACOE, to accept as full members to their affiliate Associations FSA County Employees from adjoining or neighboring States that do not meet the 50% membership to be an Affiliate State. This does not stop the States that do not have enough membership to meet the 50% requirement for NASCOE Affiliation in the future. If membership levels in neighboring Associations would increase to 50% or greater the States would then be able to become affiliated with NASCOE on their own. The neighboring FSA County Office employees who were members of PACOE would then be required to belong to their affiliated State Associations in the State that they work in. 

The second is PACOE_BylawAmendment_SecretaryTreasurer.  This resolution and proposed amendment to the PACOE Constitution and Bylaws is being offered to separate the workload of our Secretary-Treasurer into more equitable portions and to bring our officer structure more in-line with our parent association.

Please let any officer or your area executive know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

PACOE’s feedback on CBS

Recently PACOE sent out an email asking for member feedback on new county office structure proposed by FSA and USDA.  The original email is below.  A big thank you to everyone who contacted us and provided feedback.  Here is the document we provided NASCOE:  PACOE CBS Response NASCOE will be compiling all the states feedback and and sharing all our concerns with FSA leadership.  Please continue to bring any question, concerns, or feedback you have to us.  There will likely be a lot more questions than answers in the coming months, but we will do our best to share information as soon as it becomes available.
______________________________________________________________
Good evening to all!
Please see the email Below from NASCOE NEA Exec Bo Epting.  As many have you have heard the Secretary has proposed significant changes to the FSA office Structure for FY 2015. This is not something to be taken lightly as it will more than likely affect you. We feel that there is a way to go about the consolidation is a smart manner where all stake holders could land softly in this situation. In order for that to be a possibility we need input from all stakeholders including yourself. So please take the time to review the notes below and respond to both Rick and Myself by April 9, 2014. If you have any solution whatsoever please submit it.
Thank you again for all you do, 
Dan Smeal 
PACOE President
Good afternoon,
You should have all seen NASCOE’s response to the new office structure model that management discussed with the board this past week in D.C. Please see the information written by NASCOE President Mark VanHoose after a conference call held this morning.
“Monday morning management held a conference call with association presidents and unions to discuss the Secretary’s announcement of the CBS strategy.  NASCOE and NAFEC were on the call.  Some general points made during the call:
  • With Farm Bill implementation FSA is under the microscope right now.
  • They are doing workload modeling:¬† trying to determine where staff should be.¬† An agreed upon formula is needed.¬† This will assist in determining where people should be and where Central, Branch and satellite offices should be.¬† As we proceed through the Farm Bill some tweaking will be needed on the formula.
  • I as I understood management‚Äôs comments the 250 office closures are those not worthy of satellite status.
  • They talked about ‚Äúmodernizing‚ÄĚ our mission.¬† This is the same thing we heard in WDC about being the ‚Äúgo to‚ÄĚ for all information requests from the public on USDA programs.
  • They are working forward on fleshing out the CBS strategy but do not want it to interfere with Farm Bill implementation.
  • They made comments about being concerned about employees and making sure employees are treated fairly in the process as we transition.¬† I asked about timeline for implementation and asked if that concern stretched to CED‚Äôs not having to compete against each other for the CED job.¬† Greg said that he couldn‚Äôt take competing off the table.¬† Reasonable commutes for PT‚Äôs was also brought up on the call and it was said that was an important consideration in the process.¬† No timeline for implementation was given.
  • I asked if the CBS was just more of what we were doing now as far as shared management.¬† Juan said it is still a work in process but to consider that a bank branch office doesn‚Äôt provide as many services as the central office.¬† Many times that bank branch will send applications to the central office for processing.
  • I also asked what the role of the county committee would be in this concept.¬† Juan asked me to be more specific.¬† I asked if the county committee authority to hire a CED would continue and he said it would and he did not expect the law to change.¬† I then made the point that it would seem only a CED could be the officer manager in that scenario.¬†‚Äú
Management is seeking comments and feedback from associations and unions. Therefore I need each state to put together a list of things they want to be included in this process. I need this information no later thanApril 11 so that I will have time to get it back to the NASCOE board for approval and then it will go to management.
Thank you for your help on this item. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks
Bo Epting
NEA Exec.

Collection of Links on the Farm Bill

Hey Everyone,

We know that FSA wants to be cautious with the information that it is releasing on the Farm Bill.  And obviously there are a lot of details that have yet to be decided, regulations that have yet to be written.

However, that doesn’t mean ag groups, universities, and other agencies haven’t been releasing information. ¬†In an effort to keep everyone informed, I’m going to try and compile some links to this information as I come across it. ¬†This is for your information only and should not be considered official.

http://www.agmanager.info/crops/insurance/risk_mgt/rm_pdf14/AB_AgAct14.pdf
http://www.ers.usda.gov/farm-bill-resources.aspx#.UwJ0wIU9T94
http://www.hoards.com/webinararchives_14-feb
http://www.ers.usda.gov/agricultural-act-of-2014-highlights-and-implications/crop-commodity-programs.aspx

If you have any other links you think the group would be interested in seeing.  Please email them to me at contactus@pacoeweb.com.

Thanks!

 

NEA Rally in West Virginia

Dear PACOE Members, 

Attached is the information/registration form for the 2014 NEA Rally.  West Virginia is hosting the rally.  Rallies are always a nice time to see old friends and meet new ones.  

2014 NEA Rally Reg Form

Don’t miss the¬†4/11/2014¬†registration deadline.¬†

Hope to see you in Martinsburg, WV 4/25 Р4/27 

Thank you,

Kelly Sundy
PACOE Publicity Chairperson