NARFE - West Virginia Federation
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May 2018 WV Federation Newsletter

NARFE WEST VIRGINIA FEDERATION

NEWSLETTER

May 2018

 

PRESIDENT

Steve Sosson

President

President’s Ponderings 

Thank you to all who attended our Annual Meeting in Bridgeport on April 26th and 27th.  We covered a lot of ground with some very important topics.  Based on the feedback I’ve received from this event, we will do it again next year and your input on topics, length of the meeting, location and so forth will be solicited in the near future.

In summary, we have reduced the number of Districts from 5 to 3 and elected District VPs; Bob Hardesty has volunteered to be the Congressional District Liaison for the 2nd Congressional District.  Volunteers for WV-1 and WV-3 are still needed, as are Senate Liaisons.

FedCon 18, which is being held August 27-29 in Jacksonville, Florida, was discussed.  This is an updated and improved version of the National Convention.  Since we have moved to one member, one vote we are no longer sending delegates to a convention and our national gathering is now a conference.  It is a multi-track conference allowing attendees to select the breakout sessions of the most interest and usefulness to them. Rooms have been set aside at the Hyatt Regency in Jacksonville, FL. for $99 a night before taxes and fees.  I hope to see many of you there.

Our first nationwide attempt at one member-one vote is now underway.  You can vote either via the paper ballot in your June edition of NARFE magazine or on-line.  Either way, please vote.  Also, please don’t just check the box to either accept or reject all resolutions.  Read each of them and give them the consideration they deserve. 

Finally, I’d like to extend a challenge to each member of our Federation:  Recruit one new member.  There are over 37,000 active or retired Federal and Postal employees in the Mountain State.  1,100 (including National Only members) belong to NARFE.  We can and must do better than 3% of potential members actually joining us.  Especially in today’s challenging environment we need as many voices as possible joining together to defend our earned benefits.

I am hoping to see a whole bunch of you in August in Jacksonville.

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Dan Duckwall

1st Vice President

Membership

Thanks to Federation President Steve Sosson and Federation Secretary Judy Cross for creating the agenda for the West Virginia Federation of Chapters Annual Meeting held 26 – 27 April, 2018 at the Best Western Plus in Bridgeport, WV.  Also to District Vice-President Dave Nicholson for arranging the motel accommodations.  As a first-time annual meeting in lieu of a full-blown convention, I thought all was very positive.  

Thanks to Barbara Kuennecke for stepping up to accept the position of District I Vice President; Dave Nicholson and Jeff Merz for accepting co-Vice Presidents for District II and Betty Jo Monday for accepting District III Vice President.  

As for membership, we are still hammering away at retention and recruiting new members.  We all must be diligent recruiters.   As we have stated numerous times in the past, if each current member would recruit just one new member, NARFE could double its membership.

As we look forward to the coming of summer and vacation time, let’s all enjoy and have a safe summer 2018. 

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Barbara Kuennecke

2nd Vice President

Legislation

The President’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal is not at all kind to federal employees or retirees. The May 2018 issue of the NARFE magazine details some of the specific proposals that will hurt us. 

For those who retired under the Civil Service Retirement System, annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs) would be reduced by 0.5% each year from what it would have been otherwise. For those who retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System, COLAs would be completely eliminated. For more details, be sure to read the article on pages 6 and 7.

Then sign on to the NARFE Legislative Action Center to let your representative and both senators know how you feel about the proposal.

While you are reading the May issue, also study the article on page 46 that explains the proposed preferential voting system and the vote included with the NARFE elections. Don’t forget that on-line voting opened 10 May. If you don’t want to vote electronically, a ballot will be included in the June issue of NARFE.

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Shirley Campbell

Treasurer

IRS

By the time you receive this newsletter, the deadline (May 15, 2018) for reporting for 2017 will have passed.  Our District VPs did a great job in making sure each chapter was reminded to file their 990 postcard.  A failure to file for three years will result in a substantial fee to qualify again.

PER CAPITA DUES

All chapters have sent in their dues for 2018.  I want to thank my fellow officers for their time and devotion to NARFE.   A decline in chapter membership results in a decline in per capita dues.  The decline not only affects the financial health of chapters but also the federation.  With the closing of chapters in WV and members not electing to become or remain affiliated with a chapter, there has been a decrease in per capita funds of about $1,000.  The officers of our federation are very fiscally responsible.  Because of this, our WV Federation is in good shape financially.

FINANCIAL REPORT

I am currently reporting our finances subsequent to the last audit (May 2017). Since that time, our income has been $8,938.01 and our expenses have been $7,219.44.  We continue to keep a balance in savings of $10.03.  A more detailed financial report is available in the WV Federation minutes, a copy of which can be obtained by contacting me.

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Bill O’Field

PR Officer

As discussed at April’s Annual Meeting, the deadline for newsletter articles is two weeks after executive board meetings and the newsletter publishes shortly thereafter.  NARFE headquarters recommends that newsletter articles feature highlights of meetings and activities. 

Secretary Judy Cross distributes the newsletter to every member in WV with an email address.  She also posts it on the WV NARFE website at https://www.narfe.org/site/wv.  She suggests that chapter presidents make copies for their members who do not have an email address.  Getting our newsletters into the hands and before the eyes of members is critical to our public relations program. 

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Bob Hardesty

Immediate Past President

Many of you know that the West Virginia Federation’s annual meeting took place on April 26-27 in Bridgeport, WV.  This event was well-attended, and several attendees suggested that this annual meeting take the place of our federation convention.  This was basically a one-day meeting, beginning on Thursday afternoon and ending at noon on Friday.  A number of topics were covered, including the Congressional Liaison concept, the issues covered in the forthcoming One Member-One Vote, FedCon-18, and membership issues.

Speaking of One Member-One Vote, you should be aware that the June issue of your NARFE magazine, which will be arriving in mid-May, will have a ballot to be completed for all issues, including national officers, regional vice-presidents, all the ballot questions to be considered, and the bylaws and resolutions under consideration.  In addition to the paper ballot, I understand that on-line voting will be available on May 10.  If you have not gone to the NARFE.org web site in the last three months, I urge you to do so.  You can access information concerning the issues under consideration, the recommendations of the bylaws committee which has spent considerable time considering all of these bylaws and resolutions.  If you missed the candidate statements in prior NARFE magazine issues, you can find them on the NARFE web site.  This will be time well-spent and should answer many of the questions you may have had.

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Bob Hardesty

Alzheimer’s

The West Virginia Federation has reported a total of $17,915.37 in donations to Alzheimer’s Research within the period of July 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018.  This currently puts our federation in third place among the 54 federations within NARFE.  The reporting year ends on June 30, 2018.  I still have not heard from some of the chapters within the federation this year, but there is still time to send in donations for this year.  NARFE is very close to meeting it $13 million goal by the beginning of Fed-Con 18, which replaces our former National Convention. 

As I have stated previously, please be aware that there are companies and organizations which have corporate policies to assist with fund raisers.  Also, now is the time to begin organizing an Alzheimer’s Walk team for your area.  These walks usually take place in September or October, and there is information on the NARFE web site on how money raised for these walks can be credited toward your chapter contributions to NARFE Alzheimer’s Disease Research.  I will be happy to assist in this effort.

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John Sheely

Service Officer

Medicare will be issuing new medical cards to all those that participate in that health plan.  Beginning this month (April 2018) and continuing through April 2019.  Medicare will mail all participants their new cards.  You DO NOT need to contact Medicare and there is no cost for the new medical cards.  NOTE: At the Federation conference April 25/26 I said the new card delivery would be completed by June of this year, which was wrong.

If you should receive a telephone call from someone claiming to represent Medicare and they tell you there is a fee for the new card, hang up your telephone, it's a SCAM.

The new cards are being issued with a new Medicare patient Identification number.  The new number replaces your Social Security Number (SSN).    Once you receive your new Medicare card you should destroy (shred or cut up) the old card containing your SSN.

Sometime after the first part of January 2018, I sent out a notice alerting NARFE members that have Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), as their Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan, of a major change for 2018.  Every Federal employee or retiree that participates in both Medicare parts A and B AND also has BCBS basic option are eligible to receive a reimbursement up to $600 of Medicare premiums paid in 2018.  This reimbursement IS NOT available for those with BCBS standard option.  If both the federal employee and their spouse have Medicare parts A and B and both are covered by BCBS basic plan each is eligible for the $600 for a total of $1200.

To find out more go to the following web address:  www.fepblue.org/medicare-reimbursement-account.  If you do not have a computer or if you have any questions or concerns, call 1-888-706-2583 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Eastern time, excluding holidays. 

As always, if you have any questions contact me by email at wvskibum@aol.com (be sure to put "NARFE issue" in the Subject Line) or you can telephone me at 304-263-6787.  If you get my answering machine please leave your name, telephone number and be sure to mention your calling about a NARFE issue.

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Dan Duckwall

District I Vice President

Since this will be my last report as your District I Vice President, I want to say it has been an honor and privilege to serve NARFE in this position.  Gee, how time flies.  I began this position May 2009 serving until May 2018.  Hard to believe nine (9) years have passed. 

I have some mixed feelings about this time served.  Feelings of accomplishment and feelings of disappointment.  The positive feelings have been the ability to help some of our District I Chapters and their members.  The sad part of the position is seeing the decline in our membership, for whatever reason, and the closing of our NARFE Chapter 2250 in Charles Town, WV.  

Barbara Kuennecke has assumed the position as your District Vice President.  Along with your new Vice President our new District designation will be District I.  We now have three (3) districts in the West Virginia Federation instead of five (5).  This change has occurred as a result of realigning in accordance with Congressional Districts. 

I know the chapters will give Barb the same support as I have received over the past nine years.   Again, thanks to everyone and God Bless.

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Dave Nicholson

District II Co-Vice President

Chapter 0174 – Parkersburg

Attended Chapter meeting on April 24 at Jimmy Colombo’s Restaurant in Parkersburg.  This was the first meeting this year due to weather conditions and sickness.  Four members were present.  I installed the officers for this year.

Chapter 1579 Central WV – Clarksburg

Chapter continues to have a monthly luncheon meeting with a speaker on the second Tuesday of each month at Eat n Park Restaurant in Bridgeport.  Approximately 10 to 20 members attend each meeting.  Plans are being made for the Chapter Picnic on July 10, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park in Clarksburg at the Osbourne Shelter. 

According to the February issue of “NARFE’s Recruiting and Retention Journal” four members of the Chapter recruited six members of the nineteen recruited in West Virginia. 

Chapter 2287 Tygart Valley – Elkins

Attended Chapter meeting on February 22, 2018 at the Randolph County Senior Center.  Nine members were present.  New officers were elected as follows: President – Virgil Tacy; Vice President – George Hudok; Secretary/Treasurer – Louretta Lawrence; and Service Officer – Dorothy Wamsley continues in this position.

It was decided to have quarterly meetings rather than monthly meetings.  Meetings will be held on the fourth Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at the Randolph County Senior Center as follows: February, May, August, and October.  Bylaws were discussed, updated and sent to the National office for approval.  The enthusiasm of the new officers and members present was great. 

The NARFE State Federation meeting held April 26 and 27 at the Best Western Plus Inn was discussed with all Chapters at their meetings.  Members of all Chapters were urged to contact Legislators on legislation that affects the Federal community.

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Jeff Merz

District II Co-Vice President

Report from District II (North)

February

Sue Haddix and Jeff Merz attended the West Virginia Rural Development Employee Association meeting and spoke with a number of employees there.  Some commented that they were NARFE members at their home location.  We handed out applications and information to interested attendees.  At least one subsequently joined NARFE.  Fairmont regular meeting.

March

Fairmont- regular meeting – 10-12 attending.

Morgantown- regular meeting – discussed current events.

April

Morgantown- speaker cancelled, 6 attending.

Fairmont- regular meeting, discussed Federation annual meeting.

May

Morgantown- Topic:  TSP: Maximizing your Retirement Savings (NARFE webinar).  Attending – 3 (two officers, one member).  Motion made to cancel meeting and go gardening.  Motion carried unanimously.

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Shirley Campbell

District III Co-Vice President

On February 5, Don Wood, the president of the Appalachian (Bluefield) Chapter 1584, informed me that the secretary-treasurer of the chapter had had an accident and was in a Nursing Home/Rehab Center in Tazewell, VA and wanted him to come down there and get the records (checkbook, etc.) as the 2018 Per Capita dues needed to be sent to the Federation.  Mr. Wood was unable to go to Tazewell and he asked me if I would go and retrieve the records.  I obtained a signed check from the treasurer and sent it to the Federation.

On February 14, 2018, I attended the Beckley Chapter 0950 meeting.  At the time, I installed the new officers for the coming year.  I shared with the group the minutes of the last board meeting and announced the April 26-27 annual WV NARFE meeting to be held in Bridgeport.  Lunch was served by the Raleigh County Senior Center. 

On February 22, I attended the Appalachian (Bluefield) Chapter 1584 along with three (3) members.  There has been discussion about combining the Bluefield and Princeton Chapter 2226, but discussion on both sides is all that has happened.  I promised those attending both chapters that I would contact Bob Hardesty, District III Co-Vice President, and Steve Sosson, WV NARFE President, for a meeting to determine how best to combine the chapters.  I did call Bob Hardesty and he offered his help with the matter.

I attended the March 22 Bluefield Chapter 1584 meeting.  There were two (2) members and myself present.  At that time, Don Wood had not been to the bank to get signatures changed or correct balance.

At the present, there are 13 members in the Mercer-Princeton Chapter 2226.  Of those one (1) has recently passed away.  There are usually seven (7) or eight (8) who attend.  So, members in Princeton think that based on the number of members and the number attending, that participation is O.K.  In the Bluefield Chapter 1584, which has 33 members, there are usually five (5) or six (6) who attend.

The Alderson Chapter 0994 suspends meetings during the winter months.