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WV Federation Newsletter February 2020

NARFE West Virginia Federation

NEWSLETTER

February 2020

William “Bill” Shackelford

Region X Vice President

The Fall 2019 Meeting of the National Executive Board (NEB) was held from November 6 – 8, 2019. During the meeting the NEB was provided with a series of presentations and updates.

National President (NP) Ken Thomas announced that he plans to run for a second term which will begin in November 2020. National Secretary Treasurer Kathryn Hensley will also run.

The NEB discussed the closed chapter count, chapter bylaws approved, unapproved, and pending count, and federation bylaws approved, unapproved, and pending count.

The total Closed Chapter Count from November 2018 To October 2019:

  • 2018 = 4 Chapters
  • 2019 = 50 Chapters

Several Federations and Chapters have submitted Bylaws to NARFE Headquarters for review and approval. Summary of these submissions is as follows:

Chapter Bylaws

 

Federation Bylaws

  • Total Approved = 102

 

  • Total Approved = 2
  • Total Not Approved = 31
 

 

  • Total Not Approved = 8
  • Total Pending Review = 24
 

 

  • Total Pending Review = 2

Bylaws and Resolutions Committee (BRC) Presentation

Since the BRC is considered a Standing Committee, there was some discussion centered on BRC’s authority to submit proposed bylaws and standing rule amendments.

BRC presentation contained the following topics:

  • BRC 2020 proposed bylaws amendments;
  • Recommended NEB 2020 proposed bylaws amendments;
  • Board of Directors Transition from the current NEB format to a format more associated with non-profit associations;
  • Executive Director Duties;
  • NEB Terms of Office;
  • Per Capita Tax;
  • Operating Guidance;
  • Federation Mergers;
  • Candidate Filing Deadlines;
  • Submission by Arizona Federation reducing Regions from 5 to 10; and
  • Submission by Maryland Federation pertaining to National Ballot production

During the discussion pertaining to the NEB Terms of Office proposal which would align the terms of National Officers with the NARFE fiscal year, there was some concern that the extension of the terms of any current officer (November-December) would constitute a monetary gain that under current NARFE Bylaws would possibly need membership approval through a referendum or ballot. NP Thomas directed the ED Sido to contact legal counsel to find out whether an extension of the NEB term of office which involves an extension of the salary qualifies as a material issue. The NEB asked the BRC to propose the bylaws amendment entitled Terms of Office instead of the NEB.

Federation and Chapter Elections Under One Member/One Vote (OM/OV)

The NEB discussed the impact that has occurred to Federation and Chapter elections under One Member One Vote (OMOV). Most NEB members agree that the impact is viewed in the Federations and Chapters as an unfunded mandate by NARFE HQ. ED Sido will send out a request to federations for the following annual meeting information to be included in the narfe magazine: name of federation, date, location, and contact person information.

Note: For a complete copy of the Region X Vice President’s Fall 2019 report click here http://narferx.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/RVP-Fall-2019-Report.pdf.

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Barbara Kuennecke

2nd Vice President

Legislation

Congress was finally able to reach a budget agreement for this fiscal year, so no more threat of a government shutdown for a few months. Of course, with so much effort now concentrated on the issue of impeachment, not much else is getting done. Several bills are of interest to those of us who were federal employees.

This would be a good time to get in touch with your representative’s office and with both senators’ off ices to let them know that they should support the idea of using the consumer price index for the elderly to calculate cost of living adjustments. Although the bill is currently in the House (HR1553), all our elected officials should know how we feel. In addition to that, I would recommend that you let the offices know your thoughts about the Social Security Fairness Act of 2019 (HR 141/S521) which repeals both the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision – whether or not you are personally affected by either.

If you (or someone you know) has an IRA, a new law could have an impact on how you plan to use your IRA. The good news is that you don’t have to take required distributions until age 72. The bad news is if you die and leave the IRA to anyone other than a spouse, minor children, or heirs who are disabled or chronically ill, the beneficiary will have only ten years to deplete the account.

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MEET YOUR OFFICERS

11779
Barb Kuennecke


Following retirement from the federal government, Barb moved to Hedgesville, WV (at least that is her mailing address! She actually lives in Morgan County). She spent 30 years in the Air Force in a wide variety of assignments around the world, including teaching at the Air Force Academy and serving as the US Defense Attaché to Kosovo, then to Romania. After hanging up her uniform, she worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency for six years.

Barb is currently the president of Chapter 2263 (Morgan County), the District 1 vice president, and the Federation vice president for legislation. She is also on the ballot to be elected WV Federation president.

When not engaged with NARFE activities, she spends good weather out in her yard, changing it into a more bee, bird, and butterfly friendly habitat. During tax season, she is an AARP tax volunteer three days a week in Berkeley and Morgan counties.

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Bill O’Field

Senatorial Leader

Keeping in touch with our elected officials, even during the holiday recesses, is a great way to keep the flow of communication going. In our advocacy work on behalf of NARFE and in supporting our benefits, we should never allow an opportunity to pass by to share a pleasantry, such as a season’s greeting message, with our Senators and all our elected officials. The sharing of such pleasantries should include the staff in their regional offices with whom we also work.

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Robert Hardesty

Congressional Leader

A visit was made to the Huntington office of Rep. Carol Miller on February 6. The subjects discussed were Postal Service reform; opposition to the Chained-CPI for cost of living increases; federal pay increases; adjustment of the WEP; and protection of the FEHBP.

Teri Booth, a caseworker in that office, is nearing retirement, and was very interested in most of these issues, and promised to bring them to Rep. Miller’s attention. She confirmed that Rep. Miller had voted for the recently passed Parental Leave Act and promised to convey NARFE’s appreciation of Rep. Miller’s support.

A meeting scheduled with the office of Rep. Alex Mooney in Charleston was canceled on February 7 because of weather problems and will be rescheduled soon. A visit to the office of Rep. David McKinley in Morgantown is being planned.

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Jeffrey Merz

WV Federation Alzheimer’s Chair

NARFE fundraising National total is $109,751.17 in the first five months of FY 2020 compared to $118,824.67 in the same time in FY 2019.  

I have forwarded contributions of $686.40 so far this reporting year, but from only 7 (seven) chapters.  I didn’t think that was very encouraging.  So I looked at the list of all federations and we are not at the bottom of the list of states—16 states have raised less.  So that’s not too bad.  Then I found out that an estate has contributed $10,000, credited to us.  That means our Federation has contributed more than several regions—almost 10% of the NARFE total!  So my pep talk this time is to ask each Chapter to continue soliciting contributions at each meeting and send them to me, (Jeff Merz, 365 Galilee Rd, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525) so that at the end of this reporting year (June 30) we will continue to be high up in the standings.

Speaking of estates and memorials, any individual member may contribute via check (made out to NARFE Alzheimer’s Research) for any reason.  Give it to your Chapter Coordinator along with any details- who should be acknowledged, etc.  This will allow the Federation to receive credit as well as you to get a gift receipt for an income tax deduction. 

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Bill O’Field

Public Relations Officer

This is a reminder to send pictures from your Chapter meetings that will help tell NARFE’s story from the local Chapter perspective. Let’s tell our stories with pictures. Please send your pictures to me or our Federation Secretary Judy Cross.

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11768
Dave Nicholson and Dave Lang

                                

 

NARFE WELCOMES DAVE LANG, PRESIDENT OF SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE

 

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Chapter 1579 in Clarksburg held their monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 at Eat ‘n Park Restaurant in Bridgeport. The guest speaker was Dave Lang, Chapter President of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP).   SHP is a group of volunteers dedicated to build, assemble and deliver wooden bunk beds to children in Harrison County WV.   Children without beds is a national problem and this non-profit organization has chapters across the US.  

At this time, Dave is asking for volunteers to help with deliver of the beds, but there are several opportunities to help.   You can sign up for a “build day”, help with delivery or make donations.    

You can contact SHP online at www.shpbeds.org , go to their facebook page for SHP Harrison Co WV or make donations to SHP PO Box 4725 Bridgeport, WV 26330.   To sign up a child in need of a bed, the forms are on the website or call Mr. Lang at 304 6699742.   The slogan for SHP is “NO KID SLEEPS ON THE FLOOR IN OUR TOWN’’.

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Judy Cross

Secretary and Web Coordinator

I took part in the Chapter Officer Portal webinar on February 19th. While there is a lot of current information that is currently not available—specifically the M112—it was still helpful. It was easy to connect and allowed me to participate in real time, ask questions and have them answered. I’ve signed up for the Federation Officer Portal webinar for February 25th and am hopeful that they will have answers to the questions they were unable to answer on the 19th. I would definitely encourage all chapter and federation officers to take advantage of this training.

I’d also like to remind everyone that the F-7 must be updated with the latest officer information. This not only ensures you get the latest information from both National and Federation, but also gives you access to AMS information.

As web coordinator, I’d like to encourage all chapters to put information on your web sites monthly.  Chapter 1579, Clarksburg, does this monthly! Check their site out. It’s so easy, just send me a draft of what you want to say and I’ll do the rest.

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WV Federation 2020 Conference

Planning continues for this year’s Federation conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Martinsburg on May 12 and 13.  A room block has been set up and is available for reservations at the hotel. You may use the link below to reserve online or call the hotel directly and reference the group code to reserve rooms at the discounted price. The group code is "NAR".  Use this link to make your own reservations: https://hiltongardeninn.hilton.com/en/gi/groups/personalized/M/MRBGIGI-NAR-20200511/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG.

Registration information, as well as the draft agenda was mailed to all chapter presidents and secretaries. It can also be found at the WV Federation website—narfe.org/wv

Please share any ideas you have for speakers or topics with anyone from District I. 

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2020 Voting Information

There have been three calls for officer nominations, bylaw amendments, and resolutions. These calls resulted in no proposed bylaw amendments and no proposed resolutions. Following is the result of the calls for officer nominations:

President--Barbara Kuenecke, Chapter 2263, Morgan County/Berkeley Springs

1st VP/Membership--Robert Hardesty, Chapter 0166, Charleston

2nd VP/Legislation--Steven Sosson, Chapter 1236, Eastern Panhandle

Treasurer--Betty Jo Monday, Chapter 0166, Charleston

Secretary--Judy Cross, Chapter 1236, Eastern Panhandle

Public Relations--William O’Field, Chapter 1579, Clarksburg

Chaplain--Lawrence Lilly, Chapter 0994, Greenbrier Valley/Alderson

Sergeant At Arms--Gary Bailey, Chapter 0166, Charleston

An email was sent out asking for a motion to elect the slate by acclimation. A motion and second were received. Another email was sent asking that—for ease—only negative votes be sent to the Ballot and Teller Chair, Ruth Sosson. If all goes well, the officers will be sworn in at the May 2020 Conference.

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John Sheely

Service Officer

Recently, while watching the evening news on ABC a report came on that made me immediately sit-up and pay attention. It talked about prescribed drugs and, some over the counter drugs, that were shown to be a possible increase to a person’s risk of dementia. So, I Googled “What medicines can cause dementia”.

The search returned the following: “Medical News Today, June 25, 2019 wrote, a common class of drugs that doctors prescribe for a number of conditions, from bladder problems to Parkinson’s disease and depression, may increase a person’s risk of dementia, a large new study concludes. New research by scientists from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom has analyzed the link between a certain class of drugs and the risk of dementia.

The drugs in question called anticholinergics, work by inhibiting a chemical messenger called acetylcholine.

Their effect is to help relax or contract muscles, and doctors can prescribe them to help treat bladder conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

In their new study, which looked at data from tens of thousands of participants, the researchers concluded that anticholinergics may increase a person’s risk of developing dementia.”

Please note that everything between the quotes starting in the 2nd paragraph and ending with the sentence above I copied from the internet. However, this coincides with what was reported by ABC news.

Also, they interviewed a woman who had a job where remembering people’s names and certain other information had never been a problem until she started on one of the mentioned drugs. Suddenly, she had to ask the names of other co-workers. She was able to determine the forgetfulness started with a new prescribed medication and contacted her doctor. The doctor told her to stop taking the medicine immediately which she did. However, her ability to remember people’s names, though has gotten better, had not returned to where it was before starting the drug at the time of the interview. The time frame surrounding her starting of the drug up to the time of the interview was not given.

Finally, this will most likely be my last article for the WV Federation Newsletter as I have decided to give up the Service Officer position. I hope someone will take over this position. I will help any new Service Officer with any questions if I can.

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Barbara Kuennecke

District I Vice President

Both chapters in District I generally meet monthly. Chapter 1236 meets on the first Wednesday of the month; chapter 2263 on the third Tuesday.

In November, chapter 1236 met at the Berkeley Medical Center to hear from Anthony Zelenka, the president and CEO, about activities at the center and future plans. In December, Brandi Shepperd discussed changes in coverage and costs for 2020 for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The annual gift exchange planned for January had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.

In November, Chapter 2263 heard from Sarah Drennan, the director of the Morgan County Public Library, about changes at the library and plans for the future. December was the annual chapter Christmas party – much fun for all attendees, including three from Martinsburg. In January, the Deputy County Assessor, Debbie Weaver, spoke about the office and assessments.

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Jeffrey Merz

District II Co-Vice President

Fairmont Chapter 1023 held a member’s gift exchange and shared desserts at the December 2019 meeting with 10 members attending. At the January 2020 meeting, I installed the officers.

Six members of the Mountaineer Chapter 1614 in Morgantown viewed the “FEHB and Medicare: What’s Your Best Choice?” webinar at the November 2019 meeting. In December 2019, Jeanne Goodman, the former director of Arthurdale Heritage, Inc., spoke about Christmases in the Arthurdale community. Eight members attended. In January 2020, five members attended and viewed the “Estate Planning for Federal Employees” webinar.

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David Nicholson

District II Co-Vice President

Parkersburg Chapter 0174 President Rosalind Baker died on December 1, 2019. Chapter Treasurer Norma Pfalzgraf is the only officer left and she is in an assisted living facility in Parkersburg and unable to carry out the duties of Chapter Treasurer. Each Chapter member will receive a letter stating the status of the Chapter leadership and request if someone wants to step up and reorganize the Chapter that they contact Federation President Steve Sosson by a certain date. If no one steps up to serve, the Chapter will be closed.

Tygart Valley-Elkins Chapter held their quarterly meeting on October 24, 2019. A representative from Blue Cross/Blue Shield discussed the changes of the health insurance for 2020. I was unable to attend the meeting due to a scheduled Federation meeting. The officers will remain the same as the terms are for two years. The next meeting will be held in February 2020.

Central WV (Clarksburg) Chapter 1579 continues to have a monthly luncheon meeting with a speaker on the second Tuesday of each month at the Eat’n Park Restaurant in Bridgeport. Attendance has been good at each meeting. The Chapter’s Christmas luncheon was held on December 10, 2019 with 25 members and guests attending. Chapter officers for the incoming year remain the same and were installed at the January 14 meeting and were installed by Senatorial Leader Bill O’Field. Two new members joined the Chapter in December 2019.

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Shirley Miller

District III Co-Vice Presidents

I attended Alderson Chapter 0994 August 8, 2019. There were five present. They had not met in June or July. They maintain a good treasury, collect for Alzheimer’s at each meeting, and have a Ways and Means account to help defray the costs of members attending conventions.

Due to lack of membership who will accept offices, Michael Keegan is Treasurer, Legislative Chair and Alzheimer’s Chair. He gives reports of each monthly.

I attended Beckley Chapter 0950 on August 4, 2019. There were 10 present. The membership chair reported at that time they had 53 members and 2 prospective members.

Harold Owens, Legislative Chair reported that the House and Senate were on vacation and he had no report.

Attendance continued to be low for Chapters 2226 and 1584 so meetings were suspended until April 2020. Alderson Chapter has also suspended meetings during the winter months.

I attended Beckley Chapter 0950 on January 8, 2020. There were eight present. They chose to retain the same officers as last year. Harold Owens, Legislative Chair always gives a good report. He is in daily contact with Washington.