National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association

Virginia Federation of Chapters Notes

January 2005

 


 

President’s Message

Now that we have entered into a new year, we need to start focusing on those areas that can and will affect us in the future.  With the arrival of the new 109th Congress, all of our efforts in the past are gone and we need to contact our Congressmen (all over again) to tell them what we NARFE members want them to do for us in this new session. We need to have new legislation introduced on Premium Conversion, GPO and WEP.  We need to “watch” very closely President Bush’s introduction of Social Security legislation.  It would appear that this new SS legislation is about as popular to retirees as MSA’s and/or HSA’s.  All of these can have an adverse affect on our retirement benefits.  I am sure that Judy Park and her staff are already in contact with “key” legislators and we will be hearing from NARFE headquarters via the NARFE magazine and/or GEMS.  When we do hear from them, please be ready to act quickly in order to “protect our earned retirement benefits”. 

The State legislators are in session this month (January) and next month.  Although we have not heard of any proposed legislation that would affect seniors and or retirees, we also need to stay tuned to what they are doing and be ready to contact them if we see that they are proposing legislation that would have an adverse effect on seniors/retirees.

Since the National Convention in Reno approved a new name change for NARFE, I would urge all of the chapters and/or members who will be ordering new badges and/or stationary to order your materials with the new name change.  The new logo, instead of stating National Association of Retired Federal Employees, will only state “NARFE” and will include the words “Est. 1921” (see NARFE magazine for an example).  We have until August of 2006 to implement these changes; however, if you are ordering new badges and/or materials, you might want to use the new name which (hopefully) will aid you when you are trying to recruit a “current employee”.  If the NARFE mart does not have the new logo and you want to order your badges with the new logo and name, please contact me and I will give you the name and address of a company in Richmond (Fraternal Supplies) that can provide you with this service. 

Our VFC convention is rapidly approaching and Ann Collins  (VFC 1st V.P.  and convention coordinator)  and  the convention committee have been working diligently on making this one of our most memorable and successful conventions .  We need your assistance on getting chapter, personal and commercial ads in ASAP (since this is how we pay for a large portion of our convention cost).  We ask you to make your reservations at the hotel ASAP in order to get the NARFE rate.  We request that you submit your registration soon in order for us to assign you the committee that you requested.  We need the names of the deceased members submitted to our Chaplain, Deaver Carr, so that he can properly recognize these “missed members”.  If you want to sit with your friends and/or chapter members, we need you to submit the banquet request (see registration form for more details).  We have cut the convention dates down from 3-days to 2-days in order to accommodate Passover and to reduce your cost (one less room night).  We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this convention.

Since this will be my last President’s message to you, I want to “thank” all of you that I have had the opportunity to work for and with during these past two years.  You have all been “great” to work with and I truly will miss a lot of the interaction that I have had with most of you.  I am sure that you will continue the support that you provided me during the past 2-years to our new VFC President that will be elected at the convention.  I am also especially thankful for your generous support of Alzheimer’s.  Virginia has led the nation in Alzheimer’s contributions (we were given an award at the National Convention) and with Wilton Ward’s leadership, I hope that you continue your generous contributions in the future.  Together we can “beat” this disease.

God Bless all of you.   Joe Beaudoin

 

1st Vice President’s Report

As we start looking at NARFE opportunities and challenges for 2005, we should include some NARFE resolutions as well.  Two important considerations are (1) to resolve to renew your NARFE membership (consider dues withholding, too) and (2) to resolve to recruit new members.  Each member is the voice of NARFE on Capitol Hill and the General Assembly.  The greater our membership numbers, the more influential power NARFE will have on legislative issues.  Contact your Area Vice President (AVP) to provide your chapter with more information and guidance on membership recruitment and retention.  Working together, we can increase our membership numbers and the voices of NARFE! 

Recently, I was privileged to be invited to install officers at four chapters (Dulles 1241; Alexandria 232; Lake of the Woods 1885; and Annandale 1159) and to be the program speaker at Woodbridge 1270.  One chapter touted, “happiness is a full slate of officers.”  Indeed, it is!

            In November, I attended the 5th Annual NVAN Legislative Breakfast honoring members of the General Assembly.  On behalf of the VFC as one of the cosponsors, I gave a memorial tribute to Tom Vitez, VFC Area IX State Legislation Coordinator, who passed away in July 2004.  A NARFE member for over 24 years, Tom was one of the most dedicated members while often-facing serious health challenges in his 14-year battle with leukemia and the treatment side affects impacting his quality of life.  Tom’s determination and resilience made a difference for NARFE VFC and he will be remembered for it. 

The VFC AVPs will provide reports elsewhere in this newsletter.  More oversight activities:

VFC Electronics Communication Committee (ECC):  This Committee has oversight for the VFC Net (VANARFE email), VFC Website, and VFC Notes (newsletter).  The Board approved earmarking non-dues revenue of about $1,100 from the recent VFC sponsored travel to Branson to enhance and/or upgrade VFC communication systems. 

VFC Sponsored Travel:  The December 2004 trip to Branson had 17 travelers from 4 chapters.  It was fast-paced, fun while attending 9 holiday shows.  The next VFC sponsored trip will be August 26 – September 3, 2005 to the scenic Canadian Rockies (includes 2 days by rail).  Encourage chapter members to join their fellow NARFERs on another fun trip.  See a separate article on page 9 in this newsletter for details.

VFC 2005 Convention (April 25-27, 2005):  Send in registrations now to attend! The Convention Committee’s goal is at least 400 delegates.  The location is the Holiday Inn, Koger Conference Center, Richmond, VA. The theme is “A Salute to Our Chapters – the Grass Roots!” Bulletin No. 1, mailed to chapters in September,  provided deadlines and printed forms for registration, ads, supporters, and blank tickets for advance ticket sales for the NARFE-FEEA quilt drawing.  Also, these forms may be viewed and printed from the VFC website at www.narfe.com/va.  Most deadlines are March 1.  And, Chapters that provide $500 or more in commercial ads will receive 10% back.  There will be numerous exhibitors with products and services of interest to NARFE members as well as seniors in general. In addition, there will be tables with information about VFC programs (Membership, Service, etc.) as well as  highlights of activities within our 10 areas and 56 chapters. A silent auction and 50/50 drawing to benefit Alzheimer’s will be offered.  A separate hospitality room will be available for delegates to socialize. On Monday, April 25, registration will begin at 9 a.m.  Opening ceremonies will start at 1 p.m. with a welcome message (Richmond Mayor Wilder invited) and during the afternoon general session there will be a keynote speaker (Attorney General Kilgore invited). In the late afternoon, there will be an opportunity for Chapter Net Coordinators and other interested delegates to learn more about VANARFE email and the VFC website. On Monday evening, Representative Tom Davis (VA-11) will again host a reception for NARFE members.  The Area Caucus meetings and the breakout sessions (National and State Legislation, Membership/PR, Service, and Alzheimer’s) will be held on Tuesday morning.  The general session will continue Tuesday afternoon. The banquet will be Tuesday evening with musical entertainment by the Bruce Woodson Group  (Governor Warner’s acceptance as banquet speaker was preempted recently by an official overseas trip).  Another prominent speaker will be invited soon.   The general session will continue on Wednesday morning and the Convention is expected to end around noon.  Look for more information in Convention Bulletin No. 2, which will be published soon via VANARFE email.  Also, Bulletin No. 2 will be available from your respective area vice president.   See you at the Convention in April!

Ann M. Collins, VFC 1st VP

2nd Vice President’s Report

As we enter 2005, I see many opportunities and challenges for our chapters and members.  During our January VFC Board Meeting, we discussed a number of these that I want to pass along for your consideration and action.

In the area of membership, Virginia’s statistics have been about even in balancing recruitment and loss of members.  We ended 2004 with 20,076 chapter members compared to 19,820 in 2003.  Nationally, NARFE has lost total members during this period.  When you consider Virginia is about third or fourth in the nation in numbers of current federal employees and retirees, we should be making a strong showing in growth.  Chapters should be making better use of the monthly M-112 information provided by Headquarters that provides a listing of new members, members who are late in renewals and potential members.  Contacts with these people are critical to our recruitment and retention efforts.  Some chapters (20 of 56) took advantage of the VFC “switch to dues withholding program” between July and December 2004 with 168 switching and earning chapters $4 for each one.  I think we could have done better to assist with member retention.

            The highlight of our January board meeting was a visit by Governor Mark Warner who spent about an hour giving us an overview of a number of state programs and answering our questions.  He discussed some of the challenges facing the state in funding senior programs (including escalading Medicaid and drug costs), education, transportation, etc.  We discussed with him our concerns about the age deduction changes in 2004 and bills currently in the General Assembly. 

Governor Warner addressing the VFC Board on 1-16-05 NARFE members Joseph D. Lee, Sr., President of Chapter 1293 and his wife, Norma T. Lee.

Chapters have done an outstanding job in support of Alzheimer’s research contributions in 2004.  Our goal of $45,000 was exceeded by $3,000+.  Thank you for all the hard work to make this program a success.

We have serious concerns in protecting our current benefits, particularly health insurance and COLAs, when listening to the federal budget statements to reduce the federal deficit.  We need to keep a close watch on Congressional budget discussions to guard against loss of benefits to offset the deficit and we must be ready to contact our congress members with our concerns. 

Training for officers and program coordinators was last conducted in early 2004; therefore, the next extensive training will probably be in late 2005 or early 2006.  In the interim, I suggest program coordinators make a special effort to attend the 2005 VFC Convention and take part in the breakout sessions for Alzheimer’s, Membership/PR, National Legislation, State Legislation and Service.  A special Presidents training class is planned in March for those new to the position.

R. David Smith, VFC 2nd VP

 

Treasurer’s Report

At the July 2004 Board Meeting, it was approved to allow the VFC Chapters to pay their dues three times a year with payments due on October 1st, February 1st, and May 1st.  The first two payments would be based on the previous year’s dues with the final payment adjusted to reflect the chapter’s membership report as of December 31, 2004.  Two chapters took advantage of this payment option.  The chapters were also given the options of paying twice a year with equal payments due on February 1st and May 1st, with the dues based on the December 31, 2004 report or once a year as in the past with the payment due on May 1st.  All of the VFC Chapters that did not take advantage of the three times a year payment schedule can take advantage of the twice a year payment schedule by sending a check by February 1st to the VFC Treasurer with half the dues indicated on the December 31, 2004 membership report. The remaining half will be due on May 1st. The VFC Secretary will be sending out the dues required for 2005 in January 2005. It should be noted that the chapters that take advantage of the dues payment schedules, those chapter treasurer’s are responsible for sending the chapter’s dues to the VFC Treasurer on the required due dates.

One significant change in travel expenses made at the October 2004 Board meeting was an increase in the mileage allowance from 30.0 cents per mile to 37.5 cents per mile.  This rate increase was effective October 17, 2004.

Robert C. Basford, VFC Treasurer

 

Secretary’s Report

February 9 is the deadline to submit resolutions to the Secretary to be included in the Call to Convention.  The Secretary will compile the Call to Convention, which will be sent by the VFC President to the Board of Directors, Chapter Presidents and Chapter Secretaries by March 10.

The Secretary will compile the voting strength for each Chapter for the Annual Convention and notify AVPs and Chapters.  Each Chapter is entitled to one delegate for each 25 members or fraction thereof.

The Secretary will distribute resolutions to appropriate Committee chairs 30 days prior to the Convention.

Robert Miller, Secretary

 

Alzheimer’s Report

The VFC goal for Alzheimer's research donations in calendar year 2004 was $45,000.  My report to the VFC Board on January shows $48,845.26, 8.5% more than the goal. YOU DID IT!!!  Congratulations and a heart felt thanks to every member that contributed. These figures represent many, hours of effort by many, many members. Dinner dances, a golf tournament, raffles, 50-50’s, bus trips, silent auctions, food sales, business donations, other projects and hundreds of other individual donations resulted in this successful effort.  The top five chapters in total donations are, Midlothian Chapter 2265-$6871.63, Winchester 180-$5848.01, Woodbridge 1270-$$5642.45, Northern Neck 1823-$3397.91, and Springfield-893 $2400.00. 

The Alzheimer’s committee at its meeting will establish our goal for 2005 during the VFC convention in April. In the meantime, let us get off to a good start in the early months of 2005. Our potential for raising funds is huge, considering that only a relatively small percentage of the total Virginia NARFE membership made donations in 2004. We know we can count on our regulars. What would be great is a substantial increase in the number of members participating, in whatever amount is comfortable for the individual. Donations from a large number of additional members can make a great difference. Therefore, whether or not folks attend chapter meetings make a check payable to “Alzheimer's –NARFE” and get it to the chapter Alzheimer's representative or treasure who will assemble the checks and send them to me. I make a monthly report to the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago. Your donation is tax deductible and each donation is acknowledged. In honor of and memory of donations are welcome. {Note Chapter presidents: please include this information in your newsletter, if possible.}

During the convention in April we will have our usual 50-50 and silent auction opportunities. Your appropriate donations for the auction will be appreciated.

In the fall quarter, I made an observer’s appearance at the Midlothian golf tournament, made a presentation of a certification of appreciation at the Woodbridge chapter meeting and was a program speaker at the Winchester chapter meeting. I will speak at the February meeting of the Dulles chapter and at the April meeting of the Fauquier chapter.

When thinking of Alzheimer's, remember that this disease is slowly disabling an estimated 4.5 millions Americans and that hundred hundreds more are diagnosed every day. Also, remember that your donation could be part of the research grant that enables a scientist to make the breakthrough, leading to prevention, successful treatment or a cure for the disease.

Again thank you for your generosity

Wilton Ward, Alzheimer’s Chair

 

Membership, Recruiting and Retention

DID WE DO MORE IN 2004? Come to the Convention and find out.  Was a member of your Chapter among the 19 members of our Federation who recruited 5 or more new members in 2004?  Come to the Convention and see.  Was your Chapter among the top 5 Recruiting Chapters in the Federation?  Calculated based on size of Chapter and number of new members recruited (percentage). Was your Chapter among the top 5 performers in our retention efforts (Dues Withholding)?  Come to the Convention and you will know. By popular demand, the Town Hall Meeting will be held again this year.  We will be combining Membership, Public Relations and Pre-Retirement Seminars.  You will receive a “Roadmap” to Recruiting and Retention.  See you on the highway to the Convention in April 2005.

Joan F. Marvel VFC Membership Chair

 

Area 1 Report

I am happy to report that the Area 1 chapters have elected a full slate of officers for 2005. In Peninsula Chapter 682 - Sharon Rose is the new President, Marvin Pastel is the new 1st VP, Don Williams is the new 2nd VP, Faye Keith returns as Secretary, and Mike Michel is the new Treasurer. In Colonial Williamsburg Chapter 685 - Liz Snyder is again President, Ken Kievit returns as 1st VP, Frank Stevenson returns as 2nd VP, Jeanie Anderson returns as Secretary, and Joan Canfield returns as Treasurer. In Middle Peninsula Chapter 1757 - Joanne Brummel is again President, Paul Componation returns as 1st VP, Howard Mowry returns as Secretary, and Hank Furniss returns as Treasurer. Congratulations to all for accepting officer positions in their chapters!

Una Reeks, a longtime Williamsburg Chapter 685 member, celebrated her 105th Birthday on 14 December 2004. To recognize this important event, a certificate was prepared at NARFE HQ, signed by Charlie Fallis and Joe Beaudoin and a Chapter 685 certificate was prepared and signed by myself. Joe and Jane Beaudoin, Dave Smith, and I visited Una, at her home, and presented the certificates to her, along with a NARFE birthday cake. Una was born in Lynn County, Kentucky in 1899, lived in three different centuries, retired from Langley Air Force Base, and joined Chapter 685 in the 1960s. Up until 2002, Una enjoyed attending the Chapter 685 Christmas meetings. Unfortunately, shortly after our visit, Una passed away, peacefully at her home, on 4 January 2005.

Una Reeks and the VFC Board members who presented her with the award. They are from l-r, top-Dave Smith, VFC 2nd VP, Joe Beaudoin VFC President, Jane Beaudoin VFC PR Chair, and Ralph Hoyle, VFC Area 1 VP.  Seated is the lovely Una H. Reeks.

She had been recognized by the President of the United States and in addition, the Oakridge Boys sent her a dozen beautiful roses for her 105th birthday.  She had a large birthday party on 12/20 where she was recognized by numerous other individuals and organizations.  She was one “beautiful lady.”

In Area 1, we have been concentrating on membership recruiting and retention this past quarter. As requested by the VFC, Chapter 682 hosted a “jump start” meeting of current federal employees on 29 October 2004. A total of 28 employees attended the meeting and 8 became new members. In addition, Marie Collins, Chapter 682, has been busy conducting Pre-retirement seminars and representing NARFE at local Health Fairs and successfully recruiting new members. Many thanks to Marie and the Chapter 682 members for your hard work! A total of 47 annual renewal members in Chapter 682 submitted applications to convert to dues withholding status. Thanks for participating.

In the area of legislation, 3 members from Area 1 plan to attend the National Legislative Conference in February 2005. Also, a bus trip was made on 25 January 2005 to visit state legislators and we attended a session of the General Assembly. During this visit, the VFC state legislation plan was discussed with our senators and delegates.

Thanks, again, to everyone in the Area 1 chapters for your continued support and cooperation. If you have any ideas or suggestions for improving NARFE effectiveness in our Area 1, please contact me. I would like to hear from you.

Ralph Hoyle, Area 1 VP

 

To all Retirees and Current Federal Employees.

The myth is that Uncle Sam will take care of his employees and retirees. This is just not true. If you do not believe this statement, I strongly suggest that if you have not already read President Fallis' message on page 8 of the Retirement Life magazine, please do so. ASP, February Issue 2005. Also, while you have the Retirement Life in your hands, please read pages 10 through 14 and you will see why I say that it is a myth in thinking Uncle Sam will take care of us.

We will be facing a less friendly congress than we have in the last several years. The time is now that we all must be vigilant as to what is going on in the 109th Congress. We must all take an active part to preserve our earned benefits.

This year, February 26 through March 1, 2005, there will be a Legislative Conference held in the Washington, DC area. Area 2 will be represented by John Ramirez and his wife Betty. March 1, 2005, has been designated as the day to visit our Congressman on the hill. Those of us at home are encouraged to Fax, email, write letters or make phone calls to let our Congressman know how we feel about our earned benefits.

I wonder how many currently working federal employees know that when they sign on the dotted line to retire, they will join the retirees’ ranks and lose their health insurance benefits before taxes (Premium Conversion). Let us let it be known.

Please take an active part and participate in contacting your Congressmen on March 1, 2005. Your earned benefits to keep or lose are being discussed. Mine are worth fighting for, are yours?

E. F. Kerekes Area 2 VP

 

Area 5 News

In November, there was an Area meeting in Chatham for Chapter Presidents and Membership Chairmen.  The purpose of the meeting was to finalize the Area 5 Membership Plan and to discuss ways to implement it.  Membership is a real key to our organization continuing to operate, and to the success of our operation.  One of the things that Legislators ask us is the size of our organization.  Obviously, the more members we have the greater the possibility of getting their support for our programs.  Therefore, it is necessary for us to increase our recruiting effort, but the Chapter Presidents and Membership Chairs cannot do it alone, every member needs to be involved.  With our Membership Plan and a little ingenuity on the part of our members, I believe we will see the Area 5 membership increase. 

I do not plan to run again for Area 5 VP, so a new one must be elected at the Area Caucus during the Convention.  If you would like to be the next Area 5 VP, please let me know.

Jim Nobles Area 5 VP

 

Area 7 Report

Charlottesville Chapter 135 canceled its usual gift exchange at the December meeting in favor of bringing food, which was donated, to the area food bank. As partial recompense, members were treated to a Christmas “grab bag” so that each would have something to unwrap.  The Chapter continues to emphasize member retention and dues withholding.  Their efforts were rewarded by VFC with a check for $56.00.  Great job and a well deserved award!

Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Chapter 164 took an important step forward in addressing its financial condition by raising dues from $6.00 to $10.00.  This will help eliminated the need for special fund-raising activities in order to keep the Chapter solvent.

Harrisonburg Chapter 164 celebrated the holiday season by holding its December meeting at the Country Club.  This proved to be popular as reflected by the large number of members and guests that attended—including the Area VII Vice President.  Seasonal music and story telling provided an enjoyable afternoon.  Membership Chairman Charles Shuler’s report indicated the extraordinary effort being made to continue moving this Chapter ahead.

Winchester Chapter 180 held an enjoyable Christmas program in December with 138 members attending.  Fifty young ladies from a local high school choral group, dressed in beautiful blue gowns, provided an entertaining program of seasonal music.  The business meeting was interrupted by Santa Claus and one of his Elves.  They distributed gifts to each person while the Elf insisted on kissing all the women.  We learned that the person behind the white whiskers was VFC President Joe Beaudoin and the “kissing” Elf was VFC Chaplain Deaver Carr.  Joe Beaudoin subsequently gave the oath of office to the 2005 officers—whiskers and all!

            Page Valley Chapter 1793 held its December meeting in the eloquent Mimslyn Inn in Luray.  The members dined to background music by a pianist from Luray High School followed by singing traditional songs of Christmas. The Luray High School Choral group enhanced the singing and the program. Gene Baker installed Chapter officers who would lead Chapter 1793 in 2005. Members agree to direct their attention in the New Year to state and national activities and legislation that will impact on members and other seniors.

Area VII Chapter Presidents are arranging an area-wide meeting in Harrisonburg on March 4, to address issues of common interest, Chapter progress in recruiting and retaining members, VFC program matters, National and State legislative issues and ways to stimulate and motivate members to become proactive on matters of concern to federal retirees and seniors. Harrisonburg is selected for the meeting site since it is central. The March 4 date also follows the National Legislation Conference in Crystal City.  Area 7 National Legislation Coordinator Steve Bush will provide a report and discussion on key issues and agenda items presented in the Conference.

Dick Murphy, Chapter 178, President, participated in the VFC Board meeting at my invitation.  Dick expressed appreciation for the invitation and suggested that other Chapter presidents should have an opportunity to attend a Board meeting.

Glenn M. Zech, Area 7 VP

 

Area 8 Report

      The holiday season is past, chapter officers have been elected and installed, and Area 8 is happy to report that all chapters are starting 2005 in good condition.  Four of the eight chapters have new presidents. They are Richard Geary, Fredericksburg Chapter 90; Dwight Moritz, Warrenton Chapter 1549; Art Klotz, Louisa Chapter 2065; and Mike Anderson, Falls Run Chapter 2343.  The four returning presidents are Mary Norton, Colonial Beach Chapter 595; Gayle Thompson, Northern Neck Chapter 1823; Mary Ryan, Lake of the Woods Chapter 1885; and Ron Curlings, Caroline County Chapter 2112.  Area 8 is very proud to have these exceptionally talented individuals heading the most important unit of NARFE, the local chapter.  There is no doubt that these eight presidents will have a very successful year.

      To help the chapters meet their goals, Area 8 also has very capable members who have agreed to work as area coordinators.  Jon Baer, Northern Neck Chapter 1823 will continue as coordinator for State Legislation; Mike Anderson, Falls Run Chapter 2343 has been appointed area coordinator for National Legislation; Marilyn Root, Louisa Chapter 2065 has been appointed area coordinator for Alzheimer’s; and Jean King, Louisa Chapter 2065 has been appointed area coordinator for Membership.

      Since the area has so many new presidents and other new officers vital to the success of the chapters, we are planning a training session to help these folks get off to the right start.  While there will be training available at the convention, we plan to have a mini training event for the new officers in early February.  While we would like to have training for all our officers, we will have to limit this session to newly elected officers because of limited funds.  I know everyone will support this effort.

      Two Fredericksburg Chapter 90 members, Dave and Alice Upchurch, were recognized in the January 2005 NARFE Retirement Life (page 48) for their work raising funds for Alzheimer’s research.  If you have not seen the article, you should.  Their efforts over the past 10 years have helped raise over $20,000 for Alzheimer’s research.  Congratulations Dave and Alice! 

      During the quarter, I was fortunate to have been able to attend six chapters, and was delighted to have been asked to install officers in five.  The sixth was my home chapter, Louisa where we were very pleased to have David Smith, VFC 2nd Vice President perform the installation.

      Area 8 expects to have a full delegation at the VFC convention in April with delegates attending from all eight chapters.  Chapters are working hard to have members attending filling all their allotted delegate slots.  We expect this to be a very successful convention.

Bill Martin, Area 8 Vice President

      The six Chapters in Area 9 celebrated the Christmas Holidays with special luncheons and some with entertainment and some with installation of Officers for 2005. I attended three luncheons and enjoyed all of them. Along with the celebrations there was much work done trying to determine how we could recruit new members and how to get more current members interested enough to come to our regular meetings. Chapters consider their monthly newsletters their “lifeline” to members since it is the only contact they have many of their members.

            Area IX along with Area X served as the NARFE VFC primary representatives of the Legislative Forum Planning Committee. NARFE VFC was Cosponsors of the 5th Annual Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) Legislative Forum, where there were 183 attendees. Of the 183 attendees, there were 11 Virginia State Legislators and 8 legislative aides. A NARFE VFC $500 contribution was designated as a memorial to Thomas G. Vitez in appreciation for his dedication to NARFE and hard work on our state legislative agenda while serving as the VFC Area IX State Legislative Coordinator. Ann Collins, NARFE VFC 1st Vice President, gave a memorial tribute to Tom and recognized Mrs. Vitex’s presence at the Forum. Of course there were NARFE Magazines along with Membership Applications and other information about NARFE available at the Forum.

            A special thanks to Thomas E. Gause who stepped down from the position of President of Chapter 1159 (Annandale) on January 5, 2005. Tom has been the President the chapter for several years and feels it is time for someone else have the lead. He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for all his good work, from his Chapter and another one from NARFE National signed by President Fallis. George Richards was installed as the new President.

            A new president, Joan A. McDonald, was installed at the Springfield Chapter 893 in November, replacing Philip Meikle.

Bill Masterson Area 9 VP

 

Area 10 Report

Retention of Membership Dues W/H, Area X:

During the fall and winter months, VFC conducted a statewide Dues Withholding campaign for NARFE members to a Switch and Save plan.  No more annual dues payment notices.  Instead, a monthly dues withholding for a year totaling $24.60 (monthly: divided by 12 = $2.05) plus a chapter dues if $10.00 (monthly: $10.00 divided by 12 = $.83).  Together, your automatic payment of monthly National and Chapter dues would have been @2.05 + $.83 = $2.88.  In this example, converting to dues withholding would have produced a saving to the member of $4.40 from national membership and $4.00 for the Chapter for each conversion.   Never again will Switch and Save members make a trip to the mailbox, receive your NARFE annual dues renewal notice, and inadvertently throw it away.  This is membership automatic retention that keeps national membership figures to a higher figure and is very important when it comes to Congress.

To date, VFC AREA X claims two Chapters that were involved in the Switch and Save VFC campaign. They were: Fairfax Chapter 7 who is credited with two Switch and Save approvals and processing of applications for dues withholding and Dulles Chapter 1241 who is also credited with having seven Switch and Save applications approved and processed for the same period.

FIVE NEW CHAPTER OFFICERS FOR 2005

VFC Area X closed 2004 with five new and two continuing chapter presidents who are willing to go forward through 2005.  All five new chapter presidents were installed while one chapter of the two presidents continuing has elections every other year.

MEMBERSHIP PLANS

While there were chapters which continue to focus on establishing and actively implementing membership plans for recruitment and retention of members, only the few mentioned above wanted to move ahead with retention of membership activity.  An action plan that establishes who, what, where, when, and the extent to which chapter resources were being used to raise membership figures at the chapter level are perhaps still under consideration.

There was something afoot at last week’s VFC Board meeting that only the format was discussed while the content is being held for near future dissemination. It looks like a VFC statewide membership drive – 2005 – is coming.  The only thing we know for certain is that it was approved and part of it will be in the form 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Mailings.  The rest of us will have to wait until later when we are to learn more.

COUNCIL OF CHAPTER PRESIDENTS AREA MEETING – JANUARY 5, 2005

As a newly elected AVP and living in a suburban/urban area of people with hours and days of congested traffic where schedules are hectic and distance, although short in terms of mileage and time, and traffic zones are factors that get in the way of scheduling, making and keeping appointments, I do believe I share the feeling that using a constant and calling it “Council of Area Chapter Presidents Quarterly Meeting” is a way of getting around to frequently visiting VFC NARFE chapters during the year.  Therefore, AREA X chapters agreed to have their first Council meeting on January 5, 2005.

These chapters were: 

Edwin Robinson, President, Chapter 7, Arlington, VA

Stuart Vogt, President, Chapter 489, McLean, VA

Ralph Thompson, President, Chapter 737, Fairfax, VA

Carolyn K. Buttolph, President, Chapter 1116, Vienna, VA

Tom Poerstel, President, Chapter 1133, Loudoun, VA

Joe Smucker, President, Chapter, 1241, Dulles, VA

Benny Parker, President, Chapter 1665, Metro Northern, VA

With five new and two continuing 2005 chapter presidents we had a very informative two and one/half hour session.  We not only learned from using an agenda, with documentation, but from a dialogue with each other.  The agenda, however, included topics on:

(1) 2005 VFC State legislation agenda presented by Allen Wright, VFC State Legislation Director; 

(2) Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) - A first attempt to become involved with other Northern VA

Agencies concerned with serving senior citizen program that are parallel state programs with VFC State

Legislation, 2005. A chance to expand and share NARFE’s interests.

(3) National Legislation 2005 using input from Charles Deleplane, VFC National Legislation Chair paper.

(4) VFC Dues withholding report

(5) Form 7 document due 12/31/04.

(6) NARFE name change.

(7)    VFC Convention, April 25-27, 2005, by March 1, 2005, Delegate participation, registration forms and Banquet, patron ads, convention supporters, Quilt NARFE-FEEA drawings (advance sales only 3/. 15/05,

VFC AREA exhibits, etc.

In this instance where there were five new chapter presidents, the council meeting format was very productive. Occasional chapter visits were also made in this quarter including five separate visits with NVAN planning and implementing the Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) Fifth Annual Legislative Breakfast Forum on Aging Honoring General Assembly Members, which was held at Green Spring Conference Center on November 16, 2004.

TRIAD

On October 7, 2004, VFC AREAS IX AND X Vice Presidents were commissioned to attend a TRIAD meeting to set up and maintain NARFE booths to distribute NARFE materials, answer questions, and direct seniors to the conference room where TRIAD speakers spoke on such topics as: Home Security, Medicare Fraud and Abuse, ID Theft, Personal safety, Financial Crimes, and Telemarketing, and Frauds and scams.

SR Simons, VFC AREA X Vice President,

 

Treasurer’s Request

For those chapters that elected to pay their dues three times a year, the second payment is due February 1, 2005.  Chapters that wish to pay their dues twice a year; their first payment is due February 1, 2005 with the second payment due May 1, 2005.  The remaining chapters’ dues are due between February 1 and May 1, 2005, but not later than that.  The VFC secretary should be sending out the chapter’s dues assessment in January 2005.

 

Robert C. Basford, VFC Treasurer

 

Canadian Rockies by Rail - August 26 - September 3, 2005 (9 days)

NARFE Virginia Federation has again made arrangements with Collette Vacations for another great travel experience with your fellow NARFERS. Come with us for a fun-filled trip to the heart of the Canadian Rockies, where spectacular scenery combines with luxury resort settings as you tour the beautiful provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. You will spend the first day in Vancouver then the next two days viewing coastal forests, roaring river canyons and lofty mountain peaks from aboard the legendary "Rocky Mountaineer" (Goldleaf Optional Upgrade offered). Your train journey ends in Jasper to visit the incredible Maligne Canyon. There will be spectacular photo opportunities enroute to Lake Louise where you will enjoy an unforgettable luxurious stay in the famed Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. An incredible tram ride to Sulphur Mountain offers magnificent views of Banff and the nearby Rockies. Your final stops are Banff for a stay at the magnificent Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, known as the "Castle in the Mountains" and the cosmopolitan city of Calgary. Trip includes round trip air (with cancellation waiver and insurance) from Dulles (Richmond and Norfolk gateways same price) and 15 meals (8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners). Rates per person: Double $3,099; Single $3,999; and triple $3,069. Deposit of $200 per person with reservation due March 26; final payment due June 27. For more information or to obtain a brochure, contact, Jann Masterson, VFC Travel Coordinator at 703-548-0396 or email: b-jmasterson@ comcast.net. Do it now!

 

Meeting with Congresswoman Drake

Some of the VFC Officers/members met with our newly elected VA 2nd District Congresswoman, in Norfolk, VA on Dec 12, 2004. During this meeting, we were able to discuss various NARFE issues with Ms. Drake and her Chief of Staff, Tom Gordy. This meeting was (in my opinion) a very successful and productive meeting and, hopefully, will result in a good relationship between Ms. Drake and NARFE.

 

The persons attending the meeting (from left to right) are: Tom Gordy (Chief of Staff), Vince Agnelli (NARFE member), and Charles Delaplane (VFC Nat'l Leg. Chair), Ms Drake, Joe Beaudoin (VFC President), Jane Beaudoin (VFC PR Chair), Ernest Kerekes (VFC Area 2 V.P.) and Dave Smith (VFC 2nd V.P.)

 

National Legislation

As most know, all pending legislation not enacted at the end of the 108th Congress died last December when that Congress adjourned. We now start the hard slog over again with the 109th Congress, and Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon’s (R-CA) bill to repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) has been reintroduced. This time around it is H.R. 147, and Congressman McKeon dropped it into the hopper carrying 122 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Among those, six are from Virginia - Jo Ann Davis, Tom Davis, Bob Goodlatte, Virgil Goode, Rick  Boucher, and Bobby Scott. NARFE members living in the other five Congressional Districts of Virginia might want to contact their representatives and ask them to sign on as co-sponsors. Those in the 7th District are particularly important, because Congressman Eric Cantor is Virginia’s only member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where positive action would be crucial to that bill.

BUT - and this is the bad news - expectations at present are that NARFE will have its hands full fending off Administration efforts to reduce the budget deficit by cutting benefits for retirees and employees. I write this piece a full two weeks before the FY '06 budget is scheduled to be released, and as far as I know no details are public, but there are all sorts of adverse actions which could be contained therein. At our National Convention in Reno we adopted a legislative program that made protecting the benefits we have the top priority, ahead of seeking enhancements to benefits such as Premium Conversion or elimination of the GPO and WEP.

Examples of possible cuts include: (1) Delaying, reducing, or outright eliminating COLA’s (cuts which would not likely be extended to Social Security beneficiaries); (2) Reducing the Government’s share of health insurance premiums, thereby requiring active employees and insured retirees to make up the difference (the USG currently pays about 72 percent of the cost); (3) Requiring government agencies to pre-fund (i.e., set aside appropriations for) their retirees future health insurance costs, effectively reducing agencies’ budgets; (4) Reducing health insurance costs by supporting increased co-payments, both for medical services and for prescription drugs; (5) Lowering the means testing limits recently added to the Medicare program, so that more people become affected by means testing; (6) Expanding the contracting-out of federal jobs (this one would yield few savings but is politically popular); and (7) reducing that part of the budget supporting the Older Americans Act.

These are some the budget-cutting ways that occur to me, and I’m not particularly known for my creativity. Other ways certainly must be possible. After the budget is delivered on February 7 we’ll know what we face. So stay alert, and be ready and willing to write or phone your Congressional representatives. A number of NARFE’s best friends in Congress are Virginians, and we won’t be fighting alone.

- Charles Delaplane

 

VA Nurses Pension Issue

               Help spread the word to retired RN's who worked part time for the VA before 1986. This is a NARFE agenda issue and members are asked to notify retired nurses who worked for the VA about important pending legislation regarding their pensions. The reason NARFE members are asked to notify these retired RN's is that the Office of Personnel Management has indicated releasing their names would violate the Privacy Law. These nurses may be in our chapters, families, friends or neighborhoods. You may be the only person to notify these nurses.

            In 2002, P.L. 107-135 restored the pensions to the nurses who were still working, but not to those who had retired. ONE (Organization for Nurses' Equality) is working to restore the pension for the nurses who had retired. The legislation impacts Registered Nurses who worked any part-time schedules in VA hospitals prior to 1986 and who retired before January 23, 2002. These nurses should access the ONE website: www.geocities.com/varnpension or call 978-263-4443 or 608-238-078. Thanks for helping these retired nurses regain their rightful pensions.

Immediate Past NC State President Lillian Creger

 

 

Don’t forget your convention in Richmond, get reservations early. Whip up support from your chapter about this essential part of NARFE. All are welcome, come see what goes on. Take part in retaining our rights.