February 12, 2010
TO: NASCOE Members and All FSA Employees
Administrator Jonathan Coppess held a conference call on Wednesday Feb 3.
Participating in the call were all SED‟s AO‟s, DD‟s, Chief‟s and employee
association Presidents or Vice-Presidents. Purpose of call was to review the 2010
budget, Midas, and WebTA/ARS. Some additional topics were also discussed. I
would like to share a summary of that call.
Allocations for FY 2010 are very tight. WDC made budget decisions with two
priorities in mind, to maintain resources in the field offices and to maintain or
enhance our IT needs and infrastructure. Cuts are being made in National Office
budgets to help met support for these priorities. Support is also being provided to
MIDAS projects in FY 2010.
Executive Management is optimistic that the President‟s FY2011 budget does
provide sufficient funding for staffing needs and also will place a significant
investment into upgrading our IT resources. Money is in the 2011 budget to
refresh the computers across the Department of Agriculture. It is unknown how
much share will go to FSA.
The MIDAS project has the full support from Secretary Vilsack and the
Administration. Our IT infrastructure needs to be brought up to date. There will be
opportunities for field employees to apply for details to WDC to work on this
effort. Details may last for 2 years with a possibility of being extended to 5 years
at Grades 9 through 13. Relocation expenses will be provided and participating
employees will have return rights to former positions. The vacancy caused by the
detail will be filled in the state where person came from.
The implementation of the Activity Reporting System and Self Entry to WebTA
has now been extended to Pay Period 6. The mandatory training courses that all
employees will be required to take have not yet been placed into AgLearn.
Handbook 21-AO will be issued to provide guidance for State and County Offices.
During the first PP of operation, an online Q&A and live help desk process will be
The Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization bill, which was passed into law the
fall of 2009, included benefit improvements long sought by NASCOE and other
professional employee associations. One of these improvements allows federal
agencies to re-employ retirees on a limited, part-time basis without offset of
annuity. Authority is being sought by FSA to utilize the provisions in this new
law. The Department has to give approval for this program. There are limitations
on the number of re-employed annuitants. DAFO reports FSA will be limited to
50 GS and 80 CO positions. There will be limitations on the amount of time
annuitants can work. They will be hired as part-time and could work no more than
520 hours in six months or no more than 1,040 hours in a year. DAFO will review
workload in each state and determine the number of annuitants that can be
approved. Annuitants would be hired at the grade of the position they will be
working, not at the former grade they held.
I had hopes of also being able to provide an update to our PT Classification review
at this time, but due to some annual leave being taken and two untimely and large
snow storms in WDC, an update is not available at this time. I will continue to
pursue this and will provide everyone an update when final approval is given to
this classification review.
Stepping Down is Never Easy!
After much thought, deliberation and soul searching, I have decided that I will not be running for
NASCOE Secretary this year at the national convention in Hot Springs, AR. This was not an easy decision
for me to make because I feel very strongly about NASCOE and what it means to FSA employees.
There are term limits to elected positions for a reason and one of those reasons is to bring fresh ideas
and new interest. While I still care very deeply about NASCOE, I know there are others out there who
feel just as passionate as I do and would do a wonderful job as NASCOE Secretary. According to the
NASCOE Constitution and By-laws, I would remain on the NASCOE Executive Committee for one year as
a past officer assisting with the transition of a new secretary.
As a new CED in a large office, I feel I should be devoting my time and my focus to my job with FSA. In
addition, my office is located 300 miles from my family and much of my free time is used for traveling to
see them. The time I spend on my NASCOE duties and the travel involved is less time that I have to
devote to my family. By continuing as NASCOE Secretary, I believe I would be doing an injustice to both.
Darlene Schouten, NASCOE Secretary
Everyone knows what NASCOE has done for the membership, but have you ever wondered what you
could do for NASCOE? Do you feel like you could do just one more thing to assist NASCOE‟s goals?
In August, NASCOE will again be holding elections for officers, area executives and alternate area
executives. Have you ever wondered what it‟s like to sit at the table with dedicated members of NASCOE
working toward the betterment of its members? Now is the time…this is your opportunity to step up and
do what you can for NASCOE and the membership.
If you are interested in running for one of these offices, all you need to do is submit a candidacy
announcement by May 1st to Darlene Schouten, 105 S. Division St., Warren MN 56762 or to
email@example.com. All NASCOE candidacy announcements will be posted to the NASCOE
website on May 1, 2010. Please do not send them directly to the website as they need to be submitted all
at one time to ensure fairness in the process.
If you‟ve ever felt like making a difference in something, this is your chance. Don‟t be shy and think “I
could never do that.” Yes, you can. Those serving NASCOE are just regular folks with regular FSA jobs.
Step forward and be counted. You won‟t regret it.
If you have questions about the positions and what is involved, just contact one of the NASCOE officers
or your area executive.
MAINTAINING OUR FUTURE
Tony Augustine, MWA Legislative Chairperson
Recently a friend reminded me that the greatest benefit we as NASCOE members have is our job.
Without the stability of our jobs, the other benefits NASCOE has achieved for us mean very little. If you
stop to think about it, our job is something we tend to take for granted, believing it will always be there
while we focus on other wants and desires.
We’ve heard from the Administration that there are no plans for office closures for this year. We’ve also
heard that our FY2010 budget is very tight, but there are no plans for reducing staffing either. These are
all comforting statements for our immediate future. Lately, though Bob Redding, NASCOE’s Legislative
consultant, stated that Direct Payments likely won’t survive in the next Farm Bill. That opinion was
confirmed by former House Ag Committee Chairman, Charles Stenholm, when he spoke at the Farm
Bureau national convention. Consequently, many commodity groups are looking into alternative
options instead of Direct Payments. In addition, the 2011 budget presented to Congress includes a
proposal to reduce the payment limitation on Direct Payments. There is also little doubt that future
USDA budgets will remain tight. While our immediate job security appears stable, the evolution of farm
programs beyond the current farm bill leaves the long term stability of our jobs up in the air. At best,
the stability of our jobs is secure only through the current farm bill that ends in 2012. Congress already
has plans to begin scheduling field hearings for the next farm bill in the coming months to begin the
In order to ensure our agency’s role in the next Farm Bill, we will need to all get involved in spreading
the message of our abilities and success with delivering anything that is given to our Agency to
implement. NASCOE has three tools we rely on to deliver our message.
The first tool is CAPWIZ. This tool can quickly deliver a unified message to Congress on any issue,
providing our members act on the Action Alerts that are sent to them by email. Roughly, half of our
members have subscribed to CAPWIZ, however not nearly all of those respond to the Action Alerts. To
those that haven’t subscribed, we call upon you to enroll in CAPWIZ now, but from your home email
only. The process is simple and the NASCOE website has the link to enroll. For those already enrolled, if
you change your home email address, make sure to update CAPWIZ with your new email so you
continue to get the Action Alerts. You simply notify your state CAPWIZ coordinator or Legislative
chairperson of the new email address and they can forward it to be updated. Also, when an Action Alert
is sent, you may need to check your spam filter the first time to ensure you see the NASCOE message to
act upon and add the address to your email address book.
The second tool is the NASCOE PAC. The PAC is used to help gain access to critical contacts in Congress
to make sure our views are heard. Our PAC already has helped further NASCOE’s objectives. If it
continues to grow, we will be even more able to help our future. In order to garner more support for
the PAC, a PAC promotion is currently available. Any member that begins contributing at least $3 per
pay period through payroll deduction or any member through payroll deduction that increases their
contribution by $3 or more per pay period will receive a $20 VISA gift card. This promotion is limited to
the first 200 members to participate. The NASCOE webpage has step by step details of how to start
participating in the PAC. In addition, the state association that has the greatest percentage increase in
PAC contributions for the year up to the NASCOE convention will receive $250. Surprisingly, it wouldn’t
take much for the NASCOE PAC to easily surpass all but two agriculture commodity group PACs in size.
This can help tremendously in our effectiveness.
The third and most critical tool is YOU. If YOU aren’t a member yet, now is the time to join! For all of
the FSA employees that are members of NASCOE, we thank you, but we need YOU to be involved also.
Without YOU getting involved by responding to the CAPWIZ Alerts to send the message to our
legislators, we can’t be as effective. Without YOU supporting the NASCOE PAC, we can’t do as much to
get our views heard. The key to our success is ultimately going to be YOU. In order to effectively deliver
the message, we ALL need to be involved and proactive. Now is the time for YOU to get involved! Go to
www.NASCOE.org today to start getting more involved and helping make a difference.
Making change happen!
I have been Program Chair in my state for 2 years. During that time I hadn‟t forwarded many
Program recommendations from my state‟s members. I mean last year I was still trying to
differentiate between Program & Negotiation items! (Thanks to clarification found on the
NASCOE website.) I finally found something I felt needed to be addressed and was brave
enough to submit my suggestion to the NASCOE Program Committee through our MWA
representative, Jake Bourget. And it was so easy I listed the following: Issue – Fact/Explanation
– Solution. I emailed it to Jake, and he reviewed it. Jake gave me a positive email back
encouraging me that it was a great idea and forwarded my suggestion to the NASCOE Program
Committee. And guess what? I got an email from John M. Marquess, Jr., NASCOE Programs
Chairperson, telling me that FSA Management considered my recommendation and are going to
make the necessary modifications!! How exciting – I jumped for joy. And when finally I see my
recommendation in print, I will be smiling because I made it happen!
And you can make change happen to. I know there are things out there in all of our programs
that we see all the time and think – why don‟t they fix that. Well, do you have a solution? I
challenge you to write it down, and use the NASCOE Program Efficiency Submission Form
posted on the NASCOE, Programs website. You will list your 1) Issue 2) Fact/Explanation and
3) Solution, and send your State Program Chair or Area Program Chair or through the NASCOE
website to the National Program Committee Chair. Now that I have had success I am ready to
make another recommendation – think BIG – your suggestion could prompt the next change!
Jessica Yuska, Iowa State Program Chair
MEMBERSHIP LISTS NEEDED
NASCOE has been trying to establish a membership list with contact information for a couple of years
now. There are a couple of primary uses for this list or database which makes it very important for
states to submit their lists to the NASCOE Membership Chair.
The first use of the list will be to provide the names of NASCOE members and associate members to JM
Marketing. This is done so those members using JM Marketing products are able to receive the
discounts that they are entitled to. States have had to supply a list of names every year for this purpose.
The difference is now NASCOE has provided a format for each state to use to create this list and added
contact information for those members and associate members that were willing to provide it.
The second use for the membership list will be to verify membership for those willing to contribute to
the NASCOE PAC. Only NASCOE members can contribute to the PAC so membership must be verified.
The membership list would allow NASCOE to verify membership without having to contact the state
association. If personal email information is provided that individual could be contacted directly.
Each state treasurer should have a list of those individuals who have either paid their dues in a lump
sum or are signed up for payroll deduction. This information should be provided to the NASCOE
Membership chair whether contact information is provided or not. Hopefully each state can use the
format provided so it is easier for Angie to consolidate all of the information she has received.
At last report only 16 state associations have provided a list of their members and associate members
to NASCOE. States were asked to supply their membership lists by the end of the 2nd quarter. This is
another request for states to supply their membership list to the National Membership Chair as soon as
possible. A simple Excel spread sheet was provided to each State in the hopes it would simplify the
process. States do not have to provide the lists to anyone other than the Angie Bierman, NASCOE
Membership Chair at the following email address, firstname.lastname@example.org
A big thank you to the states that have provided their data to Angie. It is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your cooperation and participation.
Jon Williams Angie Bierman
MWA Executive National Membership Chair
Remember, we send out Sample Packets of products with all of the
latest fashions for you to sell at your State Conventions and Area
Rally’s. If you want items, email us
(email@example.com) at least a month in advance so
we will have plenty of time to get them to you timely.
Attention to all FSA employees:
We are only a few sales away from making the best commission
possible! Shop now (www.nascoeemblemsonline.com) for the
newest products that you can sport at you upcoming State
convention, All commissions go directly to the NASCOE
Scholarship program! So remember that with each purchase you
are helping the future leaders of tomorrow!
All of us with the Awards, Scholarships and Emblems
committees are here to help! If you have any questions,
please do not hesitate to ask!
NASCOE Members Scholarship
The NASCOE Executive Board has agreed to extend the NASCOE Members
Scholarship Program application deadline until March 1st! Please do not let this
wonderful opportunity pass you by again!
If you took classes last fall and/or if you are currently enrolled in an adult
education class geared to enhance your career with FSA, this special NASCOE
Scholarship is for you!
Mr. and Mrs. Mace (JM Marketing) believe so highly is this special program that
they have donated $800 towards this special program!
Everything you need is on the NASCOE web site (www.nascoe.org) under the
Please take advantage of this special program!
If you have any questions, please let me or any of the Area Chairpersons know!
NWA Negotiation Consultant Annette Schenk
Let me begin with a big thank you to Cindy Hall our NW Area Executive. Cindy invited me to join the
Negotiation committee in 2010. I knew representing the concerns of our county office employee to our
National Officials is important ongoing job. I am honored to take my turn.
This past January we traveled to San Antonio Texas for the pre-negotiation session. Your NASCOE
Officers and the Negotiation Committee teamed up to seriously discuss the negotiation items you sent to
us. Each item was studied prior to our meeting. Then each individual item was discussed, the procedure
researched and suggestions for possible solutions were developed. Volunteers were assigned to each
item. These volunteers whom the committee deemed, “passionate about this item” were assigned to
write up the final negotiation/consultation item to be presented to our Administrator, Mr. Jonathan
Coppess and the National FSA Office representatives in April.
Having been with our agency for over 24 years, I was comforted by the devotion, sincerity and
compassion I witnessed from this team. I knew they were always there working behind the scenes for us
but, to watch them in action was inspirational. I heard success stories of past negotiation sessions and
the warm welcome they have received while in DC. It showed me that we are indeed being heard all the
way from our county offices to DC. This committee is your voice and they represent you well.
While we spent everyday, devoted to our duties, when the job was complete, we headed out to
experience the beauty of the historic San Antoine. We traveled via the river walk to taste some most
excellent food. We shopped in the boutiques and the Mexican market along the walk. Some took a small
river cruise to learn more about the architectural and ethnic history of this beautiful city. I will always
remember the Alamo and the war that seems in many ways, to have never healed. It was all very
Thank you Cindy for this opportunity to represent our fellow county office employees. Stay tuned for
installment two when we return from DC in March/April. I would also like to thank everyone for your time
spent writing items for us to present on your behalf.
Please visit the Benefits page on the NASCOE website for a better printable version of this file.
It may be found at: http://nascoe.org/Benefits.aspx „
(Scroll to the bottom where the benefits box is located and then look for Sam‟s Club)
This invitation is open to all NASCOE members:
Vermont is hosting the 2010 Northeast Area Rally and VASCOE is inviting everyone to join us in the
beautiful Green Mountain State. The Rally runs from May 7th thru the 9th, with a full schedule of events
planned. The weekend is Mother’s Day weekend, so bring your spouse for a special treat, and bring your
kids...or not! We are gearing up to make this a rare opportunity for attendees to kick back, relax, and be
pampered at one of the Northeast’s premier destination resorts. The Basin Harbor Club is located in
rural Vergennes, situated along the shores of Lake Champlain. Please take a look at what awaits you at
The festivities will begin on Friday, with a golf tournament teeing off at noon for the early arrivals. There
will be a hospitality cabin set up for evening socializing, featuring a traditional Vermont sugar-on-snow
party. Saturday breakfast is a buffet style spread beginning at 7, high-lighted by local Vermont food
products. The business meeting will run from 8 to 12, and then it’s again time to feast at the Taste of
Vermont Lunch Buffet. Following lunch, don’t miss the chance to join the tour of nationally acclaimed
Shelburne Farms [www.shelburnefarms.com]. The beautifully restored farm buildings surrounded by
1900 acres of pristine farmland will transport you back to 19th century estate living. This will be followed
by a visit to Nordic Farms, a state of the art dairy employing robotic milking machines. Saturday evening
activities begin with a complimentary reception before dinner, followed by the Dinner Gala, and
finishing up with more socializing during the Scholarship Auction and raffle drawing. Sunday morning
continues the theme of great Vermont cuisine with another round of breakfast buffet, then its check out
and head home, or extend your stay for a day or two at our specially negotiated price! We hope to see
The Eastern US (WDC)!
Both the NASCOE Members and the traditional Scholarship
applications are due in less than two weeks (February 20) to your
State Scholarship Chairpersons. Check out the website for the
easy to use applications and required information at
Kevin and I really enjoyed our stay in Marco Island at the Marriott Resort and Spa then our day at the
Super Bowl. We flew out of Indy early Friday morning with 150 Colts fans on a charter flight to Ft. Myers.
It was more than exciting EXCEPT for the last 3 minutes!! :):) I did leave the stadium with a smile after
seeing Coach Tony Dungy and family go by us on golf carts! It was a once in a life time experience
especially all the interviews that Channel 10 out of Terre Haute, IN did before the game and at the game.
Channel 10 didn't have my interview on at 10:00pm Sunday night due to difficulties, but they aired it the
next morning. I still haven't seen it because I only had my DVR set up for Sunday night, and they haven't
posted on the web site. I have to tip my hat to the Saints. They wanted the game more than the Colts,
and the Saints coaching staff made some incredible gutsy calls!
There is no way I will say "Maybe next year".....you know why....because that is what CUBS fans would
Actually, the remainder of the year will be boring!! After going to Australia in December, Colts playoffs in
January, and then the Super Bowl in Feb. what more could I want? WELL after the STL Cardinals signed
Holliday, I want to be there this fall at the World Series!!! I am not asking for much!! :):)
Everyone take care and GO COLTS!!
Tammy Morrison, PT
Martinsville County FSA