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April 2020

SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER

Published Monthly except July and August

www.narfespokane.org

20 - 04 Advocates for Current and Former Federal Employees April 2020

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson


By now, you all have tuned your eyes and ears to various news media regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Like most of you, my email inbox has become inundated with messages from AVISTA to vacation rentals about their responses to this contagious disease. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released its own guidance documents and updates to keep Feds informed of policies and protocol. NARFE will share this information on its social media and platforms. However, its headquarters’ office is presently closed from March 17 to 31, which affects sharing of information and webinars. Because most of our membership is older than 60 years, COVID-19 is more likely to impact us. Because I do not wish for our membership to cross-pollinate the virus amongst ourselves, I decided to cancel our Board meeting on March 23 and our Membership meeting on April 13. Our meetings may remain cancelled until Darcey’s can once again serve in-house diners. I encouraged our executive board to expand their sharing of information with our Chapter 32 newsletter and webpage. For the immediate future, we will keep the membership informed through these two sources. Armed with knowledge and dedicated experience, I believe active and retired Feds will rise above any and all confusions. Anyone with questions regarding this matter can either call or email me, scottsoriole@q.com.

PROGRAM Louise Soles


Who would have ever thought the world could get so upside down! Seems I have a tendency to want to be reclusive and it takes some effort talking myself into getting out and about and being social. Now I find myself lamenting the loneliness caused by "social distancing" and self-isolation. Sheesh. I do miss all my friends, but we all know that "This too shall pass". God willing, it be over soon.


Our March speaker was Reverend Ian Robertson. He is working hard to educate the public and elected officials on homelessness. He is trying to find funding through Public/Private Partnerships by: 1) funding homeownership; 2) Using excess land; and 3) Changing attitudes so that folks in need take responsibility to improve their lives. He is seeing progress in Ferry and Stevens counties, Walla Walla and Tri Cities. These community leaders are starting to change how they address affordable housing for the low-income and homeless populations. And he holds hope for Spokane. Rev. Ian stated that most of Spokane’s resources are focused on covering case management costs and he would like to see those resources used to provide affordable housing options instead. People Need an incentive to change and most government programs do not provide that incentive. He is also depending on the faith community to step up and help solve the problem of lack of affordable housing. (Thanks to Arlene Patton for taking notes for me. I was fortunate enough to be in Las Vegas for the WCC Basketball Tournament - and got to see Gonzaga win the conference!)


As you know, we will not hold a April meeting. I had to call Joe Guarisco, retired illustrator and publisher for the USDA Forest Service, to cancel his presentation. He was certainly understanding. I am holding out hope that we will be meeting in May and June. Praying for the health of our country and the world. Take care. And God bless those Federal Employees who continue to work at their jobs and serve our country.

DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR

Due to the present health situation all Meetings are cancelled.

VICE PRESIDENT REPORT Arlene Patton


Washington State Federation (WSF) update: The Washington State Federation conference, planned for May 19-21, 2020 in Lynnwood, WA, has been cancelled. The hotel returned the deposit fee to WSF. Members who submitted their registration fee, that fee will be returned. If you made hotel reservations, please call and cancel those reservations.


The WSF April 9th board meeting will be conducted by “GoToMeeting”. We used the system for a special meeting on March 20th and it worked just fine. Maybe this will replace the need to travel to Seattle for quarterly meeting.

LEGISLATION Roger Bosky


DOING THEIR JOBS

When will Federal employees gain the respect from their leaders and the public that they so rightly have earned?


Solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic will be led by government laboratories and Federal scientists. Employees in Federal offices and airports like the Social Security Administration, The TSA, and first responders continue to work on the front lines ensuring that the publics concerns are addressed during this crisis. Federal employees worked through the government shutdown without pay and not knowing if they would get paid. Federal employees risked their safety and jobs to speak the truth under political pressure and do their jobs in keeping with their constitutional duties. And some were rewarded with losing their jobs. They are civil servants, not bureaucrats.


What faces the Federal community now is the President’s FY2021 Budget proposal which calls for substantial cuts to the earned benefits of Federal employees and retirees. We deserve better treatment.


NOTICE: Washington State Federation has a new website. The address is www.narfewa.org.

MEMBERSHIP Sandy Cook


Recruitment tips for all members.


NARFE is a great organization and adds value to all Federal Employees life whether they are retired or still working. They might not know about it, though and this is where you come in.