Midwest Area Bulletin – 2017 NASCOE Convention Wrap-up

As a part of NASCOE’s publicity strategy, Area Executives and committee chairs are publishing a minimum of three area bulletins to inform membership

 

of current news in NASCOE and the Midwest Area. The focus of this bulletin is a wrap-up of the 2017 NASCOE Convention which was held in St. Charles, Missouri.

Please ensure that all County Office employees have the opportunity to see this bulletin.

 

NASCOE Convention Scholarship Auction

2017 NASCOE Convention HeaderMissouri (MASCOE) is proud and excited to be hosting the National Association of County Office Employees(NASCOE) convention the first week of August in St. Charles, MO this year.   Each year the Scholarship Auction raises funds to help further the education and honor the achievements of our young people.  We are in the process of getting our list made of donations for this event which is always a highlight of the convention.  If you attend the convention, we would highly recommend attending the auction!!   We are asking each Area Executive to forward this email to your area membership. We are hoping that each state can provide us with at least 1 item for the live auction and 1 item for the silent auction – and more would be “historically awesome.”

Please email Tina Young or Patty Lambert (  or or home emails:   or  , as to what items will be donated.  If you aren’t certain of the item, but want to commit to bringing/sending something – please let us know that too!

One suggestion that we thought would be fun and informative, is if each State had an item or a basket of items that reflect that State’s pride and joy.  For example, Illinois is known for pumpkin production, so a basket of pumpkin related items might showcase that.  We appreciate any and all donations that we can get, but would like to start pinning down items and getting our power point presentation put together for the live auction. Convention will soon be here, and we want to do a good job for the convention and our association!

If you or any member of your association would like to contribute, but will be unable to attend the convention in person, please let us know and we can make arrangements to get your donated items to St. Charles – whether that be shipping arrangements or someone else picking the items up to bring to
St. Charles when they make the trip.

Thank you for forwarding this to your members and we look forward to hearing from each of your states!

Tina Young and Patty Lambert
2017 NASCOE NATIONAL CONVENTION AUCTION CO-CHAIRPERSONS

NASCOE Convention First Timer Stipend Contest!

2017 NASCOE Convention St. Charles, MO August 2-5 Historically Awesome!!Are you a MNASCOE member who has never been to a NASCOE Convention?  Are you interested in joining NASCOE members from throughout the country at the 2017 NASCOE Convention?

If so, enter your name in the MNASCOE Contest for first time NASCOE Convention attendees!!  Two MNASCOE members will each receive $500 stipend to be applied toward the cost of attending the 2017 NASCOE Convention in St. Charles, Missouri.

To enter, email MNASCOE Vice-President, Kayla Mattson, to submit your name.

The deadline for entry is June 1, 2017.

 

Visit the NASCOE Convention Page to learn more about the schedule of events and for information on how to register for the convention.

April 26, 2017 Update from NASCOE President

Please see the NASCOE update on several important issues from our NASCOE consultant, Hunter Moorhead below. I know many of you are concerned about a possible government shutdown and I want you to know that NASCOE is staying on top of all the hot issues and wants to keep you informed. Help us do that by subscribing to our email database (if you haven’t already). It is easy to do just follow the link below.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Tr6Dw-t0yG4XqGdX4yRwztR7sRX87VKOksIGrQYo-P0

We will be updating membership through the database as important events unfold. We will also use the NASCOE website and encourage you to click on the follow button on the NASCOE.Org site, this will also trigger an email when important information is posted. For those of you on Facebook please like the NASCOE news page.

Respectfully submitted by,

Wes Daniels
NASCOE President


Good morning – We want to provide an update regarding Washington’s hottest topics.

As expected, Governor Perdue is now Secretary Perdue. He is officially the Secretary of Agriculture. A total of 11 (highest ever) Senators voted no on the nomination.

Senators voting NO:

Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)
Markey (D-MA)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Reed (D-RI)
Sanders (I-VT)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

With the Secretary now official, he and his team will soon announce specific candidates for political positions. This will be a lengthy process with many folks requiring Senate confirmation. At this point, we are unaware of any decisions regarding treatment of FSA employees or county offices.  If that changes, you all will be the first to receive any confirmed information/documents.

House and Senate negotiators are working to finalize the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills. Remember, the current continuing resolution expires on April 28. The Administration has stated that wall funding is not required for any final agreement. We believe that statement clears the way for negotiators to finalize the package and avoid any government shutdown.

On Tuesday, the White House announced the agricultural/rural America Executive Order. Please see the fact sheet below. We will make sure our NASCOE priorities get before the appropriate White House officials.

 Executive Order Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America

  • Our farmers deserve a government that serves their interests, and empowers them to do the hard work they love so much. That is what today’s executive order is about.
  • With this order, the President is directing Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to work with other members of my Cabinet to identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that hurt our nation’s farmers and rural communities
  • This order also establishes the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, to be led by Secretary Purdue.
  • With this order, we continue our relentless effort to make life better for hardworking Americans—including our farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

Background

  • Over the last two decades, the rural portions of the United States have fallen behind economically. Rural residents often lack access to the educational and technological opportunities available in more urbanized areas. Overregulation of rural industries, such as agriculture, is also a significant problem.
  • Executive Order 13575, issued by President Obama in 2011, established the “White House Rural Council” to examine ways to improve conditions in rural America. But, the Council largely focused on work the administration was already doing and promoted initiatives already underway. Most of the work of the Council was informal, and we have not been able to locate any records of its meetings.
  • This executive order revokes executive order 13575 and replaces President Obama’s Rural Council with a new multi-agency task force with a new mandate.
  • The new task force will be headed by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue and will examine issues related education, overregulation, taxation of family businesses and farms, approval of crop protection tools, such as pesticides, export opportunities for American agricultural goods, permitting for the use of public lands, and other matters important to agriculture and economic development in the rural United States.
  • In 180 days, the task force will submit a report to you through the Domestic Policy and National Economic councils proposing specific legislative, regulatory, and policy changes based on its findings.

2017 Midwest Area Rally Minutes

Have you asked yourself, what does NASCOE do for me?  Have you heard other people say that?  If so, I recommend reading the Midwest Area Rally minutes attached to this email.  Also, in the next few days you’ll be seeing the notes from the MNASCOE negotiation meeting held in March.  They’ll be distributed by our state office. Keep in mind, your MNASCOE and NASCOE leadership work hard for you.

If you’d like to be a part of that team, contact myself.  I’ll find a spot to utilize your talents!  Liz

Liz Ludwig
MNASCOE President

Click to download (13 Pages)

2017MWA Rally_minutes_FINAL

2017 NASCOE Convention Raffle Tickets Available

Attached is a copy of the raffle tickets for the 2017 NASCOE Convention in St. Charles, MO.  Please consider purchasing a raffle ticket to support our national convention held in Missouri this year.  If you are interested in buying tickets, send your check (made out to MASCOE) to Liz Ludwig at 629 N 11th Street, Suite 8, Montevideo, MN 56265. I’ll send you a copy of the ticket made out in your name and then submit them for the drawing.

 

Image of the NASCOE Convention Raffle Ticket

NASCOE President’s Report: Transition Update

NASCOE President Wes DanielsI hope everybody is getting ready for the holiday season and has big plans to enjoy your family and friends during this time. Even as busy as it has been all across the country, we all have a lot to be thankful for. I wanted to address some concerns and thoughts that have been shared with NASCOE lately.

Many of you are anxious about the transition to a new President of the United States of America, his administration, and how it will impact FSA and the membership of NASCOE. We have read about the proposed hiring freeze and the uncertainty this creates for membership. First of all, we will probably learn more about this proposal and other changes as we get closer to the Inauguration and our new President takes office. We have all heard there will be a hiring freeze but we don’t know if that will allow us to continue to fill from within or not. For example if we have CED openings and COTs on board, can we fill those vacancies? We also don’t know if we will actually have a hiring freeze – we just know what we have read. Most of the information we can obtain doesn’t seem to indicate a hiring freeze would be long term. NASCOE’s legislative Consultant, Hunter Moorhead, has been working hard and will continue to keep us informed.  His “Legislative Update” was sent out recently, and I encourage you to read through that on the NASCOE website’s homepage if you have not already.

Membership has also inquired about changes to our retirement system and TSP. NASCOE will continue, as we always have, to monitor these benefits and will keep you updated. Most of these types of things would take congressional action and have been discussed previously without a lot of traction. Some of the conversations have addressed changes for new hires and we will stay on top of all these things. Again, having Hunter is a great advantage. He is watching, and will keep us updated on any proposed changes that will affect our membership and FSA employees in general.

Over the past two years, NASCOE’s leadership has worked aggressively to build relationships with both the Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. With the election behind us, these relationships will be important as we collectively monitor the new Administration’s legislative and regulatory proposals. Following January 20, we will start to learn more about the pathway forward. Our team can guarantee membership that we are prepared for all proposals and view the new Administration as an opportunity to improve our working environment. We feel strongly about the importance of our customer service function, and believe Members of the House and Senate are prepared to assist us throughout the process.

Most of the concerns we are hearing will become clearer in the next few months. I want to reassure you that your NASCOE Executive Committee is doing all we can to stay on top of these and many other issues. As we learn more, we will do all we can to share the information we gain with all of NASCOE. Please let us hear from you! All of your issues and concerns are important to us and our membership. You can send your issues directly to us, or go through your State Association Presidents and they will forward it to your National Leadership Team through the Area Executive Committee Persons.

At this point, as we move into the transition and New Year, let’s remain positive and continue to accomplish our main goals and mission, which is to serve the greatest farmers and ranchers in the world. One thing I know that we can be sure of is that there has never been a more important time to be a member of NASCOE.  I hope every one of you has a Merry Christmas and the best New Year ever!!!

Respectfully Submitted by,

Wes Daniels
NASCOE President

NASCOE President’s Report: WDC Meeting Update

NASCOE President Wes Daniels

NASCOE President’s Report December 18, 2016

NASCOE Vice President, Dennis Ray, and I recently visited WDC and feel that we had a really productive trip. We met with the following people in management:

Val Dolcini                           FSA Administrator
Mark Rucker                        Deputy Administrator of management (DAM)
Greg Diephouse                    Deputy Administrator of Field Operations (DAFO)
Radha Sekar                        Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Brad Pfaff                           Deputy Administrator of Farm Programs (DAFP)
Chris Beyerhelm                   Associate Administrator
Mike Schmidt                       Associate Administrator
Thomas Mulhern                  Human Resources Director
Darren Ash                          Chief information Officer (CIO)

Deputy Administrator Management

We met with the Deputy Administrator of Management (DAM), Mark Rucker, on leasing, phone, and office environmental conditions, space issues and wavier requirements. DAM understands our county office environment and needs. We also talked about the CISCO phone system and the upgrades that seem to be helping improve the system. There are a few environmental issues across the country that were discussed, and DAM agreed to follow up on those. DAM is always receptive to improving our working conditions.

Deputy Administrator Field Operations

We met next with Greg Diephouse, Deputy Administrator of Field Operations (DAFO) and his staff Linda Treese, Pat Spalding, Rick Pinkston, and Trina Brake. DAFO agreed to send out a NASCOE Membership Packet for STO use with new CO hires. DAFO has mailed every SED and STO a NASCOE Membership packet. DAFO encourages all employees to join their respective associations and realizes the importance of each association’s mission. NASCOE appreciates DAFO’s effort and support with this, and many other issues. The status of the shared management negotiation item was discussed.  There should be an amendment out soon that requires written confirmation that a proposed shared management arrangement has been discussed with all the COC’s involved, as well as with the NASCOE State Association President. Other topics included COC authority, BTO update, staffing issues, temps, county office footprint and structure, performance issues and the NAPA Study.

Chief Financial Officer/Budget Office

Radha Sekar, FSA Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Bob McGrath discussed budget, workload, and staffing. The CFO says we are not tremendously understaffed, as most CO employees think, because we continue to meet most of our program deadlines and get payments out timely. We discussed several staffing issues, including that our FTE’s aren’t figured considering the permanent disaster programs like LFP and ECP. It was agreed that some administrative funds should come with the implementation of these types of programs. There currently are no provisions for this, and it was suggested that NASCOE work with DAFP on this issue. NASCOE asked about the workload tool and its release. NASCOE still feels strongly that we are understaffed across the country and that a workload measurement tool is needed. The CFO has agreed to share some data from the proposed workload tool with NASCOE for constructive feedback.

Deputy Administrator Farm Programs

Brad Pfaff, Deputy Administrator of Farm Programs (DAFP), and his staff Brad Karman and Kim Viers (on a detailed assignment) met with us on COC authorities in 2-CRP. NASCOE has asked for DAFP to reinstate COC authority to approve CRP-1’s and delegate that authority to CED’s. The current handbook policy allows the CED to approve CRP-1’s without delegation. DAFP has promised to try and reinstate this policy. DAFP recently has asked NASCOE to review certain information on ACRSI as it would pertain to county office operations. NASCOE has had a task force working on ACRSI for over a year-and-a-half and appreciates management allowing us to provide constructive feedback on its impact to the field. NASCOE had asked DAFP for some relief for those states that just learned that their forage reporting date would now become November 15th. DAFP waived late file fees for those states for thirty days. NASCOE also shared some concerns with other agencies having the ability to make MIDAS edits. DAFP didn’t feel that any of these edits would interfere with FSA, but agreed to go back and look at a few concerns that NASCOE membership had. We wrapped up the DAFP session discussing our geospatial needs.

Associate Administrator for Operations and Management

Dennis and I met next with Chris Beyerhelm, Associate Administrator, on directives, staffing, cost analysis update, county office footprint, COC authorities, WEBTA, and GovDelivery. The Associate Director intends to get all of our directives updated and simplified. As always, staffing and budget issues dominate most of the conversations with our Associate Administrator.

FSA Administrator

Val Dolcini, FSA Administrator, discussed what he thought FSA’s future looked like. He felt that NASCOE’s role with employee issues and negotiations has been very effective. He hopes we will continue to have the all-association negotiation sessions. The Administrator feels that there is a benefit to all the associations being in WDC at one time. The Associations, including NASCOE, feel that the joint negotiations meetings have been successful. NASCOE thanked Val for his leadership and the support he has given NASCOE during his administration. He has allowed us to work with all of FSA’s management personnel on a lot of different issues during his time in WDC.

Associate Administrator Policy and Programs

Mike Schmidt, Associate Administrator, and his assistant, Katina Hanson, met with us on ACRSI and COC authority. The Associate Administrator supports the COC system and its role. As new farm bill talks begin, NASCOE will continue to stress the importance of a strong COC delivery system.

Human Resource Director

Thomas Mulhern, Human Resource’s Director, and Barbara Boyd, Deputy Director for Human Resources, met with us on the status of the PT position description task force. This task force has met with some success on rewriting PT position descriptions. NASCOE had asked for a task force, which resulted from a negotiation item from last year. The task force is also looking at adding a position with promotion opportunities for PT’s as well as continuing to look into the possibility of a grade reclassification. We also discussed the CO hiring process. It has been mandated that the CO hiring process will start using a questionnaire to replace the current KSA’s. NASCOE will have representation on this task force as well.

Chief Information Officer

Darren Ash, Chief Informational Officer (CIO), met with us and gave us an update on IT issues. We discussed MIDAS edits and ACRSI. The CIO addressed our ability to have reports and query information that we need to perform our job at a more efficient level. There should be some much awaited information on this coming soon. We discussed the IT Steering Committee and its future. Darren has worked hard to communicate well with the field on all of our concerns and issues and is making progress in resolving them. NASCOE appreciates the time that the CIO gives us and the personal touch he has given the field in addressing our needs.

Respectfully Submitted by,

Wes Daniels
NASCOE President

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