Page 66 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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66
MARCH 2013
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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
2012 AFSA ANNUAL REPORT
AFSA NEWS
Coordinator for Retiree Counseling and Legislation Bonnie Brown with
Associate Coordinator for Retiree Counseling and Legislation Matthew
Sumrak.
In 2012, AFSA strongly
opposed increased and inten-
sifed congressional eforts
to reduce or eliminate federal
benefts as a means of reduc-
ing the federal defcit and
using the resulting savings to
fund non-related programs.
Active Role
In spite of our compara-
tively small size, AFSA contin-
ues to play an active role in
the Federal and Postal Union
Coalition, the umbrella orga-
nization of federal active duty
and retired employee asso-
ciations and unions. AFSA
joined more than two dozen
federal and postal unions
in the “America Counts on
Us” campaign to reach key
congressional candidates in
their home districts, empha-
sizing benefts issues and
the importance of the federal
work force.
Matthew Sumrak, our new
associate coordinator for
retiree counseling and legis-
Retiree Counseling
And Legislation:
Expanded Programs
BY BONNI E BROWN, COORDINATOR FOR
RET I REE COUNSEL ING AND LEGI SLAT ION
lation, served on the steering
committee for the campaign
and coordinated AFSA’s
eforts to involve our mem-
bers in town halls and cam-
paign meetings. A registered
lobbyist, Sumrak also joined
the legislative team’s eforts
on the Hill. Separately, AFSA
President Susan Johnson
sent a number of letters on
behalf of AFSA to congressio-
nal decision-makers oppos-
ing cuts to federal benefts.
Assistance and
Counseling
AFSA provided retiree
members with assistance
and counseling in more
than 270 cases. While the
issues were wide-ranging,
most dealt with the Federal
Employees Health Benefts
Program and Medicare (55),
annuities (38), Social Secu-
rity (19), death of annuitants
(14), divorce (13) and survi-
vor annuities (11).
Retiree VP Mary Ellen
Gilroy and AFSA retiree
Governing Board members
worked to increase retiree
membership through a pilot
phone membership recruit-
ment campaign, along with
receptions for new retirees,
sponsored by AFSA and
DACOR, at the Foreign Ser-
vice Institute.
Retiree Services contin-
ued to publish the bimonthly
AFSA Newsletter
, giving
retiree and active-duty mem-
bers concise information on
department policies, expla-
nations of federal benefts
and news about the on-going
debt-reduction process. In
addition, we oversaw produc-
tion of AFSA’s annual
Retiree
Directory
and regularly
updated the often-visited
retiree Web page o
n www.
afsa.org/retiree_services.
aspx.
New Programs
Retiree Services added
two new programs during
2012, beginning with sales of
the Foreign Service Com-