PRESIDENT'S REPORT 2014
General Membership Meeting
June 12, 2014
We meet tonight at a time of optimism for all managers in the City of New York. We have a new Mayor – Bill de Blasio, a new Comptroller – Scott Stringer, a new Public Advocate – Letitia James, and a new City Council Speaker – Melissa Mark-Viverito. Executive Director Linda Barnes, members of our Executive Board and I have begun meeting with the new administration and their designees to discuss issues relevant to all managers and the city. We have met with Labor Relations Commissioner Robert Linn, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor Chair I. Daneek Miller and School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo. In particular, we are emphasizing the following:
Prioritizing promoting from within.
Encouraging the agency heads to enhance diversity among managers.
Salary adjustments - Granting across the board salary increases for all managers at the same rate as the collective bargaining employees they supervise.
Revising the Pay Plan for Managerial Employees (PPME) to address salary compression and addressing the inequity where promotions to the managerial title result in a minimal salary increase of $1,091.
While we do not have concrete results to share with you, we can report that the new administration has reopened the door to us with respect and is willing to discuss all of these issues honestly and with the goal of recognizing and rewarding the indispensable role the managerial work force performs 365 days a year.
2014 presents every MEA member with the opportunity for improved salaries, benefits, promotional opportunities and working conditions for all managers in our City. When we increase our membership, we increase our influence and prestige as the sole advocate for over 10,000 managers in New York City government. Each of us needs to reach out to managers who are not members and explain to them why we need to be united, that there is strength in numbers and how the MEA is there for us providing services, education and advocacy. The MEA has your back!
The Executive Board is implementing our Strategic Plan to move the organization and our members forward during 2013 and 2014. The plan addresses the following areas:
1. To increase active membership by 15% annually.
2. To develop and obtain improved employee benefits and compensation.
3. To improve finances by exploring innovative funding resources.
4. To improve, develop and implement new MEA members-only benefits.
5. To improve agency operations for managers.
6. To improve and develop better communications and publicity techniques.
Our recruitment efforts are producing results. We have recruited 1,611 new members from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2013. In 2013, we conducted 112 activities offering members and non-members education and information. In 2014, we are conducting election meetings in every chapter, as well as informational meeting, workshops and other activities in field offices throughout the five boroughs.
The Mayor and the collective bargaining units have begun to conduct productive negotiations for higher salaries. We maintain our position: Obtain ongoing across the board salary increases for all satisfactory or better managers at the same rate or higher and at the same time if not sooner than collective bargaining employees. We continue to be particularly concerned about the Department of Education and School Construction Authority managers. In December of 2009, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein decided to partially fund raises for all eligible employees (based on the rules in the Mayoral directive governing the 4% and 4% increases on 2008 and 2009 salaries).He obligated the Department of Education to pay up to the first $2,828 of the salary increase for eligible employees in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. This meant that for eligible employees with a base salary of $70,000 or less, raises at 2% and 2%. All eligible employees with a base salary above $70,000 received a total raise of $2,828. For the payments retroactive to 2008 and 2009, he funded these one-time retroactive payments at 2% and 2% for eligible employees with a base salary of $70,000 or less. We are meeting with DOE and SCA leadership to ensure this does not happen again.
Director at Large Cynthia Vail is coordinating our Managerial Pay Plan initiative that is addressing the historical problems of salary compression and diversity. We have asked the new administration to authorize a revised Pay Plan for Managerial Employees (PPME) that addresses salary compression. All minimum Level I salaries should be set at the same differential as the step-up from entry level to supervisory in that same career ladder or 10% above the immediate lower title’s minimum, whichever is greater.
The Organization Committee, under the leadership of Joel Fishelson, continues to improve, develop and implement new MEA members’ only benefits. The committee introduced the Voluntary Insurance Program in 2011. MEA members-only scholarships and educational opportunities have been expanded. We awarded a record number of scholarships at our 2013 Holiday Party. We are offering scholarships for members at any time during the year. We are working with the Murphy Institute to expand the MEA tuition reimbursement program’s course offerings.
In the Fall of 2013, we conducted three training sessions on both Management Benefits Fund and MEA members only benefits and services. We also conducted three civil service test preparation sessions during the Spring of 2013 for the Administrative Investigator exam. Our members provided very positive and constructive feedback regarding each of these sessions.
Voluntary Insurance Program
MEA membership has been significantly enhanced with the availability of new supplemental benefits since 2011. These new benefits, called the Voluntary Insurance Program (VIP), give members comprehensive options and greater choice to meet their individual lifestyle and family security needs. They have been designed to enhance and complement the benefits already in place through the Management Benefits Fund.
Our members will have access to an outstanding portfolio of voluntary benefits, all offered on a guaranteed-issue basis (i.e., no exams, no tests or even medical questions). Members will not be turned down for coverage regardless of past or present health problems. Universal Life Insurance with Long Term Care Benefits and Lay-off Waiver, Short-term Disability Income Protection plan and Discount Dental and Vision plans are immediately available to our members. In 2014, a Critical Illness Benefit is being offered and an Identity Theft Benefit is currently being evaluated.
Educational meetings are being held centrally and at your work locations throughout the 2014.You will be able to ask questions and enroll in the plan that suits your needs.
Financial Planning Seminars
The response to the six Financial Planning Seminars we held last Fall was overwhelming – hundreds of members enrolled for the sessions. The purpose of these seminars is to impart critical information to our members so they can make financial decisions throughout their career. Topics included introduction to investing, pensions, legal services benefits, life insurance, Voluntary Insurance Program offerings, income taxes and other related areas. We plan to conduct another round of seminars this Fall.
The Organization Committee and the Retirees Chapter cosponsored a luncheon on estate planning at La Nonna in June 2013. The Organization Committee also organized a seminar on college funding.
T.I.P. Club, the MEA sponsored Toastmasters International Organization is approaching its third anniversary. T.I.P. Club members acquire the necessary skills to be effective speakers and qualified leaders through the Competent Communicator and the Competent Leader programs. At T.I.P. Club, members are supportive and enthusiastic, providing constructive criticism and advice for improvement in the areas of Communication and Leadership. MEA members from different agencies throughout the City gather twice a month to share their talents and learn from each other.
MEA members respect each other as City Managers and share expertise and knowledge garnered collectively over the years. On different occasions, T.I.P. Club leadership invites experienced Toastmasters to speak at T.I.P. to help motivate members to higher expectations. T.I.P. Club members also participate in Club, Area, Division, and District level speech contests conducted throughout the year. These events allow T.I.P. Club members to meet and network with other Toastmasters and guests throughout the City allowing T.I.P. members to experience the ‘pulse’ of the City that we serve.
T.I.P. achieved Distinguished Club status for the (2011-2012) and (2012-2013) terms, and this (2013-2014) term, T.I.P. attained the Select Distinguished Club level. As ‘Toastmasters in Progress’, a term coined by this term’s president, T.I.P. aspires to achieve the highest distinguished club status, President Distinguished Club, in future terms. T.I.P. scheduled its Third Annual Awards Dinner for Thursday, June 26, 2014.
Effective August 1, 2011, all MEA members are entitled to unlimited pension counseling.
Just call the MEA office at 212-964-0035 to arrange your appointments.
NYC MEA Career Development Program
The New York City Managerial Employees Association Career Development Program was incorporated as a 501 ( c ) ( 3) on December 14, 2011.The purpose of this corporation is to solicit grants and contributions for financial support and informational assistance in furtherance of career development programs for the benefit of managerial employees working in various mayoral and non-mayoral agencies who are career public servants dedicating their energy and skills to providing quality services to the people of New York. The corporation seeks to help our members in their efforts to improve their skills and enrich their knowledge while increasing potential for career advancement by providing tuition reimbursement for qualified programs and courses that relate directly to member’s service careers; assistance with preparation of civil service exams by providing study guides and other test preparation materials as well as linking those in need to other organization whose purposes are to help individuals improve communication, public speaking and leadership skills. CDP will also provide financial assistance for career development programs for dependent children of qualified MEA members.
Treasurer Warren Lewis has formed a work group to explore obtaining grants and donations for our CDP. We hope to have an active solicitation plan in place by the end of 2014.
Our visibility and communication improvements go hand-in-hand with improving customer service. In 2013, we responded to a total of 203 member concerns involving job–related issues, requests for legal services, benefits and pension services. Under the leadership of Executive Director Linda Barnes, we provided guidance with performance evaluations, adverse managerial decisions, salary and equity adjustments, requests for hearing aids, health club reimbursements, and researching information relating to Medicaid or Medicare. A process for monitoring member satisfaction using quality assurance techniques was initiated in January 2014.
The financial audit shared with all attendees tonight describes sound financial condition of the MEA. Our cash reserves meet the accepted standards of three months’ reserves. Revenues continue to increase, as do the members’ services they pay for. These include legal services, pension counseling, free subscription to The Chief, improved website, four newsletters a year, and increased publicity.
MEA officials are now visiting members and prospective members during field visits. Over 400 visits have been made since January 2010. Informational meetings conducted by Executive Director Linda Barnes and the elected officers feature discussions of benefits, compensation and agency specific issues. These sessions are held in every agency’s field offices; members have opportunities to ask questions and set the agenda.
Recording Secretary Michelle Centeno has upgraded the NYC MEA web site to include LinkedIn, Voluntary Insurance Program and The Chief’s Blog tabs. The newsletter is published quarterly, focusing on our members’ achievements and concerns.
We will continue meeting with elected officials to discuss the problems managers face, such as salary compression, MBF issues and promotional opportunities.
Above all, we respect ourselves and our fellow managers based on the tremendous contribution we all make to this City. Respect is a mutual process. If we want all those in our chain of command to respect us, we must do the same. MEA is not a union. It is an association of professional managers across all municipal agencies with an incredible array of skills, education, experience and community service.