The NYC Managerial Employees Association (NYC MEA) is a long-standing organization celebrating 50 years of providing comprehensive advocacy services and benefits to its members. Our members are located within every city agency and municipality, within the five boroughs of New York. One major difference between the MEA and collective bargaining units is that all of our members have voluntarily enrolled into our association.
Since its creation July 1, 1968 our primary purpose has been to provide superior advocacy services and support to all of its members. The NYC MEA will continue to be a catalyst for promoting public and agency policies that effect positive economic as well as social change for managerial employees. This will be achieved through collaboration and networking with city administration, agency leaders and community representatives by empowering members to seek and establish professional growth through educational opportunities, and by demonstrating awareness and respect for cultural diversity.
Critical areas of MEA benefits and services are highlighted in Section I, with fuller details for each provided in Section II.
Paid Personal Leave – Counsel Stuart Salles filed a lawsuit and an Article 78 on behalf of our members on May 9, 2016 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. While we support Paid Parental Leave, we want it without the illegal and discriminately mandated givebacks of two days of annual leave and loss of our 2017 0.47% pay raise imposed by the Mayor. Since the Mayor, Comptroller rebuffed our request for a moratorium on the givebacks, we filed the lawsuit and Article 78. NY State Supreme Court dismissed this case late last year. Counsel filed an appeal and the case was heard by the Appellate Division on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
Strategic Plan – The Executive Board continues to update and implement our Strategic Plan to move the organization and our members forward.
Civil Service Merit System – MEA is a supporter of the Civil Service Merit System. We have been advocating with DCAS to help incumbent managers who have not had promotional exams available to them for over 10 years. DCAS has responded with Qualified Incumbent Exams for over 50 managerial titles.
Recruitment – For calendar year 2017 we ended the year by enrolling 412 new members bringing our total membership as of December 31, 2017 to 3199 managers.
The Organization/Compensation, Benefits & Professional Development Committee, under the leadership of Joel Fishelson, continues to plan, develop, implement, improve and monitor NYC MEA’s “Members Only” benefits.
Voluntary Insurance Program – MEA membership has been significantly enhanced with the availability of these optional supplemental benefits.
Toastmaster International – TIP Club, the MEA sponsored Toastmasters International Organization is approaching its seventh anniversary.
Pension Counseling – All current MEA members are entitled to unlimited pension counseling.
NYC Career Development Program – The NYC MEA Career Development Program was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) on December 14, 2011. The CDP continues to fund our scholarship, tuition reimbursement and educational seminars for our members.
Member Services – Our visibility and communication improvements go hand-in-hand with improving services to our members.
Fiscal Discipline – The financial report shared with all attendees tonight reflects the sound financial condition of the MEA.
MEA Elections & Officers – President Stu Eber resigned effective December 1, 2017. In accordance with our Bylaws, Executive Vice-President Shelly Shulman assumed the Presidency. Treasurer Edgar Landas was appointed by the Executive Board to serve as Executive Vice-President, with Bernard Orlan appointed to the Treasurer position. All will serve out the balance of the three-year term through 12/31/2018, with both the General Officer/Director-At Large and Chapter Elections to be held in 2018.
Visibility – MEA officials are now visiting members and prospective members during field visits. Over 258 visits have been made since January 2010 including 14 during 2017.
Paid Parental Leave
The lawsuit and Article 78 proceeding filed by MEA Counsel Stuart Salles on May 16, 2016 on behalf of five named MEA members, and all other managers was to compel the City to stop the costs imposed upon our members. The lawsuit, and its ensuing appeal was and is continuing to be funded by the MEA. The named defendants are Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and then School Chancellor Carmen Farina. According to the lawsuit, “The Mayor’s elimination of previously granted pay raises and annual leave is arbitrary and capricious” and called the new policy “a breach of contract”.
The lower Court disagreed, saying that managers had no contractual rights to prevent the City from modifying its policies.
MEA’s lawsuit also said the PPL “discriminates against older workers.” Veteran city managers with at least 15 years of service are losing two days annual leave to pay for the PPL. Many of these senior managers are more than 45 years old and are clearly less likely to utilize this benefit. Our position was buttressed by the Independent Budget Office which indicated that the actual cost based upon usage data was far less than the cost imposed on our managers. On May 23, 2018 the case was argued before the Appellate Division and we await their decision.
We continue to work with the Administration and the non-Mayoral agencies on other issues managers care about, including:
Prioritizing promotion from within
Encouraging the agency heads to enhance diversity among managers
Revising the Pay Plan for Managerial Employees (PPME) to address salary compression and addressing the inequity where promotions to a managerial title result in a minimal salary increase of $1,091.
Scheduling promotional and open competitive managerial civil service exams.
The Strategic Plan addresses the following areas:
- To increase active membership by 15% annually.
- To develop and obtain improved employee benefits and compensation.
- To improve finances by exploring innovative funding resources.
- To improve, develop and implement new MEA members-only benefits.
- To improve agency operations for managers.
- To improve and develop better communications and publicity techniques.
- To facilitate increased member activism and participation in our organization through expansion of our Volunteers Program.
- To facilitate succession planning at both the Chapter and Officer levels through the adoption of a Mentorship Program initiative.
Civil Service Merit System
The MEA, is a long-time supporter of the Civil Service Merit System. We are members of the Civil Service Merit Council and have testified before the City Council on the importance of providing required civil service promotional and open competitive exams on a timely basis.
We have been advocating with DCAS for compliance with the 2008 state-wide Long Beach class action lawsuit decision. Hundreds of civil service exams that were required by law were not administered in a timely manner. Some titles have not had exams for over ten years. Over the past two years, DCAS has made significant progress on addressing the problem for over 50 managerial titles. They are offering Qualified Incumbent Exams (QIE) for these titles for anyone serving in those titles for over two years. This is a unique opportunity for our members to achieve permanent civil service status.
For calendar year 2017 we ended the year by enrolling 412 new members bringing our total membership as of December 31, 2017 to 3199 down 92 from the prior year. Collective bargaining accretion (unionization accounted for 75 or 81.5% of the drop), agency restructuring activities and member career decisions have affected our membership level. We are intensifying our efforts to recruit new members through additional initiatives, and year to date we have recruited 147 new members.
Compensation - We continue to work with the administration to authorize a revised Pay Plan for Managerial Employees that addresses salary compression. We remain steadfast towards our advocacy approach that all minimum Level 1 salaries should at least 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.
Members’ Only Benefits – MEA membership has been significantly enhanced with the availability of the following optional supplemental benefits.
The Organization/Compensation, Benefits & Professional Development Committee continues to implement, improve and monitor new MEA members’ only benefits. Our Scholarship Program for both members and their dependents, as well as our Tuition Reimbursement Program for members have been expanded. During 2017 we authorized over $21,000 for 27 awards, up from 22 the previous year, a 23% increase. For the first time in our history, this included our first Doctoral candidate. We continue to work with the City University of New York (CUNY) to expand educational opportunities to the outer borough campuses.
We continue to engage with the Management Benefits Fund regarding both dental benefits enhancements and service improvements with Healthplex. We anticipate meeting with OLR during June 2018 regarding Healthplex, Group Universal Life (GUL) insurance premiums, improvements to the Super Imposed Major Medical Plan, and the GHI/Empire, Blue Shield Senior Care Program Rider Subsidy.
Voluntary Insurance Program for Currently Employed Members
MEA membership has provided the opportunity to purchase enhanced insurance coverage. These benefits, called our Voluntary Insurance Program (VIP) provide members with 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 continue to 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, Discount Dental & Optical, a no cost EPIC discount Hearing Aid Benefit, and Critical Illness Benefit are all available. We continue to explore new areas for program expansion.
Toastmasters International Program (TIP)
T.I.P Club, the MEA sponsored Toastmasters International Program is approaching its seventh anniversary. Toastmasters International is an award winning self-paced communication and leadership program that currently has over 352,000 members in 16,400 clubs throughout 141 countries.
Our club continues to face challenges as agencies have put more pressure on our Managers and mergers have impacted our members. It has been a challenge to meet and have meaningful meetings, but as City Managers and Toastmasters we face adversity with renewed purpose and forge ahead.
T.I.P. Club held an Open House meeting on May 14, 2018 with a guest speaker that conducted a presentation on Speech Craft. Never heard of it? Then come join and find out what Speech Craft is all about.
Toastmasters International is also moving into the 21st Century by going digital. The new Toastmasters Program, called Pathways, will consist of on-line modules and manuals that will assist the member. There will still be meetings and members will still participate but the learning will be all on-line. Members will be able to view videos of other members around the globe demonstrating a particular communication skill. They will also be able to communicate across the globe with other members to discuss techniques and issues they may be experiencing with a project. Now that is going GLOBAL.
In the world of competition, Tyrone Morrison of the Comptroller’s Office, a Charter member, once again competed in the International Speech and Evaluation contests and made it all the way to the Division level in both categories. No small feat as there are many seasoned speakers that compete in these contests from the public and private sector clubs. Each time he competes he gains more confidence and improves his presentation. TIP is confident that as he continues to compete he will make it all the way to the International World Championship Competition.
In celebration of our Seventh Anniversary we are having a dinner to commemorate the occasion and celebrate our members. The dinner will be held on June 27, 2018, the last month of our Toastmaster Year.
All MEA members are entitled to unlimited pension counseling. Just call the MEA office at 212-964-0035.
NYC MEA Career Development Program
The NYC Managerial Employees Association Career Development Program (CDP) was incorporated as a 501 © (3) on December 14, 2011. The purpose of this corporation is to solicit tax deductible grants and contributions for financial support and informational assistance in furtherance of scholarship and career development programs for the benefit of managerial employees working in various mayoral and non-mayoral agencies who dedicate their careers 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 and scholarship awards for qualified programs and courses that relate directly to member’s service careers.
- Test preparation services. Study guides are developed and exam prep sessions held to help our managers pass their civil service exams.
- Referral services to help our members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
- CDP also provides scholarships for dependent children of MEA members.
- Holding educational seminars to provide information to members.
The CDP now uses MEA and other contributory funds to finance all of the above in addition to our CDP Holiday Scholarship Party. Our plan is to increase the number of Fund Raising Events during 2018.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Linda Barnes, we responded to 363 issues brought to our attention by concerned members, in 2017. This total encompasses 217 work-related and conflict resolution matters involving EEO interviews, performance review concerns, pay, and equity issues; 89 referrals to our Attorney (Stuart Salles) for disciplinary hearings, as well as non-work-related legal matters; 20 members benefit cases related the NYC’s Management Benefit Fund or Medicare Part D issues. The MEA cannot favorable resolve every problem, and we do not purport to do so. We show our members: We’ve Got Your Back, and they respond by letting us know they appreciate our efforts.
Joel Fishelson, our representative to the NYC Management Benefits Fund, and Larry Konstan, continue to successfully appeal adverse health and benefits claims determination. We encourage our members to contact us regarding such situations. This year they will have a regular Benefits Corner Column as part of our quarterly newsletter. Participation in the Volunteer Corps created by Joel in 2009 continues to grow. Members are involved in various research projects and organization activities. Contact us if you want to join.
The MEA undergoes an annual audit that compares our internal controls to the standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This, together with the accepted practice of having at least three months of cash reserves, continue to keep our organization on firm financial footing. Although outside forces, such as unionization of certain managerial groups, may lower expected increases in membership and revenues, the conservative financial approach taken will continue to keep MEA balanced and even allow for an increase of member services. In addition to legal, and counseling services already offered, an expansion of these services is planned. The quarterly newsletter, as well as the website currently under development, will serve as the hub of MEA information and access to member services.
MEA Elections and Officers
With Stu Eber’s resignation as President effective November 30, 201, I assumed the Presidency. Edgar Landas, our Treasurer was appointed by the Executive Board to fill my vacated position while Bernard Orlan was appointed as Treasurer.
During 2018, our Chapters will be holding elections for the positions of Director, Assistant Director and Recording Secretary. A major effort to revitalize all chapters is under way.
Visibility is a focal point for MEA towards enhancing its public image and interaction with its members. Our members need to know that we both relate and are accessible to them. On site visits to members have been regularly conducted by the Officers, Executive Director and Benefits Committee Chair. Since the original implementation in 2010, over 258 visits have been made, including 14 during 2017 resulting in direct interaction with members for lunch and learn sessions, collaborative discussions with agency leaders, special events for members such as award ceremonies and conducting educational seminars. More than 50 of these activities were completed during 2017.
Communication has become a major strategy for raising our profile and building a strong brand name among our members. In 2017 we shared 20,488 document transmissions, using the postal service or electronic methods. We provided notifications regarding changes or additions to City policies (PPL), generated quarterly newsletters, training and seminar communication, and invitations to special events. Our communication as well as face-to-face efforts have resulted in a more positive connection to our members. Going forward, we are considering increasing our membership through social media. We are now redoing our website and will begin to create a more comprehensive and functional date base. Additionally, we will be creating a “electronic library” to allow members to access information on a variety of topics anytime during the day.
Above all, we respect ourselves and our fellow managers based upon 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. We are an association of professional managers across all municipal agencies with an incredible array of skills, education, experience, and community service.