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The Little Association That Could



General Membership Meeting
February 23, 2011


Message from the Executive Director

Some of you might remember the story of the Little Engine That Could. This is a story about a small steam engine that was trying to pull a long train of cars up a steep hill. No matter how hard it tried, the little engine could not pull the heavy load of train cars alone, so she decided to look for help. Two larger engines refused to help but another smaller engine said yes. As the two little engines began pulling the heavy load, they began to sing: I think I can, I think I can! Together, they were able to pull the cars up and over the hill. This story is about optimism, confidence and perseverance. In many ways, this story is analogous to the Managerial Employees Association (MEA) and its members. For more than 42 years, the MEA has advocated controversial and challenging issues, in order to represent the concerns of its member and all city managers. Membership support has made it possible for the MEA to do what it does best.

In 2010, we set our goals to reach out to as many city managers as we could. We wanted to share information and engage at least 500 new managers to increase the power of their strength. In the beginning, this goal seemed daunting, and we were not entirely certain that 500 managers were ready to become involved. As we traveled throughout the city, we received calls from various agencies inviting us to their sites. By the end of December 2010, we began to feel like the little engine and we said: “We think we can!” “We think we can!” You might ask, what is the point to all this rambling about a “little engine”? The point is this: The little engine had optimism, perseverance and confidence that with a little support, it could reach its goal, and so did the MEA. We exceeded our achievement target and ended the year with 530 new members!

We achieved outstanding accomplishments in 2010 because the character traits of the little engine were synonymous to our beliefs. There is no doubt greater challenges have already been attached to 2011. The civil service system that many mangers have become accustomed to may undergo a series of changes; city administrators continue to struggle with closing the budget gaps, thereby affecting the future economic livelihood for managers in an adverse manner; funding deficits equate to city managers working harder with less; tensions are high, nerves are frayed and work place incidents are increasing. In spite of these adverse issues, the MEA continues to work towards being a stronger, wiser and more skillful association. We are currently developing a strategic plan to help guide our efforts in line with our vision to ensure MEA is the “association of choice” for managers. Towards this end we have begun our initiatives to:

Expand our presence in your professional homes by conducting visits to reach every mayoral and non-mayoral agency in the city

Improve our ability to use technology to communicate more effectively with you

Interact more with agency leaders for better resolution of managerial concerns regarding salary compression and other matters.

Actively pursue reliable funding to support and motivate membership participation in MEA.

Market our Association through additional channels of print, radio and possibly television media

As long as each of you continues to step forward to help us get over the hill with the heavy load, we will say: “We know we can! We know we can!

Around the Town

So far this year we have visited various city agencies. Each location welcomed us with professional hospitality. In the coming months, we will meet with managers at the Department of Buildings, Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), Administration for Children’s Services and on and on, until we have reached out to managers from every agency. The attached table reflects the number of managers existing within your agency who are members of the MEA. While you are waiting for us to meet with you, we encourage to strongly think about the benefits of remaining an MEA member and recruiting new members to strengthen our unity.

Preparing for Success

If you are currently functioning in the role of Administrative Engineer you will be pleased to know that the MEA will conduct at least four weeks of test prep sessions for the Administrative Engineer civil service exam. This service will only be provided to MEA members. We have established the first session to begin on May 11th, with the last session ending on June 9th. Tentatively we are contemplating adding two additional sessions for June 15th and June 16th. Please pay special attention to your agency bulletin boards, e-mail and the MEA webpage and hotline for more specific details.

In conclusion, I encourage each of you to continue supporting each other and bringing your concerns to the table with the NYC MEA. “If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu”.

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