NARFE’s Primary Mission

         Over the last several years it appears that NARFE has been focused on financial and membership matters.  While these are absolutely critical to our success, I believe we’ve lost sight of the outstanding results our legislative advocacy efforts have brought.  I think it’s time we paid more attention to our sole mission–protecting the earned pay and benefits of all federal employees, active and retired.

         It all starts with the National Executive Board (NEB).  The NEB sets the policy and goals of the Association.  These must always be directed toward the mission.  So, if it wants to implement a new membership plan, the NEB must first determine what the return on investment–how the plan improves our mission.  A cost-benefit analysis must be conducted because often NARFE has hired consultants at high cost to devise a plan with no real insight into how it will affect our advocacy program.

         One way to keep the NEB focused on our mission is to consult with the membership on the important matters we face. It’s been my experience that the NEB has not sought field input.  When it has sought such input, it’s been very focused and not widespread.  There is too much expertise in the filed for the NEB to pay little attention to that expertise.  I have no numbers, but I imagine right here in Region X we have members who have experience in advocacy, budgeting, human resources, and the like.  If the NEB uses that field expertise, we can get real insight into what NARFE must do to continue our excellent advocacy program.

         NARFE headquarters has a superior advocacy department, always has.  We have had and continue to have major successes on Capitol Hill because of their efforts, but we cannot afford to have the advocacy continue running in the background.  We need to bring it forward.  When we discuss membership, our advocacy department must be involved.  When we address financial concerns, the advocacy department must be involved.  As your Region X Vice President I’ll insist on periodic updates to the NEB and the field on the department’s efforts.  It’s not just giving us information about the various bills before Congress, which is important.  It’s about how the department is working with the field–federations, chapters and members.  What procedures do they use?  How do they support the field in grassroots work? 

         We all take our advocacy work for granted.  It just goes on and on.  That’s good, but the NEB must make sure advocacy drives everything we do.