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Federal Managers Association

Washington Report

  • As greater demands are placed on federal agencies and departments to provide services to the American public while cutting costs, federal managers are finding the benefits of successful employee engagement in order to create a more sustainable federal government. In order to assist federal managers in this effort, the Federal Managers Association (FMA) hosted its 78th annual National Convention and Management Training Seminar, titled, Federal Managers—Developing and Engaging the Workforce, to prepare not only its members, but all federal managers, for obstacles they face. From March 13-16, at the Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, members discussed best practices in various federal departments and agencies, as well as hindrances faced. This was a wonderful opportunity for FMA members to hear about the good works of their fellow managers and supervisors as they aspire to ensure a fully functioning federal workforce. Additionally, the conference provided an opportunity for members to meet their elected officials to share their experiences as federal managers. 

    On Monday, March 14, the day started with a keynote address from Federal Labor Relations Authority Chairman Carol Waller Pope. She spoke about the vital need for engagement coming from not only front-line managers, but leadership throughout the federal government. As support is provided at all levels, federal agencies and departments are more likely to see success. Following the address, FMA members heard and discussed internal business. FMA National President Patricia Niehaus started the day with reports on outreach efforts FMA took part in over the last year, connecting the FMA National Office with chapters, ensuring members are fully informed as to how FMA works for them, and how the Association is working to improve the federal work environment. The day also provided an opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of FMA members who promote FMA throughout their federal agencies. Because of chapters’ hard work and dedication, the Association gained a stronger voice for managers and supervisors. FMA would like to congratulate: Chapter 208, Defense Logistics Agency/Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, PA, for the largest net gain of members in 2015 throughout FMA; Chapter 298, Social Security Administration, New York, for the largest net gain of members within Region 1; Chapter 21, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, for the largest net gain of members within Region 2; Chapter 385, Social Security Administration—Judges for the largest net gain of members within Region 3; and, Chapter 308, Naval Postgraduate School, Del Monte, California, for the largest net gain of members within Region 4. FMA would like to further congratulate Chapter 308 President Jim Hall, “Super Recruiter,” as he recruited the largest amount of new members in 2015.

    The day continued with a legislative update from FMA Director of Government Affairs Greg Stanford and Deputy Director of Government Affairs Katie Maddocks, who spoke in detail on how the Association is pushing for common sense reforms on Capitol Hill, including the repeal of cuts to per diem within the Department of Defense, supervisory training, extension of the probationary period, and succession planning. The day also saw the election of a new Executive Board, which went into effect on March 16. As her tenure concluded, National President Niehaus passed her gavel to unanimously elected Region 2 Director Renee Johnson; Chapter 14 Secretary Erin Leighton was elected National Vice President, and National Secretary Christine Parker was reelected to her position. Region 1 elected Chapter 6 President Paul Hollingsworth to serve as Region 1 Director; Region 2 Vice Chair Linda Lentjes was appointed Region 2 Director; and Region 3 Director Pauline Coleman-Sutton was reelected to her position. Congratulations to all!

    Management Training Day started off with a keynote address from Representative Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts’ Eighth District. Representative Lynch championed FMA’s homegrown initiative, the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act (P.L. 114-75). Because of FMA and Rep. Lynch’s efforts, newly hired federal employees who qualify under the Department of Veterans Affairs as thirty percent disabled or more can receive 104 hours of additional sick leave in order to attend medically necessary appointments to treat their service related disability. Representative Lynch also touched upon the vital services that federal workers provide on a daily basis. He urged attendees to “tell the story of the federal employee to remind people of the sacrifice that is being made every day by those federal employees and their families, and how we should honor that service.” He added, “If you are denigrating federal service, then you are harming America and the ideals we all stand for. You’re damaging the American dream.”  FMA is grateful for the work Rep. Lynch does on behalf of the members of our Association and looks forward to continuing working with him in the future.

    The morning training session started with OPM Deputy Associate Director of Recruitment and Hiring Kim Holden, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Director of Diversity, Office of Human Resources Dr. Zina Sutch, who spoke to how to promote recruitment in the federal workforce and how to make quality hires. OPM Human Resources Specialist on Work-life and Leadership Executive Development Rachel St. John spoke on the benefits of using data to unlock employee talent in order to increase satisfaction and engagement. Following, National Vice President Renee Johnson led a panel consisting of USDA Chief Learning Officer Dr. Karlease Kelly, Department of Justice Assistant Director of Learning and Workforce Development Randy Bergquist, and Jennifer Golder, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Chief Learning Officer, Training and Development Office. The panel informed training seminar participants on the value of developing talent among federal employees as a means to create a sustainable federal government. 

    During FMA’s annual awards luncheon, FMA National President Niehaus and National Secretary Parker recognized individuals and chapters that made significant strides over the last year to advance excellence in public service:

    The President’s Award for Outstanding Chapter – Chapter 308, Naval Postgraduate School, Del Monte, CA, accepted by Chapter Member Bill Shewchuk

    The O’Dell Green Award for Outstanding Executive Board Member – Renee Johnson, National Vice President and Region 2 Director

    The Gil Guidry Award for Outstanding Chapter President – Joe Quintanilla, Chapter 125, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus Christi, TX

    FMA Manager of the Year – Sue Thatch, Chapter 21, Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, NC

    Following the luncheon, Ron Rothermel of FMA Corporate Partner GPIS spoke about preparing for retirement through sound financial planning. Jacob Faibisch, USDA Program Lead for Management and Supervisor Training in the Office of Human Resources, talked on the need for open dialogue between management and labor in order create a productive work environment. Closing the day, Bruce Stewart from OPM’s office of Diversity and Inclusion gave a lively and moving presentation on the New IQ, leveraging inclusive intelligence for engagement, innovation and collaboration throughout the federal government.

    The final day of the Convention allowed for Association members to meet with their Representative and Senators on Capitol Hill, sharing their personal experiences working for the federal government, as well as addressing the FMA national legislative agenda. Following their day on the Hill, attendees and special guests celebrated at the evening reception, where the conference concluded with an FMA-PAC raffle and newly elected National President Renee Johnson thanked FMA members and presenters for their participation in yet another successful Convention. We’ll see you next year!

    For more information on FMA and the National Convention, please visit the FMA website: www.fedmanagers.org.


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