WIFLE Newsletter

Holiday Wishes from WIFLE

to You and Yours

 

 xxxxx

Message from the Executive Director

Dear WIFLE Member:

The Holiday Season is bringing many changes for us as Margie Moore steps down as Executive Director of WIFLE, Inc. and President of the WIFLE Foundation, and I move into the position.  It was 12 years ago that Bonni Tischler, Assistant Commissioner for Investigations at the Customs Service, called me into her office and said, “I want you to represent our agency at WIFLE and give them all the help they need.”  Then I got her famous ‘don’t-you-mess-it-up’ look.  So I went to WIFLE.  Although I had been to a couple of conferences, I wasn’t a member and really didn’t know much about WIFLE.  It only took a short time for me to have my "V-8" moment (or light bulb going off).  Simply put, WIFLE was, and still is, made up of women who passionately advocate for other women.  The early WIFLE pioneers pooled their own money and committed their own time to create an organization to help women succeed in their careers in Federal law enforcement. 

People associate being successful with getting to the top, and for some that is true.  I think success really is whatever you want it to be.  Success is balancing home and work responsibilities.  It is competing for positions and assignments on a level playing field.  It is being allowed to do your job without suffering sexual harassment or discrimination. 

We all like to think we can make it on our own.  It’s a nice thought but rarely true.  I made it to an executive level position at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but I didn’t get there by myself.  I had a mentor (Bonni), and I had people that advocated for me.  We all need advocates, and we need them throughout our careers.  Advocates can make the hard times a little easier and the good times more enjoyable. 

In the past 12 years, I have found WIFLE to be an organization that fills the advocate role for women.  WIFLE works to remove barriers for all women.  WIFLE promotes policies that help all employees balance life and job responsibilities better.  WIFLE creates opportunities for women to gain the training, knowledge and skills that increase competency and enable them to better compete for career opportunities.  WIFLE provides women the forum to meet and network with other women -- other women that can be there to support and answer your many questions.

The women who formed WIFLE (and the previous ICWIFLE organization) have spent more than three decades looking at the role of women in Federal law enforcement and how the contributions of women can increase law enforcement’s productivity and agility in meeting changing priorities.  As 2012 comes to a close, I want to thank Margie Moore and all the women who so actively have supported this wonderful organization over the years.  I am proud to be the new Executive Director/President and continue into the future the important work of Margie and the original founders of WIFLE.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the coming year!

Sincerely,

Catherine Sanz

 



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Marist College – Let 2013 Be Your Year for Graduate School

The Marist College online Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree program is enrolling students for both January and September 2013.  This MPA program, for law enforcement and emergency service personnel, is open to WIFLE members and their adult family members at reduced tuition rates.

 

Please see the attached link for additional application information.

Marist College Flyer 2013

 


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Planning for Retirement? Now's a Good Time to Apply to the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

If a loved one or friend has experienced a long term care event, you've probably seen how paying for assistance with the most basic daily activities, such as bathing and dressing, can impact savings and assets.  Maybe you've also witnessed the sacrifices of time, energy, and money that friends and family members have been asked to make when a loved one develops a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer's disease.  As a result, you may be wondering what you can do to avoid these financial and emotional consequences should you ever need long term care.

Make the FLTCIP Part of Your Retirement Plan

Fortunately, you can help secure your future by including the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) as part of your retirement plan.  If you're approved for coverage, the FLTCIP can help protect you—and your hard-earned savings—by paying actual charges incurred for long term care services you receive in your home, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or in other settings.  Currently, nearly 270,000 members of the Federal family, including active and retired employees—and their qualified relatives—are enrolled in the program.

The Benefits of Applying Now

Federal family members can apply for FLTCIP coverage anytime.  While you may recognize the value of long term care insurance, you may not understand the potential risk associated with delaying its purchase.  It's important to know premiums are directly related to your age.  This means the younger you are when you apply for coverage, the lower your premium.  If you wait too long, a change to your health could prevent you from being approved for coverage.  Applying now can also ensure you have valuable coverage in case you need care sooner than you may have expected.  Once you're enrolled, you can take comfort in knowing that you'll have protection for those "what if" situations and access to expert care coordination.

The Simplicity of Pre-packaged Plans

Choosing a level of coverage may seem complicated.  The FLTCIP makes it easy by offering four pre-packaged plans that combine the program's most popular features and accommodate a range of budgets.  Almost two-thirds of enrollees opt for pre-packaged plans, but custom plans are also available.  The choice is yours.

Premiums That Fit Your Budget

Some pre-retirees assume that long term care insurance is expensive, so you may be surprised to learn just how affordable the FLTCIP can be.  For example, a 50-year-old—who chooses the FLTCIP prepackaged Plan B with the 4% inflation option—will pay a bi-weekly premium of $42.21.1  That's less than $85 per month for protection that can save you thousands in future care costs.

To calculate the premium rate for your age and choice of plans, visit www.LTCFEDS.com/rate.

Take the Next Step Today

To learn more about the FLTCIP's comprehensive benefits and features, register for one of our upcoming webinars or view our existing library of webinar recordings at www.LTCFEDS.com/webinar.  If you'd like to explore more information on your own, visit the Online Consultant Tool, which uses video and interactive features to help you learn about long term care and design a FLTCIP plan that suits your needs.

For personalized assistance, call 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337) TTY 1-800-843-3557 to speak with a program consultant.  Our consultants are available to answer any questions you may have and can walk you step-by-step through the plan design and application process.

More about the FLTCIP

Established by an act of Congress in 2000 and overseen by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the FLTCIP is designed to meet the specific needs of the Federal family.  The FLTCIP provides industry-leading benefits and offers flexible options that allow enrollees to tailor coverage to meet their needs.  Certain medical conditions, or combinations of conditions, will prevent some people from being approved for coverage.  You need to apply to find out if you qualify for coverage under the FLTCIP.

 

1 Premiums are set with the expectation that they will be sufficient, but are not guaranteed.  The premium for your group (for example, those with the same plan design or set of benefits) may only increase if it is determined to be inadequate.  While the group policy is in effect, OPM must approve an increase in premium.

 


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ICE RECOGNIZED FOR COMMITMENT TO HIRING U.S. MILITARY VETERANS

 

The work of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in recruiting, hiring and employing veterans has been recognized by U.S. Central Command.

An ICE release announced that Director John Morton was given a certificate of appreciation during a presentation ceremony at ICE’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., where Army Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe thanked Morton for ICE’s efforts to hire veterans. 

“As a nation, we are cross-walking what is virtually a ready-made agent – from service at the tactical operation level, usually overseas in a combat operation - into law enforcement right here in the United States,” Grippe said. “It’s a perfect match.”

Last year, nearly 50 percent of ICE’s new hires were veterans, exceeding ICE’s goal of 30 percent, and more than 18 percent of the newly-hired veterans had disabilities, higher than ICE’s goal of 8 percent, according to the agency. The majority of the veterans hired by the agency last year served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Not only have we been enthusiastic supporters of veterans,” said Morton, “but we’re going to continue to be enthusiastic supporters - because it’s the right thing to do.”

 

FEDagent, the FREE weekly e-report written exclusively for federal agents, invites WIFLE members to stay up-to-date on the current news in the federal law enforcement community. Each week, FEDagent provides the latest news to federal officials engaged in law enforcement and homeland security activities.


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Frances’ Ballestrazzi Becomes First Female President of INTERPOL

For the first time, a woman has been elected as President of INTERPOL.  Mereille Ballestrazzi, Deputy Central Director of the French Judicial Police, was elected President by the General Assembly for a term of four years.  Mrs. Ballestrazzi expressed great pride in achieving the position of President and is looking forward to serving the needs of all 190 member countries of INTERPOL.

In a press release, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble (a former Under Secretary for Enforcement in the U.S. Treasury Department) welcomed Mereille Ballestrazzi’s appointment as an example of INTERPOL’s evolution, reflecting the role of both men and women in the international law enforcement community.  “She brings invaluable experience in cross-border police collaboration to her role, as well as proven leadership abilities, and I look forward to working closely with her to ensure that INTERPOL continues to provide innovative responses to meet the needs of our member countries.”

 


Mereille Ballestrazzi at the 81st Interpol General Assembly

 

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Failure to Keep an Employee’s Medical Information Confidential Violates the Rehabilitation Act

By Peter J. Jeffrey, Esq., Member, The Jeffrey Law Group, PLLC, The Federal Employee’s Law Firm

 

Pursuant to 29 C.F.R. 1630.14(c)(1), an agency is required to keep an employee’s medical information confidential.  Specifically, 29 C.F.R. 1630.14(c)(1) provides, in pertinent part, that: "Information obtained regarding the medical condition or history of any employee shall ... be treated as a confidential medical record, except that: (i) supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and necessary accommodation." This requirement applies to confidential medical information obtained from "any employee," and is not limited to individuals with disabilities.  See Hampton v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 01A00132 (April 13, 2000).  

 

For example in Cruz v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120101339 (Jul. 21, 2011), the Complainant, Mr. Cruz, claimed that his treating psychiatrist contacted his supervisor and informed his supervisor that Mr. Cruz threatened to kill one of his co-workers.  Upon learning this, Mr. Cruz’s supervisor placed Mr. Cruz on emergency suspension.  Sometime later, while Mr. Cruz was still on suspension, a co-worker asked the supervisor why Mr. Cruz had been absent from work.  In response, the supervisor told the co-worker that Mr. Cruz was being treated by a psychiatrist who had diagnosed Mr. Cruz as "very nervous" and repeated what the psychiatrist had said about Mr. Cruz threatening to kill one of his co-workers.  The EEOC held that the supervisor’s disclosure that Complainant was undergoing treatment by a psychiatrist and that he had been diagnosed with a nervous condition was medical information the Agency was obliged to keep confidential; and therefore, violated the Rehabilitation Act's medical confidentiality provisions. See Cruz v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120101339 (Jul. 21, 2011); see also Griffin v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., EEOC Appeal No. 0120073832 (May 15, 2009) (finding that the Agency violated the Rehabilitation Act when management officials discussed Complainant's medical information in a public chat forum); Higgins v. Dep't of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 01A13571 (May 27, 2003) (finding a violation of the Rehabilitation Act when the Agency placed confidential medical information from a physician documenting Complainant's diagnosis in a non-medical work file).

 

More recently, the EEOC found that the U.S. Postal Service violated the Rehabilitation Act when a former postmaster held an associate's personnel file, including medical records, in a closet in his home.  See Grey v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120121846 (Sep. 10, 2012).  In Grey, the complainant's postmaster held her personnel file, including medical records, in a closet in his home.  The postmaster’s wife later discovered those files.  Because the postmaster failed to store those documents in a location inaccessible to other family members, the EEOC found that the U.S. Postal Service committed a per se violation of the Rehabilitation Act in the form of an improper disclosure of confidential medical information.  See id.  

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Rehabilitation Act, contact The Jeffrey Law Group, PLLC, at 202-312-7100 or www.jeffreylawgroup.com.

 

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is subject to change; it is not meant to serve as legal advice in any particular situation. For specific legal advice, the author recommends you consult a licensed attorney who is knowledgeable about the area of law in question.

 



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Lawmakers Likely to Delay STOCK Act Disclosure Affecting Law Enforcement & Intelligence Officials

As December 8th draws near, approximately 28,000 federal employees including military, diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence officials , are awaiting a decision from Congress concerning the internet posting requirement deadline under the current STOCK Act law.  The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, passed in April of this year, compelled the online posting of personal financial information of these employees.  The types of information contained in these financial disclosure reports are currently available and the affected employees do not object to the requirements.  The information, however, is currently available only through official requests, ensuring they are legitimate and that the disclosures will be used lawfully. 

As a result of the opposition to the disclosure requirement of the law, Congress authorized the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) six months to conduct a study that would investigate the impact of the law’s provision.  This came after senior federal officials expressed concern about the increased possibility of blackmail, identity theft, or financial fraud brought on by having personal financial information available in the public domain.

Because the December 8 deadline is well before the six month requirement for the study (which is in late February or early March), lawmakers are considering delaying the disclosure requirement until the study has been completed by NAPA and the potential impact of the STOCK Act’s provisions can be analyzed.  While open government groups believe the law is necessary to prevent conflicts of interests by federal employees, those affected believe the provision must be eliminated or the law must be revised to better balance the privacy and safety of federal employees.  While we await the decision, it is a good time for all law enforcement officers and employees - not just those affected by the current provision of the Stock Act - to be aware of ill attempts to gain confidential and personal information.  Some of these efforts may seem obvious or even futile to some, but for those who work with criminals - inmates or terrorists -  or for those making decisions affecting members of the public, protecting personal information is a safety measure not to be overlooked. 



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Saundra K. Harman is the President and founder of S. Harman & Associates, Inc. and is involved in the development and presentation of employee benefits and employee relations training courses and seminars.  Ms. Harman has conducted hundreds of seminars for federal personnel specialists, managers, and employees.  
Bio


 

In addition to all of the year-end “to dos,” here are a few more that can put you on a sound financial path for 2013:

 

1. Review your tax withholdings – Did you receive a sizable refund for tax year 2011? If so and your income and expenses are similar this year and next, file a new W-4 reducing your withholding. If you had to write a sizable check when you filed your taxes, increase your withholding for 2013.

 

2. Keep current on the amount that you can contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). For 2013, your standard contribution will be $17,500 and the ‘catch up’ (if you are age 50 and beyond any day in 2013) will be $5,500. Make sure that you are contributing at least 5% of your base pay each pay period– that’s the only way to receive the full agency match.

 

3. This year especially, determine if the ROTH 401(k) TSP Option is right for you. If you are currently in a lower tax bracket, the ROTH 401(k) TSP Option could make long-term sense. You will be paying the tax on your contributions at your current tax rate then it will grow tax-free. (The government’s automatic and matching contributions will be invested in the pre-tax TSP.)

 

If you are currently in a high tax bracket, project what your tax bracket is likely to be in retirement. Investing in the ROTH 401(k) TSP will result in you paying the taxes on your contributions at your current tax rate, but having some tax-free income in the future could be worthwhile.

 

4. Make sure that you have scheduled expenses sufficient to ‘use’ all of the current year money in your Flexible Spending Account by March 15, 2013. There is still the “use it or lose it” rule.

 

5. Maximize your health insurance benefits, if you have met your annual deductible and know that you have covered medical services coming up, try to schedule the procedures by December 31, 2012. They will cost less than they will when you have to pay your deductible out-of-pocket for the new year.

 

6. Review all insurance policies – homeowners, auto insurance, etc. – have the coverage that you need but not coverage that is redundant or insurance on things you no longer have.

 

7. Check your credit report. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every 12 months. You can get the free report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Review it carefully and dispute any items that are not correct.

 

8. Review your Designation of Beneficiary forms that apply to Federal benefits:

 

TSP - 3 – Thrift Savings Plan

 

SF 2823 – Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (if you have it)

 

SF 1152 – Would direct to whom you want the government to send any non-dispersed funds if you die as an employee.

 

SF 3102 (FERS) – For your unrecovered contributions to the retirement fund. This applies only if you die before recovering the amount you contributed to the retirement fund, and have no surviving spouse or dependent child entitled to a monthly annuity.

 

SF 2808 (CSRS) – For your unrecovered contributions to the retirement fund. This applies only if you die before recovering the amount you contributed to the retirement fund, and have no surviving spouse or dependent child entitled to a monthly annuity.

 

Further, review your Designation of Beneficiary forms for any investments, insurance policies and accounts you have outside of Federal employment. Correct designations expedite the distribution of your assets upon your death.

 

9. Review your Will and Living Will. Hopefully, you have these in place. If so, review the documents to be sure that things have not changed. If you haven’t gotten around to taking care of establishing a Will and Living Will put it on your priority “to do” list. Everyone needs both of these documents.

 

10. Establish a Durable Power of Attorney for financial affairs. This is not something that you need only when you are older (remember that’s always 20 years older than you are). Many things can result in your being incapacitated. There are certain assets that even your spouse cannot access without a Durable Power of Attorney for financial affairs while you are still living (even is the asset is in both names). Your home is just one example.

 



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Not Quite as “Easy as Sunday Morning” – Preparing for a Transition from Public Service to Private Industry

By: Alan A. Malinchak (FBI retired 1984-2004) - President, Eclat Transitions LLC

In 2002, just two years from FBI retirement eligibility, and a FERS retiree not by choice, I realized I would need to continue employment beyond retirement with two daughters’ college bound.  My two-year path to prepare for a career in private industry was a sound plan, but as I look back I was woefully unprepared - I got lucky.  I have been fortunate to work for two government contractors, ManTech International and Homeland Security Solutions, Inc.  I have experienced a successful journey with these companies from 2004 to present and have learned the ins and outs of employment within private industry and government contracting.  This article is a reflection and a guide related to the changes you will need to consider and begin your preparation as you approach your next successful career beyond today.

Change is both inevitable and controllable.  The most difficult aspect of preparing for your transition is “not knowing - what you don’t know”.  The first piece of advice I would give you is to start preparing NOW – long before you intend to retire.  There is a great deal you will need to do to prepare to land a GREAT job in private industry.  Preparing over time will reduce the stress and put you several steps ahead of those you will be competing against in the private job market.  You know hard work - being a case agent and preparing for trial.  You can do this; you simply need a roadmap.  Make a plan, analyze the direction of your path, make logical decisions, and engage the following considerations.

Financial

Start by knowing your numbers.  Determine your financial living plan.  Determine how long you want/need to work. Calculate all the factors related to your income needs now and beyond the net value of your government retirement check.

Emotional

You will experience fear and anxiety of the unknown, conflict over financial considerations, and emotional ups and downs during the process of your professional reinvention.  You will be leaving a profession where you have contributed and made a significant difference in the world. You will be leaving a 20+ year comfort zone where you have experienced success and have an established identity for the unknown.  As you plan for this transition, you may not know what you want to do or what you are qualified to do, or you may need new professional credentials/certifications beyond your KSAs.  For the most part, you are going to be starting over – you will be the newbie once again.  You will need to invest time, energy and finances into preparing for your next career.  “Who You Are” may not be “Who You Will Be”.

Evaluating the Job Market

You will need to understand the areas of growth in the job market - by industry - by location.  Learn what professional positions are in demand now and what/where are the trends.  Evaluate whether you want to work for a corporation or a small business, publicly traded or privately held company.  Are the companies you are interested in profitable, stable and do you believe they will survive the next economic downturn, fiscal cliff /sequestration?

Non-Profit, Public, Private or Entrepreneur?

Do you have the desire, finances and drive to start your own company, be your own boss?  Do you understand marketing, customer base, and are you ready to work 24/7?  Building a career path map that allows you to find a relatable position in a non-profit, other public agency, private enterprise or as an entrepreneur should focus on your interests, qualifications and financial needs.  Have you conducted an assessment of your competencies?  Are there gaps in your competencies and the skill set necessary to be successful in your post public service career?  Which competencies translate well to business needs?  What are you missing?  How do you acquire what you need?  How much time do you need and at what cost?

Business 101

Do you possess business acumen?  Are you knowledgeable about business drivers, e.g., i.e. revenue growth, profitability, and program execution?  Are you familiar with corporate hierarchy, titles, roles and responsibilities?  In business, you are either overhead (cost the company money) or direct labor (generate income for the company).  Knowing which position to target based on your qualifications, potential to add value to a company, and your comfort zone is essential.  A company’s growth is dependent on business development and its pipeline of future contracts for goods and services.  Learn the drivers of what enables a company to grow and succeed and how your capabilities are essential for their continued growth.  Are you familiar with the world of government contracting?  Know the Drivers and Timing for Corporate Hiring?

Professional Certifications/Additional Education

Most likely you have been involved, supervised or led projects and programs throughout your career, but do you have a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification?  If you are involved in network or cyber security operations, do you have certifications in A+, Network+,  Security + or are you a Computer Information Security System Professional (CISSP)?  You may have the operational experience and skills but you will need a professional certification to be competitive in private industry.  During your career you may have been involved in acquisitions, contract review or personnel human resources.  Did you acquire any internal federal law enforcement certificates that will enable you to get to the next level of an external professional certification?  Professional certifications are valued by performance based businesses that direct bill to their clients and are the backbone of private industry.  Have you acquired or do you need additional education that can be leveraged to be more competitive?

Security Clearances

Your security clearance has monetary value in private industry.  Maintain it.  Insure your reinvestigation is complete.

Networking

It’s important to maintain a network of your trusted friends within the federal law enforcement agency who have entered private industry as well as expand your networking beyond those trusted friends.  Join professional associations, establish a LinkedIn account, attend professional networking functions/events, volunteer at non-profit associations, establish relationships with recruiters – simply make as many connections in as many industry spaces as you can.  Making connections, professionally and socially is a key discriminator in people knowing you are looking and having something to offer.  You understand and know the benefits of building rapport – start now to strengthen your networking skills.

Job Boards, Job Fairs and Recruiters

Identify and attend job fairs, especially those that are searching for job candidates with clearances.  Learn from the hiring managers present what capabilities/credentials they are looking for?  Review job boards, and learn how to use job board aggregators and the techniques to get job leads emailed to you directly.  Establish relationships with recruiters who can contact you when opportunities arise. 

Resume

Many of you may have not yet written a corporate resume and some of you may have been like me and tried to create a complete summary of my career accomplishments that spanned 20 pages.  Unfortunately, the people that read resumes typically get hundreds of them and they only take 7 seconds to review one and determine if you have the skills for the positions for which they are hiring.  Writing a resume the right way and including the right information will be critically important.  And it can only be 2 pages max!

Interview

Congratulations!  If you are going on an interview it means you are generally qualified for the job!  The interview process is how companies determine which candidate is the MOST qualified for the job.  They are drilling down on the depth and breadth of your experience as compared to other candidates as well as determining your personality and cultural fit within their team and the company.  This is a weeding-out process and there are tricks to stay on the shortlist and make it to the finish line.  There are typically three or more interviews before a decision, and there are multiple interviewers.  Some companies do personality or skills assessments as well to ensure there is an organizational and cultural fit.

Negotiations

In your government career, your salary, vacation and benefits are predetermined.  Not negotiable.  But in industry how well you negotiate this first compensation package can be a hallmark on how you are compensated going forward.  In industry there can be many variables to negotiate including title, basic salary, bonus structure, vacation, stock options – the list goes on.  Employers expect to negotiate salary and other benefits, but not everything is open to negotiation.  It depends on the company, its compensation policies and the level of the role for which you are being considered.  The reality is that a company’s success is dependent on controlling costs so it typically won’t offer a penny more than necessary to make a hire.  The first offer will typically be fair but not the highest.  The candidate must make a case to negotiate a better offer.  Always remember the value of your security clearance, and, should an employer refer to your retirement salary – never allow the monies you earned for your public service to be a pawn in the employers counter negotiations.

A Day In The Life

Your new career is going to be different.  Different culture, mission, job responsibilities, cast of characters including boss (es) and now CLIENTS, commute, processes, etc.  The leadership and teamwork traits that you have fine-tuned in your public service career are desired, valuable and critical to private industry, especially how they affect performance within a company.  Companies value good employees, especially those that contribute to either top line growth or bottom line savings.

Ask or Look for Assistance

There are others who have gone before you, some successful, some not.  Seek out both and learn from their mistakes and successes.  Yes, there are companies that can provide direction and assistance, but the most important step is recognizing you need to prepare and invest the time, energy and enthusiasm into your transitional career as you did when you transitioned from your former position to becoming part of your current organization.

Summary

Change is hard.  You need to be resilient in your efforts to transition to your next career.  Expand your capabilities and your network, and remember, “It’s Only the Beginning…” of your next chapter.  Good Luck.

Alan A. Malinchak is the President of Eclat Transitions, a career transition services company www.eclat-transitions.com and the Chief Learning Officer at Homeland Security Solutions, Inc. (HSSI) www.homelandsecurityinc.comAl has over 35 years of professional experience in government, industry, and academics and is a U.S. Navy Veteran (DAV).  Al can be reached at al@eclat-t.com or contact him through LinkedIn .

 



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Items in the News that Affect Federal Employees

    Federal Employees and Retirees Eligible for Hurricane Sandy Benefits

Did you know that federal employees and retirees hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are eligible for special benefits, including additional supplies of medication if needed?  See the link below for further information.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/special-benefits-apply-to-federal-employees-hit-by-hurricane-sandy/2012/11/08/26bf7ff8-2994-11e2-aaa5-ac786110c486_blog.html?wprss=federal-eye

    Reminder:  Open Season for FEHB

Open Season for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FWHB) Program runs this year from November 12 through December 10, 2012.  Please contact your agency human resources office or go on line at www.opm.gov for additional information. 

    New OPM Dismissal and Closure Procedures for 2012-2013 Winter Season

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced dismissal and closure procedures for the 2012-2013 winter weather season in the Washington, DC area.  Based on feedback from agencies and employees in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, OPM has revised its message to the public and instructions for agencies to follow in the coming winter months.  Read the OPM press release below for all the details.

http://www.opm.gov/news/opm-announces-dismissal-and-closure-procedures-for-the-20122013-winter-weather-season,1761.aspx

 



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Who Cares About Affairs?

By June Werdlow Rogers, PhD

 

The unraveling scandal surrounding an extra-marital relationship of former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus has many asking why anyone should care about another’s personal life - including the man ultimately responsible for the Nation’s security.  Why indeed?

Well for one thing, engaging in an affair may be viewed as a chargeable offense.  Many  state, local and federal law enforcement agencies continue to charge its agents, officers and other employees who engage in extra-marital relationships with the offense of “Conduct Unbecoming”; evidence of having violated the requirement to “Keep Your Private Life Unsullied”; or some other catch-all.  Such improper conduct can result in termination.  Then there’s the lying, sneaking and conniving.

In every affair that I’ve come to know about, the parties go to great lengths to keep the matter secret.  Consider this classic case resulting in the termination of a police officer and an administrative employee:

“Both parties did engage in an extramarital affair and in doing so did use departmental equipment, telephones, and city employees paid time to make arrangements and continue said affair; both parties previously mentioned failed in their responsibility to be forthcoming and truthful in this internal investigation in that [they] did attempt to conceal the fact they were involved in an adulterous relationship; their conversations on a departmental recorded line are now permanent record and comments made by each of them in the conversations about coworkers, subordinates, and managers of the DPD would make a harmonious work environment almost impossible and may well constitute a hostile work environment for those affected by [their] comments; [They] have shown a disregard in an egregious manner to departmental equipment and work standards while on duty…..” [1]

In short, affairs potentially can be destructive to any workplace, especially law enforcement settings where officers and agents depend on each other in life and death situations.  As a former Special Agent in Charge, the one word summing up my concern about an affair taking place among my people would be terrifying.

Another terrifying prospect relative to extra-marital affairs is how they end - and I am not just referring to any detriment to the livelihood of those involved - I mean detrimental to mind, body and soul.  Last month, a scandal unfolded when allegations surfaced that former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee’s married paramour was so distressed to learn he had another woman with him at an out-of-town training conference (IACP) she threatened suicide.  How do we know?  The disturbing photograph of her with a handgun in her mouth quickly went viral on the internet.  And similar to the woman in the Detroit Police Chief’s life, in the neighboring state of Ohio the mistress of another police chief did not fare too well either.

Nicknamed the “Kissing Cops” the former Perry Township Police Chief (OH), a male and a rookie female officer were caught on tape kissing (and whatever) in a police cruiser.  The dash cam recorded their tryst taking place in the front seat with a sleeping prisoner in the backseat.  When confronted, they both decided to quit.  His retirement was accepted, but her request to resign was refused.  Instead, the township insisted on firing her.  Although the female officer ultimately won a discrimination suit, this high profile case undoubtedly brought with it grief.  Yes it’s the 21st century, but no punishment of this type of conduct is not likely to cease - whether informal resignations or formal terminations.

If the examples presented are an indication of what to expect, the woman at the center of the Petraeus scandal description just one week into her ordeal says it all: Devastated.  Who cares about affairs among law enforcement professionals?  I do.  What about you?


 

[1] Roberts, L. “IA Investigation Into Fired Officer Reveals Alleged Affair, Insubordination, Numerous Department & Policy Infractions Discovered.”  The Douglas Enterprise, October 3, 2012, http://www.douglasenterprise.net/ (accessed November 27, 2012).

 

 

 



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Special Report:  Women Behind the Badge

According to a Special Report issued by the U.S. National Center for Women and Policing (womenandpolicing.org), the first female police officer ever hired on a police force was back in 1905 in Portland, Oregon.  Since then, the number of women police officers has slowly grown around the country.  Numbers got a boost in 1972 when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was expanded to include public agencies, including police departments.  A recent news report highlighted two female police officers; one who has been on the force for 20 years and a second who is a rookie, on the job for 18 months with a field training officer and six months on patrol.  Both say even though being a police officer may still be a man's world, they love their jobs and can do them just as well as a man and, in some cases, maybe better!  Read at http://www.12newsnow.com/story/20163099/w

 



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HUMAN TRAFFICKING SEMINAR

 

WIFLE, partnering with the U.S. Marshals Service, held its annual Human Trafficking Seminar on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.  Seventy-five participants from Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and private organizations attended.  Margaret Coggins, WIFLE Senior Advisor, serviced as the program’s moderator.

 

The morning session began with Analysts Michelle Ford-Stepney and Emily Genung providing an overview of INTERPOL and the International Trade of Sex Offenders.  David Rogers (SSA, FBI) exposed common misconceptions of human trafficking (including the belief that the majority of victims are not U.S. citizens and that travel across state lines is required to qualify for trafficking); Victor Boutros (Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, DOJ), reviewed the criminal statutes covering human trafficking and provided examples of many; and David Meadows (DHS/ICE/HIS) described the difficulties in investigating and prosecuting cases in the United States and internationally.  All three speakers stressed the importance of viewing human trafficking cases as “victim-centered” and that the human needs of victims need to be addressed FIRST.

After lunch, Alice Hill, Senior Counsel to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security – The Blue Campaign, showed a video, produced by “Truckers Against Trafficking”, which tells the story of a domestic victim of human trafficking who was rescued by a Good Samaritan’s 911 call to the police.  Ms. Hill outlined how the Blue Campaign works to combine resources of all DHS components to combat human trafficking.  Julie Myers Wood, Guidepost Solutions, LLC, explained Executive Order 13627, “Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking in Persons in Federal Contracts”, and its impact on new federal acquisition regulations.  The E.O. requires that contractors for Federal contracts, and their subcontractors, have a compliance plan in place to prevent human trafficking and that that plan be posted in the workplace.

Teresa Tomassoni, Director of Programs with FAIR (Free, Aware, Inspire, Restore) Girls, described the work of this local (DC/MD/VA) organization.  Every year, FAIR Girls provides outreach and prevention education to more than 3,000 sexually abused and trafficked girls with the prevention services they need to become young survivors.  (www.fairgirls.org)  James Dold, Policy Counsel, Polaris Project, National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) spoke about the 24-Hour National Hotline (1-888-3737-888)and explained the Safe Harbor Legislation which prohibits the prosecution of juveniles involved in prostitution. 

The final speaker, Staca Shehan, Director, Case Analysis Division with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children described how the Center can assist law enforcement agencies with cases involving domestic minors who are being trafficked.  They operate the nation-wide hotline for missing children (1-800-THE-LOST); the Cyber Tipline (www.cybertip.org).

WIFLE thanks Lennon Baccus and Katrina Queen, U.S. Marshals Service, for their help and work with the planning and the logistics for the seminar.  Thank you also to Karen Kelly and Michelle Hutchings, interns with the Feminist Majority, who helped with registration and logistics.

Catherine Sanz
Executive Director of WIFLE, Inc. and
President of the WIFLE Foundation
Feminist Majority Interns Michelle Hutchings
and Karen Kelly
DHS Senior Counsel Alice Hill and Cathy Sanz

 



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WIFLE 14th Annual Leadership Training

Mark your calendars!  You want to plan on attending WIFLE’s 14th Annual Leadership Training, June 24-27, 2013.  The 2013 training event will be held at the Westin Mission Hills Hotel and Conference Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

Stay up-to-date on new information about the Palm Springs area training by visiting www.wifle.org

 

 



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