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contact Editors:  Dorene Erhard or Betsy Casey

The Marriott Waterside, Tampa

Check in February at www.wifle.org for Leadership Training details and links for registration and hotel booking.

WIFLE Adds New Retirement Track to the Annual Leadership Training

WIFLE’s 16th Annual Leadership Training will be June 8-11, 2015, at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa, Florida.  This year we are looking toward our futures and will also include a separate Retirement Track in Tampa for those who are retired or planning for it in the near term. 

There will be a separate registration fee of $175.00 for the WIFLE Retirement Track event, which includes Wednesday lunch.  As with many WIFLE seminar and workshop topics, the new Retirement Track will benefit men as well as women and WIFLE membership is not required.  All are encouraged to participate. 

The Retirement Track sessions will begin on Tuesday afternoon, June 9, and run through Thursday morning, June 11, 2015.  The hotel rate will be the same as the prevailing government rate (which is estimated to be $104.00 per night).  Bring family, a companion, or plan to meet up with a bunch of friends and have a vacation.  WIFLE’s new Retirement Track also is designed to provide you with free time.  This will allow you ample free time to enjoy the hotel’s pool and spa or the local Tampa attractions.  The Retirement Track will include topics such as:

·        FERS and CSRS Retirement, Social Security, and Medicare:  When do you need to sign up, and what happens if you do and if you do not?  How does widowhood affect your benefits?

·         Investing:  Investing in retirement is different than when you were with the government.  How do you maintain what you have?

·         Long Term Care: Do you need it? What are your options for yourself and your parents?

·         Moving to the Private Sector:  A panel discussion from people who have made the leap.  How did they do it?  What did they learn along the way?

·         W-2 Employment vs. 1099 Employment:  Under one, you work for a company and under the other, you work for yourself.  Many small companies or companies that do part time employment use 1099 employees.

·         The Importance of Certifications:  Certifications require time and money, but the benefit to you over the long run may result in higher salaries and more employment flexibility.

·         Resumes and Interviews:  Your resume for the private sector is very different.  Interviewing Techniques and Negotiating for Salary and Benefits.

·         Recruiting:  We are working on assembling companies who want to recruit.

For those who play golf, our Julie Y. Cross Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Monday, June 8, 2015, followed by a WIFLE welcome reception at 6:00 pm.  Also, Tuesday night is the WIFLE members’ only reception.  If you are already a member, please come join us.  If you are not a member, you can sign up for membership at the door.  On Wednesday evening is the annual WIFLE Awards Banquet honoring the accomplishments of women in federal law enforcement.  For those not registered for the leadership training, tickets for the WIFLE Awards Banquet may be purchased for $50.00 each. 

Women in the federal law enforcement arena are only beginning to retire in enough numbers that companies are interested in working with WIFLE to find and employ their talents.  Most companies do not know how to locate and target retired women.  Just as networking is critical to your federal career, it becomes even more critical in making the move into the private sector. 

Come join us in Tampa.  WIFLE wants your knowledge, your mentorship, and your friendship. 

Please share information on the new Retirement Track addition to our leadership training program with your friends who may not be WIFLE Members.  Any questions on the Retirement Track can be directed to Cathy Sanz at wifle@comcast.net .



Marist College Campus

Marist College has partnered with Law Enforcement for 20+ years and offers special scholarships for qualified WIFLE members for our Masters and Bachelors programs.

Looking to Complete Your Bachelors or Masters Degree?  Make it Happen at Marist College!
     (Website Link for WIFLE:  www.marist.edu/admission/graduate/partnerships)

If you’ve been thinking about returning to school to pursue a bachelors or masters degree, don’t let another year pass by.  Marist College’s 100% online Master of Public Administration (MPA) for Law Enforcement and Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies, are just two examples of the programs Marist offers to help prepare you for your next career step.  With Marist’s generous scholarships for WIFLE members, you’ll save between 25% and 50% off the standard tuition rate.  Classes begin in January and September of 2015.  Qualified students must be 22 years of age or older and applying through our graduate admission or adult undergraduate admissions office.

The Marist MPA is by far our most popular masters degree with the law enforcement community.  Discounted at over 50% off standard tuition rates, the program is offered 100% online, or in a unique hybrid format at three select locations in New York.  Students represent a diverse mix of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies throughout the Nation.  The MPA program offers three distinct concentrations.  Each three-course concentration allows you to specialize in a particular area of interest – Public Management, Ethical Leadership, or Health Care Administration.

The core of the MPA focuses on three critical areas for advancement within the law enforcement field or transitioning to a career in public sector leadership within the education, health care, government, non-profit, or other relevant sectors:

1)     understanding the political, legal, ethical and social context of public sector administration;

2)     achieving proficiency in a full range of management techniques as well as developing an understanding of organizational behavior; and

3)     developing the ability to apply quantitative and qualitative methodologies to solve important problems, conduct policy analysis, and evaluate programs.

In addition to the MPA, Marist College offers several other masters programs 100% on-line – the MBA, MA in Communication, MA in Integrated Marketing Communication, and the MS in Information Systems.  There are also Advanced Certificates in Information Systems or Business Analytics that are offered 100% on-line.

Founded in 1929, Marist College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  If you have any questions about Marist’s bachelors or masters program, please contact Brian Scott at 845-575-3980 or via email at brian.scott1@marist.edu.

June Werdlow Rogers

Incoming!!! Watch Out for Gender-Based Corruption Temptations!!!
     By June Werdlow Rogers, PhD

I am convinced that corruption is similar to what happens when there is an earthquake.  Both phenomena, though not visible to the naked eye, erupt based on activity lying beneath the surface.  According to Upseis[1] when rock underground suddenly breaks along a fault there is a sudden release of energy that makes the ground shake.  Similarly, for some officers, when the rumbling of temptation comes along, the earthquake of corruption occurs.  But does it always happen this way for both genders?

The question has been posed by a few researchers about whether women are less corrupt than men.  Karim (2011), Dollar (2001), and Swamy (2001) are all writings postulating that female officers or government officials engage in corruption less frequently than their male counterparts.  Also an experiment by Rivas (2013) found that women are less corrupt than men.  Such evidence may have limited utility for executives in other countries.  (In Peru, police assigned an influx of female officers to traffic enforcement to reduce the acceptance of bribes.)  But in an equal employment opportunity protected nation like America, comprising work units based on an assumption that one gender is less vulnerable to corruption is unacceptable - and rightly so.

Although I can see the possibility that women may be less inclined toward corruption than men, we are not exempt.  So taking into account that some women do engage in corruption, and given that even if they do so at a rate less than , we should not and cannot construct teams based on this - an alternative course of study is to specifically identify areas of vulnerability based on common fault lines that suggest gender differences.  Here are few unfortunate situations that women working in criminal justice fields have found themselves in just this year alone:

  • A Camden officer was arrested and charged with disclosing confidential police information to a drug gang of which her husband was a member. [2]
  • Multiple stories about women Correctional Officers engaging in sexual relations with inmates resulting in pregnancies, firings and prosecutions.
  • An officer was fired for allegedly threatening to kill a woman she believed was making advances on her boyfriend (also an officer.)[3]
  • A San Diego officer was arrested with her husband, also an officer accused of selling, possessing and transporting drugs.[4]

Is, as these particular stories suggest, romantic relationships an area of vulnerability for women working in the field of criminal justice?  Yes, possibly.  My hesitancy to totally embrace the notion that women officers are less likely to engage in corruption than men officers does not diminish my estimation that there are gender-based enticements.  And, I believe we should identify and examine these areas of vulnerability to help guard against breaches of integrity.  However, complete acceptance that romantic relationships present a consequential variable requires that other factors be considered.

Is misconduct involving significant others more detectable than other forms of corruption?  Are romantic relationships that women officers engage in with “bad boys” more likely to make headlines?  Or does a societal bias exist that encourages men to attempt to exploit their relationships with girlfriends working in criminal justice?  These are just a few of the questions we need to seek answers.

While we await the results of future studies on gender and corruption, consider that a weakened ethical foundation reduces professional stability.  Sister, don’t go out like that.  Avoid the earthquake of corruption by controlling that which is within your power - your integrity. 



Peter J. Jeffrey

What Do You Get a Wookie for Christmas When He Already Owns a Comb
     By Peter J. Jeffrey, Esq., Member, The Jeffrey Law Group, PLLC, The Federal Employee’s Law Firm ®

December traditionally is a time for office parties, receptions, and gift exchanges, in celebration of the winter holidays.  However, unlike private sector employees, Federal employees need to be ever mindful as to how the Standards of Ethical Conduct affect and limit their holiday revelry.  See 5 C.F.R. §§ 2635.301-304.  Violating the Standards of Ethical Conduct could result in adverse action. 

The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch prohibits employees from giving a gift to a supervisor, absent a few limited exceptions.  On an occasional basis (like a holiday party), supervisors may accept gifts (other than cash) of $10 or less from a subordinate (think Secret Santa), accept food and refreshments shared in the office, or share in the expenses of an office party.  But the prohibition on gift giving does not just end with supervisors.  The Standards of Ethical Conduct further prohibit an employee from accepting a gift from another employee who receives less pay, except in limited circumstances.  

Further, Federal employees may not accept gifts from prohibited sources (i.e., contractors and contractor personnel).  These “gifts” include invitations to a contractor sponsored open-house or reception.  A Federal employee may only attend such a reception and accept a gift of refreshments: if it is a widely-attended gathering and the employee's supervisor determines that it is in the agency's interest that the employee attends; or if it is open to the public, all Government employees, or all military personnel; or the invitation is not related to the employee’s Government employment (e.g., the Federal employee is accompanying his non-Federal employee spouse to the party). 

Generally, office holiday parties are unofficial events.  As such, participation at holiday social events is personal, not official.  Therefore, you may not use appropriated funds to pay for them, or attend while otherwise in a duty status.  Further, beware that door prizes or drawings at such events could constitute gambling, which would require compliance with state statutes and Federal regulations.  For example, General Service Administration (GSA) regulations ban gambling in any GSA-owned or controlled buildings.

So play it safe and just like the Wookie, give your supervisor or co-worker nothing more than good will.  (See What do you get a wookie for Christmas ( When he already owns a comb)).  Bah Humbug!

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 authors recommend you consult a licensed attorney who is knowledgeable about the area of law in question.



Saundra K. Harman

End of Year Tax Planning Ideas for Federal Civilian Employees

Review Thrift Savings Plan Contributions

Check your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contribution to be sure that you are going to be contributing at least 5% of your base pay each pay period.  If you contribute the TSP maximum amount of $17,500 (for 2014) before the last pay period of the year you will give up the employer match.

Further, if you are not contributing the maximum amount and have gotten a promotion or within-grade-increase, consider increasing your contribution.

Finally, if you have attained age 50 (any day in 2014) and you are scheduled to contribute the IRS Elective Deferral Amount of $17,500 (for 2014, you can also contribute any part of the catch-up amount of $5,500 (for 2014).  You need to complete the electronic “Catch-up Contribution Election” form (TSP-1-C) to start the catch-up contribution.  The TSP-1-C must be completed each year (unlike the standard TSP-1 election which continues until you change it).  The TSP contribution for 2015 will be $18,000 and the catch-up amount will be $6,000.

Review your TSP account.  If you are managing your TSP (as opposed to utilizing the L Funds) review how much you have in the various funds.  Ideally, you have developed a formula which establishes the percent you should have in each of the five funds.  Over time, some of the percentages have gone out of balance due to varying rates of return 

Evaluate Your Federal Employee Health Benefits Coverage

Until the 2nd Monday in December (December 8, 2014), you have an opportunity to change your Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) plan.  During this period review your plan, what it covers, what it doesn’t and what it costs.  For some, research the High Deductible Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts.  (Remember if you are funding a Health Savings Account you cannot fund a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) in the same year.)  Decide if an FSA Health Care is right for you.  A positive enrollment is required each year (www.fsafed.com).

The above are the primary things that federal civilian employees can consider that are unique to the Federal benefit package; general ideas that could apply to everyone include:

Prepay Deductible Expenses

If you itemize deductions, accelerate any deductions that you can to increase the deductible amount for this year.  The easiest expense to prepay is your mortgage that will give you thirteen (13) month’s worth of deductible interest for 2014.  Other items that are easy to prepay include State and Local taxes, and property taxes that are due early in the year.  This concept can work for you if you “Game the Standard Deduction.”

Game the Standard Deduction

If the combination of your annual itemized deduction is close to the standard deduction, bunch your expenses for itemized deductions every other year.  Itemize in the year in which you bunch your deductions then use the standard deduction in the next year.

Sell Loser Stocks Held in a Taxable Account

Selling losing investments can lower your 2014 tax bill; you can deduct the resulting capital losses against this year’s capital gains.  There is a limit of $3,000 of net loss against ordinary income.  But any excess loss can be carried forward.

Donate Stocks to a Charity

If you sell stocks that are worth more than when you bought them, you can donate them to an IRS approved charity.  You can claim an itemized deduction for the full market value at donation.  (Check with your accountant as there are certain situations where there are limits and/or restrictions.)

Consult your Financial Planner and/or tax preparer for specific recommendations for your personal situation.


Visit the FLTCIP and BENEFEDS Virtual Health Fair!

Dates  

December 2–4, 2014

Times  

10 a.m.–2 p.m. (ET)

Register online at  

www.LTCFEDS.com/webinar

The Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) is a long term care insurance program offered to Federal employees, annuitants, and their qualified relatives.  BENEFEDS is a secure website that enables Federal employees and annuitants to enroll in and manage their Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) coverage.

At the FLTCIP and BENEFEDS virtual health fair, you can easily find the information you need to:

FLTCIP

  • register for upcoming FLTCIP webinars and on-demand events
  • review FLTCIP information before applying
  • walk through self-service tools to compare plans and apply for coverage under the FLTCIP
  • chat online with a FLTCIP representative* and ask any questions you may have for yourself or your qualified relative

*This service is offered to FLTCIP customers only who are not already enrolled in the FLTCIP.

BENEFEDS

  • register for upcoming FEDVIP webinars and on-demand events
  • review the latest FEDVIP plan information on www.BENEFEDS.com**
  • use the FEDVIP plan comparison tool on www.BENEFEDS.com**

**For specific questions about your dental or vision coverage, you must review your plan brochure or contact your FEDVIP carrier directly.  BENEFEDS only administers the enrollment and premium payment processes for the FEDVIP.

For personalized assistance, call 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337)
TTY 1-800-843-3557 to speak with a program consultant.



For Law Enforcement Officer’s, Supplemental Disability Insurance Protects More Than Your Income
     By James De La Torre, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC)

As a federal law enforcement officer, the idea that disability insurance is important to your career is an understatement.  Unfortunately, for many federal law enforcement officers, the need often is overlooked. Often times, employees are under the impression that disability insurance is part of their benefit package; but it’s not.  You have access to two types of income protection through your employer; these are called leave and disability retirement.    

1.  Leave – The two main kinds of leave are: Annual – employees are limited to 30 days; and Sick – employees can earn 13 days per year with no limitations.

2.  Disability Retirement – Since this is a pension benefit, the eligibility requirements are ambiguous.  To qualify for disability retirement benefits, you must be unable to perform useful and efficient service in your position because of disease or injury and your disabling must be expected to last at least 1 year.

At first glance, these programs may appear to provide adequate disability protection, but they don’t.  The main problem is that your leave and disability are separate and don’t work together.  Qualifying for one doesn’t mean you’ll qualify for the other; therefore, there is no set timetable to gauge when benefits begin, end, or how long the benefits will pay out.  As a result, you are financially exposed the following ways:

·         Paid Leave isn’t enough - Your employer restricts your ability to adequately bank enough leave to support you during times of a prolonged disability.  Once exhausted, you are in a Leave without Pay (LWOP) status.

·         Are you ready to live on a fixed pension? - Disability retirement provides a base pension income of approximately 40% of your high-3 salary, to those who qualify. As an actively working employee you may find it difficult to live off this pension benefit.

And there’s more…Any employee covered under the special groups retirement plan pays extra towards their benefits in order to retire early with a full pension benefits.  In order to qualify for this benefit you must have at least 20 years of service as a LEO.  If you were to become disabled and put out on disability retirement prior to reaching your 20 years; you lose this benefit, forfeit the additional contributions paid into the system and revert back to regular rank and file employee status.

Supplemental disability insurance can not only replace lost income due to a prolonged disability, but for LEO’s who are forced into disability retirement early, before vesting the 20 years in their pensions, it can help protect your pension as well. While this won’t increase your pension income at retirement it will replace your entire salary until age 65.  Those added years of increased income will help offset your loss in retirement.

James De La Torre has conducted federal benefit and financial planning seminars in all of the country.  He is a key note speaker at federal conferences and works with federal professional organizations on ways to improve the communication of federal benefits to their membership.  Jim has appeared as a guest on “Fed Talk” on the Federal News Radio network, discussing the gaps in federal benefits and the financial impacts employees face. Please direct questions or comments directly to James at jdelatorre@fedAdvantage.com


Justice Department Orders Shut Down of "Psychic" Mail Fraud Schemes

On Wednesday, November 19, 2014, the United States filed civil complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against individuals and entities allegedly running two multi-million dollar mail fraud schemes.

The defendants sent direct mail solicitations from world-renowned psychics to consumers through the U.S. mail.

Complainants that received the solicitations allege that in the letters the famous psychics state that they have had a “vision” of the recipient improving his or her financial situation—some letters even go as far as claiming the recipient will be winning millions in an upcoming lottery.  These seemingly personalized letters go on to urge recipients to purchase various products and services in order to ensure that the foreseen good fortune does in fact occur.

“Relying on superstition and fear, the defendants defrauded tens of millions of dollars from thousands of vulnerable citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch for the Eastern District of New York.  “We have and will continue to use all means at our disposal to protect our citizens from such schemes to defraud.”

“These mass solicitations containing purportedly personalized messages to unsuspecting victims were blatant fraud,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Troy Raper of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Criminal Investigation Group.  “Postal Inspectors aggressively investigate any operations that use the U.S. mail to fleece unsuspecting victims.”

The government alleges that the Destiny Research Center mailings, one the mailings allegedly part of these schemes, brought in annual gross receipts of at least $13 million.  Another one of these schemes, CLGE, brought in an annual revenue of $1.5 to $2 million.  Furthermore, evidence indicates that a lot of the victims were elderly, ill, and in perilous financial condition.

In addition to the civil complaints, the United States also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to put a stop to these ongoing schemes immediately.

“The complaints filed today charge that the companies and individuals made blatant misrepresentations in order to reap financial gain by scamming thousands of Americans, many of whom were elderly and in a vulnerable financial condition,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Our job at the Justice Department is to put a stop to fraud schemes that seek to take advantage of vulnerable Americans.”



Catherine Sanz

WIFLE NOTES FROM PRESIDENT CATHY SANZ:

The White House:  My Brothers Keeper

The White House would like to remind everybody that women play a big role in the success of the My Brothers Keeper Initiative.  The White House announced a Community Challenge in an effort to encourage cities, towns, counties, and tribal communities to implement cradle-to-college and career strategies aimed at improving like outcomes for all young people.  One of the key factors identified by the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force was the importance of mentors.  If you are interested in becoming more involved in this effort, you can do so through your community initiative.  Additional information can be found at www.MBKChallenge.org.

Women in Security (WIS)

ASIS International conducted the “International U.S. Security Salary Survey for 2013”.  The average annual compensation for security professional rose 4 percent to $138,000 per year.  One of the factors driving the salary increases is obtaining one or more of the various security professional certifications.  For example, those who had certification as Information Systems Security Professionals had the highest salaries with a median salary of $141,000 (medians are the midpoint of a range).  Certifications allow the private sector to compare individuals.  We may understand the difference between an FBI special agent and a DEA special agent, however; the Human Resources groups of corporations may not.  Certifications are an investment in your future but they take time and money.  If you are contemplating a second career, look at the various types of certifications available.  Remember, women in the Security field represent only 10% of their workforce and they are looking to increase their ranks.  The skill sets that you bring to your present position (such as a collaborative leadership, communication, etc.) are also what many corporations need.

Agency Email Security

As a many of you may have heard, one of the federal agencies had a security breach that caused them to shut down their email system temporarily.  If you have used your government email address for your WIFLE membership, please consider switching it to a personal email address.  From time-to-time, WIFLE emails are caught up (blocked) in the security upgrades.  This affects our ability to communicate with members.

International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference & Exposition, October 24-28, 2014

WIFLE is a member of the Civil Rights Committee and the Diversity Panel of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).  Topics of discussion at the recent Civil Rights Committee meeting were: (1) addressing the issues surrounding “Ferguson,” (2) the use of consent decrees, and (3) voluntary measures that departments can take to prevent being placed under consent degrees.  In a meeting of the Diversity Panel, one of the key topics was updating the IACP model “Pregnancy Policy.”  This document is on hold as the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case, on December 3, 2014, concerning pregnancy accommodation.  The defendant in this case, United Parcel Service (UPS) has reversed its internal policy on accommodating pregnancy.

WIFLE’s 1st Half Marathon

DON’T FORGET!   The first WIFLE Half Marathon will be March 22, 2015, at 7:30am at the Prince William Forest Park, Dumfries, Virginia.  You can sign up to run by going to the WIFLE website at www.wifle.org. Can’t make it to Virginia?  You can sign up to do the run remotely!  Not a runner?  Please become a volunteer.  WIFLE will need many volunteers the day before and the day of the race. 

The proceeds of the race will benefit the WIFLE Scholarship Fund.  If you would like to donate separately to the scholarship fund, you may send a check to:  “WIFLE Scholarship Fund”, 2200 Wilson Blvd. Suite 102, PMB 204 Arlington, VA 22201, OR donate on-line at the WIFLE website.


Why Not Join WIFLE Today as a LIFE Member!

When you join WIFLE as a LIFE Member today, the LIFE Membership comes with the only challenge coin issued by the WIFLE organization.  Designed especially for WIFLE, the coin is limited issue and available only until our supply is exhausted.

About the WIFLE challenge coin:

The WIFLE challenge coin is unique and of the highest manufactured quality.  The design and dies were hand-created for WIFLE.  Made of high density brass and finished with a 24kt gold plating, it is bright, shiny, and a desirable collectible.  The details are hand-painted in enamel and the size is 1.75.ʺ  The great attention to detail provides WIFLE with a challenge coin of the finest quality and unlike any others you may have seen.  Spread the word and get your coin today!

A LIFE Membership is only $500.00.  Use the first link below to view the WIFLE challenge coin.  Use the second link below to join WIFLE as LIFE Member and receive your limited-issue challenge coin now.

 


Best Wishes from WIFLE for a Wonderful Holiday!