IMG_4835From SEA Executive John Norris;

Good afternoon,
You should have all seen NASCOE’s response to the new office structure model that management discussed with the board this past week in D.C. Please see the information written by NASCOE President Mark VanHoose after a conference call held this morning.
“This morning management held a conference call with association presidents and unions to discuss the Secretary’s announcement of the CBS strategy.  NASCOE and NAFEC were on the call.  Some general points made during the call:
  • With Farm Bill implementation FSA is under the microscope right now.
  • They are doing workload modeling:  trying to determine where staff should be.  An agreed upon formula is needed.  This will assist in determining where people should be and where Central, Branch and satellite offices should be.  As we proceed through the Farm Bill some tweaking will be needed on the formula.
  • I as I understood management’s comments the 250 office closures are those not worthy of satellite status.
  • They talked about “modernizing” our mission.  This is the same thing we heard in WDC about being the “go to” for all information requests from the public on USDA programs.
  • They are working forward on fleshing out the CBS strategy but do not want it to interfere with Farm Bill implementation.
  • They made comments about being concerned about employees and making sure employees are treated fairly in the process as we transition.  I asked about timeline for implementation and asked if that concern stretched to CED’s not having to compete against each other for the CED job.  Greg said that he couldn’t take competing off the table.  Reasonable commutes for PT’s was also brought up on the call and it was said that was an important consideration in the process.  No timeline for implementation was given.
  • I asked if the CBS was just more of what we were doing now as far as shared management.  Juan said it is still a work in process but to consider that a bank branch office doesn’t provide as many services as the central office.  Many times that bank branch will send applications to the central office for processing.
  • I also asked what the role of the county committee would be in this concept.  Juan asked me to be more specific.  I asked if the county committee authority to hire a CED would continue and he said it would and he did not expect the law to change.  I then made the point that it would seem only a CED could be the officer manager in that scenario. “
Management is seeking comments and feedback from associations and unions. Therefore I need each state to put together a list of things they want to be included in this process. I need this information no later than April 11 so that I will have time to get it back to the NASCOE board for approval and then it will go to management.
Thank you for your help on this item. Please contact me if you have any questions.
John Norris
SEA Executive