NATIONAL COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS
National Council of
Social Security Management Associations
The 46th Annual NCSSMA Meeting
Friday, January 22, 2016
The 46th annual NCSSMA meeting was held October 27 - 29, 2015, in Oakland, California. The meeting addressed the annual business of the association by electing new officers, passing resolutions and receiving updates from special guests.
The meeting began Tuesday with welcome messages from San Francisco Regional Commissioner, Grace Kim, Bay Area Director, Norma Braswell, and San Francisco Regional Management Association President, Luis Salas.
Dr. Reginald Wells, Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources, spoke to the delegation about some of the major issues facing Human Resource managers within the agency. He provided an update on some of the initiatives the agency is working on regarding hiring, the Pathways program, upcoming contract negotiations, and improvements to the training and mentoring programs offered by the agency. He specifically referred to the successes of the JELP program and the national mentoring program, as well as new initiatives designed to strengthen the SkillsConnect program.
Questions and concerns raised by the delegation focused on Labor-Management relations, hiring, and the PACS appraisal system. Dr. Wells offered his full support of agency managers not having to be subjected to unprofessional and abusive behavior, when the issue of the decorum of some AFGE representatives was raised. He stated the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service considers SSA a model agency within the Federal government for our Labor-Management relationship and collaboration. While he acknowledges managers’ concerns over the appearance that the Acting Commissioner favors Labor, he stated that where there is a clear institutional role, the ACOSS firmly believes those areas clearly remain with the agency.
Erik Jones, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Operations, also spoke to the delegation. He began by covering the across-the-board accomplishments by Operations components in FY 2015; including the opening of new CDIUs, MySocialSecurity registrations and enhancements, the telework pilot, hitting the 50,000 CQ review milestone, and the Relationships Matter training. He provided updates on upcoming initiatives and focus areas, including backlogs in the Payment Services Centers, continued focus on paper workloads, quality, the new DIB appointment PSI, and upcoming additional online options, including iSSNRC, i632, and non-medical iAppeals.
Questions and concerns raised by the delegation focused on awards and Labor-Management relations, specifically relating to unprofessional and abusive behavior by some AFGE representatives. Regarding awards, Erik explained that award money is capped and contractual obligations earmark some of the funds and the remaining amounts go towards non-bargaining unit; which explains the disparity in bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit award amounts. Additional questions focused on the role of WSUs and the Technical Expert position expansion.
John Morenz, Chief Technology Officer, spoke to the delegation regarding IT modernization projects and fielded questions regarding agency systems. He provided an update on the agency’s testing of utilizing Cloud-based services where it makes good business sense for SSA. With IT modernization, one of the struggles has been consistent funding, and Morenz notes, the agency is pushing for “no-year” funding which will give Systems more flexibility and security to complete projects without constantly needing to juggle resources. IT modernization focuses on 75% code, 10% data, and 15% infrastructure. Morenz explained that Systems is utilizing more of a modern development environment approach when designing applications which offers continuous development, testing, and rollout, permitting programmers to release enhancements on a more regular basis instead of pushing out big changes less frequently. Additional exciting updates include the push to bring WiFi technology to field offices in support of the SDS laptops.
Questions and concerns raised by the delegation focused on user involvement during testing and bandwidth. Morenz noted that Systems is utilizing the agile development approach to programming where it makes sense. This approach places the developers and product owners together for two-week periods, allowing for constant feedback and tweaking to ensure the program continues to meet the users’ needs. End-users are also integrated into this process by way of Details to help ensure new programs meet the needs of those in the field who utilize the applications. Bandwidth is the capacity to move data from site to site. The more data that is moving across the network at any-one time, bogs down the ability for other data to traverse the network. The biggest user of bandwidth is video and Morenz notes that additional bandwidth will be purchased as the budget allows.
Next, debate began on the association’s resolutions, which guide the work of NCSSMA for the coming year. Most of the resolutions passed with little debate or controversy. Resolutions garnering extra attention included those related to Vision 2025, the role of WSUs, representative payee accountings, iClaim PSI, NSBR, and third-party representatives. In total, twenty-one resolutions were adopted and an additional three were referred to committee for consideration.
During the banquet held on Wednesday evening, NCSSMA presented several special honor awards.
Jim Burkert Membership Award – New in 2015, this award was established by NCSSMA to recognize the efforts made by Area Representatives and State VPs in membership recruiting.
This year’s awardees were Jan Still (DM Bellevue, WA), Marilyn Monderer (Workload Manager, Boston, MA), Jeri Fields (DM, Ironton, OH), and Hal Golio (DM, White Plains, NY).
Jan recruited eight new members for NWMA as the key person in a centralized regional recruiting effort that involved personal contacts at Area and TSC meetings. Marilyn recruited nine new members for NESSMA by monitoring vacancy announcements and then e-mailing welcome information to the people selected. Jeri recruited thirteen new members for CSSMA by e-mailing and calling non-members and providing hospitality at Area meetings. Hal played a part in recruiting 42 new members in NYRMS by leading a region-wide membership drive in the spring and other recruitment efforts throughout the year.
Special Achievement Award – NCSSMA President, Rick Warsinskey, presented a special achievement award to Jari Frassenei (DM, Pocatello, ID). Jari’s active involvement in NCSSMA and NWMA dates back to 2004. In her role as NCSSMA Secretary for 2013-2015, Jari did an excellent job in timely providing meeting minutes, coordinating the assignment of IRD comments, and always providing extensive suggestions on how we can address issues that need to be improved both from a policy and management standpoint.
Community Service Award – This award, presented annually, was established by NCSSMA to recognize public service by association members within their communities. To be eligible, you must be a NCSSMA member in good standing, and provide information regarding your involvement in your community within the past three years.
This year’s winner was Bernard O’Nan (DM, Ashland, KY).
Bernard has dedicated his personal time to working with a number of clubs and organizations that give back to the community. He is active with the Rotary Club, which provides support to school programs and scholarships. Bernard is also the chair of the local Council on Aging and serves on the YMCA Board. He actively participates on the United Way Board and serves on the City Planning Commission. Bernard has also supported his community by delivering meals for the Meals on Wheels program for the last ten years.
Joseph P. Collins Award – This award, presented annually, was established by NCSSMA to recognize a member, who during the preceding year has done the most to further the objectives of the National Council. To be eligible for the award, you must be a NCSSMA member in good standing who has made substantial contributions with the objectives of NCSSMA at the forefront. This award is the highest honor bestowed by NCSSMA and represents the dedication of employees who believe they can make a difference and who contribute to the organization at a national level.
This year’s winner was Chris Detzler (DM, Vancouver, WA).
Chris was the President of NWMA and Chair of the Automation Committee in 2015. He was successful in developing a national membership management database and implementing it over the course of several months. Completion of this task required him to develop the database AND reconcile the membership records and practices of all ten regional management associations. He was successful in getting all ten regions to adopt its use because it marked a definite improvement over current processes. Furthermore, his development of this database discovered an ongoing underpayment of dues to NCSSMA and produced a more accurate measure of our membership numbers and percentage of eligible management who have joined.
Congratulations to this year’s award recipients.
Elections were held to select the NCSSMA officers for 2016.
• President – Rick Warsinskey, District Manager, Cleveland Downtown, Ohio
• Vice-President – Chris Detzler, District Manager, Vancouver, Washington
• Secretary – Karla Montemayor, District Manager, Bakersfield East, California
• Treasurer – Judi Lange, District Manager, Lakewood, Colorado
• TSC Representative – Dorrie Pedalino, TSC Manager, East Brunswick, New Jersey
• Immediate Past President – Scott Hale, District Manager, Mobile, Alabama
• Executive Officer – Joe Dirago, District Manager, Newburgh, New York
The 2016 meeting will be hosted by the Chicago Social Security Management Association from August 15 – 18, 2016, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By Shane Van Matre