2020-2021 NASCOE Annual Report Released

NASCOE’s By-Laws dictate the Secretary shall keep an accurate record of all transactions of the Association, including minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The By-Laws also state that the Secretary shall give an annual report to the Association.  NASCOE’s Executive Policies state the Secretary’s Report should contain information pertinent to the NASCOE year, including but not limited to: a list of Officers, Executive Committee, National Chairs, and Board of Directors; material and financial assets of the association; Negotiation Items; budget information; and Executive Committee minutes. Additionally any changes to NASCOE’s Constitution and By-Laws, the NASCOE Travel Policy, the Executive Committee Policies, or other major revisions of policies or procedure should be included. The Executive Policies also state that the Report is to be posted on the NASCOE website.  The 2020-2021 Annual Report has been compiled according to policy and formatted similarly to recent years.

2021 NASCOE Annual Report
9.2 MB PDF, opens in a new window

Final NASCOE Convention Reminders

Greetings NASCOE Convention Members and Guests,

We’re now just a few days from the 2021 NASCOE National Convention in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We know that many of you will be departing soon so we wanted to share some updated convention information and reminders to folks before they get on the road.

  • NEW:  Additional COVID-19 safety measures may be implemented by USDA in the upcoming days.  As such, FSA has determined at this late hour that they will not be participating in the convention, either in person or virtual.
  • Management will likely require individuals to quarantine upon return from personal travel.  This may depend on your individual vaccination status.  You should communicate with your supervisor or State Office to determine if there is a need for quarantine or telework upon returning from the convention.
  • NEW:  Regular temperature screenings will be implemented for members participating in NASCOE sponsored events.
  • NEW:  An emphasis will be placed on socializing responsibly outside of NASCOE events.
  • The NASCOE Executive Committee has determined that NASCOE will follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the 2021 National Convention.  We will not be distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals during official functions, therefore NASCOE will be requiring all attendees, volunteers, and vendors to adhere to the CDC protocols for unvaccinated individual for large events found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/large-gatherings.html.
  • NASCOE has put into place precautionary measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 among attendees, however all attendees and their guests will need to acknowledge the risks associated with attending the National Convention by completing a release of liability form at registration.  The release can be reviewed ahead of time by visiting the NASCOE website at https://nascoe.org/convention-information/2021-nascoe-convention/.  While we hope it doesn’t come to it, any attendee, NASCOE member or otherwise, who does not follow the requirements will be asked to leave the convention.
  • To the greatest extent possible, you should practice social distancing while at the convention.  The CDC recommends staying 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household.  Remember, some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

  • Monitor your health daily.  Watch for fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as well as other symptoms https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.  Do not travel to the convention if you have these symptoms or have recently tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting on COVID-19 results, or have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sharing of items is discouraged.  Consider bringing your own pens, paper, and any other items needed for the meetings.  Bringing a personal water bottle for individual use is also highly encouraged.

While these measures may seem extraneous, there is nothing more important to NASCOE than the safety of our members.  This has been true throughout the pandemic as we’ve worked and communicated both internally and with National Office leadership. 

With the appropriate precautions, we know that everyone will be able to have a great time while appreciating that they and their fellow members are as safe as possible.

Thank you for your support and cooperation,

NASCOE Officers 

How We’re Planning to Stay Safe at the Convention

We’re now just about two weeks from the 2021 NASCOE National Convention in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it’s time to get excited!!  It’s been too long since many of us were able to see each other in person and this year’s convention is shaping up to be a fantastic event.

We hope that you’ve been hearing a lot of exciting details about the National Convention and there will certainly be more information to follow.  Unfortunately, we know that the COVID-19 pandemic is still significantly impacting our lives, both in and out of work.  This bulletin/email is intended to focus on COVID-19 safety protocols and to remind attendees of some best practices as they prepare for the upcoming trip.  It’s going to be important that everyone does their part to behave in a safe and responsible manner leading up to, during, and after the convention. 

  • The NASCOE Executive Committee has determined that NASCOE will follow the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the 2021 National Convention.  We will not be distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals during official functions, therefore NASCOE will be requiring all attendees, volunteers, and vendors to adhere to the CDC protocols for unvaccinated individual for large events found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/large-gatherings.html.
  • NASCOE has put into place precautionary measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 among attendees, however all attendees and their guests will need to acknowledge the risks associated with attending the National Convention by completing a release of liability form at registration.  The release can be reviewed ahead of time by visiting the NASCOE website at https://nascoe.org/convention-information/2021-nascoe-convention/.  While we hope it doesn’t come to it, any attendee, NASCOE member or otherwise, who does not follow the requirements will be asked to leave the convention.
  • To the greatest extent possible, you should practice social distancing while at the convention.  The CDC recommends staying 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household.  Remember, some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  
  • Monitor your health daily.  Watch for fever, cough, and shortness of breath, as well as other symptoms https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.  Do not travel to the convention if you have these symptoms or have recently tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting on COVID-19 results, or have had close contact with a person who has tested positive for or who has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sharing of items is discouraged.  Consider bringing your own pens, paper, and any other items needed for the meetings.  Bringing a personal water bottle for individual use is also highly encouraged.
  • Management may require individuals to quarantine upon return from personal travel.  This may depend on your individual vaccination status.  You should communicate with your supervisor or State Office to determine if there is a need for quarantine or telework upon returning from the convention.

While these measures may seem extraneous, there is nothing more important to NASCOE than the safety of our members.  This has been true throughout the pandemic as we’ve worked and communicated both internally and with National Office leadership. 

With the appropriate precautions, we know that everyone will be able to have a great time while appreciating that they and their fellow members are as safe as possible.

Thank you for your support and cooperation,

NASCOE Officers 

Introducing NASCOE’s Technology Coordinator

Photograph of NASCOE Technology Coordinator, Sarah Francowic
Sarah Francowic of Pennsylvania has been appointed NASCOE’s Technology Coordinator.

Recently NASCOE put out a call to our members for candidates to fill a newly created Technology Coordinator position.  This position was created by the Executive Committee to manage our existing digital infrastructure as well as well as assist in adopting various new digital solutions. 

We are excited to announce that Sarah Francowic has been appointed as our new Technology Coordinator.  Sarah is currently a Program Technician in Greensburg, PA. Prior to working with FSA, she graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual Bachelor’s in Journalism, Multimedia and Digital Culture.  She also received a Master of Science from Northeastern University in Global Studies and International Relations.  She held an internship with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. where her duties included assisting with their intranet and updating the website to make it more user friendly. She also spent time functioning as a Public Affairs Specialist drafting and editing original content for their Twitter account and LinkedIn page.

For the last two years she has performed contract work as a Social Media Coordinator for a growing clinical research company, increasing their brand awareness.  “I have always loved learning new things, taking on new adventures, and perfecting my skills – I enjoy taking on new projects and helping others so we can all learn and grow! I look forward to learning more about NASCOE and beginning my role with the association to assist in any capacity I can.” You will all start hearing more from Sarah as she begins her work as the Technology Coordinator.  She will also be working with the Executive Committee, National Chairs, and members in general to identify pain points and make recommendations for potential IT solutions.  Feel free to send any suggestions or welcome her to the NASCOE team by emailing her at

Candidacy Announcement Reminder

NASCOE Secretary, Richard Csutoras reminds members that NASCOE will post to the NASCOE Website announcements of persons desiring to run for any NASCOE office. In order to be published on the NASCOE website, announcements must be received by the Secretary no later than May 15.

All announcements will be posted at the same time as soon after June 1 as practical. In no way is this to be construed that announcements must be publicized in this manner as candidates may, if they so desire, initiate their own mailing.

Please transmit any Candidacy Announcements to NASCOE Secretary, Richard Csutoras at . Announcements must be received no later than May 15, 2021.

If no announcement for an Officer, Area Executive or Alternate Area Executive is received by May 15, a statement will be placed on the NASCOE Website that no candidates have announced at this time for the respective position(s).

Neither the NASCOE newsletter nor area bulletins are to be used for announcements of candidates. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that the announcement has been correctly posted.

Negotiations: Your idea could be NASCOE’s next major win!

NASCOE’s labor management agreement states that NASCOE has exclusive rights to represent County Employees in negotiations with management and USDA. Once a year the NASCOE Executive Committee, along with consultants from each area, take your submissions (after scrubbing your PII) straight to Washington D.C. where we sit down with DAFO, DAFP, Program Specialists, Budget specialists, and anybody else that might be needed to consult on these topics. These meetings are formal but productive, and they have yielded some very successful and tangible results.

Many of you know that the Key PT positions was the result of NASCOE negotiations with FSA. The Leadership Excellence program for PTs and CED’s getting FSFL loan recommendation authority are also both great examples of FSA leadership not only listening to your suggestions but implementing them. NASCOE also regularly submits items concerning shared management, performance, WebTA codes, and so much more.

Negotiations are your voice to FSA and USDA and they can be a powerful benefit for membership. We are busier than ever implementing the Farm Bill, Trade Programs, and Disaster Programs. I am confident that we out in the field have some really great ideas on how to be more efficiently and effectively deliver these programs. Let NASCOE help you get them up to leadership.

As you know, 2020 has been an atypical year. We are still working with DAFO on the 2020 Negotiation session and hope to get resolution on those items soon. We know there were a lot of important submissions that our members need action on as soon as possible and we’re committed to that goal. However, we are also moving forward with 2021 Negotiations with the expectation our timeframes and processes will be more inline with traditional years. We have already collected many great ideas and there is still time for you to send in your concerns and suggestions. You can send in items through your area consultant or directly from the submission form on the NASCOE website. The Deadline for submissions is December 1st, so please get those sent in soon! Your idea could be next major NASCOE win!

New NASCOE Position: Technology Coordinator

Our lives are increasingly affected by modern technologies that improve the way we live and work. Whether we are talking about communicating with others, tracking assignments, getting forms signed, sending and receiving funds, archiving documents, etc., the solution is now typically digital. At work we use instant messaging, online surveys, digital signatures and more. We rely on tools like SharePoint and GovDelivery. At home we increasingly go online or use apps on our phone to get our news, research issues, or even shop for our groceries.

NASCOE currently utilizes some of these measures, including hosting a website and sending bulletins through an email service. However, recently the Executive Committee has recognized that adopting more of these technologies would provide an opportunity to better conduct business and serve our members. Those technologies that we are using fall under the Webmaster position which is currently an ancillary duty for our Publicity Chair. These IT duties already take up a lot of time and adding new digital solution would be beyond challenging for any existing committee chair. Therefore, the Executive Committee is looking to establish a Technology Coordinator Position to help manage our existing infrastructure as well as assist in adopting various new digital solutions.

NASCOE has approximately 6000 members made up of a diverse group of people from all over the country. We know that many of you not only use these technologies daily, but some of you have detailed knowledge or experience in implementing them. Now is a great opportunity to assist NASCOE in improving or building key infrastructure that could assist your fellow members. Some potential responsibilities are listed below. This is a unique chance to help influence the creation of a national level position from the ground up. So if you have skills or even a passion in elements like web design, app management, database management, or any other IT solution, please reach out. Even if you are not interested in the Technology Coordinator position but possess these talents, please consider letting us know and volunteering.

In order to be considered, please send a brief introduction of yourself and your attributes, skills, and/or abilities to the NASCOE President at . NASCOE positions can take up a substantial amount of volunteer time, so please indicate your general availability.

Potential Responsibilities and Duties

  • Assist Executive Committee (EC) with questions and issues regarding access and use of NASCOE infrastructure. Examples include assisting with logging in, setting up meetings, troubleshooting errors, etc.
  • Implement automated NASCOE processes and forms
  • Develop and maintain cloud based repositories, such as OneDrive and SharePoint. This includes designing interfaces, educating users, and enforcing good IT policies
  • Create, maintain, and refresh a modernized and user-friendly website
  • Research beneficial technology for the association, makes recommendations to the EC, and works with contractors to implement as directed.

Qualifications

  • A passion or hobby for technology
  • Approachable and patient
  • Works well independently or as part of a team
  • An ability to prioritize and delegate
  • Problem-solving skills
  • A keen eye for detail

Download Flyer

Tech-Coordinator-Bulletin

2020 NASCOE Convention Update

Greetings NASCOE Members,

As you are likely aware, the NASCOE Board of Directors recently met via conference call.  The sole item of business was to consider how we should move forward with the 2020 National Convention in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.  NASCOE finds itself in an unprecedented situation and the safety of our members and partners must be our number one concern.  Additionally, NASCOE also has an obligation to limit the potential liability to our association.  After much consideration, the Board of Directors voted to cancel the 2020 National Convention in Savannah, GA.  This decision was not taken lightly, and we want to personally thank all the individual Board members (two from each state) for their preparation, diligence, and careful weighing of the choices. 

NASCOE’s National Convention is primarily our annual business meeting.  While we won’t able to conduct that face-to-face this year, we still plan on having an annual meeting in some fashion.  Research has begun on alternatives to allow us to have a virtual meeting.  The alternatives would facilitate our elections, area breakouts, committee updates, and as many of the business functions of the convention as possible.  We’ll be engaging membership in how best to accomplish this and welcome your suggestions.

One can hardly count all the benefits that NASCOE brings, but fellowship and community are toward the top of the list.  We know that it is disappointing that we won’t be able to see each other, share stories and enjoy each other’s company.  However, these challenges won’t last forever and before you know it, we’ll all be together in Fort Wayne, IN for the 2021 convention.  We will also get to experience the hospitality of Georgia, as they will now host us in Savannah in 2022.

Thank you all for everything you do and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Rick Csutoras and Curt Houk
National Convention Co-Chairs