TO: Council Leaders
FROM: Susan M. Kent, President
DATE: February 19, 2013
The Kent/Garcia Administration was elected in June 2012 and took Office on August 1 of that year. Some of you have been Council Leaders for many years and others of you are new to the job like we are.
A quick overview of Divisions is that our Union, The Public Employees Federation (PEF) has 240 Divisions representing 54,000 members throughout New York State. Each of these 240 Divisions is part of one of the 12 Regions in PEF. As Council Leader, you have been elected as the Leader of a PEF Division and by accepting this position have been entrusted with ensuring that members of your Division are provided with information and assistance pertaining to their terms and conditions of employment. PEF has put Division Standards in place to ensure that all divisions are functioning at a high level of performance. It is important for you, as the leader of your Division, to set an example for your members by exhibiting a high work ethic, integrity, trust, confidentiality, commitment to PEF, the community we serve and the labor movement.
I was a Council Leader at the State Education Department for 12 years prior to being elected PEF President. I know the intense level of responsibility and stress that comes with the job of a Council Leader. I also know the immense satisfaction that is felt when we assist members and prevent and right wrongs that have been done to them. I also know that in order for you to be successful in your job as Council Leader, you should be able to rely on the support of your members, Executive Board representatives, Regional Coordinator, the Vice Presidents, Secretary-Treasurer Garcia and me.
At the last meeting of the Executive Council, which includes the 12 Regional Coordinators, 3 Vice Presidents, 3 Trustees, the Secretary-Treasurer and me, one of the major discussions that took place related to the need for improving communication from Council Leaders, as well as greater participation of Council Leaders and their members in Regional and Statewide PEF issues and activities. We know that communication works both ways, so we are committed to making sure that we, as the Statewide Leaders and Trustees of PEF, invest in efforts to move PEF forward and give you all the support you need to be part of the solution for PEF and the many challenges we and our members face. One basic way to improve our Union is to make sure that Council Leaders are holding meetings with their members and that they are informing their Regional Coordinator of Division meetings. This is a simple communication that is so very important to the health of our Union, so if this is an issue that you need to address, please do so expeditiously. This is an opportune time for you to hold a member meeting to convey budget priorities to your members and to work with your Regional Coordinator on regional fight-back campaigns.
In the coming months there will be many changes that I will be communicating with you and I ask that you let me know your ideas for PEF, and concerns you may have as well. Communication is one area we know needs improving. Please send us your ideas about how we can better communicate with our members - in addition to the Communicator and website postings. Please ensure that PEF has your correct contact information, including home and work addresses, phone numbers and email addresses by contacting my Office at (518) 785-1900, ext. 211.
Thank you for being a leader in our Union and for the work you do every day on the job for the community and for the members of your Division.