February 8, 2019
At the Maryland Federation Board Meeting on February 5, there were several members who asked what NARFE did during the partial government shutdown. Our Maryland President Dr. Gary Roundtree Sr. made National President (NatPres) Ken Thomas aware of these concerns through our Region II Vice President KathyAdams. In response, National President Thomas has provided a list of what he and NARFE did during that time. See below. There is also email following from the Region II Vice President and from a member expressing his concerns.
Setting the Record Straight
During the partial government shutdown:
NARFE’s natpres’ partial government shutdown statements were quoted in more than fifty media pieces distributed by national media outlets and carried by the Washington Post, NPR, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, UnionTrack, Federal News Network, Federal Times, Huffington Post, Government Matters, and others;
The natpres participated in a live thirty minute round table shutdown discussion with Maryland’s two U.S. senators carried by several media outlets including WBAL;
The natpres was interviewed and participated in a live fifty minute Mike Causey government shutdown radio show carried by WTOP and the Federal News Network;
The natpres was interviewed and filmed about the government shutdown for forty-five minutes by reporters from local CBS affiliate WUSA-TV9 and was the lead in story for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news hours, and for two additional TV stories on the government shutdown;
The natpres was interviewed about the government shutdown during a live broadcast by WMAU;
The natpres with Jessica Klement conducted the forty minute “NARFE Shutdown: Get Answers-Take Action” webinar broadcast to all NARFE members;
The natpres issued/tweeted eleven government shutdown related messages;
The natpres was instrumental in the NARFE/FEEA shutdown emergency grant program which distributed more than $41,000 to over four hundred furloughed or excepted service government employees/NARFE members;
The natpres contacted the District of Columbia and Maryland federations’ presidents to ask their members’ assistance during the shutdown with distributing NARFE related material at Metro stations and government facilities in their area; and, unlike my good friend Mr. Cox at AFGE,
The NARFE national president was not arrested, dragged out of the Hart Senate Office Building in handcuffs, taken to D.C. Jail, and bonded out for failure to comply with a lawful order to vacate a federal building. Guess I missed an opportunity.
From: Kathleen Adams
Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 7:11 PM
To: Kenneth Thomas
Cc: Barbara Sido; Kathryn Hensley
Subject: Fwd: Clarification
Hi Ken: I spent Monday and Tuesday with the Maryland Federation and some felt NARFE missed a great opportunity. Please see attached.
RVP Region II
Begin forwarded message from NARFE/MD member:
Date: February 6, 2019 at 5:47:16 PM EST
After yesterday’s session, I thought it important to clarify something with you. When I raised the issue of the rally to support the feds subjected to the government shutdown, I was not in any way referring to you.. It was not your responsibility and it is important to me that you understand that I was not talking about you in any way.
I was talking specifically about the national president and for good reason. The attendees at the rally were not identified as Democrats or Republicans; they were all impacted federal employees. They were all also active feds, the very group of people we want to recruit for membership and about whom we continually complain we can’t reach because we can’t get access within the federal agency.
We missed a golden opportunity to have NARFE join in as a partner with AFGE, NTEU, NFFE and other participating federal organizations who support the shutdown victims and who had their presidents address the massive turnout. We were not there and, regardless of whatever we have done as on organization in support of these feds, nothing would have provided NARFE with the notoriety that participation by our president would have.
It was an opportunity to get our name the exposure needed to attract new members and our national president was likely in Alexandria instead of joining with the other organization presidents to make us known among all of those current federal employees participating in the rally or watching the coverage by the news media..
I find any missed opportunity to be disturbing.
Kathy – I have no problem if this is shared with the national president and I hope, if you do, he finds it constructive.