NARFE Decides Not To Hold Referendum On Extending Current President’s Term

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By on July 23, 2017 in Current Events with 0 Comments
NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen

NARFE National President Richard G. Thissen

In a six-to-five vote, the NARFE National Executive Board (NEB) has decided to not hold a referendum on whether to allow the NARFE National President to seek a third term of office.

Current bylaws limit the National President to two consecutive two-year terms, and some NARFE members had expressed their opposition to changing the rules for the current president, Richard G. Thissen, whose term expires in 2018.

The vote was held during a meeting of the NARFE National Executive Board (NEB) on July 13, 2017.

Jon Dowie, NARFE National Secretary/Treasurer and Strategic Planning Committee chair, has left the door open to re-visit this decision in the future.

“The NEB voted not to advance the referendum.  In so doing, the NEB acted on the timing of this resolution. The NEB did not vote on the proposed resolution itself. Under the NARFE bylaws and resolutions process, any resolution may be presented to the full membership for a vote at some point in the future,” writes Mr. Dowie in an email. [Italics in original email.]

If the NEB had approved the referendum, ballots would have been e-mailed to members with e-mail addresses and included in the August 2017 issue of NARFE Magazine. Any members’ referendum on the question of a third term of office needed to be conducted before ballots were prepared for next year’s national officer elections.

It is understood that after the vote on July 13, the special insert had to be hurriedly withdrawn from the August issue before it was mailed to members this week.

The controversy comes at a time when Congress is considering changes to Federal compensation and benefits that are opposed by NARFE, so the referendum might have caused divisions among its members, weakening the organization at a time when NARFE feels it needs to present a united front.

“The 10 regional vice presidents and the two officers are the elected representatives of the membership, and the majority prevailed,” wrote Mr. Dowie. “We are all eager to move forward and focus on the essential work NARFE does every day to provide unparalleled information to members and to advocate for their earned rights and benefits.  Bylaws and resolutions are important governance resources in any membership association, but this issue has not and will not distract NARFE leaders across the country from continuing to strengthen and grow the organization.”

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About the Author

Michael Wald is a public affairs consultant and writer based in the Atlanta area. He specializes in topics related to government and labor issues. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Department of Labor, he served as the agency’s Southeast Regional Director of Public Affairs and Southeast Regional Economist.