Kentucky Association of FSA County Office Employees



Feedback from SEA Rally

Posted on April 19, 2018 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (18)

Congratulations to KASCOE members elected into NASCOE Leadership

Posted on August 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM Comments comments (0)
News from the National Convention:

Dana McKinney will serve as NASCOE Programs Chairperson.

Micki Crider will serve as NASCOE Emblems Chairperson.

Dawn Ovesen will serve as SEA Alternate Exec.

Summary of the April 27, 2017, Directors Meeting

Posted on April 28, 2017 at 11:11 AM Comments comments (10)
Official minutes will be posted at a later date when approved, but the following is an informal summary of the recent KASCOE Directors Meeting. 

  • Membership is currently 82% of permanent COF Employees.  Currently, there are 19 Associate Members. 
  • Scholarship Committee report resulted in two state scholarships being awarded.  The winners are Cheyenne Perry (Traditional), and Kassandra Hamilton (Open).
  • Because national scholarship program rules and categories have expanded over the past couple of years, it was evident that Kentucky needed to update our state-level policy.  For future years, the state will award one $500 Traditional Scholarship, one $250 Associate Scholarship, and consider other scholarship applications only if there is additional funding available.  As is currently policy for Traditional/Associate scholarships, Kentucky will follow NASCOE rules for any categories that are considered at the state level, in the future. 
  • Programs Report reflected 15 Programs Suggestions have been sent in this year from the Southeast Area, with 6 being from Kentucky.  All employees were encouraged to continue to utilize this process through the NASCOE website. 
  • Benefits Committee report announced that Holiday World is a new discount available to KASCOE members, with the discount code released in a 4/26/17 membership email. 
  • NAFEC Committee report included announcement that there are 29 COC members from Kentucky who participate in NAFEC, currently.  Coy extended appreciation for Debbie Wakefield having recently sent a state-wide email to COF's asking them to present the info to COCs.
  • Publicity report announced that the March Madness Bracket Challenge winners were Gidget Cropper, Jennifer Farmer, and Patricia Estes.
  • Dawn Ovesen gave a report from the SEA Rally.
  • Kenni Crane gave a Legislative Update and discussed the need to distribute the White Paper info that was recently sent out to members by KASCOE email to all federal legislators in the state.  There was a discussion that some had already been contacted, but all congressional offices need to receive the information.  It will be posted to the KASCOE website.
  • Convention Planning was discussed.  Participation in a State Convention has been down recently, so the Directors decided to forego a state convention this year, and plan to host the SEA rally in spring of 2018.  Preliminary ideas were to have in Lexington in April, in order to offer Keeneland as an activity to draw participants from the Area. 

Report from SEA Rally

Posted on April 17, 2016 at 10:37 PM Comments comments (117)
Southeast Area Rally April 6-9, 2016
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia was the beautiful location of the 2016 SEA Rally which was sponsored by GACOE (Georgia), SCASCOE (South Carolina), ALASCOE (Alabama), and FASCOE (Florida).
Kentucky was well represented with the following present and retired employees attending: Henry Ford, Emerson Rider, Roger Swatzell, Joyce Logsdon, Jeanie Williams, Laura Howell, Mildred Scarborough, Barry Allen, Dawn Ovesen, Dana McKinney, Micki Crider, Diane Dunn, Gera Ferguson, Marcinda Kester, Jenni Blandford (and family).
Friday meetings began with a welcome from SEA Executive David Curtis. We then heard from 5 SEA SEDs, who each gave some ag statistics and history for their state and then sang the praises to FSA employees for the awesome job they do daily serving producers and going above and beyond in their duties. Speaking were: Georgia SED, Dr. Fred Harrison, Jr.; South Carolina SED Wilfred Pace; Alabama SED Daniel Robinson; Florida SED Rick Dantzler; and Louisiana SED Craig McCain.
Speakers from the National Office included: Greg Diephouse, DAFO (Deputy Administrator for Field Operations); Brad Pfaff, DAFP (Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs); and Mark Rucker, Deputy Administrator for Management (DAM).
Greg Diephouse spoke about SED priorities and that he had recently shared the following should be the top 5 priorities for SEDs in their states: (1) Pay attention to customer service and programs (2) In addition to our programs, look toward innovation and how we can provide more. Bridges to Opportunity is in 20 states now, with positive results from both producers and state users. (3) Find new customers- Where do we want to be in the future? (4) Emphasis on workforce. A happy employee makes a happy customer. How can we make a more pleasant and positive work environment for our employees? We need to provide more opportunity, needed training, and awards. (5) Gears should be oiled and operations efficient. IT function improvement is a high priority.
Other speakers on Friday included:  Sarah Baker who represented the Southeast United Dairy Association, and Micki Linehan who represented RASCOE.
NASCOE President, Wes Daniels shared issues that were discussed during the negotiations meeting with management the week of March 28th. He pointed out that one of the hot issues with the agency was IT performance. He shared that recently management has hired a new Chief Information Officer, Darren Ash. We have high hopes for Mr. Ash. Though he has no farming background, he has extensive IT operating system background. Some of the ideas for improvement that he shared were that offices that have slower band width could be going to satellite in the future. States should send concerns to SEA Executive, David Curtis for the newly formed IT steering committee. David will then share these with NASCOE’s representative on the committee.
New workload tool is being developed by BPMS. The tool was shared with the negotiations team. The report will be at the county level in the near future, and we expect the initial numbers will appear low in the beginning.
Bridges to Opportunity was discussed by both Greg Diephouse and Wes. NASCOE will be supporting the Bridges to Opportunity (BTO) initiative. BTO is currently in 20 states and has positive reports from county offices that are using it. Darvin Collins, who a Texas CED of a shared management arrangement and is also the SWA Executive, has it in his office and has shared with us that he feels it will increase our workload. He has very positive things to say about BTO. This is exciting to hear from an employee who is actually using the software.
Handbook 22-PM will soon be updated to include RASOCE as the “official” retired employee association and retirees will be given information at retirement on how to join.
Banquet on Friday evening had surprises for KY! We were so proud! Scholarship winners announced were : Traditional scholarship for the SEA was Luke Estes from KY!! His mom is PT Patricia Estes in the Madisonville Service Center. (Woo Hoo!) Open continuing winner was Kristen Garrett from North Carolina. Distinguished Service Award winners were: DSA Service to FSA/Ag winner was John David McBryde II from North Carolina. DSA Service to NASCOE was Lindsey New from Kentucky!! (Woo Hoo!) DSA Service to Community winner was Donny Green from Tennessee.
Saturday we heard from SEA Presidents: Darby Hall from Georgia, Hugh Hunter from Florida, Renee Boykin from South Carolina, and Olivia McCray from Alabama.
JM Marketing gave a presentation, followed by Dillards Financial Solutions.
We then heard SEA Committee reports. Key issues shared: *New benefit called Working Advantage which gives discounts for apparel, theme parks, etc for NASCOE members, Contact your State benefits chair or President for the membership number *There will be an associate member scholarship in 2017 of $500, * Legislative Leadership training will be conducted in September, States can send up to 2 members for the training, * Emblems totals during the rally were $2200.  Also, $2800 from Live Auction and $2500 from Silent Auction *Please share NAFEC with your COCs.  Pam Rhodes will be happy to meet with them by phone during a meeting if you contact her.
The Rally was very information and enjoyable. Plans for next year are currently to have an All South Rally, with both the SEA and SWA in San Antonio, TX in 2017.

Notes from KASCOE Directors' Meeting; Meeting with STC

Posted on February 19, 2016 at 8:47 AM Comments comments (111)
On February 17, 2016, KASCOE Directors met at Residence Inn in Lexington, KY.  Full minutes will be shared at a later date, when approved.  The following is an overview of items addressed.

  • Membership Report - We have 82% membership of all current COF employees.  Also, 19 Associate Members.

  • Scholarship Report:

4 Traditional and 2 Open scholarship applications were received -- all from deserving candidates!  Sufficient funds are available to award all applicants a scholarship.  The Directors voted to fund all 6.  Check back later on our Scholarship page for more info!

Kentucky will offer a $250 Scholarship to Associate Members' children/grandchildren beginning in 2017.  NASCOE will be offering a similar program, and Kentucky's will match those forthcoming rules.

  • Kentucky plans to send 2 representatives to a Legislative/Leadership Conference to be conducted by NASCOE.
  • A March Madness Bracket Challenge will be held again this year.
  • Members are invited to attend and help with the upcoming KACS Zone Meeting.
  • Kentucky will now offer Member Benefits of Kentucky Kingdom and Louisville Zoo discounts.
  • Dana McKinney will serve as Kentucky's delegate at the SEA Rally, April 6-9 at Savannah, Georgia.  Several members plan to attend.
  • 2016 National Convention will be in Cedar Rapids Iowa, August 3-6.
  • State Convention planning for 2016 is underway.
  • Director Elections will be held this year, in September. 
  • Follow-up to communications meeting at CRP training was discussed.  Marcinda indicated that the reports calendar remains a priority that she nearly has this completed to share with COF users.
  • A new NASCOE Emblems provider is being announced and is linked to NASCOE.org website.
  • 2 DSA Nominations have been submitted from Kentucky.
  • Kevin Whitaker was presented with the Spirit of KASCOE Award.

On February 18, 2016, KASCOE had opportunity to meet for about 1 hour with the STC, SED, AO, FPC, and Administrative Specialist, Mitch Dunn.  The following issues were addressed.

  • Appreciation expressed to STC for authority to hire many new employees over the past year.
  • We presented the need for additional Mesonet stations, particularly in StrikeForce Counties.  SED and FPC will follow-up with partners to discuss this. 
  • KASCOE requested the STC reconsider the decision that CED's are not authorized to attend the upcoming COC Orientation sessions.  Concerns noted were attendance of COC members expected to be less if carpooling with CED doesn't occur.  Also, CED's feel like it is important for them to hear the same information concerning administrative matters and appeals.  The STC/SED will give consideration to our request.
  • Need for retirement training was discussed.  All-PT meetings will include presentations from Mark Stivers.  KASCOE suggested that additional trainings for new employees, mid-career employees, and those near retirement be held.  The STO agreed to evaluate the possibility of this, and to look at putting out a Notice with recommended resources for employees to access concerning retirement. 
  • KASCOE presented a concern from the field regarding timely processing of COC members' applications that have to go before the STC for approval. 

SEA Rally Registration/Agenda

Posted on January 4, 2016 at 10:52 AM Comments comments (0)
Information concerning the 2016 SEA Rally has been posted to the CONVENTIONS page.

SEA Cookbook fundraiser for Rally

Posted on December 21, 2015 at 7:23 AM Comments comments (0)

SEA Legislative Report

Posted on May 9, 2015 at 6:06 PM Comments comments (0)
SEA Legislative Report - read it HERE.

SEA Rally Information

Posted on March 25, 2015 at 8:49 AM Comments comments (9)
Dear NASCOE members and friends:
If you have not made plans to attend the NASCOE Southeast Area Rally in New Orleans, it is not too late. The dates are April 16 – 18. We should all be recuperated from ARC/PLC, by then. Get with a co-worker and plan your trip now. The deadline for our hotel room reservation block is 5:00 p.m. Wed., Mar 25th! Book NOW! We still have some rooms available at our reduced rate of $151.00 per night.
Thursday has several group tours available and you can still register and pay for those until 03/31/2015. Our fun family-friendly “Meet us in the Alley” social, is Thursday at 5. Be practicing your bowling skills!
Friday, both LA SED, Craig McCain, and MS’s SED, Michael Sullivan are welcoming us to the Business meeting’s General Session. Did you know Our NEW FSA Administrator, Val Dolcini, is our Key-Note Speaker? We are very fortunate to have him face-to face amongst us. Mark Rucker, the FSA Deputy Administrator for Management, and Kim Graham, Assistant to the Deputy Administrator of Farm Programs are slated for an afternoon question and answer panel with us. MS’s native FSA PLC&ARC Manager and NASCOE Supporter, Brent Orr, will be in attendance, as well. We have requested a total of 8 hours excused absence from work on Friday. Due to the number of outstanding state and agency management officials that will be speaking and participating in our meetings, the pending approval looks very promising! Our Benefit provider, Dillard Financial Solutions, Inc. is providing some much needed retirement training and giving away fantastic prizes in the popular Dillard’s Showcase Showdown.
Friday night is the group dinner with Awards presentations and auctions benefiting our Scholarship Program. You have to be present for the dinner to qualify for a chance to be in Dillard’s Showcase Showdown. Our very own AR CED, Scott Fancher, will be our auctioneer again this year and is fun, fast, and fantastic!
Saturday, Mark VanHoose, NASCOE President; and Wes Daniels, NASCOE Vice-President will be speaking and answering questions along with Cole Sims, NAFEC leadership and RASCOE.
Saturday night is open to enjoy free time in the city. The requested Ghosts & Spirits Tour is Saturday night at 7:15 p.m.
I really hope that you can work this event into your schedule and have the chance to meet our agency’s management and witness NASCOE in action. If you can’t find the time to participate throughout the entire event, attend the general assembly business meetings Friday morning and stay overnight for the Friday night functions.
1 attachment is the publicity with all of the links needed for your reservation and registrations; 2 attachment is the Business meetings agenda. 3 attachment is a map of our location with points of interest marked.
Best regards,
Lorie Holmes 2014-2015
MACOE President
2015 SEA Rally Co-Chair
* * * * *
A timeless city with a unique way of life, New Orleans is steeped in European traditions and Caribbean influences. The picturesque Big Easy calls curious minds to sweet sounds of jazz and the enchanting aroma of savory spices. New Orleans is an enticing, culturally rich haven…a sensory overload…a journey and a celebration…an authentic experience. New Orleans beckons the ears, allures the eyes and enchants the hearts of all who wish to explore it. After the meeting, explore your own New Orleans. Take the historic streetcar down a line of shady oak trees on St. Charles Avenue, enhance an art collection in the Warehouse / Arts District galleries, take a buggy ride through the historic French Quarter, and feast on authentic Cajun and Creole culinary delights that call Louisiana home.
Did you know you can be in a drawing for a $150 Visa card if your registration is POSTMARKED before Tuesday, March 3? (extended due to inclement weather)
The link to the registration form is on the attachment.
Updated SEA rally info:
  • All of the information is posted on NASCOE’s Southeast Area page. Visit www.seanascoe.org for forms.
  • Additional rooms have been added for Wednesday night. If you had to make your reservation outside of the block for Wednesday (only) at $259, call now and change it to within the SEA NASCOE block for $151.00. Call 800-305-6342.
  • There will be no extra charge for additional occupancies unless a rollaway bed is requested and then it’s $30.00 more a night. The rollaway cannot be placed in a room with 2 double beds. They are only able to fit in King rooms. Plan accordingly when booking.
  • Flat rate cab fare from Airport to hotel is $33.00 for (2) people, additional $14.00 for each person; The airport shuttle is $20.00 for (1) person but makes multiple stops before reaching your destination; Cab fare from Amtrak terminal is approximately $15.00 to hotel.
  • You can view the tour descriptions on the tour link, but the “purchase ticket” icon for the tours will not work on the gov’t computer. Forward it to your home computer to purchase tour tickets online. Or, complete the tour registration form and mail it directly to Grayline NOLA Steamboat Company, along with a check. Deadline for tour registrations is March 31.
  • Thursday Tours: Grayline Shuttle for Swamp & Bayou tour departs hotel lobby at 9:00 a.m. Minimal walking on Swamp tour. Enjoy the ride! Grayline shuttle for the French Quarter historical walking tour departs hotel lobby at 9:15 a.m. Wear comfortable shoes! Grayline Shuttle for Hurricane Katrina Tour departs hotel lobby at 12:00 noon. Minimal walking required. Enjoy the ride!
  • Meet us in the Alley! Thursday evening is a fun meet & greet social at a posh bowling boutique close to the hotel. We need 4 teams with 8 players each. You can plan a team in advance or join a team when you arrive. We have a nice social area reserved for drinks and appetizers for everyone else to visit, and enjoy watching the bowlers. This event is free with an advanced purchase of our 2015 Southeast Area Rally Jazzin’ Up NASCOE t-shirt.
  • Friday we have national FSA key-note speakers and benefit provider training. Friday night is our group dinner and dance with scholarship auctions. Please plan to attend to help us meet our hotel minimum food and beverage charges and support the scholarship fund!
  • Saturday we have NASCOE & NAFEC speakers and meetings. Saturday evening is the requested Ghosts & Spirits tour. Please purchase tickets in advance through Grayline Steamboat link or registration form. Our Ghosts & Spirits tour departs from the Grayline info desk on the 1 floor of the Jax Brewery, Toulouse St. entrance. Please arrive by 7:15 p.m. wearing comfortable shoes.
  • Parking at our hotel is $38.00 (including tax) per day with in and out privileges. Another option is The Fulton Parking garage (covered) for $ 20.00 a night (currently) one block away with no in and out privileges. You will not need your car in the city. A car in the city is more of a burden than an asset. Parking is difficult.
  • Don’t forget to check the Amtrak routes and fares for traveling to New Orleans from your area. There is also the Megabus in participating cities.
  • The hotel is located in the vibrant Arts/Warehouse district in downtown New Orleans and housed in a renovated 19 century cotton mill. Fulton St Square offers a newly revitalized entertainment area of chic restaurants, retail establishments, and cozy music clubs. The one block long pedestrian-only Fulton Street Mall area offers visitors an exciting night out on the town within very close proximity of our hotel.
  • Enjoy nearby famous restaurants like Drago’s, Manning’s, Mulate’s, Ruth Chris Steak House, and Ernst Café. Harrah’s Casino is close by. The Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk is across the street for shopping and an affordable food court with riverfront dining that will be perfect for our lunch breaks.
  • There is a convenience store within the block and a Starbuck’s in the hotel.
  • We are about 10 blocks away from the French Quarter . It’s about a 3 minute walk to the nearest streetcar access (Riverfront streetcar) which runs every 15 minutes. It will take you to the FQ in about five minutes. The streetcar is $1.25 for a one-way fare or you can get a 3-day pass for $9.00; or $8 per person cab ride to the FQ; or $5 per person pedi-cab ride for the first 6 blocks, $1 per person for each additional block; or a 10-15 minute walk to the French Quarter.

Notes from recent NASCOE Conference Call

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (1695)
Find out the most up-to-date news about issues NASCOE is working on in your behalf.

Read the report HERE.