Presidents Connection January 2010
The "Presidents Connection" is the official communication tool from the office of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS) Association President Frank Lever.
The EANGUS National Office and Ellen and I hope you had a happy holiday season and look forward to safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.
2010 will challenge our National Office but the dedicated and loyal employees of our National Office will work hard to represent the members of EANGUS, provide the services that they can provide, and work for better benefits and entitlements for our Soldiers, Airmen, Retirees and Families. I am sure that the staff cuts will challenge you as State Presidents. But all of us must keep working diligently to increase membership. We will not diminish our legislative efforts even in these financially hard times. Our Legislative Committee Chair and Co-Chairs, our Legislative Director and Executive Director have continued to pressure your representatives to “Remember the Guard.”
We made some significant gains this year legislatively but we have some significant issues still unresolved. We need each of you and your State membership to call, write, email your representatives to support our issues. You can direct them to the EANGUS website to review these issues.
EANGUS had a direct impact on a .5% pay increase above the President's recommended 2.9% pay increase.
Gray Area Retirees can purchase TriCare Standard. This is a great benefit for our retirees who have not reached age 60. We need to communicate this to our gray area retirees and, if they have not joined EANGUS, ask them to help this association to continue to fight for the benefits that they have earned.
Our hard work to get Early Retirement Benefits retroactive to September, 2001 failed. We must continue the fight and we need your help.
I wrote you in November about our Budgetary Constraints. We have taken the actions that I listed. I have received emails and telephone calls about those cuts. Some members have suggested reviewing our manning to determine if we have the responsibilities of our employees properly aligned. Some have suggested moving our National Office from the DC area if it resulted in cost savings. You need to discuss the cuts with your membership and governing bodies. How do they think we need to address these cuts? These discussions need to go to the Area Caucuses. Your Caucuses need to give your Area Directors guidance so that they, your representatives, come to the Executive Council meetings prepared to discuss your issues and possible solutions. We cannot come to the Executive Council meetings with just the issue. We need solutions.
MEMBERSHIP: Good news! The National Office did a membership comparison from December 31, 2008 to December 31, 2009. 38,162 at the end of 2008 compared to 44,993 at the end of 2009. We showed growth, over 6,800. Even with this growth, EANGUS membership still has only 11.18% of available enlisted strength. That is good news considering the hard economic times facing all of us. However, we must continue to educate our young Soldiers and Airmen and many of our Senior NCOs, on the value of belonging to the only Association that works diligently for them. Too often we take for granted all the things professional associations do for us. I asked the Membership Committee Chair, Don Wood, to provide us with the strategy for 2010 to increase membership.
2010 Focus & Goals:
Back to Basics-Use Face-to-Face contact to retain and attract new members. This technique is more successful than any other. Also use our mediums such as emails, fliers, etc. to retain present members and gain new members. Encourage your current members to talk with potential new members explaining the association benefits and services to them and (WHY!) they should be members also. Use information on our website to explain the benefits that EANGUS has gained for them.
One-Recruit-One-Ask each of your current members to recruit just one new member. This alone will double our current membership, with our end of year membership numbers at 44,970, just think how better EANGUS could service our members and how much stronger our voice will be on Capitol Hill with 89,940 members.
Retention-Key to continued success is we must retain every member on our current rosters. We can do that by providing them with the best leadership and benefits possible. Think about if we retain and increase membership by 100% every year in just over 3 years we can have those 400,000 plus available Soldiers and Airmen as members of the Enlisted Associations throughout this nation. What would our voice on Capitol Hill and across this nation be like then?
EANGUS may see a big increase in Lifetime Membership due to the National Lifetime Membership dues increase passed at our last national conference. Although this is not much benefit long term as far as income to EANGUS counts, but our goal here is to go to Capitol Hill with larger membership numbers which makes our voice in Congress much stronger.
Let's get everyone involved on this Focus for 2010: BACK-TO-BASICS, FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT; RETENTION; and ONE-RECRUIT-ONE. Then we can easily reach our Goal. We must stress the importance of membership in our association to the current National Guard members, or they WILL NOT! have the benefits we enjoy today.
LEGISLATIVE WORKSHOP: EANGUS cancelled its annual Legislative Workshop scheduled for March 7-11 due to lack of registrations. My thanks to Chairman Jim Rains, his Co-Chairs, Pat Kishman and Connie Myers and our Legislative Director Diane Zumatto for their hard work on this event.
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