Greetings Fellow FSA Friends,
On behalf of nearly 5,400 members, I would like to introduce you to the National Association of FSA County Office Employees (NASCOE). NASCOE is not a union, but rather a trade association that represents county office employees.
In 1958, county office employees organized state associations to work for employee benefits. Later in 1959, the state associations formed the National Association of County Office Employees (NASCOE). Finally, in 1962, NASCOE was granted exclusive recognition to represent all fulltime county office employees in negotiations with management on terms of employment and working conditions. NASCOE’s objectives are to assist in every way possible to assure successful operations of FSA and the attainment of FSA's objectives, to cooperate with other groups and associations, to conserve and improve our soil resources, to secure equitable salaries, working conditions and retirement provisions for all county office employees and to promote the professionalism of our employees.
One of NASCOE's more important roles is to negotiate with management on behalf of membership. This is an annual process where members can participate in shaping the direction of our agency. The NASCOE negotiation team considers items submitted by members for possible negotiation with management. Some examples of recent negotiation successes include increased promotion opportunities for program technicians through the Key PT and the Lead PT positions, PT Leadership Training and software enhancements. In addition, it is important to point out that county office employees are not federal employees and therefore are not entitled to federal employee benefits. Historically, NASCOE has had to secure benefits such as: annual & sick leave, retirement, health insurance, pay equal to federal counterparts and leave donation. Even today NASCOE is working to secure benefits. For example, this year NASCOE is working to ensure county employees receive a Paid Parental Leave benefit, similar to what federal employees were granted this earlier this year.
NASCOE also has a legislative consultant on retainer who constantly monitors proposals in Congress that adversely affect federal benefits, monitors activity regarding the Farm Bill and works closely with the Ag Appropriations and Ag Committees to help secure desperately needed funding. Having a consultant in Washington, DC has proven to be beneficial and has resulted in preventing actions that would have been detrimental to our employees. More recently, this benefit has allowed NASCOE the opportunity to testify in Congress and assist in obtaining $35 million in additional funding to hire new employees at FSA during the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years. More help is on the way in the future from Congress and NASCOE in the form of staffing and spending money to assist in disaster program administration.
I encourage any county office employee who is not currently a member to join their state association. When you join your state association, you also join NASCOE. Currently, NASCOE membership is 80% nationwide. This level of membership gives us a loud voice when we meet with management or with our Congressional Representatives. There is strength in numbers and the larger our membership grows, the stronger our voice becomes. I also encourage each member to become active in the association, either directly by serving in a representative capacity or indirectly through programs or negotiations processes. Together, as a unified force, we can accomplish great things for our members.
Brandon J. Wilson
Georgia Association FSA County Employees