Administratorship Update

Dear AFSCME DC 37 Retirees Association Members, 

Happy spring. I’m writing to provide you with an update on the status of the Retirees Association Administratorship, as well as upcoming member meetings, education benefits offerings and more. 

A reminder: your benefits as a DC 37 Retirees Association member are not impacted by the Administratorship 

Judicial Panel Upholds Administratorship 

As you know, International President Lee Saunders placed the Association under emergency Administratorship on February 22 due to serious and ongoing violations of AFSCME’s Financial Standards Code and Internal Revenue Service requirements. The Association’s failure to conduct required annual CPA audits and file the Associations tax returns for six years resulted in the IRS revoking the Association’s non-profit status. This jeopardized the Association’s funds and assets and resulted in the IRS imposing penalties for failure to file the tax returns. The failure to file, and ignoring repeated correspondence from the IRS, has unfortunately resulted in the use of member money to pay the fine 

It was clear that the Association, under its previous leadership, did not have the will or wherewithal to address these issues. The Association knew, or certainly should have known, that these audits did not occur, that the IRS filings were not made, and that the tax- exempt status was revoked. Yet, nothing was done to correct this. And while leadership may try to blame others for these failings, the responsibility to make sure the audits and filings occurred fell squarely on them. On March 14, 2024, (and notice was given as required by the AFSCME Constitution) there was a hearing conducted by AFSCME’s Judicial Panel as to whether the Administratorship was warranted. Everyone who wished to speak was given an opportunity to do so. On Friday, April 5, the Judicial Panel issued a decision upholding the Administratorship The Judicial Panel’s decision can be found here.

More Findings of Irregularities 

Since the Administratorship began and we have reviewed the Association’s records, we have uncovered more instances of operational and financial irregularities. These include 

  • An active Association credit card in a former officer’s name despite their term ending in 2022. 

  • More than $150,000 of Association members’ dues money in a dormant bank account with no recent officers listed as signatories. (Only former and deceased officers were listed as signatories.). 

  • While many Association officers, including the president, said they were unaware of the failure to file the Association’s tax returns or audit their financial records, we have found communications from the IRS and from the Secretary-Treasurer to the Association’s former CPA regarding the failure to file 

  • An unpaid IRS bill from the 2017 tax year (the last year the Association filed). The Association filed for an extension for the 2017 tax year but missed that deadline. They were fined $20 a day for 215 days, equaling $4,300. The IRS has been sending the Association a bill for these fines for years, during which the fines accrued interest. The bill remained unpaid until the Administratorship. The total bill of $5,404 (including accumulated interest) has now been paid. 

Putting the Association Back on Track 

We are working diligently to put the Association’s finances and operations back in order and maintaining the important work of the Association. This includes: 

Auditing and Modernizing Financial Systems 

  • We are working with a certified public accounting firm to conduct audits for 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, as well as filing the necessary paperwork to reinstate the Associations tax- exempt status. We are also overhauling and modernizing the Associations financial systems to help ensure these issues never arise again.  

Office Hours

  • The Association’s phones are now staffed full time, so that member calls will be answered 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET Monday through Friday. 

Spring Educational Programs 

  • We are partnering with the DC 37 Education Department for a robust offering of spring education classes. Click here for more info.  

Membership Meetings

  • We have scheduled membership meetings through the rest of 2024. That schedule can be found here. 

Fix Tier 6

  • We are taking action to fix Tier 6. Information on that can be found here.  

Health Benefits Updates

  • We are ensuring members have up-to-date information about their current health benefits. Information about recent improvements to the DC 37 Health & Security Fund Dental and Optical Benefits can be found here. And information about the Annual Medicare Part B reimbursement can be found here.  

New Facebook Page

  • We have created a Facebook page for the Association to help keep members up -to -date on current information, it can be found here. 

My goal as Administrator is to put the Retirees Association’s affairs back in order, so we can continue to grow the Association and organize effectively on the issues retirees care about, like making sure that retirees have the best health and retirement benefits possible. But achieving this goal requires a financially healthy and well-run Association. Once that occurs, the Administratorship will come to an end. 

Retiree members are a vital part of our union. You have a right to an organization that lives up to the highest standards of fiscal accountability, responsibility, and transparency.  

I look forward to moving forward together.  

In solidarity, 

Ann Widger  
Administrator, Retirees Association of DC 37  
212-815-1781 (DC 37 Retirees Association Office)