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View Poll Results: For those invited to the December FAC, how do you feel about going?
Can't wait for Miami!!! 15 42.86%
Attending Miami with hesisitaiton, would choose an alternate site if available. 12 34.29%
Will NOT go to Miami. I would attend an alternate location and really hope the SOA offers some options..... 6 17.14%
Will NOT go to Miami and prefer to wait to attend a "real" FAC at a later date. 2 5.71%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 11-04-2016, 02:29 AM
TimeTraveler TimeTraveler is offline
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With regards to the FAC being indoors.....

This is a nice hotel in a tropical area. While I don't know this particular hotel, my experience is that these places have a lot of indoor foliage - i.e. great places for Aedes Egypti (sp?) to hang out and lots of people coming and going to bring mosquitos in.

I called the hotel several times to find out if they were in the red zone and more recently to ask what their indoor pest control plan was in light of Zika. I was really frustrated that (1) after being transferred from person to person no one would acknowledged that the hotel is in the Zika red zone on any phone call I made (on a positive note, the SOA immediately gave over this info) and (2) when I asked about pest control I was given a phone number to the State of Fl. When I clarified that I wanted to know what the hotel was doing, inside, was told this is all they could give me.

End result is I don't trust this hotel for beans that they are being careful with their indoor environment.....
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  #12  
Old 11-04-2016, 07:35 AM
GETIT2 GETIT2 is offline
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Note I too live in Florida and my doctor still instructed me not to go to Miami in December or prevent the possibility of conception for six months following. There are a lot of experts telling us not to go.
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  #13  
Old 11-04-2016, 09:36 AM
TimeTraveler TimeTraveler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oreos View Post
With regards to running a concurrent FAC in an alternate location, especially at this point, I can't imagine that the SOA has the resources to start organizing a whole separate FAC to occur in a month. Unfortunately, very little upside for them to be gained for what would require a significant coordination effort.
I also agree with the "different area hotel", though ideally for me it would be outside the yellow zone as well. However, I would still consider attendance in the yellow zone.

With regards to the amount of resources for a satellite site, I fear that you and the SOA are not following KISS principles to "Keep It Simple"

All the anti-Miami people want is their FSA. The satellite FAC does not have to look anything like the "real" FAC and can skip the luxury resort hotel, dinner parties, etc. This means you can find a business hotel off a highway in a city with a major airport. These are literally a dime a dozen.

For the small size of the satellite crowd it will be easy to find a conference room in the hotel - I bet you could even find an insurance co or consulting firm willing to host. Get a video-conferencing hookup -- many hotels have these or a vendor can provide - if an employer hosts they almost certainly have this technology. The remote attendees can be their own discussion group(s) with the facilitator remoting in from Miami. All large presentations from Miami are watched on the video conference and a Miami facilitator can watch the DMAC presentations via hookup as well. Offer the hotel or corporate catering for meals in the meeting room. Will it offer the 100% experience? no. Will it be "good enough"? Certainly.....We do this in the business world ALL THE TIME.

This assumes that a minimum of 8 to 10 people would choose this option so they can be their own discussion group, and that at max only a few dozen people would choose miss the "real" FAC. This keeps the group small enough that could get away with having with no volunteers or possibly just one volunteer on site to keep things moving. They probably should have a dedicated volunteer available by phone.

If there are more than a few dozen who would choose an alternate, I admit it does get more complicated. Now, the SOA said that there are roughly 200 invited to the FAC so 30 people is already 15% of their invites. If the percent choosing to opt out exceeds 15% there is a bigger moral implication on the SOA that they putting so many in this predicament and they really need to put all hands on deck to deal with this....and they really have had ample time, they have just been dragging their feet.
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  #14  
Old 11-04-2016, 09:43 AM
TimeTraveler TimeTraveler is offline
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note, I'm not saying they had ample time to replicate the entire luxury FAC. But they have had time to organize simpler alternative options for those interested.
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  #15  
Old 11-04-2016, 08:35 PM
internetguy87 internetguy87 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeTraveler View Post
This assumes that a minimum of 8 to 10 people would choose this option so they can be their own discussion group, and that at max only a few dozen people would choose miss the "real" FAC.

If there are more than a few dozen who would choose an alternate, I admit it does get more complicated.
These are some pretty tight constraints... if you make it first come, first serve, then you are still potentially alienating people. If you open it up, the SOA is basically stuck crossing their fingers they get enough to register. What happens if they don't? Do those people have to wait until March. What about those who registered for Miami, but want to switch to a new location, what happens if that new location becomes full or cancelled.

I think you are making this overly-simplistic. I feel that some people are disappointed they cannot attend, but this really shouldn't surprise people that the SOA is taking this stance. My experience has been the SOA has never adapted to the needs of the few, including being flexible on exam dates and sites due to weather related issues.

I'm curious how large some of your raises are for attaining your FSA that the difference of 3 months is a serious financial burden? If you are awaiting a promotional opportunity based only on your credentials, then I would argue your employer is far more at fault than the SOA. An employer should be far more likely to adapt to the situation and work with you on a reasonable outcome.
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2016, 09:11 PM
TimeTraveler TimeTraveler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by internetguy87 View Post
These are some pretty tight constraints... if you make it first come, first serve, then you are still potentially alienating people. If you open it up, the SOA is basically stuck crossing their fingers they get enough to register. What happens if they don't? Do those people have to wait until March. What about those who registered for Miami, but want to switch to a new location, what happens if that new location becomes full or cancelled.
Just to reiterate, I stated my assumptions (actuarial judgement!) are that only a manageable number will ultimately choose an alternate luxury-free FAC over a "real FAC". Of course, given that I have no data, I could be very off and I agree that it would be terrible to exclude anyone who does not wish to go to Miami. However, if such a large percentage of the invite list is concerned about Miami that their numbers are unmanageable then the SOA has a serious moral failing for not working overtime to rectify this.

The SOA could easily determine the actual number interested by sending a poll to the December invitees. They could have gotten an idea of the number way back in the summer by asking for feedback from those already eligible for Dec and then worked on an appropriate alternative.
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2016, 11:10 PM
TimeTraveler TimeTraveler is offline
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With regards to financial impact (there are emotional ones too):
  • An FSA raise can be high 4 digits, enough that 3 months is a few thousand dollars and can further impact annual bonus amounts that are paid off salary levels
  • For those with bonuses, FSA bonuses can be high 4 or 5 digits....this can go a long way if you are working to a down payment and want to buy now while the mortgage rates are at record lows (or before junior comes)
  • Depending on where pregnant women are in their pregnancy, they may need to miss March as well, for a SIX month delay
  • If a FAC is during a currently pregnant woman's post postpartum disability, she may get into trouble with her short term insurance company or her state statutory insurance for working while disabled and better check out if her company is even allowed to pay for expenses (though they may be able to work something out an pay her when she goes back to work)
  • In addition, if a currently pregnant woman needs to wait until the baby is born and she is nursing, she now has to bring the baby along PLUS pay for someone to babysit and will have the added stress of running to pump during the breaks while trying not to miss the sessions.

    (Not everyone's company pays for a companion and not everyone's companion wants to spend 3 of their vacation days in Braselton looking after a newborn...and for many their companion is trying to save vaca days for the birth period not to babysit during the FAC.)
  • If you have a pregnant partner, you will want to be tested for Zika (plus some lifestyle changes as per the CDC)
  • For those in high deductible plans planning pregnancy - having the entire pregnancy in a single plan year can be a significant out of pocket difference than needing to hit your deductible again when it refreshes in January - so forcing women to wait two months and men to postpone conception until June (CDC guidelines) can mean the cost of the pregnancy just went up by 4 digits.

This is what is being done to people who have passed everything they needed to and been invited to the FAC. Many worked extra hard to make sure they passed everything in time to attend a FAC that worked with their life events and family needs.
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2016, 07:55 AM
GETIT2 GETIT2 is offline
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Looks like more than half aren't going or would prefer not to go. Of course the sample is skewed since most people answering are likely those who are in some way impacted by the location. But even if it's a third or quarter of all candidates, that is not an insignificant small few.
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  #19  
Old 11-07-2016, 01:26 PM
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DefTones DefTones is offline
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This is one in yet another series of events where the SOA fails miserably at communication. Isn't the whole purpose of the DMAC to teach us about engaging your stakeholders to make an effective decision and communicating the results?

Is the SOA's decision to keep the FAC in Miami the end of the world? No. But it seriously effects a number of candidates, and most of us are left questioning how the decision was made, and what info the SOA based the decision on other than $$$. This entire situation could be improved with a little more transparency and a lot better communication. The SOA needs to take a dose of its own medicine.
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  #20  
Old 11-07-2016, 02:03 PM
ngo1790 ngo1790 is offline
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If money was an issue, I wish they told us sooner. I'm sure we wouldn't mind paying a special one time fee to help cover cancellation fees in exchange for safety (I'm guessing it would be cheaper, the earlier). It's a bit too late now unfortunately and the chance of accommodation is quite low at this point
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