Keeping Control of Local Finances

Elizabeth Powell

March 17, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

One of the ways locals can ensure compliance with the Department of Labor (DOL) and safeguard union assets by promoting transparency and accountability is to adopt policies that detail and clarify constitution and bylaw provisions. Whether it is a policy to clarify the use of the local credit card; payment of lost time (LWOP) or “Other Compensation” and Travel and Expenses, all will assist in keeping control of local finances.

As the year progresses, local leaders and their membership will be making financial decisions to send officers and members to various conventions, conferences and trainings. The local’s responsibility to any member or officer elected or authorized to travel for official union business is to provide reasonably priced transportation, lodging and per-diem. The local travel and expense policy should contain information on how these expenditures will be provided or reimbursed. Locals may opt to include provisions in which the transportation expense is reimbursed after the travel is completed and required receipts are submitted. If the local does not have a local credit card to secure lodging, the local treasurer will need alternative arrangements – i.e. sending a check to confirm lodging before the travel begins. The policy should contain provisions specific to whether per-diem will be at the GSA rate or Fully Receipted plan. If so, the daily amount is determined by the local and requires total accountability of all expenses in accordance with DOL and IRS guidelines.

The local travel and expense policy should contain clear policies on reimbursed travel expenses, what documentation is needed for reimbursement and establish procedures that provide for approval of travel expenses claims. A mileage expenses log should be required for applicable mileage expenses. In order for the travel expense to be eligible for reimbursement, it should be for union business and authorized in accordance with the local’s constitution and bylaws. Local treasurers should evenly apply the rule: No receipt – No reimbursement – No exceptions!

APWU Scholarships

The E.C. Hallbeck Memorial Scholarship will award a total of $8,000 ($2,000 annually) to ten recipients (one male and one female, from each of the five APWU regions) to apply towards their four-year college tuition. Vocational Scholarship winners will receive up to $3,000 for specialized training in fields such as culinary arts, medical or dental assistant, electrician, real estate, auto mechanic, certified IT/computer education, cosmetology, or massage therapy, etc. Eligible programs can be of a nine-month to three-year duration.

One “Best Essay” winner is selected from the applicant pool to receive a one-time $2,000 award towards his or her four-year college tuition.

March 31, 2020 is the deadline for the APWU to receive completed applications. Applicants must be a child, grandchild, stepchild, or legally adopted child of a current, retired, or deceased APWU member. Proof of membership required for deceased members. The scholarships are open only to high school seniors. Applicants may apply for either the Hallbeck or Vocational scholarship, not both.

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