The ICSOM Governing Board has been discussing ways additional services and information can be provided to the members of ICSOM, and we have made some changes to the ICSOM website as a result. Any current member of an ICSOM orchestra who is registered on the website, can view and download current and archived ICSOM Settlement Bulletins, much of the materials and presentations from annual conferences, and most sections of the ICSOM Delegate Handbook, which contains a tremendous amount of reference materials.
Emeritus members have access, as registered members, to the ICSOM introduction and history, the current ICSOM governing board and delegate roster, Emeritus program information and registration, and a pension primer (the last two are found in the reference section of the Delegate Handbook). Emeritus members also have access to the ICSOM Settlement Bulletins, which include current and archived bulletins.
New ICSOM Website Offerings
Thanks to our wonderful website designer and webmaster Martha Warrington, we have some new additions to our website to serve our members. Under the Links section we have added two new pages. The first is for our ICSOM members who provide various services or who have written books addressing various playing issues or presenting personal orchestral history perspectives. It is not intended as a place to sell services or materials, but rather to provide a direct link so people can find them. Members and Emeritus members wishing to post here are asked to provide a link and description of the link or a pdf about the material. These may be sent to me or Chairperson Meredith Snow, and we will assure that the material is in compliance with these guidelines. Once approved, the link will be uploaded for one year, at which time it will be removed if it is not updated or renewed by the musician. A second page in the Links section will provide notices from conference presenters, or offers and discounts to ICSOM members from presenters. These links can also be found in the conference year they presented, and they will be periodically checked to ensure they are active.
ICSOM Directory Online Search
Another new, and much requested, link will allow ICSOM members and Emeritus members to search the ICSOM Directory for contact information of friends and colleagues. A prerequisite to use this search engine is that the member must have an email listed in the ICSOM Directory database. This email must be entered to begin a search and will authenticate the user as an ICSOM member. (Members who wish to add an email address to their Directory database entry should contact their delegate.) Search results will also be emailed to that address. Searches will be limited to five per day, and members will have the ability to request their entire orchestra’s roster as well. Former Senza Sordino Editor Richard Levine, a cellist from the San Diego Symphony, and his wife, Jean Lim, designed the database that is updated by delegates each year for publication. Richard worked with Peter de Boor and Paul Gunther to make this new search feature available.
AFM-EPF Website Redesign with New Information
Another website that has undergone a major redesign recently is the website for the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF). There are now new or enhanced portals for Participants, Employers and Locals. The Participant Portal provides a great deal of information about the Fund, and numerous areas allow you to double-check and update information and even estimate your pension benefit. You can change your address, sign up for paperless delivery of notices and statements, and check who is listed as your beneficiary. Participants can also view all of their Annual Covered Earnings Statements from 2000 to the present. Quarterly statements are also posted so participants can track contributions made on their behalf. This is especially important because the Fund established a policy years ago that adjustments for missing benefits need to be corrected within a three-year period after the annual notice is distributed. A recent addition is the ability to request statements from 1999 and earlier, as the Fund has spent some of its resources scanning and digitizing all participant records. There are eight icons on the Participant Portal: FAQs, Pension Estimator, Document Delivery, 5500 and Other Documents, Covered Earnings, Beneficiary Information, Profile and Settings, and Change Password.
In December, 2016, all participants in the AFM-EPF were sent a letter discussing the funding status of the Plan. To address the numerous questions and concerns they have received in the past few months from participants about the Fund’s status, the Fund staff, working with Trustees and advisors, have put together answers to many of these questions; these frequently asked questions and responses are periodically updated and can be found by clicking on FAQs once you have signed into the Participants page.
In 5500s and Other Documents you will find the December 2016 funding status letter, the most recent annual 5500 report filed with the Department of Labor, and links to request copies of Fund documents. You can also find a copy of the slideshow presentation, with additional notations included, that were presented to select locals and conferences by a group of Fund Trustees, attorneys, staff and advisors in March and April. We will hear an updated presentation about the Fund’s status this summer at the ICSOM Conference in Buffalo, NY.
There are a great many questions about the Fund these days; the best place to look for informed answers is on the AFM-EPF website. You will need your six-digit pension ID number to register; that number can be found on your Annual Covered Earnings Statement, or you can contact the Fund for it.