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January 2014

Dear Members,

Boyd Myers, Jr. Sentenced Boyd Myers, Jr., a funeral director who was charged with defrauding over one hundred victims by misappropriating pre-paid funeral funds will serve a minimum of five years to a maximum of ten years in state prison. In addition to paying the cost of prosecuting the case, Myers must pay restitution of $512,000.

The former funeral director pled guilty in September 2013 to multiple counts, including deceptive business practices, theft by deception and insurance fraud. Myers was the supervisor of the former Myers Funeral Home in Mechanicsburg.

Correction from the Military Funeral Honors Program at Indiantown Gap The Pennsylvania Military Funeral Honors State Coordinator, Staff Sergeant Kimberly Fauth, has asked us to let you know that any and all requests for Military Funeral Honors do not need to go through their office at Ft. Indiantown Gap. They are not the main representative for all branches of service and all requests for funeral honors. Any requests that your funeral home would normally have sent to their Elizabethtown office (now closed) must now go to their Ft. Indiantown Gap Office.

If you usually go through Casualty Assistance Centers (such as Ft. Meade or Ft. Dix), or the individual branch of service, pleased continue to do so. The Military Funeral Honors at Ft. Indiantown Gap represents the Army; however, they can assist with other branches of service should they not be able to be present for funeral honors. Any questions or for further information, please contact Staff Sergeant Kimberly Fauth, MFH State Coordinator (M) at (717) 861-8694 or by email at kimberly.a.fauth.mil@mail.mil.

FTC Mandates SCI to Divest Properties as Part of Stewart Acquisition Service Corporation International (SCI) has agreed to sell off 91 properties to resolve the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) antitrust concerns about its acquisition of Stewart Enterprises. The FTC said it had worked with attorneys general from several states to examine how local markets for funeral and cemetery services would be affected by the deal and had found 59 communities in which the merger was likely to "substantially lessen competition". Each of those markets is highly concentrated, the FTC said, and the deal "would enable the merged firm unilaterally to raise prices charged to consumers in these local markets and would substantially increase the risk of collusion between SCI and the few remaining competitors in the affected local areas."

The two properties in Pennsylvania to be divested by SCI are two cemeteries in the Philadelphia area currently owned by Stewart Enterprises: George Washington Memorial Park/Kirk & Nice Funeral Home in Plymouth Meeting and Sunset Memorial Park/Kirk & Nice Suburban Chapel, Inc. in Feasterville.

Reminder: U. S. Postal Service Change in Policy for Shipping Cremated Remains Effective December 26, 2013, cremated remains may no longer be sent domestically or internationally via Registered Mail Service. Priority Mail Express is the only option for sending cremated remains via the U. S. Postal Service.

Company Dress Code If an employee's personal appearance or hygiene is such that it causes offense to customers or co-workers, it is appropriate for an employer to address the problem. However, a company without a written dress code will have difficulty defending its position. A dress code policy should focus on the business reasons for the standards in place.

It is generally considered more reasonable to require strict adherence to a dress code in situations where employees have regular customer contact or where safety or hygiene is of particular importance. An employer's dress code might prohibit body-piercing jewelry, other than earrings. It might also state that visible tattoos are to be covered during working hours. Employers should be aware that it may be necessary to make exceptions to their dress code to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs. Source: SESCO Staff Response to Client Inquiry, SESCO Report November/December 2013.

NFDA Compensation Study Funeral home branch managers, funeral directors (single license), secretary/clerical and maintenance positions experienced the greatest compensation increases, according to the 2013 NFDA Compensation Study, while non-owners/managers, funeral assistants and visitation attendants experienced slight decreases in wages from 2009-12.

Respondent Profile: Of those who responded to the NFDA survey, 39% were from a town/rural area, which is defined as a population less than 10,000; 34% were from a small town, population 10,000 – 49,000; 19% were from a moderate city (50,000 – 499, 999) and 8% were from a large city with a population of more than 500,000.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Fewer than 20% of firms offer incentive and recognition programs, paid family leave, living expenses or loan services
  • 98% of firms are independently owned and operated, employing three full- time and four part-time (median) employees
  • Green funerals are offered by 26.8%; pet services by 23.2%
  • 4.7% of firms own community or family centers
  • 34.8% report 76-150 annual caseloads; 31.1% report 151-300 annual cases; 24.7% report up to 75; and 9.4% report more than 351 annual caseloads.

2012 Median Salary

Funeral Home Owner $75,200
Funeral Home Branch Manager $63,000
Non-owner Manager $60,500

Funeral Director/Embalmer $49,549
Funeral Director Only $41,414
Apprentice $30,000
Funeral Assistant $24,960
Visitation Attendant $20,800
Office Manager $35,000
Secretary/Clerical $28,152
Receptionist $24,960
Maintenance – Full Time $30,000

2009 Median Salary

Funeral Home Owner $74,000
Funeral Home Branch Manager $54,000
Non-owner Manager $64,000

Funeral Director/Embalmer $46,800
Funeral Director Only $38,000
Apprentice $28,000
Funeral Assistant $26,000
Visitation Attendant $21,784
Office Manager $32,925
Secretary/Clerical $25,765
Receptionist $22,460
Maintenance – Full Time $25,000

% change from 2009 to 2012

Funeral Home Owner 1.6%
Funeral Home Branch Manager- 16.7%
Non-owner Manager -5.5%

Funeral Director/Embalmer 5.9%
Funeral Director Only- 9.0%
Apprentice 7.1%
Funeral Assistant -4.0%
Visitation Attendant -4.5%
Office Manager 6.3%
Secretary/Clerical 9.3%
Receptionist 11.1%
Maintenance – Full Time 20.0%

A copy of the complete compensation report may be purchased by contacting the NFDA Pennsylvania Representative, Ruth Ann Johnson at 1-800-228-6332 or visit the Resource Store at www.nfda.org/resourcestore. Source: NFDA Memorial Business Journal - December 19, 2013 Issue.

Casket or Urn For Veterans Effective January 10, 2014, the U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs will furnish a casket or urn for burial in compliance with appropriate industry standards, as determined by the VA, for veterans with no known next of kin or when sufficient resources are not available to furnish a casket or urn for burial in a national cemetery. This was one of the key provisions in the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012, aimed at ensuring that the nation's military veterans receive an honorable and dignified burial at a national cemetery, even if they have no family to pay for it. Please contact your local Veterans Service Center to obtain further information.

New Year's Resolution #1 – Strive for Improved Profitability

Attend a highly motivating management conference -- that will challenge your assumptions, reframe problems & make you consider different angles.

Get a clear understanding of customers through demography that will shape the future of your revenue and profitability. Learn from Ken Gronbach, a nationally recognized demographer & generational marketing expert.

When was the last time you looked – really looked – at your funeral home? Come see what new ideas are being incorporated into funeral homes furnishings/design to address the changing dynamics of the industry & find out from Kelly Terwisscha what you may want to replace or include in a future renovation/redesign to keep your business relevant and profitable.

Roundtable discussion led by Kathy Ryan, Esquire about what does this new age in the new year mean for the funeral director. What's the payoff?

New Year's Resolution #2 – Get out of town, relax, take the tax deduction, see what others are doing & get some great new ideas you can use in your business.

Earn 6 CE credits while celebrating Valentine's Day with your spouse/guest at a luxury resort & spa.


February 11 – 13
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA


See enclosed conference brochure for program agenda and registration information

New Online Website for OSHA Whistleblower Complaints OSHA has announced that employee complaints under the laws, regulations and statutes administered by OSHA can now be filed online. The online form is designed to provide workers who are concerned about retaliation an additional way to reach out for OSHA assistance. The whistleblower web site is www.osha.gov/whistleblower/WBComplaint.html.

This additional format to submit complaints by employees, while intended to make whistleblower protection more accessible, may also result in an increase of employee complaints and a resulting increase in OSHA investigations. The results of any investigations that are conducted, including the identity of the employer, are a matter of public record.

Infectious Disease Update Dr. Laura Wolf of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently briefed NFDA and other healthcare-related groups on recent developments concerning the following infectious diseases:

*MERS still does not represent a global public health emergency. It has been isolated from camels directly, however, the United Nations World's Organization for Animal Health does not find the data convincing.

*The Avian Influenza Virus (H7N9) has 137 confirmed cases and 45 deaths. In addition, two new cases were detected in October 2013. Concerns about circulating seasonal flu viruses combining with H7N9 are being discussed within HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

*An outbreak of meningitis has affected 7 students at Princeton University. The CDC has approved the import of meningococcal vaccine from Europe that has not yet received approval for commercial sale in the U. S. Starting in December 2013, the vaccine will be offered to students living in dorms and to those employees who may have underlying medical conditions.

Renew Your PFDA Membership for 2014 If you have already renewed your PFDA membership for 2014 – thank you very much! We are glad to have you as part of the PFDA group of funeral service professionals in Pennsylvania. If you have not renewed yet, please do so as soon as possible. PFDA does not want you to lose access to exclusive PFDA member benefits and services. You can also renew online at www.pfda.org. If you have any questions, please contact Sue Bertsch, Membership Coordinator, at 1-800-692-6068 or email sue@pfda.org.

State Board Disciplinary Actions A listing of disciplinary or corrective measures taken by the State Board of Funeral directors is available on the PFDA website at www.pfda.org. Click on "Member Resources", State Board Activity and then Board Disciplinary Actions.

In Memoriam

John P. "Jack" Henry, Jr., 88, of Honey Grove, died on December 3, 2013, at the MS Hershey Medical Center. For over 40 years, he was the owner and operator of the Henry Funeral Home in Honey Grove.

Lysle P. Bash, 94, of Delmont, died on December 3, 2013, at Ark Twin Valley Personal Care Home in Delmont. He was a licensed funeral director for some 64 years and owned and operated the Bash Funeral Home in Delmont until his retirement in 2004.

Paul F. Leonard, 81, of Pittston, died on December 12, 2013, at his home. He was a funeral director for more than 50 years and owned and operated the Paul F. Leonard Funeral Home in Pittston. He also worked as a deputy coroner for Luzerne County.

PFDA OFFICE CLOSING The association office will be closed on Monday, January 20, 2014 in observance of the Martin Luther, King, Jr. holiday. The office will reopen on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

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