Page 49 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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MARCH 2013
The past year saw several major accomplishments, with
signifcant bottom line and positive career efects for the
Foreign Commercial Service. We could not have accomplished
anything like this without a strong, positive relationship with
management. Our thanks go to Deputy Director General
Charles (Chuck) Ford, Ejike Obineche, director of Foreign
Service personnel, and Tom Moore, deputy assistant secretary
for the Ofce of International Operations. I am also in great
debt for the hard, smart work of Steve Morrison, AFSA FCS
Worked on the Proposed International Trade Admin-
istration Consolidation.
This subject dominated the last
six months of the year and included extensive meetings with
management, regular liaison on
the Hill, outreach to the member-
ship, analysis and a lot of jabber.
We were disappointed that man-
agement could not fnd the capac-
ity to respond in a spirit that could
have produced a good product.
We believe the proposal seriously
threatens our clients’ interests
and FCS members’ careers. The
outcome is still in doubt as I write this column, but we have
succeeded in getting substantial review and additional time.
Established a Full-Time AFSA VP Position.
In 2012, after
many years of advocacy, we changed the AFSA VP position
from half-time, reporting to the Ofce of International Opera-
tions deputy assistant secretary, to a full-time position. This
created greater independence, removed conficts of interests
and provided the time to do the job well. The ofcer is no lon-
ger reviewed for promotion or for awards, but receives time-
in-class and time-in-service extensions for up to three years.
Restored Bonuses.
Late in 2011, management declared
there would be no money for bonuses for Commercial Service
employees. We worked hard, enlisting allies on Capitol Hill, to
have those funds restored, staving of a dangerous precedent
with signifcant personal implications for anyone serious
about our career.
Beating Back the STOCK Act. We worked, so far success-
fully—in dramatic last-minute pitches on the Hill with the
larger Senior Government Service coalition—to postpone,
and, we hope, overturn the provision of the Stop Trading on
Congressional Knowledge Act that would have required Senior
Service members to post their private fnancial information
on the Internet for all to see. We successfully argued against it
on the Hill and brought an American Civil Liberties Union suit
arguing that the act is an invasion of privacy and endangers
personnel and U.S. government security unnecessarily.
Established an Ambassadorial Process.
We have made
it a priority to have at least one ambassador appointed from
the FCS ranks, and were fnally successful this year in getting
management to establish a process to implement this goal.
We believe that an FCS ambassadorship is important not only
for the career track, but also for the
visibility and interagency prestige of
the Service. It is long past the time
for this neglect to be corrected.
Restored a Proper Continuing
Service Agreement.
After manage-
ment implemented a stringent inter-
pretation of the requirement that
ofcers pay back transfer and other
expenses if they leave the Service
before completing a full assignment, we successfully argued
that an ofcer should only be liable for his or her return-from-
post costs if he or she does not complete two years. If an
ofcer curtails an assignment after less than one year at post,
he or she will be liable for both to-and-from-post expenses
and shipment of belongings. If the assignment panel breaks
the assignment, the ofcer is not liable.
Established the Deputy Director General Position.
the past, the DDG position has frequently (but not always)
been held by an FSO. Working hard with Chuck Ford, we set
the precedent that the DDG should always be reserved for an
FSO. This is important not only for career mobility, but for the
FCS VP: Some Big Wins
The past year saw several major
accomplishments, with signifcant
bottom line and positive career
efects for Foreign Commercial