Page 48 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2013

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48
APRIL 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
AFSA NEWS
USAID Survey continued from page 45
agencies still exist, which the USAID leadership has yet to
resolve: full language training for spouses and partners at the
Foreign Service Institute; lower Washington per diem rates;
unequal lodging arrangements while training in Washington;
ineligibility for FSI day-care services; and some overseas
incentives.
However, the most serious problem is low entry-level
salaries, which, after a personal appeal to the Administrator,
the agency has fnally indicated it will look into. Other high
priorities (Question 10) include: increasing transparency in
assignments (66 percent); improving supervisory skills of FS
supervisors (55 percent); and increasing Eligible Family Mem-
ber employment opportunities (45 percent).
Satisfaction Issues at Post: 
The only issue at posts that received a high “not satisfed”
rating (56 percent) remains the “Consolidation of Administra-
tive Services” under the International Cooperative Administra-
tion Support Services agreement. The ICASS consolidation
has now been universally implemented overseas and has
had sufcient time to correct previously identifed problems.
However, the survey indicates that little progress has resulted,
at least for USAID FSOs. Major complaints still exist regarding
exorbitant costs and continued poor, unequal customer ser-
vice compared to before ICASS, when USAID provided these
same services to its employees.
USAID Support Offices: 
The support services of Human Resources, Financial Manage-
ment and Travel and Transportation (Questions 15, 16 and 17,
respectively) have now been followed over the course of three
annual surveys. Improvements have been made in the follow-
ing areas:
• Human Resources:
The Human Resources Ofce improved
its scores (Question 15) in the 2012 survey compared to 2011.
Its “poor” rating was reduced from 59 percent in 2011 to 49
percent in 2012.  Its “good” rating improved from 39 percent
in 2011 to 49 percent in 2012. This shows real progress.
While there were some negative comments made about the
ofce’s performance, there were also laudatory expressions
of the good work and support that the HR staf had provided
throughout the year. This is the frst survey year showing
signifcant improvements and, possibly, the beginning of an
encouraging trend.
• Chief Financial Management:
The Ofce of the Chief
Financial Management (Question 16) also improved its rating
between the two surveys by reducing its “poor” rating from 14
percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012.
• Travel and Transportation:
The Travel and Transportation