Page 44 - FSJ_May12

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R
eorganization, restructuring, regionalization, repositioning …How about a
little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, just a little bit! We have at least four major organiza-
tional changes going on at the same time at every level, affecting the International
Trade Administration and ForeignCommercial Service, among other agencies. You
have to ask yourself, “Why?”
The Commercial Service is blessed with being one of the most focused organi-
zations in the U.S. government. We are about exports. We can measure what we
accomplish. Exports grewby 17 percent in 2010 and by 15 percent last year—prac-
tically the only bright spot in the U.S. economy. We exceeded all of our export suc-
cess goals. In 2010 we produced $34.8 billion in export successes, assisted 18,000
clients and returnedmore than $135 of exports for every $1 appropriated—a pret-
ty good return on investment. So what
needs to be fixed?
As if there isn’t enough confusion
already, last fall State launched its
“Economic Statecraft” program, aimed
at helpingAmerican companies increase
exports. Admirable as it is, the dupli-
cationof goals has created angst and con-
fusion among State and FCS economic
and commercial officers in the field.
What this newprogramwill accomplish
remains to be seen, but funds may have
been better spent supporting existing
Commercial Service programs.
To grasp what is going on, we need
look no further than what the pundits
call “the silly season.” During theGlobal
Business Conference in February, I asked an AmericanChamber of Commerce col-
league how he thought all of the organizational changes were going. He respond-
ed, “We get it. We know this is an election year.” Meaning, decisions required to
move any changes forward will not happen. Restructuring will take congressional
approval. It will also take a budget decision, which is highly unlikely in this Congress.
So, not only has a lot of confusion been created, with scarce resources expend-
ed for these uncertain activities and programs, but it is unlikely that any reorgani-
zation, restructuring, regionalization or repositioning will occur this year.
I write this to give those of you in the field a feel for the state of play, but also as
a plea to management to step back and take a breath— follow basic standard pro-
cedures and don’t take short cuts. While the current proposals are important, bud-
get pressures are bound to intensify, and will not be resolved anytime soon.
Despite Washington’s own version of “March Madness,” let’s all do our best to
persevere and continue the great work we do every day to help our country and our
companies.
V.P. VOICE:
FCS
BY KEITH CURTIS
Much Ado About Nothing?
44
F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L / MA Y 2 0 1 2
A
F
S
A
N
E
W
S
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP.
Despite Washington’s own
version of “March Madness,”
let’s all do our best to persevere
and continue the great work
we do every day to help our
country and our companies.
ARTICLE V
The Governing Board
Section 1.
General: This association
shall be governed by a Governing Board
(herein called “the board”) consisting of
regular members in good standing,
elected by the regular membership bien-
nially for two-year terms as officers or
representatives in the manner provided
in Section 4 below.
Nomembermay serve
more than four full consecutive terms (i.e.,
eight consecutive years) in any one position
on the Governing Board.
3. TECHNICAL AMENDMENT
TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
Currently, the bylaws establish a
Committee on Education under Article
VI. In recent years, the practice has
evolved to call that committee the
“Scholarship Committee.” The current
board approved this name change at its
Nov. 2, 2011, meeting in addition to
approving the name change(s) in the
ScholarshipFund’sBylaws andScholarship
Fund’s Articles of Organization.
The proposed amendment is simply
a technical one requesting that the name
be changed officially in the main AFSA
bylaws. The attached exhibit shows the
proposed change with deletions crossed
through and additions in
italics
.
ARTICLE VI
Internal Organization
Section 1.
The following committees
and boards shall exist on a permanent
basis:
Committee on Education
Scholarship
Committee:
The board shall appoint and
determine the terms of the chair andmem-
bers of the Committee on Education
Scholarship Committee
who, under the
overall guidance of the board, shall devel-
op policies and criteria for awards under
the association’s scholarshipprograms.
Bylaws • Continued from page 42
For AFSA Bylaws, go to
www.afsa.org/afsa_bylaws