Page 55 - Foreign Service Journal - May 2013

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MAY 2013
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP.
My four-plus years as your
vice president have proven
to be busy, fruitful and
meaningful. I hope I have
done well. Serving during an
interesting period (to cite
the Chinese curse) has been
a heavy responsibility and
an honor. I thank you all and
the Good Lord (many of you
know He had to go out of his
way to make it happen!) for
having given me the chance
to serve.
Together, we have done
a lot (see
But I think our most impor-
tant role has been to pro-
tect the Service within the
building, the administration
and on the Hill. I spent much
of my time developing and
maintaining a relationship
with Congress, where there is
a real appreciation for what
we do and its importance.
During these last four years,
that appreciation has grown,
even though it has been dif-
fcult to translate into budget
advances. We did get an extra
$15 million added to our
budget in Fiscal Year 2012,
much of it due to the support
and relationships we have
developed which, despite
tough times, continue to
beneft FCS.
I have discovered that this
ofce, and the wider AFSA
connection on the Hill, is a
very powerful tool for the
well-being of the Service. At
times, I found AFSA’s voice
to be at least equal to that of
the administration and the
leadership at Commerce.
Much of this is because the
Hill really does value the
work that you do, as does
the administration and our
stakeholders. Never underes-
timate what AFSA can do for
you and how important it is in
these times.
No one knows what is
ahead on the big ques-
tions we have wrestled with
together: economic state-
craft, consolidation and
government sequestration,
and downsizing. What you
can be sure of is that you will
be better of, through all of it,
with AFSA at your side. I have
no doubt that my replace-
ment will continue to ably fll
that role.
I would also like to recom-
mend that you consider the
AFSA FCS vice president
and representative positions
at some point during your
career. The 100-percent
freedom that the VP now has
is empowering. You are free
to make your own schedule
and determine—outside
priorities and restraints of
management and the rush
of the moment—what the
long-term, most important
issues are. You bring an abso-
lutely vital perspective to the
management process both
as a partner and as a kind of
“watchdog.”You engage in
the most important issues of
our Service, while becoming
better acquainted with our
colleagues and fnd special
ways to help people. It is a
truly rewarding experience
good of the Service.
Equally important, but
less seen by FCS, is the
incredible support we have
gotten these past four years
from AFSA President Susan
Johnson. She has never hesi-
tated to give us unqualifed
support when we had to fght
to be recognized. Thank you,
Chuck and Susan.
It has been said man's
feelings are purest in the
hour of farewell. And that
great philosopher, Dale
Evans, said it’s the way you
ride the trail that counts. I
sincerely hope I was helpful
and that I may continue to
be so down the dusty road.
Thanks for the chance to
serve and God bless.
(while earning time in class
and time in service).
I also want to take a
moment to thank our lead-
ers, Acting Director General
Chuck Ford and Deputy
Assistant Secretary Tom
Moore, along with Bill Zarit,
Karen Zens and Carmine
D’Aloisio (all previous deputy
assistant secretaries for
international operations)
before them. Without their
hearts being in the right
place, we could not have
been safe. I am grateful for
the rare opportunity to have
served with Chuck, whose
dedication, perseverance
and care, have proven to be a
once-in-a-career boon for us
in this time of need. I know he
will continue to work for the
Notice: Death of Michael Drabin
It is with great sadness that the ICASS Service
Center reports the death of our dear colleague and
friend. Michael passed away on Friday, March 29,
after a long battle with cancer. 
Michael served as a Financial Management
Ofcer in Antananarivo from 2005 to 2008; and in
Pretoria from 2008 to 2009 before coming to the
ICASS Service Center. 
He lived life to the fullest and passed with faith,
dignity and courage. He is survived by his loving
wife, Somsawalee, and his sweet daughter, Sofa. 
In lieu of fowers, family and friends have asked
that memorial donations be made to a 529 educa-
tion trust for Sofa a
cards may be sent to the following address: Som-
sawalee Drabin, 5744 Calais Blvd., #6, St. Peters-
burg, FL 33714.