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As you may know, voting

has now started to elect the

2017-2019 AFSA Govern-

ing Board. I am not running

for re-election, and this

message is not about any

particular candidate or

slate. The goal of this mes-

sage is to convince you how

important it is to vote in the

AFSA election.

There are two active-duty

State Department employ-

ees whose full-time job it is

to work for AFSA: the presi-

dent (although the president

could also be a retiree or

could come from one of

the other agencies) and

the State Department vice

president. In addition, there

will be five State Depart-

ment representatives on the

AFSA Governing Board who

serve on a volunteer basis

in addition to their full-time

State Department jobs.

The AFSA president is the

individual overseeing the

entire professional asso-

ciation side of the house,

including media outreach,

legislative advocacy, part-

nerships with other orga-

nizations and much, much

more.

As such, the president

serves as the voice of the

Foreign Service, and is often

the first person outsiders

(or even insiders) turn to

when they want to know how

an issue is viewed by or will

affect the Foreign Service.

It matters who holds that

position.

The AFSA State VP heads

Make Your Voice Heard! Vote in the AFSA Election

STATE VP VOICE

| BY ANGIE BRYAN AFSA NEWS

Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA State VP.

Contact:

BryanA@state.gov

| (202) 647-8160

the union side of the house,

serving as the chief negotia-

tor for the Foreign Service’s

State Department personnel

when it comes to labor-

management issues. When

the department proposes a

change to an existing policy

or procedure that must be

negotiated with AFSA or on

which AFSA must be con-

sulted, it is the State VP who

decides how to proceed.

If the State VP does not

catch a potential problem

during such negotiations

and consultations, thou-

sands of members could be

negatively affected. It mat-

ters greatly who holds the

power to negotiate on your

behalf.

The State reps not only

raise and pursue issues

themselves, but also serve

as a wealth of knowledge

and experience for the

president and State VP. For

example, when an issue

arises involving a problem

or skill code that I’m not

personally as familiar with,

I often turn to my State

reps, asking them for their

perspective and input. Their

feedback has been invalu-

able in enabling me to argue

effectively on behalf of the

full spectrum of member-

ship views.

Sadly, voter turnout in

recent AFSA elections has

been abysmal, with only 25

percent voting in the 2015

elections. If you do noth-

ing else with your AFSA

membership, at least just

vote. It’s quick and easy,

and our member services

team (

member@afsa.org)

is

happy to walk you through

any questions.

If you want to do more

than place your own vote,

please spend a little time

encouraging all of your fel-

low AFSA members to vote,

as well. And, if you have col-

leagues who are not AFSA

members, tell them what

AFSA does and encourage

them to join.

I have to admit, I never

once voted in an AFSA

election until I myself ran

for office. Now that I’m in

the job, however, and see

how much is at stake every

single day, I am ashamed of

my earlier indifference and

want to do everything I can

to convince you how much

the future of the Foreign

Service depends on getting

the right people into these

AFSA positions.

So read up on the candi-

date statements (available

on

www.afsa.org/afsa-

elections), think about what

matters most to you, and

then cast your vote before

the June 8 deadline. It AFSA-

lutely matters.

And yes, I’ve waited

almost two years to write

that pun. You’re welcome.

n

48

MAY 2017

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

Sadly, voter turnout in recent AFSA

elections has been abysmal, with only

25 percent voting in the 2015 elections.

If you do nothing else with your

AFSA membership, at least just vote.

It’s quick and easy, and our member

services team is happy to walk you

through any questions.

AFSA/JOSH