The Foreign Service Journal - June 2014 - page 45

JUNE 2014
Commercial Service Represen-
tative Barbara Farrar will step
down from the AFSA Governing
Board this summer for a new
job as assignments officer.
Before turning this column
over to her for some parting
thoughts, I know you all join
me in thanking Barbara for her
service and wishing her well in
her new position.
—Steve Morrison
I am honored to fill Vice
President Steve Morrison’s
spot in this issue to thank
you for electing me and
allowing me to serve as the
FCS representative on the
AFSA Governing Board. Let
me take this opportunity to
reflect on the highlights of
the last year and, especially,
to thank Steve for his hard
work in representing officers’
Starting with the most
recent highlight, AFSA was
largely responsible for break-
ing an impasse between the
Senate Foreign Relations
Committee and the State
Department over the vet-
ting process of officers up
for tenure and promotion.
The career advancements
of 1,800 Foreign Service
employees (including FCS)
were held up for more than
a year due to the impasse.
Steve and I personally
brought home the impor-
tance of this issue with Capi-
tol Hill staff during AFSA’s
recent Advocacy Day.
Legislative affairs has
been at the forefront of
AFSA activity this year, and
your FCS reps were actively
engaged in these efforts. As
we raised issues of interest
to the entire Foreign Service,
such as Overseas Compa-
rability Pay, I was pleased to
learn that Hill staff do under-
stand and care about what
we do. Our AFSA VP’s regular
contact with congressional
staff has a lot to do with that,
as does the grassroots work
of our domestic field.
Back in the building, we
established a constructive
dialogue with management
and shared officer concerns
biweekly with the Office of
Foreign Service Human Capi-
tal and quarterly with our
deputy director general.
Special thanks to Steve
for so diligently following up
on each and every question
posed by officers. This year,
we raised issues big and
A Positive Force
AFSA Welcomes First APHIS
Governing Board Representative
At its April meeting, the Governing
Board appointed Mark C. Prescott as the
first board member to represent AFSA’s
newest constituency: the Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service at the
Department of Agriculture.
APHIS, which joined AFSA’s bargaining unit in Janu-
ary 2013, works to safeguard the health of animals,
plants and ecosystems in the United States; facilitate
safe agricultural trade; ensure effective, efficient man-
agement of internationally based programs; and invest
in international capacity-building through training
programs abroad to enhance technical, administrative
and diplomatic skills and competencies.
Mr. Prescott’s current position is assistant director
for international technical and regulatory capacity-
building. A graduate of the University of California/
Berkeley with a degree in English literature and for-
estry, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho
from 1993 to 1995. He joined APHIS in the spring of
2002 as the veterinary medical officer for the state of
New Hampshire and parts of Massachusetts.
In 2006, Mr. Prescott was selected as APHIS’ atta-
ché for a three-year assignment developing and negoti-
ating new protocols for the expansion of the export of
U.S. agricultural products to Japan. From 2009 to July
2013, he headed up the agency’s office in Brasilia.
Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP.
or (202) 482-9088
small about our new organi-
zational structure, language
training, moving, selection
boards, security clearances,
reviews and more.
I am happy to report that
when FCS officers come to
AFSA for assistance, we are
usually able to help them. I
hope AFSA will continue to
assist members effectively
and be a positive force for
change in our organization.
Serving as an AFSA rep
has enabled me to make my
own contribution while hav-
ing an extraordinary profes-
sional development experi-
ence. Thank you again for
putting your faith in me.
Please stay involved and
keep making your voices
–Barbara Farrar
I was pleased to learn that Capitol Hill
staff do understand and care about what
we do. Our AFSA VP’s regular contact with
congressional staff has a lot to do with
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