The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2014 - page 64

64
JULY-AUGUST 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
AFSA NEWS
Q:
After my packout from
post, someone from the
General Services Office came,
as required, to do the inven-
tory of government property,
and to assess the state of the
furniture and carpets, etc.
The GSO’s office then sent
me an enormous bill, claiming
that I had damaged the chairs
and soiled the carpets. How
should I proceed?
A:
This problem arises
more often than it should,
and is really something that
needs attention throughout
your occupancy of the house
or apartment. You need to be
aware of what you have and
its condition.
So, as soon as you move
into your assigned quarters,
take an accurate inventory of
all the furniture and fittings,
including their condition.
This is very important, as it
gives both you and the GSO a
baseline from which to work.
If there are any stains, wear
or damage on any furniture,
carpets or fittings, be precise
about where the damage is
located and its nature. Take
pictures if you like, and make
sure that they are reliably
dated.
Next, throughout your
occupancy, it probably goes
without saying that you
should take care that the fur-
niture and fittings are treated
well. If any damage occurs,
make a note of the extent
of it and when and how it
occurred. This will ensure
that you are not taken by
surprise when the checkout
Why You Need a Household Inventory
inspection turns up any dam-
age, and will enable you to
identify damage that was not
caused by you or your family.
During the checkout
inspection, make sure that
you and the GSO’s represen-
tative do the walk-through
together. Compare your
observations with those you
made on arrival. Make sure
you get a copy of the rough
report, but keep your own list
as you go around the house.
If you disagree with the
bill when you get it, ask to
go through it with the GSO’s
office. There are a number of
factors that are worth bear-
ing in mind:
Fair wear and tear is not
your responsibility. Things
wear out over time unless
you never walk anywhere on
the carpets or sit on any of
the chairs.
If you have damaged
something that needs to be
replaced, depreciation should
be taken into account. You
should not get charged the
cost of a new item to replace
a 10-year-old armchair.
Look at any proposed
re-upholstery costs very
carefully; and, if necessary,
compare the proposed costs
with other upholsterers.
Again, you should not be
charged for fair wear and
tear.
On the other hand, be
realistic. Damage and soiling
by pets and children do not
count as fair wear and tear
and are your responsibility
to clean up or repair, or to
pay to have rectified after
leaving. Large scratches and
cigarette or other burns on
furniture are not fair wear
and tear either, and are also
your responsibility.
If you need help in nego-
FSYF Annual Welcome Back Picnic
The Foreign Service
Youth Foundation’s
annual welcome
back picnic will take
place on Sunday,
Sept. 14, at 4 p.m.
The location, as in previous years, is Nottoway Park in
Vienna, Va. (9610 Courthouse Rd.). This is always among
FSYF’s most popular events each year, and is intended to
welcome back families returning from overseas and those
families who are new to the Foreign Service. There is no
cost associated with attending the picnic, and FSYF mem-
bership is not a prerequisite. FSYF does ask attendees to
bring a side dish or dessert to share. Additional informa-
tion is available at
Veteran AP Reporter on State—
“More Than Just Diplomacy”
Longtime Associated Press State Department reporter
George Gedda reaches back into his many years at
Foggy Bottom and tells stories from his long career.
His new book,
The State Department—More Than
Just Diplomacy: The Personalities, Turf Battles, Danger
Zones for Diplomats, Exotic Datelines, Miscast Appoint-
ees, the Laughs—and, Sadly, the Occasional Homicide
, is
the latest selection in AFSA’s ongoing Book Notes series.
This event will take place at AFSA headquarters,
2101 E St NW, at 2 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 4. RSVP to
Books will be available for sale;
the price is $12 and checks are preferred.
tiations with the GSO, speak
with your AFSA post rep, who
may contact the AFSA Labor
Management Office.
n
—James Yorke, Labor
Management Specialist
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