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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

OCTOBER 2015

53

AFSA NEWS

Source: USAID Office of Human Capital and Talent Management

CREATEDBYJEFFLAU

FSL appointments increased

from 227 to 244, a 7-percent

jump from 2014.

The growth in Washing-

ton-based FSL jobs and

their marked decrease in

CPCs underscore mounting

concerns that the mecha-

nism is being used as a quick

method for hiring outsiders

to lead the proliferation of

new agency initiatives out of

D.C. The data also reveal that

the majority of Washington

FSL positions are not even

supporting CPCs.

These trends indicate that

program-funded FSL hiring is

being done with little regard

for the agency’s overall

health and future.

Short-Term Political

Agendas

To make matters worse,

many units set up for the

new initiatives do not have

FSOs in key positions. When

the bulk of its leadership

and policy positions are held

by transient appointees,

the agency runs the risk of

short-term political agendas

trumping USAID’s core mis-

sion. This situation spawns

opportunism, weakens esprit

de corps within the Foreign

Service and emaciates insti-

tutional memory.

A career as a USAID

FSO should be well-suited

for millennials, given their

preference for work with real

meaning and opportunities

to learn new skills. Yet the

fact that USAID ranked 19th

out of the 25 participating

medium-sized government

agencies in the Partnership

for

Public Service’s 2014 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government

rankings points

to a discon-

nect. The clear

implication is

that all is not

well within

USAID.

Authority

for program-

funded FSL

appointments

was never

intended to be permanent.

Nor was it meant to go

beyond the original five-year

limit. It was originally envi-

sioned as a stopgap measure

to staff unfilled CPC posi-

tions overseas until sufficient

FSOs could be hired. The

authority has been granted

for two-year increments in

appropriation legislation,

and keeps being rolled over

unchecked.

It’s time to scale back

program-funded FSL author-

ity and revisit our priorities. It

is my intention to urge USAID

leadership and members of

Congress to take a step back

from quick-fix hiring work-

arounds, focus on develop-

ment priorities and ensure

that sufficient OE funds are

provided for hiring the neces-

sary level of career FSOs to

meaningfully develop, imple-

ment, manage and evaluate

USAID programs.

It is critical that we deploy

experienced, culturally sensi-

tive, career FSOs to perform

these functions, which are

so crucial to maintaining

America’s front lines of peace

and security.

I agree that we must

act as prudent stewards of

taxpayer’s funds, but this FSL

shell game is not prudent.

The United States directs

less than 1 percent of its

$4 trillion federal budget to

foreign aid. There is no rea-

son USAID should continue

hiding its OE needs. Instead,

the agency needs to redirect

its “creative” efforts into sup-

porting and justifying such

needs to appropriators.

The effort is worth it, not

just for the future of USAID

and the Foreign Service,

but for the wellbeing of the

United States and its citi-

zens.

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AFSPA’S NEW LOCAT I ON

The American Foreign Service Protective

Association has moved to 1620 L Street NW,

Suite 800, Washington, D.C. The new building,

located at the corner of 17th and L Streets NW,

is expected to accommodate the association’s

continued growth. For more information on

AFSPA, please visit

www.afspa.org

.

n

NEWS BRIEF

COURTESYOFAFSPA