Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  71 / 96 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 71 / 96 Next Page
Page Background

There is a saying: “A journey

of a thousand miles begins

with a first step.” That adage

summarized my sentiments

exactly as I sat in a room in

August 2014 with a baker’s

dozen contract specialists,

human resource experts and

vendor-business develop-

ment types. Our goal was to

launch Global Markets’ new

temporary duty (TDY), direct

billing/contract lodging

program.

After several months of

hard work, I’m pleased to

announce that this worth-

while initiative is now opera-

tional.

The new housing ben-

efit is really rather simple.

Designed after State’s

highly successful temporary

quarters program, it allows

Foreign Commercial Service

officers on TDY in the Wash-

ington, D.C., area to stay in

temporary extended-stay

apartments at no out-of-

pocket cost to the employee.

It also authorizes full cov-

erage of lodging costs for the

At Last! Temporary Duty Housing

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

NOVEMBER 2015

71

FCS VP VOICE

| BY STEVE MORRISON

AFSA NEWS

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

Contact:

steve.morrison@trade.gov

| (202) 482-9088

duration of the TDY. Officers

will continue to be respon-

sible for covering the meals

and incidental expenses

portion of the per diem

allowance and for vouchering

those expenses using Form

CD-370.

The program stands to

alleviate a large burden for

most eligible employees and

save the government money.

Any FCS officer in Washing-

ton, D.C., on an extended TDY

basis or detail assignment of

less than one year is eligible

to take advantage of this

lodging option. Bear in mind

that these extended-stay

apartments are not intended

for stays of less than 30 days.

AFSA played a significant

role in bringing this program

to fruition. Working together,

the AFSA vice presidents for

State, Commerce and USAID

co-hosted the original inter-

agency meeting that kicked

off the project’s planning

phase. We also facilitated the

sharing of critical start-up,

contractual and program

rollout information between

agencies (e.g., statements of

work, announcements, etc.),

and we helped draw up key

parameters, such as total

room nights, for the Com-

merce contract.

In August, the contract

was awarded to a company

called Basic Overnight Quar-

ters, LLC (aka BOQ Lodging).

The first set of CS employees

will stay at the Parc Ross-

lyn apartments, located

in Arlington at 1531 North

Pierce Street.

We hope that the program

will gradually be embraced

by many more CS officers, as

was the case over at State.

BOQ’s State program, for

what it’s worth, had grown

more than fivefold as of this

past July, resulting in hun-

dreds of thousands of dollars

in savings to the government.

Early reaction from FCS

officers has been positive.

“We are so thankful for the

direct-billing, temporary

lodging program. It has made

my TDY transfer experience

unbelievably easy,” wrote one

officer. “To walk in and turn

the key to a beautiful apart-

ment that is fully furnished

and ready (for cooking,

laundry and entertaining)

was amazing.”

Another officer wrote:

“Very happy to be trying out

this program. I know it has

the potential to relieve a lot

of stress for officers com-

ing in for TDY assignments

and language [training].” He

added, “I was a bit dismayed

at the choices [prior to this

program] and out-of-pocket

costs I was facing.” Thank-

fully, that is no longer the

case.

For information on the

Parc Rosslyn, check out its

website at www.boqlodg ing.com/statedepartment/ boqproperties-parcrosslyn. htm.

For general information

on BOQ’s extended-stay

apartments, visit www. boqlodging.com/state department/index.htm

.

n

AFSA RECE I VES H I GHEST COMMENDAT I ON I N 20 1 4 AUD I T

For the sixth year in a row, the American Foreign Service Association received the highest possible commendation

in its annual audit: a clean, unmodified opinion. The accounting firm of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP found no deficien-

cies in AFSA’s financial operations.

During 2014, AFSA continued to steadily upgrade its financial management and related governance procedures.

The renewed attention to such matters began several years ago. AFSA’s financial strength has enabled it to deepen

services and professionalize as an organization.

Regarding the audit results, AFSA Executive Director Ian Houston said: “Consistently achieving high marks in

these outside opinions is always AFSA’s goal. The fact that we continue to achieve strong ratings reflects positively

on the good work of AFSA staff and on the strong governance and oversight structures that the organization has in

place.”

n

NEWS BRIEF