The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

64 NOVEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL NOTES FROM LABOR MANAGEMENT AFSA NEWS USAID Performance Management System Since September 2016, AFSA and USAID have been engaged in negotiations to completely overhaul the USAID performance manage- ment (employee evaluation) system. Although discussions started off slowly, the two parties came together for a highly productive negotiating session earlier this year. Because of the unique nature of the Foreign Service and its up-or-out system any changes to the promotion systemmust be carefully considered. The current and former USAID vice presidents, along with the AFSA labor management team, reviewed lessons learned with previous performance management reforms to make proposals that would truly strengthen the Foreign Service. AFSA agreed to separate performance management into two components: the Employee Performance & Development Process and the Promotion Process. As a result, the familiar Annual Evaluation Formwill be replaced by two separate forms for the cycle begin- ning in April 2018: one for professional development and performance (known as an After-Action Review) the other, a Promotion Input Form, or PIF. While in previous years all files have been reviewed by the promotion boards, the new systemwill allow only those eligible for promotion to be reviewed. This will reduce administrative work for the boards and also ease the pres- sure on employees who are not up for promotion. There are more issues to be resolved. One of the biggest is the inclusion of multisource ratings (MSRs) in the promotion process. Best practices show that any use of MSRs should be limited to professional development, not promotions. USAID management pro- posed to have MSRs weighted equally with all other board- reviewed materials. AFSA submitted a counterproposal to use MSRs only in situations where two employees have nearly identical performance (a tie-breaker). AFSA is also reviewing the agency’s proposal for addi- tional paths to separation for unsatisfactory performance. We will provide updates as we continue negotiating on your behalf. USAID Foreign Service personnel are encouraged to visit HCTM/fs-pm (requires USAID login) for updates. Make sure to familiarize yourselves with the new Foreign Service Senior Foreign Service Skills Framework and updated forms. Q —Jason Snyder, Grievance Counselor AFSA and USAID Reach Agreement on FSLHiring AFSA and USAID have signed an agreement on the hiring of Foreign Service Limited employees (FSLs). This follows a two-year effort by AFSA that included a letter to then-USAIDAdminis- trator Gayle Smith, expressing our concern about the impact on Foreign Service career paths of what appeared to be ad hoc FSL hiring without adequate workforce planning. AFSAmade it clear from the outset that we support appropriate hiring of FSLs, who serve on limited non- career appointments. How- ever, continuing reports from career FS employees who appeared qualified for particu- lar Foreign Service positions, but lost the positions to FSLs, prompted our pursuit of more transparency in this process. While USAIDmanagement has the right to hire employ- ees into positions, AFSA (in its role as a union) can negotiate procedures regarding the agency’s exercise of these rights and the appropriate arrangements to address any adverse impact on Foreign Service employees that result. Specifically, AFSA sought a mechanism to ensure that all career Foreign Service employees qualified for a particular position would be considered before staffing the position with FSLs. This agreement provides that AFSAwill be informed by USAID before advertising an FSL position. The agency will provide relevant information regarding the position, and AFSAwill have an opportunity to respond. AFSA and USAID have also agreed to negotiate the lengths of appointments and required breaks in service before obtaining reappoint- ment for FSL positions. Please see Automated Directives System 414.3.2.3. We believe the process will now be much more transpar- ent and help ensure that quali- fied Foreign Service career employees are considered for positions first. While it is AFSA’s hope that recent reforms such as the Human Capital and Talent Management transformation undertaken by USAID will help to improve workforce planning, this agreement represents a significant step forward. Q —Colleen Fallon-Lenaghan Esq., Labor Management Counselor