THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
department denied the dispute. This move prompted AFSA
to file an appeal with the Foreign Service Grievance Board on
Aug. 5, 2014. On Sept. 3, 2015, the FSGB ruled in AFSA’s favor.
The board found that the department’s discretion to award
MSIs conferred by selection boards is not sole and exclusive,
but is subject to collective bargaining with AFSA. It also found
• The parties’ consistent past practice demonstrated that
the department always paid MSIs to those identified by the
selection boards, up to the percentage cap in the precepts.
• The new language in the 2013 precepts did not grant the
department discretion to refuse retroactive payment of MSIs
after OMB and OPM lifted the restrictions on awards.
Foreign Service Labor Relations Board:
noted, the department filed exceptions to the FSGB’s decision
with the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board. The FSLRB
was established under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 to,
among other things, review implementation disputes. The
three members of the FSLRB are Chairperson Carol Waller
Pope (who is also chairperson of the Federal Labor Relations
Authority), Ambassador (ret.) Herman (Hank) Cohen and
past Director of Labor Relations at the former United States
Information Agency Stephen Ledford.
2014 MSI Dispute
The 2013 implementation dispute is distinct from AFSA’s
2014 dispute, which AFSA filed when State implemented a
5-percent cap on the number of people who would receive
MSIs, even though the precepts stated that the percentage
cap was 10 percent.
The department denied this dispute, arguing that the
department had the discretion to either pay or not pay MSIs
to whatever number of employees it chose. AFSA appealed to
the Foreign Service Grievance Board in February 2015 arguing
that—as the FSGB found in its decision in the 2013 MSI case—
the department was bound by its past practice of paying
MSIs to all of those employees rank ordered by the selection
boards, up to the 10 percent cap that the parties agreed to in
the precepts. This case continues to make its way through the
On Oct. 1, State released the 2015 promotion list. In it,
the department listed employees recognized by the 2015
selection boards “as demonstrating potential to serve at
On Oct. 16, the department notified AFSA that it had
established the appropriate level for conferral of MSIs at the
rate of 5 percent of the competitive group. AFSA believes the
department’s actions violate the 2015 precepts and plans
to file a third implementation dispute. The 2015 procedural
precepts require the department to pay MSIs up to the
10-percent cap specified in the precepts.
—Sharon Papp, General Counsel
REMI NDER : NOMI NAT I ONS FOR EXEMPLARY PERFORMANCE AWARDS
The American Foreign Service Association is now accepting nominations for its six awards recognizing exemplary
Nelson B. Delavan Award
recognizes the work of a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist.
M. Juanita Guess Award
is conferred on a Community Liaison Office Coordinator who has demonstrated
Avis Bohlen Award
honors the volunteer accomplishments of a family member of a Foreign Service employee
Mark Palmer Award
is granted to a member of the Foreign Service for distinguished achievement in advanc-
ing democracy, freedom and governance during one or more assignments.
AFSA Achievement and Contributions to the Association Award
is for active-duty and retired members of
Post Rep of the Year Award
is for the AFSA post representative who demonstrates sustained and successful
engagement with AFSA membership at post.
Recipients are presented with a monetary prize and are honored at a ceremony in June in the Benjamin Franklin
Diplomatic Reception Room at the State Department.
Deadline for nominations is Feb. 28, 2016. For details on the awards and to submit an online nomination, go towww.afsa.org/performance. Please contact Foreign Service Profession Awards Coordinator Perri Green at green@ afsa.org or (202) 719-9700 for more information. n