Annual Report 2013 | American Foreign Service Association
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5

AFSA Annual Report 2013

USAID Vice President’s Report: Sharon Wayne

As a USAID Foreign Service officer, I find that one part of our yearly

evaluation consistently leaves me grateful for the exercise. Okay, maybe

two, if you count when it’s over. What I’m referring to is the pride that

emerges after pausing and reviewing the year, with all its challenges

and accomplishments. The daily work life of any FSO is so fully engag-

ing that its magnitude is often not appreciated until taking the time

to reflect.

AFSA is the voice of the Foreign Service, striving to convey our story

and serving as an ally for FSOs throughout their careers and beyond.

The year 2013 featured unexpected challenges for many. During Egypt’s

4-month evacuation due to political and social unrest, AFSA helped

guide evacuees through the uncertainties associated with extended evacuations. Egypt’s

situation was further complicated by the determination that the regional office—moved to

Washington, D.C., during the evacuation—would remain in Washington, jeopardizing tenure

for officers lacking their required time overseas. AFSA ensured that these FSOs received nec-

essary overseas opportunities and guidance. Disruptions in work and its unsettling effects on

officers and families was a reoccurring theme.

The August evacuation of Yemen followed a terrorist threat that triggered the mass shut-

down of USAID missions throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The shutdowns were

temporary, but the threats to security are not. The September terrorist attack at Westgate

Shopping Mall in Nairobi again brought the threat home to many FSOs who had frequented

the mall for the essentials of daily life abroad.

Consultations with AFSA during these times spiked, allowing bidding and career concerns

to be addressed and added weight to AFSA’s ongoing advocacy for increased security. The

16-day U.S. government shutdown in October brought the additional threat of a monetary

disruption in which AFSA stayed robustly engaged.

In 2013, USAID AFSA championed the successful effort to add the names of two dedicated

officers who died in the line of duty to the USAID Memorial Plaque—Mr. Dale Gredler and

Mr. Eugene Sullivan. (Their names are already on the AFSA Memorial Plaque.) The ceremony

took place at USAID following the AFSA Memorial Plaque Ceremony at the State Depart-

ment. The names of three other USAID officers were added to the AFSA Memorial Plaque in

2013: Ragaei Said Abdelfattah, Joseph Gregory Fandino and Francis K. Savage.

USAID also saw numerous revisions of the Automated Directives System in 2013, as well as

many office reorganizations. AFSA’s engagement blocked proposed changes that could have

adversely affected the Foreign Service—such as a revision that implied FSOs could not change

backstops and proposed new ADS language that would have broadened the use of mid-level

hiring and placement.

As always, please feel free to contact me at

swayne@usaid.gov.

n

We used our successful interventions on behalf of several members to educate our partners on

the Foreign Service. We wrote to Walmart to stop the levy of Virginia sales tax on shipments

made to pouch addresses in Dulles, Va.; and to the District of Columbia to recover income

tax inappropriately assessed to diplomatic addresses in Washington, D.C. We engaged with

AT&T and Volkswagen to facilitate our members’ overseas transition by assisting with cancel-

lation of their domestic contracts and leases.

ENGAGEMENT

Promoting Diversity and Professionalism

In August we partnered with AFGE to organize a State Department screening of a 1964 USIA

film in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. We continued our support

of a summer intern with the African-American affinity group, the Thursday Lunch Group, and

finalized an agreement to establish a similar program with the Hispanic affinity group, HEC-

FAA. We worked with the Asian American affinity group, AAFAA, on the issue of assignment

restrictions and preclusions. We participated in discussions led by the American Academy of

Diplomacy and DACOR on professionalism and security in today’s Foreign Service.

Engaging Members and Educating Management

AFSA was able to visit several posts this year to meet members and hear their concerns,

engage with post management to help improve conditions at post, and educate members and

management about AFSA priorities and labor management relations.

We worked with our AFSA post reps at several NEA and SCA posts on a variety of issues,

including premium compensation for specialists and untenured officers, as well as curtail-

ment and R&R policy for posts in evacuation status.

Many employees and management officials are unaware of the scope of labor manage-

ment relations at the department. We are looking to strengthen the department’s educational

resources in this area, including the development of an online course.

n

Unexpected Challenges

State VP Matthew Asada

addresses the crowd during

AFSA’s Sept. 27 rally against the

government shutdown, joined

by USAID VP Sharon Wayne and

FCS VP Steve Morrison.