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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.