Annual Report 2014 | American Foreign Service Association
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7

T

he 90th anniversary of the For-

eign Service and AFSA gave us

the chance to reflect with pride on

the work of USAID Foreign Service

members toward preserving human

dignity around the world while ad-

vancing U.S. security and prosperity.

AFSA plays a vital role in promot-

ing the value of the Foreign Service

and providing checks and balances

within the foreign affairs agencies.

I would like to highlight a few of the issues tackled this year at

AFSA USAID.

Parity

Extensive work was done to rectify the imbalance in benefits be-

tween the foreign affairs agencies, in particular the imbalance be-

tween USAID and State. We used benefits data collected from US-

AID members to educate agency management

and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Develop-

ment Review team on this issue and its implica-

tions for the USAID Foreign Service. This work

has gotten traction on many levels, and Admin-

istrator Rajiv Shah directed the agency to address

the inequalities and cost-out the funds needed to

close the gap.

AFSA’s ability to push this issue to the fore

resulted in a number of positive steps by the

agency. For example, the Management Bureau

is researching a temporary housing program for

USAID that is much like the one already in place

at the State Department. Such a program would

remove the FS member as the middleman for bill

payment, and it would provide secondary ben-

efits, such as guaranteed housing should a lease

extension be needed because of visa delays or the

need for additional language testing.

USAID has secured funding for a pilot trial

of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global

Entry program. As pre-screened Global Entry

members, USAID travelers would benefit from

shorter processing lines and have access to ex-

pedited entry benefits, allowing for more effi-

cient use of travel. Although the Transportation

Security Administration’s PreCheck is currently

available at the State Department, Global Entry

will provide a more comprehensive benefit for replication among

foreign affairs agencies.

The QDDR team is particularly interested in the lack of par-

ity in language training provided to USAID FSOs and eligible

family members (EFMs) compared to opportunities available to

State FS members and EFMs because this has ramifications on

multiple levels, including safety, morale, efficiency of work and

public perception.

AFSA lobbied for more employment opportunities and lan-

guage training for EFMs, and a new USAID initiative is set to

address these issues. The overarching goal of the initiative is to

increase agency efficiency by tapping into an underutilized human

resource, the EFMs of FSOs stationed at USAID missions over-

seas. It also supports FSO retention by helping the agency offer

more professional employment options for family members.

Policy

AFSA worked to protect members this year in a number of dif-

ferent areas. For example, AFSA successfully intervened when

the Administrator doubled the length of service required, from

one year to two, in a critical priority country before an employee

is eligible for priority bidding status. AFSA USAID immediately

compiled member responses to this change and shared our mem-

bers’ concerns with agency management. This led directly to the

agency’s agreement to postpone any change and engage all stake-

holders to determine the best way forward.

AFSA encouraged further discussion on a decision to abruptly

change the eligibility requirements for FSOs bidding into senior

USAID Vice President’s Report:

Sharon Wayne

USAID Board Representative Andrew Levin, USAID VP Sharon Wayne and AFSA

President Bob Silverman meet with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah (center left).