Annual Report 2015 | American Foreign Service Association
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25

Communicating with and serving AFSA members is among the associa-

tion’s chief priorities. Whether we are reaching out by AFSANET email

messages, social media posts, the association’s website or

The Foreign

Service Journal,

AFSA strives to ensure our members are informed and

always welcomes member input.

In 2015, AFSA’s Member Services Department assisted nearly 1,000 active-duty, retired and associate

members on a wide variety of issues, such as membership benefits and dues, retirement planning,

social security and health insurance.

NAVIGATING THE OPM DATA BREACHES

When it was revealed in June that the Office of Personnel Management had

suffered two cybersecurity data breaches exposing the personally identifiable

information of millions of current and former federal employees, AFSA’s advo-

cacy, labor management and membership teams worked diligently to keep our

members up-to-date on the issue. In its conversations with OPM, AFSA stressed

the unique vulnerability of the Foreign Service, given its overseas presence and

diplomatic assignments, and petitioned for credit monitoring services and liabili-

ty insurance, among other requests.

2015-2017 GOVERNING BOARD ELECTIONS

AFSA held its biennial

Governing Board election

from April to June. During this

time, 41 candidates campaigned for 29 spots on the board, and members con-

sidered a bylaw amendment that would reduce the number of Governing Board

members from 29 to 19 starting in 2017. At 4,034 votes, the 2015 election saw

more AFSA members voting than ever before. The bylaw amendment passed and

is expected to impact all foreign affairs agencies equally while preserving the

relative voting strengths of each constituency.

A DIALOGUE WITH POST REPRESENTATIVES

In March, then-AFSA President Bob Silverman and State Vice President Matthew

Asada held a webinar for current AFSA post representatives—our active-duty

Foreign Service volunteers who represent both the collective and individual

interests of members at post in dealing with post management and liaising with

AFSA headquarters. The webinar served to review the role of post representa-

tives in labor management relations and explain AFSA priority issues, as well

as to receive feedback on member concerns at posts and on potential future

enhancements to the post rep program.

AFSA NEWS: KEEPING

MEMBERS INFORMED

The AFSA News section of

The

Foreign Service Journal

is the official

record of the association highlight-

ing association news, activities and

advocacy on behalf of the Foreign

Service. In 2015, AFSA News intro-

duced a new feature—a readout of

Governing Board meeting decisions

to keep members informed of the

activities of the elected officials who

represent them.

AFSA COMMUNITY CONNECTS

MEMBERS

In March, the association rolled out

the

AFSA Community—

an online

discussion forum that allows mem-

bers to connect, engage and share

experiences across the globe. The

community boasts 11,000 members

and has resulted in more than 80

lively discussions on such diverse

topics as the OPM data breach, visa

processing, federal health benefits

open season, 360-degree reviews

and more.