Annual Report 2016 | American Foreign Service Association
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Consular Staffing:

AFSA has long been concerned about the visa adjudi-

cator gap and its potential impact on the ELO career

path. Specifically, we did NOT want to ELOs to do two

or more 100% consular tours in a row with no opportu-

nity to work in-cone. AFSA embraced the Department’s

Consular Fellows program, contributing multiple sugges-

tions as to how the Department could increase recruit-

ment to the program, including through making it easier

for family members to participate.

Couriers:

After several years of lobbying by AFSA, the Depart-

ment increased the TIC for FS-4 Couriers from 15 to 20

years. AFSA had been pressing for this change because

the very low promotion rate (an average of 5% or less)

from FS-04 to FS-03 resulted in mandatory retirement

for many before they became eligible for any kind of

an annuity, as well as needlessly getting rid of many

experienced and valuable employees.

EFM Employment:

For years AFSA has been arguing that EFM employment

(or the difficulty/lack thereof) is one of the biggest

complaints our members have, especially when it came

to the non-portability of security clearances. Conse-

quently, we were delighted when the Department finally

announced the creation of the Foreign Service Family

Reserve Corps, a mechanism which will allow EFMs to

maintain their security clearance when they transfer.

Employee Organizations and Affinity Groups:

AFSA continues to work closely with and rely heavily on

several employee organizations and affinity groups, and

was delighted to welcome two new ones (one focused

on tandem couples and one focused on parents of

children with special needs) in 2016. AFSA co-hosted a

panel on assignment restrictions with AAFAA, frequent-

ly consulted with GLIFAA on issues of relevance to its

members, pushed hard for the Department to

respond to proposals suggested via AFSA by Balancing

Act to improve conditions for new parents, and lob-

bied the Department to address issues of concern to

Working in Tandem and (separately) the Foreign Service

Families with Disabilities Alliance. When the shortened

bidding season made it more difficult for families await-

ing post clearances for medical issues, AFSA stepped in

and brought the issue to the attention of Department

officials in a position to help.

FSI Rosslyn Annex:

As soon as it learned of the Department’s plans to open

an FSI annex in Rosslyn, AFSA began advocating on

behalf of future students, particularly with regard to

ensuring that those students had access to the same

childcare, lactation, parking, and transportation options

as their NFATC colleagues. When a temporary problem

occurred during the first month of operations, AFSA

stepped in and the problem was resolved overnight.

Labor Relations Course:

AFSA’s LM team collaborated with HR/PC and FSI to

create an online Labor Management Course that is

scheduled to launch in the spring of 2017. The course

will include the nuts and bolts of labor management

relations, information on employee, management and

union rights and obligations as well as some historical

information on AFSA’s formation as the exclusive

representative and professional organization of the

Foreign Service.

Linked Assignments:

This year, AFSA agreed to a cap of 110 linked assign-

ments available to eligible bidders who agreed to serve

in positions advertised in the 2017 Priority Staffing Post

(PSP) Cycle. We also agreed that, if the 110 links were

filled by December 15, 2016, the number of links could be

increased to 150. In addition, in an attempt to encour-

age lower-level bidders, a limit of 50 links was set for

Officers and Specialists at FS-02 and above. We also

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