AFSA Calls on Sec. Pompeo to Act on FSGB Nominations

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2020
Contact: Executive Director Ásgeir Sigfússon |

Washington, D.C. – AFSA calls on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fulfill his statutory responsibility (22 U.S.C. 4135b) to make appointments to the Foreign Service Grievance Board (FSGB). Eight seats on that board have been vacant since October 1 due to inaction on their nominations.

The FSGB was created by Congress in 1980 to provide due process to Foreign Service members who believe they have been deprived of a right or benefit authorized by law or regulation. The Board is comprised of 19 distinguished citizens who serve in staggered, two-year terms.

Eight FSGB positions were required to be filled by October 1, 2020. Career management officials of the agencies utilizing the Foreign Service personnel system (Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce, Foreign Agricultural Service of the Department of Agriculture, and the United States Agency for Global Media) along with AFSA unanimously agreed on a slate of nominees.

The nomination paperwork was transmitted to Secretary Pompeo’s staff on or before August 28, 2020, giving him at least four weeks to act prior to the September 30 expiration of the terms of office of the eight positions. If Secretary Pompeo had adverse information on any nominees, he could have allowed the Foreign Service agencies and AFSA to submit replacement nominations prior to September 30. Unfortunately, Secretary Pompeo has taken no action over the past three months.

As a result, nearly one half of the FSGB positions have been vacant since October 1. Pending case loads are rising and justice is being delayed for employees who appealed to the FSGB to review their cases. Government efficiency is also adversely impacted by delaying case decisions which sometimes result in the separation of employees or the imposition of other sanctions.

Each year for the past four decades, Secretaries of State have acted on FSGB nominations. AFSA calls on Secretary Pompeo to do so as well.

AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service, is the professional association and labor union of the U.S. Foreign Service. Founded in 1924, AFSA represents 31,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees at the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.