The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 49 AFSA NEWS AFSA NEWS THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE AMERICAN FOREIGN SERVICE ASSOCIATION AFSA Celebrates 60 Years of USAID On Nov. 10, AFSA and the USAID Alumni Association co-hosted a happy hour in honor of USAID’s 60th anniversary. The event took place in a private room at The Hamilton inWashington, D.C., and wel- comed both active-duty and retired USAID FSOs alongside attendees from the State Department and AFSA. Opening remarks before the gathering of about 80 were offered by AFSA Presi- dent Eric Rubin, UAA Co- Chair Margaret Neuse and AFSA USAID Vice President Jason Singer. Each highlighted the importance of the agency’s development assistance work throughout the global challenges, hardships and opportunities of the past six decades. As AFSA’s first in-person social event since the onset of the pandemic, the happy hour was open only to fully vac- cinated guests. It was great to see everyone, and AFSA looks forward to celebrating more milestones in person in the months to come. n New USAID Foreign Service officers pose with the cover of the December FSJ on the occasion of USAID’s 60th anniversary. The celebration of USAID’s history came on the heels of AFSA’s virtual Inside Diplomacy event, during which Administrator Saman- tha Power, the featured guest, laid out her priorities for the agency moving for- ward (see page 55) . FRANCESRAYBAUD CALENDAR Please check for the most up-to-date information. December 1-March 15 AFSA Scholarship Applications Available January 1 New Year’s Day AFSA Offices Closed January 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day AFSA Offices Closed January 19 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting February 21 Presidents Day AFSA Offices Closed February 16 12-2 p.m. AFSA Governing Board Meeting AFSA and State Sign MSI Dispute Settlement On Oct. 22, AFSA and the Department of State entered into an agreement resolving the payments in the 2015 and 2016 meritorious ser- vice increase (MSI) imple- mentation disputes. Affected employees should have received an email from the department advising them of their specific payment or remedy, with payments scheduled to be disbursed immediately. Employees already retired will have an adjustment made to their annuities to reflect the 2015 and/or 2016 MSIs. Thanks to AFSA’s advocacy on this issue, approximately $6 million will be paid to 450 employees or former employees. The payment of these MSIs, with interest, is the last step in a very lengthy legal battle that has spanned the terms of four AFSA State Department vice presidents (Matthew Asada, Angie Bryan, Ken Kero-Mentz and Tom Yazdgerdi). To recap, AFSA prevailed before the Foreign Service Grievance Board in the 2013 MSI implementation dispute. The department filed an appeal with the Foreign Ser- vice Labor Relations Board, which upheld the FSGB’s decision, and AFSA entered into an agreement to pro- vide individual payments or remedies for affected members. As a result, more than a thousand Foreign Service employees received a cash payment, permanent increase to their salary or an adjustment to their annuity. While AFSA initially prevailed before the FSGB in the 2014 MSI dispute, the department filed an appeal with the FSLRB, which, unfortunately, overturned the FSGB’s decision. Finally, believing it was legally bound by the FSLRB’s deci- sion in the 2014 dispute, the FSGB ruled against AFSA in the combined 2015 and Continued on page 52