The Foreign Service Journal, March 2019

72 MARCH 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS In Case of a Shutdown: Be Ready After 35 days, the longest U.S. government shutdown in our history finally ended. Shut- downs have become a regular fact of life for government employees. What can you do to be ready for the next one? AFSA has been active on the Hill, making sure mem- bers of Congress are aware of the situation for members of the Foreign Service and for U.S. diplomacy, and shor- ing up support for the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill. We work with HR—not just during the shutdown, but constantly—to make sure our members’ questions and concerns are addressed. The good news is that leg- islation (S. 24,“Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019,”) was passed into law guaranteeing back pay for all federal employees once the shutdown ends—not just for this shutdown, but in any future shutdowns as well. Given how long a shutdown can last, AFSA recommends advance planning for the next time. Some things to do: • Make sure AFSA has your personal email on file so we can contact you if you’re furloughed. Email AFSAGoverning Board Meeting, Jan. 16, 2019 There were no motions brought before the board in January. n AFSA Hosts Chiefs of Mission Breakfast On Jan. 17 AFSA hosted 35 career Foreign Service ambassadors for breakfast on the margins of the Global Chiefs of Mission conference. AFSA President Ambassador Barbara Stephenson made introductory remarks and then opened the floor for a lively discussion of how things are going at posts around the world and how AFSA can be of assistance to them and their teams. Pictured above, Amb. Stephenson addresses the group. us at to update your contact info. • Bookmark our website,, and check in regu- larly for the latest updated guidance. And read the guid- ance carefully! •Write to us at member@ as issues arise regard- ing travel, allowances, etc., so AFSA can help sort it out. • Make sure you store your banking, TSP and other passwords at home, not just in a safe at work, so that you have access to your accounts in the event you are locked out of your office during a shutdown. n AFSA Seminar: Retirement Planning Made Easy(er) On Jan. 22, AFSA Retiree Vice President John Naland led a seminar at AFSA head- quarters titled “Retirement Planning: 5 to 10 Years Out,” during which he explained to participants what they need leading up to retirement. Mr. Naland, a former director of the Office of Retirement at the State Department, provided a detailed checklist outlining the things prospective retirees need to do and the websites they need to visit to prepare for a successful transition. More than 70 members registered for the event. For those who missed it, a recording of the talk is avail- able at Handouts from the event can be viewed at http://bit. ly/retire-checklist. n AFSA/ASGEIRSIGFUSSON