The Foreign Service Journal, September 2015

64 SEPTEMBER 2015 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS Persistence and Strategic Advocacy Pay Off THE F. AL LEN “TEX” HARR I S AWARD FOR A FORE I GN SERV I CE SPEC I AL I ST JEFFREY BING Jeffrey Bing, the recipient of this year’s F. Allen “Tex” Harris Award for a Foreign Service specialist, says she feels “blessed every day” for her job and what it brings to her both personally and profes- sionally. Bing was no stranger to the Foreign Service when she first joined as an office man- agement specialist (OMS) in 2003. Her father was a Foreign Service officer, and she had two aunts who served as FS secretaries during WorldWar II. Bing describes herself as “opinionated, vocal and stubborn”—traits she attributes to her father. Talk to her colleagues, however, and it is apparent that she is widely respected precisely because she’s used that persistence and passion to champion the cause of the State Department’s capable and indispensable OMS cadre. In 2011, after two years of futile inquiries sent through established channels on the status of the OMS Career Development Plan—which would update the prerequi- sites for promotion—Bing sent her request directly to the Director General. Despite not receiving a satisfactory response, and despite the fact that the plan is still outstand- ing, Bing found other ways to advance OMS interests. When she felt that having the OMS coor- dinator posi- tion located in the bureau that reports to the Director General consti- tuted a conflict of interest, Bing argued that the coordi- nator could not impartially represent OMS concerns to the DG. Finally, Bing successfully fought a proposal to consoli- date the heretofore-separate Foreign and Civil Service OMS of the Year Awards into one named after a Civil Service OMS. Contending that each group deserved its own award, she convinced the department to name the Foreign Service award after Rayda Nadal, an admired FS OMS who died from injuries sustained from a tragic gas explosion in her Moscow apartment in 2014. In her acceptance remarks, Bing emphasized how issues of seemingly small import can make a huge difference in morale: “I want to thank AFSA for its support and advocacy as we fought for this tiny little correction, this tiny little thing that was pretty huge to a lot of us.” Bing joined the Foreign Service in 2003. She has received two Superior Honor Awards, two Meritorious Honor Awards, and many other accolades. Her tours thus far have included Seoul, Athens, Kabul, Nicosia, Rome and Sarajevo. n Harris Award recipient Jeffrey Bing in her element at Embassy Sarajevo. COURTESYOFJEFFERYBING 20 1 3 AND 20 1 4 MS I IMPLEMENTAT I ON D I SPUTES : AN UPDATE The American Foreign Service Association is still awaiting decisions from the Foreign Service Grievance Board on non-payment of the 2013 and 2014 Meritorious Service Increases (see the July/August 2014 AFSA News). AFSA’s appeal on behalf of the 554 individuals who were recommended by the 2013 Selection Boards for an MSI, but who did not receive the monetary component, is currently before the FSGB. On April 20, the department filed its response to AFSA’s Dec. 22, 2014, supplemental submission. AFSA is in the process of preparing its final rebuttal, after which the record of proceeding will be closed and rest with the board for final deliberation and decision. AFSA hopes to have a decision within the next couple of months. Also before the FSGB is AFSA’s appeal on behalf of the 270 members who did not receive their recommended MSIs in 2014. At press time, the department had not yet responded to AFSA’s requests for discovery. A decision in the 2014 case is further off, but we hope to have it later this year. n NEWS BRIEF AFSA CONSTRUCT I VE D I SSENT AWARDS