The Foreign Service Journal, October 2023

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2023 11 inclusion of their families in whatever policies and regulations come out of this executive order. Adam Pearlman FS family member, attorney Lexpat Global Services, LLC Lisbon, Portugal The Reappointment Process Sonnet Frisbie’s “Boomerang Diplomats? Another Look at Reappointment” (Speaking Out in the July-August 2023 FSJ) raises very important issues that need to be addressed. I am a Foreign Service officer (currently on leave without pay) whose spouse is going through the reappointment process. The lack of communication about basic procedures has been consistent and demoralizing. My career development officer has not been able to identify a point of contact for the process (other than the collective email, to which messages go unanswered); and a query to DG Direct has produced no results. I am unable to take any steps toward my next assignment with this complete lack of information. I strongly support continued advocacy from AFSA on this matter. Nina Murray FSO Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom Dissent in Dublin In a letter in the July-August 2023 FSJ (“Good Friday Agreement at 25”), Larry Butler tosses a barb at the “righteously wrong” Dublin dissenters who opposed issuing a visa for Gerry Adams in 1994. For Ambassador Butler, granting the visa was an important contribution to the Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland. As the author of the July 1996 FSJ article, “Dissent in Dublin,” which “celebrated” the dissenters and stirred Butler’s dig, let me recall once again my admiration for the FSOs who remained constant with U.S. policy toward Sinn Féin and dared take a lonely stand against a powerful ambassador and her most influential Irish American family. The fact that, in retrospect, granting the visa may (or may not) have been an important factor in the ultimate Belfast settlement ought not to diminish the courage of the Dublin embassy dissenters. Richard Gilbert USIA FSO, retired Rhinebeck, New York Keeping Our Pensions Thank you for Tom Yazdgerdi’s AFSA News column in the June 2023 FSJ, “Your Pension Should Be Your Pension, Period.” I am facing mandatory retirement in a couple of years, so this is a very timely topic for me. I have been contemplating the kind of job I could do to make the money needed to make up for the Social Security gap, since State’s mandatory retirement age is 65, but Social Security’s full retirement age (FRA) is 67. Years ago I suggested to a State management official that State should change its mandatory retirement age to automatically match Social Security’s FRA. He cautioned that opening up the Foreign Service Act, which this would require, when you had a generally hostile Congress could lead to many negative consequences. Working as a rehired annuitant (REA, formerly called WAE, while actually employed) is an attractive option, but the limit on hours because of a possible impact on the pension is inhibiting. So I thought: What about working for another federal agency that doesn’t have that mandatory retirement age? I have very relevant skills and abilities, and I know a ton of acronyms! I learned that if I take a direct-hire job at a federal agency, my entire pension is put on hold—that is, I don’t get it at all during the time of that employment. What? That is nonsensical and a disincentive for retired State Department federal employees to bring their years of experience to other agencies. As Mr. Yazdgerdi pointed out, the Defense Department (DoD) does not have those limits on their pensions, which explains why so many of my State colleagues were retired military with great skills and experience ... and received their DoD pension on top of their State salary. It’s not just unfair. It’s bad for business by freezing out a pool of skilled workers. I appreciate and strongly support AFSA’s efforts to remove the hour and salary caps in working after retirement. Otherwise, I will have to look for something that’s outside government but more rewarding than being a Walmart greeter. Curt Whittaker FSO Embassy Lima