The Foreign Service Journal, November 2013

52 NOVEMBER 2013 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL AFSA NEWS By now you’ve all seen the announcements of the many personnel changes that occurred over the sum- mer. Hopefully, progress on selecting the International Trade Administration under secretary and deputy under secretary, and the Foreign Commercial Service director general, is just around the corner. (Update on Oct. 4: Arun Kumar was nominated to fill the DG slot.) Early fall has seen a num- ber of new developments for the Commercial Service and AFSA. FCS Representa- tive Barbara Farrar and I recently held a joint meeting with majority and minority staff from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to discuss the ITA consolidation and its resource implications. We also discussed reports the committees had requested on how our reorganization was proceeding. By all indications, recent meetings with Deputy Direc- tor General Judy Reinke have been going well and serve a useful, constructive purpose. The final organiza- tional structure of the Global Markets division is still being finalized, so stay tuned. There is also progress to report on getting FCS retir- ees access to State’s new WAE/Re-employed Annuitant registry. On Sept. 11, we met with representatives from State’s Retirement Divi- sion, who clarified that FCS retirees are eligible to sign up on the new registry. Special thanks to AFSA Retiree VP Larry Cohen, former AFSA FCS VP Keith Curtis and CS retiree Charlie Kestenbaum for their leadership on this issue. If I have underestimated anything regarding the work of the AFSA FCS VP, it is the variety and number of cases that come to me. Topics run the gamut from personnel, legal matters and benefits to administrative and regula- tion-related questions. If I can’t find the right answer, I will find the right specialist to refer you to. I liken this aspect of the VP’s work to that of a commercial officer, for whom no two days are alike. Please keep sending me your comments, questions and concerns as you brain- storm these challenges. n Challenges, New Developments and Progress FCS VP VOICE | BY STEVE MORRISON AFSA NEWS Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP. Contact: or (202) 482-9088 AFSA I N ACT I ON On Oct. 9, AFSA President Robert J. Silverman delivers a speech on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during a rally against the administration’s proposed change to the method of calculating annual cost of living adjustments, which would reduce federal pensions. Among the attendees were Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill. and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., along with representatives from AFSA, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Military Officers Association of America. PHOTOBYMATTHEWSUMRAK