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Ambassador (ret.) Thomas Boyatt

AFSA highly values our retiree members who hail from all six

foreign affairs agencies, have had careers spanning decades

representing American interests abroad, and whose collective

knowledge and experience are invaluable assets to today’s

Foreign Service.

At our August meeting, the

Governing Board approved

my propos-

al to utilize its authorities under the Foreign Service Act of 1980 to

nominate and approve members of the Foreign Service Labor Rela-

tions Board and the Foreign Service Grievance Board. The FSLRB was

created by the Act to administer the labor-management relations

program for Foreign Service employees. The FSGB handles grievances

by Foreign Service employees.

The nominations will come from AFSA’s retired constituency because

active-duty personnel are prohibited from such service. We intend to

nominate retired officers with overseas, foreign policy and AFSA ex-

perience, bringing a broader view to these adjudicatory bodies, while

serving AFSA’s goals of building a stronger Foreign Service, achieving

better outcomes for Foreign Service personnel and garnering enhanced

respect for the Foreign Service Act.

In October, retired Career Ambassador and AFSA stalwart Hank Cohen

was nominated by AFSA, with the Department of State’s concurrence,

to be one of three members of the FSLRB, and his appointment was

confirmed shortly thereafter. In 2016, some of the terms on the FSGB

will lapse, and we will pursue our policy of nominating interested

retired AFSA members with overseas, foreign policy and AFSA experi-

ence for these positions.

I should point out that positions on the ad-

judicatory bodies under the Foreign Service

Act are not full-time. However, the legisla-

tion does mandate that their members are

well compensated on a daily basis—at what

was then the GS-18, now the highest Senior

Executive Service, rate—as they participate in

the adjudication of cases. This arrangement is

ideal for retired colleagues who pursue a di-

verse portfolio of activities in retirement. It is

a win-win-win-win situation for the individual

retiree member, for AFSA, for the FSGB and for

the Foreign Service.

Meanwhile, we have assisted many of you

with the usual problems associated with a

complicated retirement system and our evolv-

ing health insurance situation. This year we

have faced additional challenges in dealing

with special situations that have arisen.

The most important of these is the Office of

Personnel Management’s response to a major

data breach potentially affecting 22 million

current and former government employees.

OPM has since provided a helpful protection

package including credit monitoring, liability

insurance and other elements. AFSA continues

to monitor developments.