When should you recuse yourself from the State Dept Award Selection Committee?

re·cuse  /riˈkyo͞oz/
Excuse oneself from a case because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

We understand that the Foreign Affairs Manual does not provide for the recusal of any member of the Award Selection Committee for whatever reason. We don’t think that’s mentioned anywhere in the awards regulations.

But — just because it’s not in the books, that’s no reason why it cannot and should not be done — as they like to say inside the building — for the proper functioning of the service.

Reasonable people can agree that the perception that the award deliberation is slanted toward one nominee or another demoralizes as well as make people question the real value of any award.  Just as that long ago incident of an officer who nominated himself for an annual award and won.  Those can only generate derision and not/not admiration for both the award process and the recipient.

Remember R –?
Is he that one who nominated himself for the —-  award in —-?

Or:

Did you know that so and so won the —- award on —?
Really? Wait, didn’t — who sat in the Award Selection Committee directly supervised that officer in our post in —-?

Or this one:

Although I do not want to disparage the award recipient in anyway, I was horrified that the selection of — as the —  award recipient was made by a selection committee that included his very recent boss —-.

Hey! Awards are supposed to be happy news.  Inspiring even, if it passes the “fairness” test.  But it’s a small world and this still sounds bad whether the back and forth is done in the toilet stalls or down Foggy Bottom’s convoluted corridors.

So please – consider a few suggestions:

One, if you know any of the nominees -
Recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

Two, if you’ve supervised or worked with any of the nominees-
Recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

Three, if you’ve written or contributed to any of the EERs of any of the nominees -
Definitely, recuse yourself from the Selection Committee.

And to the bureau PDAS who allowed this show to roll on, walk the talk, man, walk the talk. The next generation you want to inspire is watching you closely.

 

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Awards, Foreign Service, Huh? News, Leadership and Management, Org Culture, State Department

6 responses to “When should you recuse yourself from the State Dept Award Selection Committee?

  1. GFF- thanks for your note. Oh, that’s interesting.

    I don’t know who can officially ask such questions except perhaps the OIG. And if the IG does it, perhaps they should also look under the rocks on the very interesting presidential rank awards.

  2. GFF

    A quick perusal shows that the selection committee for one of the awards included the boss of the award winner. I wonder if that person recused her/himself from the voting and/or deliberations….

  3. John Wayne playing Ethan in The Searchers: That’ll be the day.

  4. Grant Jackson

    Now, how about that rule (statutory) that the Senior Foreign Service shall not give cash awards to more than half the Senior Foreign Service in any fiscal year????? Thank God, only half, because we know that they are always outstanding all the time, Personally, I think that this particular award board ought to consist only of midlevel and entry-level officers. Lead on by leading up!

  5. Sayed Bakri

    The issue is addressed in FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) which State Department follows. There’s a good discussion of the details at http://www.oge.gov/Topics/Financial-Conflicts-of-Interest-and-Impartiality/Resolving-Conflicts-of-Interest/

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