Tag Archives: Bob Corker

Is the U.S. Senate Gonna Wreck, Wreck, Wreck, the Upcoming Bidding Season in the Foreign Service?

– Domani Spero

 

Do you know how many Foreign Service members are currently awaiting approval for commissioning, tenuring and promotion in the U.S. Senate? 1,705. That’s 1,705 regular folks  in the career service, excluding the ambassadorial nominees.

Some of these names have been submitted since January, and they are all still pending in a dark cauldron brewing in the SFRC.

In a message to its members on March 18, AFSA writes that it “has worked diligently for months on this issue and we would like to alert you that last week, important progress was made in resolving the holds, through the leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Senator Bob Corker (R-TN).   AFSA is confident that both sides have demonstrated the good will necessary to move the process forward and looks now to an amicable and expedited solution to this situation in the coming days.”

The Senate's side of the Capitol Building in DC.

The Senate’s side of the Capitol Building in DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

End of the month and here we are.  Neither the Chairman nor the Ranking Member of the SFRC has anything to say about this logjam on their website.

These employees are waiting Senate attestation so they are officially commissioned, tenured and promoted. And you know what, the Foreign Service “bidding season” is fast eating up the days in the calendar.

Why this can get complicated?

A good number of these employees pending at the SFRC will be “bidding” for their next assignments.   The Foreign Service is a rotational, rank-in-person system.  As a consequence, there will be “real” FS-01s, for example and “FS-02s” who are supposed to be treated as 01s but who technically are 02s.

The State Department reportedly is telling folks looking at bids to treat “02” bidders as “01s” and so on and so forth because of inaction from the Senate.

Oh crap, how do you sort them all out?

One frustrated official writes, “I can’t see how this won’t have a major impact as we’re evaluating employees.”

Not only that, we imagine that the bump in pay and associated hardship/danger/COLA allowances (a percentage of basic compensation) will also not get taken care of until the Senate officially blesses these names.

Since bad news comes in threes — you should know that Ambassador Arnold A. Chacon’s nomination as Director General of the Foreign Service got out of the SFRC in February 2 but has been stuck since then waiting for a full vote in the U.S. Senate.

WaPo recently reported that President Obama may have learned how to finally break through the months-long Senate logjam on his ambassadorial nominations: he or Vice President Biden must travel to the countries where nominees would be headed.

Unfortunately for the Foreign Service, neither President Obama nor VP Biden has DGHR listed in their immediate schedule.

Below is the list of nominations pending in committee:

  • Feb 10, 14     PN1419    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Scott S. Sindelar, and ending Christine M. Sloop, which 6 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on February 10, 2014.
  • Feb 10, 14     PN1418    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Mark L. Driver, and ending Karl William Wurster, which 59 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on February 10, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1384    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Beata Angelica, and ending Benjamin Beardsley Dille, which 381 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1383    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Kevin Timothy Covert, and ending Paul Wulfsberg, which 277 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1382    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Matthew D. Lowe, and ending Wilbur G. Zehr, which 242 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1381    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Gerald Michael Feierstein, and ending David Michael Satterfield, which 196 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1380    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Kate E. Addison, and ending William F. Zeman, which 121 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1379    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Kathleen M. Adams, and ending Sean Young, which 112 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1378    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Julie Ann Koenen, and ending Brian Keith Woody, which 94 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1377    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Susan K. Brems, and ending Ann Marie Yastishock, which 45 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1376    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Scott Thomas Bruns, and ending Janelle Weyek, which 23 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1375    Foreign Service Nominations beginning James Benjamin Green, and ending Geoffrey W. Wiggin, which 11 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 30, 14     PN1374    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Christopher David Frederick, and ending Julio Maldonado, which 3 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January 30, 2014.
  • Jan 09, 14     PN1317    Foreign Service Nominations beginning Ranya F. Abdelsayed, and ending Fireno F. Zora, which 135 nominations were received by the Senate and appeared in the Congressional Record on January  9, 2014.

We can’t help but think that this is one more  unintended consequence from the Senate’s “nuklear” option.  This WaPo piece on President Obama’s inability to fill many of his administration’s most important jobs is not even hopeful.

Doesn’t this remind you of  wreck ‘em Plants v. Zombies, the DC edition?

 

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Filed under AFSA, Ambassadors, Congress, Foreign Service, Nominations, Promotions, Realities of the FS, State Department, U.S. Missions

After 1,989 Day-Vacancy — President Obama Nominates Steve Linick as State Dept Inspector General

– By Domani Spero

President Obama nominated Steve A. Linick as State Department Inspector General today filling a 1,989-day vacancy. U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the nomination today of a full-time Inspector General at the U.S. State Department is long overdue.

“A full time, independent watchdog at the State Department is essential to protect the interest of taxpayers. While this nomination is long overdue, I appreciate the president responding to the concerns that I’ve expressed to him and Secretary Kerry regarding this vacancy, and I look forward to getting to know the nominee as our committee considers his fitness for this important position,” said Corker.

 

Steve A. Linick is currently the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  Below is his official bio posted on the FHFA website:

Steve A. Linick has led the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) since his U.S. Senate confirmation in 2010. As Inspector General, Mr. Linick is the senior official responsible for audits, evaluations, investigations, and other law enforcement efforts to combat fraud, waste, and abuse within or affecting the programs and operations of FHFA. FHFA-OIG’s oversight includes FHFA’s regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks. Mr. Linick heads an independent organization of more than 100 professionals who are dedicated to promoting economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in all FHFA programs.

Mr. Linick has also spearheaded an initiative among Federal inspectors general who play significant roles in supporting U.S. housing. In November 2011, this initiative resulted in the Compendium of Federal Single Family Mortgage Programs and Related Activities, which is a guide to Federal agencies’ major housing efforts. In addition, Mr. Linick is a member of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Taskforce; the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), Investigations Committee, where he serves as the Vice-Chair of the committee’s Suspension and Debarment Working Group; and a permanent member of the Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight.

Mr. Linick is trained as a lawyer, and prior to his appointment as Inspector General, he served in several leadership positions in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). From 2006 to 2010, he served in dual roles as Executive Director of DOJ’s National Procurement Fraud Task Force and Deputy Chief of its Fraud Section, Criminal Division. As Deputy Chief, Mr. Linick managed and supervised the investigation and prosecution of white-collar criminal cases involving procurement fraud, public corruption, investment fraud, telemarketing fraud, mortgage fraud, corporate fraud, and money laundering, among other cases. In addition, he was the front-line official at DOJ for contract fraud cases relating to the U.S. wars and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. In October 2008, Mr. Linick received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for leading DOJ’s procurement fraud initiative. Previously, Mr. Linick was an Assistant United States Attorney, first in the Central District of California (1994-1999) and subsequently in the Eastern District of Virginia (1999-2006).

Mr. Linick received his BA (1985) and MA (1990) in Philosophy from Georgetown University and his JD (1990) from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Did the senator from Texas just got lucky or had excellent timing? (See Still No Junkyard Dog? Senator Cruz Warns He’ll Place a Hold on All State Dept Nominations).

We are pleased to see that the nominee is an outsider but is not totally a stranger to the role of the Inspector General.

(^o^)

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Filed under Congress, Nominations, Obama, Officially In, SFRC, State Department