Did You See That ACS Job in Kabul?

Afghanistan, March 2002 - Afghan girls sing at...Image via Wikipedia

Somebody asked. That would be the Consular/American Citizen Services (ACS) job at the embassy in Kabul? Um, no, did not. Did you see it?

I heard that the job was posted some 5 days or so before bidding ended, and there reportedly was no announcement that this job is out there. Bidding ended last Wednesday, which means it popped up in the big job thingy listing late last week. How do you get people to bid on a job that gets listed just days before the deadline? Some HR guy forgot to list it on time? Forgot to send out the vacancy alert email? What?

My neighbor probably could have included it in his bidlist; that is, if he knew it was there. Too late now; I think he’s going to Niger (no, not Niger he says) one of those African posts where something is always happening.

I supposed this would not be the first time HR was inflicted by human error or was misinformed. In Farris v. Clinton, the plaintiff sued for race/gender discrimination after being denied (among other things) consideration of the POLAD position in The Hague. The Department did not contest the plaintiff’s account of the factual circumstances surrounding her requests to be considered for The Hague POLAD position. Id. At 13-15. Instead the Department explains:

“that although it had already submitted its short list in November 1999, the position still appeared by mistake on the “open assignments” list. Id. at 13-14. Because Whitlock “did not have any involvement with [the Hague POLAD] placement,” he was unaware that bidding was closed on the position when he mistakenly told the plaintiff that the position was still open. Id. at 14. In December 1999, the position again erroneously appeared as an open assignment – this time on the “hard to fill” list – because the individual responsible for posting the “hard to fill” list was misinformed. Id. Finally, the defendant notes that the plaintiff would not have been offered the position even if she had been allowed to bid on it because she was less qualified than the successful candidate. Def.’s Mot. at 10, 29-30.”

The Court opinion says in part: Here, whether the defendant’s nondiscriminatory justification is called into question depends on whether one believes its contention that the inconsistent information was the result of innocent human error or, conversely, that the defendant deliberately sought to mislead the plaintiff.

Updated 10/17/09.

Officially In: Anne Slaughter Andrew to San Jose

Costa Rica 2007 Sunset IIImage by jeepeenyc via Flickr

On October 15 President Obama announced his intent to nominate Anne Slaughter Andrew to be the next Ambassador to the Republic of Costa Rica. The WH released the following official bio:

Anne Slaughter Andrew is currently the Principal of New Energy Nexus, LLC and advises companies and entrepreneurs on investments and strategies to capitalize on the New Energy Economy. Andrew has successfully advised companies in her corporate environmental/energy law practice, serving as Of Counsel at Bingham McHale and as Co-Chair of the Environment/Energy Team at Baker & Daniels, and also serving as a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Patton & Boggs. In addition, Andrew co-founded a medical bio-tech consulting company, Anson Group LLC and, as an owner and Director from 2004-2007, co-led the organization towards sustained growth and national recognition.

Andrew has been actively engaged with conservation and environmental organizations, at the state and national level, including The Sierra Club and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Andrew has worked with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) since 1995, serving as an Indiana Trustee, and as a member of the TNC President’s National Advisory Council. Andrew also served as Special Counsel and Director for TNC in Arlington, Virginia. In her professional and community work, Andrew is experienced in creating, building and managing public policy initiatives in the environmental and clean energy arena.

Andrew graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts and received her Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, where she served as Editor in-Chief of the Indiana Law Review.

* * *

Anne Slaughter Andrew’s husband is Indiana Democrat and superdelegate, Joe Andrew, who was formerly a National Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and also Chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. According to the Frugal Hoosiers, Mr. Andrew made a big to-do about switching his endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama in the days leading up to the Indiana primary. The Andrews have two school-age children, Meredith and Will.

AFSA records indicate that 11 of the 17 ambassadors appointed to Costa Rica since 1960 had been non-career, political appointees. If confirmed, Mrs. Andrew would replace Peter Cianchette, a Maine businessman and former Republican gubernatorial candidate who was appointed US ambassador to San Jose in 2008.

Before you get all excited about this being another “cushy” post, here is what the IG said about Costa Rica not too long ago: Costa Rica is in many ways a pleasant place to live and work, but it is not free of problems. The gap between expectations and the reality of living and working in Costa Rica is a primary factor in relatively low mission morale. One American said, “Costa Rica is perceived as being this vacation paradise, when in fact, it is difficult to live here, not to mention expensive.” Well, there you go. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 10/15/09

Indictment on Kickback Scheme in Afghanistan

Second person indicted for alleged kickback solicitation over USAID security contract

USAID/Afghanistan’s Infrastructure Project
Photo from USAID/LBG Massoud Hossaini

This is an excerpt from the USDOJ October 8 press release:

Ryan Scott McMonigle, 37, of Ponca City, Okla., was indicted today for his alleged role in a scheme to solicit kickbacks in connection with the award of a security services subcontract to protect U.S. government personnel and contractors in Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division Christine A. Varney and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the principal federal U.S. agency that extends assistance to countries that are recovering from disaster, are trying to escape poverty and are engaging in democratic reforms. The agency works to support long-term and equitable economic growth and advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.

In August 2006, USAID awarded a $1.4 billion contract known as the Afghanistan Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (the AIRP contract). The AIRP contract required the award of numerous subcontracts, including for the provision of security services to protect AIRP workers.

According to the indictment, McMonigle was employed from approximately February 2009 until May 2009 in Kabul, Afghanistan, by Civilian Police International, a Virginia-based company that provides law enforcement training internationally. The indictment alleges that McMonigle, Bryan Lee Burrows and others conspired to solicit kickbacks from security vendors in return for favorable treatment for those potential bidders in connection with the award of a subcontract to provide security services to protect USAID personnel and contractors in Afghanistan operating under the AIRP contract.

McMonigle is charged with one count of conspiracy to solicit a kickback and one count of aiding and abetting the solicitation of a kickback.

Burrows pleaded guilty on Sept. 2, 2009, to conspiring with others to solicit kickbacks from the security vendors in return for favorable treatment for those potential bidders in connection with the award of a security services subcontract.

If convicted, McMonigle faces up to 10 years in prison on the kickback solicitation charge and an additional five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, as well as a fine of $250,000 for each charge.

Read the whole thing here.

Related Items:

  • DOJ: Press Release | September 2009: Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Solicit Kickbacks in Connection with Government Contract in Afghanistan | Bryan Lee Burrows, 42, of Wagoner, Oklahoma | Read file

  • DOJ: Antitrust Division Filing: August 2009 | United States v. Scott “Max” Anthony Walker and Ryan Scott McMonigle | Read file

  • Affidavit in Support of Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant | Read file

Insider Quote: And Thou Shall be Cautious

Averell Harriman (center) with Winston Churchi...Image via Wikipedia

“I have seen men’s careers set back and, in fact, busted because they held the right views at the wrong time, or for accurately reporting facts which were not popular at the time.”

W. Averell Harriman

from Essay: The State of the Department of State
Friday, Oct. 15, 1965 | Time.com