The US Consulate General in Matamoros has issued a Warden Message on February 24, 2010:
Also clears nominees for ADB, IBRD, USTDA and IMF
[M]y “Large Broom” post has been widely read not only in the confines of the State Department (by several thousand people) but also on Capitol Hill and throughout the larger foreign affairs community. Nothing I wrote has been challenged. Au contraire. In reality, what I wrote at the time could be the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg, just as were the complaints raised at State’s most recent Town Hall with the Secretary.[…]As I’ve said earlier and I will say so again, the State Department has long had the reputation for having highly competent officers, but a very weak administrative structure. The system has traditionally rewarded a small number of senior level Foreign Service Officers who essentially clawed their way up through a very competitive, secretive, convoluted system and an overly hierarchical structure. The Foreign Service Act of 1980 made it worse. After the Cold War’s end, the Act was used throughout the 1990s to shrink the Department wholesale, forcing out too many hard language trained officers just at the peak of their careers.To compensate for the personnel losses that never should have happened, private contractors recruit from the very pool of skilled but forced-out retirees to — guess what — staff Foreign Service positions in the Department. I know any number of highly experienced retirees who have either worked in State for a contractor or been brought back directly as temporary employees year upon year. There’s one thing about bringing back a temporary worker with the expert skills to ease a temporary shortage. But year after year?This is not only bad management, but lends itself to the sort of abuse we see now by senior career officials in HR and elsewhere, who have brought back cronies who were senior administrative officials in days gone by and who are now ensconced in positions of influence. Positions of influence where — because of special dispensations available only to the privileged few — they are receiving not only their full pensions but good salaries as well.But there are other serious State Department Human resources problems that need fixing. Here are two: 1) an all too pervasive attitude from the top down that the employee is always wrong; and 2) the lack of a functioning system of personnel oversight.
- A System in Need of a Large Broom, December 2009.
- Clean Up Time at Foggy Bottom, March 2009.
- Cleaning Up the Shenanigans and Reinstituting the Golden Rule, June 2008.
- Favoritism in the Ranks Continues at State, May 2008.
- Why the AFSA Survey’s Right: Favoritism in the Ranks is Real, February 2008.
- HRC Town Hall Meeting – One Year at State | Diplopundit | Jan 27, 2010
- Quickie: Large Broom Needed at the State Dept | Diplopundit | Dec 09, 2009
“Not yet having been to post, I still cannot comment on the life overseas. That being said, I like to be frank about these things in case you are reading this blog trying to decide if the Foreign Service is for you. Personally, this was one of the best choices I have ever made. However, trotting the globe is not so simple as hopping on an airplane. You’ll live out of temporary apartments and hotel rooms enroute to that plush, exotic locale, and once you get there you’ll have just enough time to get settled before you have to pull chocks and go somewhere else. You have to condense your life and the lives of your family members down to 7000 pounds and then further condense it down to a few hundred pounds that will get you through until the 7000 pounds of your life catch up to you in Timbuktu. For me, it is an adventure. Shucking off hundreds of knick-knacks and unnecessary belongings is like shedding skin to me. For others, it is not a stable existence and therefore stressful.”
(Foreign Service Officer, former cop, gun and bible clinger, player of the Great Highland Bagpipe, Southerner with a capital S, malt whisky drinker, and Tater’s Dad. (….and Mrs. Warpiper’s undocumented worker) **Any occasional ranting and raving should be considered the product of the mind of a irritable hillbilly, and not to be associated with the official policies of the U.S. Department of State or the United States Government).