Video of the Week: Secretary Clinton Dons Wild-Cat Eye Glasses for Mike Hammer’s Swearing In

On June 21, Secretary Clinton sworn in Mike Hammer, the new Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the Ben Franklin Room at the State Department.

The State Department only released one photo, and no video of the swearing-in. Full text of her remarks is here.  Read it just to see the Who’s Who in Mike Hammer’s career.  Secretary Clinton certainly looks like she’s having fun, and quite ready for her next endeavors outside The Building.

State Department photo by Michael Gross

Domani Spero

 

 

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Cook E. Pusher from the Foggiest Bottom joins Alec Ross on Twitterverse

Cook E. Pusher who says in his profile that he’s from the Foggiest Bottom officially started tweeting at 2:27 AM on 19 June. That profile photo sure looks like a twin brother of PJ Crowley, the former spokesman who quit.  But the main item in that photo is not the man but Ferro Rocher, that famous Italian chocolate made by chocolatier Ferrero SpA, the same folks who make Nutella.

Please tell Alec Ross that his colleague from state.gov has interesting things to say and he’s been around there in just days.  Imagine if he (or could be a she) could also be a special advisor for innovation at the State Department?  Oh, the places he’ll go and oh, the things he can think of to tweet.

Below is a quick sampling, from sincere tweets to an ambassador’s parachute jump.

Twitter user, @majorlyprofound asked:  Dear Sir: Why was your name omitted from this august list: foreignpolicy.com/twitterat…; Cook E. Pusher had a quick response. Also tweets about more comfy embassies, what’s snappy about Rio+20, cables and Main State cafeteria :

When Ambassador Huebner at US Embassy New Zealand sent out this tweet: “Fun US marine Band concert this morning at Geodome in Hagley Park for about 400 primary school students,” Cook E. Pusher had just the right response:

The last two tweets are not terribly diplomatic, but that should not/not get Cook E. Pusher in trouble at the Mothership.  After all, as Mr. Ross sums up the State Department’s innovative approach to digital diplomacy: “We’re willing to make mistakes of commission rather than omission.”

In any case, I’m sure Cook E. Pusher has a ready “Oops!” up his sleeve.

You may follow Cook E. Pusher at twitter.com/#!/Envoyeur

Domani Spero

Senior Diplomat Disciplined for Volatile Behavior Cites PTSD in Grievance Case, Fails

A Senior Foreign Service Officer with over 21 years of Foreign Service experience was serving as an Office Director when he was disciplined for repeated violations of the Department’s Policy on Violence and Threatening Behavior in the work place.  The FSO filed a grievance contending that the five-day suspension as unreasonable (also includes loss of pay, and a discipline letter being placed in his Official Personnel File for two years).

The FSO in his grievance filing also cites as one of the mitigating factors a link between his anger and inappropriate language at the workplace, symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and adaptation disorder as a result of his service in a Provincial Reconstruction Team. The grievance appeal was denied.

Goya – The Disasters of War | Plate 65: Spanish: Qué alboroto es este? English: What is this hubbub? (wikipedia)

From FSGB Case No. 2011-004 dtd. August 19, 2011:

HELD: The Department carried its burden of proof in deciding to discipline grievant, a Senior Foreign Service Officer charged with inappropriate conduct, for five days. Grievant failed to prove that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which he asserted was responsible for his repeated violations of the Department’s Policy on Violence and Threatening Behavior in the work place.

SUMMARY: Grievant, a Senior Foreign Service Officer, was Office Director in the Bureau of [REDACTED] when he was charged with one count and seven specifications of inappropriate conduct in interactions with his staff and others. The charge and specifications include, for example, repeatedly referring to women as “bitches” and “hormonal,” yelling, banging on his desk and forcefully expressing his political views throughout the office.

A five-day suspension was proposed, to which grievant did not respond, and the Deciding Official sustained the specifications and penalty. Grievant filed a grievance, accepting full responsibility and expressing regret, but asserting, in mitigation, that his one-month suspension from duties (with pay) and the humiliation he suffered before his colleagues already constituted punitive action. He further claimed that, because the charged behavior was completely out of character, he sought mental health counseling and his clinical social worker identified a link between his behavior and PTSD as a result of his earlier service in [REDACTED]. Grievant also argued that a five-day suspension was not comparable to penalties imposed in other similar cases. The Department found no grounds for mitigation and grievant appealed to this Board.

The Board held that grievant knew or should have known the Department’s policy on threatening behavior. As a senior official, grievant did not justify a reduction in penalty based on case comparisons of lower level officers engaged in isolated incidents. Declarations by grievant’s subordinates and colleagues clearly demonstrated that he created a hostile and threatening work environment. Grievant made no claim to being unaware of his behavior and did not defend himself by raising the issue of PTSD or counseling until after the Proposing and Deciding officials issued their letters of discipline. His belated consultation with a clinical social worker to whom he described his behavior appears to be self serving. The social worker did not diagnose grievant with PTSD, but rather stated that based on grievant’s explanations, he was probably suffering from mild PTSD. For seven months after grievant’s return from [REDACTED] he served at the [REDACTED] apparently without incident. He presented no explanation about experiences in [REDACTED] that could have caused PTSD, or testimonials from others at the [REDACTED] or prior to his service in [REDACED] to support his claim that PSTD accounted for his “out of character” behavior afterwards. The Department presented overwhelming evidence that grievant violated its policy against threatening behavior. The penalty imposed by the Department was found to be within the realm of reasonableness.

The grievance appeal was denied.

Domani Spero