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@StateDept Alerts Employees on Prioritization of Projected Vacancies, Fewer Promotions

Posted: 4:34 am ET

 

One of the State Department’s geographic bureau has recently sent out guidance to its overseas posts asking them to prioritize their projected vacancies.  If this is happening in one bureau, in all likelihood, this is also happening or will soon happen with the rest of the bureaus.

The directive appears to originate from the the Director General of the Foreign Service (DGHR) advising bureaus that a number of 2018 positions will not/will not be advertised. If they are not advertised, it means the positions will not be announced as vacancies available for bidding.  In essence, these unadvertised positions will go unfilled, that is, remain vacant during the 2018 assignment cycle.

We understand that respective bureaus will soon receive the final numbers broken down by position type from DGHR.  Bureaus will then be asked to decide which positions will be advertised on the list/which will go unadvertised.

One bureau is anticipating a fast turn-around on this and is preemptively asking its posts and offices to “rank their positions from highest priority for filling to less urgent.”

Have we not seen this movie before?

Very shortly, posts will be asked to do more with less, once again, as positions will go unfilled in the upcoming assignment cycle. If positions go unfilled for one or two assignment cycles, how soon before the State Department will bridge its overseas staffing gaps by simply eliminating the positions?

At some point, the State Department will not only suffer staffing gaps but experience gaps, as well. Despite advances in technology, no one has yet been able to grow career diplomats overnight; there are no microchips for area knowledge that can be embedded behind the ears; there are no linguists you can simply pick from trees; there are no robots who can do visa interviews or notify Americans of the death of their loved ones overseas. There are no holographic consular officers who can do prison visits. Apparently, you also cannot grow overnight architects and engineers who know the intricacies and security requirements of embassy buildings.  Who knew?

So what happens when the needed expertise is gone and the government is not able to grow that expertise fast enough? Why, it will hire consultants and contractors, of course.

via reactiongifs.com

In related news, a cable reportedly also went out informing employees that HR is on schedule to release the Foreign Service promotion lists before Labor Day.  The cable alerts employees that there will be “fewer promotions this year relative to last year.”  Anticipating a specific reaction, the State Department told employees that they need to understand that promotion rates “normally go through cycles” and that this year’s promotion numbers, while lower than last year’s, are “largely within the historical range.” The cable explains that there are more people competing for fewer promotion opportunities and that the low cycle in promotion is due to 1) large Diplomatic Readiness Initiative  and D3.0 cohorts from the hiring surges in 2001/04, and 2009/12, and 2) a position base that “will contract over the next couple of years.” 

Is there a third shoe waiting to drop?

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4 responses

  1. Ship of Fools
    by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter

    Went to see the captain, strangest I could find,
    Laid my proposition down, laid it on the line.
    I won’t slave for beggar’s pay, likewise gold and jewels,
    But I would slave to learn the way to sink your ship of fools.

    Ship of fools on a cruel sea, ship of fools sail away from me.
    It was later than I thought when I first believed you,
    Now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

    Saw your first ship sink and drown, from rockin’ of the boat,
    And all that could not sink or swim was just left there to float.
    I won’t leave you drifting down, but woh it makes me wild,
    With thirty years upon my head to have you call me child.

    Ship of fools on a cruel sea, ship of fools sail away from me.
    It was later than I thought when I first believed you,
    Now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

    The bottles stand as empty, as they were filled before.
    Time there was and plenty, but from that cup no more.
    Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few:
    Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools.

    Ship of fools on a cruel sea, ship of fools sail away from me.
    It was later than I thought, when I first believed you,
    Now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

    It was later than I thought when I first believed you,
    Now I cannot share your laughter, ship of fools.

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  2. Uh. What about linked assignments? Many people who’ve taken handshakes on PSP jobs are already looking at jobs for 2019 and even 2020. What happens when the bureaus have to prioritize for those bid cycles? Are they stuck eliminating higher-priority jobs because they already gave out handshakes on others? Will linked assignments end up broken? Will they go away entirely?

    And shouldn’t AFSA be consulted on this?

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