US Embassy Nicaragua: Comments by Military Attaché “did not accurately reflect” USG Policy

Via La Gente:
…el Oficial Principal para Asuntos de Defensa y Agregado de Defensa de los Estados Unidos de América, Teniente Coronel Róger Antonio Carvajal Santamaría, expresó: “Nosotros esperamos trabajar con las fuerzas armadas de Nicaragua, en las áreas que usted indicó. Ese ha sido el mensaje que yo he dado, que he hablado con mis superiores, y espero seguir en esa ruta. Me da gusto de verlo en buena salud, la verdad es que nos preocupa porque ustedes son gran parte del gran crecimiento y estabilidad de este país”.
… the Chief Officer for Defense Affairs and Defense Attaché of the United States of America, Lieutenant Colonel Róger Antonio Carvajal Santamaría, said: “We hope to work with the Nicaraguan armed forces in the areas that you indicated. That has been the message that I have given, that I have spoken with my superiors, and I hope to continue on that route. I am glad to see you in good health, the truth is that we are concerned because you are a great part of the great growth and stability of this country ”.
The AP reports that “Carvajal’s comments “did not accurately reflect” U.S. government policy, the official said, adding that Carvajal had concluded his mission and departed Nicaragua.”

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What’s happening at CA/OCS? Besides People Calling In to Yell at Staffers Working the Phones

 

Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for the protection and safety of U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad. OCS has three offices: the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (OCS/ACS), the Office of Children’s Issues (OCS/CI), and the Office of Legal Affairs (OCS/L).

Billy Goat on Grass Field by Pixabay

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U.S. Senate Makes Minor Dent in Logjam, Confirms Lewis (PM), Robinson (INL), Phee (AF), Medina (OES), Donfried (EUR)

Updated: 9/29/21

Former Obama-Biden Advisor Elizabeth M. Allen Sworn-In as Asst Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs

Elizabeth M. Allen is sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs, at the U.S. Department of State, on September 13, 2021. [State Department Photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain]

Elizabeth M. Allen is sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs, at the U.S. Department of State, on September 13, 2021. [State Department Photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain]

Elizabeth M. Allen, Appointee for Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs, Department of State

Liz Allen is a partner at strategic communications and public affairs firm Finsbury Glover Hering (FGH), where she specializes in message and campaign strategy, crisis management, and leadership communications. Prior to FGH, Allen served in the Obama-Biden Administration for eight years, most recently as White House Deputy Communications Director and Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama. She also served as White House Director of Message Planning and Deputy Director of Communications to then-Vice President Joe Biden. In 2020, Allen took a leave of absence from FGH to serve as Vice President Kamala Harris’s Communications Director on the Biden-Harris presidential campaign. Allen previously served at the U.S. Department of State as Director of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, focusing on U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and in positions in the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement and Office of Global Women’s Issues. A native of Buffalo, New York, she graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Political Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Geneseo, where she returned to give the commencement address in 2016.
As we have written previously, this position does not require Senate confirmation. Here’s a quick summary of the position according to history.state.gov:
The Department of State created the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Public and Cultural Relations during a general reorganization in Dec 1944, after Congress authorized an increase in the number of Assistant Secretaries in the Department from four to six (Dec 8, 1944; P.L. 78-472; 58 Stat. 798). The reorganization was the first to designate substantive designations for specific Assistant Secretary positions. The Department changed the title to Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in 1946. Initially, incumbents supervised the forerunners of the U.S. Information Agency and the Voice of America. P.L. 112-116, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (signed into law August 10, 2012), removed the requirement for Senate confirmation of Assistant Secretaries of State for Public Affairs.
So now we’re wondering if folks have given any thought about filling in the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs post or is that a case of nah?

 

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EEOC: @StateDept Liable For Compensatory Damages “because it has not shown it acted in good faith”

 

Via EEOC: Jona R. v. Dep’t of State, EEOC Appeal No. 0120182063 (Jan. 23, 2020).
Denial of Reasonable Accommodation Found.
Complainant filed an EEO complaint alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of disability when she was not provided with a reasonable accommodation of situational telework as her medical circumstances required.  Complainant had been teleworking for several years, but her telework agreement expired.  According to the record, Agency managers repeatedly asked Complainant to resubmit her request or provide additional information over a period of several months.  Approximately six months after Complainant requested accommodation, the Agency informed Complainant that she could telework on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and would have a one-hour window to report her duty station to her supervisor on those days.  The Commission found that the Agency discriminated against Complainant when it did not approve her request for situational telework.  The Agency acknowledged that Complainant was a qualified individual with a disability.  Complainant demonstrated that she needed to be able to telework when she experienced symptoms related to her condition, and these symptoms occurred without notice and were not limited to the three days specified.  Therefore, the Agency’s offer, which was essentially the same telework schedule Complainant had before she requested reasonable accommodation, was not an effective accommodation.
The Commission found that the Agency failed to prove it would have been an undue hardship to allow Complainant to telework when her medical conditions warranted.  The Agency was ordered, among other things, to provide Complainant with the ability to situationally telework, restore any lost leave or pay, and investigate her claim for compensatory damages.

More details:

At the time of events giving rise to this complaint, Complainant worked as a GS12 Administrative Assistant within the Agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Secretary’s Protective Detail, in Washington, D.C. In this position, Complainant primarily provides operational planning and coordination for the Secretary’s Protective Detail and administrative, logistical, procurement, and financial support for the Detail. On September 13, 2013, a new manager became Complainant’s direct supervisor (S1) .

Complainant has been diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, Neuropathy, Anxiety, Depression, and Autonomic Neuropathy. Because of these conditions, Complainant sometimes experiences dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure, abnormal perspiration, a lack of bladder/bowel control, vomiting, nausea, and pain in her hands and feet.
[…]
Complainant has teleworked since 2009 and last signed a telework agreement on June 28, 2012 that expired on June 29, 2013. The June 2012 to June 2013 agreement allowed Complainant to telework on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
[…]

Consequently, the Agency issued a final decision pursuant to 29 C.F.R. § 1614.110(b). In its final decision, the Agency found that Complainant was a qualified individual with a disability. Nevertheless, the Agency concluded that Complainant did not prove she was denied a reasonable  accommodation for her disability. Specifically, the Agency determined that Complainant did not submit any documentation to support her October 29, 2013 request for situational telework. Regarding Complainant’s January 2, 2014 request for fulltime telework, the Agency determined  that it provided Complainant with an effective reasonable accommodation by offering her the ability to telework three times per week.

The Agency concluded that Complainant’s medical documentation did not support her request for fulltime telework, and she would have been best accommodated through a combination of telework and sick leave. Additionally, the Agency concluded that fulltime telework would have imposed an undue hardship on the Agency because: her position required training and periodic meetings in the office; trip planners were not able to follow all information given via telephone calls; Complainant’s workload had increased by 135 percent; and Complainant had demonstrated an  inability to follow proper procedures for reporting her duty station and work status while teleworking.
[…]
The Agency concluded that it provided Complainant with an effective reasonable accommodation when it offered her telework three times per week. However, as Complainant points out, the Agency only offered to allow Complainant to telework on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,  which is essentially the same telework schedule Complainant had before she requested reasonable accommodation. However, Complainant disclosed she needed to telework when she experienced symptoms related to her condition that impacted her ability to commute and work in the office. These symptoms often occurred without significant notice and were not restricted to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Therefore, if Complainant experienced symptoms that impacted her ability to commute or work in the office on Tuesdays or Thursdays, the telework agreement would not have provided her with a reasonable accommodation for her medical conditions. The Agency’s offer of telework on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays was not an effective accommodation because it did not meet Complainant’s need for flexible, situational telework as needed.
[…]
Hence, we find that the Agency failed to provide Complainant with a reasonable accommodation for her disability when it did not approve her for situational telework. See Jody L. v. Dep’t of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 0120151351 (Jan. 17, 2018) (agency violated the Rehabilitation Act when it denied Complainant with Paralysis the option of working from home on days when the temperature is below negative twenty degrees.). In so finding, we remind the Agency that the federal government is charged with the goal of being a “model employer” of individuals with disabilities, which may require it to consider innovation, fresh approaches, and technology as effective methods of providing reasonable accommodations. Rowlette v. Social Security Administration, EEOC Appeal No. 01A10816 (Aug. 1, 2003); 29 C.F.R. §1614.203(a). We believe that providing Complainant with this reasonable accommodation furthers this goal.

An agency is not liable for compensatory damages under the Rehabilitation Act where it has consulted with complainant and engaged in good faith efforts to provide a reasonable accommodation but has fallen short of what is legally required. See Teshima v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal No. 01961997 (May 5, 1998). In this case, the Agency was aware that Complainant needed situational telework because of her medical conditions, and the Agency did not show providing Complainant with telework as needed would have imposed an undue hardship. Moreover, Complainant made the Agency aware that its offer of telework on an inflexible, rigid basis did not meet her medical needs. Consequently, we find that the Agency is liable for Complainant’s compensatory damages because it has not shown it acted in good faith in accommodating Complainant.

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Germany Elects Angela Merkel’s Successor

 

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Around the World in Tweets: Special Envoys

 

Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote Resigns in Protest, @StateDept & Friends Mount Concerted Attack

 

Back in July when the State Department announced the appointment of Ambassador Foote as Special Envoy to Haiti, it said, “Special Envoy Foote brings extensive diplomatic experience to this role – including as Deputy Chief of Mission in Haiti and as the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia. The Department congratulates Special Envoy Foote as he takes on his new role and thanks him for his continued service to his country.”
Today, as his resignation in protest over Haiti policy became public, the State Department as well as the Biden White House are mounting a concerted effort to smack him down.  The spoxes in Foggy Bottom and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue both had something to say; it was not to thank him for his brief service as special envoy.
State Department spox Ned Price in his statement said …”not all ideas are good ideas.” The WH spox Jen Psaki said that Ambassador  Foote’s views were put forward, and they were were valued, they were heard …”. Also that “Special Envoy Foote had ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration … He never once did so.”
The State Department’s number #2 official, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman took time out from her busy schedule to give an exclusive interview to @McClatchy about this resignation – “You know, one of the ideas that Mr. Foote had was to send the U.S. military back to Haiti,” Sherman said. “It just was a bad idea.” she said. Then she said what the State Dept spox already said in his statement: “Some of those proposals were harmful to our commitment to the promotion of democracy….”. For him to say the proposals were ignored were, I’m sad to say, simply false,” Sherman said. She did say, you know, that she’s sad to say that.
Also Secretary Blinken being Tony and nice just said “I really understand the passion that comes with this.”
So then according to one reporter, an unnamed senior Biden Administration official also claimed that Ambassador Foote has a “toxic personality” & that Foote would often “shout people down and cut people off.” Toxic and shouty, and cut people off, blah, blah, blah!  And this is all coming out now after he resigned in protest? When are they going to tell us he also kicks his dog?
See, here’s the thing. They’re not just saying his ideas were valued and heard but oh, they were also just bad. But hey, did you know he wanted to send troops back to Haiti? Isn’t that also bad? And in case that doesn’t work, some official told a reporter, that the guy who quit has a toxic personality and was shouty, anyway.
This appears to be the first protest resignation under the Biden Administration. And you can see the all hands effort here. It is likely that 1) they recognized that the Foote letter would  resonate with a lot of people, 2) they’re looking at the domestic component and potential political fallout and 3) this serves as a warning for future dissenters on policy. Had Ambassador Foote just resigned quietly to spend more time with his family, State may have given him their “One Team” Award.
The Miami Herald says Ambassador Foote did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. Which makes the parade of named and unnamed characters talking about Foote’s resignation just stark by comparison.
Folks, he quit; he’s done. Why are y’all wasting time on the guy who already left the room?
Meanwhile, your Haiti policy is till a hot mess. Get to work, good grief!
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Senate Confirms Amb. Daniel Kritenbrink as Asst Secretary For East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP)

 

 

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