SFRC Confirmation Hearings 9/22/21: Nine Nominees For Ambassadorships, @StateDept, @USAID

 

The Senate is back in session and Wednesday is going to be a packed to the gills day with confirmation hearings via video conference for nine of President Biden’s nominees for ambassadorial posts as well as top jobs in Foggy Bottom and USAID.
Starting at 10:15 am, Sept 22:
Nides, Thomas R – The State of Israel – July 2021
Cohen, David L – Canada – August 2021
Telles, Cynthia Ann – Republic of Costa Rica- July 2021
Udall, Tom – New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa – July 2021
State/DRL – Sarah Margon
Starting at 2:30 pm, Sept 22:
USAID – Atul Atmaram Gawande
Cronin, Claire D – Ireland – July 2021
Palmer, Virginia – Republic of Ghana – July 2021
Van Vranken, Howard A. Republic of Botswana- July 2021

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USAID’s Tresja Denysenko Dies Unexpectedly While Serving With DART in Haiti Earthquake Response

 

USAID Administrator Samantha Power released a statement on Tresja Denysenko’s unexpected passing while serving with the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Haiti. Excerpt below:

It is with great sadness that on behalf of the USAID family I relay the passing of Tresja Denysenko, a tireless disaster response expert with our Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Tresja passed away unexpectedly on August 19, 2021, while serving on USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) responding to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to Tresja’s family, friends, and colleagues.

Tresja first joined USAID in 2005, and during her career she responded to many humanitarian emergencies, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the West Africa Ebola outbreak, the Venezuela regional crisis, and the conflicts in South Sudan and the Tigray region of Ethiopia. In all of her postings, she played a critical role in providing aid to the world’s most deprived and marginalized people. In addition to her work on disaster responses, Tresja was instrumental in establishing and refining the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance’s processes for delivering aid into the hands of those most in need. Tresja was also an inspiring mentor, training staff across the Bureau on how to deliver aid quickly and appropriately to save lives in some of the world’s most complex and dire humanitarian crises. Tresja’s legacy will live on in USAID through the work of the many colleagues who learned from her and who now occupy a wide range of roles across the Agency.

Originally from Minnesota, Tresja is survived by her husband and daughter, as well as her mother and stepfather. She is remembered as a beloved wife, mother, daughter, and dear friend. Tresja’s kindness and heartfelt passion for providing humanitarian assistance and improving the lives of people in need touched many communities around the world and here at home.

United States Sends Help After 7.2. Earthquake in Haiti

 

 

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Amy Searight of CSIS to be Asst Administrator For Asia Bureau at USAID

 

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Amy Searight to be Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau at USAID. The WH released the following brief bio:

Amy Searight, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia, United States Agency for International Development

Amy Searight is currently Senior Associate for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she previously served as Senior Advisor and Director of the Southeast Asia Program.  Prior to joining CSIS, Amy served in the Obama-Biden Administration.  From 2014-2016 she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, and from 2012-2014 she served Principal Director for East Asia Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  In 2016 she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.  Before the Pentagon, Searight served as Senior Advisor for Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development for two years.

Earlier in her career, she worked in the State Department as an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as Special Economic Advisor for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and on the Policy Planning Staff.  She was assistant professor of political science at The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University and at Northwestern University.  A native of New Jersey, she received her B.A. in political economy from Williams College, and an M.A. in East Asian Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University.

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USAID/OIG General Counsel Nicole Angarella to be the Next USAID Inspector General

 

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Nicole Angarella who serves as the general counsel to the USAID Inspector General to be the next USAID Inspector General. The WH released the following brief bio:

Nicole Angarella, Nominee for Inspector General, United States Agency for International Development

Nicole Angarella serves as the general counsel to the USAID Inspector General. In that position, Ms. Angarella leads a team of attorneys and specialists that provides independent legal counsel to the Inspector General, deputy inspector general, senior managers, and staff. Her office provides comprehensive legal advice, research, and guidance to the Offices of Audit, Investigations, and Management within the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Her office also updates the Inspector General and staff on legal developments and represents OIG in Federal and administrative litigation.

Prior to her appointment as general counsel, Ms. Angarella served as a senior legal counsel at USAID OIG and at the Department of Transportation’s OIG. Ms. Angarella has spent her entire federal career in the Inspector General community. She is Chair of the Council of Counsels to the Inspectors General. Before joining the U.S. Government, she worked as an associate attorney in the General Litigation & White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group at Cozen O’Connor, an international law firm representing corporate and individual clients in Federal investigations and complex criminal and civil matters. She also worked as an associate attorney specializing in employment and labor relations law at a law firm in Washington, DC. Ms. Angarella has a B.A. in political science from the University of Mary Washington and a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America. Ms. Angarella is a member of both the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar.

If confirmed, Ms. Angarella would succeed Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr who served at USAID from November 2015 until her retirement from Federal service on December 31, 2020. Thomas J. Ullom, who served for more than 2 years as Deputy Inspector General, became USAID’s Acting Inspector General on January 1, 2021.

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MacArthur Genius Atul Gawande to be Asst Administrator For USAID’s Bureau for Global Health

 

President Biden announced his intent to nominate Atul Gawande to be Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health at USAID.  The WH released the following brief bio:

Atul Gawande, Nominee for Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development

Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, is the Cyndy and John Fish Distinguished Professor of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Gawande is also founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. During the coronavirus pandemic, he co-founded CIC Health, which operates COVID-19 testing and vaccination nationally, and served as a member of the Biden transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. From 2018 to 2020, he was CEO of Haven, the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase health care venture. He previously served as a senior advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration.

In addition, Atul has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and written four New York Times best-selling books: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being Mortal. He is the winner of two National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth’s Impact Award for highest research impact on health care, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Award for writing about science.

 

 

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USAID’s Sharon L. Cromer to be U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia

13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27

 

On June 15, President Biden announced his intent to nominate senior FSO Sharon L. Cromer to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Gambia. The WH released the following brief bio:

Sharon L. Cromer, Nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia
Sharon L. Cromer, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, currently serves as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy, Accra, Ghana. Previously she was the USAID Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and she has also been USAID Mission Director at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria. In addition, Cromer also had an earlier assignment in Accra as Mission Director. In Washington, Cromer served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Assistant Administrator in the Africa Bureau of USAID and also as the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the USAID Management Bureau. Among her other assignments, Cromer was first a Supervisory Contracting Officer, and then the USAID Deputy Mission Director, at the U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia. Early in her career, Cromer served as a Contracting Officer in Senegal, Ivory Coast, and Pakistan. Cromer earned her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law School.

AFSA’s Ambassador Tracker indicates that the ambassadors appointed to The Gambia have been 15/4 career/non-career appointees since 1960. If confirmed, Ms. Cromer would succeed career diplomat Richard Paschall III who has served as Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Banjul since March 14, 2019.

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Belarus Kicks Out US Diplomats With New Limits in US Embassy Minsk Staffing

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According to the June 3 statement from the Belarus Foreign Ministry, the government summoned the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Minsk and informed him of retaliatory measures against the United States. The measures include the reduction of the diplomatic and administrative-technical personnel of the American diplomatic mission, the tightening of visa procedures, the limitation of the work of American specialists in Belarus on a temporary basis. The government also revoked the work permit for the US Agency for International Development.
In 2008, the Belarusian Government imposed restrictions on the number of U.S. diplomats allowed in Minsk, and the State Department was forced to reduce its embassy staff from 35 to five diplomats as well as withdraw the U.S. Ambassador. The number of U.S. diplomats was later increased to six in July 2014. We are not sure how many were at post prior to this latest development. The current CDA Ruben Harutunian assumed his duties as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk on May 24, 2021.
In April 2020, with improved relations with the dictator in Belarus, the Trump Administration announced the nomination of  career diplomat Julie Fisher as the first U.S. Ambassador to Minsk since 2008. She was confirmed in December 2020. In April this year, the new ambassador was reportedly to reside in Lithuania temporarily as she was not granted a visa for Belarus.

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FSGB: @StateDept Miscalculates Length of Creditable Federal Service in Annuity Case

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USADF is an independent U.S. Government agency established by the U.S. Congress to support and invest in African-owned and African-led enterprises that improve the lives and livelihoods of people in underserved communities in Africa. See the African Development Foundation Act.
Via FSGB 2020-040:

Held – Grievant established by a preponderance of evidence that the Department of State (“Department” or “agency”) committed grievable errors when it miscalculated her length of creditable federal service and erroneously determined that her 2015-2016 employment with the U.S. African Development Foundation (“USADF”) was not federal service.

Case Summary –

Grievant was employed intermittently by the federal government from 1980 to 2016. In July 1984, grievant, previously a Civil Service (“CS”) employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development (“USAID”), converted to the Foreign Service (“FS”). From July 22, 1984 through at least February 24, 1988, USAID’s records show her as a participant in the Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System (“FSRDS”), paying the required seven percent (7%) mandatory employee contribution, receiving no credits under the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (“OASDI”) program, and not contributing to the Thrift Savings Plan (“TSP”). Upon applying for a pension, however, she was informed by the Department that she was four days short of the minimum five years required to qualify for an annuity.

Grievant asserted that she initially planned to resign from USAID on February 24, 1988, but that she decided to remain at post until March 11, 1988, in the FS and a participant in the FSRDS for those 15 days. She submitted two documents to verify her employment end date of March 11, 1988: a USAID-generated Individual Pay and Leave Record that showed employment by USAID for five pay periods in 1988 and a 1988 State Department FSRDS Participant Record from the Department. Both of those documents showed retirement payroll deductions through March 11, 1988. Grievant also complained that the Department did not consider her 2015-2016 employment with the USADF, a U.S. government agency, as federal service.

The Department denied that grievant was employed by USAID from February 25 to March 11, 1988. The Department relied on a USAID SF-50 form stating that grievant’s retirement date was February 24, 1988. The Department argued that its practice was to use an SF-50 as the only primary evidence available to verify creditable service, rejecting grievant’s documents as less persuasive secondary evidence. The Department offered no explanation for omitting grievant’s USADF employment from the calculation of her federal service.

The Board found that the State Department FSRDS Participant Record was a primary source of verification, that it was supported by the USAID-generated Individual Pay and Leave Record and was a more reliable record than the conflicting SF-50 form. The Board noted errors in the SF-50 form and prior SF-50s of grievant. Accordingly, the Board found that grievant proved by a preponderance of evidence that her creditable federal service at USAID ended on March 11, 1988. The Board also found that grievant was in federal service for the 2015-2016 period, as evidenced by SF-50s prepared by USADF.

The Board directed the Department to recommend an appropriate retirement annuity consistent with this decision and present to grievant for her consideration. The parties were ordered to report the Department’s recommendation of an annuity and grievant’s response to the Board within 30 days of this decision. The Board retains jurisdiction of the case.

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President Biden Announces Two Nominees For Deputy Administrators at USAID

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On June 3, 2021, President Biden announced his intent to nominate the following nominees to two deputy administrator positions at USAID:

Paloma Adams-Allen, Nominee for Deputy Administrator for Management and Resources, United States Agency for International Development

Paloma Adams-Allen joined the Inter-American Foundation (IAF), a US agency supporting community-led development in Latin America and the Caribbean, in April 2017 as president and chief executive officer. Prior to joining the IAF, Adams-Allen was Sr. Director for global private sector partnerships initiatives at the international NGO, Winrock International. Before that, she served as deputy assistant administrator for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Bureau. From 2010 to 2014, Adams-Allen served as Senior Adviser, during which she led the LAC Bureau’s public-private partnerships for development practice. She also spent a decade at the Organization of American States (OAS) in several hemispheric development policy, programming, and leadership roles. Early in her career she did short stints at the international law firm Coudert Brothers, and the advocacy organization Caribbean-Central American Action. Adams-Allen, who was born in Jamaica, spent her childhood between rural Jamaica and rural New England in the U.S. She holds a bachelor’s degree in development studies and African American studies from Brown University, a master’s in international affairs from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. An avid runner and gardener, Adams-Allen lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, their puppy, and two awesome daughters.

Isobel Coleman, Nominee for Deputy Administrator for Policy and Programming, United States Agency for International Development

Ambassador Isobel Coleman is a foreign policy and global development expert with more than 25 years of experience working in government, the private sector and non-profits.  Most recently, she served on the Biden Transition Team, leading the review of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2014-2017, she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Management, Reform and Special Political Affairs.  During that time, she represented the United States in the UN General Assembly on budgetary matters and in the UN Security Council on Africa and peacekeeping issues. From 2018-2020, she was the Chief Operating Officer of GiveDirectly, an international non-profit tackling poverty by providing unconditional cash transfers to the extreme poor.

Previously, Dr. Coleman spent more than a decade as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations where she directed CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy program and wrote extensively about global development and the advantages of women’s empowerment. Her writings have appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is the author and co-author of numerous books including Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions (Council on Foreign Relations, 2013), and Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East (Random House, 2010). She graduated from Princeton University and earned MPhil and DPhil degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, which she attended on a Marshall Scholarship. She started her career at McKinsey & Co. in New York, becoming a partner in the firm’s financial institutions group.

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