Pompeo: Congratulations to you, and you , and you, but NOT you President-Elect @JoeBiden

 

Laurence Pope, Veteran Diplomat and Friend of the Blog Dies at 75

Via  WaPo:
“Laurence Pope, a veteran diplomat and counterterrorism expert who came out of retirement to serve as the top U.S. envoy to Libya weeks after the 2012 attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, died Oct. 31 at his home in Portland, Maine. He was 75. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Elizabeth Pope.”
Larry passed away in the arms of his loving family. We are sending our condolences to his wife Betsy and their girls, and to friends who are mourning this loss. Larry was also a friend of the blog, he will be missed.

FSN Recognition Day: Gratefulness and Celebration, So Now They’ll Finally Get an Ombudsman?

 

Just Security: How to Restore Ethics to @StateDept

 

Confirmations: Kenna, Vajda, Higgins, Maloney, Story, McCarthy and 4 Foreign Service Lists

The U.S. Senate has adjourned with only pro forma sessions and no vote expected until Nov. 30. Prior to leaving town, it confirmed six ambassador nominations and four Foreign Service lists on November 18, 2020. The newly confirmed ambassadors are all career members of the Foreign Service but we expect that they would still submit courtesy resignations, as often the case, when the new Biden Administration takes office on January 20.
PERU: Executive Calendar #801, Lisa S. Kenna, of Vermont, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Peru.
BURMA: Executive Calendar #877, Thomas Laszlo Vajda, of Arizona, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Union of Burma.
BURUNDI: Executive Calendar #879, Melanie Harris Higgins, of Georgia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Burundi.
ESWATINI: Executive Calendar #880, Jeanne Marie Maloney, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Eswatini.
VENEZUELA: Executive Calendar #882, James Broward Story, of South Carolina, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
LIBERIA: Executive Calendar #884, Michael A. McCarthy, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Liberia.
FOREIGN SERVICE LISTS:
PN 2074
PN2174
PN 2075
PN 1704-2 (inadvertent typo corrected for TAGS)

 


 

Final Fee Determination in Largest Title VII Sex Discrimination Class Action #USIA #DOS

 

The case is Civil Action No. 1977-2019 HARTMAN, et al v. ALBRIGHT, et al (now called CAROLEE BRADY HARTMAN, et al., v. MICHAEL R. POMPEO, et al.,name substituted under under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d)):

This case is in all respects extraordinary. Originating over forty years ago, it represents the largest Title VII sex discrimination class action settlement in United States history. Its over 1,000 class members each received an average of $460,000—the largest per-capita recovery in a case of its kind. Class members are women who sought employment or promotions with the United States Information Agency, a former agency of the United States government, the relevant components of which were incorporated into the State Department. Remarkably, the lead counsel for the class, Bruce Fredrickson, took on the case as a 26-year-old just one year out of law school and, now well into his sixties, has stayed on for its duration. Over the last four decades, Mr. Fredrickson has led a team of over 120 individuals across seven law firms. In 2018, the last of the $508 million settlement fund was distributed to class members, leaving resolution of attorneys’ fees as the sole remaining issue.

Since 1995, there have been 28 interim payments to class counsel for fees, expenses, and interest accrued during the pendency of the case, totaling $26,570,701.19. Plaintiffs now seek an additional $34,114,143.52, for a final total fee recovery of $75,000,000. 2 To justify this demand, Plaintiffs primarily argue that they are entitled to a percentage of the total settlement under a “constructive common fund” theory. Alternatively, Plaintiffs argue that an enhancement to the lodestar is proper because the lodestar calculated for the interim fee petitions does not reflect class counsel’s true market value and it does not adequately compensate them for delay in receiving payment.

For the reasons that follow, the court denies Plaintiffs’ motion without prejudice. This is a fee-shifting case—not a common-fund case—and the parties agreed to use the lodestar method— not the percentage-of-the-fund method—to calculate the final fee award. Although the court agrees with Plaintiffs that the interim lodestar is likely not an adequate measure of class counsel’s true market value, the court is not in a position to award an enhancement because the lodestar, as calculated, is itself inexact. The court is hopeful that this decision will provide a path forward for the parties to reach an agreement on what the proper lodestar should be, as well as any compensation for delay.
[…]
…. Plaintiffs need to go back to the drawing board. They bear the burden of “identifying a factor that the lodestar does not adequately take into account and proving with specificity that an enhanced fee is justified.” Purdue, 559 U.S. at 546. Although it is apparent that an adjustment to the lodestar for the eighth through twenty-eighth fee petitions (covering years 1998–2018) is necessary to “approximate[ ] the fee that the prevailing attorney would have received if he or she had been representing a paying client who was billed by the hour in a comparable case,” the court lacks the information necessary to “adjust the attorney’s hourly rate in accordance with specific proof linking the attorney’s ability to a prevailing market rate.” Id. at 551. Furthermore, although some additional compensation is appropriate to account for delay of amounts unpaid, Plaintiffs have not proposed “a method that is reasonable, objective, and capable of being reviewed on appeal” to calculate such amount. Id. Although the court denies Plaintiffs’ request for a final attorneys’ fee award at this juncture, the court hopes that its rulings will assist the parties in reaching a resolution. 

Footnote says that multiple judges have presided over this case during its 43-year lifespan. Read here.

 


 

Nova Scotia’s @TreeforBoston Takes Another Journey to @CityofBoston #HalifaxExplosion1917

Via Nova Scotia Premier’s Office statement:
A special tree received a heartfelt farewell today, Nov. 16. The 45-foot white spruce is a thank-you gift to the people of Boston for their immediate support following the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

“Nova Scotia will never forget those who were lost and injured as a result of the explosion, and the support from the people of Boston,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “This year’s Tree for Boston is dedicated to health-care workers, honouring both the 1917 response and those taking care of us on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are thankful for the compassion and kindness shown in times of need.”

Quick Facts:
  • 2020 marks the 103rd anniversary of the Halifax Explosion
  • the explosion occurred on Dec. 6, 1917 when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Halifax Harbour
  • 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 more were injured as a result of the explosion
  • the tree will be transported from Halifax to Portland, Maine, on a container vessel, then Portland to Boston, Massachusetts
  • Heather and Tony Sampson, who live in Dundee, Richmond Co., donated this year’s tree
  • the 45-foot white spruce tree is from Grande Anse, Richmond Co.

Oh Where, Oh Where Are the EEOC Posting Orders For Agency Discrimination?

According to the State Department, the mission of the Office of Civil Rights (S/OCR) (https://www.state.gov/bureaus-offices/bureaus-and-offices-reporting-directly-to-the-secretary/office-of-civil-rights/) is “to propagate fairness, equity and inclusion at the Department of State. S/OCR’s business is conflict resolution, employee and supervisor assistance, and diversity management. S/OCR manages the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) administrative process for the Department and works to prevent employment discrimination through outreach and training.”
When an employee prevails in a complaint before the EEOC, the federal agency where the discrimination occured is typically ordered by the EEOC to post copies of the notice of discrimination signed by the agency’s authorized representative. It’s kind of an equivalent to a student being ordered by his/her teacher to write on the entire blackboard “I will not [INSERT] again.”  The EEOC normally requires that the notice be posted in the facility in hard copy and electronic copy.
Click here for the EEOC order posted by Energy Department’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.  Here is one from USPS. Another one from the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. The orders have one thing in common, an acknowledgement by the agency’s authorized representative that the facility was determined by the EEOC to have engaged in discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any other form discrimination. The notice does not specifically include the names of the complainant, only a quick summary of the case and the remedy ordered by the EEOC.
Not too many State Department cases prevail at the EEOC but when they do, we expect to see the posting orders visible in public and easily accessible to everyone. We have yet to see them anywhere. We have never, ever seen them posted on the pretty bare bones page of S/OCR on state.gov.  If they are posted on the Intranet SBU site only, is that the best that the State Department’s office tasked with preventing employment discrimination can do? Wouldn’t you want everybody to see it so folks learn from it and do not repeat the same behavior elsewhere in the organization?
For example, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation’s EEOC-ordered Notice says:

“This facility was found to have violated the Rehabilitation Act. The facility was ordered to reinstate the employee, provide reasonable accommodation for his disability, determine backpay and benefits, as well as compensatory damages and attorney’s fees and costs. The facility was also ordered to consider taking disciplinary action against management officials and provide training to responsible management official’s regarding their responsibilities under EEO law.”

In January 2018, the EEOC ordered the State Department to post such a notice at FSI (see @StateDept to Hold “Harassment in the Workplace” Session But First, Read This FSI Sexual Harassment Case).  We’d like to know if anyone saw the paper copy or electronic copy of that EEOC order posted at FSI’s School of Language Studies? Is it archived? (Update 11/16/20 9:40 pm PST: A senior official who was at FSI during this time confirmed to us that this order was posted “on the bulletin board directly outside the entrance to the Dean’s office suite” and that it stayed up for a couple of months. Thanks Senior Official A!). 
Folks, we need your help locating these posting orders. Where are they posted? At S/OCR’s bulletin board? At their Intranet page? How visible are these notices? Are they accessible by GO browser or any other browser or do you need a special key to get into a room to read these notices?

U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20507

NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES POSTED BY ORDER OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
An Agency of the United States Government

This Notice is posted pursuant to an order by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission dated ___________________ which found that a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., has occurred at the Department of State’s offices in Washington, District of Columbia (hereinafter this facility).

Federal law requires that there be no discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of the person’s RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, or DISABILITY with respect to hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, or other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This facility was found to have engaged in discrimination on the basis of sex/female with respect to a promotion matter, constituting a violation of Title VII.
/snip/

Fifteen Asia-Pacific Countries Sign World’s Largest Free Trade Deal

 

 

@Transition46 Releases Names of Agency Review Teams For @StateDept, @USAID, @USAGM, and @USUN

The Biden-Harris Transition has released the names of Agency Review Teams for the State Department, USAID (which includes MCC, Peace Crops, IDFC),  the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. A lot of familiar names here. Note that all members are currently listed as “volunteers”. According to Transition46, these are individuals who are volunteering for the Transition in their personal capacity. For these team members, their current or most recent employer is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Volunteer.”
We have added a countdown to Inauguration Day on our right sidebar.