Posted: 1:33 am ET
On Monday, December 18, the State Department reportedly announced that Secretary Tillerson approved a number of additional personnel actions as follows:
#1. An A-100 class with a start date of March 19, 2018
#2. A Specialist Class with a start date of April 2, 2018
#3. Resumption of Civill Service lateral movement within the Department beginning January 7, 2018
#4. Resumption of internal Civil Service competitive promotions beginning January 7, 2018
#5. Approval of 30 new Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) hires from the 2016/2017 PMF cohorts
#6. Approval of an additional 20 PMF hires from the 2018 cohort
#7. Conversion of 20 pathways interns to full-time Civil Service permanent positions
“The State Department has now confirmed intent to hire only 101 new FSOs (including 55 Pickering and Rangel Fellows) in 2018, down from 366 in 2016…
That hiring target—101—is the lowest in at least a quarter of a century.“ https://t.co/92ILNZVSK8
— Scott Cheney-Peters (@SCheneyPeters) December 16, 2017
In related news, on December 12, Tillerson announced several immediate changes attributed to the redesign at the State Department (see Tillerson Announces “Immediate Changes” From Redesign, USAID is Now in the GAL – Yay?). The number one item on the list of “wins” was the “Expanded Opportunities for Eligible Family Members” and the announcement that the State Department was “lifting the hiring freeze for 2018 EFMs and providing the bureaus with greater placement flexibility.”
We have since learned from two sources that “lifting” the hiring freeze actually means a 50% lift. We understand that Bureaus will be allowed to fill 50% of their EFM jobs, and they will have the authority to make those decisions themselves, instead of those requests going all the way up the godpod.
Also it turns out USAID is also already in the GAL (the last item on Tillerson’s list of immediate changes)? What’s that? Tillerson’s inner circle celebrating the town hall should not do a happy dance? And no cookies either?
But seriously — what process did the redesign teams go through that resulted in this decision to lift, excuse me, lift the hiring freeze for 50% of 2018 EFMs?
What kind of study are they conducting regarding the rest of the EFM jobs?
What was the decision process for imposing this freeze in the first place, we’d really like to know.
Because unless Tillerson is planning on some post closures, these EFM jobs are needed at our overseas posts whether there’s a redesign or not, whether it’s now or later. The work will still be there: community liaison, mailroom clerk, security escort, security office assistant, general service assistant, etc. Are they going to come back after the “redesign” is completed and say go ahead, you may now hire the other 50% because we’ve figured out posts need them afterall? Or are they going to lift the other 50% the next time Tillerson gets into a dire press patch, and needs another “win”.
So you know, it’s good that 50% of diplomatic spouses waiting for jobs overseas will now be able to fill some jobs but this still doesn’t make sense. To us, this still feels capricious.