@StateDept’s Foreign Service Nationals of the Year (2015)

Posted: 12:14 am EDT
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Extracted from State Magazine, January 2016:

 

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Dept of Correction for the Record Fail — Diversity Statistics Still in Jaws of SBU Chupacabra!

— Domani Spero
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Last week, we blogged about the State Department’s missing diversity stats from the FS promotion results (see Foreign Service 2013 Promotion Results — Gender, Ethnicity, Race Stats Still Behind the Great Firewall).  Previously, WhirledView’s Patricia Kushlis blogged about the State Department’s abysmal Hispanic record and gender inequality at the State Department (see  Unfulfilled Promises, Ignored Mandates: State’s Abysmal Hispanic Record and  State’s Female-Proof Glass Ceiling: Breaking into the Good Old Boys Diplomatic Club is Still Hard to Do).

Yesterday, WhirledView posted a new question: What’s the big secret with the State Department’s diversity statistics and why?  Patricia also  shared a fan mail from the State Department’s Bureau of Human Resources.

Via WhirledView:

From: State/HR – Greenberg
To: WhirledView-Kushlis

Regarding: “Going back to 2000, the only year that State published promotion figures based on gender and ethnicity was in 2012, when they appeared in the June 2012 issue of State Magazine.  Those statistics disappeared from State Magazine in 2013 and 2014. “

The 2013 promotion statistics are available on page 32 of the June 2014 online issue of State Magazine at http://digitaledition.state.gov/publication/ and the 2013 Foreign Service promotion statistics will also be published in the July-August 2014 print and digital issue of State Magazine.

The 2014 promotion statistics are simply not out yet.  The promotion boards have just convened.

Brenda Greenberg
HR Public Affairs
202-647-4282

 

<RANT>Why … why… why … in heaven’s name are you wasting your time and other people’s time with this kind of mush?!</RANT>

The italicized portion above is a paragraph in Patricia’s blog post on State’s abysmal record on Hispanic hiring available here.   It is clear that Patricia is  referring to the published promotion figures based on gender and ethnicity. Which are, by the way, while mentioned on State magazine, are actually not included in the published edition. So the HR spox wrote to point out that the stats is you know, available on page 32!

Nope, the promotion figures based on gender and ethnicity are not available on page 32. Here is what State, June 2014 says:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25

Neither the original State mag publication of the promotion stats in June nor the corrected version in July/August 2014 include the gender, ethnicity and race statistics. They are available at http://intranet.hr.state.sbu/offices/rma/Pages/DiversityStats.aspx.  Let’s click on it, just for fun:

Screen Shot 2014-08-25

Ay, caramba! They’re still in the jaws of the SBU Chupacabra (pdf) ?!!

Look — SBU or “sensitive but unclassified” information must not be posted on any public Internet website, discussed in a publicly available chat room or any other public forum on the Internet. You folks know that, right?  Disposition of SBU documents is also important; it includes shredding or burning, or by other methods consistent with law or regulation like chewing and swallowing (Note: Perfectly okay to do this with beer 😉).

Hey, if a State Department HR official can cite a non-existent public report, we, too, can cite a non-existent citation on the FAM that goes well with beer. Because why not?

Also this via WhirledView:

“Why HR even needs its own Public Affairs Office is beyond me but that’s another question for another day er post.  Rumor has it that a piece of the incumbent’s job is to  block relevant WV posts and likely Diplopundit ones too keeping them from Bureau higher ups and staff supposedly under the ignorance is bliss category.” 

Oh, no — no need to block us, we are quite entertaining at times.

Subscription is easy and painless and we occasionally deliver sweet and sour news and opinion!

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Death in the State Dept Family: Rayda Nadal, Foreign Service; Durron Swain, Civil Service – RIP

— Domani Spero
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On March 3, 2014 we wrote about the death of  Deron Durron Swain, a State Department employee assigned to the Miami Passport Office as reported by  Local10 in Miami. Click here for the CBS Miami report the following day. The June 2014 issue of State Magazine includes the following obituary:

Screen Shot 2014-08-16

Extracted from Obituaries, State Magazine, June 2014

The July/August issue of State Magazine includes the following obituary for Rayda Nadal, a Foreign Service OMS who died in Sweden.  The notice did not mention that she died from the gas explosion while posted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, but we know that the OMS injured in that explosion died in Linkoping, Sweden. See US Embassy Moscow: FS Employee Hurt in Apartment Building Gas Explosion Dies. If anyone  has an update on the promised investigation, we’d like to know.

Screen Shot 2014-08-18

Extracted from Obituaries, State Magazine, July/August 2014

We still think that the State Department should be compelled to report the deaths of official Americans overseas. DOD identifies its casualties — name, rank, age, state of residence, date and place of death, and cause of death — why not the State Department?

At a minimum there ought to be  an annual reporting of all deaths from unnatural causes of USG personnel and family members on government orders under chief of mission authority.

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Foreign Service 2013 Promotion Results — Gender, Ethnicity, Race Stats Still Behind the Great Firewall

— Domani Spero
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The State Department’s trade publication State Magazine publishes annually the promotion results from the Foreign Service Selection Board. Here is an excerpt from the June 2014 issue:

The Bureau of Human Resources compiled the 2013 Foreign Service Selection Board results by class for generalists and specialists, placing the data into tables that show promotion numbers, promotion rates, average time in class and average time in service for each competition group. The bureau also analyzed and compared certain 2013 promotion rates and levels to the 2012 results and the five-year averages. While the Department promoted more generalists and specialists in 2013 than in 2012, the total number of employees eligible for promotion increased at a faster rate. The overall 2013 promotion rate for all eligible Foreign Service employees was 22 percent, slightly lower than the 2012 rate of 23 percent and the five-year average of 24 percent.

In June 2012, State Magazine said it published the promotion statistics by gender, ethnicity and race for the first time. We were hoping it would make the data public this year. Unfortunately, the 2013 promotion results, the statistics that offer detailed breakouts by grade level for each generalist cone and specialist skill group can only still be found behind the Great Firewall at http://intranet.hr.state.sbu/offices/rma/Pages/DiversityStats.aspx.

The State Department has an Office of Civil Rights. Apparently, it is the first cabinet-level agency to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer with oversight authority to integrate and transform diversity principles into practices in the Department’s operations. The office touts diversity as not just a worthy cause:

At the Department of State, diversity is not just a worthy cause: it is a business necessity. Diversity of experience and background helps Department employees in the work of diplomacy. The Secretary believes that diversity is extremely important in making the State Department an employer of choice.

We’re curious — if indeed, diversity is a business necessity for the agency,and we have folks who are proponents of diversity management issues there, why is the promotion composition of the Foreign Service by gender, race and ethnicity  considered “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) and still behind the Great Firewall?  And if State Magazine won’t make this data available publicly, why isn’t this information available on the website of the  Office of Civil Rights?

State Mag is under State/HR but S/OCR — whoa! —  reports directly to Secretary Kerry’s office.  So, well, let’s go ahead and ask them why it should not be made available to the general public: Office of Civil Rights, S/OCR, Room 7428, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520, Email: socr_direct@state.gov;  Tel: (202) 647-9295 or (202) 647-9294; Fax: (202) 647-4969.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Department Annual Awards 2013 – A Banner Year for Consular Officers

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— Domani Spero

The ceremony for the Annual State Department Awards is typically held in November.  The 2013 ceremony officiated by Secretary Kerry was held in November 14 last year at the Ben Franklin room in Foggy Bottom.  Although the names of awardees are normally released by cable internally, the names and photos do not make it to the public sphere until they are published by State mag early the following year.  This past January, State mag published the names, and we have extracted the names/photos of awardees below.

You will note some familiar names (and not so familiar ones) and posts.  The former chargé d’affaires and OMS at US Embassy Libya received awards.  The RSO for US Embassy Turkey received  the  Bannerman award recognizing outstanding contribution to security (see deadly terrorist attack on Embassy Ankara February 1, 2013). FSOs in Missions Brazil, Pakistan, and Mexico did very well garnering awards ranging from exceptional vision, leadership, and excellence in reporting.

Seems to be a banner year for consular folks.  Note that the consular boss for Mission Brazil Donald Jacobson received the Raphel Memorial Award for  “outstanding leadership and direction” of the consular team.  US Embassy Yemen’s consular chief, Stephanie A. Bunce received the Barbara Watson Award for Consular Excellence for “inspired leadership” (see US Embassy Yemen: Revocation of U.S. Passports, a Growing Trend?).  Emily J. Makely received the Mary Ryan Award  for “professionalism and personal commitment to thesecurity and well-being of U.S.citizens in Rwanda, as well as U.S. citizens being evacuatedfrom the Democratic Republic of Congo” as the sole consular officer at US Embassy Kigali.

The DCM award went to Laura Farnsworth Dogu of US Embassy Mexico. In 2006, Ms. Dogu also received the Watson Award for Consular Excellence for “her efforts to protect children through the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction.” Take a look.

Click on maximize view icon max iconon the lower rightmost end of the ScribD screen to read in full screen.

 

 

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‘Ethics Answers’ Talks Hypothetical Ethical Scenarios — Cuz There Are No Real Life Examples?

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— Domani Spero

State Magazine now includes an ‘Ethics Answers’ box where hypothetical ethical scenarios Department employees might face are presented. The January issue includes the following (pdf):

Q: I was recently assigned to a new post. My new supervisor frequently has me do personal things for her, like typing her son’s college application or picking up her dry-cleaning. I feel I shouldn’t be asked to do these things. Am I right?

A: Yes. Ethics regulations prohibit a supervisor (or any Executive Branch employee) from encouraging, directing, coercing or requesting a subordinate to perform these types of personal services during work hours or personal time. By asking you to perform these tasks, your boss has taken advantage of her official position to gain personal services she would otherwise need to perform herself or pay someone else to do. Under ethics rules, this is a “misuse of position”—using official time, authority, title, information or resources for private gain, either one’s own or another’s. Other examples of misuse of position include using one’s official position to obtain a travel upgrade, asking the visa office to give priority to a friend’s visa application or using your official title to fundraise for your child’s school.

For help with real ethical questions, email ethicsattorneymailbox@state.gov.

Why can’t the ethics attorney use real cases without mentioning names and posts?

Let’s try this.

The ambassador’s OMS at an EUR post was routinely asked to take the dog and kids for walks while the boss worked after hours.

Or, during the embassy’s Christmas bazaar, the ambassador’s OMS and an official residence employee were tasked with selling bags and crafts owned by the ambassador’s wife.

Is that too hard?  You may play the ethics crossword puzzles here, have fun, learn the regs. Pardon me, and then what?  After you know that you’re right, what then?  An excellent question that we hope “Ethics Answers” would answer one day.

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Snapshot: State Department’s Permanent Workforce Demographics

Via State Magazine, January 2013:

State_012013_demographics

In the same article where the above stats is extracted, the Office of Civil Rights says that “the Department
wants its workforce to reflect the diversity of the country we represent to the world.”  It also reports the EEO complaints for fiscal year 2012:

Formal complaints: 133

Top three protected bases:
reprisal (57), race (40) and sex (38)

Top three issues:
non-sexual hostile work environment (51)
performance evaluation/appraisal (19)
promotion/non-selection (18)

Findings of discrimination: 3

And — to State Department-affinity groups who requested the demographic stats from DG/HR and are repeatedly told that this is not available, you’ve got one stop if DG/HR would not budge – the  Office of Civil Rights, S/OCR, Room 7428, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520; Email: socr_direct@state.gov Tel: (202) 647-9295 or (202) 647-9294, Fax: (202) 647-4969.  An executive agency’s workforce demographics is not protected, secret information and should be public record, good grief!

domani spero sig

Foreign Service Promotion Statistics: Numbers Now Protected by the Privacy Act of 1974

In March, a Foggy Bottom nightingale informed us that the State Department had released its promotion statistics internally. We have not seen a copy of the cable.  We were told that the promotion stats are now protected by the following authorities:

Privacy Act of 1974 – which is terribly funny because the Privacy Act of 1974 purposely has a line that says “(B) but does not include–    (i) matches performed to produce aggregate statistical data without any personal identifiers;”

So then, somebody wrote here and asked, “How does the Privacy Act apply to a bunch of numbers?” And we had to confess that we actually have no idea — unless — a bunch of numbers are now people?

The promotion stats apparently are also protected by ta-da —

Freedom of Information Act 2002
The new language in this act precluded any covered US intelligence agency from disclosing records in response to FOIA requests made by foreign governments or international governmental organizations.

“The agencies affected by this amendment are those that are part of, or contain “an element of,” the “intelligence community.” As defined in the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended), they consist of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office (and certain other reconnaissance offices within the Department of Defense), the intelligence elements of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Energy, and the Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in the Department of State, and “such other elements of any other department or agency as may be designated by the President, or designated jointly by the Director of Central Intelligence and the head of the department or agency concerned, as an element of the intelligence community.”

As far as we are aware, the promotion statistics of the U.S. Foreign Service are nowhere done near any desks in the Bureau of Intel and Research (INR), so there’s no information contamination of any sort.

The promotion statistics are also protected by 12 FAM 540 SBU (sensitive but unclassified). When you look this up, the cite says:

a. Sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information is information that is not classified for national security reasons, but that warrants/requires administrative control and protection from public or other unauthorized disclosure for other reasons. SBU should meet one or more of the criteria for exemption from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (which also exempts information protected under other statutes), 5 U.S.C. 552, or should be protected by the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a.

b. Types of unclassified information to which SBU is typically applied include all FOIA exempt categories (ref. 5 U.S.C. 552b), for example:

(1) Personnel, payroll, medical, passport, adoption, and other personal information about individuals, including social security numbers and home addresses and including information about employees as well as members of the public;

Too funny, because the promotion statistics do not include any of the above, nor any personal identifiable information. But the important line is “warrants/requires administrative control and protection from public or other unauthorized disclosure for other reasons” — like we just don’t want you to see it, so?

It is also protected by 12 FAM 620 UNCLASSIFIED AUTOMATED INFORMATION SYSTEMS because obviously, the annual promotion statistics is an information system. And anyone who does not get that does not deserve a badge or something.

Finally, the statistics are protected by State 31.  The Googles says that State 31 is a wine company dedicated to crafting small lot wines sourced solely from prime California vineyards.

What? What? How did we end up with wine and vineyards here?

After much digging around the vineyard, we learned that State 31 is STATE-31, a system of human resource records within the State Department. But here is another weird part, it also says:

“System exempted from certain provisions of the Privacy Act: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(4), records contained within this system that are maintained solely for statistical purposes are exempted from 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f).”

Now in the past, the Foreign Service Promotion Statistics are published by State Magazine either in its March or April issue. This year, none including the current May issue has anything on that.We’ll have to see if it shows up in the June issue, but then of course, with all those “protecting authorities” in place, State Magazine would be too crazy to print it!

Extract from State Magazine, March 2011
(click on image for larger view)

We have to say that the “protection” of the promotion statistics under the cited authorities above appears not only arbitrary but also capricious. Why do these numbers need protection, again?  In case Al Qaeda copies it for its own up or out system?  We get the feeling like all these various authorities were collected and dump over the hole for shock and awe.

We hope you are properly shocked and awed that numbers with no personally identifiable connection to specific or particular individuals are now protected information.

Silly folks, what’s next, the cafeteria menu?

So then a quick note to Promotion Statistics is called for:

Dear Mr. or Ms. Promotion Statistics –

Like me, you are now protected by the Privacy Act.  The FBI may now do a background check on you, and the IRS may collect taxes. You may now request correction or amendment of any record pertaining to you that may have been incorrectly done. And best of all, you now must sign a Privacy Act Waiver before anyone can officially talk about you.  This gift of genius cannot be overstated enough …

Domani Spero

 

 

Insider Quote: Support Your Boss … “But my boss is a jerk!” Listen, Dammit!

Via State Magazine April 2012, from What Does it Take to Get Promoted Around Here (pdf)?

“Support your boss. “But my boss is a jerk!” That may be true, but this is about you getting promoted and the “jerk” is still the boss. If your boss lacks charisma, humility, a sense of humor and table manners, that is not so good. Being a jerk, however, is not a federal offense. You do not have to feign affection for your boss, but you do have to support the mission with vigor, which not incidentally makes the boss look good—perhaps in spite of him or herself.”

— Advice from the State Department Office of Civil Rights

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