Foreign Service Act of 1980:

Implementation Status, Progress, and Problems

NSIAD-84-65: Published: May 1, 1984. Publicly Released: May 1, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO performed a review to: (1) determine the status of the implementation and the extent of compliance by the foreign affairs agencies with the new provisions of the Foreign Service Act of 1980; (2) identify implementation problems caused or not addressed by the act; and (3) highlight specific issue areas on which Congress may want to focus in its oversight of the the act's implementation and its evaluation of the program's effectiveness.

GAO found that much has been accomplished by the foreign affairs agencies in implementing the act's new provisions in the areas of Senior Foreign Service, labor-management relations and Foreign Service grievances, personnel management, pay, worldwide assignment availability, family-oriented provisions, revised and new allowances for Foreign Service members, new congressional reporting requirements, promotion and retention, and professional development. However, the agencies have experienced some implementation problems in the areas of appointments, personnel conversions, compensation, personnel management, labor-management relations, benefits and allowances, and promotion and retention. As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee performs its oversight to ensure that the act is being implemented, specific areas deserve Committee attention, including: (1) continuing Senior Foreign Service membership in bargaining units of Foreign Service unions; (2) progress achieved under joint labor-management negotiations and the development of uniform regulations; (3) efforts to promote greater compatibility among the foreign affairs agencies in their personnel systems and operations; (4) disputes over the administration of performance pay awards to Senior Foreign Service members; (5) possible implications to the Foreign Service personnel system and assignment process of a pending court case dealing with the Equal Pay Act; and (6) use of the limited career extension mechanism and reporting of stretch assignment usage.

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