WASHINGTON, May 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of retired Foreign Service Officers led by a seventy-four-year-old retired former president of the American Foreign Service Association, Franklin Allen (Tex) Harris, is petitioning the American Foreign Service Association to amend its bylaws to allow the State Department unlimited veto power over the actions of the union representing that agency's Foreign Service employees. The petition, which would require all serving AFSA Board members to hold a State Department security clearance, would make AFSA the only Federal employee bargaining unit to grant the agency employing its members authority to remove members of its Governing Board at the sole discretion of the agency.
AFSA is both the professional association of the American Foreign Service and the sole Federal employee bargaining unit representing Foreign Service employees. Mr. Harris, who was AFSA's president between 1993 and 1997, is an outspoken critic of AFSA's increasing focus on its active-duty bargaining unit function. He is campaigning on a return-to-roots platform in AFSA's current governing board elections, hoping to become the first retired Foreign Service Officer ever to serve as AFSA's president. The petition is seen as an effort by his supporters to ingratiate Mr. Harris to State Department leadership.
Security clearance suspension and revocation is the most common tool used by the Federal government to punish dissenters and whistleblowers within its ranks. While employer veto of bargaining unit activities is a prohibited unfair labor practice, a security clearance decision cannot be challenged in court, rendering such veto power incontestable under current laws.
Concerned Foreign Service Officers is an association of over 300 active duty and retired State Department employees seeking to increase fairness and compliance with government-wide regulations in security clearance decisions by the U.S. Department of State.
SOURCE Concerned Foreign Service Officers