Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Do you want to give this Front Office a grade?

Below is an excerpt from a couple years old OIG report on US Embassy Brasilia and its constituent posts. Names of key officials are normally listed at the end of the report, but since this is two years old, most are  certain to have left the embassy or have rotated to other posts already. But here's a chance to peak peek at one more Front Office:     

The fact that country team members work well together does not mask the level of tension among those country team members whose portfolios include areas that the Ambassador considers mission priorities. Country team members reported to the OIG team that their lack of understanding of the Ambassador’s prioritization among the many new initiatives has inhibited their ability to meet all of their mandated goals and objectives. The Ambassador’s personal working style, his heavy travel and official appointment schedule, and his infrequent contact with U.S. Mission staff, other than country team members and substantive officers, have contributed to communication lapses and morale issues among the embassy community. Confirming this, the scores given to the Ambassador and the DCM on the personal questionnaires were well below average in such categories as allowing dissent, clarity, feedback, and coordination.

The Ambassador believes that he has worked hard to improve mission morale by expending a significant amount of personal resources hosting newcomers’ luncheons and by participating in efforts to support community activities such as holiday parties and the Marine Ball. He attends TGIF events whenever he is at the embassy or a constituent post, and he has met with the Foreign Service national committee. That said, he accepted, gracefully, the fact the workplace and quality of life scores indicate mission staff members are experiencing morale problems, and at least some of them want to see a more overt indication of his concern for their well-being.

Finally, neither the Ambassador nor the DCM is a financial or management expert. That said, it is still incumbent upon them to ensure that internal and management controls are properly exercised. Due to the division of labor described above, it is the DCM who bears the responsibility for testing and validating the internal and management control systems in use at the mission. During the course of the inspection, a number of programs such as premium class travel, representational travel, invitational travel, and other authorized use of U.S. government resources were found to be out of compliance with the Foreign Affairs Manual.

No comments: