We are having some frustrations with the department. My orders are set, so I will definitely be coming back to DC. In fact, I even know the date.
M, on the other hand, is not bidding on critical needs position, so the department put off allowing those positions to be filled until they got enough bidders for Iraq. But the position she bid on said she was the BLC (Bureau's Leading Cadidate), so we were pretty confident. Then a cable came out saying that they had gotten enough bidders for everything but FS-2 positions (FS-2 is a rank...Mary is an FS-3, just below that). They said they would start "open season" for everyone but people ranked FS-2. For those who were ranked FS-2, they were creating lists of people with regional experience and language skills and they would ask those people to "volunteer." If there weren't enough "volunteers," they would move to forcing people to go. And they said they would target "fair share" bidders first, that is, people who have been at relatively cushy posts for 6 years or more.
So open season started the 23rd and M immediately got an email from the position she applied for offering a "handshake" (official job offer). If she accepted, they would send it to human resources, who would get everything done so she could start the job. M immediately accepted.
Not so fast. Her Career Development Officer (CDO) sends an email saying he can not register the handshake because she has been put on one of those lists for a job in Baghdad because of her regional experience and her language skills. Never mind that she is not ranked at a FS-2 and they promised to let people get jobs except FS-2s. Never mind that she is not a "fair share" bidder. In fact, far from being at a cushy post for the past 6 years, she has spent the last five at hardship/danger posts.
She has sent a letter to AFSA (our "union"), who had agreed to the whole postponing of open season (it was supposed to start in November) and this new opening of the season for everyone but the FS-2s because they were told this would keep the department from having "directed assignments" (forcing people to go). But from the tone of the email to Mary, they are not doing what they told AFSA they'd do and they are threatening to direct people to Baghdad. She also sent an email to the position she bid on telling her she had no intention of "volunteering," and they responded that they wanted her and were holding the job. So we'll see what happens. Her CDO said he was reasonably confident that they would not force her to go and that she would have an answer in a week or two. In the meantime, we wait...and we are NOT happy about it.