Almost half of the US Foreign Service thinks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is doing a "poor job" looking after their material and professional needs, said a survey released Tuesday.
The survey by the service's union, the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), revealed serious staff complaints with salaries and other personnel issues as well as staffing at the US embassy in Iraq.
"The survey reveals deep frustration by our nation's career diplomats with their lack of resources with which to do their jobs," the AFSA said in a statement to the media.
Only 18 percent of the nearly 4,300 respondents to the survey said Rice was doing a good or very good job defending their profession, compared to 44 percent who thought she was doing a poor or very poor job.
Thirty-eight percent rated her as doing a fair job.
Only 14 percent thought she was doing a good or very good job in securing resources for the Foreign Service, compared to 49 percent who thought she was doing a poor or very poor job.
Some 36 percent said her performance was fair.
The top concern was so-called overseas comparability pay, AFSA said in an article in the monthly Foreign Service Journal.
"Numerous respondents expressed outrage that they now have to accept close to a 20-percent cut in base salary when they leave Washington to serve overseas, while senior officers and employees of other US agencies do not."
Unlike the armed forces or intelligence services, Foreign Service staff overseas cannot benefit from a salary adjustment that federal employees receive as compensation for the public-private sector pay gap.
In the survey, 48 percent of respondents gave poor and very poor ratings to the efforts by Rice and senior State Department officials to get Congress to authorize Overseas Comparability Pay.
A strong majority also insisted that war zone postings, such as to Iraq, remain voluntary. Rice late last year warned diplomats they would be forced to serve in Iraq or risk dismissal if not enough volunteers came forward.
In the end, there were enough volunteers.
AFSA communications director Thomas Switzer told AFP it was the first comprehensive survey of its kind, meaning it was not possible to compare Rice to her predecessors.
There are some 11,000 personnel listed as Foreign Service in the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agriculture Service, and the International Broadcasting Bureau.
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