The Complete Transcript

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 7, 2004: Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview: The Complete Transcript
Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.

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Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview

Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

PCOL: Director Vasquez, there have been a number of infrastructure upgrades during your administration including the new web site, the online application tracking process, and improvements in the Volunteer Delivery System. Could you tell us about the new Situation Room that has been constructed at Peace Corps Headquarters and the role that it played in the successful evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers from Haiti and compare the Haiti evacuation which took place in about two or three days with the evacuation from Ivory Coast in 2002 that took considerably longer.

GV: The Situation Room was established to develop greater efficiencies for Peace Corps and also to ensure that there is a consistent protocol for handling evacuations.

The teams that staff the Situation Room during an evacuation are trained for specific scenarios that may occur. Obviously, we hope for minimal use of the Situation Room because when it is activated, it is done for purposes of responding to an emergency. In the instances that we have used the Situation Room, it has worked very effectively. There are multiple teams that are trained to staff the room, so in the unusual event that you have multiple evacuations going on simultaneously, you don't rely on just one team, you have teams that can operate simultaneously.

In addition, there is cross training so that people know each other's functions. If there needs to be some rotation or substitution, those options are available.

 Infrastructure Upgrades and the Peace Corps Situation Room

The difference, I think, is that during the Haiti evacuation we had technology, we had communication, and we had more efficiencies working for us. Having said that, I have had six evacuations during the time I have been Director of the Peace Corps and every one of those evacuations was successful, without any harm coming to any volunteer. I am proud of our record. It is a real tribute to our staff, the men and women who have spent considerable time training, because they care a great deal about the volunteer. We are all committed to ensuring that volunteers are evacuated safely and securely.

PCOL: Was Haiti the first instance that you used the Situation Room for an evacuation?

GV: That is correct.

PCOL: Did you notice any difference in the efficiency of the evacuation when you used the Situation Room?

GV: When you have consolidated communications and a central point of coordination, absolutely. We had the ability to turn around responses quickly, decisively, and effectively. The technology of the Internet and other means of communications in the Situation Room proved to be very valuable during an evacuation that had the potential to be very high risk.

Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

PCOL: I have heard that this year there has been a budget crunch at Peace Corps and that the agency has cut back in some areas to save money. Has there been a budget crunch this year and if so what was it due to?

GV: The Peace Corps is managed within the resources that Congress appropriates. So, as Congress has appropriated, we have fulfilled our obligations and staffing requirements. We have placed the highest priority on ensuring that field operations are sustained and maintained at levels that make certain volunteers are getting the support they need.

It is fair to say that there have been some areas where we have increased the level of spending, particularly in the area of safety and security. Therefore, I wouldn't view it as a budget crunch, but rather, managing your priorities. Part of managing the budget and an agency like the Peace Corps is looking at the priorities, finding what the needs are, and then funding those accordingly.

PCOL: I know that there was a Continuing Resolution this year and that Peace Corps didn't get its funding until January of 2004, when normally the fiscal year starts October 1. Were you counting on the $359 million that the President had proposed and was that an issue in placing volunteers overseas?

GV: We look at the appropriations process the way that it was intended. First, we recognize that a continuing resolution is always a possibility. So consequently, we plan and evaluate circumstances and conditions. Whether it is a re-entry, an entry into a new country, or the expansion of a program, we have to create the balance that the situation requires. When there is what we call a CR, we have to make adjustments because at that point there is no guarantee of what the level of funding will be, other than the knowledge that funding will be at the previous year's level. You have to operate within those constraints. We did that and will always do that because that is the right and prudent way to manage.

 Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps?

On the other hand, the challenge of a lengthy continuing resolution is that recruitment operates on a cyclical basis and any extended delays in funding provide some setbacks in recruitment. You can't really go out and recruit or issue invitations to trainees and then face a situation where you dis-invite someone. You don't want to go down that path, and we have never had to do that in the time I have been director of the Peace Corps.

PCOL: President Bush says he supports doubling the size of the Peace Corps and his party controls both the House and the Senate. Candidate Kerry says he supports tripling the size of the Peace Corps so obviously there is a strong bipartisan support for the agency. With this support, why did the President receive $50 million less this year than what he asked for and what do you think the prospects are for higher Peace Corps budgets in the future?

GV: On the issue of appropriation levels, we do the best job that we can to present our program and expansion opportunities to Congress. Congress then makes the determination as to what our appropriations level will be. I might add that while the funding over the last two years has not been at the requested levels - the fact of the matter is that they have been at a historic high for the Peace Corps. So, it shows a level of willingness on the part of Congress to increase the funding, even if it is not to the level we have requested. However, we will continue to make the case that the Peace Corps is well positioned to expand and that there is a supply and a demand for Americans who are willing to serve in a number of countries that would like to have programs.

Long Term Peace Corps Expansion

PCOL: To meet the growth goals set by President Bush, is the primary challenge strictly a matter of having the funding to pay for more volunteers and infrastructure, is it in increasing the countries that the Peace Corps operates in, or is it in recruiting enough qualified volunteers to fill the requests you have coming in?

GV: It is all of the above. The challenges we face are that we want to grow and expand, because we believe that the time is right. We believe that the demand exists for more programs, and know for a fact that even within existing programs, there are requests for more volunteers. So, we have the ability to grow within the framework of existing countries and we have the ability to grow with new country entries. With additional recruitment dollars we can expand the recruitment effort into media buys for radio and television commercials. We could also purchase print advertising and other media so that it's a multi-faceted campaign. However, the one thing I do not want to do is compromise safety and security or the quality of the Peace Corps volunteer experience. Those remain my highest priorities. There needs to be an integrated growth strategy to build the infrastructure, and assess the available opportunities for Americans to serve in the Peace Corps, and for host countries to gain the optimum benefits of that volunteer service. Ultimately, we want the volunteer to have the experience they aspire to when they begin their Peace Corps service, because that is important to the third goal.

PCOL: Could you tell us some of the countries the Peace Corps may be going into in the future once the Peace Corps receives the appropriations to support the new programs?

 Long Term Peace Corps Expansion

GV: Some of the countries that come to mind are Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. Vietnam has expressed an interest, and we have had some preliminary inquiries from Chile. There are a number of countries that we have had preliminary dialog with, and others that have actually formalized an invitation and have requested us to do an assessment. We are looking at the Marshall Islands as a possibility for re-entry. I just visited recently with the President of the Marshall Islands who requested that we consider a return. So there are, frankly, an abundance of opportunities that are basically available to us, contingent on funding.

PCOL: So you would say that the goal of doubling the Peace Corps to 15,000 volunteers is a goal that is attainable over the next four or five years if the appropriations are there?

GV: The appropriations are the first step. I think the Peace Corps has an obligation to build the infrastructure to support the growth as that is very important. For example, we are using technology now for the application process. Over 70 to 80 percent of all applicants who are applying to the Peace Corps these days are doing so online. So, we need to build the technology infrastructure. I know I am preaching to the choir because you use technology to communicate and spread the news. Consequently, we use technology for the volunteer delivery system and the database systems to keep current information and process both current volunteers and RPCVs. We need to maintain the safety and security that creates optimum conditions for a safe experience, and to ensure that programming, training and support for posts is at the levels needed to ensure quality programs.

PCOL: So you are building the infrastructure and you do see the doubling of the Peace Corps as attainable over the next few years if the appropriations are there?

GV: I think it is attainable. I am not prepared today, as I sit here speaking with you, to put a number to the years that it would take because, again, it requires funding levels on a per year basis. However, if the question is, "do I believe that the Peace Corps is capable of achieving a doubling over a period of time, assuming full appropriations," I do believe that is entirely possible.

Recent Changes to the Five-Year Rule

PCOL: In February, 2003 you wrote over 50 letters to members of the Senate and House asking them to support a change to the five year rule to exempt Peace Corps employees involved in Safety and Security from the five year rule. What was your rationale for supporting the change?

 Recent Changes to the Five-Year Rule

GV: I am not sure what letter you are referring to. The language to change the five year rule to create exemptions was Chairman Kolbe's language in appropriations, which was the genesis of the changes that have occurred and have resulted in waivers of the five year rule for employees who are working directly in safety and security.

PCOL: I am referring to the Consolidated Appropriations Bill of 2003 that was passed, I believe, on February 13, 2003 and there was a clause in there that exempted...

GV: That's correct.

PCOL: …employees involved in safety and security from the five year rule and you are saying that Chairman Kolbe was the originator of the...

GV: That is correct.

PCOL: Do you support that change to the five year rule or did you support the change?

GV: I did support that change to the five year rule.

PCOL: What was your rationale for supporting the change?

GV: The rationale is that safety and security are the highest priorities for the Peace Corps. The world changed on September 11. If the Peace Corps is going to grow, we must be more conscious and more diligent and deliberate in the framework we build for the safety and security of volunteers. Part of that process is establishing some continuity and institutional knowledge of safety and security issues.

By exempting the staff that are involved in day to day security issues, meaning 100 percent of their job is safety and security of the volunteer, we are able to maintain the continuity and the retention of institutional memory.

It is very difficult to lose someone who has learned the ropes of safety and security issues in the Peace Corps, which is a very unique undertaking. To lose that person and have to start over again jeopardizes that continuity.

We owe it to the volunteer, we owe it to their loved ones, and we owe it to the experience of the Peace Corps, to ensure that safety and security is optimum. We believe that by providing continuity, we can increase the conditions for an optimum experience.

PCOL: I know that you don't support the Peace Corps Safety and Security bill that came out of Chairman Hyde's committee and I know a couple of the reasons are that you don't see a reason for an Ombudsman and the independence of the Inspector General and I am going to ask you about that a little later. "Peace Corps Online" has also taken an editorial position opposing the Peace Corps Safety and Security bill but the reason that we oppose it is that it expands the exemptions so they are not just for safety and security personnel but also includes exemptions for personnel who work in health and medical services and personnel who work in the Inspector General's office.

Do you have a concern that now that the door has been opened to exemptions to the five year rule with the clause in the Consolidated Appropriations Bill of 2003 that there is going to be pressure from other groups or pressure from Congress to expand the exemptions to the five year rule even more and that there may be a danger that that the five year rule over time may disappear completely?

GV: I don't want to speculate on what Congress may or may not do. But, I think it is important to look at this in the phases in which it has been undertaken.

First of all, Chairman Kolbe suggested that the personnel who are involved in safety and security should be exempt from the five year rule in order for the Peace Corps to maintain the continuity of service that is important for the safety and security of the volunteer. I have no disagreement with that. I was authorized by Congress to conduct an internal assessment and ascertain which positions within the Peace Corps are dedicated to safety and security. I identified 23 positions, plus the 71 safety and security coordinators assigned to each post, to be exempt from the five year rule. Once you get past that first phase or grouping it gets a little more complicated because then you have to look and say "Well, Hugh Pickens, who works at the Peace Corps - 30 percent of his job involves safety and security, 70 percent is non-safety and security." That gets a little more complicated, because then you have to decide where the threshold is and if the person meets that test. To that end, Peace Corps has retained consultants to study the issue so there is a thorough, diligent, and very deliberate process in place to analyze who, beyond the initial 23, should be considered for exemption to the five year rule.

We need to be careful in examining this because I think the five year rule has served the Peace Corps well in some respects. I also believe that it presents some challenges. For example, when you have people who work in Information Technology, a very competitive field and an area of critical support to the Peace Corps, we have lost many a good candidate who has considered coming to work at the Peace Corps but has retreated from accepting a job as a result of the five year rule. I don't think that exempting people that work in those areas would be detrimental to the spirit and intent of the five year rule. But it's early, it's going to require a lot of analysis and study.

In the case of the Inspector General's Office, not all of the people who work in that office are involved in safety and security of volunteers, so you have to be careful that you don't blanket approve people who are not part of the safety and security infrastructure . You also have to be cautious in how you manage those transitions so you don't create an inequality of those who are subject to the five year rule against those who are not.

PCOL: So your position would be that we wait and see what the results are, how the exemptions that have already been approved work out and it's possible that you would support further exemptions of personnel for example in medical services, IT, or the Inspector General's Office for exemptions to the five year rule?

GV: I think we need to take a look at the spirit and intent of what Congress has articulated in the original language. But, the first phase includes those involved in safety and security of the volunteer. Let's examine those positions. Let's look at the classifications and descriptions. Let's look at what percentage of time they are involved in safety and security. Consequently, when we do those analyses, if we are very deliberate and diligent about it, I think we can achieve some success. I am not prepared to issue a broad statement that IT people should be exempt. It requires analysis, it requires study, and we are in the process of doing that.

Safety and Security Issues

PCOL: A few weeks ago we posted an op-ed that you wrote for the Dayton Daily News stating that some of their allegations on Peace Corps safety and security didn't jibe with facts and I noticed that the parents of Walter Poirier made a post on "Peace Corps Online" praising the steps that you had taken to place greater emphasis on safety and security including the creation of the office of safety and security under your administration. Do you think that your administration has been unfairly blamed for previous issues regarding safety and security from previous administrations and do you think that the criticism from sources like the Dayton Daily News is fair?

GV: First of all, let me say that it's not about my administration or anyone's administration. I came to this job with the intent and purpose of maintaining and building the greatness of the Peace Corps. Part of the process during my time has been to enhance safety and security. There have been others who have preceded me who have built some solid framework and we have just added to that framework and augmented the positions, roles and responsibilities. We have changed policies, procedures, and standards so that we create an infrastructure in safety and security that really becomes the way that Peace Corps does business. Once people embrace and adopt that approach, it becomes just part of the way that you do business, and it seems less intrusive, less complicated.

 Safety and Security Issues

In the case of the Dayton Daily News, I found that there were significant omissions and distortions. The fact is there was really no reporting on the progress and the improvements that Peace Corps has made over the years. Those were essentially ignored. There were a number of troubling mentions. One that leaped out at me that was mentioned a couple of times was that a Peace Corps volunteer dies in service once every two months. That is simply not true. It was also distorted because in the stories there was very little, if any reference, made to the fact that the majority of the volunteers who have died - and they are all tragic, we mourn the loss of every single volunteer who has died in service - have died as the result of an accident or illness. Their failure to disclose or clearly articulate the cause of the majority of deaths created a distortion and a view that is simply not accurate. They basically omitted pertinent information leading readers to conclude something that is not true.

I've been around media, press, and television for 25 years. One of my first jobs in my career was as a press relations officer for a medium sized police department. I don't profess to be an expert in journalism, but I certainly know a little bit about disclosure and inclusiveness of the facts in order to provide good public information. To say that a volunteer dies in service every two months is an absolute distortion. I have been in this office for two and a half years. Sadly, three volunteers have died in service during the time I have been director. None of the three have died at the hands of another or as the result of a violent act or a violent crime. And yet, the emphasis in the articles seemed to be the violence that faces volunteers. We need to learn from those experiences and examine every single occurrence. We need to see what we did right, what we did wrong, what we could do better. If we do that, the Peace Corps will be well served.

I have a law enforcement background. I have lived and worked daily in an environment of crime and violence. I have seen violence. I have seen the victimization of people, and I don't want to see people harmed, particularly now as the director the Peace Corps. We work very diligently to ensure the volunteers'safety and to create optimum conditions. But as members of Congress articulated in the hearing, there is no guarantee. Being a Peace Corps volunteer has some inherent risks. But I am committed to doing everything within my power, as is my team, to ensure that we create optimum conditions for a safe experience. That is what we are striving to do and I think that was perhaps one of the most glaring omissions I saw in the articles. That's why I felt the urgency to put our statements on the record, to bring some balance to the reporting.

PCOL: Congressman Sam Farr said during the hearings that if we go to far and build a "Fortress America Peace Corps," it will change the nature of the Peace Corps and the volunteer experience. How do you find the proper balance between safety and security and the volunteer experience?

GV: First of all, I agree with Congressman Farr. I think that he is absolutely correct. I was there when he said it. I heard it first-hand in the room, and I think he is absolutely correct.

Again, I think it goes back to the fact that there are going to be risks. There are risks the moment I walk out of this building and try to cross the street. There is the possibility that I could get hit by a car. There is a possibility that something else might happen, so there are going to be risks. I have volunteers who say to me, "Mr. Director, I feel safer in my community in Costa Rica than I do in my town in the United States."

I also think we need to strike a balance. If we reach a point where volunteers can no longer do their work effectively without the intrusion of burdening policies and procedures that create such a distraction from their work, then the quality of the volunteer experience begins to deteriorate.

That requires us to step back and look at a country and examine the trends, which we are doing now. We need to examine the crime trends and statistics and begin to include this in our evaluation as to whether a country, a part of a country, or a region within a country, remains viable for Peace Corps volunteers to work. For example, if we have a sector in a country that is constantly disrupted by crimes against volunteers, it is not beyond me to discuss it with the Country Director to seek out a recommendation. As a result, if the Country Director recommends relocating volunteers, I would support that recommendation.

PCOL: So you are saying that it is conceivable that the Peace Corps could withdraw from a country if the crime or danger to volunteers became too great?

GV: It is conceivable, assuming that all other avenues have been exhausted and the host government is unable to provide any additional support or suggestions as to how we might be able to minimize crimes against volunteers. I think you always have to leave the door open to that possibility. Having said that, I think it is also important to examine the issues closely, to examine the trends and then rely on the host country staff, starting with the Country Director, to give you the information and perspective you need to make a decision.

The Cooperative Agreement with NPCA

PCOL: Yesterday at the opening ceremonies you talked about how you had been the first to sign a cooperative agreement with the NPCA. Can you tell us what the status of the cooperative agreement is and do you expect it to be renewed, expanded or cut back this coming year?

 The Cooperative Agreement with NPCA

GV: The agreement is in place and operational. Our intention going forward is to continue this relationship, as it is a good one. It is viable and has had some positive results. Most importantly, we think it creates the kind of communication and bridge building that is important between the Peace Corps and the NPCA. I have said from the onset, that the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community is one of our greatest assets.

My relationship with Dane Smith and Kevin Quigley have been two of the finest relationships I have ever had in any of the areas that I have worked throughout my career. These are two outstanding individuals. And, I think that Kevin is doing a superb job.

When you have faith and respect in your partner, particularly in the man who leads the organization with whom you are partnering, then you have positive signs for the future.

PCOL: So you would see the relationship being sustained over the long term?

GV: I hope so.

RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters

PCOL: I was looking at the Peace Corps Web site this morning and I noticed that there were nine new Country Directors who had been sworn in. I didn't have a chance to read their complete bios but I did notice that many of them were Returned Volunteers. No one would dispute that of the over 1,000 Peace Corps staff, many if not most of them are Returned Volunteers. But I would just like to raise the issue of Returned Volunteers in policy making positions at Peace Corps Headquarters.

Dena Bunis of your hometown newspaper, the Orange County Register, reported in a story last year that only three of the top 22 positions, the so-called "political" appointees were Returned Volunteers. Other Directors have relied to a much greater extent on Returned Volunteers in senior management positions at the agency. Can you explain your policy and why some people would say "why are there so few Returned Volunteers in senior policy making positions at Peace Corps Headquarters now?

GV: My first examination of personnel is of the pool of people who are available to me at the time. You have a pool of individuals who apply and express an interest in service in the Peace Corps. This is an administration that has a very strong history of support of the Peace Corps. These last couple of years have seen the highest level of appropriations in Peace Corps' history. We achieved a 28-year high in the number of volunteers serving last year, which is a credit to the support that President Bush has given to the Peace Corps. These are historic levels - that cannot be lost.

To that end, I think that the performance of the senior management team should be judged on results, because they are the ones who have to work the Hill. They are the ones who have to build the relationships with Congress. They are the ones who have to build the relationships with the White House. And as a team, whether they are RPCVs or they are not RPCVs, they are passionate about the work of the Peace Corps. That should be one of the key indicators and measures of an individual who works at the Peace Corps.

 RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters

One of the things I set out to do is find talent and people who bring skills, abilities, experience, and history that will combine well with the team that leads the Peace Corps. Country Directors are part of that process. The way that we have managed is a bottoms-up approach. That is to say, we rely on people in the field. I'm not taking anything away from my predecessors, but I have had Country Directors who have told me that, "this is the first time, that someone from Washington has actually asked me what I think or how we ought to proceed on certain situations."

I respect the talents and the skills and the abilities of our Country Directors. They are exceptional, based on their experience, knowledge, and passion for the Peace Corps. We bring people who have been volunteers, and people who have not been volunteers to create a team that has produced great results. At the end of the day, that's what matters - the results.

PCOL: So what you are saying is that you were looking for specific skills for your senior management positions and you haven't been able to find those skills among returned volunteers?

GV: I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that we have evaluated the candidates who have been brought before us to look at the talents, skills, and abilities. We have chosen those who we think can make the maximum contribution. Some have been Returned Peace Corps volunteers, and some have not been volunteers. I think that the team has worked well. The dynamics have been good. And again, I reiterate, that perhaps best of all, we have achieved some historical outcomes and results for the Peace Corps.

Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002

PCOL: In August 2002, the Russian government refused to renew the one year visas of 30 of the 62 volunteers seeking visas for a second year in Russia and they were unable to complete their service. You had just been confirmed as Director a few months before when this occurred. By December 2002, the situation had escalated to spy allegations in the Russian press. The Russian head of the FSB (the successor organization to the KGB) stated that volunteers were engaged in intelligence activities and in spite of a personal appeal from Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Putin government terminated the Peace Corps program in Russia at the end of 2002.

In retrospect, is there anything that Peace Corps could have done differently or would have done differently in Russia to maintain the program? Or in retrospect, were there warning signs that we perhaps should have seen so that we could have exited the program before the situation got to the point of spy allegations?

GV: I think the Peace Corps did an extraordinary job in Russia. The volunteers' efforts were tremendous and provided the kind of education and programming that has made the Peace Corps the great organization that it is.

That's not speculation on my part. I was at the closing ceremony for the program. I spoke with countless leaders of community-based organizations who came from throughout Russia to Moscow to thank the volunteers and the Peace Corps for the tremendous service that volunteers rendered during the time we were in Russia. The allegations made about intelligence gathering were baseless. They were groundless and without merit. It was unfortunate that some chose to articulate that kind of suggestion because it's groundless.

Part of the Peace Corps philosophy is that Peace Corps volunteers serve in host countries where the host country welcomes and wants Peace Corps volunteers. Our bilateral agreements provide that anytime a host country determines that they no longer want Peace Corps volunteers, they have the right or prerogative to terminate a program, just as we do. In this instance, the Russian government chose to terminate the program. That was their decision and we respect that because that has been the tradition and philosophy of the Peace Corps, as far as I am aware, over the period of time that the Peace Corps has existed. We respect that. While we may have some disagreements, the fact is that it was their prerogative and they chose to exercise that.

PCOL: Do you think that the Peace Corps just got caught in some big power politics, that there were larger issues involved, and that perhaps the Peace Corps was just made a scapegoat or a symbol of the relationship between Russia and the United States?

GV: I don't have enough information to be able to make a judgment on that one way or the other. I believe that it is important for volunteers to be able to do their work with minimal distraction, minimal interruption. Once it gets to a point where volunteer's work is interrupted or distracted by whatever conditions or circumstances may exist in country, we need to evaluate whether a program can continue to be viable. I think that is the wise and prudent thing for any administration to do as it relates to the quality and effectiveness of a program. In this case, it was the host government that asked for the program to cease and be terminated and we respected that right and privilege. They chose to exercise it and we closed the program.

PCOL: I have heard that Peace Corps volunteers are having some visa problems in at least one other Central Asian Republic. Uzbekistan is the country I am referring to. Does this raise a red light with you? Is there something or are active steps being taken either to resolve the situation, improve the situation, or perhaps to take other steps.

 Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002

GV: Let me answer the question in the broad context of my general philosophy. Again, I go back to what I just stated, which is evaluating the quality of the Peace Corps volunteer experience. This is not just talk. The people who work with me and for me will tell you that I mean business when I say the following. When a volunteer's work is disrupted or interrupted, and the volunteer becomes distracted from the focus of his or her job, then we as an agency have a responsibility to that volunteer to look into the issues, to evaluate the issues and determine whether a program is still viable in a country.

If we find that there may be some issues, we use the appropriate lines of communication to find out what issues may exist, try to resolve them and remedy the situation. For the most part, we are successful. But, we remain very vigilant when any kind of issue related to host government surfaces, so that we continue the smoothness of the relationship, but also preserve the quality of the experience of volunteers in country.

Your Accomplishments as Director

PCOL: When historians look back on your tenure as director I am sure they will talk about the infrastructure upgrades, the entry into Mexico, the reinstatement of programs like Peru, the improvements in safety and security, the community college program, and the expansion of the Peace Corps to its highest level in years. I wonder if you would elaborate on which of these accomplishments you personally consider most important or what other initiatives you think will be considered your most important as Director?

GV: I am not prepared to make such an assessment right now. First of all, you have to remember that I come from a family where we were taught that you work hard every day so that you have a job the next day. We don't rest on our laurels. The staff in Washington will tell you that just a few days ago I told them that not withstanding what is going on the world, it is still pedal to the metal. We are going to continue to work hard, and we're not done yet. So, it would be premature and early for me to talk in historical terms because I am not done.

PCOL: And that leads me right into my next question. Loret Ruppe Miller was the longest serving Peace Corps Director and many have said that her directorship was second to none except perhaps for Shriver, and that her longevity in office and her total commitment to the Peace Corps played a large part in her success and accomplishments. Assuming President Bush is re-elected, have you given any thought to staying on through his second term as Peace Corps Director to see your plans through and to have the same sort of impact that Ruppe Miller had on the Peace Corps? And if you don't stay on, how do you think your service as Peace Corps Director will influence your future work in the political arena or in any other area you may decide to work in?

 Your Accomplishments as Director

GV: Well, to give you another Vasquez quote that is part of our family tradition - we live life one day at a time and we don't spend too much time speculating on the future. I consider myself, first of all, blessed because number one, you are talking to someone who is a descendant of migrant farm workers. By all statistical odds, I probably shouldn't be sitting here talking to you as director of the Peace Corps. But, I am here today because I am a citizen of a great country where those of us who are sons or grandsons of immigrants can dream, and not only dream, but realize our dreams. For me, being director of the Peace Corps is the fulfillment of a great dream. To me, this job is the ultimate job that captures the essence of service to others.

I will tell you that two and a half years into this job, I walk into the building at 20th and L with probably more enthusiasm and energy than I did at the start of the two and a half years. I leave at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment because I have seen the work of the volunteers, I have seen what they are doing overseas. It re-energizes me every time I go overseas to do my job more effectively, to do my job better. So, I am fortunate.

I would not even begin to speculate on what or how this experience has impacted me. I think a lot of times you don't realize how something has impacted you until you have been away from it. Then you reflect on the experience and you realize what a tremendous honor and privilege you have had. I can say with certainty right now, I think that the future is open. What I can reflect on right now, is every day. And every day, I reflect on the work that I have done that day - as a positive and fulfilling experience.

I believe that every one of my predecessors who has served as director has done a great job. Each one of them has faced a set of challenges, had been given a set of opportunities and has led the Peace Corps in different time spans that have brought different conditions in the world. But, we certainly live in a unique time in history. I certainly consider myself blessed to be in this position and I look forward to continuing my service until the time comes to a close.

The Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress

PCOL: I was talking about the Peace Corps safety and security bill that was passed by the House of Representatives a little while ago and I know that you mentioned during the hearings that two of the reasons that you opposed the bill are because you don't think an Ombudsman is necessary and also because he don't happen to agree with the independent appointment of the Inspector General. Would you elaborate on those two points a little further?

GV: I think my testimony will reflect - and it is certainly a matter of public record - on the first issue relative to an ombudsman, we want to be helpful and responsive to Peace Corps volunteers. We want to be responsive to volunteers who have medical claims, who have issues with FECA and the Department of Labor. We want to work with volunteers.

What I have discovered in my research is that there is no pronounced backlog of processing at the Peace Corps level. The fact is, the turn-around time that the Peace Corps has in the medical services area of providing assistance and documentation or appropriate intervention for volunteers is a pretty good record, a pretty solid record.

 The Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress

I also think that the ombudsman language that was proposed is very broad. There are already existing channels for employees or others to engage in a process for claims, grievances, or issues, be it through normal channels, other agencies, or the Inspector General's Office. This remains available to all employees to file any kind of reports or requests for investigation that may be of concern. I think there are already existing recourses for those who would otherwise consider an ombudsman an option.

The other aspect is that you are creating one more layer of an office that could be very costly to the Peace Corps. Every dollar that is spent on something that is redundant for something that already exists, as I believe it does, is one less dollar to the field, one less dollar toward putting a volunteer in the field. So, I am not adverse to retooling our process so that if there needs to be additional channels created within the existing infrastructure, we ought to look at those. I am not adverse to that at all.

On the subject of the Inspector General, we have not had a chance to evaluate who within the Inspector General's Office is involved in safety and security, and who is not. Those who are, require an analysis, an evaluation of time devoted to safety and security.

I am very proud of the relationship we have had with the Inspector General's Office. I think if you talk to the most immediate past Inspector General, he will tell you that we had a positive relationship. We provided full funding during the years that he was Inspector General. And not once, in fact he has said it publicly in the building in front of audiences, that not once did he ever feel compromised in any way, form or fashion, in the time that he served under three Directors. I am proud of that because I think the IG serves a very important function. And, we have provided the resources and the support for that function.

PCOL: But in spite of that, Charles Smith did testify at the House hearings that he did support the independent appointment of the Inspector General and also the GAO representative said that most agencies have an independently appointed Inspector General and so is that something you would say you are still considering whether to support or not?

GV: That is a question that still remains open for discussion. Certainly Charles and I have spent a considerable amount of time discussing it. But, we still remain strong in the position that we articulated during the hearings.

Continuity at Peace Corps during Changes in Administration

PCOL: You were nominated as Director in September 2001 and weren't confirmed until over a year after President Bush took office. Did the one year lapse create a leadership vacuum in the Peace Corps and if so how can future administrations do a better job in easing the transition for future Peace Corps Directors and providing more continuity at the agency?

 Continuity at Peace Corps during Changes in Administration

GV: One of the great tributes to the Peace Corps is the phenomenal staff that works at the Peace Corps. I am talking about all of the staff at the Peace Corps. These are men and women, who during the period of transition, did an incredible job at maintaining solid management and providing great leadership.

I for one, will always be grateful to them for the kind of work that they accomplished during that transition. I am so grateful because had they not done a great job during that transition, I would have come in and inherited a difficult situation. But, the situation was not difficult because they were professional, they were passionate, and dedicated their talents and energies to maintaining the continuity.

I think it stands to reason, and any logical person would conclude, that the less time you take to transition the leadership position of the Peace Corps the better off the agency will be. It will allow you to create the momentum that you need to sustain the agency and the morale, but also to build up the expectation of leadership of the employees and staff members of the Peace Corps. I think anything that can be done to reduce the amount of transition time is helpful to the agency.

The Community College Program

PCOL: The community college program has been one of your biggest initiatives. How successful has this program been and how do you respond to critics who say that community college graduates may lack the skills and the maturity to serve effectively as volunteers? How do you measure the success of the program so far and has your evaluation been positive or negative?

GV: Let me answer this in two basic parts. One, the initiative was just launched about five months ago. It is very early in the process to render any kind of judgment on the success of the program. But let me just tell you, if the response of community colleges across the nation is any indicator, I think this is going to be one of the great opportunities for the Peace Corps going forward. We already have over 250 points of contact across America at community colleges who are promoting the idea of community college students serving in the Peace Corps.

 The Community College Program

The second part, I would say in relationship to people who believe or speculate that we are somehow compromising the standards or qualifications of the Peace Corps, they are simply wrong. We're not changing the standards. We are not changing the requirements.

As I said when I made my remarks at the NPCA conference, the average age of a community college student is 29 years of age, older than the average age of an undergraduate student coming out of a four year school. Eleven million Americans attend community colleges across this nation. There are community college students who have undergraduate degrees, and I suspect graduate degrees who have gone back to community colleges to study specific areas like health, information technology, areas that we have an interest in and areas and sectors that may be beneficial to Peace Corps in the future. It is incumbent on us to look at all the available talents that we have in this country to see when and where those talents might fit into the future of the Peace Corps.

The other dimension is that community colleges are more ethnically diverse than four year schools across this nation. So, it creates a pool of talent for us that also creates greater diversity for the Peace Corps.

It is too early to make any conclusions, but what I can tell you with certainty, is that we are not compromising the standards and qualifications for Peace Corps service by virtue of a recruitment program at the community college level. That's an erroneous conclusion of those who have rendered that judgment. I'm a product of a community college program and I know what it is to go to a community college. It was a great education and I went to school with some pretty talented people who will be very successful in life.

A Message for Returned Volunteers

PCOL: That concludes my questions. Any message that you would like to send to the Returned Volunteer community?

GV: The message I would convey here is that I am grateful to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community for the continued engagement and involvement that so many have had in support of the Peace Corps.

 A Message for Returned Volunteers

Our success has been possible because of the involvement of the RPCV community. When I came to this position, you were there, I made a pledge that I would work very hard to build a stronger relationship with the RPCV community. I think that we have made great strides in that direction. I think the fact that over 7,000 RPCVs participated in Peace Corps Week this last year is quite indicative of the engagement, or in some cases, the re-engagement of RPCVs. Some have told me, "you know I was not active in the RPCV community until most recently." I think there is a resurgence of public awareness in the Peace Corps. That is also something that we set out to do - to reacquaint America with the Peace Corps.

Our campaign, "Life is calling. How far will you go?," has resonated very well with audiences across America. Certainly there is that sentimental favorite of the "toughest job you'll ever love" - that will always be part of the Peace Corps. But, the "Life is calling" campaign really strikes at the heart of why somebody wants to go into the Peace Corps. To me, that is a very important core value of the Peace Corps. That's why this campaign is geared to the individual and to the self-examination of why would you want to do this. It's not for the money - but what's in your heart, what's in your soul, what kind of talents do you have. And when you put all those together, I think the Peace Corps is well positioned and poised to achieve great things in the 21st Century.

I think President Bush has been an ardent supporter. He has visited with volunteers. The historic levels of funding, the historic levels of growth over the past 28 years that we have accomplished in the last year, I think are significant and send a strong indicator that the Peace Corps enjoys bipartisan support. We are well positioned. It is because of people's continued involvement and support, both in the current ranks of volunteers, as well as with Returned Peace Corps volunteers, that we are having some great success.

I also have to pay tribute to older Americans - those who are over the age of 50 who are applying to the Peace Corps in record numbers. That's inspiring. It's motivating because it's another furtherance of the attempt that we have made to diversify the Peace Corps so that the Peace Corps looks like America.

I am very honored to serve as director of the Peace Corps. I think some great times are ahead for us all, but we are doing this together. This is not about Gaddi Vasquez. This is about a team effort. This is about men and women who serve as Country Directors. This is about staff at overseas posts, the men and women in our recruiting offices who do exceptional work, and the men and women who make up the entire team at the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C.

I said to the folks at the Peace Corps, both in the field and in Washington, we are one Peace Corps. It's not Washington and the posts. It's not the countries against Washington. We are all in this together. We are one Peace Corps. We need to be seamless. We need to be together, because what we accomplish and what we achieve will be achievements of us all. And so, we remain committed to that because it is a team approach. I think the results that we have achieved so far are indicative of a very strong team committed to the goals and the mission of the Peace Corps.

PCOL: I want to thank you on behalf of "Peace Corps Online" and on behalf of the Returned Volunteer community for responding to our questions.

GV: It was a pleasure. Thanks a lot, delighted.

Read our interview with Director Vasquez in this month's issue of PCOL Magazine:

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.

Read the questions and answers and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: PCOL Exclusive

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez



By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 9:43 am: Edit Post

I would say that the Director has learned a lot since he was appointed. Think of what could have been accomplished had he actually been qualified for the position from the beginning.

By daniel ( - on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 1:21 pm: Edit Post


You are full of it. You have not repaired the damage to families and volunteers on Safety and Security issues and you will continually here from us to the point you won't be able to stand it.

Quit lieing to former volunteers, current volunteers and families about safety. The reason the Ombudsman's office was created was due to this mess Peace corps has stepped on my rights of average citizens. We are now in discussions with the ACLU and we will see you at that point behind your General Counsel. The Lies will end.

By Jim PCV ( on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit Post

How come my last message was deleted? Is it possible that there is no balance for positive feedback in this forum.

I feel that Gaddi is doing a great job!!

He has set the course for our peace corp and is doing a excellent job!!!

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit Post

Dear Jim PCV (no email address provided) -

No message was deleted.

The previous message to yours was posted at 9:20 am by Joseph F. Murnan and has sequence number #POST35236.

Your message, posted at 10:42 am, has the next sequence number which is #POST35237.

Best Regards,


By Walter R Poirier ( - on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 12:05 pm: Edit Post

In our last posting, I must remind you, Director, that we did and still do support an independent Inspector General, as well as an Ombudsman to impartially address the problems that arise between the administration and the Volunteers. Again we cannot emphasis that every Agency within the Federal Government needs external over-sight. Otherwise, that Agency may become lax in its responsibilities.

By Just an interested reader, at this point ( - on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 2:47 pm: Edit Post

Daniel, your anger is strong and your threats are severe. What is the basis of your allegations? From an "outsider's" perspective, Director Vasquez seems bright and articulate and very focused on safety and security. What would you do differently and are you sure it would be effective? Has harm to volunteers increased or decreased under Director Vasquez's leadership?Record high volunteers, no harm during any of a number of evacuatons (six, I believe), and the like, seem to be good results, or are they lies? Your broad and sweeping allegations point the finger, but at what, specifically? Simply put, why are you so angry?

By daniel ( - on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 7:57 pm: Edit Post

2,800 plus were victims of violence in service since the early 1990's. He has done nothing substantial for the majority of these volunteers. If you read through the postings and the issue, you will find what he should be doing and should have done for these volunteers.

31 volunteers have been killed, died or are missing since this period.

What has he done for those individuals who were willing to serve? What has he done for the families who have a loved one who has gone through a safety issue or health issue related to these issues? Nothing and he is arrogant about repairing the lies in many separations which were performed wrongfully. Yet, they were safety issues.

What has he done for the families except for lip service? Nothing.

Any director who sweeps these issues under the rug has hurt the program and the lives of American citizens who served in Peace Corps.

People who served and got their rights trampled on by the Peace Corps in general will have their day in court, their day of justice and redemption from being categorized wrongfully in their separation process. Many went through safety issues and Peace Corps covered them up through medical services, through admin staff firing people on whims because of their beliefs and blamed the victims of these type of situations.

You call it leadership. I call it irresponsibility. Unable to respond correctly to the ones who have served.

The hearings, the Dayton Daily news articles and the GAO report did not come out of thin air. They are real people and real families who either have lost someone dear or are now dealing with the problems these individuals have which are service related.

At this point, it is not anger for me, but persistence in getting the record straight. Time and persistence will bring Peace to the victims of Peace Corps admin's bad policy, their actions regarding safety and in the future on how they treat these issues.

Court is a better place to take these issues. The Executive Branch can't do it and hasn't and the Congress only went half way with our concerns. In court, groups like the ACLU are looking at the volunteer's rights in these cases. Peace Corps volunteers are smart,focused, and can accomplish any goal with the right determination. We know the truth in our cases and they will get resolved. Whether Vasquez or any other staff member of former staff member like it or not.

When they (Peace Corps) ignore our cases they help the perpetrators of these crimes, threats and the interests of people who are not out for the best interest of a given volunteer.

Simply put, the hand waving and lies Peace Corps portrays to the public will end. We will get the proper rights we deserve as volunteers who served in Peace Corps.

By daniel ( - on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 8:25 pm: Edit Post

The Ombudsman's office is being created because Peace Corps covers their employees mistakes at the expense of the volunteer. Channels? There is no channel at Peace Corps for many of volunteers who have gone through a safety issue and been cast off.

As for FECA, trying telling his story to the thousands of volunteers who lanquish with his friend ,Elaine Chao's out sourcing of the Department, to insurance companies who are now handling particular volunteer's service records and service related issues. What right does an insurance adjuster have on a volunteer's service? Most of the Department of Labor employees have never served in Peace Corps and many resent our service and treat our claims accordingly.

He is right about Peace Corps efficiency in passing the buck of many FECA claims to the Department of Labor and no legal challenges of the these safety cases. They (Peace Corps) are experts at dishing off a volunteer into the abyss. If you challenge your claim or case, they have a team of attorney's in the General Counsel to cover up these cases and by suppressive tactics knowing the volunteers is probably not going to challenge them with a federal attorney who costs $300 per hour.

At the moment volunteers have no legal rights protecting them from staffers who abuse the Peace Corps act and other volunteers.

These issues would not being discussed if we did.

I think the DDN needs to do a follow up story.

I am stunned by the callousness of this Director and staffers at Peace Corps.

By Still Interested ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 2:11 pm: Edit Post

Daniel, please, please answer my question. I know you are sincere, as am I in seeing what is going on and what should be done about it, but I need specifics.

Again, "Has harm to volunteers increased or decreased under Director Vasquez'a leadership?"

You answered with numbers that go back to the Clinton adminstration and the former director. Do you have numbers, up or down since Director Vasquez was confirmed?

I know you will not like this, but much of what a leader does is establishing a vision and communicating that vision to the 'troops' who really do the work. This can and will allows be seen as "lip service" by some who are synical by just reason or by nature. If I worked for Director Vasquez and he made the statements he made in his interview, I would go forward with the safety and security of volunteers as my vision of what the priorities are. At the end of the day, results are what matters, however, and WHAT ARE THE RESULTS SINCE HE TOOK THE POSITION? ARE THEY BETTER OR WORSE OR THE SAME?

It seems, from an interested outsider, that risk in inherent in the very nature of the work. The real question is "Are proper steps being taken to minimize the risk?" If you do not believe they are, what are the steps, specifically, you are asking for? I truly want to know and my quess is that Director Vasquez would be interested in specifically where he could and should do better. Being synical is the easiest job on earth. Solving problems is another story. Can you help this organization solve the problem, without getting the courts involved? Maybe you have exhausted all other channels, or have you?

By Still Interested ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 2:14 pm: Edit Post

And, Daniel, by the way, it is "they" to you. Was it ever "we."

By Still interested ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 2:22 pm: Edit Post

Please excuse the fast typing error. Of course I meant cynical, not synical. There are often good reasons to be cynical and sometimes it has a lot to do with personality. I don't mean it in a negative way, but I am asking, sincerely, for your self-evalutation.

By none ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 4:54 pm: Edit Post

A correct question is being asked here, and no one, not Vasquez, not Peace Corps, nor anyone here is giving the answer. What have been the results of all Vasquez's safety priorities, policies and expenditures during his term of office? It is not a complicated question, and by Septemeber 2004 it should have an answer. Vasquez has said that 3 volunteers died while he was director. How many women volunteers were raped while he was director? Have his safety priorities and actions and all the money he directed spent kept women volunteers from being raped? A poster elsewhere went into great detail about how Vasquez is aware of each and every woman volunteer who is raped? Well, how many have there been? Is it 5 or 10 or 50 or 100 while Vasquez has directed the Peace Corps? If Vasquez knows about every one of them then he should be able to give a clear, firm number of how many women were raped just as he can say that 3 volunteers have died. Peace Corps has only released numbers from 2002. What happened in the last year and a half of Vazquez's directorship? This is being hidden, and there is some reason it is being hidden.

By Becoming even more interested ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 5:17 pm: Edit Post

I appreciate some light on this. Thank you whomever you are. I assume you are not Daniel, but share some of his same concerns. I am only trying to view this with some measure of rationale thought and Daniel, if you are reading this, please understand that that is my precise intent. You have alarming concern that I don't want to take lightly, but I need details in order to view it rationally.

Daniel, I am still interested in the answer to: You view this as "THEY." Was it ever "WE"? and, of course, have you exhausted all other efforts here? Has is come to this (law suits)?

A question for anyone out there: "Does the Peace Corps publish an annual report? There has to be a way to get answers outside of the courtroom."

By RPCV ( - on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 6:18 pm: Edit Post

Dear Interested,

Perhaps you will find it of interest to accesss the following discussion series:

"Vasquez speaks out" / "Doesn't jibe with the facts"

There you will find posts from Daniel, None, Njma, me (RPCV, RPCV and former staffer) and others.

As a minimal effort for anyone truly interested in the subject, I would recommend accessing the official site, Review the S&S infor that is available (including the 2002 report), then go to "contact us" and submit informed questions and constructive criticism, leaving an email address for feedback.

By Daniel ( - on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 8:47 pm: Edit Post

Yes, There is a way to postively change Peace Corp's view of persons and families who have gone through safety and health situations and or been wrongfully separated by Peace Corps staffers. First is to acknowledge the problem, open up an open forum for at the Peace Corps for all volunteers who have questions with their separation process and have these volunteers involved in working with Peace Corps/thus Dept of Labor for compensation for mistakes made to hurt volunteers who already went through a horrible situations who were covered up with an insult to injury. It hurt the program and continues to be a huge stain on the program's progress and truth in providing a quality program. These people need empathetic care and or direct rights in their case or have a group of these people who have been separated wrongfully look at their cases for wrong doing and stepping on their rights as a volunteer. These people have been truly injured by the Peace Corps by casting them out after they commited their time to country, a developing country and now they continue to hurt careers by having lies in their files of service. These people need to have their service record corrected from their perceptions to some degree. These are their experiences and not a staffers perception of illusions they create on the volunteer themselves. NO, we will not be stopped by these abitrary and capricious folks.

Peace Corps from my experience has never properly listen to any of us. Peace Corps deserves a good class action court action to wake them up to the fact these people served and deserve better than a "kick in the teeth". Vasquez has not changed anything for the victims of violence. It is still the same as Bubba's regime and the last Bush admin and beyond. We don't care whose admin it is, we care about our service and having our rights back or to be on equal grounds in our concerns about our service. Equal ground is court because Gaddi does not understand like anyother Director that we are part of the program.

There must be compensation. Many of these volunteer are suffering at home with recoveries from rape, assaults, threats to their lives, physical abuse, and health care issues that are not diagnosed correctly. These people have had their careers held back at the expense of other volunteers and staffers who stepped on them for upwardly mobile impressions and jobs within Peace Corps. We need these people to be compensated for being discrimated against on purpose by the agency. They (Peace Corps) know it too. We also want the perpetrators of violence pursued so it does not happen again to any other volunteers. These people think they can get away with these type of attacks because Peace Corps does not do anything. What they do is to fire the volunteer bogusly and make them go back to their home town dishonored and humiliated. This is not what Peace Corps was created for. Call Vasquez and tell him to do this and we can then proceed in a positive fashion.

We actually should be looking at Punitive Damages as a group of people. Then we can proceed feeling it won't happen again.

As for deaths during his administration. 3 is too many. Two of the three were alone. How many have been victims perhaps they should make it public instead of making and the DDN take them to court again because they are covering up like they covered up our cases.

Many of these people feel very strongly about Peace Corps and their families feel very strongly about international development, Peace, understanding of other cultures and government. These folks joined Peace Corps with this strong commitment. They and We was created by Peace Corps staffer's decisions to hurt volunteers careers, safety situations, blame them when they have gone through horrible situation, trying to deliberately misdiagnosing their health situation, covering up safety incidents because of their coordination with other governmental elements such as State Dept and RSO, making volunteers quit because of whimsical opinions of staffers without regard for attrition, quality support for a volunteer at their site, and the health and welfare of volunteers in general, covering up bad supervision of volunteers, bad placement policies, and many other varations of separations in safety and health situations.

There is something more for you.

By RPCV ( - on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 9:01 pm: Edit Post


With all due respect to your particular situation - and it has become very clear through the pattern of your messages over 2003 and 2004 that your separation involved a psych evaluation - I had to terminate volunteers for their own good as well as that of the program. Naturally, those volunteers most likely harbor ill feelings toward me. However, I have been contacted by a couple of separated PCVs, who after being back home and thinking it over for a month or even a year, wrote to thank me. Of course, most didn't. Life is hard sometimes, but one must move on.

How long has it been since you were a PCV? You're an angry man. Do you accept any responsibility for that anger or for the circumstances of your separation from service?

By daniel ( on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:19 pm: Edit Post

You don't accept responsibility for your actions. You are an ex-staffer who apparently hasn't accepted the fact these folks have gone through something you probably haven't.

I don't accept any responsibility for truthfully reporting my safety incident. I did the right thing.

We will move on with compensation for the mistakes staffers like yourself made. You made money on the program. We volunteered.

Discrimination is what it is. Corruption is what I think of when I think of my own case and many other people.

I am glad many others did not call or write you. If they went through a safety incident and were cast off then they are doing the right thing.

"you had to separate people for their own good". Who are you RPCV, God, himself". I don't think so.

You know we will get our justice in our cases and you seem to have sour grapes about it. Many of these separated volunteers most likely won't have the type of judgement toward your type of former staffers. Image yourself being discriminated like this. We are not mean spirited people. We just want our experiences recorded correctly and not manipulated by people like yourself.

We will over come people like yourself whether you like it or not.

By daniel ( - on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:26 pm: Edit Post

Remember, RPCV has never indentified him or herself.

People who hide behind their decisions you have to wonder about.

"RPCV" does not want people who served and were injured by Peace Corps to get their justice. You have to wonder. Check out the blame game mentality. This is the They and We scenario.

By daniel ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 10:25 am: Edit Post

In writing about the Director who did not serve, look at Vasquez's hands in the picture. "We have done all we can". Or "who me"?

He has done nothing for the victims of violence. Look at "RPCV" above posting and former staffer who justifies firing people. The culture at Peace Corps will change with volunteers having their rights by us going to court to challenge the decisions to hurt volunteer's services, safety at Peace Corps, and medical service cover ups in safety in health.

The ombudsman's office is coming for Gaddi to deal with too.

We don't have the numbers on Vasquez's time period, but 30% percent attrition rate is not normal in any organization who have people only serve for two years. The real attrition rate aids RPCV and former staff above on firing people, thinking they can decide whether some one experienced a safety issue or a rape or assault by thinking they are god.

We will continue to prove to Congress and to you, you are hurting volunteer's safety, health and the career's of former volunteers. These former and current staffers who fire people are hurting the program and will be stopped.


By RPCV ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 2:56 pm: Edit Post

Directors of PC 1989 - 2004

Paul Coverdell -R
Elain Chao - R
Carol Bellamy - R
Mark Gearan - D
Mark Scneider - D
Chuck Baquett - D
Gaddi Vasquez - R (current)

Daniel - Throughout your many posts you have blamed everyone of these directors by name, representing appointments from both major political parties, for your misfortunes. Furthermore, you have blamed anyone who has served on staff during their terms, including the vast number who themselves are RPCVs and have experienced the spectrum of safety, security and health issues. You've even castigated PCVs and RPCVs, who've never served on staff, that happen to disagree with you.

Everyone who disagrees with you has been characterized by you as "not caring about volunteer safety ..." in one form or another. You outrageously insinuate that we caused the deaths and assualts and don't care about the victims. You make up and misapply statistics and make false statements more deplorably than the slickest politician in a desperate attempt to win support for your "cause". You seem to have an exceedingly strong sense of entitlement and take no responsibility for your own situation.

While I certainly hope the ACLU will support any (R)PCV with a substantive case, I find it exceedingly difficult to believe they find you specifically to be a credible case.

By daniel ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 3:56 pm: Edit Post

You feel concerned don't you.

I experience the safety incident none of the above director's did nor the staffers involved with my separation, they were 15 hours away from where I lived. The Peace Corps and the staffers categorized my separation wrongfully from Coverdell to present and people like you believe it. You did not experience it nor was wrongfully separated. To attack people who have gone through these experiences and try to put them down, you help perpetrators of crimes against volunteers.

By bad policy and not listening to my cocnerns and the concerns of other by using the Psych arguements and blaming rape victims and suppressing cocerns of safety, yes you people put people in jeopardy and aided safety breaches. I still think that is happening. I have not made false statements. 31 Volunteers have died, been killed or are missing since 1996. and 2,800 plus victims of violence. Why did the Peace Corps cover up the facts of safety incidents during the 1990's and into 2004.

Some may disagree with me. I care about volunteers who were stepped on not judgemental foolish people.

You have not indentified yourself because you are a coward and afraid of your own shadow.

When you separated volunteers, you projected that fear on their situations and hurt them and the people around them and created a ripple of fear of the Peacee Corps. You will not help confront the perpetrators of violence against volunteers. Instead, I am sure you use your fear upon the volunteer. Your experiences, upon them. Have you ever thought you may have taken away their free will due to your insecurities. How many perpetrators of violence against volunteers have you reported.

Vasquez has an unsafe Peace Corps right now. It is better than Chuck Baquette. But not good enough.

And yes, I would do better than him.

By RPCV ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 4:21 pm: Edit Post

Okay, Daniel many of your comments are simply irrational. Who's being judgemental on such a large scale that it involves the castigation of all those I mentioned above?

To quote just a few lines from you:

"You have not indentified yourself because you are a coward and afraid of your own shadow."

- Wow! Don't you remember my previous explanation? I don't want someone who seems potentially unstable "e-stalking" me.

"When you separated volunteers, you projected that fear on their situations and hurt them and the people around them and created a ripple of fear of the Peacee Corps. You will not help confront the perpetrators of violence against volunteers. Instead, I am sure you use your fear upon the volunteer."

-Sure, Daniel that's how we operate. We undergo intensive training to learn how to do these things. It was amazing how fast the agency brainwashed my RPCV mind into that of a terror inflicting staffer. Does it ever occur to you that I and the vast majority of staff actually work or have worked at PC because we do care? That perhaps we executed our jobs with competence and supported our volunteers with all effort? I can say that 90% plus of the volunteers I've worked with have been great, even if some needed to resign or were separated. And the disgruntled separated volunteers, whether by resignation, admin sep, med sep or other means, have been relatively few.

" ...not judgemental foolish people ..."

- Even you must see the irony in this statement.

Look, I'm not suggesting you don't have valid concerns embedded somewhere within the diatribes. If you were wrongly separated, then I hope your case is resolved. ACLU would be best advised to concentrate on the FECA process - which affects all federal agencies as administered by the DOL - and freedom of information issues. If you haven't been allowed to access all of your medical records, then that certainly seems worth pursuing.

However, the approach you've exhibited in your numerous postings is a strong indicator of why you've encountered difficulties these many years since being a PCV.

I hope you find peace. I'm signing off.

By daniel ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 6:06 pm: Edit Post

e-stalking, give me a break young lady or young man.

Much of the FECA benefit program is like bribing for volunteers to quit and not question tort, injury and wrong doing while staffers climb the ladder by lieing about given volunteer's service. Many people deserve the health benefits but it is so complicated it becomes a nightmare for former volunteers. We should sue. Get the real compensation we deserve. That will put a check on the attrition rates and the whimisical firing system at Peace Corps. Then Peace Corps will be forced to support volunteers at their site. We should get FECA plus damages for being discrimiated action on purpose. That is Intentional Infliction of Emotional Duress. Within the law, that is what they have called it.

We can sue the Federal Agency because of the unique circumstances involved.

I realize I am confrontational but you would be too if you were in my shoes. During my service, I did a good job. Yes, my personality can rub some the wrong way. I have learned from that. But, no volunteer has been treated like this according to your friend Tom Tyghe. He admitted to me as a General counsel member that mistakes were made by staffers in my case. He then recused himself from my case.

Court is appropriate for some of us.

You know they hold information back even under FYOI to protect staffers who have made mistakes. The Soviet Union comes to mind when they cover up. What is the real problem with releasing personal information, "you are able to look at that information and reveal it to the public as a former volunteer and staffer".

The above never did the right thing knowing these problems were happening. That is the injustice.

You know there are problems and Peace corps has hurt volunteers.

Staffers and former staffers need to understand we have rights as volunteers and as citizens.

By ND RPCV ( on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit Post

Well alrighty then, Daniel

By Still interested , I think? ( - on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 5:31 pm: Edit Post

Well, this is 'interested' and I am back to my computer to glean some more insight into this organization. My interest in being 'interested' is that I am considering PC employment. I want to know as much as I can about what I may be getting into and even if I may have something to offer the organization.

What I am not clear about is how much Daniel represents other RPCVs. In the meantime, while I try to figure that one out; Daniel, please read what I am about to say carefully.

I have read, with open-minded interest, every single word of what you are trying to say. I have not been associated with the PC nor have I any self-interest in skewing my opinions one way or the other. I am simply seeking truth.

The truth is, Daniel, you are angry and your anger is your greatest enemy, especially if you have a valid case. You throw out accusations in broad sweeping fashion and you do yourself (and others who may have legitimate concerns) a real injustice. No problem was ever resolved with diatribes of accusations and no facts to back them up.

You say that 31 people were killed since 1996. You say that three people have been killed since Director Vasquez took office. That means, by your numbers, that 28 people were killed in a six-year period, 1996 to 2001, and three from 2001 to 2004. It appears to me, rationally thinking, that Vasquez has reduced the incidence of death about four-fold (from more that four each year to about one each year). Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, is there any credit to Vasquez for this accomplishment?

Daniel, one death is too many. The real question is whether better safe-guards are in place. Or, do you believe Vasquez just got lucky and the numbers went down on their own?

I can't even begin to address the concerns you create for yourself as you don't answer most of my specific and truly concerned questions, nor those of RPCV. Your method is to attack with attacks for which you have no facts. You attack RPCV for not giving his name as if "Daniel" somehow makes us aware of who you are. My own name, by the way, using 'interested' as a way to let others know something about me, is Ron. Now, Daniel, does that give you somehow more information about me and who I am?

I am actually far more interested in finding truth about an organization that I may some day be employed by. And, yes, Daniel, I am interested in what you have to say, and I have been since the beginning, but you have to say it with rational facts and details; and please stop accusing everyone of everything, except for yourself.

Daniel, if you truly believe (to RPCV) " separated volunteers, you projected that fear on their situations and hurt them and the people around them and..." How in heavens name do you know the details of any of these separations, let alone all of them? Daniel, this is not rational. It is anger. You are projecting your perception of your reality onto others, for which there is no rational connections. Well, unless, as you may believe, everyone in the organization is evil and out to get you hurt. Do you believe that? From your comments, that is what you are projecting.
I have been in the human service field for my entire career. I have been on both sides of bureaucracies and I know that no organization is perfect. It has been my experience that most people are trying to do their jobs the best they can, from the top down. Your accusations toward literally every staff member of the PC is far more telling about you than about the PC.

In all seriousness, Daniel, I sense that you feel that if you soften your heart, you will ‘lose’ the fight. My sincere input to you is that if you don’t, you will, of certainty, lose. There are many, many other people out there, I feel certain, who have legitimate concerns about the PC. Daniel, their message is lost in the sewer that you are trying to create. This all seems to be more about you and your anger and frustration than if ever, ever was about the PC. Rational, objectively thinking people will recognize that about you, very quickly at that, and more harm is done than good.

Daniel, I wish you well with your life. May I suggest devoting your time to something positive and uplifting. The experience of the Peace Corps should be one of selfless service. Was yours? If it wasn’t, it’s not too late. Devote a good measure of your time to service and you will be surprised at its value. I think you have it within you, you are very smart from what I can tell, and waking up every morning thinking about what you can do today to help others ain’t a bad way to live your life. I know, I know, you think you are doing something grand by exposing the “Evil PC.” but, Daniel, you have exposed your anger and little more. This path of yours leads you no where, and I am saying that, literally, as an unbiased bystander who happens to be interested in truth. Any truth that you want to expose is lost in the anger-ridden message.

I am still interested in learning about genuine concerns that deal with facts from anyone else who would like to enlighten an interested mind and heart (your time has expired Daniel, unless, of course, you want to lower your tone and have a conversation). Speaking of diatribes, I just had mine. Well, no one is perfect, and Daniel, that’s the point.

By Still Interested, well actually, Ron ( - on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 5:44 pm: Edit Post

To RPCV, thank you so much for your light in the darkness. I am taking your advice and I am glad the organization has had people like you serving in it.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

By none ( - on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 8:22 pm: Edit Post

There are many ways that the results of Vasquez's safety and security could be looked at. The only thing that he has said about the results during his term of office is that there have been 3 deaths while he has been director. Three people died while volunteering and that is a tragedy. Good that it is not more and all proper credit. Now what about crimes like rape? What are the numbers of rapes for Vasquez's term? What are the numbers for the last year and a half (thats over half of his time in office, isn't it)? Where are they? What are they? Why won't he or Peace Corps say? What is he hiding? He won't say he is actually making it safer to be in Peace Corps, only that he thinks safety should be a high priority, and he has spent lots of time and money on it. What are the results of that time and money?

By RPCV ( - on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 9:03 pm: Edit Post

None - Just curious ... see my posting at "Director Vasquez speaks out ..." discussion thread.

By RPCV ( - on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 9:20 pm: Edit Post

Dear Interested,

All the best to you in making your decision about PC employment. Despite its flaws PC really is a great program and an excellent place to work, in the field or at HQ, as a PCV and/or as a staffer. Fresh ideas, adapted practices and experience from outside are always needed in a learning organization that continuously seeks improvment.

While you may not find a broad spectrum of PCV feedback in these particular discussion threads, don't worry ... PCVs are never shy about sharing! You could perhaps visit the RPCV center in Rosslyn or RPCV/DC metro association for informal one-on-ones or group discussions (or contact the regional RPCV center and association nearest to you -- a list of centers and local RPCV groups can be accessed at and on this site).

By badr ( - on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 2:32 am: Edit Post

Has anyone ever wondered why the last page of the PC volunteer application form asks for the names of any influential people the volunteers are connected to? Like how Peace Corps uses the information? It’s because there are two Peace Corps. One is for the privileged. Volunteers with family members who are legislators or corporate presidents can take their safety concerns to PC and no staffer will tell them to be responsible for their own safety, accuse them of having psych issues, ignore their health problems, hit on them, or tell them to live with severe sexual harassment. These volunteers do not have to write to their families asking for mace, only to be found dead a month later. They can walk into the PC office and tell the country director, “If I don’t get what I want, I will have your job.” If they have safety concerns, they are reassigned. If they have unsafe housing, they will get new housing. If they are merely unhappy with their assignments, PC creates new assignments for them. These volunteers do not write angry postings on websites. They have no reason to be angry because PC responds to their health and safety concerns.

The Other Peace Corps is for the fatherless, widows, single mothers, and the sons and daughters of middle class and working Americans. When these volunteers get sick and the medical office has nutritional supplements and over the counter medications in stock, these volunteers will not be told. They will have to buy their own medicine. They will not be taken to a doctor. When they have safety concerns at their sites, no one will investigate. If they fill out a safety incident report, it will be lost. They will be told if they report safety concerns they could jeopardize the Peace Corps program for the entire country. They will be told they have to take “personal responsibility” for their own safety. Nobody from the PC office will go out to their village with someone who speaks the language fluently and just talk to find out it the problem can be solved. These volunteers will not have access to site evaluations, translators, policy and procedure manuals, credit cards, phones, vehicles, or the considerable influence the U.S. government can exert. The volunteers with the fewest resources at their disposal are the most likely to be abandoned by PC.

It is an advantage to the local office if the volunteer with safety concerns will simply leave. Once the yearly volunteer count is made for PR purposes, the longer a volunteer stays, the more readjustment allowance will have to be paid to the volunteer, since readjustment allowance is based not on what the volunteer actually needs to get reestablished, but on length of service. PC can save literally thousands of dollars per volunteer per country per year by getting volunteers who report safety concerns out of the country early, pushing the cost of readjustment onto families who can least afford it, then waiting for the new crop of volunteers to arrive just before the next annual volunteer census. This is why 33% (or is it 50%?) of volunteers leave before finishing their first year. These are the volunteers who need an ombudsman office and an independent inspector general.

Safety cannot be improved until it can be measured. Peace Corps needs to track the number of volunteers who report safety concerns and how the concerns were resolved. The volunteers need to be able make safety reports online directly to Washington without going through the local offices that are so good at losing reports and ignoring safety concerns.

By Daniel ( on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:09 am: Edit Post

Right on Badr,

I guess I have a friend. Sorry Ron and RPCV/ former staffer. Seems like other think like me.

Hey Still interested Ron,

I guess I got you interested. You seem to like this Director. Perhaps, if you like him so much you should join and go out and serve in Peace Corps.

3 is 3 people. I guess you don't have much regard for human life. You should join.

By daniel ( on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:14 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps is unsafe under this Director. He covers up facts,safety issues and former volunteer cases that went through safety issues.

We should have another hearing on how many volunters have been wronged by Peace Corps reagarding safety issues and health issues.

Perhaps, we will convince memebers of Congress like we did in the past to hold these type of hearings.

By RPCV ( - on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

Badr, Daniel -

I think your posts speak loudly for themselves and require no counter-point response. Do you even care about being taken seriously? And quit stealing from and debasing Sen. Edward's "Two Americas" theme.

In any case, the level of discussion has fallen to an unproductive low and it's time to leave this one permanently. I'm sure you'll miss me.


By Ron, not interested anymore ( - on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 1:07 pm: Edit Post

Daniel, I asked you to please stop accusing everyone of everything, except yourself, and your response is to accuse me of not having much regard for human life. The irony Daniel. Don't you see the ironly? Think about it Daniel. Your response to my genuine concern about you was to attack me. Has that approach been productive for you?

What both you and Badr don’t seem to get is that blasting allegations and accusations to absolutely everyone about absolutely everything, and now that includes me, with so much anger, well the message gets lost and disregarded very quickly. Such is your responsibility, not mine. If you never learn that lesson, you both will have a very long and troubled life, all self-inflicted. Mirrors were created for a good reason and those of us who are willing to look into them from time to time and self-evaluate our mental and emotional state (and stop blaming others for our misery) usually find peace in life and at least some form of happiness.

Daniel, my effort has been sincere and you are screaming from the rooftops so loudly that you have lost all reason and ability to communicate anything except anger and frustration. I am sure you have cause to be angry, but Daniel, you are going nowhere with me and I am bowing out of the this discussion.

The fact is, there are other views, such as Jim PCV, and my own persoanl ray of hope of finding reason and objectively RPCV (who sadly has had enough), and I am sure others.

I am still objectively trying to find truth here, but I am going to have to pursue other means to find it.

As I sign off, Daniel, I truly wish you well, but please get help. The blame-game is the most trouble-ridden approach to life anyone can embrace. You have embraced it with so much vigor that it is consuming you and your ability to communicate. Your approach has resulted in far more concern for your well-being and state of mind than anything that may be right or wrong with the PC. I hope you learn that at some point in your life and find something uplifting and rewarding to do with yourself.

Signing off and bowing out.

By ann ( - on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 2:01 pm: Edit Post

Why continue such a pointless, unsubstantiated rant? Why not give details about concerns for safety and then close the communication? As a former volunteer who had an overall fantastic experience, I found this endless nastiness very negative. There are always some who are not satisfied - for part of my tour it was my job to visit sites and make sure vols. were doing well, both mentally and physically. When there were problems, we worked them out for the best of the volunteer. Each of us has to take responsibility.

By daniel ( - on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 7:59 pm: Edit Post

The facts about safety are out there for research.

Why was the office of Safety started?

Why did the DDN do there series?

Why is an ombudsman's office happening?

They wouldn't have happened without facts behind them. There is plenty of information. Some Peace Corps folks know there is trouble with safety and will continue to say we are angry or I am angry.

You know there is a problem or you wouldn't be participating.

By none ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 1:40 am: Edit Post

The facts are not out there. At least not for the last year and a half. That is half of Vasquez's time as director. It is hypocritical to say safety is his priority, but not provide evidence that he has actually improved safety. Blaming "bureacratic" problems for this lack of information is unconscionable. How many women were raped while volunteering for peace corps while Vasquez was director? If there are problems, then he should say what they are. Vasquez will hide the answer until after the election so the administration will not be embarrassed. Spin, obfuscate, and doublespeak as expected.

By Daniel ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 8:14 am: Edit Post

Vasquez Covers up the truth in the interview
and former volunteers who have gone through a safety incident are swept under the rug.


You are right. The cover ups on rapes, assaults and safety breaches will continue. The Dayton Daily News had to go to court to get the facts. Vasquez is embarassed by those numbers and ignores them as not the truth. What are they doing for those volunteers who have gone through a safety incident?

Nothing. And Vasquez will fight any volunteer who speaks out by saying 95% said they felt safe in service. That number is ridiculous. People who went through safety incidents were not polled conviently. Most of them are not part of National Peace Corps Association because they were duped in their service.

The facts are out there on their history. 2,800 plus during the 1990's were victims of violence and 31 have been killed, died or are missing in service due to safety and health issues. He has done nothing for these volunteers, instead brushes it under the rug, like he is doing about current numbers in the last year and half.

1 Rape is too many.

1 violent incident is too many.

1 death is too many.

%5 attrition rate should be the goal too. This is not unattainable.

That should be the goal, no incidents.

He has not look at the problem from the volunteer perspective instead he is building a Police force at Peace Corps who will decide rightfully or wrongfully whether you have had a rape,an incident, were attacked by a terror group, or anything else. What is needed is better support at a given site and from my personal opinion coupling at a given site. Despite, former volunteers and members of the house finally disagreed with coupling, 86% percent of attacks were on volunteers who were alone. These are Peace Corps numbers.

Don't lie to Vasquez. You have continued to lie for Peace Corps in my case. Stop the lies for the families and the volunteers now serving or planning to serve.

By Elaine ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit Post

This is too compelling. Daniel, I hereby put you in charge of the nation's Interstate system with the mandate that you eliminate deaths on the Interstate. Now fast forward to 2006 and we find that you reduced the death rate by four-fold. Quite a feat, right? Well, someone named Daniel then points out that one death is too many.

Risk in inherent in what we are trying to do. I knew I was taking a risk when i joined. You idiot Daniel.

And don't you dare try to speak for me who had many incidencies, but I got over them and focused on the good I was doing. That's why I was there.

I came from a "poor family" and I was treated like gold, especially when I was hurt. Get a life Daniel and stop dividing us. No one is out to get you, except yourself.

You had a good listener and an open mind with "Interested" and you blew it. When are "You" "None" and "Badr" going to get the point? Leave the rest of us who love our Peace Corps experience alone!!!!!!

"Interested" did discover, unwittingly in trying to get real facts from you, Daniel, what the Peace Corps is all about, SERVICE. Self-less service.

By Elaine ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:11 am: Edit Post

Now that I have calmed down a little, "Daniel" "None" and "Badr" I realized I was going to have risk when I realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore. You guys don't get it and never will, until you seek mental help. This isn't about you. IT'S ABOUT SELF-LESS SERVICE.

"Interested" also got it right when he or she said, regarding risk, it's about what safe-guards and guidelines are in place to minimize risk. To say you can eliminate all risk puts you in the idiot category.

Now, please shut up, unless you can talk specifics or facts. But then, why start now?

By Elaine and Im done here ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:26 am: Edit Post

Anyone out there thinking about serving in the Peace Corps. If you don't want risk in your life, stay in Kansas. And, please don't get on the Interstate. President Bush doesn't have all the safeguards in place to protect you.

I knew there were risks. Duh! And I was willing to accept responsibility for them so I could serve. If your mentality is anything like "Daniel" "None" and "Badr" please stay home and don't join us just to divide us. Please!

By Elaine ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 1:48 pm: Edit Post

I did my own research and got some answers:


There are fewer deaths in the past two years, per capita, in the Peace Corps than on college campuses in the same countries we serve in.

There are fewer rapes in the past two years, per capita, in the Peace Corps than in "our communities in America."

Wow! Isn't it interesting that "Daniel" "None" and "Badr" can't find the facts? They just want to threaten, accuse, and allegate all over the place.

The fact that they can't find the facts, as I did in about two hours of research (on the Internet) tells me they found them and didn't like them or they are not trying. They just want to bitch and complain. Keep wasting your life guys. And I'm going to stop wasting mine trying to be reasonable with you, just as "Interested" finely had to do.

By daniel ( - on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit Post

Apples and Oranges.

By Daniel ( - on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 8:38 am: Edit Post

Peace Corps will not publish the numbers of rapes, assaults, violent incidents, safety and health related issues people have had in service. You don't have the facts because they are not public. Also, how are we to know and trust, they are true, especially, how they have treated their own who have been wronged by the agency regarding safety issues?

The comparisons with the rapes in the US and the death rate is fundamentally an unsound an arguement. We served our country, Peace Corps, and another nation. We are in a public job. It is different than a civilian type of situation.

Some above, don't want to hear about "Incidents". Well, Elaine they happen. Unfortunately. You sound like you had a great experience and love Peace Corps. Well, if it so good, why do they lie about a certain population of former Volunteers to the public, especially, if they have gone through a safety issue.

I'll bet you didn't have any safety issues in service and you want everyone to think like you.

It is still a concern. Because we did "serve". We know about "service". Let me tell you about service. My whole life has been public service, so don't get on your high horse. This message, you could look at as a public service announcement. The announcement being Peace Corps is unsafe when they don't handle volunteers correctly and put them in jeopardy by poor placement, support at their site and then lie about their service after it is over.

Sorry you continue to waste your time trying to say its all peaches and cream.


By Elaine ( - on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:24 am: Edit Post

Your approach Daniel, is to call all those who see differently than you, liars. I was hurt, you jerk. Go to ....

If we don't wallow in our problems, we are ignoring them, right? Get a life and GET OVER IT.

You are so right thogh. I am wasting my time.



By Gone ( - on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:15 pm: Edit Post

Daniel, you said, "The comparisons with the rapes in the US and the death rate is fundamentally an unsound an arguement. We served our country, Peace Corps, and another nation. We are in a public job. It is different than a civilian type of situation."

I now understand how you think. You, first, want to be "safer" in a "public" job than in a "civilian type of situation." OKAY. At least I understand you now. Like Elaine said, "Stay in Kansas." Oh, I see. Then you wouldn't have anyone to blame for not protecting you. OKAY.

Second, it won't take the ACLU long to see through your absurdity.

By thw way, you don't seem to care about the safety of "civilians" as long as you are protected. But I won't stoop to your low level and blast you with accusations of not caring about human life (other than your own, Daniel). No, I'll try not to do that.

There are not enough words in our language to even try to show you how ridiculous you are.

By daniel ( - on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 8:39 pm: Edit Post

The facts remain. Thousands of volunteers victims of violence and horrible safety incidents, but to the Peace Corps there is no problem.

You know there is a problem and this Director is in a position to change it, but he won't.He was forced to accept the Ombudsman's office from the Congress.

The ACLU is involved whether you like it or not.

Justice in cases of safety and health will prevail in the future due to apathy and wrong doing from Peace Corps.

Name calling won't help you.

Thanks for all the cheap comments.


By Last chance ( - on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit Post

Daniel, I am saddened by your level of dialog. You are not making sense anymore. Please explain, "Justice in cases of safety and health will prevail in the future due to apathy and wrong doing from Peace Corps." (?)

Daniel, you call Elaine on the carpet for name calling, but your first called her a liar. If she was hurt and got over it, and you don't like the fact that she did, you just maintain your own position, ignoring her's, by calling her a liar.
Daniel, you get sarcastic about "cheap comments" as you accuse everyone using cheap and demeaning language and have from the beginning. According to you, Interested had no regard for human life, Elaine was a liar, Director Vasquez is a liar, Everyone who works for the Peace Corps is a liar and they do all this, ignoring safety and security issues, intentionally, and on and on. You don’t answer concerns from anyone who thinks differently than you. You charge ahead with more charges. My biggest question to you is, do you think the Peace Corps can and should eliminate all risks? All?

My friend, do you see any of this? Please don't ignore it. It may help you to understand it and get some help with the current approaches you are taking and the level of anger anchored deeply in those approaches.

Please take a minute and self-introspect. It won't hurt you and may even help.

By Joanne Roll ( on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit Post


The enabling legislation establishing Peace Corps and all subsequent
legislation clearly state that volunteers serve "at the pleasure of the President."
Volunteers are not civil service employees; they are not protected by a union;
they are not protected by any contract. What are their due process rights as
volunteers and how are the rights, once established, to be protected are issues
still floundering in a legal gray area.
An independent IG and an ombudsman would be a giant step in the direction of
helping disenfranchised Volunteers. Information could be gathered to help formulate further legislation.

The "serving at the pleasure of the President" is noble when you are
"dollar a year guy going down to 'help out' in Washington" but, when you are a
Volunteer, 24/7, in a foreign country w/o diplomatic immunity and without
independent resources or support, it a potentially very dangerous situation.

The "serving at the pleasure of the President" many be necessary to protect
the interests of the Corps and the security interests of the United States.
Only, you never know. It is also a strategy which protects the bureacracy and
can be destructive to the individual volunteer and the notion of any kind of
real PC/RPCV community because it divides those who were "lucky" from those who
were not.

The voice of Daniel is the voice of an American who is screaming "THIS IS
NOT FAIR." To me, there is no more patriotic sound than that. I wish him well
in his efforts to secure a more equitable Peace Corps where constitutional
rights of PCVs to due process are recognized and protected.

As for RPCV, change comes from a position of power...which is exactly what
disenfranchised PCVs don't have. RPCV's comment that "he (she?) was carefully
trained to terminate serving PCVs for their own good" ought to be posted on
RPCV's favorite official site and given to every potential recruit.

I bet Elaine is a very brave woman. But, her experience does not negate the
experience of other volunteers who were treated unfairly and not able to
overcome and "move on."

I think "badr" description of what can happen incountry is a perfect
description of a Patron system and/or an oligarchy. Political systems which are
anathma to Americans. We simply can not allow American citizens to accept the loss of their constitutional rights to due process as a prerequisite for serving.

I am glad that RPCV has left the discussion. I think PC/Wash DC would much
rather have us debating among ourselves than focusing on getting legislation
passed. I wonder if he/she were on assigment for the "good of the Corps."

We need that legislation now.

By Daniel ( - on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 5:11 pm: Edit Post

Thank you Joey Roll,

Someday the day will come for volunteer rights, I just hope it is soon.

That was well put together and I applaude the research and thought you put into it.

Have good weekend. Daniel

By badr ( - on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit Post

Well said, Joanne Roll.

The “at the will of the president” language is usually used for political appointees. They don’t have as many rights as civil service employees, who are supposed to be immune to politics (Shackman decree). The Peace Corps is by definition non-partisan. It is also supposed to promote understanding of American values. If these values include fairness, rule of law, individual rights, privacy, justice, due process, and protecting the weak from the strong, the Peace Corps needs to set a strong example for the world. That is not happening.

Staffer RPCV’s statement about being “carefully trained to terminate serving PCV’s for their own good” is indeed a frightening glimpse of a “big brother” mentality. It smacks of the totalitarian secrecy of Orwell’s “1984” or the unsupported lies and fabricated psychiatric diagnoses used to imprison Russian citizens in the “First Circle” of Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago”. Apparently this big brother attitude has insinuated itself into training practices and maybe even written policy, although no volunteer ever sees a policy manual.

What is going on? One RPCV posted on this site that staffers started gathering “social information” on her and pressured her to leave after she expressed safety concerns about her site. Another poster on this website wanted to pursue a career in public service but had to change careers after another volunteer with political clout was allowed to place something damaging in their record. One of the posters in the above stream reports visiting volunteers at their sites to determine their physical AND MENTAL well being. Are volunteers now being asked to do psyche evaluations or spy on other volunteers?

A volunteer I served with was told there was something mentally wrong with her and had to provide information about her masturbation frequency after she reported a sexual assault incident. They tried to pressure her to leave. According to the official Peace Corps website, an assault with injuries is classified as a major sexual assault. The volunteer is supposed to be evac’d. This volunteer was not. I saw the bruises.

If the 2003 rape statistics proved what PC staffers hoped they would prove, they would have made the report public by now. Although I support many of the new safety measures that were implemented in country, they clearly didn’t do what they were advertised to do. That’s because they were based on the assertion that safety problems are caused by The Evil Volunteers. PC even uses prison terminology—volunteers who coordinate evacuation drills are called “wardens”.

Peace Corps needs to dust off the 2002 GAO report and re-read the part about uneven implementation from one country office to another, then find a way to make country directors and staffers accountable. Then they need to stop acting like the volunteer is the enemy and partner with volunteers in the process of solving safety problems. That cannot happen until volunteers have rights.

The NPCA leadership is packed with ex-staffers who have used up their five-year (or is it nine-year) allotment. They don’t seem to be interested in the safety of the volunteers now serving, although a poll of the NPCA membership shows overwhelmingly support for an ombudsman and an independent inspector general.

Yes, we need the legislation now, but it seems to be stuck in committee. The House passed the bill very quickly. Where is the Senate?

Dan? Have you given up on the legislative process? How many of the Honorable Senators are up for re-election?

By Another RPCV and current staff member ( on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 1:45 pm: Edit Post

Interesting commentary, Joey. Your writing is usually well reasoned and intelligent. However, you failed those standards, although not as badly as Daniel and Badr, in the posting above. Could you please point out exactly where RPCV wrote he or she was "carefully trained to terminate serving PCVs for their own good"? In fact, s/he wrote that it was necessary at times to separate a volunteer for their own good and that of the program. S/he went on to state this was a relatively infrequent event. Out of thousands of serving PCVs, do you find it inconceivable there are some "bad apples" (on staff too)?

Unfortunately, the careless fabrication of quotes and statistics by Daniel, Badr and yourself only serve to discredit your many sensational allegations and, as RPCV has stated, the vitriol.

We all agree on improving support for PCVs wherever and whenever possible. The disagreement is really about the unreasonable approach taken by Daniel, and Joey's apparent approval of this approach, including making deliberately misleading statements, infusing his diatribes with fictional "facts" and constant misinterpretation of statistics -- not to mention the castigation of anyone who dares disagree and all staff members. Daniel represents what you deem to be reasaonable and intelligent discussion? I think not! Joey, your previous posts on other threads show so much more thought than the one above.

The points on which we (RPCV and I) agree upon with Daniel:
-Ombudsman office
-FECA review and reform (affects all fed)
-Independent IG
-Release to Daniel of all his med records and review of his separation.
-ACLU should support any PCV or RPCV with a substantive case, although it is awfuuly difficult to see Daniel as a credible client given that nature of his many posts on this thread and numerous others.

The points on which we disagree:
- Daniel's and few others'lamentable and disingenuous approach.
- A blanket order of Pairing of all PCVs would not enhance safety and security.
- Daniels unreasonalbe approach,prejudices, unsubstantiated allegations, sensational and mendacious statements, name calling (which, ironically, Daniel accuses others of), etc. likley reflect why Daniel encounters so many diffculties.

Some of us have worked very hard within the agency to bring about improvements to the program and do not deserve to have our services as RPCVs and on staff disparaged and judged with the negative bias shown by a few posters above, simply because we disagee or object to the mendacity contained in many of those posts. We served in both capacities because we believe in the importance of the PC program, the commitment of PCVs in the field and the development of the host countries we serve.

In Peace

By Another RPCV and current staff member ( on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 1:51 pm: Edit Post

Interesting commentary, Joey. Your writing is usually well reasoned and intelligent. However, you failed those standards, although not as badly as Daniel and Badr, in the posting above. Could you please point out exactly where RPCV wrote he or she was "carefully trained to terminate serving PCVs for their own good"? In fact, s/he wrote that it was necessary at times to separate a volunteer for their own good and that of the program. S/he went on to state this was a relatively infrequent event. Out of thousands of serving PCVs, do you find it inconceivable there are some "bad apples" (on staff too)?

Unfortunately, the careless fabrication of quotes and statistics by Daniel, Badr and yourself only serve to discredit your many sensational allegations and, as RPCV has stated, the vitriol.

We all agree on improving support for PCVs wherever and whenever possible. The disagreement is really about the unreasonable approach taken by Daniel, and Joey's apparent approval of this approach, including making deliberately misleading statements, infusing his diatribes with fictional "facts" and constant misinterpretation of statistics -- not to mention the castigation of anyone who dares disagree and all staff members. Daniel represents what you deem to be reasaonable and intelligent discussion? I think not! Joey, your previous posts on other threads show so much more thought than the one above.

The points on which we (RPCV and I) agree upon with Daniel:
-Ombudsman office
-FECA review and reform (affects all fed)
-Independent IG
-Release to Daniel of all his med records and review of his separation.
-ACLU should support any PCV or RPCV with a substantive case, although it is awfuuly difficult to see Daniel as a credible client given that nature of his many posts on this thread and numerous others.

The points on which we disagree:
- Daniel's and few others'lamentable and disingenuous approach.
- A blanket order of Pairing of all PCVs would not enhance safety and security.
- Daniels unreasonalbe approach,prejudices, unsubstantiated allegations, sensational and mendacious statements, name calling (which, ironically, Daniel accuses others of), etc. likley reflect why Daniel encounters so many diffculties.

Some of us have worked very hard within the agency to bring about improvements to the program and do not deserve to have our services as RPCVs and on staff disparaged and judged with the negative bias shown by a few posters above, simply because we disagee or object to the mendacity contained in many of those posts. We served in both capacities because we believe in the importance of the PC program, the commitment of PCVs in the field and the development of the host countries we serve.

In Peace

By Havent given up, yet. ( - on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 3:25 pm: Edit Post

TO: Another RPCV and current staff member. Alas, reason and logic. Thank you for your insight and thank you for your service. Your recognition that things can be done and should be done will help in getting them done. Daniel would do well, very well, to listen and heed. There is much to do, so let's "pull together," to do it. Anger is the very least effective road to change there is. I hope Daniel gets that at some point in his life. Life will be better the moment he does.

By badr ( - on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 4:29 pm: Edit Post

PC staffers seem to spend a lot of time on this website justifying their records. I thought this site was for returned volunteers who want to improve the Peace Corps. Perhaps the official Peace Corps website needs to be expanded to make more room for bureaucratic justifications. They could also use it to make anonymous attacks on private citizens and former volunteers. Daniel Pailes does not function in any public capacity, but at least he has the courage to sign his name. The safety and security issues must be solved over there at HQ if staffers have so much time to surf the web.

Ah, poor misunderstood staffers. But volunteers serve because they “believe in the importance of the PC program” and are “committed to serving” our host countries. When they report safety concerns, volunteers find themselves subjected to an “unreasonable approach, prejudices, unsubstantiated allegations, sensational and untruthful statements, and name calling.” Volunteers “do not deserve to have their services disparaged and judged simply because they disagree or object to the lies” the Peace Corps places in their records when they report safety concerns. You see how the staffers take what they do to volunteers and pretend it is the volunteers doing it to them.

I am often jarred by Daniel’s approach, simply because it is so out of synch with the official PR image of Peace Corps. But he does not speak from anger. I know he speaks the truth because I have seen it for myself. Perhaps we need to be jarred.

So, once upon a time there was, or there was not, this donkey. He was plowing a field behind a young tribesman. Suddenly the donkey just stopped and would not move. The young tribesman argued with the donkey, used enlightened reason, begged and pleaded with the donkey to plow the field. He quoted from the Bible, the Koran, the Kama Sutra, the Declaration of Independence and from “Do you want to be a millionaire?” The donkey didn’t move. Finally an old man picked up a two by four, walked over, and hit the donkey over the head. The donkey started moving. As the old man walked away, he remarked, “You have to get his attention first.”

We have had the 2002 GAO report, the Dayton Daily News series, and the disappearance of Walter Poirier. We still can’t seem to get PC’s attention. You go, Dan.

So what is happening to the legislation? Where is the Senate?

By Out ( - on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 6:09 pm: Edit Post

Well, I thought the site was for anyone who may be intereseted in what the ins and outs are about the Peace Corps and who may work together for positive chance.

Enough is enough, Badr. You will never get anywhere when all you can do is attack.

I'm out! Off to better things to do. Not interested at all anymore. You may never get it, but attacks stay pretty close to the attacker and don't make far for progress.

By daniel ( - on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 8:29 pm: Edit Post

When staffers blame volunteers for their safety issues and attack volunteers who have gone through safety issues our rights are stepped on.

I don't know why you people who are contra have to keep on the attack or do you feel you need to because you know there are problems, and Peace Corps is not fixing them?

Thanks Badr, None, and Joey Roll and others.

Someone needs to get your attention or you Staffers will do it to others without oversight.

Rights for Volunteers needs to happen.

No volunteer should have his or her rights violated by appointees or career staff.

By Daniel ( - on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 4:52 am: Edit Post

To current staffer,

If you are a current staffer then go to Gaddi Vasquez and have him or convince him for the embetterment of the program that separated veterans get their separations heard again without prejudice. He can do that "at the pleasure of the President". He won't do that, will he? He has that choice. He choices not to act.

No, he disagrees with you about the Ombudsman's office.

A volunteer should be able to report an incident without fear of reprussions of Peace Corps or trumping up a separation which is bogus. This is what has happened to hundreds and probably thousands of volunteers. This makes the program unsafe and discriminatory on a class action level.

Got your attention. You make not like my ways of advocating, but remember I don't particularly like to the way Peace Corps has handled my case and thousands of others who have served and been cast off because they have a safety or health issue. I think it is a moral responsibility of each staff person to raise the issue to the point it is a priority. Why wouldn't you? Is it a fear or your job?

31 Volunteers have been killed died or missing since the early 1990's.

One was too many, and yet staffers continued on as if our calls weren't even being heard. Well, Marty Meehan certainly heard them once someone from his disctrict had an issue with your safety and health practices. Thank God for the GAO report, House and Senate hearings and the dayton daily news.

2,800 have were victims of violence. Many have not got proper attention or were fired incorrectly. Also, how many were separated wrongfully because they reported incidents and were fired, with Peace Corp's methods of Psych problems, blaming the volunteer, slandering the volunteer, making up behavorial problems, and the list goes on. How many?

Instead of being concerned with this web site, you should be in the Director's office right now asking for reform and making Peace Corps a safe and sercure environment instead of being hostile on volunteers who have served.
By the way why won't you post your name.

By RPCV and former staffer ( - on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 3:58 pm: Edit Post

Hi Daniel, Badr - In the interest of fair posting, RPCV & current staffer and I have been colleagues in the past and do know each other. I had suggested to Current not to waste time posting here. She told me she had, so I'm checking it out one last time.

To recap: Daniel, Badr - It's obvious you think the means justify the ends. Daniel, if you reflected honestly, you know that we actually agree on the important points and have all along. Your insistence on making ridiculous accusations (e.g., I - all staff - don't care about PCV safety, we inflict terror, etc.) and the frequent mendacity with which you communicate are simply unacceptable. As another RPCV once wrote to you, progress has been made despite your diatribes and not because of them.

I and Current have both talked to Gaddi and the other senior HQ officials directly on many occasions about ways to improve S&S of the PCV, how to respond better and handle complaints, posting current safety reports, etc. Most of our input and that of other staffers and PCVs has been incorporated into volunteer support. Not all though, and we fully support ongoing efforts from RPCVs to pressure PC into continuing to improve the program -- albeit without the personal attacks and mendacity found in so much of your communication. One can be strong and assertive as well as professional in doing so. Try it.

Badr - Hmmmm .... You might want to put away "1984" for a bit ... Bureaucratic problems mentioned as a possible cause are not given as excuses by any means ... but instead are explanations provided by those who have staff AND PCV insight as to where your efforts could be most productive (the conspiracy theories that your offer are ridiculous).

Despite the vicious attacks you make on someone merely because they are staffers or former staffers, we certainly don't stereotype PCVs negatively. As I've stated before, both my volunteer and staff experiences with PCVs (and those of Current's) have been very positive, with only a few exceptions. That's much better rate of good to bad experiences than one can expect in the vast majority of organizations, private and public.

I've experienced directly as a PCV or responded directly as a PC officer to a variety of S&S incidents, including murder threats, major assualts, attempted rapes, knifings and armed robberies. While these occurances were statistically infrequent, they were all handled with the highest priority - including immediate emotional and medical support of the volunteers involved, arrest of the perps and doing whatever necessary to strenthen prevention. However, the GAO report did indeed find inconsistency among posts, which is why the safety office was formed, S&S programs and incident reporting were standardized in a framework (allowing country-specific measures as well), frequent S&S reviews were initiated and regional safety experts were placed around the world (1-2 years before the DDN articles). The improvements must continue and will.

As for S&S reviews: Walter's disappearance led to the GAO investigation which led to the DDN articles. And this is exactly what should have happened. Although the DDN series was definitely written with a negatively biased agenda it probably has been very useful as a "2x4".

It's interesting that you and others in previous postings on other threads have inidicated that PCV service should be a priority for certain staff positions. Yet, you act as if we are no longer RPCVs because now we have the staff experience and despite the fact tha we and other staff (non-RPCVs) have been integral to the progress that has been made to date. As have PCVs and RPCVs. Badr - this site is for ALL interested parties. And Current and I happen to be RPCVs who are not only interested in improving the program but actually work toward that improvement. Don't you think it's necessary for staff actively working on the inside to make this happen?

"Interested" (aka "Out") has every right to engage in these discussions. And I hope that he continues to be interested in PC employment and has the opportunity to talk with a number of (R)PCVs, who will no doubt offer both positive assessments and constructive criticisms.

While I find your rhetoric extremely objectionable, it certainly does not diminish our commitment to improving the program and to our PCVs in the field. And as difficult as it might be for you to believe (I fully expect that you and Badr will find some way to castigate me in a follow up), I hope you find peace and can resolve your issues.

As for posting our names, Daniel perhaps you are truly unaware of just how strongly some of your postings reflect a warning not to do so. Again, one can be persistent, "jarring" and assertive wihtout being vicious, prejudicial and mendacious.

I'll leave you to post or not and won't counter post more on this thread.


By Joanne Roll ( on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 5:13 pm: Edit Post

I would like to restate what I see should be the parameters of this discussion. The issues are first; doing everything possible to prevent serving volunteers from being harmed and; second, ensuring that any serving Volunteer who is hurt, receives excellent medical support and is treated fairly by Peace Corps. The latter requires that the due process rights of Volunteers be protected and that serving Volunteers not be treated arbitrarily or terminated for reporting such incidents.

The GAO report of 2002, the Congressional hearings as well as personal testimony from RPCVs document that there has been a problem with maximizing safety for serving Volunteers. The new safety and security procedures instituted by Vasquez address this problem. We are all in agreement that an independent IG, reporting to Congress, is the best way to access the effectiveness of this new program. So we should be lobbying Congress.

There is a wide variety in the experiences of serving Volunteers who have been injured or the victims of crime. Some, like Elaine, have received excellent treatment. Others have not, as evidenced by postings here as well as public testimony. Ensuring due process and fair treatment is one of the goals listed in the pending legislation. We are all in agreement that we need an ombudsman. We should be lobbying for the legislation.

What I hear Daniel saying is that he doesn't trust Peace Corps to self-monitor. We are all in agreement that there needs to be independent review.

At one time, I had thought that successful service as a PCV should be a prerequisite for working for Peace Corps. I no longer hold that position. I urge RPCV and Current and anyone else who is staff to continue to post their opinions. I believe that they are demonstrating, in attitude and response, precisely the problems the legislation is designed to eliminate

I did successfully complete my service; but I saw many unfair incidents which I was powerless to stop. I have been writing "pretty letters" to Peace Corps for many years and I receive in return "pretty letters." But change comes from refusing to settle for a "pretty letter" or a pat on the head and the assurance that one is, after all, not a "bad apple."

By RPCV ( - on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 11:15 am: Edit Post

Joey - Tell you what, I'll largely ignore the the negative spin at the end of your message and focus, more importantly, on the areas of S&S agreement which you outlined very well.

PC benefits from a healthy mix of staff with both PCV and non-PCV experiences from a variety of professional fields. PCV service shouldn't be a prerequisite; rather, it should be a significant factor to consider in the hiring process - i.e., as a complement to the required and desired qualifications. A significant presence of PCV service experience on staff is indeed a positive attribute for the agency and contributes to improved volunteer support. And RPCVs and others who effectively advocate for positive change from outside the agency make temendous contributions.

Let's not allow the current campaign atmosphere to lead us toward lower standards of discourse that include misquoting, negatively misinterpreting others (i.e., negative spin)and employing rumor mill legends in an effort to bolster our points. Some - though not all - of the posts on this and other threads make use of these tactics. Such tactics serve only to discredit otherwise worthy principles - and that applies to all of us.

Reason and intelligence are built on a foundation of objectivity and strengthened by thoughtful, critical anlaysis. And positive change, especially in a government agency, is indeed brought about by taking that critical analysis and assertively, yes at times loudly, verbalizing the need for change - from outside and from within.

Essentially, we're all in agreement that PC has flaws and some PCVs have been treated unfairly. Many of our differences are likley found in whether one should generalize and blame the entire agency or, instead, identify the specific causes of those flaws and correct them. Obviously, I support the latter, as I firmly believe PC has many more strengths than flaws. Is one unfair incident too many? Yes, and the most effective remedy is to pursue specific resolutions (fairer FECA, more open "FOIA", stronger safety and secuirty measures, etc.).

One could certainly argue that changes are not being made quickly enough. I would agree that in some cases this is true (e.g., Why hasn't PC posted safety reports for 2003 and 2004?). I also know that much progress has been made in significantly improving the safety and security support of PCVs, attributable to both pressure from outside and the hard work of PCVs and staff inside. Yet, we cannot rest on our progress to date as learning and improvement must be a continuous process.

So, I would sincerely urge all to stay engaged with reasoned and intelligent discourse and action.

By none ( - on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 5:50 pm: Edit Post

Nice question about safety numbers over the last 20 months. Vasquez is the director. It would seem that he would be able to tell the public the numbers if he wanted to. You seem to have a close relationship to him, as you say that you and Current speak with him and other senior peace corps people. You want a safer peace corps. Why don't you and Current ask and find out why the numbers are being kept secret? Then tell us all the answer. Could it be that for all Vasquez's talk about safety, the numbers show that safety got worse? Maybe he is looking for the correct "spin" so it won't look bad. Peace corps image seems more important than truth.

By Back ( - on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 12:47 pm: Edit Post

None, you started off so well and then the cynical dark angel, I quess, overcomes you. Can we leave the question and the resultant concern where it is and all work together to get the answer?


And Daniel, thank you for not blasting this thread. But please do speak up, just do so with reason and with the outcome of working together for positive change as your objective.

And RPCV, I'm back only because you brought logic and reason back. I have decided to withdraw my interest in PC employment but not my interest in PC. As I wrote my withdrawl notice, I made a few suggestions for safety and security. We'll see how it is received.

By badr ( - on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 1:51 am: Edit Post

"Back" seems to want in and out of the discussion more often than a house cat. The only safety and security suggestion I have seen from "Out and back" in this forum is for PCV's to shut up. That is hardly an original idea. The 2002 GAO report noted poor communications between volunteers and staff.

In our current election climate, the question is not whether a statement is true, but whether it gives one candidate a 'bump' in the polls. It would be much easier to work together with a PC that was trustworthy and that trusted volunteers.

Perhaps we will see "out's" solutions for solving PC's safety and security problems when the 2003 safety report is unveiled. In the meantime, PC could start implementing the recommendations of the 2002 GAO report.

And on your way out, Back, take a look at the testimony of Walter Poirier's father before the House committee (posted on this website). Then ask yourself if, supposing you had no Washington connections, you would want your son or daughter serving as a volunteer.

By RPCV ( - on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 9:17 am: Edit Post

Hi all -

Back - Sorry to hear you withdrew, however, your continued interest is definitely appreciated.

None - I'm not "close" to Gaddi as you keep ominously suggesting and haven't seen or talked to him personally since I left the agency. However, I did have conversations with him and other senior staff during my tenure and just before I moved on, urging more open and timely communications (including regular safety reports). While I don't agree with your continued accusations of "secrecy", etc., the speculative nature of your messages does perhaps underscore a very good reason for timely and meaningful communications. And I have requested the 2003 and 2004 reports and will follow up if they are not forthcoming in the near future. As I suggested before, it would more effective if all interested parties made such requests - assertively and professionally - directly to PC and not merely on this board (many can be more effective than one).

Badr - Actually, the overriding message has been for all interested parties to stay engaged. Please do speak out - but please do so without the negative and undermining spin tactics mentioned in my previous post (rumor mill legends, conspiracy theories, deliberate misinterpretations, etc.). PC has been implementing GAO recommendations and more since 2001 (the incident itself and interim reports anticipated many of the final recommendations). There are some points of disagreement and areas that might not have been addressed as thoroughly or timely as needed. My sincere suggestion: Criticize these areas based on reasoned arguments and thoughtful recommendations and don't carelessly throw out false assumptions that only lead to weak arguments.


By Back ( - on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 12:06 pm: Edit Post

Badr, I will challenge you to show me one indication in my dialog that suggested in any way shape or form that, "The only safety and security suggestion I have seen from "Out and back" in this forum is for PCV's to shut up."

My last words were, exactly, "But please do speak up, just do so with reason and with the outcome of working together for positive change as your objective." And, "As I wrote my withdrawl notice, I made a few suggestions for safety and security. We'll see how it is received."

Badr, when you see that as "...for PCVs to shut up," well, the rest of us can see the problem, if you don't. The script of everything said in this thread is right above this message. Take the time to review it and show me where I have suggested that "...PVCs shut up."

If you see my encouraging you and a few others to avoid blasting accusations, and making personal accusing comments as a signal to "shut up," I can only assume that that modus operandi is the only way you can communicate.

I actually believe you can do better than that, but you don't seem to believe it. That is the saddist part of all this.

I started this as an outside the agency, totally unbiased interested party. My attraction toward one side of this argument has been a very natural one that is based on being attracted to logic and reason and sound information, not accusations toward everyone about everything that goes beyond anything logical and reasonable, and simply not making sense at all. Daniel, Badr, None, that rest on your shoulders, not mine. Your approach will never ring true to anyone with any intelligence and who is simply seeking truth. I had absolutely no reason to find or seek a bias in all this, just interested in making an agency better.

What I do believe is:

1) Safety records should be made available as soon as possible.

2) The agency can do better to ensure better safety

3) The agency should investigate each and every allegation of injustice and ensure, through checks and balances, that there is no bias, discrimination, et al.

4) The Ombudsman office make sense

5) There should be due process as well as an appeals process in all terminations for cause.

6) And other concerns too numerous and too complicated to mention in this forum.

And lastly, there are a "few" in the agency who can do more to impede progress than to identify it and correct it (and no, I don't mean the staff).

Daniel, Badr, and None, I got the first six items in spite of you and not at all because of you. I got to the last you, because of you. My research involved personal contacts and other, more reasonable and level-headed threads.

I hope you find peace.

By Back ( - on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 2:26 pm: Edit Post

Now, just a little side-note to Badr. Your comment about my being in and out of the discussion more often than a house cat, I am sure made you feel cute, but it also made you look attacking. There is always a price to be paid, Badr, for sharp, cutting and cute smart alec remarks. The price, though, is paid by you, not me. I truly hope you can figure that out.

By Daniel ( - on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 5:20 am: Edit Post


In response to your brilliance:

1. Safety records are withheld.

2. Agency has not ensured safety with the public or within the Peace Corps community.

3. They have not checked out most cases of security claims. They claim they do and others defend Peace Corps saying they do check out cases, but they don't. In most cases, the staffers begin a process of blaming the volunteer. This is where the trust and program starts breaking down on these issues.

4. We should a have legal team that works for Volunteers. We settled for the moment, for a better than nothing scenario, the Ombudsman. We should a team of lawyers to be on equal footing with General Counsel at Peace Corps. We are not done with our advocacy on the hill.

5. There is no due process. There is a an appeal process. It is a kangaroo court of staffers covering their mistakes and then the volunteer gets the same result, fired for reporting the incident. That is the appeal process. I have personally been through that joke.

6. that is right they are too complicated for this post and many of these cases are and that is how Peace Corps covers it up.

Thanks Badr, There is no misinteruptation here. My case and thousands out there have not been resolved correctly. The labeling won't help the victims of violence or help the future. You must resolve these cases.


By daniel ( - on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 5:32 am: Edit Post

Positive change is real dialogue with victims of violence and our cases are resolved.

I don't trust that happening any time soon.

By Joanne Roll ( on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 4:45 pm: Edit Post

The most important posting, right now, is that of RPCV. To summarize, she/he worked for current Director, is no longer employed at PC/Wash, thinks much progress is being made, BUT still supports an independent IG and an Ombsman - advocacy positions contrary to Director Vasquez.
We need to know WHY. I ask that RPCV present his/her arguments, here, on why, based on his/her PC staff experience, an independent IG and an ombsman is needed. RPCV is in an unique position because of this recent "inside" experience. I would ask that the comments be made in such a way that the rest of us could use them in a letter to our Representatives and Senators.

If RPCV felt free to add his/her name, country and years of service, that would increase credibility. But, I would certainly respect a decision not to do that. However, RPCV MUST see that members of Congress, who are sympathic to the proposed legislation, receive the commentary.

Ironically, the person who is best placed to see that that information gets to Congress is Daniel.
I would hope that RPCV would utilize Daniel's contacts in order to ensure that a full picture of the situation of serving Volunteers gets to the right people.

There is only one Peace Corps....that is the serving Volunteer, today. The rest is before, after and support. Before is the recruiting, after is US and support should be staff. We should immediately focus on doing everything possible to protect the Peace's Volunteer. The rest is just talk.

Daniel has posted his name and his telephone number and has offered his services to help families of serving Volunteers and separated Volunteers get in touch with sympathetic Congresspeople. Constitutent services is one function of Congressional Representative offices which may help serving Volunteers having difficulty. I wonder if Daniel's advocacy is having some impact and hence the renewed criticism of his rhetoric.

I believe that the next few months are potential very dangerous times for serving Volunteers, because of the elections both in the US and Iraq.
Vasquez has no way of enforcing his belief that "dedicated" staff will be there through the elections, even as he leaves to pursue his political fortunes elsewhere. I think this makes it even more important that the legislation gets passed as quickly as possible and that RPCV and others who can speak to the current situation do so now.

By badr ( - on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 4:43 am: Edit Post

There are others who can contact people on the Hill, and Daniel can probably arrange contact with them, but yes, Daniel would be the most effective person to make RPCV's comments known in Congress, both because of his public profile and because of his rapport with certain individuals. We volunteered because we believe we can make a difference. This individual's remarks would make a difference now, not just in one village, but for the many villages of volunteers now serving.

In my experience, the U.S. elections elicit interest, but not emotion on the Islamic "street". They don't see any difference between American politicians. The Iraqi elections could provoke a much different reaction. I went over to our local "Islamic street" when al-Jazira was showing pictures of dead babies killed by cluster bombs in Baghdad, and I didn't stay long. Emotion was so thick you could feel it ready to explode in every grocery store and coffee shop. It was a severe test of friendship with my Islamic friends, but our friendship did survive the test.

Many new groups of volunteers left during late summer. They should be swearing in from now to November. The most safety incidents happen in the first three months after swearing-in, then taper off for another three months. Ideally the volunteers will be "imbedded" with their neighbors after 6 months.

This is a good reason to establish housing criteria and to do site inspections before the volunteers arrive at their sites. Too many volunteers do not have their sites inspected until months after their arrival--I have seen it and it is in the GAO report--then they are told to find another place without being given any guidelines for what kind of place to look for or what PC will approve or how many people in the office have to approve it. Some volunteers were told to move because of a safety incident where they lived, but others were moved for no apparent reason and had to start "imbedding" all over again, sometimes more than once. This is a dangerous practice, and very difficult for Washington to monitor.

Didn't Walter Poirier disappear during a change in PC directors? Aren't there more incidents, and more serious incidents at these times? During a change in leadership, or when the manager is an Acting Manager only, people are less likely to take risks to do something not spelled out by policy. This unwillingness to act in a serious situation until it is officially approved is magnified in countries where the smallest decision is routinely kicked up the chain of command until it reaches the minister. It is dangerous not to have someone with clear authority at the head of the Peace Corps.

By Back ( on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 9:53 am: Edit Post

Daniel, your "In response to your brilliance:..." really caused me to pause and ask myself why I would continue to put myself in a position of this kind of abuse. The only reason I was "back" was because of RPVC and finally hearing reason and logic. Period.

Daniel, Badr, et al, I wish you all well. I truly hope you can find that connection between approach and outcome. My interest was sincere and unbiased. If you stab someone's interest enough times, it does finally die. I am a novice in this. I already knew that, Daniel. Thanks for pointing it out. I am more embarrassed that I was lured back than by my simplistic concerns. I actually find keeping issues simple and to the point helps truly address and resolve them. My concern was to work toward ensuring due process and the other issues. You attack my position on it as niave. It is. Of course it is and that's the point. I wish you all well, but I am not at all hopeful that anything good will come of your blasts and attacks. Carry on.

By Back ( - on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 10:28 am: Edit Post

And finally, Daniel, your definition of "positive change" brought me a lot of light and knowledge. You seem only interested in "justice" for those already hurt. My "interest" was in positive change in the organization so those problems are minimized to the greatest possible extent.

We had two different objectives and we will, of nessesity, have to take two different paths for each to work toward our own objective.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 1:27 am: Edit Post

I found the thread thus far to be very enlightening. While Director Vasquez has clearly learned alot as witnessed by his answers in the interview, he could learn alot more by reading this thread.

There are still RPCV's who do not trust him to do the right thing because of his inaction or what is seen to be less than responsive action or discouraging action with regard to safety issues that have resulted in death and injuries to PCV's. There are staffers to whom some posters here assign at least partial blame for the safety and health problems of PCV's by their own failure to insist on full disclosure of safety problems by Peace Corps leadership.

From this thread, I have come to the concluseion that the Peace Corps should responsible for seeing to it that a PCV's work in the field is not compromised by failure of the Director and staff (in Washington and the field) to:

1. Take PCV's safety and health concerns seriously. What the Director has done so far has been less than convincing to some. He should be concerned about lack of faith in his seriousness.

2. Follow-up on all deaths, serious injuries, and serious illness with an independent inquiry and a review of the safey issues that may have placed a PCV in jeopardy. While future safety is of utmost importance, justice for those harmed is also very important.

3. Accurate records, promptly available to all, are essential to get PCV and staffer buy-in to make improvements and to improve communication around safety and health issues. Has OSHA ever looked at safety in the Peace Corps? They can help with record keeping. If they don't have jurisdiction with the Peace Corps, they have a consulting wing that could be used.

4. No action with regard to safety and health will ever suffice if the PCV's don't trust the Director and the staff. I was not encouraged with the Director's actions so far to win the PCV's trust. And, I was was not convinced by those in this thread who claimed to be staffers and ex-staffers of their ability to win the trust of those who may feel their safety and health threatened by lack of action or discouraging action by the Director and current staff. There was just too much instutional justification going on to encourage trust-building.

Clearly, Peace Corps needs better oversight than it has recieved so far.

By Just me ( - on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 - 3:01 pm: Edit Post

The real message in this thread is, "How to kill interest in hearing and resolving real issues." Good job everyone!

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 1:50 pm: Edit Post

Just me: The health, safety, and security of PCV's seem like real issues to me.

What planet do you live on?

By RPCV ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit Post

Terry, Joey, Back and other interested parties -

Based on my own experiences I do indeed support the independent IG and ombudsman measures. Every agency should be inspected and audited by independent IGs in order to more objectively and effectively ensure accountability. The ombudsman can hopefully facilitate better and more timely responses to PCVs who have not been treated fairly (safety and security, health, administrative ...).

Neither this former staffer nor - I think - "Current" are attempting to influence anyone here to "trust" the agency or justify the institution wholesale, rather to be more effective in recognizing what has been accomplished and advocating for improvements where there is a lack of sufficient progress. Reasoned and assertive arguements based on an objective review of the available information and identifying to the extent possible the information that is not available (e.g., current safety reports) will garner more attention and response from PC and your congressional reps than the sensationalized conspiracy theories, disingenuous spin and prejudice observed in some postings.

The current director has indeed overseen the design and initial implementation of improvements to safety and security. Hopefully, he'll soon be required to comply with the independent IG and ombudsman measures with which he disagrees. The proof of reponse is in the sustained support of these efforts and regular public safety reports. I would agree that PC and the director still need to earn some level of trust (although we wouldn't have inspections, audits and surveys if the intention were to trust an agency completely).

Another suggestion: The future independent IG or other appropriate independent organization should conduct periodic surveys of both volunteers and staff (not just a one-time event). The surveys should be sent to the congressional committee overseeing PC and made public upon review and response from the committee. All PCVs could be surveyed, including those who ET for any reason, with a 75% return rate from each group (currently serving, ETs, etc.) being considered statistically relevant.

There are well run posts where communications between PCVs and staff and volunteer support are very good ... where all PCVs including those ETing are surveyed and interviewed regularly ... where even the CD makes regular site visits ... where porjects are designed and implemented with strong PCV input ... and so on ... These posts should be studied for practices that could be adapted elsewhere. Furthermore, excellent indicators of a well managed post have been developed but are not utilized effectively in assessing posts. Do so. And posts with problems should be monitored more closely, with changes being made on a timely basis and lessons learned shared worldwide. The tedious process and potential legal issues of removing incompetent federal employees often leads to bureaucratic inertia. However, it can be done will some will power.

And, yes, all processes must be fair, and PC must improve its processing of complaints and post service support. Yet, even those who are "fired" for just cause by the most objective means possible - whether PCV or staff - will often perceive unfairness. Making allowances for staff or PCVs who are significantly compromising their own well being and/or that of others is unfair to site mates and other PCVs in general. That said, accountability for decisions must be present so that abuses of authorities can be eliminated and complaints fairly reviewed.

Safety, security and medical support for PCVs must be a priority and it is the responsibility of staff to ensure timely information, effective reporting and response processes and close attention. However, safety and security is a shared responsibility. The decisions, actions and behavior of both staff and PCVs affect safety and security. PC cannot "ensure" a PCV's safety. It can, however, ensure that prevention, communications and response processess are up to date, tested and effective for minimizing safety incidents. PC can largely eliminate the inconsistency between well managed and poorly managed posts.

PC has an opportunity to set a governmental example for open and transparent communications with the public and among staff and PCVs. Gaddi has an opportunity to bring significant change for a stronger and more effective PC program. And RPCVs have an opportunity to band together to encourage more accountability for safety, medical support, post mangement and transparency through reasoned, intelligent and assertive advocacy.

As an aside, Early Termination or "ET" is a term that encompasses resignation, administrative separation, medical separation and interrupted service; the overall ET rates - i.e., approx 33% worldwide - include all of these categories. However, PCVs often use the term to refer simply to resignations. It would be useful to see a breakdown and to group the avoidable and the unavoidable ETs.

By RPCV ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 1:38 pm: Edit Post

Badr - Your comments in your last post - particularly in the last two paragraphs - are consistent with what I've observed at some posts as both a PCV and staffer. Turnover transition is definitely another area for improvement. If the incoming CD is attentive and capable of getting up to speed quickly, then a transition typically goes well, lapses are not allowed and improvements start soon. However, in too many cases, lapses do occur because the new CD is hired and placed months after the predecessor left or because the CD was not properly prepared or came from a very different work envirionment than that of a PC field environment.

PC could most definitely strengthen its recruiting, placement, retention and preparation of field staff - particularly the CD and APCD positions - although PCMO shortages are often disruptive as well. The director sets the tone and is responsible for leading as well as managing. Although often thought of as interchangeable, leadership and managment - while overlapping in some aspects - are two different roles. And in a multi-tasking PC environment these roles must be carried out simultaneously most of the time.

PC made some improvemements to the process in the last CD recruiting round, including the use of a professional recruiting service. As a point of interest - whether you're pro or con - I think eight of the last nine CDs hired are RPCVs and all have strong professional experiences relevant to PC. Time will tell ...

By Back ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 2:53 pm: Edit Post

The last two posts are precisely how things get done. Thank you, RPCV. I am now armed with details that I can communicate and try to make a difference with. It's amazing what good information can do to move forward with progress. As a novice in this, I can't see one thing that you suggested that needs to improve that I can't wrap my heart and mind around and hopefully help accomplish (my only interest here).

Just me was blasted for making a point that blasting someone doesn't help. Oh well... (and I don't think he/she was saying there weren't real concerns. In fact, he/she, as I read it, was saying there were).

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 3:28 pm: Edit Post

Back: Feeling superior to others doesn't help either.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 3:30 pm: Edit Post

Back: Feeling superior to others doesn't help either.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 6:14 pm: Edit Post

RPCV: On the issue of trust, I believe there must be an institutional shift for trust to be built.

A staffer who is able to communicate that he/she is determined to look at problems from the PCV's point of view before deciding on an action will go a long way in building trust. Being able to discribe a situation the way a PCV sees it, including anger and distrust, will go a long way toward communicating that determination. Lecturing a PCV on the futility of anger and distrust won't cut it.

As well, a staffer who sees an important component of his/her job to be "making the PCV's job easier" will have gone a long way toward building the trust. Since the job of the PCV is to make the job of those with whom they work easier, it would be nice to have some one doing that for the PCV. To the extent that staffers (including the Director) have failed to do that, they have failed the PCV in my opinion.

By the way, a staffer who welcomes an omsbudsman as an additional way to make the PCV's job easier might also find it easier to build trust with the PCV.

By RPCV ( - on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 7:46 pm: Edit Post

Terry - Okay! We seem to be caught in a state of essential agreement, turning it over and over in an effort to find discord.

The only significant difference of opinion - possibly ?? - is that somehow you understood my message as being contradictory to the principles you mention above. It's not, really. The power of empathy makes a tremendous difference to any situation/decision, especially leadership and support roles. Empathy is a subject which should always be incorporated into communications and support development. Thanks for pointing out that out.

Approaching advocacy from a more reasoned stance and leaving out the disingenuous spin, etc. is a sincere recommendation and opinion - not a lecture. And it wasn't an "alone" recommendation. I'm certainly not expecting you to agree with everything I write or accept all recommendations, but my input is offered in a positive spirit and is based on both volunteer and staff service.

If you disagree, just explain ...

You do realize I've stated several times that I support the independent IG and the ombudsman? I only ask because of your last statement. Perhaps it's meant to addressed to Gaddi directly ...

In any case, perhaps we've run the course on this thread ... Peace.

By Back ( - on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 3:53 pm: Edit Post

Terry, I mentioned in my last post that I was a novice in this. I am. While having an interest in sincerely working with a group of people who need to be heard doesn't exempt me from anything, I am not clear on why it has exposed me to so much abuse.

I just didn't think smark alec remarks made to Just me was helpful. I thought I was trying to defend him/her. As a result, I get accused of being superior. My saying that blasting attacks and anger are not productive doesn't mean we don't feel them. It just means they don't help.
And, I guess I am just a little discouraged that my interest from the outside is viewed with so much distain and mistrust. My only solace is that I know where my heart was and I sincerely wanted to work toward a better, more safe, and growing PC. My political activities so far in my life have usually born at least some form of recognizable fruit that helps me have some sense of working toward a better world (if ever so minutely), but these attacks seem to come from nowhere and leave me very discouraged. I guess I am missing the point here, but I am sure you will straightening me out. All that I was looking for from the beginning is "what needs to change to make this very polarized PC better."

As I have tried to communicate the futility of attacks, especially broad sweeping attacks where everyone is suspect, I end up just becoming part of the attacks. And they continue. I bow out.
And Daniel, if you are reading this, I already know that I have said that before. Save your keystrokes for someone else.

By And finally, finally gone ( - on Friday, October 01, 2004 - 4:08 pm: Edit Post

And, as I reflect back on all the emotions of trying to help in this, it feels a whole lot like I have been dealing with, "you are either for us or a'gin us." I didn't like it when Bush said it, and I don't like it when I feel from others whom I thought I had an interest in helping. Foolish me.

It's almost as if you are all saying "if you won't get angry and attacking with us, you can't help us." I guess I can't. My tiniest bit of political clout and influence (and it's tiny, but everything counts in the end) will have to be used on something else. I wish you all well.

By mamfeman ( - on Saturday, October 02, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit Post

Safety and so on. When I was a PCV, during homestay, I found myself on top of a tin roof in my underwear in the middle of the night as 8 men, armed with automatic weapons, plunged through my homestay family's house, looking for the "white man". I had been in country for less than three weeks. The next day, PC staff looked simply stunned. And I stayed for my entire service and it was the best experience I have ever had. I would do it again in a second. Horrible things happen everywhere, everyday. The risk is inherent when you sign up. To deny that is wishful thinking, really.

By Daniel ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 9:45 am: Edit Post

All this debate.

What has Gaddi done for the victims of violence from the 1990's into 2004?

He has done nothing.

The law suit will be filed soon. When we do. Peace Corps will have to spend resources on defense again. They will have to provide money for the cover up.

We were volunteers and the Peace Corps administration and institution treated are cases with omission, negligence, and medical malpractice. The many nameless people and Posters on this thread did not experience these situations. Horrible things have happened with Peace Corps and they will be rectified. It is not wishful thinking when this many volunteers have been wronged by staffers.

Finally, Back, Gone and whatever psuedonyms you ex-staff people may use. Good luck and thanks for your concerns with our direction, but it will be ok, we will finally get the money, rehab, and job opportunities we deserve. Remember you got tax payer money for your job.

Vasquez continues to make Peace Corps unsafe by covering up our cases. How will he handle your son or daughters service? 31 Volunteers killed during the 1990's and into 2004. What has he done for their dedication to service? I would say he has not done enough.

I can tell you, any office at Peace Corps will not handle your case or situation correctly. Vasquez and his staff, like the past will blame you for your service. This is why we must go to court to have our cases handled correctly.

Suing Peace Corps will put the former staffers and Vasquez will make them understand the losses involved with trampling on civil rights.



By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 2:13 pm: Edit Post

Daniel: I wish you well in your court case.

You clearly saw a Peace Corps leadership and support that failed you and the others who will be joining your court case, or who are depending on your case for justice.

My concern is that even if you and the others win the case, the Peace Corps as an institution won’t get the message. They may still separate leadership and support and continue to not understand that the primary role of staff leadership and support, from the Director to the country director’s secretary, is to support the PCV’s. As you and I both know, it is the PCV’s that carry out, day-to-day, the work and mission of the Peace Corps. The staff (including the Director) is just the hired help (paid, as you said, with our tax dollars), necessary for the PCV’s to get their jobs done.

At this point, it is fairly clear that the Peace Corps as an institution does not understand the centrality of that point, even though some individual staffers may understand. If there is no institutional change, lots of current and future PCV’s will face the possibility of having the experience you and the others had, instead of the experience I had in the Peace Corps, when the institution seemed to understand its role and, for the most part, faithfully carried it out.

By badr ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 3:50 pm: Edit Post

PC needs fewer staffers who spout psycho-babble and more staffers who do policy analysis. Instead of asking volunteers if they “feel safe”—how incredibility sensitive and emotive the staff must be to care so deeply and genuinely about PCV feelings—they should release the 2003 safety report that would tell us whether volunteers ARE safe. The late Fred Rogers believed feelings are important. Instead of Kum Ba Yah, we should be singing the Mr. Rogers classic, “It’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive…”

While removing (not training) “incompetent” federal employees may be a “difficult, tedious process”, unfortunately it is incredibly easy to remove a PCV, much easier than fixing program deficiencies. If D.C. staffers were encouraged to visit other staffers’ offices to report on their “mental well-being,” if they were allowed to place allegations in each other’s personnel files, if they could be required to talk to an in-house shrink without having committed a crime as a condition of employment, what would be the effect on PC office morale, the capacity of the staff to provide support for each other, and the ability of staff to perform their jobs effectively? What would happen if administrators started gathering “social information” and keeping secret files on staffers who complained of sexual harassment? I’m sure lawyers would be coming out of the woodwork in a heartbeat. If only just one lawyer would come out of the woodwork on behalf of volunteers.

Instead of considering whether their procedures are impartial and incorporate due process, they waste time trying to pry out whether those who disagree with them might be “angry.” If this isn’t the Orwellian “thought police,” I don’t know what is. Administrators would prefer that volunteers who report safety incidents are labeled as too crazy for Peace Corps but not too crazy to try to fight FECA for a lifetime stipend for a mental condition. Then it’s off the PC budget, the volunteer pays legal fees, another agency pays the tab for disability, and PC doesn’t have to reexamine its safety policies, correct program deficiencies, or reestablish trust with PCV’s. I can tell by the “conspiracy theory” comments that administrators want this issue off the table, but perhaps it provides a clue to the turnover among PCMO’s that would be further illuminated by including staff in the surveys. I hope some of the PCMO’s are leaving because they have seen something that is morally repugnant or because they have been asked to do something that could jeopardize their professional licenses.

By badr ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 4:00 pm: Edit Post

Volunteer surveys. Yes, staff should be included in the surveys. The viewpoint of in-country staff is totally missing from this discussion, may be quite different from the D.C. staff, and may change over time and with policy changes. An independent or outside agency would be better able to maintain confidentiality of surveys returned with foreign village postmarks, would be less tempted to ask statistically invalid questions that serve PR purposes, could construct questions useful for making policy decisions, and would be more trusted, both by those responding to the survey and those using the results.

Reporting results to subcommittee. Surveys conducted by an independent IG would make it impossible for a PC director to prevent the release of a report card that could be interpreted as unfavorable to his watch out of real or perceived pressure from the party leader, although I suppose an appointed IG could also be pressured. The authority to release or withhold documents vital to PC S&S must be placed somewhere besides the director’s office. Is there an agency protected by civil service that can do this? GAO? Reporting to subcommittee works better when different parties control the White House and the Congress. The Senate subcommittee requested the 2003 safety report in June, and the report is still not public. It is the serving volunteers who will be jeopardized by this delay.

Classifying ET’s as “avoidable” and “unavoidable.” This would be difficult. There are good reasons and there are real reasons. The public reason for leaving is often not the real reason. How do you classify the volunteer whose major sexual assault by her job site supervisor’s relatives is “forgotten” in a paperwork shuffle and who leaves a month later for “family reasons?” Another volunteer with even more compelling family reasons is not assaulted and stays. It is too easy for the CD to hide “avoidable” ET’s.

We had no ET’s during training, not one, in spite of some very heavy situations, not because all problems were solved--they weren’t, or because the staff cared—they probably didn’t, unless they cared about being competent--but because the training staff solicited weekly written anonymous volunteer input and incorporated it into the training program. This is not “empathy,” a spontaneous emotion beyond the individual’s control; it is “active listening”, a skill that can be learned and institutionalized. This is how an internal feedback mechanism works. If an outside group came in to evaluate this training staff group, they would find a group with quantifiable data about how they were doing.

The emphasis at HQ right now seems to be on the recruiting process and the right interviewing strategy to find a “good” employee. Unfortunately, the most accurate predictor of how well people will perform in a work environment is whether or not someone is watching them. Many of us have seen how the scheduled visit of an important government official can trigger last minute scrubbing and painting. Since in-country staffers are watched from D.C., they can’t decide to evaluate and tighten up the office before the boss is scheduled to stop by, because the boss doesn’t stop by.

This is where numbers like attrition rates become useful. If a CD knows a high attrition rate or some other problem with their numbers will trigger attention and affect something like budget or perks or being left alone to run the program the way they like, staff will be focused on reducing attrition (or whatever the goal is) by running an effective program. They might even be motivated to improve communications with PCV’s. A country with attrition problems should get more support from D.C.--staff development, extra reports required, program evaluation, extra volunteer surveys. This gives D.C. a measurement tool in communicating expectations to the CD and gives the CD a tool in communicating expectations to the staff.

By badr ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 4:13 pm: Edit Post

In the absence of passage of the proposed legislation, PC should continue with its piecemeal country-by-country efforts. The type of elected Volunteer Advisory Committee program formed in Romania should be broadly implemented now, whether or not there is yet any statistical evidence of an impact on safety numbers. This type of program would give the CD a way to receive and disseminate safety information verbally in a volunteer-only setting in countries where freedom of speech is limited and extremist groups can use safety issues as a political tool. Peer groups would provide a way to network with nearby volunteers and bring a structured safety network system to the regions instead of drawing volunteers to the capital, which is often time-consuming, expensive, and requires a place to stay overnight that is not too unsavory.

One of the few people who supported my decision to volunteer was a department head at the university where I graduated. He told me about growing up in his home country and the excitement of having volunteers arrive in his region. Until then, the vitality of the country was centered on the capital. When volunteers arrived, the backwaters suddenly became interesting and full of life. This is why we volunteer.

Why are staffers and ex-staffers supporting an ombudsman and independent inspector general? The current director does not support either. What is it about your experiences as insiders that led you to support the current legislation? I can understand if the current staffer does not want to speak out, but RPCV must have reasons that go beyond partisan politics.

By Daniel ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 5:54 pm: Edit Post


If I win or we win, resources will be directed towarded making sure what happened to me and others won't happen again with either legal resources, legal reform for separated veterans and a place to go in DC and other cities based on rights of volunteers. We will keep our distance from the NPCA who has been the second biggest hinderance to progress.

Families want a place to go. Funds will go to advocacy on the hill or funding a resource center. Suing is the best solution. No one wants to sue, but when you are a volunteer who gave and is stripped of rights from your employer, they deserve to give back what the institution took from us. Vasquez and the cover up should provide resources for these safety cases.


By RPCV ( - on Sunday, October 03, 2004 - 7:07 pm: Edit Post

Badr -

While I don't agree with every comment above, your comments and suggestions add quite a lot to the discussion.

You asked why I support an independent IG and ombudsman. I'm not at all certain why you implied my reasons have anything to do with partisan politics ... Perhaps you're alluding to a previous comment of mine suggesting communications on this thread had at times been comparable to the current political attack and negative spin tactics.

In any case, this is another area in which you may be disappointed as my response highlights leadership and management issues - not conspiracies or deep secrets ... Although, I could certainly agree that sometimes information is delayed or massaged at HQ for appearances (in most if not all agencies). Therefore, I strongly support timely safety reports, for example.

My experiences, mostly in the field as a PCV and CD, included observations of unfair - though usually unintentional - treatment of PCVs, lack of oversight of posts with incompetent or poorly prepared staff, high and rising ET rates, low morale, poor communications, etc. -- all of which are interconnected. So, one starts with the leadership and volunteer feedback to begin resolving the issues and to discover, yet again, that (healthy, transparent, interactive)COMMUNICATION is at the heart of both the problem and the resolution.

These experiences involved situations inherited and overcome as well as those of colleagues in nearby countries. For the most part, problematic posts have been run by CDs who haven't really been leading as well as managing. A good CD will be proactive about communications with volunteers, staff, host agencies and all stakeholders (utilizing peer groups, VACs ... ensuring productive site visits, building staff responsiveness, etc.); anonymous, one-on-one and group feedback; staff development and performance reviews; and the other ideas you mentioned above. And PST, IST and in-country staff programming and site development activities should be strongly integrated, communications and support at PST should run parallel with that of in-service ... and so on ...

And I observed very positive models too. As I wrote previously, there are well run posts, and these should be evaluated for practices to be adapted at other posts. As the IG works now, their focus is on finding what's wrong with a post and making recommendations to resolve the issue. This is of course very necessary, however, the IG or some independent group could also identify, monitor and incorporate the successful practices. At present, a great IG audit or inspection report for a CD is a thin one (i.e., few or minor issues to be resolved)- Why not include more about the good aspects? Also, the IG should closely monitor the ageed upon resolutions for the problem areas (IGs aren't given the resources to do so now).

I believe an independent IG, ombudsman and independent surveys would encourage more accountability at both the HQ/Director and field levels, helping to minimize abuses of authority, massaging of data for appearances, etc. The staff that are accomplishing their jobs competently and transparently have nothing to worry about. They should welcome and appreciate the feedback to continue improving the program.

I would add that the recruitment, preparation and placement of CDs and other staff is indeed very important. Strong leaders and managers will know why they are at post (volunteers) and how to build and motivate a strong team, instill appropriate priorities and provide good volunteer support. They'll know about the tools you mention and more ... One cannot eliminate all complaints, safety issues and problems (or if you know someone with this capability, please send contact info now!). However, one can assess when a post or agency as a whole is not minimizing these issues, communicating well, etc. PC has many strengths and a worthy mission, yet it has been found lacking in some key areas and must do better.

On a last note, a leader/manager can learn to more effectively empathize in making decisions and in communicating with volunteers and staff. For example, Active Listening and Conflict Resolution - actually components of just about every staff workshop I ever attended - are really tools which in part help a person to better understand other persons' viewpoints, feelings, etc. (empathy). The capacity for empathy IS important, otherwise one is merely faking the active listening.

By daniel ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 5:33 am: Edit Post

The Capacity for empathy is important. Vasquez has not listened and continues to ignore the victims of violence and Peace Corps volunteers who fell victim during the 1990's to 2004.

As you know, I know you are faking the active listening as well as Vasquez and his adminstration.

I will continue to Post the numbers 2,800 plus were victims of violence, most were poorly treated or separated wrongfully by Peace Corps. It can be changed. They choose not to to do anything today. 31 volunteers killed, died and or missing since the mid nineties. The sites these volunteers were sent to
were so called secured. They weren't.

The ombudsman office and the IG are internal hope. I know its false hope. We will get our justice in Court. Violating the civil rights of volunteers is not what the Peace Corps was created for.

If there are things to learn from, then learn from them and change them. Laziness is no excuse and excuses such as "mistakes happen", then blow off the careers and health care of volunteers who served will not stand. Staffers who are or were lazy and not assertive to influence the director and or directors will be judged.

Justice for wrongfully separtated volunteers.

By RPCV ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit Post

Daniel - Your message above is a prime example of attacking someone who is empathetic to your situation and has/is working to imrprove PC but deplores many of your tactics. I understand WHY you're angery and lash out, but I do not accept your blanket prejudices and disingenuous responses - which, I realize arise out of your frustrating experiences with PC. Why do you alienate people who could otherwise help? Note: That's a rhetorical question, I do know the answer ...

Keep to the issues and stop with the personal attacks ... You once again disingenuously insert false positions or implications into my messages ("as you know, I know ..."; "being lazy is no excuse", etc.), then attack those ... This disingenuous practice is often referred to as creating a fragile "straw man" in order to tear it down to enhance appearances or to manipulate public opinion. These tactics will lead to wasted effort in the long term ... Channel your passions effectively - I wonder whether you see the irony of your employing the very tactics you so often condem.

In any case, the issue is how to more effectively support volunteers in the field and emphasize accountability throughout the organization, thereby minimizing the safety incidents and injustices. And while I hope the results of your law suit reflect whatever justice you and others may deserve, there is more to improving PC going forward than can be found in your law suit ... such as strenthening the leadership and management within the agency. And the independent IG and ombudsman are definitely steps in the right direction, although I realize these improvements a this time probably do little for your and others' past cases. So, good luck with the legal remedies. Perhaps you and others can indeed leverage any positive results to encourage reforms to FECA and FOIA as well, being assertive through reasoned and honest approaches.

As always - Peace

By Just for the record ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 1:03 pm: Edit Post

For the record, Daniel, I have never been on staff. You seemed to miss the point of "as an outsider." My interest was genuine and your anger and attacks, along with others, simply killed the interest. In my entire career, I have never been met with so much mistrust and distain when my intentions were pure.

Your attacks, Daniel, when they often don't make sense, (such as attacking me as an ex-staffer--my gosh, I have never worked for or been a part of the PC in any way other than having an interest in something I thought needed help) are your greatest challenge in life. It is a pattern that destroys crediability. When you can attack me for something so far fetched and so far out of nowhere, I truly doubt anything else you say, which, by the way, are all in the form of attacks and threats.

By badr ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 2:46 pm: Edit Post

Former staffers who remain unidentified out of concern for “E-stalkers” and wonder why some one would consider their possible political motivations might well be able to find a conspiracy theory behind all of this. Our in-country Conspiracy Seminar PCV told us, “If you think someone is following you, they are.” Not to worry. If an E-stalker materializes from between the cracks of someone's keyboard or the vents in their CRT, it is probably a djinn, and you have the option of banishing it by invoking the Name of God (recommended), following it to the treasure, or not mixing Prozac with caffeine.

Leadership, management and pro-active are buzzwords invoked by bureaucrats when they want people to think they know something but are really clueless. They are clueless because they stay in D.C. or in the diplomatic section and have poor communication with volunteers. Volunteers won’t talk to them because they don’t want to be labeled as “bad apples”.

Untold numbers of scholars and researchers have tried to unlock the secret of “leadership”. Laissez-faire is always bad except when managing geeks. Authoritarian is always ineffective, but so many of the countries that invite us fear instability more than incompetence. Does the CD then adopt an authoritarian style so the HCN staff can work in a familiar environment, or a laissez-faire style because no one is watching? We use extensive interviewing techniques to choose a spouse, but the divorce rate is what it is, and we just keep interviewing, with even worse results. There is no single accepted theory of leadership. No one knows what it is. Leadership is a bit like pornography: everyone thinks they know it when they see it, but no one can define it.

So what exactly do they do at those CD conferences? Give awards for best practices? Present the best practices in seminars, so if your country has an attrition problem you can go talk to the attrition guru? What about awards? Do they at least get a cupcake with the number one on it if they are the top country in attrition or the most improved? Do they get a fire truck on their cupcake if they have the highest rate of safety concerns responded to? I bet no one even knows how many volunteers have raised concerns. It seems there is no recognition for achievement or consequences for inattention. And those conventions always seem to be held in countries with a relatively lenient attitude towards alcohol and prostitution.

It is curious that the current IG office does not follow up on whether their recommendations are implemented. Surely they must be concerned with outcomes. Is this due to lack of adequate staff time, turnover among CD’s or other staff (IG staff?), conflict of interest with the director’s office, do they have to wait for a request (the reason the GAO has not followed up to date on implementation of their recommendations), something else? Can the IG as it is respond to concerns about missing PCV’s, due process concerns for serving PCV’s, more general concerns like attrition and housing, respond to questions from individual senators or representatives? What kinds of issues will they agree to get involved with? What more could they do if independent?

By RPCV ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 4:08 pm: Edit Post

Badr -

I identified a couple of good questions / points in there ... I think ... However, you discredit these couple of points with a great number of silly implications, primarily through your rather generous use of sarcasm via question. However, on the whole your post would be in agreement, despite the pretense of disagreement - about improving accountability and volunteer support through practical means.

The disagreement seems to be about the value of leadership and certain "buzz words" you don't like (the terms used are easily understood and these threads don't really allow for lengthy discourse). And, oh, yes - I am a former staffer and therefore it would obviously be weak on your part to engage in a real dialogue for any sustained period of time. Obviously we're all "clueless" ...

The reason why the IG currently doesn't follow up agreed upon resolutions is stated quite plainly (hint: resources aka budget) ... This is just one example of the pretense ... addressing all of your outrageous statements (you did want that reaction, yes?) would be futile.

And where did anyone post there is only one form of good leadership? "Active reading" would be beneficial as well. You're approach is, what to give up because one form doesn't fit all persons or situations? Don't even discuss or review post leadership and management (in connection with all of the interconnected practical management issues mentioned)? Implying that CDs attend conferences for alcohol and prostitution? A "Shock and awe" technique styled in the spirit of 'Fahrenheit 9/11'?

The issue of this thread: improving the safety and security support of volunteers in the field, and the related issues of transparency and accountability in managing complaints and post service support.

I'll soon be off to other endeavors and, alas, not have nearly as much time nor the means to enagage in these enlightening discussions (well, some have been!). Peace - Your anonymous RPCV

By daniel ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 8:31 pm: Edit Post

My concern are the staffers and former staffers not understanding or having the empathy for the seriousness of death, safety related issues with Peace Corps which concern a volunteer in jeopardy, a volunteer with a health issue that is relates to safety issues and placing volunteers correctly. The Direction the staffers, former staffers and membership of the NPCA is well short of helping safety related cases and situations. It is a matter of trust. I don't trust many of the former staffers. I feel it is their responsibility to get the changes accomplished.

Shortly after a volunteer went missing, I went to dinner party related to public affairs. There was a guy there who served in Bolivia. We had a strong arguement about the the management of Peace Corps. We knew we were former volunteers and we had that in common. But, we completely disagreed with the direction of the staff and this particular countries staff blaming a volunteer for his or her safety issue. I attacked his empathy for a particular collegue/volunteer. I convinced him to really think about a volunteers rights in these situations and what he or she would do in these circumstances.

I told him about what I thought was a culture of not accepting the fact that these situations are happening more and more often. A Culture of blaming the volunteer and at times victims of violence and not recognizing these particular situations because it does not look good for Peace Corps. On top of that, is how management handled these individuals who served?

Trust in staff and civil servants:
This is the same trust we had in our government and Peace Corps when we joined Peace Corps. I really feel strongly that every staffer, former staffer, and most members of the NPCA who have influence with Peace Corps's future direction have not done enough. I think it has done the program a diservice. At times, I am very proud of my service and what it provided in my life and the lives of the people I worked with. However, from my experience with Peace Corps medical staff, General Counsel, the Administrations has been a nightmare for me and my family.

It makes me wonder why these people get paid our tax dollars for diservice when it comes to reacting to volunteers and volunteers being separated.

It may be you, the current staff, former staffers, volunteers, and potential volunteers who does not like my approach to reform, changes, and pressing our issues. I am not going to be silent, when I personally had my civil rights violated by Peace Corps as an institution. Peace Corps has separated many wrongfully who have gone through safety and health issues and completely blown them off. I think it is ashame and I won't be associated with that kind of attitude toward former volunteers who have gone through these situations.

Vasquez has his direction and priorities with Peace Corps and we do too as former volunteers and separated volunteers. It is not that we want changes. It is ,when, we wiil get these changes.

I found making friends with Peace Corps staffers or couching my arguements have not got any results. I waited to see how Peace Corps and the staffers would handle it over the years. If you take it personally, I am sorry for that. What has gotten results was Marty Meehan's call for a GAO report on safety, advocacy on the hill, and posting a website that told the truth about what was happening with Peace Corps safety.

But, when it comes to Peace Corps, I will protest and fight injustice related to volunteer's rights since Peace Corps has not made the appropriate changes.

When I say staff and former staff lie, I am saying they are not telling the truth about the safety issues and has continued to cover up our cases. Will they cover up more safety incidents for the sake of the program at the expense of the volunteer, their health, safety,career and esteem of serving the Peace Corps?

RPCV, you just don't know how many people staffers have hurt. It needs to change.

I understand you have concern for our cases or you would not be addressing us or me.

I don't look at it as tactics. I look at it as getting the message across that these people are humans with families and deserve better than being discriminated against, sent home humilated, sent home without health care after service for service related problems. I am saying doing business the way Peace Corps has been doing business for years is not good enough.

Peace to you and don't take it personally. Who knows we probably agree on many issues in life, but Peace Corps safety and security may be another thing.

It should be Vasquez's number one concern. If, I were director I would set up an amensty for all former volunteers in these situations and continue the current program with other changes.

I still think cover up and lieing about our cases is an injustice.

By RPCV ( - on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 10:27 pm: Edit Post

Daniel -

I suspect we actually agree on much of the safety and security, other volunteer support issues and resolving any injustices. We have disagreed on some of the specific resolutions and most effective approaches to communicating. I don't take it personally (especially as I remain anonymous), rather I attempt to point out that there are current and fomer staffers - many of them RPCVs who do in fact empathize - actively advocating and working for positive change. That there are any staff, especially those in leadership positions, not doing so is indeed an issue to be addressed and should not be ignored. This is why some of us became staff members. We should encourage more such individuals to join the staff ... they have made a positive difference where they served, supporting volunteers so they could accomplish PC's worthy mission.

I will say - and I hope this doesn't discourage you because I as a former staffer (albeit also an RPCV) am the one saying it - this is one of your more compelling messages.


By badr ( - on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 1:28 am: Edit Post

For a current view of leadership, see Peter Northouse's "Leadership theory and Practice." There are others and if you read them all you will know as much as you do now. It's all smoke and mirrors.

I do recommend Paul Light's "The New Public Service". I read it in one sitting after participating in the survey discussed in the book. It has implcations for those working on issues surrounding the five-year-rule and dovetails with Sen. Voinavich's "Crisis in Human Capital" (availble on the congressional website).

RPCV--The proposed S&S legislation addresses serious issues that are quickly becoing more urgent. Richard Starr was kidnapped in 1977 during a change in administrations. Walter Poirier disappeared in 2001 during the transition between Clinton and Bush. Even when an incumbnt president is reelcted there are frequently major personnel changes in many areas. the secreatary of state announced some time ago that he would not serve in a second Bush white house. I hope to God he changes his mind, but a change in state department could have major implications for PC posts, continuity of volunteer safety, and timeliness of response to critical situations.

In the absence of the proposed legislation what can we do? If a volunteer is missing and PC does not have an adequate response, who should the parents call? The IG? their congressmen? Daniel Pailes? these are questions that deserve a serious answer.

Your discussion of PC organization and what needs to happen next was well-reasoned, perceptive, and well spoken. The piece about continuity during the coming U.S. and iraqi elections is missing. I don't know the shape of the piece or even what questions to ask. RPCV, as a former insider, do you have any insight on what needs to be done.

Change in the Peace Corps has always been initiated from the outside. The mothers of the volunteers I served with made needed changes in PC when they came back. Now it is our turn. This is our time.

By none ( - on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 9:22 am: Edit Post

"Cities across the country are manipulating the results of tests used to detect lead in water, violating federal law and putting millions of Americans at risk of drinking more of the contaminant than their suppliers are reporting. Some cities, including Philadelphia and Boston, have thrown out tests that show high readings or have avoided testing homes most likely to have lead, records show. In New York City, the nation's largest water provider has for the past three years assured its 9.3 million customers that its water was safe because the lead content fell below federal limits. But the city has withheld from regulators hundreds of test results that would have raised lead levels above the safety standard in two of those three years, according to records. The result is that communities large and small may have a false sense of security about the quality of their water and that utilities can avoid spending money to correct the problem."

Although the quote is about water, the story is about an administration that hides and manipulates information. Vasquez is all about "spin" and making himself and his administration "look good". He is not about transparency or truth. There is no need to look much further when you you want to understand why there is distrust. His motto, "talk eloquently, and hide the bad news." Whatever the intention of an individual staffer (either the ones that toady up to their boss, or the ones that will get crushed for speaking up with the truth), the action is set at the top. Unfortunately, there are now no media reporters who are looking at what is really going on here, and no one who is really investigating for the whole truth. Congress has proposed some cosmetic "patches", but it is doubtful these will accomplish much. Lawsuits benefit few, mostly the lawyers who get paid. I am sure the "defenders" of peace corps will quickly dismiss my cynicism. But remeber, Orange County became a bankrupt train wreck under Vasquez's "leadership". Someone should have looked sooner and harder there, too, before people had to suffer the hardships. Put away the rose colored glasses.

By RPCV ( - on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 2:22 pm: Edit Post

Hi all –

This is probably my last posting for quite a while … so forgive the lack of proofreading and length! I’ll continue my third goal activities, which include ‘non-anonymous’ advocacy for improving PC in other forums. Good luck!

On leadership and management: By recommending that PC more closely evaluate its leadership and management practices in the field and at HQ, I’m not suggesting – and wasn’t even thinking - that reading about it in self-help books is the answer. Self-help books are generally common-sense guides that are useful only if the reader is reflecting upon and then working to improve their own leadership and management skills through real experiences (i.e., reminders to spur reflection and active improvement). If reading these books or biographies of successful leaders helps or inspires a particular leader, then read on. I find interacting periodically with other leaders and managers at various levels to be more beneficial (which happens to be my main motivation for, say, CD conferences). There is no substitute for experience, including substantive leadership and management responsibilities, in becoming an effective leader and/or manager. When hiring for certain positions (whether PC Director, CD, APCD or PCMO), it’s important to recruit and prepare those with solid past experiences relevant to the job at hand.

Evaluating how to improve PC-specific leadership and management in the field and at HQ is useful only if practices can be shared (which doesn’t imply adapting a “one fits all” approach) and certain qualities can be identified for recruiting and developing/training staff and PCVs. Is this a panacea? NO. Of course, one can dismiss this approach as a lone measure unable to address the problems. However, it was recommended in concert with other measures as an important aspect of improving volunteer support.

On Transition: The transition issues mentioned in previous posts (Badr and RPCV), are real. Solid recommendations for the larger administrative level are out there. Mark Gearan – and please set aside any animosities against this former staffer for just a moment – has laid out measures that would vastly improve transition fluidity throughout the government. Transition problems negatively impact operations throughout the government, including all levels of PC. I was certainly disappointed the first time I realized the constraints I would face in making basic changes in the field due to a presidential transition and to continuing resolutions. Note: Continuing resolutions are necessary to avoid shutting down the government when congress doesn’t pass a budget on time - which happens most years – and generate budgetary and planning uncertainty which in turn lead to delay or cancellation of initiatives throughout the agency. The transition problem and its ramifications for even field operations must be addressed at the top and through congress (I encourage you to read Mark’s recommendations). You can use the search engine on this site to locate articles about both of these topics.

On magic bullets: There is no single magic bullet, no panacea. We need a reasoned and assertive advocacy of resolutions that in concert will bring about the changes desired. The PC-specific legislation currently being considered is a part of that resolution. In addition to the independent IG and ombudsman measures, other means to enhance accountability and transparency are necessary (e.g. independent surveys of staff and PCVs, FECA and FOIA reforms, etc.).

On recruitment of qualified staff: Improving the recruitment of staff will strengthen volunteer support. If you think the PCV recruitment process was frustrating, I invite you to apply for a CD position. While appropriately thorough in many regards concerning qualifications, I have no doubt that many good candidates drop out of the process due to the very late notification of decisions and insufficient time to prepare (usually a month – keep mind that for the most part these folks are middle or senior aged, have priorities involving spouses and dependent children, houses to sell, leaving substantial jobs, etc.). The remedies are not difficult – basically requiring better panning and dedication to getting it done with more lead time.

I doubt anyone disagrees that significant change is most often initiated from outside pressure. However, positive change is actually accomplished by those willing to go inside. While constructive criticism is always useful, anyone can criticize … The real challenge is stepping up and taking responsibility for that change.

My personal take: From the inside as a CD, I could be most effective in improving the program for which I was responsible. Did I speak up about broader issues? Yes, as did many others who would not be considered “toadies” (I haven’t seen that term in some time! I assume it used in place of sycophant). Many didn’t. Did Gaddi care for me and some of these others? No, he generally did not, although I can attest that we were not “crushed” and he did incorporate some – though not all - of the input. I’m sure, however, some have been “crushed” – or, in other words, frustrated to the point of giving up. Did he listen? Well, I can say he was very good at displaying “active listening” skills – some of which seemed to be effective. Over time, has he learned to become a more effective leader of PC? I’d have to say, yes he has … although there were other more qualified candidates and he unfortunately started out with a very “closed door” policy that frustrated staff and, in turn, PCVs. He’s opened up some but not enough.

So, keep pushing … You’re well aware that I suggest advocacy is more effective in this case by asserting reasoned and intelligent positions, with a bit less emphasis on conspiracies. Reasoned thinking identifies both strengths and weaknesses in creating better opportunities for improvement than if the agency is viewed as all good or all bad.

There are many good recommendations for positive change from a number of interested parties – RPCVs, PCVs, former and current staff, non-staff… Dear None: Oh what cynical times in which our metaphorical eye wear is available in only two shades – i.e., rose and black! I wonder if it’s possible for us to be collectively skeptical enough to prevent/uncover/correct the problems, yet to be positive enough to bring about change that truly strengthens a worthy mission.


By badr ( - on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 2:13 am: Edit Post

It's a sad commenary on PC "leadership" when former staffers mistake standard works on civil service and public service for "self-help." Peter G. Northouse (Ph.D,, University of Denver)is a professor, researcher, and consultant and has published many articles on leadership in professional journals. "Leadership Theory and Pis ractice" does not include "inspirational biographies" but does include case studies and a section on leadership ethics,which I doubt if anyone at PC has read.

Paul Light is vice president and director of Governmental Studies and of the Center for public Serice at the Brookings Institution, which is not another Bellevue, but is devoted to economics, government, foreign policy, and developing public policy. "The New Public Service" draws on interviews of graduates of the nation's top public policy and adminstration graduate schools to examine change in career patterns and motivation in America's top public servants. Of course it is easier to deliberately misunderstand someone than to click on Amazon.

Sen George V. Voinavich has devoted much of his career to understanding the structure of our public service system and how to make it more effective. As far as I know, he has never been a shrink. Although "Crisis in Human Capital" is not as recent as the others, it is still a standard work in understanding public service. His questions to Dir. Vasques at the Senate hearings were particluarly illuminating.

Whatever anyone thinks of Vasques' political affiliations or his background, I believe he has made a sincere effort to contribute his expertise in law enforcemnt to the improvment of PC. While his policies will not be seen as making an impact on safety issues of the last ten years, they do make sense in the context of 9/11 and were a necessary response to the national crisis. He has not made deliberate mistatements, but the questions he avoids tell us much about the state of Peace Corps.

RPCV' metaphors are terrible, and "toadies" is indeed an English word in common usage. The armchair psychology with its conspiracy theories is even more lame. Forget advanced English, throw away the DMSIII-R, and concentrate on policy analysis, which does reveal the occasional diamond in the rough.

The comments on budget and planning explain some things I saw in country. the recruitment issues were even more interesting and I have'nt seen them raised before. this has certainly been an issue in other agencies, some of which ahve found adequate solutions. I doubt very much whether it's much better than what PCV' experience. I had three weeks notification, and my clearances were'nt complete until the week prior to departure. I was a mid-career type civil service person, so I had to arrange a leave of absence, empty an apartment, and sell a car, in less than a week. In theory, everything I lost that week, I should have been able to replace two years later through the readjustment allowance, but of course, PC has ways of making sure you don't get that.

PC still isn't using performance and outcome based models. this has been standard stuff in public service for a while now. Even the Brits are using it.

there's probably a consipiracy in here somewhere if you think about it long enough.

By RPCV ( - on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 12:56 pm: Edit Post

Badr - One last response for you before I fly out of here ...

Whoa ... I think writing informally on these discussion threads doesn't always reflect the intended tone. I'm not disparaging your choice in leadership studies or your desire to read and particpate. Although most of my experience is actually leading and managing in the real world, I hold advanced degrees related to organizational theory, leadership and management. I've written as well as read and participated in many useful studies, including familiarity with all you've mentioned (and some not so useful).

It appeared to me that you were almost completely dismissing leadership and management studies in previous messages (you were but perhaps you hold a couple in special esteem). In any case, the bottom line would seem to be that you agree with my original proposition: to evaluate and strengthen PC's leadersip and management (neither of which, BTW, are buzzwords). Naturally, this includes - most importantly - the practical tools.

Lame metaphors? Yes, perhaps my dry sense of humor and deliberate yet subtle point was missed (a bit of poking at melo-dramatic statements and sensationalism). While you may not appreciate my stab at humor to underscore a point about a serious subject, don't let yourself get too uptight about it ... relax. Your caustic approach isn't exactly the most effective.

Vasquesz - Some of the more reasoned comments I've read on this thread.

Recruitment: Sure, many mid and senior PCV candidates suffer some of the same frustrations as CD candidates. A few key differences between the profiles would be the much greater proportion of CD candidates who are in mid and senior life phases, the fact that few if any of the older PCV candidates are living with dependent children and many married candidates can be placed as married couples. I too was mid-career when I was a PCV.

Performance and outcome models: What major organization hasn't adapted or devised such models? You're right it's nothing new (although improvements are made now and then), and it's certainly not rocket science. Of course PC has such models. It's a matter of how effectively these models are utilized. And this would be the area in which PC and many agencies are found lacking. Too many view models, guides to applying theories and/or consulting recommendations as panaceas. Good models and studies are necessary for enhancing our knowledge and exploring ideas, however, they are insufficient. It seems an obvious point, however, PC and many agencies do not effectively implement, monitor, evaluate their processes/models and incorprate the feedback into continuous improvement (now, the latter is indeed somewhat of a buzzword but incapsulates an important concept). The solution? Part of it lies in recuiting those with the right track records ... turning reflection and modeling into action.

Safety, security and medical support are the most serious and important aspects of volunteer support. And if the current pressure on PC to improve in this area leads to significant leadership and management improvements, then the whole program should benefit.


By Amazed at it all ( - on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 4:50 pm: Edit Post

It is soooooooooo intriguing to read a thoughtful and stimulating review of the organization, the weaknesses as viewed by a former CD, and even some useful ideas on how we can better communicate our own ideas and concerns, and then, with great anticipation, look to the next message, which will undoubtedly be from Badr, to see how s/he is going to blast away at it as if there were no value whatever to be drawn from it.

If Badr never gets the point, s/he will never make the point.

To RPCV, "why bother?" The message, no matter how well articulated, and no matter how much value lies therein, is not getting through. May I suggest other threads and other ways to work toward positive change. This thread is dead weight.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:33 pm: Edit Post

Amazed at it all: So you think RPCV provided well-articulated, valuable messages? They don't appear to have been well-articulated or valuable enough to have brought about any noticeable institutional change while he was working for Peace Corps. His activities as a staffer didn't even bring about up-to-date safety records that could be used to make improvements in safety at the PCV's level.

RPCV talked with some pride about how important it is to be INVOLVED, as he was, not on the outside looking in. Nevertheless, like me, he is asking for an ombudsman.

If as you say, "This thread is dead weight...," then RPCV bears as much of the responsibility as any other poster, including you and me, "Amazed at it all."

By badr ( - on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 3:09 am: Edit Post

RPCV-The current staffer who referred to volunteers as “unreasonable, prejudiced, sensational and mendacious” has an even dryer and more subtle sense of humor than you do. I’m glad that’s cleared up.

Typo correction: correct spelling for PC director is Vasquez, the senator is Voinovich, apologies to both.

Budget: We know the richest and most powerful superpower nation in the world cannot even pay its Peace Corps Volunteers on time, and in turn, they have to ask their landlords out in the boonies of the third world to wait for rent. I saw it happen twice in two years. If subcontractors for USIS who drive Mercedes’ find routine late payments to be objectionable because of their need to meet obligations, what does this mean for a volunteer? Volunteers can be under tremendous pressure to marry to help a HCN get a visa or to provide sexual favors in return for services. It doesn’t help if the local going rate for an hour of Western female companionship is quite a bit higher than the volunteer’s monthly rent or if local women are always married or under the protection of some male. At what point does late rent payment from an employee of the richest country in the world contribute to a safety issue?

During these budget crunch times in country, it seems the volunteers who do get the few scarce resources are disproportionately young, male, vociferous, part of a party clique, have daddy’s credit card in their pockets, and have easy access to the capitol and PC staff with discretionary funds. It would be interesting to know if safety incidents at these times are statistically linked to age or remoteness of the site. This might provide an argument for a more efficient use of the available funds. The most important question, and one that might be useful in communicating with legislators, is whether there are any numbers that show a link between budget interruptions in country and an increase in safety incidents.

Performance models v. performance numbers: If one of the problems of Peace Corps is that it “does not effectively implement, monitor, evaluate, etc. for continuous improvement”, it seems that the solution would be to begin to “effectively monitor, evaluate, etc.” Instead the solution presented is to recruit people with “proven track records”. This means people who know how to present resumes, KSA’s and smoke and mirrors. And, although maybe not as workable in an agency with a five-year rule, the other common agency solution is to develop the talent you do have through training and attitude adjustment (“support” instead of “warden” terminology, taking the “victim as alcoholic” innuendo, based on flawed methodology that counts a drunk perpetrator as an incident with “drinking involved”, off the website). Accepting and mourning our losses instead of hiding them, then moving on to minimize risks and make restitution to those whose careers or health has been injured.

I repeat what I said before: the most effective predictor of how someone will perform on the job is not how they present a resume, but whether or not someone is watching. In one government office where I worked, great emphasis was placed on an individual’s numbers. Certificates were given out at meetings for accuracy, cleaning up certain criteria lists, team awards that had the most of whatever was the agency priority that month, etc. Everyone knew who had the best numbers and what their own numbers were. The people writing the salary reviews knew everybody’s numbers too, although everyone had the same salary steps. This office was very good at producing numbers that looked good to the next level up the hierarchy. No murky “leadership” criteria here. The numbers spoke for themselves.

In Peace Corps this is difficult because the people being watched are so far away. The most obvious number is attrition because if a volunteer leaves, D.C. will most certainly know about it. Do offices that implement conflict resolution programs lower their attrition rates? Make sure every CD knows how they do it. Do you want CD’s to be more responsive to volunteer safety concerns? Find a way for volunteers to post their concerns in a way that can be monitored, then see how long it takes the country office to respond, then resolve. No more volunteers writing letters to their families asking for mace and being found dead a month later.

This ties into the budget limitations of the IG. I presume to effectively monitor a country office and make recommendations, someone has to physically go to the country and look at paperwork, talk to people, etc. Salaries and plane fare. What if the information was already in D.C. through E-monitoring and the CD’s already knew what information they would look for? D.C. could just burn off some reports and decide what needed improvement. The IG would have fewer situations to respond to and could start looking at compliance with recommendations.

What about volunteers evaluating staff like students evaluate professors? This is controversial among volunteers I have talked to, but I’m throwing it out there. If staff knows what questions the volunteers will be asked to rate them on (responsiveness to safety concerns, responsiveness to health, capital equipment, other concerns), this may set staff expectations and make them more attentive to key issues. All volunteers would have an equal chance to rate staff, whether their families had national clout or not. And you wouldn’t have to spend money to send them out there to see what is happening because volunteers are already there. Maybe you would only do evals more often based on attrition rates, as incentive.

Finally, volunteers should get a readjustment allowance based on what it actually takes to readjust, not on whether they were lucky. You could still give bonuses for longer service. This would provide a financial incentive for CD’s to solve safety problems, as they could not ease their budget situation by not responding to safety issues.

By Amazed at it all ( - on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:57 am: Edit Post

Terry, you have a former PC volunteer and former CD who sees problems that are arguably pretty close to the concerns expressed in this thread, and you blast him for the entire agencies lack of progress. Aren't you blasting the wrong person here? That is precisely the problem with this thread. There is no recognition of anyone who seems to be, in your mind, poison simply because of being a former "staffer." You lay the entire agencies problems on his shoulders. His well-articulated concerns are thrown out because he is poison in your mind and heart. You can attack all you want, but if you really want progress, try working together to get it.

Badr's attacks about hiring from resumes, smoke and mirrors, etc, adds greatly to the same problem with this thread. Badr, resumes get people interviews, not jobs. The interview(s), usually, gets the job or not. I have been in Human Resources a great deal of my career, in one form or another, and if you know where the crystal ball is to illiminate resumes and interviews, background checks and work histories, please enlighten me.

Terry and Badr, in all seriousness, we have had people in this thread who agree with many of the issues you have. We even had an "outsider" who was seeking light and knowledege and s/he was blasted to smethareens. I hope you can find a way to work with them, not against them. For the sake of making real changes in an organization that is so valuable for the volunteer who desires to serve and the countries they serve in, I pray you can find that balance.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit Post

Sorry, "Amazed at it all," I plead "not guilty" to your accusations. I am assumed innocent until proven guilty and you are NOT the ENTIRE jury, even if you are a jury wannabe.

This is your SECOND post on this thread. What have you offered except blasting us for allegedly "blasting" RPCV?

By the way, the ones you accuse of "blasting" people are not the only ones doing the blasting:

Badr, Daniel -

I think your posts speak loudly for themselves and require no counter-point response. Do you even care about being taken seriously? And quit stealing from and debasing Sen. Edward's "Two Americas" theme.

In any case, the level of discussion has fallen to an unproductive low and it's time to leave this one permanently. I'm sure you'll miss me.


That is from a post by RPCV on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 12:13 pm. As of Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 03:09 am, he was still posting. No matter how low the level of discussion may have fallen by RPCV's own view, he hasn’t seemed to be as damaged by the "blasting" as you allege in your protective blasting of the "blasters."

This is the kind of stuff that gets discussed rather than the fact that since the 2002 Annual Report on Safety, no systematic review of PCV safety is available on the Peace Corps website.

So, unless RPCV has access to information not available to those using the website, any defense he makes of the Peace Corps record on safety is base on extremely old data.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit Post

Sorry, RPCV's last post was made on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 12:56 pm, not October 07, 2004 - 03:09 am; that was a Badr post.

By Amazed at it all ( - on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 4:22 pm: Edit Post

Never-the-less, you blasted him. Did you say, or not, "They don't appear to have been well-articulated or valuable enough to have brought about any noticeable institutional change while he was working for Peace Corps. His activities as a staffer didn't even bring about up-to-date safety records that could be used to make improvements in safety at the PCV's level."

You plead innocent, but they are your words and your only comeback is, in essence, "Well, they started it."

The point is simple, "Can't we all just get along." Rodney King had his problems, but his words were profoundly on the mark for many, many, situations. That's my only message as one who wanted to work toward progress in a productive way. What I'm hearing and feeling from just about everyone here is, "We have tried it the 'nice' way, and now it's time to get angry."

If this is too emotionally sensitive of an issue for people who have been wronged in a huge way, I apologize for missing that point. I just wanted to move ahead armed with information that would help bring about positive change. My ignorance toward the depth of these issues and there emotional charge have left me puzzled and curious about the anger embedded in the language of this thread. I just haven't seen many situations where so much anger and attacks produces much, but maybe nothing else has worked, so . . .

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 6:47 pm: Edit Post

"Amazed at it all": my response about RPCV was not made in anger. I just felt it necessary to detach myself from what I perceived to be your fawning admiration for RPCV and everything he said as opposed to your lack of respect for everyone else in the thread who didn't agree with him.

While I agree with him on the subject of an ombudsman, my disagreement with RPCV is profound.

RPCV keeps talking about management and leadership when he talks about staff. That is contrary to the original vision of Peace Corps staff. The 5-year rule was specifically designed to be sure that staff clearly understood its role: support for the PCV doing the work, not empire building.

PCV training and selection was all meant to be support so that the PCV's would be the best available. Those doing the training and selection were supposed to be performing support duties, not management or leadership.

Management and leadership had to do with staff dealing with other staff, not PCV’s. Staff was envisioned to be "just the hired help," when it came to PCV’s. Peace Corps was never meant to be "just another Federal agency." That has been lost.

By badr ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 2:03 am: Edit Post

"Amazed" argument seems to be that the issues of institutional change, improvements in safety, and up to date safety records should be off the table. He wants us to be "nice", sweet, naive and "get along". Anyone who raises these issues is "angry, attacking and blasting." There is an elephant in the room, but he wants us to pretend we don't see it.

There are agencies that perform well, agencies that perform poorly, and agencies that just don't get it. In every state, local and federal agency we strive for greater transparency, accountability, and public trust. Most agencies spend a great deal of effort measuring performance (doing things right) and designing performance measurement tools (doing the right things). PC doesn't even know what that is.

When we trust our public money to an institution we want to know that they are professional and competent and we send accountants and auditors to make sure standards are followed. But when we send our sons and daughters without guns to live in places where people don't like Americans in order to promote American values, don't we have an obligation to ask that insitution for accountability? Are America's kids so unimportant? Is Peace Corps so unimportant?

The growing sentiment in public service is that employees are a capital resource that must be developed in order to preserve institutional memory and perform effectively. For an agency to be effective, it must be able to control turnover and attract capable people who would otherwise take jobs in the private sector or another agency by offering job security and taking the red tape out of the hiring process. This is the force at work in PC right now in its developing security structure. If PC is to become "just another Federal agency" it might as well become a good one.

One can easily guess at the intentions behind the five year rule by reading the postings of staffers and their apologists, such as "Ron", "last chance", "gone", "back", "out", "back", "amazed", and the other signatures used by the poster at "dsl-customer-205." "Amazed" would have us believe that staffers are so emtionally sensitive and personally identified with PC policies that they cannot detach long enough to evaluate the effectiveness of current policies and change direction when necessary. "Amazed" does not want Peace Corps challenged. Without challenges, there is no growth. The agency cannot stay alive and vibrant, and eventually it will die. Empire building and the five year rule are two opposing solutions to the stagnation problem illustrated by the postings of the above staffers and their apologists.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 3:13 am: Edit Post


When I said, "...just another Federal agency," I meant NO disrespect to Federal agencies. What I was trying to get across is that Peace Corps as an organization has, from its inception, been meant to function differently from other Federal organizations, because it depends on volunteers to get its job done, not employees, civil service or otherwise. From my point of view, Peace Corps has lost a lot of that early intention.

I feel certain that the Peace Corps' original concern for the safety, health, and security of PCV's has been lost to an extent that is worth immediate action and change. Staff attitudes toward its role with regard to PCV's sadly seem to have contributed to that loss.

By none ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 9:20 am: Edit Post

"Staff" are a diverse group. There are some who don't clearly understand their roles and purpose. There are some who are very responsible with their roles, understand their purpose is to support volunteers, and are highly capable. However, if any of these challenge the Vasquez administration, the 5-year rule can and has been used to get "rid" of them. The director is the responsible party for what has happened on his watch. There is no protection from abuse of the 5-year rule, and no penalty for abusers.

By daniel ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 10:04 am: Edit Post

Resignation of Gaddi Vasquez, traveling on the government dole while former volunteers who have gone through safety issues with the agency wallow without health care and justice in their cases. When is the next trip and how much have these vacations cost the program and the American taxpayer?

Former volunteers and concerned RPCV's "blast off" or tell the truth about the agency, when the Peace Corps has put volunteers at risk, covered up their situations and then don't provide adequate care or follow up to these incidents. The staff are part of it. Gaddi Vasquez's attitude toward these problems must continually be examined and we must continue to ask for his resignation on consistent basis.

He has continued the lapse attitiude on safety and concern for RPCV's, families of volunteers who have gone through these incidents, and we must get justice in our cases. He knows he is lieing about the numbers of volunteers who have gone through violent incidents at their site while serving in Peace Corps. He ignores it. The Dayton Daily News continues to get awards for their journalism as a few disgruntled staffers try to dismiss the news series and the lives of these volunteers who probably contributed just as much as they did for the program, and in many cases much more.

By the way, Charles Smith should be removed before the five year rule is changed. We need a true objective personality in that position.

Leadership is not there at Peace Corps and the volunteers and RPCV's are not doing well by their misdirection.

The Congress had the wool pulled over their eyes in the hearings, by the witnesses involved, except Mr. Poirer who pointed to some of those areas that are lapse. Real critism,real change, and years of statisitics of problems at Peace Corps was not discussed in these hearings. Those issues and discussions would have brought substantial change and stability in the future of the program.

None, I agree with you about the staff and the attitudes of these individuals.


By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 11:06 am: Edit Post

None: I did not intend to imply that the attitudes of the entire staff contributed to the loss of Peace Corps' original concern for the safety, health, and security of PCV's, nor did I intend to imply that the attitudes of the entire staff of the early Peace Corps organization were completely wholesome and pure.

However, from the news reports and the interview with the Director (to which this thread is dedicated), I have concluded that there has been a loss from the beginnings of the Peace Corps. I have no doubt that the Director has directly contributed to this loss. I opposed his nomination for Director, because I had great concern about his ability and/or willingness to change the direction of the Peace Corps.

Daniel may be correct; bringing change to the Peace Corps may only be able to be done from the outside. I wish more staff members would risk being "5-year ruled" in an attempt at change from the inside. For one thing, it would make a good news story in an election year. (Everyone: The previous sentence is a feeble attempt at humor; please don’t make me defend it.) {:-)

By daniel ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 1:30 pm: Edit Post

Resignation of Vasquez called for: This thread of arguements should be sent to the national press club. Anywhere he addresses people he should be plaqued with the questions about justice and health care for volunteers who were victims of violence. He should be questioned about the travel on the government dole and his priorities?

By none ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 9:28 pm: Edit Post

The e-mail address for submitting questions to the National Press Club is

By Daniel ( - on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 9:59 pm: Edit Post

I sent questions. They probably won't be tough enough on Vasquez. They will give him softball questions. Thanks NONE for providing that e-mail address and I hope you send some questions too.

We as separated Veterans should be asked to come and ask the questions. He never served, but we volunteered our time and that's what the Peace Corps is about.


By Joanne Marie Roll ( on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 6:17 pm: Edit Post

I would like to thank Terry Adcock for his following statements:
"RPCV keeps talking about management and leadership when he talks about staff. That is contrary to the original vision of Peace Corps staff. The 5-year rule was specifically designed to be sure that staff clearly understood its role: support for the PCV doing the work, not empire building.

PCV training and selection was all meant to be support so that the PCV's would be the best available. Those doing the training and selection were supposed to be performing support duties, not management or leadership."

Terry is describing the Peace Corps I thought I was joining back in the summer of 1963. And, indeed, the Colombia 1 RPCVs who trained us reflected precisely that perspective and those values. Thanks, Terry, for the reminder. Sad as it may make me.

JRoll Colombia 11 63-65

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 9:39 pm: Edit Post


As I was posting to this thread, I felt like the folks that write about the "good old days," nostalgically, but not realistically. But in reality, the Peace Corps that Sarge Shriver formed was designed to press forward, not decline. We were supposed to look back on Sarge's day, and be glad that the Peace Corps had gotten so much better.

It makes me sad, too, that there appears to have been a decline.

Thanks for the kind words. Nice to hear from a Colombia RPCV! Let's keep pressing Peace Corps to start pressing forward again. Maybe one sweet day...

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 12:23 pm: Edit Post

Terry, you know, I'm just an outsider here who really just wanted to help work toward better safety, security, and medical treatment in the PC and to work toward making safety and security records public (it seems unconscionable to me that they are not). My involvement has not been welcomed. I have apologized for my lack of understanding about how sensitive everyone is about their mistreated. I do so again.

Terry, I really had a hard time, as an outsider, sorting through what I was reading to find substance that I could sink my teeth into, which substance is what I was seeking. It's that simple. Maybe my feedback as an outsider is not worth anything. Maybe Daniel's anger and attacking, accusing style is justified. I quess I'm just not used to it. I think there's a better way, but I am not in any position in this organization to even offer that counsel, so I won't.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:20 pm: Edit Post

“Just an interested reader, at this point,” “Still Interested,” “Becoming Even More Interested,” “Still Interested, well actually, Ron,” “Ron, not interested anymore,” “Gone,” “Last Chance,” “Havent (sic) given up, yet,” “Out,” “Back,” “And finally, finally gone,” “Just for the record,” and “Amazed at it all”:

The worth of your feedback is a function of your ability to understand what others are saying. My judgement of the worth of your feedback is worthless.

I have explained my negative feedback to your feedback.

To help you with the substance of my posts, you could read the first two sentences of Joanne Marie Roll's post on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 06:17 pm.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:23 pm: Edit Post

The reality is, when we say things like "He should be questioned about the travel on the government dole . . .," we weaken the real issues. It's the real issues that I have been trying, as I may, to discover. I am sorry, but they are lost in this kind of attack that is soooooo secondary to safety and security issues and the "holding back" being done by the PC staff of valuable information about safety, rapes, etc.

You've done a good job to make me feel bad about giving this type of feedback and trying, again as I may, to stay focused on what has to be done to get progress on the real issues.

Does anyone besides Daniel believe that Vasquez 'travel on the dole' is a significant issue? Again, I am sorry for my attempts to lower the tone if those attempts have offended anyone. Offense was not my intent, but it was certainly the reality.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:37 pm: Edit Post

Terry, we were apparently writing our post at the same time and mine was sent without reading yours. While mine still stands, so to speak, you make a good point about the worth of feedback and where I missed the boat. I guess I have learned something about myself that leaves my humbled. I am.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:37 pm: Edit Post

Amazed, et. al.: Remind me; did you read the substance of my posts, or did Daniel's post about Vasquez "travelling on the dole" distract you? Focusing on substance, rather than "tone" might help us all.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:39 pm: Edit Post

We are doing a good job writing at the same time, for whatever that is worth. I fully read the substance of your posts and everyone else's. Your 'substance' was well done.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:40 pm: Edit Post

Amazed, et. al.: Remind me; did you read the substance of my posts, or did Daniel's post about Vasquez "travelling on the dole" distract you?

Focusing on substance, rather than "tone" might help us all.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:47 pm: Edit Post

Terry, I am human as well as an outsider. I have been looking for substance from the beginning, but the attacks did distract me. I find out now why the frustration with everyone, but it's too late. I have spent my entire career in one form of advocacy or another, mostly for people with disabilities. My advocacy role has always been well-received. I avoid attacks, et al. The lesson for me here is the reality of how big the problems are and how frustrated everyone is. It's a hard lesson, but one learned. Please forgive me.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:52 pm: Edit Post

Sorry about the second post. I probably hit the "Post this Message" button rather than the "Preview/Post Message" button.

The purpose of my posts was not to "humble" you.

My problem in this thread was not you, or what you said. My problem was my disagreement with RPCV. Your posts, in my opinion, didn't help me make that clear.

It is clear now.

Sorry I let you feel that you were somehow the "problem."

Hope this gets to you before we "cross in the mail" again.

By Terry Adcock Colombia 1961-63 ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 4:56 pm: Edit Post

We did cross in the mail, anyway. Oh, well.

Apology accepted. Please accept mine too.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 5:02 pm: Edit Post

And yours is too, although I feel more like the learner here.

By Amazed ( - on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 5:05 pm: Edit Post

And therefore the one who has made the mistakes.

By none ( - on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - 4:48 pm: Edit Post

The manner in which peace corps country directors support their volunteers--comply or be "crushed".


By badr ( - on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 12:18 am: Edit Post

More like comply AND be crushed. Typical "gotcha" communication style... "oh, we forgot to tell you, you can't do that. Bye." This volunteer has a powerful enemy somewhere.

Even more frightening, discussing safety issues is off-limits. This is why there are more safety incidents in the first three months of service. Each volunteer has to reinvent the wheel instead of learning from volunteers who found out the hard way.

PC must establish lines of communication in-country so volunteers can exchange safety info with each other in a venue away from HCN's. Every volunteer should know what type of safety incidents are occurring and in what regions. Identities of volunteers reporting incidents should be protected, especially from HCN staff. Volunteers gave our country office all kinds of incident reports that could have been used to foresee and prevent incidents, but the reports were "lost" and we were told nothing. Volunteers should not be blindsided.

This volunteer should have been given a written offer of the next available position he was qualified for or the choice of a full readjustment allowance.

By daniel ( - on Saturday, October 16, 2004 - 10:47 am: Edit Post

Thanks Badr,Vasquez will resign like he said he was going to. Or is he a Flip Flopper?


By dan ( on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 7:52 am: Edit Post

I have some suggestions for future interviews.
1) Skip the acronyms (What is NPCA?).
2) When asking about a program or whatever, explain what you are talking about (The five year rule comes to mind).
3) Give a little background on particular issues and don't assume that people know what you are referring to (e.g., NPCA).

Further, on the subject of RPCV's in the administration, it should be obvious that the unique position of a PCV requires that the support staff, such as Mr. Vasquez, understand it fully. That understanding can only be acquired by volunteering. To require a politically "correct" attitude of an administrator is a recipe for disaster. Witness the many political appointments made to scientific advisory boards by the Bush administration and the havoc they have caused, and the results of appointing the "foxes" to guard the "chicken houses" in the present administration. Knowing what a job entails and caring about it seems to me to be more important than "do you support the president?"

By troy ( - on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 - 4:54 pm: Edit Post

hey i'm an RPCV from jamaica, got home about 4 months ago and still lookin for a job (preferrably something envirnonmental or policy based), any ideas or suggestions on where to look? peace, "walk good"

By RCR ( on Thursday, October 21, 2004 - 10:58 am: Edit Post

I read some of the comments, and agreed wholeheartedly with the first comment left by "badr."

In the country I served in, PC staff would tell us: We are here because of you. They were trying to say it wasn't because they were in the country that we were there. And it was odd to us that their mantra was they were in the country because of us, because whenever anyone called with a health problem or about something that happened at site, we all felt as if we were bothering the staff. It became a stressful situation for anyone calling with a problem, because we would get an annoyed sigh on the other end, and someone would speak to us in an unsympathetic manner. And the especially strange thing was all the Americans in the office were former PCVs, so shouldn't they have been even more sympathetic to life in the field?

We had one female in our group who was given completely inadequate housing. There was no reason why PC should have even thought it appropriate for someone to live in the house they gave her. When the PC nurse came for a site visit, the volunteer complained and was told she better be careful about complaining because she would get sent home.

Our country director's family attended school in another country. I was serving in Africa and the PC country director and his wife did not like the international school in the country so his family went to live in the next country over where they did like the international school. I found this troublesome on many levels. Even more disturbing, during our first in-service training, he announced that he and his wife had just bought their first BMW and waited for everyone to clap for him. Talk about out of touch!

Peace Corps ended up being a much different experience than I thought it would be. I loved being in Africa and the experience changed my life for the better. But my experience with Peace Corps was terrible.

I've wondered what sort of training is in place for PC staff. Do they learn how they need to respond to volunteers who have issues at site? Because I could have sworn that if there was some sort of training, it would be: make yourselves unavailable to volunteers.

By none ( - on Friday, November 05, 2004 - 4:50 pm: Edit Post

Contempt of Congress
Contempt for volunteers

"The Committee notes that the Director of the Peace Corps has not submitted individual Country Security reports as urged in House Report 108-222. The Committee directs the Director of the Peace Corps to submit to the Committee not later than 60 days following enactment of this Act a report containing these reports and describing how the Peace Corps can make available, including through its website, country-specific reports describing the risks volunteers face to their health and safety."

Vasquez should resign (again) or be fired.

By badr ( - on Saturday, November 27, 2004 - 4:33 am: Edit Post

none-I can't locate this in Thomas, what is it?

RCR-yes the country was great, but the staff...

Staff appeared to have no clue as to what was culturally appropriate, some of their ideas were outright dangerous, and their actions in the office made me wonder what the HCN staff must be thinking about Americans. Although a lot of emphasis is placed on training the volunteers on what is culturally appropriate, apparently the staff are expected to administer the progam without knowing the culture. Maybe when you live in the diplomatic section with central heat, vehicles, and servants, it doesn't matter if you can communicate with someone from another culture.

When a group of language trainers went to one nine-year staffer with some concerns, he told them "I don't care what you think" and they walked out in the middle of a new group of volunteers.

Another staffer told volunteers he had spent his volunteer days on a beach smoking dope.

Another staffer responsible for site visits decided to pattern herself after the ministry brass--they have never done the particular job, but once a year they go out and look for things to complain about--it's how they "supervise". The staffer would spend thirty minutes observing the volunteer at work, then if the volunteer started bringing up any issues or problems, she just got in her car and took off. When we asked her at a program meeting how she envisioned her job and just what it was that she did, her reply was "I talk to the ministry." Do you suppose anyone explains to staffers what a job description is or do they even have job descriptions?

And where were the people supervising them? When we had meetings, they only showed up for a few minutes--in time for the language skits, and didn't have a clue what was going on in the program areas.

And where was D.C.? 50% attrition rate for several years in a row and no one back in Washington even noticed.

They were really good at plane tickets though. They could tell you all the airline schedules without looking.

By none ( - on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 1:38 pm: Edit Post

It is the Peace Corps appropriation language in the House of Representatives Report on the Foreign Operations Appropriation Bill for Fiscal Year 2005, H.Report 108-599.

Congress is concerned that volunteers are not being given enough information to make informed decisions. They note that Vasquez is hiding information from volunteers, Congress, and the public. He talks a good game, but his actions don't match his rhetoric. His attitude is an arrogant superiority that shows his underlying contempt toward volunteers. His attitude is that he and his staff people already know what's right for Peace Corps, and they don't need to listen to you. He has contempt for volunteers and contempt for Congress.

Vasquez should resign (again). And this time he should really leave.

By RPCV ( - on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 4:38 am: Edit Post

Leave Ha,

He is going to take some more trips. Republicans. I here that sucking sound again.

He has done nothig substantial for these issues and refuses to publish the real problems.

Thanks Mr. Carrollo for letting the truth be known.

He should leave. He never served and he is the phony.

By badr ( - on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 2:14 am: Edit Post

Okay none, I see both reports; you have to click on "Peace Corps" after searching for the committee record number. The House Committee on Appropriations wants the Peace Corps Director to submit "individual Country Reports to accompany the annual report that outlines the security environment in all countries in which Peace Corps volunteers currently work." I assume this is a report to Congress and not a public report that could embarrass our allies and help our adversaries.

If the Congress can't get this information, what do you bet the volunteers who need this information aren't getting it either.

The rounds of embassy parties could be interrupted long enough to obtain this information for Congress. And for the volunteers.

By none ( - on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 4:07 pm: Edit Post

Precisely the point (and then some). It appears that Vasquez is now and has been for some time (approx. 2 years) withholding highly important information and reports about safety from Congress, the public and volunteers. It appears he has not given Congress reports it asked for. He has not put information that was requested on the website. The safety report now on the website is from 2002. 2005 starts in 3 weeks and he has given only rhetoric and spin, but no actual crime rates in 2 years. Vasquez and his underlings are simply arrogant and contemptious. They do not care if there is transparency in what has happened with a program funded by taxpayers. There will be excuses, but Vasquez is the director and the failure is his. It's time for a change in leadership. Vasquez and his flunkies need to leave.

By gvibe7 ( - on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 12:59 pm: Edit Post

i don't think i've seen more bickering on a playground. you guys are hilarious. unfortunately, the issues are not. grow up! all of you. if someone calls you names, skip it, they're being sensational. if you're the name caller, well good on you for trying to generate interest, but it makes people laugh at you. that's not good if what you're trying to get across is serious.

i've always found gaddi too slick and polished, but based on what i expected with the initial nomination process and previous work history, he has exceeded all expectations. i just wish things would be a bit more forthcoming with the "corps."

guys, get some help, seriously, unless you're practicing comedic routines.

By none ( - on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 12:25 pm: Edit Post

"Exceeding expectations" and "meeting minimal standards" for public service, including honesty, and decency are not the same thing. We need to expect the standard for public office to explicitly include honesty and exclude contempt. Seriously. Vasquez fails. Slick, polished, and arrogant just makes the failure more hypocritical. Vasquez and his loyal flunkies need to resign, now, for the good of the corps.

By daniel ( - on Monday, March 06, 2006 - 11:38 pm: Edit Post

Still Interested,

Harm has increased because over 10,000 former volunteers are currently without health care due to service related injuries. This administration is the worst at covering it up putting Steve what ever his name is in charge of Volunteer services. They don't properly review these cases and the hang up the phone on people who have served. Not me. I don't call Peace Corps anymore.
Its people who have contacted me and tell me.

Secondly, victims of violence in service with Peace Corps are at home without Proper jobs because they served in Peace Corps and most were wrongfully separated, for the so called good of the program. This is why people don't report incidents. The fear of reprisal from the agency to say you were hallucinating and what you witnessed didn't happen or down play and blame the volunteer.

33 Volunteers have been killed, died or are missing over ten years. One is too many. The Families and people who served and are being ignored by Gaddi Vasquez. They served out in a village and endured hardships and the safety incident they have had. Gaddi has not had to go through this, so why should he care. How many countries has he been to now? Many. How much money does he make? We Volunteered still interested. The bunk at Peace Corps reagarding cover up of these cases will stop.

So there you go,

By Volunteer ( - on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 10:16 pm: Edit Post


A Balance is not discriminating against people for serving Peace Corps.

Balance is not using medical services to label volunteers with career ruining medical malpractice.

You are right, you don't know where the anger comes from.

It comes from having a safety issue in Peace Corps to the point of concern for your own safety and Peace Corps wrongfully stygmitizing volunteers who served them. Such as a woman who is raped and the administration saying she wanted it. Such as a volunteer threatened with their life and Peace Corps says you are lieing about it.

The real outrage is when you see young volunteers fall in service and Peace Corps does bunk about it and still does nothing.

Its a jip.

You may have a good record with the agency. So, you don't know what the problem is.

However, a balance is to come half way.

Peace Corps has taken the offense in protecting themselves by attacking former volunteers and volunteers who have gone through these situations.

Discrimination is what it is.

The Peace Corps does it. Period.

These volunteers should be staffers to make the agency a better place to work and for the people in the field.

By Dayton Daily New Report ( - on Saturday, February 24, 2007 - 9:42 pm: Edit Post

What happened to the 2,000 plus victims of violence. Is there still a cover up?

By Bolivia ( - on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 11:17 pm: Edit Post

Walter Poirier,

Peace Corps has a budget, they are still in Bolivia. Senator Kerry is on the foreign relations committee. Why doesn't he hold up Peace Corps funding until they have a proper investigation with funding from Congress behind it? Why Senator Kerry? Follow up. Hello!!! Are you there Mr. Kerry? Or do you just want to promote the program for an endorsement? Do the right thing.

Peace Corps is a great program, but the response problem from Peace Corps in missing volunteer cases, safety cases and deaths of volunteers needs to be properly addressed and not swept under the rug. Even with hearings, there is no funding or steps toward real changes for on-going investigations, memorials for bereaved loved ones, and or funds for these families for a memory of their son or daughter. These volunteers gave or themselves in service, the Congress, the American people and the staff at Peace Corps should create this type of funding source as a positive move toward caring about the individual volunteer their legacy and memorial. Military Volunteers get it, and we go to countries who are supposed to be peaceful. Why not give funds to these efforts to show the care each one of us has for our own service as well as the above folks who served with us. Cases like Walter Poirier, the Karen Phillips case, Zack Merrill, and most recently Miss Horan in Tonga, and from long ago Deborah Gardner.

The ombudsman's office was dropped in the Senate by Senator Dodd. A former volunteer not sticking up for people who served like him. He is running for what office now?

Over 2,800 victims of violence in service from 1993-through 2002. The stats should be measured as an indicator. Senator Dewine wrote to other Senator's that increases were 125% increase over the forty years of Peace Corps.

What has happened to these folks? Are they getting post service health care, are they being discriminated for jobs because they had a safety incident and Peace Corps denies it? Where is the real accountability for these folks, who again, contributed their time.

Hill staffers, Peace Corps staff and former staff have to be honest with themselves, if it happened to you, what would you do?

Do something Peace Corps.

By Wrong Dodd for President? ( - on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 4:16 am: Edit Post

Where is Dodd on this?

By Anti-Dodd ( - on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 11:40 am: Edit Post

Call Senator Dodd's staff and Presidential Campaign. Ask what he has done for all the families that have gone through safety incidents with Peace Corps over 2,700 volunteers who gave of themselves like him. He started his career waving his Peace Corps flag. Where is he for the families who have had a person go through something like this and been wronged by Peace Corps?

By Injustice to Volunteerism ( - on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 8:54 am: Edit Post

They gave of themselves.

What did Peace Corps administrators do?

The fired them, terminated them, and have tried to ruin their career's by blaming the victims of violence in service of their service related issues.

These people who blame and make these judgements work at headquarters in a nice office, had assignments without a safety issue; if they were in service, and if they were in country, they have a guarded house in the capital of the country.

The safety office, the Congressional hearings, and calls for changes are not enough. we need a major bill that helps former volunteers who have had safety and health issues from the past.

2,700 victims of violence in service from 1995-2002. How many from the mid eighties to now? I would say well over 5,000 volunteers. Peace Corps thinks they can continue to recruit and send volunteers out their as sitting ducks, then throw them away if one gets fiddled with.

If there have been major changes at headquarters with a Safety office, then where is the apology for the volunteers who gave and served.

Instead, they cover up our cases such as blaming rape victims, making the medical process so overwhelming without empathetic care that volunteers give up and lanquish with these issues for life as people like Honda, Dodd, Farr and any other federal employee or contractor moves on with their career and blame us wrongfully.

This is why certain volunteers who have died in the field didn't report their incidents because of the fear of reprisal from the agency. The Corruption at Peace Corps related to these issues needs to be addressed by the national media. We will continue to give of ourselves by advocating for it.

For all you who enjoy federal service or contract for the government in some way or another. Our service records are incorrect and many have been wrongfully stigmitized by Peace Corps over the 1980's into 2000. We are blamed for the rise in terrorism, we are blamed for the rape that volunteer occured, we are blamed for not residing in safe places, the list goes on. Yet, because we volunteered and Peace Corps wrongfully stigmitzed us, we can't work in the federal service with USAID, state department, NGO's because eventually you need a security clearance. This is when the volunteer record comes up. Employment Discrimination

In reality its Peace Corps and former volunteers who should be on our side. Many are not which is the hardest thing to understand.

If you have been through a safety incident write to this web site continue to call the foreign affaris committee in the house, leave the place of your service and possibly your name. If you are a former volunteer who agrees to help volunteers from the past call the committee.

We did not volunteer for discrimination, scrutiny, harsh judgements in our service files.
We served to give to others and we will always be that type of person. Whether the Peace Corps lies about us or not.

Call and write.

former Volunteer who contributed

By PCV ( - on Sunday, April 08, 2007 - 9:28 am: Edit Post

Who do I write to?

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