Step # 9 Ten Steps For The Next Peace Corps Director To Take To Improve The Agency, Save Money, And Make All PCVs & RPCV Happy!

Step # 9 Toughest Job You’ll Ever Have!

Since 1988 Country Directors have not been political positions, but during the Gaddi Vasquez and Jody Olsen tenures, they let non-merit Republicans grab these GS-1 and GS-2 $100,000 plus positions that are the key appointments in the Peace Corps.  True, hiring these mostly unqualified appointments as CDs was not Jody’s fault.  Jody will be the first to admit that as the Deputy,  she had no real authority in the agency; she was nothing more than a totem female RPCV doing the bidding of other Republican hacks. The real power within the Peace Corps was Lloyd Pierson who was a CD in Kenya. His wife worked in the Republican White House and Pierson believed that the Peace Corps should be under USAID. He told Gaddi and his good friend, Jody Olsen, what to do.

That said, as the recent Transition Team report states, “Country director selection must be greatly improved to ensure the hiring the quality professionals through a process not based on personal politics.”

The decision that country directors would not be political positions was set down back 1988 by a Republican, Loret Miller Ruppe. Loret was Director from 1981-to 1989. You know how there are good Republicans and bad Republicans ( Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Pat Buchanan, God the list of ‘bad Republican’ is very long) Well, Loret was a ‘good’ Republican who believed in the Peace Corps.

In fairness to Republicans, CDs without qualifications were found in plenty of Democrat administrations. My favorite, and I don’t know who hired him, was the guy who went to Southern Africa and used Peace Corps PCV funds to pay for renovation on his overseas residence. He was called back to D.C. and arrested at Peace Corps HQ. for misappropriating federal funds, and led out of the building in handcuffs! Actually, come to think of it, I believe the Republicans hired him.

Still, all of us know enough CDs and APCDs to fairly ask the question: ‘how did he/she get hired?’

Here are my suggestions for the next Director, simple requirements that will automatically improve the qualify of people hired to be CDs overseas.

Do Hire

Only former Volunteers.
Only candidates with previous overseas development experience.
People with successful managing experience.
People with great senses of humor.
People who failed at something big in their lives.
People who have done something unusual in their lives.
People who have spouses that really should be the candidate for CD.
Little league coaches. (Anyone who can handle parents & kids, can handle PCVs.)
People who have a library card.
Majors in history, English, psychology, or the sciences, but not political science.
People who have published a book, write poetry, paint, or act in local plays.
Parents with more than one child.
Joggers (but not marathon or triathlon; those people are too self-centered).
Great listeners.
People who have big hearts.
People who are slow to anger.
People who love to cook.
People who love board games.
People who like to hike, canoe, camp out, or climb mountains.
People who thinks they really should be the Peace Corps Director!

Don’t Hire

Anyone who is considered an “expert” at anything.
Anyone who ran for political office.
Anyone who is thinking of running for political office.
Anyone currently employed by any political party.
Anyone who currently works for USAID or State.
Any chief administrator working at the state or country level.
Any high school administrators.
Any college presidents or deans.
Any former high school or college jock.
Golfers with low handicaps.
People who bowl.
Anyone who believes yoga is the answer to all life’s problems.
People who haven’t see Volunteers.
Anyone who has seen Volunteers but doesn’t get it.
Former high school class presidents.
People who obsessively text message.
Anyone who can’t change a tire on a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Those who graduated last in their class.
Those who graduated first in their class.
Anyone who sends a family Christmas card to friends and relatives.
Anyone terrified by creepy-crawlers.
Anyone who thinks he or she has figured out what’s wrong with foreign aid.
Anyone with a platinum American Express Card.
Anyone with a trust fund.

Place the selection of new Country Directors in the Office of the Deputy Director. In charge of reviewing applicants and hiring people is an Associate Director. Have on this person’s staff  two RPCVs. (They are there for the ‘smell’ test.) Hire directly for specific counties with a time date on when, where and how. Have all applicants apply by writing a letter that is hand written and is only three paragraphs long. In the letter the applicant will state:

  • Personal bio
  • What specific skills they bring to the position
  • Why they would make a good CD

Interview the likely candidates first by one of the RPCVs, then by the another RPCV, then by the Deputy Director, and finally the Regional Manager, if the candidate is that impressive. This process should take the candidate and the Office less than two days of interviewing before a decision is made to have this person’s background checked out, a physical done. A new CD can be In, Up, And Overseas in less than three months.

10 Comments

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  • Add to hire list— those that can ride a horse, shear a sheep, fix a running toilet, round up the bill and add at least 10%, let you sleep on their floor, read ” The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ” and at least 6 of Theroux’s travel books, buy a round now and than, skip the highlight treatments and spa, wash their hands and drink boiled water!!!

  • How about you print the full comments?

    As I said before, this piece is rather silly and has the tone of a 6th grade essay. Do you really think having a platinum AMEX should be grounds for not hiring a person as a CD? Do you really think being a Poli Sci major or a board game fan is a crucial factor?

    This is a great example of the early generation of RPCVs being out of touch. Your list would exclude people like Obama, Bill Gates, Chris Matthews, Reed Hastings, and tons of other people. Even your most coveted factor – being an RPCV – is silly. The Peace Corps needs MORE fresh ideas from outside the myth and cult that exists around it.

  • Wow–You think it is 6th grade? Nah, I’d say 4th grade. I am happy to get your comments, but we want you to ‘confess up’ on who you are. Don’t be shy. If not, then we can’t take your seriously. I was trying to be amusing with my list. I guess my humor doesn’t work with you. Sorry.
    Thanks for reading and your comments, even if you are hiding behind Wow. Com’on, Wow, play the game!

    Your call.
    John

  • Oh, Wow, one problem about my editing…I have suffered from being dyslectic all my life. It’s a struggle and I am sure I’m not much of a writer because of it. In fact, I’m the only person I know who failed 2nd grade….those nuns were tough! However, I have somehow written a few books (www.johncoynebooks.com) and I keep working at it. That is how dumb I am when good souls like yourself throw up your arms and shouts, what a terrible writer! We need good copy editors that’s for sure. Thanks for your suggestions on how I might improve my prose, but being an old guy, as you say, I’m afraid I’m set in my ways.

  • I’m out. I like getting into my Master Bait and Tadckle shirt and hitting the lanes with the girls. (My burgundy ball has “Smitty” engraved in it.) Antny, the manager, lets me jwear just my socks.

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