This week I spent some time in contact with the Peace Corps office in DC. While I wish I could give you some promising news on my case, I’m afraid it’s rather bleak. Here is the story…
On August 27, 2002, I called the Peace Corps Office of Placement to be considered for re-enrollment. I did not speak with anyone directly, but left a message asking to be called back.
Having received no response from the Peace Corps, I gave the Office of Placement another call on September 3, 2002. This time I was able to speak with Sylvie Mortimer of the Office of Placement, Business Desk. Sylvie was the placement officer who extended me my invitation in February 2002.
Sylvie was unaware that I had returned and said that she would have to do some research about my case; talk to Earl Brown, the Guyana country director; and talk to Rita Jimenez, the country desk officer, South America Desk. I told her I understood.
I then asked about the timeline and how long it might take for me to receive a new assignment, if one was granted. She said that she has only two IT assignments available in the winter and both require a fluency in Spanish. Other than that, it wouldn’t be until the Spring 2003. This was disappointing news.
The following day, Sylvie left me an even more disappointing voicemail. While the news was discouraging, she was pleasant and helpful. Here is what she said:
September 4, 2002 (3:52 p.m.)
Hi. This message is for Jason Pearce. This is Sylvie Mortimer [Office of Placement, Business Desk] from the Peace Corps calling back. I talked to you yesterday. My extension is (202) 692-1854. You can also dial the 800 number, extension 1854, to reach me.
I just wanted to let you know that I followed up a little bit with Earl [Earl Brown, Peace Corps Guyana Country Director] and with Rita [Rita Jimenez, Country Desk Officer, South America Desk] and got more of the whole story. So I just wanted to talk with you about it and let you know what your options are at this point, which is basically just like any other early termination.
You have to wait one year before reapplying to the Peace Corps, and to do that, you have to go through a recruiting office. And you will also have to get a reference from someone in Guyana. We have all of the other documentation of what happened in the file.
So feel free to give me a call back if you have questions about this. But this is defiantly our policy and I wanted to let you know as soon as possible so you didn’t have your hopes up of being re-invited somewhere else very soon.
So feel free to give me a call if you have any questions. Bye bye.
Determined, I sent Sylvie the following email, for I believe that as an Early Termination/Interrupted Service Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I have the right to request for reinstatement, re-enrollment, or transfer.
From: Jason Pearce
Sent: Thursday, September 5, 2002
To: Sylvie Mortimer
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Request for reinstatement, re-enrollment, or transfer
Thank you for your prompt reply regarding my request for re-enrollment. Your thoughtful timeliness was appreciated.
If I understand your voicemail correctly, you are saying it is Peace Corps policy that volunteers who have received early termination must wait one year before reapplying. And should an early-terminated volunteer choose to reapply after that one-year period, they would have to submit a new application through a Regional Recruitment Office.
Please let me know if I misunderstood your message, for perhaps I did. As I?m sure you would agree, the vast amount of Peace Corps policies, literature, and guidelines can be daunting and confusing.
What I have found, however, indicates that I could be considered for re-enrollment without having to submit a new application. Here’s what I’ve found:
PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK
Under some circumstances, an RPCV may re-enroll for another term without having to submit a new application. Re-enrollment is possible if:
- Within the past two years, the RPCV completed service (COS) or has his/her service terminated early for medical reasons or due to exceptional circumstances beyond his or her control; and
- The RPCV has particular skills or experience requested by host countries which are not sufficiently available from current applications.
According to Earl Brown’s August 21, 2002, memo, I was given an Early Termination/Interrupted Service per MS 284, 5.0, stating, “The host country (or other cooperating agency to which the volunteer is assigned) requests that the volunteer be removed from service for reasons that would not consist grounds for administrative separation.”
So I turn to MS 284, 5.0 to see what it says. It reads:
MS 284: EARLY TERMINATION OF SERVICE
5.0 Interrupted Service
A Volunteer or Trainee may be separated with interrupted service status if the Country Director determines that circumstances beyond the control of the V/T make it necessary for the V/T to leave his or her present assignment. Because the nature of circumstances leading to interrupted service are beyond the V/T’s control, interrupted service should not be used in lieu of administrative separation. All travel options under paragraph 8.0 are open to V/Ts who are separated with interrupted service status, but not in particular that 8.1.3 “Field Exception to Direct and Immediate Return” may be appropriate.
5.1 Grounds for Interrupted Service
Interrupted service may be appropriate if:
[This is the only applicable reason]
There is no viable assignment in country of assignment for which the V/T is qualified.
A V/T who has been separated with interrupted service status may seek reinstatement or re-enrollment to Peace Corps service or may seek transfer to another country.
So if I understand all of this correctly, as an Early Termination/Interrupted Service (per MS 284, 5.0) Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), I may seek reinstatement or re-enrollment to Peace Corps service or may seek transfer to another country without having to submit a new application. This is what I am requesting.
If I am not eligible for reinstatement or re-enrollment to Peace Corps service or may not seek transfer to another country without having to submit a new application, please explain why. If there are relevant Peace Corps policies that I am missing, please provide them as well.
Thank you again for your attention to my request for reinstatement, re-enrollment, or transfer; it is kindly appreciated.
Jason A. Pearce
I imagine that my email will likely pass Earl and Rita’s desks before I hear her reply. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I took care of some other Peace Corps business today by mailing my no-fee passport back to their office. I also asked for them to send me a copy of my Volunteer Description of Service (DOS) Statement, the official Peace Corps record of service for former Volunteers. I was supposed to receive this letter at my close of service but did not. I’m interested to see what it says.