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USFK leaders investigating sudden drop in civilians' post allowance

Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea commander, takes a tour of the joint security area and Observation Post Dora near Panmunjom, South Korea, Oct. 3, 2013.

SEOUL — The commander of U.S. Forces Korea has assured civilian employees he is making it a priority to address a sudden drop in their post allowance to zero percent of spendable income.

“I am very concerned about the effect this will have on you and your families,” Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti wrote in a May 16 letter to USFK civilian employees, alerting them to the change.

The post allowance rate unexpectedly dropped to zero percent of disposable income on May 4, after remaining at 15 percent to 20 percent this year. In his letter, Scaparrotti said the post allowance changed because of a recent State Department-managed survey, though the letter did not provide further details.

Post allowance is determined by the State Department survey, which did not include Department of Defense civilians, the letter said.

“We are already working with DOD and DOS officials, and will immediately inform you when there are updates,” Scaparrotti’s letter said.

However, he did not say what measures were being taken.

Employees will see the post allowance decrease in their paychecks for the May 4-17 pay period.

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately explain why the post allowance dropped, or how the issue is being addressed.

Post allowance is given to U.S. civilian employees stationed overseas in a location where the cost of living is substantially higher than in Washington, D.C., allowing foreign-based employees to spend the same portion of their basic compensation for living expenses without seeing a reduction in their living standards.

“I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate your efforts and contributions to our mission,” Scaparrotti wrote. “I feel very strongly about protecting your pay, so I will work this issue as a priority.”

rowland.ashley@stripes.com
Twitter: @Rowland_Stripes

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