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At UN Pension Fund, Outsourcing Is Set to Be Sued, While UN Medical Services Abuse Paper Trial Surfaces

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, February 15 -- In the drive to outsource $9 billion from the UN Pension Fund, meetings are held behind closed doors, even when presented as public. For that reason and others, on Thursday the UN Staff Council passed a motion authorizing a lawsuit in Federal Court to try to stop the deal.

            On Thursday the Pension Board's Audit Committee met. Inner City Press attempted to stakeout the meeting -- that is, to ask participants questions on their way in and out. Inner City Press waited outside the meeting room, on the 38th Floor of One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. While this is done routinely outside even closed meeting held in the UN Secretariat building, at the UN Pension Fund such waiting draws stares and suspicion. One officious man demanded, "How did you get in here?"

            Eventually a woman named Pat Ryer, from Meeting Services, told Inner City Press she would tell the Audit Committee members and management of the questions to be answered. On this basis, Inner City Press headed back to the Secretariat building, and formalized the questions in writing:

Since one function of the Audit Committee is to liaise between OIOS and the Pension Board, when is the Audit Committee going to discuss OIOS' 20-page, 124-paragraph Report of Investigation, dated March 28, 2006, ID Case No. 0543/05, calling among other things for action be taken on Dulcie Bull and Paul Dooley?

 According to a statement released last week by the S-G's spokesperson's office to Inner City Press, Mr. Cocheme "informed OIOS that he disagrees with the findings and recommendations of the report of investigation - as regards the actions of his staff - and advised that he 'intends to take no action' with regard to them. OIOS advised him that pursuant to its mandate, it will report his response to the General Assembly."

 Inner City Press tried to reach Mr. Cocheme by telephone for an explanation of his disagreement and refusal to act on UN investigators' recommendations, and left a detailed voice mail, but still a week later no response has been received...  Is it appropriate for Pension Fund staff to be told not to speak to the press?

  On outsourcing, to which firms was the RFP circulated and when it is due? Why have we still not been able to see a copy of the RFP? Will the Audit Committee consider the many requests that it await an asset liability management study? Could Deutsche Bank bid? Could Merrill Lynch?There are other questions, but rather than keep asking, we'll await answers to the above.

   The questions were also sent to the staff representative and to CEO Cochame, as well as to UN Controller Warren Sach. By midnight, none of the questions were answered. Nor had Mr. Sach responded to a direct media request to attend the opening of the bids for the $9 billion to be outsourced. At the UN's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the General Assembly President's spokesman why the four GA representatives on the Pension Board are not responsible for bringing to the GA's attention for action that Pension Fund management's refusal to implement the recommendations of an OIOS report.  From the transcript:

Inner City Press: The board of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund seems to have, the General Assembly sends four members to it.  So, I’m wondering, first, how they’re elected by the GA, by the General Assembly or by some Committee, and also whether they can, the issue I’ve asked you about, these OIOS reports that now supposedly go back to the GA, can these four individuals, do they play any role –- because they’re on the Pension Fund Board, in bringing this back to the GA?
Spokesperson:  No, no.  The Chairman of the Board sends his report, the annual report of the Board, to the Fifth Committee.  It's a standing item.  I think it’s an annual item.  If not annual, it's one of the biennial items.  And, once that report is made to the Fifth Committee, the Member States can either endorse the report of the Pension Fund, ask questions of the Pension Fund about why they did not accept recommendations made by OIOS, and it's either that the Chief can persuade Member States that this was the right decision to make, or Member States can easily take a decision or resolution telling him, "No, you have to accept the recommendations made by OIOS."

            We'll see. The Staff Council passed a resolution authorizing litigation, and allocation of up to $250,000 from the reserve fund to that end. The resolution expressed "dismay" at the Secretary-General and "alarm" at the speeding toward outsourcing.

OIOS' Ms. Alenius: miscellaneous?

            The head of OIOS, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Warren Sach, the previous Deputy Secretary General and UN Medical Services' Agnes Pasquier and Sedershan Narula were all informed, on March 6, 2006, of the Pension Fund management's abusive practice of unilaterally declaring that staff they have put on sick leave "are not to enter UNJSFP office space over the same period." This particular order came from the Pension Fund's Peter Goddard, regarding whom we have more to report. In this case raised and documented, the above-named were notified that the staff member was "escorted out of the building - and this is not the first staff member to have endured such humiliating treatment -- simply for having expressed a different opinion from the 'management.' Many staff members question why Mr. Goddard, in particular, has not been escorted out of the building, as valid reason abound... His infamous 'paper-throwing' incident at a Town Hall meeting demonstrated his flagrant disrespect toward staff members."

            On May 3, 2006, Medical Services' Dr. Sedershan Narula and OHRM's Netta Avedon and Barada Weisbrot were informed of staff's concern "that UN funds and time are being squandered by Pension Fund management, where some Pension Fund staff members are forced to undergo unnecessary psychiatric evaluations. This is purely a tool to enable the continual harassment by Pension Fund management and some supervisors toward certain staff members... Pension Fund staff members who were sent for psychiatric evaluations have ALL made the 'mistake' of merely challenging Pension Fund management / supervisors with regard to managerial opinions / decision."

            Like the decision to try to push this outsourcing through, behind closed doors. As one staff member put it, "Who's crazy?" Developing.

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At UN Pension Fund, UN Directives Are Said to Not Apply, Per Jan Beagle Memo, Making Cocheme an S-G in the Shadows

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, February 14 -- As the UN Pension Fund lurches toward the outsourcing of $9 billion dollars, while its CEO Bernard Cocheme refuses to implement a UN investigative report that found systemic irregularities in previously outsourced computerization contracts, sources continue to come forward. The picture they paint of Mr. Cocheme is as a non-manager who allows senior officials to hire and fire whomever they want, and ignores lower level staff's complaints whatever their merits.

            The Memorandum of Understanding granted by the UN's Jan Beagle to the UN Pension Fund exempts the Fund from many of the UN's rules and directives. This has led to abuse of staff, to a lawless parallel world of the UN, and to contracting irregularities.

            Underlying the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services report of investigation that was first reported on by Inner City Press on February 5 was a detailed September 2, 2004, memo provided to Mr. Cocheme, to Barada Weisbrot of the UN's Office of Human Resources Management and that offices then-boss Catherine Bertini. The memo detailed examples of favoritism, "lobbyism" and intimidation of staff.

Find Jan Beagle of UN OHRM

            When nothing was done to act on that memo, the proponents moved to a Staff Council Resolution, Number 69 of 2005, which identified the loophole through these irregularities occur: the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Fund and OHRM's Jan Beagle. The resolution, which passed by a vote of 17-0, expressed "concern[] that recent personnel decisions made by the Chief Executive Officer of the UNJSPF might be considered arbitrary, and would constitute a violation of the rights of staff members within the Pension Fund secretariat." The resolution was brought to the attention of the members of the Pension Board as well as the UN's Fifth Committee.

            Subsequently OIOS opened an investigation, conducted by two investigators sent from Vienna, who have been identified by sources as Mr. Florin Postica and Ms. Margaret Gichanga. They did detailed work, and issued a 20-page, 124-paragraph Report of Investigation, dated March 28, 2006, ID Case No. 0543/05. It called among other things that action be taken on Dulcie Bull and Paul Dooley, for contracting irregularities and, as least as to the former, on other grounds as well. Mr. Bahel, subsequently indicted for corruption, was also identified in the report. He is the only one so far on whom action has been taken.

            Mr. Cocheme has said, without explanation, that he "disagrees" with the report, and will not act on it. It then goes to the General Assembly.  Wednesday at the UN's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for the GA what are the next steps. He said, "If the General Assembly disagrees with what the Pension Fund did, they can do something." Video here, from Minute 24:16.

            But the Memorandum of Understanding that Jan Beagle gave to the Pension Fund states that "the UN's administrative procedures and directives are not automatically applicable to Fund staff, since the requirements of the Board take precedence."

            Mr. Cocheme and his team, including Peter Goddard, Dulcie Bull and Norah Fitzgerald and, take this phrase to mean they can do anything they want. Thus, the first of these two laugh together at how far above the law they are. They only have to answer, if to anyone, to the Pension Board, which they think they control. We'll see, through time, if their analysis is correct.

At the UN Pension Fund, Question of Special Status As A Second Gag Order Is Issued

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN:

UNITED NATIONS, February 13 -- At the UN Pension Fund on Tuesday, CEO Bernard Cocheme was seen laughing with his Executive Officer Peter Goddard.

  The topic? Sources say the laughter, which they characterized as forced, was directed at the Office of Internal Oversight Services investigation recommendations, and at this follow-up series on why the recommendations were never enacted. Under Mr. Cocheme's watch, $9 billion of investments stand to be outsourced, in a process with little transparency. And Mr. Cocheme laughs.

Bernand Cocheme: laughs, at OIOS, apparently

   Also on Tuesday, another gag order email was sent out to all staff, following up on Friday's, and is reproduced below, along with a staff member's description of Pension Fund management's extensive use of the UN's $22,000 retirement-worker loophole. But first, the OIOS report on which Cocheme has refused to act.

            The OIOS report states for example that Dulcie "Bull failed to properly manage the contracts awarded to Sprig. She simply accepted Mr. Dooley's recommendations of the use of Mr. Bodell / Sprig, despite serial exceptions to procurement regulations and practices which left the UN unprotected. Mr. Bahel approved the substitution of the requirement of a performance bond by Sprig, which was contrary to the best interests of the UN, with no reason for doing so."

            But at the Pension Fund, senior management needs no reasons and offers no explanations. In a portrait now painted by multiple sources, while Bernard Cocheme dreams big dreams in his skyscraper office -- it is on the 38th floor, if only of One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza -- Dulcie Bull and Norah Fitzgerald hire their friends and stigmatize anyone who complaints. Peter Goddard threatens longtime employees with being escorted from the building and barks military orders, disproportionately to staff members of color, some say. They've brought in Alan Blythe, called Captain Bly or "The Floor Watcher" because he paces the office looking for infractions to report to senior management.

            This surveillance, however, has not kept the information from emerging. Tuesday a second gag order mail was sent out. This one has fewer mis-spellings than Friday's --

Subject: Pension Fund Updates from the Staff Rep.

From: Ibrahima Faye/UNJSPF/NY/UNO

To: UNJSPF IMS Staff Group, UNJSPF NY Staff Group, UNJSPF NY Consultants Group

Date: February 9, 2007, 10:19 AM

Dear all,

With the flowing of attacks on our colleagues in ICP, I, as your representative must continue to call upon you to honor your oath of office as international civil servants.... When we, the staff disagree with our managers, we may challenge their decisions through the proper institutional mechanism but by no means, we have the right to display our grievances by means of mass press disclosure of confidential information.

 Surprisingly I have been tagged as a 'gagger' or having made a gag order for reminding you not to make press announcement without proper approval from the organization, while I may agree with my detractor that it must be the duty of international civil servants we are, to report any breach by managers of the organization's Regulations and Rules to a higher level officials, whose responsibility it is to take appropriate action, and thus by making such kind of report any staff member has the right to be protected against reprisals or sanctions in accordance with the whistle-blower policy, it is entirely improper for any one of us to air grievances or criticize each others in public through the press... We have the obligation at all time to promote a positive image of our Fund in conformity with our oath of loyalty to the organization we serve.

  I cannot possibly stop you from doing whatever you feel right to serve your agenda, but I would have reached my goal as your representative by asking you to exercise judgment on how your actions and relationship with the media are in line with your own oath of loyalty to the organization in general.

            The problem, it seems, is that Pension Fund staff have seen who those who tried to complain through "institutional channels" were treated -- one was forcibly escorted from the Pension Fund's offices and several were speciously referred to UN Medical Services. Staff have seen that even when two of them persevered to whistle-blow, and met with OIOS which after a length investigation issued a 20-page, 124-paragraph report, those recommended for action are still in charge at the Pension Fund, and CEO Cocheme can refuses to act, and laugh about it.  And so yet more staff members step forward. Here is a missive from one of them, with some names redacted out of respect to  privacy:

Thank you for doing such a great job covering the out of control management in the Pension Fund. We need your help, since no one will take any action to correct the problems in this office.

Enclosed is a copy of the memo of understanding signed by Jan Beagle and Raymond Gieri, the former CEO of the Fund, granting the Pension Fund special status. This memo has been used by the Fund not only to give Paul Dooley a special Pension Fund-only contract, but has been sued to give Frank De Turris, son of the former deputy CEO, a pension fund only contract... Dulcie Bull, Norah Fitzgerald and Bernard Cocheme have used the memo of understanding to retain in service beyond the normal retirement age Ms. Aine Murphy. This was done despite the fact that OHRM did not want her here... Ms. Murphy is part of the inner family of Ms. Bull and Ms. Fitzgerald. She listens and observes everything going on in the office and then reports directly back to Norah Fitzgerald and Dulcie Bull. As a result several hardworking staff have been subject to harassment. It's like working in a police state... They brought Ms Murphy back to work on January 31, 2007 and have given her a contract for four months until May 30, 2007. The UN has a very strict policy against bringing retired staff members back to work after they leave, but the Pension Fund bypasses all the rules and regulations of the UN, to do whatever they please.

On February 2, 2007, management (Ms. Bull and Ms. Fitzgerald) brought back [Name redacted 1] to work here again, since he can make $22,000 net per year without stopping his pension. He retired in 1992 and starting in 1999 has returned every year to work three months a year. He is now 76 years old and spending most of his day talking on the floor to people and asking for assistance in how to do things. [He] lives in California and I believe the Fund pays for his air ticket as well.

[Name redacted 2] retired from the Fund in 2004 and returns every year to work five or six months in order to get his $22,000. He lives in Uruguay and I believe the Fund pays for his air ticket also.

[Name redacted 3] retired from the fund on February 28, 1999 and since 2000 has returned every year to work five or six months a year for his $22,000, and then in 2005 when he reached the ceiling of $22,000 had his pension stopped and re-entered the pension fund as an active full time employee and has never left. He is 68 years old and just received an extension of his fixed term appointment for one  year through January 19, 2008.

Why does OHRM continue to allow the Pension Fund to do this? There is no reason for this with so many young educated people in the UN system who need jobs. Barada Wiesbrot and Netta Avedon from OHRM have signed off on all these actions. Why?

Did Jan Beagle of OHRM have the authority on her own to sign this memo of understanding given the Pension Fund this special status? Do the Member States know about this Memo of Understanding? Can the General Assembly do anything about this Memo of Understanding?

      For now, note that the two OHRM staff named above have been identified as involved in the Pension Fund management's unique use of the UN Medical Service, to retaliate against whistle-blowers (although one of the two has called this "ludicrous" and then offered a series of "no comments"). And as to what the Member States and General Assembly, or even Pension Fund board, know, including about the opaque and rushed drive to privatize, watch this site.

In UN Pension Fund Outsourcing Controversy, Russia's Role Revealed in Just-Released Minutes

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, February 12 -- While the CEO of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund Bernard Cocheme has refused to answer any questions about his inaction on the March 2006 investigative report by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services recommending that action be taken against at least two members of senior management, information from those actually doing the work at the Pension Fund has continued to flow in.

            The picture that emerges is one of hierarchy and nepotism, with staff sometimes so abused they now side with management in trying to cover up the Fund's workings. Friday an email went out urging staff members not to speak with the media, specifically Inner City Press. That has done nothing to stem the flow of information. But it seems to call for a reiteration of mission. And to call, at least for now, for fewer names being named, other than those named in the OIOS report.

            For this report, we focus on the proposed outsourcing, following by one more in a series of (mis-) management vignettes.


The recently-released minutes of the November 10, 2006 meeting of the General Assembly's Fifth Committee show two countries supporting the rush to outsource management of the North American equities portfolio: the United States, and also the Russian Federation, even more emphatically. From the minutes:

38. Mr. Garcia (United States of America) welcomed the increase in the market value of the Fund's assets to over $33 billion as at 31 March 2006, a new all-time high, which testified to the benefits of sound long-term financial planning and strong management. He also welcomed the decision of the Board to approve the Secretary-General's proposal to passively manage the Fund's North American equities portfolio and outsource it to a private entity, but hoped that the members of the Board would return to their usual practice of taking decisions by consensus based on dialogue and negotiation.

39. The change in the management of the North American equities portfolio was in the best interests of the Fund and would eliminate the need to maintain a staff of managers for those investments, thereby incurring long-term savings; the shift would however cost $2.9 million to pay for transition services. In order to ensure that the money was spent wisely, the Secretariat should report on progress made in implementing the new arrangement. In that context, he took note of the recommendation of the Advisory Committee that the General Assembly should be provided with a report on the financial impact of the decision and that management of the portfolio should be outsourced only after a comprehensive review.

            Thus, the U.S. "took note" of the ACABQ's recommendation that outsourcing should take place only after a comprehensive review. The Russian Federation, on the other hand, said in essence, "Damn the torpedoes" --

47.      Mr. Kovalenko (Russian Federation), noting the further increase in the Fund’s assets and the good return on its investments in the previous biennium, expressed confidence that the Board would continue to give careful attention to the results of actuarial valuations and that any recommendation to change the parameters of the pension system and contribution rates would take into account the actuarial situation. The Board’s decision to endorse the intention of the Investment Management Service to shift to passive management of the North American equities portfolio and to index it was justified. His delegation had some doubts, though, about the Advisory Committee’s recommendations concerning management of the portfolio by the Investment Management Service itself, as it seemed to be the most costly option in that it required additional expenditure to provide the necessary infrastructure.

48.      He was pleased to note that the Board had managed to agree on the mandate of its Audit Committee; that experience could be used by the Fifth Committee when it came to consider the establishment of an audit committee of the General Assembly. He noted the Board’s productive work, and supported its decisions to move to an annual work format with shorter sessions, as that would enhance the effectiveness with which it performed its duties.

            This support for the Pension Fund's new audit committee, which we are told will meet this Thursday in New York, was echoed by the European Union, which also like the Group of 77 endorsed the ACABQ recommendation to wait on outsourcing. The EU "welcomed the decision to implement the recommendation of the Board of Auditors for the establishment of an audit committee, whose membership should meet the criteria specified by ACABQ, and endorsed the ACABQ recommendations on the management of the Fund's investments."

            Why is the Russian Federation so gung-ho for outsourcing? This is an open question. Inner City Press has also asked pension fund-related questions to Controller Warren Sach, resulting in this response:

Subject: Re: Press questions on UNJSPF...

From: Warren Sach

To: Inner City Press

Sent: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 10:01 AM

  Dear Mr Lee, Thank you for your e-mail...On Pension Fund matters I cannot advise you on matters which are under the responsibility of Mr Bernard Cocheme; my only responsibilities in that area relate to Investments by virtue of my role of Representative of the SG on Investments. There is a new audit committee being instituted by the Pension Board and it will meet this week. Matters are within the hands of Mr Cocheme. On the procurement issues you query I will seek the necessary input for you and revert.

            The audit committee, we're told, meets Thursday. And the OIOS report which Mr. Cocheme refused to act on will be considered by the General Assembly in March. On both accounts, watch this site.  For now, a bit more from the OIOS report, following by a Pension Fund-as-workplace annotation.

    Paragraph 70 of the OIOS report states that "Mr. Dooley was Chief of IMSS, Ms. Bull was Chief of Operations and Ms. Judy Charles and then Mr. Peter Goddard were the Executive Officers during the period at issue. Mr. Goddard told ID/OIOS that Mr. Dooley authorized payments to Sprig and Mr. Goddard certified them."

            Sprig was the company of Mr. Dooley's ex-supervisor Gerard Bodell, which got more then nine no-bid contracts from the Pension Fund. Peter Goddard was brought into the Fund by Dulcie Bull.  Mr. Goddard had previously served as financial officer for the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which during six than six months "six memoranda setting forth complaints by other staff members of ICTR against" Mr. Goddard were recorded. Mr. Goddard played the UN justice system deftly and got these complaints removed, and later Dulcie Bull put him on the short list and hired him. By numerous accounts, he is abusive to staff including by shouting at them. "He is a military man," says one staffer. "He shouts at you as if you'd joined his army." But the climate of fear, and the lack of help for whistleblowers, at the UNJFPF is so pronounced that this has been allowed to go on and on.  Other profiles will follow, as supplements to analysis of outsources and lack of accountability.

At UN Pension Fund, Gag Orders and Mental Health Accusations as Audit Committee Meets

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 -- As scandal grows around the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, which is trying to outsource $9 billion in investments, the Fund's CEO Bernard Cocheme was in Geneva trying to rally other agencies to his side. As Inner City Press' now five-part series has shown and will show, it is the UNJSPF's arbitraging of its status as an inter-agency body, with the claimed ability to circumvent UN rules whenever it is convenience, that has allowed a lawless fiefdom to flourish with $36 billion to now dole out.

            Meanwhile in New York, the cover-up accelerated. Despite purported whistleblower protections and new Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's stated policy for the UN of transparency and of staff speaking to the media, on Friday the following email went out, referring to Inner City Press as "ICP," and attempting belatedly to block any whistle-blowing:

Subject: Pension Fund under attack in the media

From: Ibrahima Faye/UNJSPF/NY/UNO

To: UNJSPF IMS Staff Group, UNJSPF NY Staff Group, UNJSPF NY Consultants Group

Date: February 9, 2007, 10:19 AM

Dear all,

  For a week now, some of our colleagues within the Pension Fund are being subject to targeted attacks through one media press named ICP. In my qualify as your representative, it is my outmost duty, whether you are a manager or a simple staff member, weather [sic] you immediately involved or not, to defend you all from these yet to be substantiated attacks based on a supposedly Confidential OIOS report. I would like to caution myself and each one of you for jumping to immediate conclusions under the given circumstances and be emphatic to our colleagues whose names are mentioned in that press with possible target to their privacy and honorability.

  Furthermore, I would like to also caution each one of you for meeting with that press entity or reporter or any other request for interview as it is strictly forbidden by the Staff Rule for staff member to make any kind of press announcement or speech without prior approval, beside, this press ICP is neither a UN investigative body nor an asermented [sic] United Nations entity.

  As the situation may warrant, I would be obligated to come back to you with more indepth advises. Remember this is our Pension Fund, our working tool, our working environment and when the Fund's name is spoiled, we are all concerned and inbricated [sic] as one.

            Beyond the inappropriate and actionable gag-order nature of this message to all staff, a sad irony is that its putative author is in multiple insider accounts one of the victims of harassment at the Pension Fund, as well as a staff representative.

Mr. Cocheme- "Disagrees" with gag orders?

   The Office of Internal Oversight Services report, referred to above as "supposedly Confidential" but which Inner City Press provided to the UN Spokesperson's Office at their request on February 8, and has since showed up elsewhere -- contains three paragraph about an inappropriate relationship between a supervisor and subordinate, and chides the Pension Fund's management for allowing the supervisor to simply move on to another UN agency.  From the OIOS Report:

111. Although several examples of perceived favoritism as regards promotions were provided in ID/OIOS investigators, numerous comments were made about one particular case involving an alleged intimate affair between a supervisor and her subordinate, and also about the manner in which the UNJSPF management handled it.

112. The interviewees commented that the supervisor in question failed to maintain proper boundaries between her professional and personal life and exhibited bias in the performance assessment of the subordinate whom she favored, which had a negative effect on the workplace environment of that office.

113. After the alleged affair ended, ID/OIOS was told that the supervisor harassed the subordinate and denied him a promotion... Several interviewees added that the above mentioned subordinate staff surreptitiously taped his supervisor and played the tape to 'whoever wanted to listen.'

114. The OIOS subsequently learned that although both the UNJSPF management and OHRM were aware of the alleged affair, the supervisor left the UNJSPF and no formal inquiry was initiated on the matter.

            Since even OIOS found this more significant and than salacious, and since OIOS' pulling of punches may have played a role in the current lack of action or reform, Inner City Press will henceforth report on details behind and beyond the OIOS report.

            The relationship to which OIOS alludes was between Eleanor Phillip and the author of Friday's gag-order email. Ms. Phillip brought him along when she shifted units in the Fund, then later retaliated. She was allowed to move to ICSC at the UN, and is still in the UN phone book, hiding in plain sight. The retaliation efforts continued, for example when the now-gagger agreed as a favor to circulate a staff representative's email message to all staff. In that case, management used a "note into employment file" to get its point across. Ironically and sadly, the retaliation seems to have worked, leading to Friday's quite different mass email. When even a staff representative, a union man in essence, is turned into an enforcer of silence to protect management, a new low has been reached. This is the case in some but by no means all corners of the UN system.

Mental Health Accusations As Management Technique at UNJSPF

            UN Pension Fund management has used other, more sinister modes of retaliation. Among the most inappropriate has been accusing those it perceives as troublemakers of having mental problems. These individuals are then told to go to UN Medical Services on the 5th floor of the Secretariat building, and are told not to return to work while they are being evaluated and / or treated. One individual who nevertheless returned to the Pension Fund was humiliated by being escorted out by security.

            The use of mental health accusations as a management discipline tool is entirely inappropriate. The UN Pension Fund's use of this tool has created an atmosphere where even its victim have requested a continue veil of silence, concerned that being associated with even a spurious allegation of mental problems could hurt their careers and image. Out of respect, Inner City Press is withholding the names of people victimized by Pension Fund management's mental health accusations.

            The UNJSPF claims in numerous venues that is it exempt from UN rules. Mr. Dooley, for example, was rejected for a regular UN contract. But he was given what is called a Pension Fund contract, which does not entitle its holder to transfer elsewhere in the UN system. Technically, at least for one of the two time-determined categories of PF contracts, holders are not eligible for promotions from one UN employment grade to another. However, those favored within the Fund have been allowed such upgrades, including in salary, while others have been told no. The most favored people evade review by the UN's Office of Human Resources Management by entering on a Pension Fund contract, and then are later "regularized" into normal UN contracts and the benefits these convey.

            When the UNJSPF management team tries to get in a favored candidate through purported competition, the difficult stage is the composition of a short-list. Mr. Goddard, for example, Dulcie Bull wanted in the Fund. OHRM for once objected, but still Goddard got in. He got included in the short list, and after that it was hard to object. The supposition is that anyone on the short list is qualified. Those in charge at the Pension Fund know the best stage at which to intervene.

            Often OHRM's objections are only token and can be overcome. OHRM has for a long time -- too long, the Staff Council has voted -- been run by Ms. Jan Beagle. Dulcie Bull of the Pension Fund is close with Ms. Beagle, and has been able to thusly resolve what problems have arisen, and further limit any outside oversight of the Fund. One of the Staff Council's stated bases for voting to ask Ban Ki-moon to clean up OHRM is Ms. Beagle's insider status with the Kofi Annan administration. It is reported that Dulcie Bull, too, had inordinate sway under Annan, reaching all the way back to when both were at OHRM along with some other names which thereafter continued to appear, on the flight logs of UN plane trips and in other UN jobs including at the also scandal-plagued DESA. This personal connections have played a role in shielding the Pension Fund from any accountability, to the detriment of UN staff and pensioners.

            Sources Friday said that some Pension Fund staff, while initially exhilarated by the first installments of this Inner City Press series, later in the week grew concerned that the investigative scrutiny might go too far and "wash their dirty laundry in public," or play into the outsourcing agenda. While Inner City Press follows the facts where they lead, the series began by reporting widespread opposition to outsourcing management of even a portion of the Fund. Continued research reveals that it is a single Member State that is pushing for expedited outsourcing. We will have more on this, in connection it is hoped with the Pension Fund auditors' meeting, which should be considering this series.

  This investigative reporting is not among the pretexts for outsourcing. A nitty-gritty aspect that is often overlooked, sources say, is that the woman who was running the North American equities portfolio fell sick, asked management for help, but was not given any. Now the porfolio's performance is cited as militating for outsourcing and a shift in strategy.

            Having for years allowed nepotism and harassment to flourish at the Fund, Mr. Cocheme now faces a General Assembly inquiry into his failure to implement an Office of Internal Oversight Services report recommending action against Dulcie Bull and Paul Dooley, and a Pension Board audit committee meeting this week. Mr. Cocheme has still not made any Press replies, nor given any explanation of the basis for his stated "rejection" of the detailed factual findings and recommendations of the OIOS report. Beyond the report, sources say for example that now-barred contractor Gerald Bodell chose to live near Mr. Cocheme in order to when possible walk to work with him, to keep the money flowing. Mr. Cocheme has much to answer for, and although it is already late, this should begin at this week's meeting of the Pension Fund audit committee. Developing.

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service.

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