UN Pension Fund, Staff Told Not to Sue, Rules Bent, Goddard's Abuse of Staff
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
February 20 -- Within the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, there is a level of abuse
and lawlessness which sets it apart from other UN-affiliated agencies in New
York. Some few of these abuses are described in the UN Office of Internal
Oversight Services Report of Investigation which was finalized on March 28,
2006. This OIOS Report, which recommended action against Dulcie Bull and Paul
Dooley, notes that "as an inter-agency entity, the UNJSPF is not bound to follow
the specific regulations and rules of any of its member organizations in any
area." These self-ruling areas include relations between senior management and
staff, an area in which troubling abuses appear routine.
Pension Fund's self-rule also mirrors the wider UN's. Inner City Press is
informed that on February 20, representatives of the Staff Council, which last
week passed a resolution to exploring suing the proposal to outsource $9 billion
of the Pension Fund, were summoned upstairs to a meeting with new Management
chief Alicia Barcena. There, UN lawyers and not Ms. Barcena tried to impress
upon the Staff Council that the UN is not covered by the U.S. pension law ERISA,
and that litigation would be futile. Some in the Council were left muttering,
Thou dost protest too much.
21, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson for comment, and was
provided with a copy of Warren Sach's February 5 presentation, and a statement
that the request that Ms. Barcena take press questions is still pending. Video
Pension Fund, manager of $38 billion, has no media contact. CEO Bernard Cocheme
has declined to return either email or voice mail questions. So: Inner City
Press is also informed, as another example of UNJSPF rule-bending, that retiree
Antonio Angel Garcia is being brought back to the Pension Fund, ostensibly as a
translator. There is a problem: Mr. Garcia is not a professional translator, of
which there are many in the UN system. But the translator moniker is used,
apparently with the wink-and-nod of the UN Office of Human Resources Management
of ASG Jan Beagle, in order to evade the otherwise-applicable cap of $22,000 on
pensioners' yearly earnings from the UN.
to the Pension Fund's actual day-to-day relations with employees. Inner City
Press has obtained a 100-page file concerning the abusive dynamic between the
UNJSPF's executive officer Peter Goddard and staff member Hermin Patricia
Clarke. It has taken a week to process it. During that week, press questions
posed to CEO Bernard Cocheme have been ignored, and bids have been opened for
the proposed outsourcing of $9 billion of the pension fund. Gag orders have been
issued to Pension Fund staff, to not speak with Inner City Press. Mr. Cocheme
has erroneously stated that the OIOS report is "not complete," and even that he
voluntarily asked for the investigation (it was triggered by long-standing staff
complaints). One of the complaints, which OIOS merely referred over to the UN's
Office of Human Resources Management, concerns abuse of staff by senior
management, including Peter Goddard. The OIOS report states, at paragraph 70,
that "Mr. Goddard told ID/OIOS that Mr. Dooley authorized payments to Sprig and
Mr. Goddard certified them."
Goddard is an former military man, who came to the Pension Fund after problems
at his previous posting at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. From
the Pat Clarke - Peter Goddard file, Ms. Clarke wrote:
"when I came in to work, I saw the folder
on my chair. I replied... and placed the folder in the in-tray of the Executive
Officer. Soon afterwards I heard this screaming at my head and looked up. The EO
was standing almost on top of me shouting, 'I do not care one way or another,
fill this in properly, I do not have time to place this game, I don't care.' He
then with vengeance tossed the folder at me, and stomped off to his office...
Later I had two pieces of mail addressed
personally to the EO. I went to his room, he was sitting at his desk in the
writing position. I quietly placed both pieces of mail in his in-tray. As I
turned to walk out he screamed, 'Pat!' I got to the door and turned around in
shock. He kept on screaming. 'Is it that you cannot put it the right way, not
upside down?' He then took the two piece of mail, tapped them on this desk and
put it aligned with his other stuff in the in-tray. He then shouted, 'Hello!
Don't you understand what I said?' Again I did not reply. Then he started to get
obnoxious, so I blocked out his words and turned and walked back to my work
on which way mail should be placed in his in-box was the subject of a Goddard
letter saved to file:
Dear Ms. Clarke... as you placed a small
number of items of correspondence in my in-box I requested that in the future
you... place items in the logical direction so that the text would not be upside
down... You will recall that in February 2004 when I joined the UNJFPF, I
interviewed you and asked you what your current duties were. Whilst you gave me
a list of duties, it is evident that you actually complete very few of them...
Your contribution to the running of the Executive Office is negligible. Indeed,
much of my time, and that of Ms. Htay, is spent either attempting to get you to
work or, in Ms. Htay's case, actually completing your work for you.
another letter, Mr. Goddard wrote:
"This aim of this letter is to place on
record my dissatisfaction with your attitude [and] my concerns over how little
work you actually do. I note that during this meeting you made the following
comment when referring to me, 'Whip the black slave.' You have a habit of making
"when he screamed and ordered me into his
office, I assumed it was 'the discussion.' So I even said to Dee before I went
in, I am going to Abu Ghraib... He ordered me, 'Close the door!' He walked back
to his chair and said, 'Sit!' He then said that he wanted to discuss my work. So
I said, 'Okay, I can fill you in,' and started to talk. He screamed, 'Oh, no!
you are not to talk, I am doing the talking.' He started to accuse me and to say
exactly what he felt like saying. I was astonished and wondered if he had lost
it as he was raving on and one and screaming at me...
Leak again -- two work stations including
mine. The place was smelling really bad (cess pit). P. Ryder said that FMD was
notified. The water began to fall on my desk even more. I keep wiping and kept
on working as I know how nasty the Executive Officer treats me. Ironically, he
peeps all day at me, stomps all over, notes in writing my every move. Yet he
could not see the mess in the corridor and two work stations, one right outside
his door with the garbage can on top of the work station...
"He said he will change my time to
9:30. I said, "Well," as I wanted to explain. He then screamed, Do not say a
word, I don't want to hear anything, I don't want to hear you. I again said,
"Well." He screamed again, 'I said, do not say a word.
I stupidly said, "Well." He screamed,
bellowed, Didn't you hear me? I said, I do not want to hear you, do not say a
aforementioned Ms. Pat Ryder, who encouraged Inner City Press to leave the
Pension Fund on
by saying she would get answers to questions from the Fund's audit committee,
thereafter did not respond to written questions. The aforementioned Dee wrote an
email to CEO Cocheme, cc-ing among other Janna Sareva:
"Yesterday morning I went to speak with
Ms. Pat Clarke in the Executive Office. As I arrived, Mr. Peter Goddard, who is
an Executive Officer of the Pension Fund, was shouting at he, in an extremely
deranged and unprofessional manner. I stood outside Pat's cubicle, in the
adjacent cubicle, and waited for him to finish. He turned around, glared at me
and asked (or rather, shouted) what I was doing there. When I replied that I was
waiting to speak with Pat regarding a work issue he ordered me to get out, as it
was his office... He also told me I was making a mistake in stating my opinion,
as 'it counts for nothing.' It appears that Mr. Goddard also takes advantage of
your absences to initiate and aggravate situations like this, as this is not the
first time he has confronted Ms. Clarke when you are traveling and out of the NY
office. Your contribution to the solution of this ongoing problem would be
previously reported, Mr. Cocheme is said to staff to travel more and more,
ostensibly to the UNJSPF office in Geneva, but always by way of Paris. Back to
the narrative: Ms. Clarke herself wrote to Cocheme to summarize her treatment by
Cocheme's executive officer Peter Goddard:
Mr. Cocheme, Can you please ask Mr. Peter
Goddard to refrain from screaming at me and insulting me and bullying me... I do
not want another harassment / verbal abuse / torture meeting with Mr. Goddard,
alone or in the presence of Ms. Lily Htay or whoever else he invites in to
witness the proceedings. Especially I do not trust being in a closed door room
with him or being in a position where I cannot get away easily from him... There
is no solution to anything, just him taunting me and screaming orders and abuse
to me as I sit in the interrogation / torture chair in his room. It is most
humiliating and I am tired of suffering these unnecessary indignities with no
form of resource. As a result, I am asking for this meeting to be held in your
Cocheme did nothing. As many staffers have told Inner City Press, Mr. Cocheme
merely listens and nods and does nothing. "He is complicit," one staff says.
Including in Ms. Bull's and Mr. Dooley's shenanigans, which may explain
Cocheme's misrepresentation of the status of the OIOS report, and melt-down at
the last Board meeting, opposing the Pension Fund's governing body even
discussing the OIOS report. We will have more on that. Now, to the final sad
chapters of Ms. Clarke's time at the Pension Fund.
The Staff Union's
Rosemarie Waters first reported on a hearing through which Ms. Clarke sought to
be treated like others at the Pension Fund: "Pat had requested the intervention
of Mr. Cocheme no less than 10 times in relation to the horrid work environment
and constant harassment of the EO. Mr. Dietz was quiet for a minute and then
stated that he did not know the exact number but that Pat had written a number
of times about the environment and those letters were directed to Mr. Cocheme."
position was supported by OHRM and even the Joint Appeals Board, but rejected by
Cocheme. The news was conveyed by form letter from Christopher Burnham, that a
decision was made "not to accept the JAB's recommendation... this decision is
not subject to any appeal."
And so it
goes at the UNJSPF, and within the UN system more broadly. To be continued.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
Pension Fund Outsourcing Draws 13 Bidders, Over 10 from USA, Kudos for
Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
February 16 --Nine billion dollars of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund's money
was up for bid on Friday. In a small conference room of a building on 45th
Street, the ritual opening of the bids -- thirteen in total -- was held. In
attendance were representatives of five of the bidders, four UN procurement
staff, a genial staff council representative, and a lone media representative,
from Inner City Press.
Journalist attendance became possible only at the last minute. Inner City Press
had written to UN Controller Warren Sach to request access, without receiving
any direct response. At the UN's noon briefing on Friday, Inner City Press asked
to be given access, to the opening then less than three hours away. The
spokesperson said she would check, but at 2:20 p.m. said she had not heard back,
and anyway "it's just the beginning of the process."
City Press got word that the Department of Management decided to allow access,
although this was never announced or communicated by the Department. Inner City
Press showed up, on the second floor of 304 East 45th Street, and the
procurement staff said they had been told to permit access. This time only, they
appear to think. Inner City Press was forbidden from audio or video taping.
These bid opening should always be public.
this exclusive Inner City Press report, one hour after the opening. Bidders
could apply for the "passive indexation" of the Pension Fund's North American
equity portfolio or for "transition management," or for both.
Indexation refers to a shift away from picking the stocks of individual
companies, and rather tracking the market as a whole. In the transition toward
that, well, someone would have to manage. The thirteen
bidders, in alphabetical order with package identifiers are as follows:
1. Alliance Bernstein
LLC (USA), for both, six envelopes each with three enclosures, two velobound and
one soft covered.
2. Barclays Global
Investors (USA), for both, two boxes full of binders by an institution who's
parent is based in London but has paid to put its name on a stadium in Brooklyn.
3. Blackrock (USA),
for both, four FedEx boxes, velobound volumes, black as in Blackrock.
4. Citigroup, Inc.
(USA), for transition management only, two boxes, six copies.
5. Goldman Sach
(USA), for transition management only, one FedEx box with thin velobound volume
stamped "Strictly Confidential and Private."
6. JPMorgan Asset
Management (USA), for passive indexation only, two soft FedEx envelopes.
7. Lehman Brothers
Asset Management (USA), for transition management only, six green binders.
8. MFC Global
Investment Management (USA), for passive indexation only, thin envelopes, thin
9. Russell Investment
Group (USA), for transition management only, a box, then wrapped in black paper,
then shrink-wrap (an "oooh" went up from the small crowd, and Russell's observer
said, "We don't mess around").
10. State Street
Corp. (USA), for both, six envelopes.
11. The Bank of New
York (USA), for both, six envelopes, wire-bound volumes.
12. The Northern
Trust (USA), for both, one FedEx, three thin velobound volumes and two
pamphlets, a slender and confident presentation by a firm already on the inside
13. UBS, AG
(Switzerland), for passive indexation only, 3 UPS packages (that's right, UPS
mistake, but perhaps predictive, The Northern Trust's submission was opened
before The Bank of New York. The master of ceremonies, otherwise smooth as silk,
apologized for the gaffe, which had been pointed out by Northern Trust's
observer. Also in attendance was a Mr. Khan, who went to the door when it was
knocked on. The bidding room felt not unlike a small funeral parlor, with a
series of viewings throughout the day. This step to outsource $9 billion in UN
staffers' pensions took place mechanically, mundanely, with little notice, but a
bit more than the contracts described in the OIOS report, given to Sprig without
bidding, or with only sham bidding. The opening of bids took place as described
above. What happens next is again in the shadows....
asked at a February 5 town hall meeting how large a management fee would be
paid, UN Controller Warren Sach did not have an answer. Following the meeting,
Inner City Press asked Mr. Sach for the list of bidders, or those on the short
list who got the Request for Proposals, as well as for a copy of the RFP. For
the RFP, Inner City Press was referred to the administrative officer of the UN
Investment Management Service, Chieko Okudo, from where another referral was
made. As days and then a more than a week sent by, the RFP was never provided,
and Inner City Press was told that neither would the list of bidders be
released. Similar difficulties in obtaining answers and documents arose last
Inner City Press' reporting on the
conflicts raised by UN investment fees being paid to Pictet & Cie.,
whose Ivan Pictet still serves as an "ad hoc" member of the UN Pension Fund's
Investment Committee, on which now sits a Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch and
former directors of Morgan Stanley and Commerzbank.
That there are causes
of concern can be found in an until-now confidential report of investigation by
the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services. In OIOS' "Investigation of
conflict of interest, favoritism and mismanagement at the UN Joint Staff Pension
Fund," the complaints of two whistleblowers are considered and upheld.
Specifically, OIOS confirmed that through the Pension Fund's Paul Dooley,
millions of dollars in contacts were given to a company called Sprig, Ltd, run
by Gerald Bodell, who was previously Dooley's supervisor at Guardian Mortgage
Corporation. According to the audit,
"OIOS found no evidence that UNJSPF [the
UN Pension Fund] considered candidates other than Sprig for any of these
contracts. Similarly, there is no evidence that UNJSPF made any checks on the
background of Sprig independently (for example by requesting a D&B report on
Spring) or that UNJSPF attempted to independently determine whether Mr. Bodell's
fees were consistent with those charged by other consultants."
reports that Sprig was "operated by Mr. Bodell from the basement of his home,"
but nevertheless was given a higher score for "Web experience" than the
accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche. Sprig's contract for "Strategic
Information Technology and Management Consulting Study" was signed for the UN by
Sanjaya Bahel, who was since by indicted and most recently had his bail revoked.
A subsequent contract amendment for Sprig was signed for the UN by Andrew Toh,
an Assistant Secretary General who is currently under investigation and for that
reasons has not been asked to resign by new Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The
audit concludes with the recommendation that "any contracting and procurement
activities undertaken by the CEO of the UNJSPF comply with the Pension Board's
directive that they be limited and only under exceptional circumstances."
Toh and Ms. Frechette: back to the future?
February 5 meeting, the Staff Council referred to documents which challenge Mr.
Sach's presentation of himself as having opposed an earlier attempt to outsource
Pension Fund business. After the meeting, Inner City Press asked Mr. Sach about
these documents. Mr. Sach showed a copy of a memo from Chieko Okudo to
then-Under Secretary General Christopher B. Burnham, on which was scrawled at
the bottom of the first page an instruction to "do this by the book, -CBB." Mr.
Sach said that some had circulated copies of this memo with the bottom notation
City Press has obtained copies of emails from the time at issue, which tell a
different story. After a decision was made to "liquidate" a small capitalization
fund managed for the Pension Fund by Lombard, Odier, Darier and Hentsch (LODH),
an internal debate ensued whether the liquidation contact could be given without
bidding to the Northern Trust bank, which was already the global Custodian of
the Fund. Despite the questions raised, by July 5 Northern Trust's Vice
President Robert Ernst wrote to two individuals at the UN that the liquidation
was finished, "would you like sales proceeds to remain in the LODH portfolio, or
transferred out to your own cash accounts?"
this liquidation, there was a June 13, 2006 email to Ms. Okuda stating that:
"Chieko: I do have a problem with your
memo. The memo needs to state the complete additional services to be performed
other than NT [Northern Trust] act as the Master Record Keeper. Recently, a
number of changes and additional services outside the original scope have been
requested to be undertaken by Northern Trust. All this has been undertaken in a
non-competitive environment.... The organization is now open for criticism if we
continue to expand the scope of NT, which was not originally envisaged. This can
lead to other banks suggesting that we have not been open and transparent..."
But it is
now not only "other banks" who are complaining about a lack of transparency. The
majority of questions directed to Mr. Sach on February 5 were critical in
nature, asking "why fix it if it isn't broken" and why hand money to an outside
firm. Later the question was asked, can we see the Request for Proposals, and
know what firms are on the short list? No such information was provided, until
press access to the bid-opening was allowed at the last minute, after repeated
request, most of which met with no response. It shouldn't be like this. Nor
should the recruitment and employment practices of the Pension Fund. Watch this
Pension Fund, Outsourcing Is Set to Be Sued, While UN Medical Services Abuse
Paper Trial Surfaces
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
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.
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
Eventually a woman named Pat Ryder, 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
Inner City Press: The board of the UN Joint
Staff Pension Fund seems to have, the General Assembly sends four members to
it. So, Iím wondering, first, how theyíre elected by the GA, by the General
Assembly or by some Committee, and also whether they can, the issue Iíve
asked you about, these OIOS reports that now supposedly go back to the GA,
can these four individuals, do they play any role Ė- because theyíre 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 itís 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."
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
Ms. Alenius: miscellaneous?
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 to try to push this outsourcing through, behind closed doors. As one
staff member put it, "Who's crazy?" Developing.
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
some are available in the ProQuest service.
Copyright 2006 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com -
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540