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At UN, "Scam" of Promotions & Exam Hit Again by Overworked Judge

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 2, updated Aug 21 -- Two full months ago the UN Dispute Tribunal put on its web site a preliminary decision which confirmed criticisms long made of fairness in the UN Department of Safety and Security by whistleblowing Security officers and Inner City Press. 

  Now belatedly the second ruling is out, put online here by Inner City Press. 

  Explaining the delay by a lack of resources for the UN Dispute Tribunal, Judge Ebrahim-Carstens says the parties have to go back to the drawing table.

A staff analysis to Inner City Press

"notes the way the judge said that S1 and S2 of the service have been discriminated by management...We are very sad and disappointed on how the UN has dealt with this issue. It is our believe that the whole of SSS management should be asked to resigned including the head of the Admin Section of SSS.

"All this goes beyond SSS as OSLA, MEU, and other departments in the UN are involved. The UN can go to any country in the world and talk about the rule of law but cannot do it in house.

"Furthermore, the last class of officers 2011 where recruited as temporary staff. To be able to issue a temporary staff contract the staff member has to work less than 365 days, so the UN gave them 364 days! Isnt that nice? The UN using every dirty trick in the book used by big corporations in the private sector to avoid giving these guys better working benefits."

   We will have more on this.

Update of August 21: when Inner City Press, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office had no response to the decision. And on August 21, Nanci St. John of the UN's iSeek intraweb declined to publish a staff member's three paragraph summary of the case, saying that

"iSeek is a platform to inform staff members all around the world about subjects than can interest the largest UN population and not only a smaller group of people, on a subject that is not shared by all.

"We would like to suggest you contact the Office of Administration of Justice and, with them, draft a story about the new administration of justice in the UN system, using this particular case as an illustration. This will echo the numerous stories that have already been posted on iSeek on this new system. The angle would be to show staff, through a concrete example, how this system works and how staff can benefit from it."

 Hmm.  It all began, in a sense, with a leaked master plan of promotion which Inner City Press obtained and published in 2009 entititled Possible Transfers and Assignments / Reassignments." The list undermined the credibility of interviews that were being conducted, implying that some decisions have already been made.

Here is from the UNDT decision put on the Internet in late May:

45. Thus, there are significant doubts whether the reason for the proposed exercise is bona fide as it appears unsupported by the facts. If this exercise were due to the CMP budget limitations, then the 24 regular budget posts would not be included in the list of posts open for vacancies. Furthermore, the existence of an actual restructuring plan, as submitted by the Respondent, is doubtful. No evidence of the existence of an actual restructuring plan has been provided. The only remotely relevant record provided to the Tribunal is an undated document “Basic information on evaluation criteria for the Security Officer selection process”, which generally explains the proposed assessment process. However, the status and the authorship of this document have not been explained to the Tribunal. Further, the internal vacancy announcement issued in April 2012 does not indicate how many posts are being advertised. In addition, although the Respondent submits that the funding for the Applicants’ posts will no longer be available, he does not state when exactly such funding will cease—in fact, it appears that CMP-related funding may be available at least until 2013 (see Report of the Secretary-General, “Associated costs related to the capital master plan”, A/63/582 (3 December 2008), providing estimated costs for 2008–2013). It is unclear on what basis the Respondent submits that “cutbacks demand a reduction from 85 Security Officer positions to 49 Security Officer positions”. The sole document proffered in support of this proposition—A/63/582— does not appear to contain this information. Thus, in view of the factors above, substantial doubts exist with the lawfulness of the proposed exercise.

56. The Tribunal gave serious consideration to the issue of the duration of the suspension and finds that, on the information before it, the exercise in its present form cannot continue and the suspension on the exercise in its current parameters will remain in place until this case is disposed of on the merits. There is obviously a need to have some form of resolution of the situation in SSS, and the present judgment should not be interpreted otherwise. Whatever process is going to be eventually applied, even in the absence of a properly promulgated administrative issuance, such process must be conducted in compliance with the basic standards of fairness and reasonableness and it must be properly documented.


57. The decision requiring the Applicants to undergo a competitive process announced in the SSS bulletin for 6–9 April 2012 being found prima facie unlawful, the Tribunal orders suspension of the implementation of the decision to carry out the said competitive process until the present case is disposed of on the merits.

  We'll have more on all this - watch this site.

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