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UN Overpays Prodi Rome Travel, Seeks to Cut 59 Publishing Jobs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, May 30 -- The UN says it is tightening its belt. But if so, it is very selective.

  Inner City Press has previously questioned why the UN's envoy on the Sahel, Romano Prodi, gets to work from Italy. Wednesday UN budget sources approached Inner City Press to complain it is worse than this.

  Prodi is not in fact based in Rome, they told Inner City Press. He is in Bologna, and he charges the UN $1,200 for each trip to Rome, so far to the tune of $36,000.

  And the report on the Sahel strategy of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon which he was charged with preparing back in October 2012 has still not been presented to the Security Council. "It's a joke," one source told Inner City Press. "A bad joke."

  (Another source snarked that the vehicles to be bought for Herve Ladsous' Department of Peacekeeping Operations' new mission in Mali will in all probability come from French or Japanese manufacturers.)

  As Inner City Press asked and got confirmed, the UN's envoy to the Great Lakes Mary Robinson is being allowed to be based in Dublin. Are there any UN staff there? And what about the travel costs?

  Meanwhile at a lower level of the UN, staff in the Publishing Section were told that 59 "posts" -- that is, jobs -- would be eliminated. Management used the destruction of equipment in the third sub-basement to further their plan of eliminating the posts.

There was fight back, and now a counter-proposal has been sent to Ban Ki-moon; Inner City Press has exclusively obtained a copy and includes a section, below.

 The same Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions which considers Prodi and Mary Robinson should consider these lower ranked staff member's proposal, with the same solicitude:

For a more economically efficient, flexible, and reliable printing operation, it is imperative to deploy four smaller capacity digital presses of overall capacity up to or about 90,000,000 page impressions... a total of twenty-four staff members in Trade and Craft staff category would be required for the operation of the print shop, in addition to fifteen General staff for distribution and fulfillment, and five General staff for the front office. The whole operation would be managed by a Professional staff at the P-3 level, supported by senior Trade and Craft at the TC-8 and TC-7 levels. The currents posts of the Chief (P-5) and Deputy Chief (P-4) of the Publishing Section would be abolished.

A total of twelve staff in the General staff category would be relocated to the Meetings Servicing Unit for Paper Smart meetings support. The remaining staff of the Publishing Section would be afforded real employment opportunities and appropriate training.

  So does this UN only care about the comfort of people like Prodi, charging big bucks to travel from Bologna to Rome? Or about these underground printing staff? Watch this site.

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