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UN Budget Cuts 59 Publishing Jobs, Leaked Minutes Show, Interpreters All Wet

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 7 – The budget squeeze in the UN under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is reflected in minutes of a meeting of officials of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management obtained and exclusively published by Inner City Press, here.

   DGACM intends, only in New York, to cut over $11 million in its 2014-15 budget. The largest cut is of 59 posts, or jobs, in its Publishing Section, overseen by Narendra Nandoe.

   Meanwhile, travel funds are being increased by at least $250,000. DGACM is spending $5 million on the “digitalization of meeting rooms signs.”

   There was talk of imposing a cap on the length of the Summary Records of meeting, and of outsourcing: “savings already achieved in processing Summary Records over the last 5-6 years by employing exclusively local free-lance precis-writers and translating them contractually.”

   The controversial “FlexTime” system was contrasted, by its proponent, to using “pencil and paper” -- which would require, he said, three more staff posts.

   The minutes also reflect that the Interpretation Section is currently and prospectively housed in a leaking office, even after the Capital Master Plan renovation.

   In the CMP, Conference Rooms 3 and 10 will not be ready by April. Meanwhile, Interpreter coverage will be over-stretched between April 8 and 19. Lost in translation? Watch this site.

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