Thursday, March 15, 2018

AFICS Australia: Reminder to FAFICS: your task is to defend UN retirees, 15 March 2018


Reminder to FAFICS: your task is to defend UN retirees

". . . the leadership of FAFICS [the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) in the last few years has not met the high benchmark of the past.  . . FAFICS neither asked its membership for data on these problems, nor took them up in any significant way.  . .The FAFICS leadership should be strongly reminded by its members that its task is to protect, defend and advance the rights of all UN retirees, not those of the CEO, no matter how nice a fellow he is personally. "

Monday, March 5, 2018

Open letter to Heidi Mendoza: UN retiree representation at the Pension Board, 5 March 2018

Open letter to Ms. Heidi Mendoza, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services, from UN Beneficiaries/Retirees of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund

5 March 2018

Ms. Heidi Mendoza
Office of Internal Oversight Services
United Nations

Subject: Audit of the governance of the Pension Board: Representation of retirees/beneficiaries on the Pension Board

Dear Ms. Mendoza,

We are writing with respect to paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution GA/RES/72/262 adopted on 24 December 2017 as follows:

“Requests the Secretary-General to entrust the Office of Internal Oversight Services with the conduct of a comprehensive audit of the governance structure of the Pension Board, including a review of the checks and balances between the Board and the leadership of the Fund, and requests the Office to submit a report with key findings to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session, to be considered in the context of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.”

Legitimacy of representation

As UN retirees (also known as beneficiaries) of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, our interests are purportedly represented on the Pension Board by four representatives and two alternates (for a total of six non-voting positions) from the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS).

Many UN retirees are not members of FAFICS, whose governance is controlled by members selected by independent and local Associations of former International Civil Servants (AFICS). Many retirees have no desire to become members of their local AFICS, nor should they be required to be a member of a particular federation in order to have their interests represented on the pension board of their pension fund, to which they have contributed their whole careers.  

By definition, one cannot be represented by an organization of which one is not a member, raising questions about the legitimacy of FAFICS as the representative of UN retirees on the Pension Board.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The FAFICS president's misinformation campaign: No laughing matter, 4 March 2018

Open letter to the members and associate members of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants (FAFICS)

4 March 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members.

Subject: The FAFICS president’s misinformation campaign: no laughing matter

The FAFICS president, Ms. Linda Saputelli, in her latest “update” dated 19 February 2018, posted on the FAFICS website (pdf attached) has doubled down on her misinformation campaign.  You will recall that her update to FAFICS member associations dated 8 January 2018, contained a number of instances of distorted information, which I refuted in detail in my response of 14 January 2018 addressed to you.

This new “update” begins with a renewed attempt to denigrate and discredit the UN participant representatives, mixed in with brief updates on other issues.  While it stretches credulity that by now, anyone could take Ms. Saputelli’s rantings seriously, it is a fact that FAFICS has had some success in wielding power by its manipulation and control of the flow of information.

Most important, there are a number of issues facing our Fund that require the good faith efforts of our retiree organization, of which Ms. Saputelli, however questionable her conduct, holds the office of president.  

A deeply disturbing issue contained in Ms. Saputelli’s 19 February update pertains to the membership of the Selection Committee for the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Fund Secretariat.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

UN (staff) participant representatives: Our work to improve the UN Pension Fund is bearing fruit, 30 January 2018




To: HQ NY Secretariat
Subject: FROM THE UN STAFF UNIONS: Our work to improve the pension fund is bearing fruit | Nos efforts pour améliorer la Caisse des pensions portent leurs fruits

This message is sent by UN staff unions on behalf of the UN participant representatives to the Pension Board. (version française en bas de page)
Dear Colleagues,
Firstly Happy New Year! As members of the pension fund board, representing United Nations family participants, we look forward to 2018 being a year of positive change.
We are already off to a good start.
Just before Christmas the General Assembly passed a resolution that recognized many of the issues we have been raising and took action:
  • It requested an OIOS audit of how the pension fund is governed after we revealed the Board’s unwieldy structure and failure to provide effective oversight of the Fund’s senior management.
  • It did not approve new D-1 and P-5 posts, which were superfluous and would inflate costs at a time when many pension fund posts lie vacant.
  • It expressed concern at continuing payment delays and requested a client grievance redress mechanism, after auditors showed that the fund had concealed the true size of the payment backlog.
  • It also expressed concern at the slow progress in implementing the recommendations of the Board of Auditors.
  • Finally it expressed concern at the inaccurate data provided to the actuaries, meaning we don’t know the exact solvency of the fund, and requested a strengthening of internal control procedures, after another audit report found that the fund had misspent $1.8 million of a $2.2 million contract with PWC.
  • In December the Secretary-General also made clear that while he would accept the Board’s recommendation to extend the CEO of the fund by three years (2018 to 2020) instead of the traditional  five, continuation beyond 2018 would be subject to a fresh performance review and he would retain full discretion to terminate. This effectively puts the CEO, whom successive audits have shown to have mismanaged the fund, on probation.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Today's email purportedly from the UN Pension Fund: Security breach or abuse of power? 21 January 2018

Open communication to FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) members and associate members

21 January 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members,

You may have received the following email, addressed to “Dear beneficiaries”, and signed “UNJSPF”, which appears to have been sent to all UN retirees worldwide, attaching the FAFICS president’s “update” dated 8 January 2018.

“From: DoNotReply <>
Date: Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 6:59 AM
Subject: FAFICS Letter
Dear Beneficiaries,

This is a “comprehensive update” sent on behalf of FAFICS.

Thank you and Regards

1.         In this regard, I refer you to my note of 14 January 2018 (see below for ease of reference) in which I responded point by point to several instances of distortion of facts in the FAFICS president’s “update”, and noted her consistent “pattern of partisanship, non-transparency, manipulation of information, and attempts to discredit anyone who questions or opposes her actions.”

2.         I also emphasized that “the FAFICS president’s [has] demonstrated unconditional support for the CEO including (i) writing an email to OIOS on 1 June 2016 discouraging the audit of the backlog in pension payments which has caused untold suffering to new retirees and other beneficiaries; (ii) pushing for his advance reappointment in 2016 based on an outdated performance evaluation; and again for a renewed five year term in 2017, while disregarding the accumulated information contained in the reports of UN governing bodies and OIOS audit 2017/002 concerning the role of mismanagement in the Fund.

3.         It is impossible to discern from the email purportedly sent from the Fund today, using its confidential member contact information, by whom this email was sent, and on what authority.   In fact, one has no way of knowing whether this communication, sent on Sunday, a day when the Fund is closed, at 6.59 am, is the result of a breach of IT security.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

FAFICS: the need for effective leadership; comments on the FAFICS president's update of 8 January 2018, 14 January 2018

14 January 2018

Dear FAFICS members and associate members,

Subject: FAFICS: the need for effective leadership; comments on the FAFICS president’s update dated 8 January 2018

Further to my communication of 4 January 2018, I wish to draw your attention to several instances of misinformation and distortion of facts contained in the FAFICS (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) president’s “update” of 8 January 2018.

As you’re aware, FAFICS holds four seats (plus two alternate seats) on the Pension Board, without voting rights. The FAFICS president sits on the Board as the representative of UN retirees worldwide. From this position of authority and influence, she has demonstrated, as in this “update”, a pattern of partisanship, non-transparency, manipulation of information, and attempts to discredit anyone who questions or opposes her actions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Past time for the FAFICS president to resign, 10 January 2018

You know you're on the right track when you're villifed by the FAFICS President (Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants) as she does here in this fact-averse communication dated 8 January 2018 addressed to FAFICS organizations worldwide, who have frequently reported that the FAFICS president does not consult them about positions she takes in the Pension Board.
I proudly wear her criticism as a badge of honor, as should the UN staff unions whom she excoriates and in effect accuses of subversion. The facts, as reported in my open letter to FAFICS organizations dated 4 January 2018, link below) speak for themselves and are unaffected by her consistent dismissal of the facts and plaintive self-justifications. Given her role in the problems that have roiled our Fund, which has been meticulously documented on the blog since 2014, it's past time for her to muster the decency to resign her position. A former colleague and friend just had a bottle of Veuve Cliquot delivered to my door. Cheers.


8 January 2018
Dear Colleagues,
I have been awaiting the outcome on decisions taken on matters of interest and concern regarding the Pension Fund and am pleased to be able finally to update you in a comprehensive way.
The General Assembly adopted on December 24, 2017 Resolution 72/262, a draft advance copy of which you should have received by now, but is also attached to this letter for easy reference. Although last year was a so-called budget year, the resolution did not restrict itself, as had been customary, to budget matters and the Board of Auditors report. Instead, it extended its focus to include other matters such as investments and in particular, a call for a comprehensive review of the governance structure.