Monday, September 28, 2015

Pension matters: Make no mistake. The threat has abated but unreliable AFICS/NY leadership is still in place! 28 September 2015

Make no mistake. The threat may have abated temporarily, but the same unreliable AFICS/NY President and leadership are in place. We’re at an important juncture where every participant and beneficiary of the UN Pension Fund must take cognizance of the experience of the past year. 

For the first time in many years, we were faced with risks to the system of checks and balances that have kept our Fund safe and healthy for the past 65 years when others failed. The AFICS/NY President and Governing Board acted against the interest of AFICS members by supporting the draft MOU, dismissing our concerns about media reports about a move to riskier investments, and opposing at every turn the signing of a petition to the Secretary-General asking him to ensure that the system of checks and balances was maintained.

AFICS/NY President and Governing Board, letter of 23 September 2015: No shame!

28 September 2015

To: Ms. Linda Saputelli,  AFICS/NY President
Copy: AFICS/NY Governing Board

Dear Ms. Saputelli,

Subject: Request for an extraordinary meeting of the AFICS/NY Governing Board

We cannot fail to respond to your letter of 23 September 2015, which we consider an affront to all members of AFICS, who look to the Board for transparent, legitimate and honest representation

Concerning the request dated 12 June 2015 of 82 AFICS members, under the By-Laws, for a meeting on pension matters, we find it disturbing that following more than three months of correspondence containing a series of excuses, you now resort to a perverse interpretation of the AFICS By-Laws to justify non-compliance with its provisions. Since the Board includes several members with legal training and experience, it is indeed bizarre that the plain meaning of the statutes’ language has been so blatantly misused and contorted to satisfy yet a new excuse for not holding the requested General Meeting.  But it doesn’t require advanced legal training to understand that nothing in the By-Laws requires “individually signed requests.” By adopting this tactic you treat your dues-paying members with complete disrespect.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Game changer: AFICS/NY President response to request for meeting under the Bylaws: Sorry, we changed the rules! No meeting -- and matter closed!

Game changer: AFICS/NY and Governing Board: a model of responsibility and accountability to its dues-paying members.

On 12 June 2015, 82 AFICS members sent a letter to the AFICS/NY President and Governing Board requesting a meeting on pension matters. In their first response (23 June) we heard about “legal and practical constraints” before a date and a formal agenda could be set; next (25 June) there were  “critical practical constraints and possible legal issues”; on 2 July, we had “the By-Laws do not impose a specific time-frame; then on 9 July, it was the MOU is on hold, there’s no rush; we can plan a proper meeting.  In the latest response, on 23 September, we have ‘rule change; we need individual signed letters by 50 members, plus we don’t know why you needed a meeting in the first place, and as far as we’re concerned, the matter is closed!" 

The AFICS/NY Governing Board has asked me to convey to you its reply to a message
received by the Board from Loraine Rickard-Martin on 17 September 2015.

We would first recall the background and the context in which you made your request for an
extraordinary meeting of the AFICS/NY membership. The day after the annual meeting of the
AFICS/NY Annual Assembly that was held on 4 June 2015, the Association’s Governing
Board received a request from you to convene soonest an extraordinary meeting of the
membership and citing Article 4, para. 3 of the AFICS/NY By-Laws. You followed it up on 12
June with a list that you stated was sent on behalf of 82 AFICS/NY members, some of whom
later indicated to AFICS/NY officers that they were not aware of having endorsed such a
request. Moreover, 8 are not AFICS/NY members. You insisted that the meeting should take
place before the 62nd session of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board, scheduled for
20-24 July 2015.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pension Matters. Open letter to the AFICS/NY President and Governing Board: Your attention, please. (17 September 2015)

Dear Madam President and Governing Board,

I am writing to request your attention to two outstanding matters related to the AFICS By-Laws and inquire about any action that you and the Governing Board have taken or intend to take.

The first matter concerns elections to the Governing Board required under AFICS By-Laws as follows:  

“Article V. The Governing Board.  4.  The Governing Board shall be convened by the retiring President as soon as possible after the annual meeting of the Assembly. It shall at its first meeting elect from its membership a President, a First Vice-President, a Second Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Deputy Secretary and a Deputy Treasurer.”

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pension matters: the AFICS/FAFICS President seeks to reassure her constituency -- inquiring minds. That’s us! 4 September 2015

The AFICS/FAFICS President newly returned from the Pension Board meeting held from 20 to 24 July 2015, described in her ‘Highlights’ of the meeting (5 August 2015) her continued full-throated support for the revised draft Memorandum of Understanding granting the Fund CEO more ‘flexibility’. (You may recall that USG Takasu placed the MOU on hold on 10 July 2015). The President's 'Highlights' also included a  lament she'd delivered at the Board about “polemics, agitation, distraction” (that’s us!) that had “damaged” the image of the UN and the Fund.

The day before, on 4 August, she wrote a letter to the Secretary-General in which she described herself as ‘uneasy’ about issues related to the appointment of the Fund's Investment Committee and revision to the financial rules (see links below to her letters of 4 and 24 August, and Mr. Takasu’s reply of 21 August).