On 28 February 2013, two weeks before my employment contract was due to be renewed, I was presented with this PIP and told to sign it immediately so that it could go into effect the following day. I had put up with more than my fair share of hogwash and nonsense, but there was not a snowball’s chance in hell I was going to sign that without demanding some answers.
It was clear then, and was made clearer by everything that happened afterwards, that that PIP was malicious and was completely unjustified, but that one document comprehensively and unceremoniously shit on absolutely everything I had done and everything that I had worked for since I was an undergraduate at University thirty years earlier.
In the final analysis, I have only one asset that is worth fighting for, and that is my professional integrity. I had spent all of my professional career building a sound and unblemised professional reputation, only to have it destroyed by an Organisation staffed by the incompetent and the corrupt, and if anyone fails to understand that, they are clearly beyond educational salvation.
Apart from dealing with the egregious insult, it was apparent to me that the masterpiece of the English language that was the PIP was not only unwarranted but it was also a patent crock of nonsense.
It was divided into three parts
I was only to investigate what I was specifically told to investigate, nothing else. Now, apart from the fact that there is documentary evidence to show that that is all I had actually been doing – the $64,000 question is: What sort of investigation agency would actually tell an investigator he was not to be alert for other instances of misconduct or criminality?
In the real world, if someone being interviewed for the very serious criminal act of ‘urinating in a public place’ happened to say something that alerted the investigating officer to a major fraud, perhaps a murder or even human trafficking; anyone interested in a promotion at least is likely to follow that up. The UN, apparently, not only ignores such leads but considers it appropriate to sanction the investigating officer for expressing any desire to pursue anything other than the original pissing on a lamppost.
I certainly didn’t.
The biggest irony here, however, was that I was given the PIP just one day after I had completed the 0496/11 Medical Insurance Fraud case, in which I had identified two other acts of misconduct and one criminal offence, I had asked about referring these back to the Investigations Intake committee and Baldini had said
2) No, and
Why would OIOS consider it a ‘performance shortcoming’ for an investigator to at least be alert for further instances of misconduct? Neither Dzuro nor anybody else in the UN was ever willing to explain this to me.
Adding to the idiocy, I was only ask questions that were pre-approved – by Dzuro.
How anyone is supposed to conduct any kind of investigation if every question is one of those little mysteries known only to the UN. Tragically, neither Dzuro nor anyone else was willing to share this secret.
Maybe you need to be a Freemason, who knows?
Most importantly, and despite the fact I was employed as an investigator, the cherry on the cake was that OIOS considered it important that I was never to ask questions “just to satisfy my curiosity”.
Ignore the fact I was employed as an investigator, and most people understand that investigators are supposed to ask questions; on what planet, in what universe, does that actually make any sense?
But wait, there’s more…
2. Improve your judgement
I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how anyone’s “judgement” can be objectively measured.
Carman “No University Degree” Lapointe believes that it can be, but strangely enough neither she nor anyone else was willing or able to explain it to me. I am only a MENSA member, perhaps it requires intellectual abilities far in excess of my own, but why worry about it: Dzuro was going to “tutor” me in how to think, and how to make decisions.
Unable to cite a single example of what he alleged was my poor judgement, he was nevertheless going to determine, after six months, if it had improved my judgement to such a degree that he found satisfactory.
The UN clearly puts a lot of faith in Dzuro’s judgement, despite the manner in which it was exercised in the Lubbad case, distinctly absent in the Sirohi case and offended by the decision to terminate the UMOJA investigation……
And not because we are bending over backwards to find an excuse for this garbage, there is #3”
3. Improve your writing skills
I was not to write in such a way that it needed to be edited, and I was to use the spellchecker.
Do not be distracted with the question of whether it is appropriate that a P4 investigator (even one who was a native English speaker with with two Masters degrees and over 20 published articles to his credit) be sanctioned for his typing skills, because the UN saw nothing wrong with this.
From an evidential point of view, this one should have been something of a slam dunk; if I was only barely literate – spelling the word ‘cross’ with an ‘s’ at the beginning, populating my work with Crimes against Grammar and the most egregious spelling errors known to Scrabble players the world over; the investigative geniuses in charge of OIOS should have had no difficulty pointing out any number of instances wher I had writted ‘kat’ wiff two Ts.
Nope. Sorry. Nobody wanted to go down that road either.
Still, I had been told on 20 February that I had, apparently, made a typo in a Note to File, and this was clearly very serious. I had allegedly written the word ‘cross’ with an ‘s’ at the beginning, but regrettably not even that document ever surfaced.
Clearly the cause of world peace is dependent on Notes to File being perfect in every grammatical sense. That’s how it all started in Nazi Germany; typos in Notes to File…
Now, even before asking for the evidence of my own alleged incompetence; anyone who can read, write and think for themselves might start asking some serious questions about this PIP.
It was clearly not designed to improve anything; it was an overt attempt to prevent me – an OIOS investigator – actually investigating anything.
What OIOS wanted instead was automatons employed with the word “investigator” in their job title who would just tick boxes off a checklist instead of actually making any attempt to find anything out.
Pardon me for thinking that there might just be something not quite right about that.
the refusal to explain why this PIP was necessary,
the pressure to sign the PIP “urgently”
the attempt to use my employment contract as leverage to force me to sign the PIP and
the fact the PIP made no investigative sense anyway:
I made a formal misconduct complaint against Dzuro, Baldini & Dudley for harassment & abuse of authority, both of which are contrary to ST/SGB/2008/5. I had no choice.
Had I not done so, it appeared that I would not have been permitted to renew my contract.
That means that absolutely everything followed would not have been necessary if only Dzuro had been able to answer the questions that I raised in response to his PIP.
PIPs are governed by ST/AI/2010/5, which requires, at para 10.1, that alleged “performance shortcomings” be identified, and requires at para 10.2 that any PIP be prepared “in consultation with the staff member.”
Simply put, the UN, however, chose to interpret the word “identified” to mean something other than the supervisor having to tell the individual what he is going alleged to have done wrong. Not only that, but they interpreted the term “in consultation with the staff member” to exclude any obligation on the part of the supervisor to answer any questions that the Staff Member may raise.
This is the UN at its best; ignoring the patently obvious but bending the rules to suit a pre-conceived purpose. If you read Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” – which in the UN might as well pass for normality – this is the Humpty Dumpty School of Statutory Interpretation in action:
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ “
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.“
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
This should be Management 1.01. Does it matter if someone is the Chief Engineer on the International Space Station or if he shovels the stuff out of the elephant enclosure at the zoo; if any person’s work performance is deemed to be at issue; it would seem only right and proper that they have a right to know what they have done wrong.
This right, however, clearly does not exist in OIOS. When a similar matter was raised in the UNDT, the Tribunal (unsurprisingly) held that the supervisor was obligated to provide ‘behavioral examples’ in support of poor performance ratings.
In my case, however, the UN legal system did a very good job of avoiding the real question. If, as he alleged, my work was so bad that I deserved to be in the remedial class; why was Dzuro (or anyone else) unable or unwilling to answer the questions that I raised in response to his PIP?
It’s a simple question and the answer is obvious.
All they had to do was answer the questions and – presuming they could answer them satisfactorily – a whole lot of grief and expense would have been saved…..
Neither Roberta Baldini nor Vlad Dzuro could not answer a single question about the PIP, but insisted that they did not have to, then re-doubled their efforts to damage my career.
And to do this, they had the full support of Carman Lapointe, the Under-Secretary-General of Oversight, and also Susana Malcorra, the Secretary-General’s Chief of Staff.