In August 2013, Roberta Baldini must have thought all her Christmasses came at once when she found something she could use to make a misconduct complaint against me.
Sabotaging investigations! That sounds fairly serious. Or at least, it would be if there were an actual investigation to be sabotaged…. Of course, don’t let that get in the way of anything. When you are desperately looking for something to complain about, anything will do.
It related to something that I had been soundly criticised for, and addressed (at length) in the rebuttal of that Annual Appraisal.
Let’s start with a quick pop quiz.
When an anonymous report is received, alleging some possible irregularity in a UN procurement contract; do you think the decision-maker should have any background information to determine whether or not the allegation is credible? If you think the answer to that question is ‘YES’, then you are clearly wrong because I tried it and nobody paid it any heed. Facts are clearly not required to make executive decisions in OIOS.
Assume you were in a management position and there was a simple clerical task that required to be done. Would you assign this to the highest paid person who could possibly do it, or would you assign it to the lowest paid person?
If you think the answer is that you assign it to the LOWEST paid person, to have work done as cost-effectively as possible, experience shows that you are wrong because cost management is NO part of the job in the UN…..
There is a lesson there. OIOS management do not need information to make decisions, and strive to have work done in the least efficient manner possible. This might sound counter-intuitive but don’t worry about it; do it this way and nobody will criticise you for it.
A year earlier, I had been given a Referral B memo to draft. This is something that could be done my a junior office clerk, thus leaving to investigators free to use their brains on investigation work, but OIOS preferred to have these minor administrative tasks drafted by the highest paid staff in the office. Please don’t ask me why; it makes no management sense to me. (I have no idea what the General Assembly would want, but my guess is that it would involve such concepts as efficiency and cost-effectiveness. OIOS is free to disagree.)
A Referral B is what happens when, despite not having enough information on which to base a decision, the OIOS Intake Committee (for which read “Micheal Dudley and his tame voting bloc’) decides to send a misconduct report somewhere else. It means that OIOS are not going to investigate it. In this case, the OIOS Intake Committee had decided to refer it to the Department of Field Support for them to investigate…. or do something with.
I was given this memo to draft, so I looked at the report that had come in, and it just didn’t pass the sniff test. I spent ten minutes on Google and concluded that the whole thing was a crock of nonsense, so I took my File Note and went to see someone about it. (That was a mistake. If you hand over a piece of paper in OIOS, it does not exist. It is necessary to send an e-mail.)
Now the significance if my having done this is two-fold; first it established the fact that I did something about it as soon as I received it, but “somebody” then did nothing about it for several months, and second; it establishes the fact that I raised a question which indicated that, as an investigator, I have a most undesirable habit of querying the garbage that I often saw in print. In this case it was something that impacted on the Organisation’s use of time and resources, and – curiously enough – absolutely nobody gave a flying damn. Nobody ever got back to me to say yea, nay or otherwise. I might as well talk to a brick wall most of the time.
In any event, after the fiasco of Dzuro and Baldini being caught flat-footed, unable to justify the PIP, and my misconduct complaint against them for trying to impose the piece of nonsense, they had a vested interested in trying to discredit me by any means available. That much was perfectly clear, so I had Baldini playing at being a junior school teacher, correcting my assignment as if I was five years old.
This was an internal memo, relating to an anonymous complaint that made no sense and deserved to be consigned to the waste bin anyway, so the objective was clearly to spend as much time as possible nit-picking and sending it back to me to do again – because that is what passes for “management’ in OIOS.
On 20 May, totally frustrated with having to deal with utter nonsense time and time again, I recorded this farce on the case file. Given the way I was being treated, I would have been stupid not to.
By that time, I had had to put up with Dzuro & Baldini refusing to answer any questions about the PIP, I had put up with them harassing me to death in an attempt to try and justify their actions ex post facto, culminating in a shameful attempt to misuse the Mediation Office, seeking to “mediate” in bad faith.
My Note to File of 20 May was an internal referral memo, it was not even an investigation and I fail to see that it warranted the editorial attention one might give to the Queens Speech at the Opening of Parliament. Nobody, of course, can explain these things to me, it is comparable to the way in which no one explains why or how I might be mistaken and how Baldini’s management abilities are, in fact, of the standard commensurate with her position.
In late June, I returned to work after being off on stress leave for a months and Baldini was still not happy. She would not make the “corrections” herself and had not just given it to one of the clerks to finish off either. By that time, Dzuro had completed my Annual Appraisal, in which every possible innuendo had been brought to bear, and everything I had done on this file painstakingly and thoroughly criticized.
On 7 July, I looked at this file again and promptly spat the dummy. I refused to play the petty “corrections” game ad infinitum. I was not in kindergarten, so my note on the file of that day states:
This has been a thoroughly pointless exercise.
As far as I am concerned, the draft dated 20 May 2013 and uploaded to CITRIX in MS Word format as document 13a is good enough to go out and I do not care to waste any more time on it.
I had tried being co-operative and that was a courtesy that had been abused. I had joined to UN to do a job of work; not to sacrifice my professional reputation for anyone’s vindictive gratification.
In August 2103, Baldini came across the “offending” memo and – ignoring the facts, and ignoring what it showed about her own abilities as a supervisor – reported it as misconduct.
Rather than just do that, however, she actually got Dan Wilson to do it for her….
Was it misconduct? Dan didn’t think so.
Was the complaint made in good faith?
………Well, let’s not go there!
Baldini insisted that this was “sabotaging cases”……. but it wasn’t a “case”! There was no case to sabotage; it was a referral memo (involving a referral that was a piece of nonsense anyway, because the report received by OIOS was not credible – but don’t bother about that. Why should you? Nobody else ever did.)
But wait….. there’s more!
In her enthusiasm to retaliate against me; Baldini was keen to add the additional charge that I had said “rude words” about her.
What WERE these “rude words”?
Nobody ever knew.
Not even Mia Kenny, who Baldini claimed had told her that she heard me say them, could actually explain what these “rude words” actually were. When Dan Wilson spoke to Mia Kenny she denied having said anything of the sort, whereupon Dudley leapt in to contradict him and insist that she had – and even at the end, the most anyone could get out of her was that she didn’t actually hear what I said but assumed it would have been rude……
The standard of proof is “clear and convincing evidence”…… so how anyone is going to meet that by reporting what they were told someone else thought they overheard is a mystery to me – but don’t worry; this is the UN, so it is perfectly acceptable for the senior staff in OIOS to consider this as “probable cause” to initiate an investigation…..
And of course, nobody considered this to be “retaliation”…… oh no, this is an example of the high standards expected of an OIOS Section Chief.
In the end, two months later, I was asked what I had said. This was after OHRM and heaven only knows who else had tried to construe this as “misconduct,” Lapointe was apparently unsatisfied with the fact that nobody had heard these alleged “rude words”, but still anxious that I might actually admit to having said them. – allegedly so she could “assess the situation“…. I have my doubts about that.
In any case, I replied; I had absolutely no clue what she was on about. It is curious, of course, that Lapointe was prepared to take seriously a complaint that I might have said some unspecified ride words – which NOBODY actually heard but they just assumed would have been “rude”….
Clearly, my understanding of “probable cause” is not quite as panoptic as other people’s, and my interpretation of “information or evidence supporting a reasonable belief that misconduct has occurred” is not as generous as some other people’s. It is also apparent that the definition of ‘unprofessional” in the UN varies according to who is on the receiving end of the accusation.
I am still waiting to see the “Integrity, Impartiality, Objectivity and Professionalism” in OIOS of course, but then again – I am still waiting to see Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny too.