Staff Association Update
April 3, 2007
Since publication of the March 28, 2007 “In the Loop” column in the
Washington Post, the Staff Association has been inundated with
messages from staff expressing concern, dismay and outrage. The Staff
Association has looked into the concerns and would like to inform
staff of what we have found. At the same time, we call on Senior
Management and the Board to clarify what appear to be violations of
Staff Rules in favor of a staff member closely associated with the
Bending the Staff Rules
At issue are the terms of external assignment for Ms. Shaha Ali Riza,
formerly a Senior Communications Officer in the Middle East and North
Africa Region (MNA). According to the Postand a subsequent New
Yorkerarticle, the Board’s Ethics Committee determined that Ms. Riza,
who was linked romantically with Mr. Wolfowitz, should be placed on
external assignment so as to avoid what Staff Rules define as a de
factoconflict of interest, when one partner supervises another.
Accordingly, Ms. Riza went on external assignment, with pay, on
September 19, 2005. The Staff Association has not been able to
determine who drew up and approved the terms of the external
assignment. However, we have been able to verify that they are
grossly out of line with the Staff Rules.
Promotion: Despite the “complement control” that limits the number of
staff at grades GH and GI, Ms. Riza was given a non-competitive
promotion to level GH on the day that she left on external
assignment. Promotion from GG to GH is supposed to be competitive,
vetted and approved by the relevant sector board and is supposed to
be against a specific position (Staff Rule 5.05). This promotion
clearly does not conform to the procedures.
Promotion Increase: Staff Rule 6.03 stipulates that salary increases
upon promotion should be the greater of (a) 3-12% of the Market
Reference Point (MRP) of the new grade, or (b) the amount necessary
to bring the salary to the minimum of the new grade. Ms. Riza’s
promotion increase should have been determined by the former
calculation. However, she was given a promotion increase of 28% of
the MRP – more than double the amount allowed by the Staff Rules.
Annual Increase: Since the performance of staff members on external
assignment cannot be assessed and compared to that of their
colleagues, Staff Rule 6.05 directs that their annual salary
increases be set at the average percentage applied to adjust the MRPs
for grades GA – GI. For FY07, the average percentage was 3.7%; Ms.
Riza’s annual increase this FY amounted to 7.5%.