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G E N E R A L      S E C R E T A R I A T




The Secretary General has authorized the Assistant Secretary of Management to implement the following Rules for Temporary Conference Service Contracts set out in Attachment A.


This Administrative Memorandum specifically rescinds and derogates Administrative Memorandum 54 and its five revisions; it further rescinds and derogates all rules, regulations, instructions, and practices of the General Secretariat that are inconsistent with it.


This Administrative Memorandum, together with the attached Rules, shall enter into force on the date it is signed.



James R. Harding
Assistant Secretary for Management



Date: December 8, 1997
Original: English





1.1 "GS/OAS" is the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States.

1.2 "Independent Contractor" is a person defined under Staff Rules 104. 1 (c) and 104.16, and who is not a GS/OAS Staff Member.

1.3 "Temporary Conference Service Contract" or "TCSC" is a contract with an independent contractor to provide translation, interpretation, editing, transcription, or other conference-related services.

1.4 "Conference Service Providers" are free-lance independent contractors qualified to provide the General Secretariat with conference-related services under a TCSC. They include translators, interpreters, transcribers, editors, and other specialists skilled and experienced in providing those services.

1.5 "PASAF" or "Plan of Activities and Request for Allotment of Funds" is an activities plan for projects which must be submitted to the Department of Program Budget for the allocation of project funds as a precondition for the obligation of those funds.

1.6 "The Secretariat for Conferences and Meetings" or "SCM" is the dependency of the Office of the Assistant Secretary General described in Executive Order 97-2.

1.7 "Obligations" are, as stated in Article 94 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of GS/OAS, sums of money for orders placed, contracts awarded, agreements signed, and transactions concluded during a given period for which funds must be earmarked and an expenditure executed in the future.


2.1 Pursuant to Executive Order 97-2, SCM is the dependency of the General Secretariat responsible for the identification, contracting, evaluation, and coordination of persons providing conference-related services under a TCSC.

2.2 The purpose of these Rules is to define in greater detail the responsibilities of the SCM and other dependencies of the Secretariat in administering TCSCs; to establish the general criteria of eligibility for TCSCs; to set out the necessary guidelines for assuring that TCSCs do not establish a de facto employer/employee relationship between the General Secretariat and free-lance conference services providers; and to outline the procedures for processing TCSCs.


3.1 The SCM is responsible for preparing a roster of technically qualified free-lance translators, interpreters, and other specialists available to provide conference-related services under short notice under a TCSC. SCM shall actively promote the recruitment of a broad cadre of qualified candidates for inclusion in the roster, and shall enlist the cooperation and efforts of other dependencies of the General Secretariat in this endeavor. SCM shall consider and interview qualified candidates, including those proposed by other dependencies of the General Secretariat and those identified as a result of their exceptional service in international meetings.

3.2 Only those persons whose names appear on the approved roster will be eligible for a TCSC.

3.3 Nationals of any country who satisfy the eligibility standards set out in this Administrative Memorandum shall be placed on the roster. Qualified nationals of the OAS Member States shall be given first preference, in equal conditions, over candidates from other states, for selection from the roster; qualified nationals of the OAS Permanent Observers shall be given preference, in equal conditions, over candidates from non-OAS Member States.

3.4 SCM shall develop objective standards for including candidates on the roster. Those standards, shall be based, in part, on the following factors: years of professional experience; membership in professional associations; performance on a proficiency text administered by SCM or a recognized international organization or other reliable examining authority; and compliance with the other requirements set out in these Rules and other applicable rules and regulations of the General Secretariat.

3.5 SCM will continually update the roster, and shall make the roster and all such updates available to the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Program Budget, and other dependencies of the General Secretariat that request them. SCM shall remove names from the roster at the request of the Director of Human Resources.


4.1 In collaboration with the Department of Human Resources, SCM shall develop a performance appraisal system that will permit an objective evaluation of the services provided by persons working under a TCSC.

4.2 SCM shall evaluate all persons working under a TCSC at least once a year in accordance with the performance appraisal system so developed.

4.3 Any conference service provider whose services are deemed unsatisfactory as a result of the performance appraisal system so developed shall be eliminated from the Roster.


5.1 No person shall be issued a TCSC without first presenting satisfactory evidence of a valid visa which permits that person to provide conference-related services in the duty station.

5.2 No person shall be issued a TCSC for any purpose other than for providing conference-related services or providing similar services to Americas magazine.

5.3 No person who is a relative of a staff member (as defined in Staff Rule 104.14(a)) who participates in the process of awarding or administering TCSCs or of a staff member who occupies a post above the P4 level shall be issued a TCSC; however, the Assistant Secretary for Management may authorize in writing an exception for any case in which (i) the exception request is presented in writing; and (ii) the General Secretariat's interest in permitting the exception, in his judgment, outweighs any potential for actual or perceived conflicts of interest.

5.4 No person contracted under a TCSC is entitled to overtime pay. Any GS/OAS staff member or other person who requires a conference service provider to work overtime and therefore causes the General Secretariat to incur a liability for the payment of overtime compensation shall be liable to GS/OAS for the amount of any such overtime compensation paid by GS/OAS to that conference service provider and shall fully indemnify GS/OAS for that amount.

5.5 Every person working under a TCSC shall initial the following statement in the contract form:

      I certify that I am an independent contractor; that I am self-employed; that I am not a GS/OAS staff member; that I am a participant in the national social security system of either the country of my residence or the country of my nationality; that I will pay to that national social security system from the compensation paid to me under this Contract the percentage contributions required of self-employed independent contractors under applicable law; and that I will pay to the appropriate governmental authorities from that compensation any taxes I may owe on that compensation as required by law.

5.6 Except for translators, interpreters, and editors, who shall be contracted in accordance with the customary practices in the duty station for contracting the services of free-lance persons in those professions, no natural person retained to provide conference-related services on GS/OAS premises shall be contracted under a TCSC for more than eight weeks of full-time service (at least 24 hours per week) within any three month period.

5.7 The SCM shall be responsible for verifying and enforcing compliance with the foregoing provisions of this Part V of these Rules.


6.1 Except in those special circumstances where it is not feasible, the TCSC shall provide for payment at pre-established rates by the word or by the page for translation and transcription services; and payment by the specific task for other services. Nonetheless, when it is necessary to pay for services in accordance with an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or annual rate, the TCSC shall provide for such payment at the corresponding pre-established rates.

6.2 The Secretariat of Conferences and Meetings, in consultation with the Department of Human Resources and in accordance with Staff Rule 104.16, shall establish compensation rates, taking into account: (a) the nature of the services to be performed, i.e., the complexity, difficulty, and degree of expertise required; (b) the time required to undertake the work and the market rate for comparable work; and (c) the necessity of obtaining the service required for the lowest possible cost.

6.3 Compensation paid at an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or annual rate to conference service providers for work to be performed on GS/OAS' premises for more than twenty working days in any twelve month period, regardless of whether such work is part-time or intermittent, shall include:

          a. A net fee computed in accordance with the factors set out in Article 6.2 above;

          b. An amount equal to what the independent contractor must contribute to social security (including retirement, unemployment insurance, and worker compensation insurance) with respect to that net fee under the laws of the duty station or the contractor's country of residence, whichever is applicable;

          c. An amount equal to what the independent contractor must contribute with respect to the net fee for health insurance under the laws of the duty station or contractor's country of residence (whichever is applicable), or if there is no such legal requirement and health insurance is not included in the applicable social security system, an additional 3% of that net fee as a health insurance allowance;

          d. An amount equal to the statutory value of vacation leave required under law with respect to the net fee earned, and if there is no such requirement for annual leave in the duty station, an additional 3% over the net fee.

The TCSC must itemize the amounts to be paid for each of the aforementioned elements of compensation as well as any other payments agreed to by the parties.

6.4 Article 6.3 will not apply to translators and interpreters, and editors, whose compensation shall be negotiated and established under Article 6.2 and in accordance with customary practices for contracting such free-lance professionals in the duty station.

6.5 As independent contractors, conference service providers are not entitled to compensation under the GS/OAS salary scales for staff members; nor are they entitled to the staff benefits provided under the General Standards and Staff Rules.


7.1 An area requesting services from a conference service provider under a TCSC must:

          a. Include the conference services in its approved Program-Budget and PASAF; and

          b. Request the services at least 30 days in advance by submitting the SCM the corresponding request for services, including a budget estimate for the services so requested.

7.2 SCM shall:

          a. Provide assistance to all areas requesting conference services in the preparation of estimated budgets for those services to be in included in the corresponding PASAF and requesting documents; and

          b. Generate, prior to the delivery of the services requested, the administrative actions and obligations necessary to cover and pay for those services.

7.3 For the General Assembly, the Permanent Council, CIDI, and their subsidiary bodies, SCM shall accept and process a miscellaneous action request for services submitted for the whole year, supported by a PASAF and subject to quarterly revision.

7.4 The Secretariat shall issue payment to the conference service provider based on the following documentation: the obligation document, the duly executed TCSC Contract Form; and certification by the SCM Director.

7.5 SCM shall issue a monthly report to the Department of Financial Services for payment and shall make that report available electronically to all interested parties within the General Secretariat and to the Member States upon their request.


8.1 SCM shall distribute to every GS/OAS staff member involved in the TCSC contracting process a copy of these Rules and every such staff member so receiving these Rules will sign a document acknowledging receipt of same.

8.2 Any staff member who causes financial damage to the General Secretariat by malice, culpable or gross negligence, or failure to observe these Rules shall be responsible therefor and shall be required to make restitution to the General Secretariat as specified under Staff Rules 101.3 and 103.20.

8.3 Unless otherwise expressly stated herein or in subsequent administrative issuances of the General Secretariat, the provisions in the Rules for Performance Contracts adopted under Executive Order 86-1, as amended, shall not apply to services provides retained under a TCSC.

8.4 These Rules may be amended by an Administrative Memorandum or an Executive Order.

8.5 The Assistant Secretary for Management may, upon receipt of a written request from SCM, issue exceptions to these Rules, provided that: (a) the request sets out distinct circumstances that justify the exception; (b) the request will not generate undue liabilities for the General Secretariat; and (c) the Assistant Secretary for Management determines that the exception is in the best interests of the General Secretariat. This authority to make exceptions is delegable only to the Chief of Staff and Director of Human Resources, under a temporary written delegation of authority from the Assistant Secretary for Management.


9.1 Pending the development and implementation of the Performance Appraisal System specified in Article IV of these Rules, SCM shall periodically evaluate the performance of each conference service provider on the roster at least once a year in accordance with reasonable objective criteria and shall maintain copies of those evaluations available for reference when selecting candidates from the roster. Persons whose services are deemed to be unsatisfactory shall be eliminated from the roster.