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




In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by articles 4, 8, and 11 of the General Standards to Govern the Operations of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, and


That the General Secretariat's involvement in election observation and other on-site democratic development activities has placed new demands on the Secretariat which were not anticipated when the Staff Rules and Rules for Performance Contracts ("CPR Rules") were adopted.

That since 1989, the General Secretariat has been contracting the services of Election Observers and Other Special Democratic Development Personnel ("Observers") through Performance Contracts ("CPRs") under the CPR Rules;

That the contracting of Observers under CPRs has proved largely unsatisfactory because (1) persons contracted under CPRs are not staff members and therefore are not eligible for the privileges and immunities conferred upon staff members in many of the Member States; (2) persons contracted under CPRs are by definition independent contractors and therefore are not eligible for health insurance, social security, and other basic benefits provided employees; (3) the use of the CPR rather than the employment contract for retaining Observer services has required the establishment of ad hoc policies regarding leave, insurance, and other practices;

That the contracting of Observers under the short-term employment contract would facilitate the administration of Observer Missions and provide Observers with the legal protection they need to do their work and provide them with greater protection in the performance of their duties;

That the United Nations has developed for contracting Observers and other short-term personnel working in political development activities a special type of short-term employment contract -- the "Three Hundred Series" -- with fewer benefits than those provided other employees.

That the Staff Rules should be modified by way of Executive Order so as to permit the establishment of a special short term contract for Observers which will give the General Secretariat the same flexibility the United Nations has for hiring Observers as staff members with special voluntary and other special funds.


1. To amend Staff Rule 104.3(d) by replacing it with the text set out in Annex No. 1 of this Executive Order.

2. To add to the Staff Rules "Appendix E: Rules for Special Observer Contracts", as set out in Annex No. 2 of this Executive Order.

3. To repeal any provision, rule, or practice inconsistent with or contrary to this Executive Order.

This Executive Order shall enter into force upon the day it is signed.

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March 13, 1995

Annex No. 1

STAFF RULE 104.3(d)

(d) Contracts for a limited time are of four kinds:

(i) Short-term contracts, when their duration is less than a year. Short term contracts can be extended but in no case may the total of their original length plus the extension or extensions reach a total of one year of service;

(ii) Special Observer Contracts ("SOCs"), which are short-term contracts specifically governed by the provisions set out in Annex E of these Staff Rules.

(iii) Long-term contracts, when their duration is a year or more; and

iv) Part-time contracts, when their duration is for a fixed term agreed upon but where the staff member is required to serve the General Secretariat for one-half of the normal daily working hours at the duty station.


Annex No. 2


I. Definitions, Characteristics of Special Observer Contracts, and Special Requirements and Considerations

1.1 An Observer is a person hired under a short-term contract to provide services in election or human rights observation missions or other services in connection with democratic development activities.

1.2 A Special Observer Contract ("SOC") is a contract with an Observer for less than one year. Like a general short term contract, an SOC can be extended, but in no case may the total of the original SOC and extensions reach one continuous year of service without at least one week's break in service.

1.3 The SOC is a temporary appointment for a limited time (also known as a "fixed term"), the period of which is expressly specified in the letter of appointment.

1.4 A SOC may be terminated prior to its expiration if at anytime it is the Secretary General's opinion that such action would be in the interest of the General Secretariat.

1.5 An Observer may be ordered to leave a duty station without prior notice if in the opinion of the Secretary General or his duly designated agent, the Observer's presence at the duty station is undesirable or may prejudice the mission or the activity for which the Observer was contracted.

1.6 An SOC is a contract funded by special or voluntary funds; not by the Regular Fund.

1.7 The term Chief of Mission, as used in these rules, refers to the Principal Coordinator or Chief Operating Officer of the Observer Mission stationed in the duty station where the Observer is assigned.

1.8 To reduce potential liability for payment of the sixty-day termination notice provision required under Article 53 of the General Standards and Staff Rule 110.4, the length of an Observer Contract, or any individual extension period thereof, should not exceed thirty days unless the Secretary General otherwise orders in writing. In the event a contract or an extension for more than thirty days is granted, funds from the voluntary and special funds used to finance the Mission to which the Observer is assigned shall be placed in a special reserve account in an amount sufficient to cover the potential cost of the required notice.

1.9 The existence of the SOC does not prohibit the General Secretariat from contracting Observers as independent contractors under Performance Contracts ("CPRs") where in the opinion of the Secretary General, the conditions so permit. Observers contracted under Performance Contracts, however, are not staff members and the Staff Rules and these provisions do not apply to them.

II. Precedence and Interpretation

2.1 In the event of any conflict between these Special Rules and other Staff Rules and regulations, these Special Rules shall apply to SOCs.

2.2 These Rules must be construed in light of their purposes, which is to provide the Secretariat with a fair and flexible and contracting mechanism similar to that employed by the United Nations for contracting Observers as staff members without incurring the full costs of employing career and long-term contract staff.

III. Obligations and Rights

3.1 The provisions of Chapter I of the Staff Rules on Obligations and Rights apply, except as otherwise stated in this Section.

3.2 The holidays for each duty station away from Headquarters shall be those established in Staff Rule 101.2(c) unless otherwise notified to the Observers by the Secretary General.

3.3 Any Observer may be required to reimburse the General Secretariat either partially or in full for any financial loss suffered by the General Secretariat as a result of the staff member's negligence or his or her having violated any regulation, rule or administrative instruction.

IV. Classification of Post

4.1 The provisions of Chapter II of the Staff Rules on Classification of Posts apply, except as otherwise stated in this Section.

4.2 Staff Rule 102.3(c) does not apply; however an Observer who is asked to perform higher level functions may be eligible for the Special Duties allowance under the terms and conditions of Staff Rule 103.7.

4.3 Where merited, the Secretary General may relax formal educational and experience requirements because of the short term of these contracts and because the appointments hereunder are not subject to the competition requirements.

V. Salaries and Allowances

5.1 The provisions of Chapter III of the Staff Rules on Salaries and Allowances apply, except as otherwise stated in this Section.

5.2 Unless otherwise expressly stated in the Letter of Appointment form, the following benefits and corresponding rules shall not apply: Rent Subsidy (Staff Rule ("SR") 103.2(a)); Language Allowance (SR 103.6); Installation Allowance (SR 103.12); Education Grant (SR 103.13); Salary and Allowances During Special Mission Assignment (SR 103.14); Assignment Allowance (103.15); Dependency Allowance (103.16); Nonresident allowance (103.17); Reimbursement of Income Tax (103.19).

5.3 Observers in the general services category who are nationals of the duty station in which they are working will be paid in accordance with the local salary scales for that duty station established under Executive Order No. 91-1, unless their permanent residence at the time they are contracted is a country other than the duty station.

VI. Types of Employment, Selection, and Promotion

6.1 The provisions of Chapter IV of the Staff Rules on Types of Employment, Selection, and Promotion shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

6.2 No SOC, including any extensions thereof, may reach a total of one continuous year of service.

6.3 No SOC may be converted into a long-term contract. No Observer may be continuously employed by the General Secretariat beyond the permissible term of an SOC, and any permissible extensions thereof. An Observer may be reemployed after a one-week break in service; however, in no case shall reemployment after that break in service be construed as continuity of service for any purpose under the Staff Rules.

6.4 SOCs are exempt from the competition procedures stated in the Staff Rules.

6.5 Staff Rule 104.14(a) on family relationships shall not apply; however, absent an exception pursuant to Staff Rule 113.4(b), no SOC shall be awarded to an Observer who is a relative, as defined in Staff Rule 104.14(a), of a staff member classified at the N (P-5) level or above.

VII. Change of Post of Functions and Work Performance

7.1 The provisions of Chapter V of the Staff Rules on Change of Post, of Functions, and Work Performance shall apply, except as otherwise stated in this Section.

VIII. Annual. Special, Official, and Home Leave

8.1 The provisions of Chapter VI of the Staff Rules on Annual, Special, Official, and Home Leave shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

8.2 Observers are not eligible for Home Leave (Rule 106.4), and the entitlements under Rule 106.4 shall not apply.

8.3 An Observer may be ordered to take special leave with pay pending the investigation of any incident in which he may be involved.

8.4 Staff Rule 106.1(c) shall not apply and Observers shall be credited with the corresponding annual leave as of the first month of service and shall be entitled to take such leave beginning after the first month of service.

8.5 Observers may carry over accumulated annual leave in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VI of the Staff Rules, but must use all such leave before having completed eleven months and twenty-nine days of continuous service. Observers will be entitled to payment for unused leave only with the permission of the Director of Human Resources, and in the event such permission is granted, it shall extend to no more than the number of days indicated in Staff Rule 106.1 (b).

IX. Insurance and Health Benefits

9.1 The provisions of Chapter VII of the Staff Rules on Insurance and Health Benefits shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

9.2 The entitlements of Observers to sick leave will be identical to those provided other staff members holding short term contracts under the Staff Rules and in accordance with Staff Rule 107.1(a)(ii).

9.3 Observers shall not be entitled to the life and accidental death insurance subsidized by the General Secretariat under Staff Rules 107.3(a) and 107.3(d).

9.4 The Secretary General, at his option, may provide Observers with an insurance plan and policies (Health and Worker Compensation, loss of personal effects) different from that provided to all other staff members under Staff Rules 107.3 and 107.4.

9.5 Observers who own or drive motor cars shall, unless they are designated official drivers by the Chief of Mission, carry public liability and property damage insurance in an amount adequate to insure them against claims arising from injury or death to other persons from damage to the property of others caused by their cars.

X. Travel

10.1 The provisions of Chapter VIII of the Staff Rules on Travel shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

10.2 The following provisions shall not apply: Travel for Recruitment Interviews (SR 108.1(b)); Official Travel of Dependents (SR 108.2); Official Travel of Dependents-Missions (SR 108.3); Eligible Dependents for Purposes of Payment of Travel Expenses (SR 108.5); Terminal Expenses for Dependents (SR 108.12(a)).

10.3 Like other staff Members on short term contracts, Observers are ineligible to receive Moving Expenses under Staff Rule 108.19.

10.4 An Observer who accepts employment as an Observer after a break in service of less than one week shall have no entitlement to payment of travel expenses from the duty station to his home country at the expiration of his last contract proceeding the break in service, or to payment of travel expenses back to the duty station from his home country for the purpose of initiating his next contract after the break in service, unless otherwise agreed to by the Secretary General in writing.

XI. Relations With The Staff

11.1 The provisions of Chapter IX of the Staff Rules on Relations with the Staff shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

11.2 Observers shall not be eligible to serve on the Staff Committee or as Representatives or Committee Members Under Chapters XI and XII of the Staff Rules.

XII. Separation From Service

12.1 The provisions of Chapter X of the Staff Rules on Separation from Service shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

12.2 An Observer may resign by giving two-weeks written notice to the Secretary General; however, the Secretary General may waive the notice period at his option. Staff Rule 110.1, as set out in the Staff Rules, does not apply,

12.3 Directive D-17 of November 12, 1985 shall not apply (Appendix D of Staff Rules). Observers shall be entitled to join the Provident Plan. They shall not participate in the OAS Retirement and Pension Plan.

12.4 SOCs shall expire automatically without prior notice on the expiration date of the period specified in the letter of appointment, contract, or any extensions thereof. Separation as a result of the expiration of any such appointment shall not be regarded as a termination within the meaning of the Staff Regulations and Rules.

12.5 Because the success and safety of an entire mission depends on the strict discipline of its members and decorum which does not disrupt the relationship of the mission with the Government of the duty station, serious misconduct under Staff Rule 110.5 includes any conduct by an Observer which (1) requires the removal of the Observer from the duty station; (2) insubordination; (3) failure to comply with rules, regulations, curfews and other orders established or issued by the Chief of Mission; unauthorized statements about the mission and your work as an observer to the press, government officials, the media, or other persons who are likely to publish them.

12.6 There is no right to a termination indemnity unless otherwise specified expressly in the letter of appointment or contract form.

12.7 In those instances where advanced notice of termination is required, the Secretary General may terminate the Observer immediately, and if he does so, he shall compensate the Observer for any required notice period by paying the Observer the salary he would have received had the date of termination been at the end of the notice period.

12.8 Observers are not entitled to payment of the Repatriation Grant provided under Staff Rule 110.8 nor to the payment for one additional day's pay in relation to repatriation travel under Staff Rule 110. 10(b).

12.9 For Observers, the last day for pay purposes in the case of death is the date of death, and Staff Rule 110. 10 regarding the extension of that date in the case of surviving dependents shall not apply.

12.10 The procedure set out in Staff Rule 110.4(f) for termination in the best interest of the Organization shall not apply; rather, the Secretary General is authorized to terminate an Observer in the best interest of the Organization after: (1) consulting with the Mission Chief, (2) asking the affected Staff Member to show cause or otherwise explain in writing within twenty-four hours as to why he should not be summarily dismissed; and (3) reviewing the Staff Member's writing. Separation in the best interest of the Organization may occur, inter alia: when the mission is discontinued; when funding for the mission is reduced; when staffing needs for the mission diminish; when the duty station of the mission changes; when the skills of the Observer, in the opinion of the Mission Chief, are no longer needed; or when the continued presence of the Observer in the mission is, in the opinion of the Mission Chief, inconsistent with mission objectives.

XIII. Discipline

13.1 The provisions of Chapter XI of the Staff Rules on Discipline shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

13.2 The last sentence of Staff Rule 111.3(e) which defines time spent by staff members in the Disciplinary Process as time "devoted to official duties" shall not apply to Observers involved in that process unless otherwise permitted in writing by the Chief of Mission; however, Observers will not be charged annual leave to attend any Hearing convoked by a Joint Disciplinary Committee to consider charges against them.

XIV. Hearing and Reconsideration

14.1 The provisions of Chapter XII of the Staff Rules on Hearing and Reconsideration shall apply except as otherwise stated in this Section.

14.2 The last sentence in Staff Rule 112.6 which defines time spent by staff members in the Reconsideration procedure as time "devoted to official duties" shall not apply to Observers involved in that process unless otherwise permitted in writing by the Chief of Mission; however, Observers will not be charged annual leave to attend any Hearing convoked by a Reconsideration Committee considering matters brought by them.

XV. General Provisions and Transitory Provisions

15.1 The provisions of Chapters XIII and XIV of the Staff Rules shall apply, unless otherwise stated in this Section.