This study deals with frequent reorganisations of Montenegrin public administration in relation to the country’s stated objective: establishment of a more efficient, rational, and flexible administration. The main findings reveal that the decision-makers have too much space for arbitrary and discretionary decisions in adopting new and amending existing acts on the internal organization of public administration bodies, and that these decisions do not follow workforce plans.
In the four years since the coming into force of the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, the Government adopted two workforce plans, both of them in the middle of the calendar year (in 2015 and 2016). That the plans were not adopted at the start of the budget year substantially detracts from their effectiveness. The plan for 2017 was never adopted. At the same time, the Decree on organization and functioning of public administration in Montenegro was amended 14 times in the period between January 2012 and March 2017, which suggests that re-organization is not an exception, but the rule in the Montenegrin public administration.
Instead of serving as a mechanism for strategic adaptation of the administration to new tasks and roles, frequent reorganizations act, among other, as a potential tool for politicization of the administration and as a way of undermining the autonomy of civil servants and employees. In 2017, in the first ten months of the year, the Constitutional Court received at least two pleas to evaluate constitutionality of organizational changes in public administration. The Complaints Commission, the second instance body in charge of protecting the rights of state employees, endorsed more than 70% of complaints against personnel changes caused by reorganizations of public bodies.
The legal framework is excessively vague with respect to the legal basis for establishment and dissolution of public administration bodies, as well as in regard to the requirements for internal reorganization of public administration bodies.
In order to reduce the scope for arbitrary reorganizations and legal insecurity of public employees, there should be a clear link between workforce planning and public administration reorganizations. In other words, workforce plans ought to include analyses of job requirements for positons to be opened in the upcoming period, as well as for those that are to be eliminated. It is also necessary to make compliance with these plans binding. The few positive examples of reorganization plans in some public administration bodies should be taken into account when defining the terms of workforce planning in the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, as well as in the accompanying bylaws.
Transformation of Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) from party to the Public Service must not be halted, since it would be a first step towards restraining of the European integration and European future of Montenegro, as it was stated from the performance ‘Independent Public Service and full stop’.
The protest performance, in front of Parliament of Montenegro at which today chains from RTCG were simbolically taken off, was organised by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), Centre for Research and Monitoring (CEMI), Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), Centre for Development Non-Governmental Organisations (CDNGO), Institute Alternative (IA) and Network for Affirmation Non-Governmental Sector (MANS).
Representative of CDNGO, Radoš Musović, said that transformation of Public Service is not completed and must not be halted.
‘We all deserve to know that every Euro of ours that goes to Public Service has gone to the independent Public Service. We convey to persons who are deciding not only about fate of Goran Djurović, but about our European future that we will not allow for this first step towards restraint of transformation of RTCG, to be a first step towards restraint of our European integration and our European future’, stated Mušović.
He pointed out that chains from RTCG are being removed and that ‘darkness will not return’.
‘We convey to MPs today to know that we are here, that we will not be silenced, that we remember what RTCG was like before, that we remember the darkness we were in, and that that darkness will not return again for Montenegro, which the European future belongs to. Free media are the only thing we want and for free media, we will fight’, Mušović said.
Member of the RTCG Council, Goran Đurović, stated that he expects the Administrative Committee of the Parliament of Montenegro to follow what, as he said, were orders from the top of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and to propose to the Parliament his dismissal.
‘This will be done in a completely unlawful manner, and the Parliament will, again, unlawfully make such a decision, and the Public Service will again, very soon, probably be returned under the auspices of the DPS. This year, as citizens have had the opportunity to see balanced, objective and timely reporting, this will no longer be happening. Everything will happen that has happened over the past 27 years while the previous management was leading the RTCG’, assesses Đurović.
Those who exercise power in Montenegro, as he said, have a need to control and influence the work of all institutions.
‘The Public Service in such a Montenegrin society must obviously not be independent’, Đurović said.
‘We recognise that this comes from the DPS’s kitchen. Mr Ljuiđ Škrelja is only an executioner of decisions made by Milo Đukanovic and Duško Markovicć. We demand for this to be stopped. We appeal to DPS and their leadership to stop this process and preserve the independence of RTCG’, stated Muk.
He also appealed to other political parties in the ruling coalition to help stopping, as he said, the unlawful process of dismissal of Goran Đurović and other members of the RTCG Council.
‘We want to warn that everything we hear from diplomatic circles and what in official manner and in written come to the address of the Government of Montenegro indicates that with this attitude towards the independence of the RTCG, DPS and this Government risk halting the process of European integration, suspension of accession negotiations. We believe that it would be the worst that could happen to Montenegro at this time,’ assessed Muk.
He added that he believes there is enough strength in civil society to resist the pressures.
‘If this is not stopped, we will consider new gatherings and actions. We believe that there is not even a single legal requirement for dismissal of Goran Đurović. If today the Administrative Committee proposes his dismissal, we are ready to initiate proceedings before the courts, in this regard’, Muk said.
Executive Director of CDNGO, Ana Novaković, said that the Administrative Committee has no jurisdiction to act in the case of Goran Đurović and that it shows that, as she stated, it is only a tool in the hands of DPS.
‘This is the manner of this party to face with those who are not same-minded, with those who are free-minded NGO activists’, said Novaković.
CIJ representative, Milka Tadić Mijović, pointed out that transformation of the RTCG from a party into a public service must not be stopped, stating that for the European perspective it is necessary to have independent media.
‘This country has serious problems and will be having them even more if this transformation of the RTCG is stopped. We are still far from the freely expressed will of the citizens, from free media’, assessed Mijović.
Director of the Shelter, Ljiljana Raičević, said that the Public Service is very strong and viewed and that the citizens have nothing to hope for if, as she stated, the RTCG is not independent but in party colours.
‘I believe that world too is watching this and that they have some influence from the side, where it is not possible to do just about anything. The public service has been improving, it had good shows, we will see in the future how it will be. I hope that authorities realised that they can not control everything’, Raičević stated.
On the links below you can find more details from the protest:
Law on Civil Servants and State Employees and Law on Local Self-Governments are two crucial acts which will influence further course of the Public Administration Reform in Montenegro.
Although the Draft laws determined by the Government, offer solutions that represent a positive shift in relation to the existing legal framework and practice, further improvements are needed in order for these regulations to substantially answer to the request for establishing a merit system in our administration.
Within the project “Civil Society for Good Governance: To Act and Account!”, funded by the European Union, Civil Society Facility and the Balkans Democracy Trust (BTD), the project of the German Marshall Fund (GMF), Institute Alternative prepared comments and recommendations for the improvement of these important legal texts and sent them to the MPs before the deliberation in the Parliament.
Panel discussion “Key Challenges of Strategic Planning in Montenegro” gathered 30 participants, including eight from civil society organisations and 22 representatives of state authorities.
During the discussion, it was pointed out that there are over 120 strategies in Montenegro. The implementation of many of them is not elaborated in the accompanying Action Plan, while only one strategy systematically shows the financial costs necessary for its implementation. It is expected that the modified approach in the adoption of the Law on Budget will contain financial estimates at the three-year level and facilitate the planning of costs for the implementation of strategies. Although the possibility of international donations should be used to a greater extent, Institute Alternative emphasised the potential danger of over-dependence on foreign donors when planning and implementing strategies.
A by-law is being prepared to establish guidelines for strategic planning for all ministries. However, implementation of strategies is as important as its formulation. Therefore, the danger of “formalism” in evaluating the fulfilment of criteria for certain elements of the Strategy should be avoided. Policy-making should not be viewed in isolation from other phases – especially the implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Accordingly, it was pointed out that the best strategy is not one that is best written, but the one that is best implemented and corresponds to the needs of citizens and allows the achievement of the objectives with the most efficient use of resources.
The preparation process of strategies in Montenegro was also pointed out. The mandate of working groups is unclear, and they are facing with complex task of simultaneous assessment of the impact of previous public policies in a certain area, defining the problems, considering different options and so on. Institute Alternative also pointed out that there were no explanation why Draft Amendments to the Law on State Administration proposed a restriction for conducting public discussions when defining security and defense strategies and annual budget in extraordinary, urgent and unpredictable circumstances.
Other actors, especially local self-governments and Parliament should not be excluded from the broader planning framework and implementation of the strategies.
The panel discussion was organised within the project “Civil Society for Good Governance: To Act and Account” funded by the European Union within the Civil Society Facility and the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), the German Marshal Fund (GMF) project.
We will gather in front of Parliament of Montenegro in Podgorica on 27 December at 11h30 in protest against attacks and pressures on independence of RTCG.
We invite you to stand in defence of reforms that have started on Television of Montenegro – first steps in the editorial independence of news programme.
State of Montenegro, citizens of Montenegro deserve a good and fair public service.
For years we have been paying the public service RTCG, whilst having a biased and party TV.
Majority of members of Council of RTCG has managed to initiate a process of changes in previous two years and open up space for governance and editing of RTCG to be in a more objective manner.
Since September 2017, DPS via Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) and majority in the Administrative Committee of Parliament of Montenegro leads proceedings for dismissal of unsuitable members of the Council and appointing suitable ones.
An attempt of appointing yesterday’s official of DPS, Slobo Pajovic, to the Council is also ongoing.
Final blow is being prepared in the form of dismissal of Goran Djurovic, one of initiators of transformation of RTCG into a true public service.
Should DPS continue with disruption of RTCG, it is possible that the European Union will halt negotiation process on Montenegro’s membership in the EU.
An independent public service is bringing us closer to the EU, a party service is pulling us apart from the European Union.
Defence of independence of RTCG is a defence of the European integration process, of interests of country of Montenegro and its citizens.
Come to change the usual image of citizens that are keeping silent and passively accepting detrimental decisions of the ruling structure.
Arm yourselves with whistles, good will and positive energy.
Centre for Civic Education (CCE)
Centre for Research and Monitoring (CEMI)
Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ MNE)
Centre for Development of Non-Governmental Organizations (CDNGO)
Institute Alternative (IA)
Network for Affirmation of Non-Governmental Sector (MANS)