Political Appointments of Top Managers Go Against Professionalisation Promises

The announcements of distribution of top and senior civil service positions  are opposite to the previously declared opening of the administration, encouragement of the best candidates to get the jobs and the overall professionalisation of state administration.

Institute Alternative has previously pointed out that bidding by names and party affiliation when filling managerial positions, especially those that are subject to public competition, is not in the spirit of professionalisation or attracting the best staff.

According to the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, the positions of head of bodies and senior management, for example, directors of administrations and their assistants, are filled based on a public competition, in accordance with the previously prescribed procedure which implies the right of all eligible candidates to apply for those positions and to be evaluated only on the basis of their managerial competencies and other qualifications required.

The leaked information sends the message that these and other positions of the public sector are predetermined and agreed in relation to a ‘’party quotas’’. This was the earlier practice of  the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and coalition partners. For years, we have witnessed the bad consequences of such an approach and the tendency to subordinate party interests to the public interest.

The excuse that positions in a five-year or four-year mandate are not attractive enough for professional staff is not convincing, especially because manager in state bodies has the right to be reassigned to other positions after the expiration of the mandate. There are also legal mechanisms to provide legal security and conditions that will not discourage highly qualified candidates from applying to competitions.

Political parties should improve those conditions and legal security of leadership positions, to allow necessary expertise and continuity of civil service regardless of political change, and to prevent situations with each shift of power, the new government will face ‘’political opposition’’ at the formally professional positions. Otherwise, if information on the political distribution of posts are true, we remain in a vicious circle of party distributions. In addition, as we pointed out in our analysis ’Towards Merit-based Administration, Not a Party-measured One’’, this creates an alibi for each new government to make appointments on a similar matrix under the pretext that the one before did the same.

Milena Muk

Institute Alternative

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