Reaction: Open Calls Instead of Political Decrees

The appointment of the Assistance Ministers must not be subjected to the coalition agreements. The recruitment should be made solely on the basis of open calls and capabilities of the candidates verified by the special commission, as said from the Institute Alternative (IA).

The media announced today that one of the topic between the Heads of Forca and Democratic Party of Socialists, regarding the alleged amendments of the coalition agreement signed by these parties, will be the staffing solutions and positions in the Government, which include also the request of Forca to obtain the position of the Assistant Minister in the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights.

The Bosniak party and the Democratic Party of Socialists have signed the coalition agreement earlier, whose subject, according to the media reports, were the job positions for which the recruitment should be made in accordance to the Law and not in the accordance to the political deals.

These and similar practices of arranging jobs among the parties represents the disregard to the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees, which stipulates clear procedures for the recruitment for the position of the Assistant Minister, or the Director-General in the Ministries. Those procedures imply the previously published open call as well as the verification of capabilities, carried out by the commission established by the Human Resources Administration.

Therefore, the Director-Generals in the Ministries, or colloquially known as the Assistant Minister, although fall within a scope of the senior management staff, are still the civil servants who should be serving for the public interest rather than interests of political parties.

Unlike the Ministers and State secretaries in the ministries which are primarily political figures whose mandate is determined by the mandate of Government itself, the position of the Director-General should be fully professionalized and independent of parties in power, or, in the context of Montenegrin politics, of the relationship between powers in the ruling coalition.

Even the joint initiative of the European Commission and the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development, SIGMA, has pointed out the need of defining the positions of Director-Generals and Secretaries in the Ministries as the upper limit that separates the political and professional appointment in the state administration. Defining aforementioned upper limit is one of the “Principles of Public Administration”, published by SIGMA last year, a month after the reform of the public administration, next to the rule of law and the economic governance, was defined as one of the three main pillars of the newest EU Enlargement Strategy.

IA has warned, in its study “Professionalisation of Senior Civil Service in Montenegro: Between State and Politics” published in December 2014 with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, that the professional positions of senior management staff and the Head of authorities “on paper” are exposed to the direct political influence.

Milena Milošević
Public Policy Researcher

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