Vox populi – The key indicator of the state of affairs in the public administration

Institute Alternative (IA) has urged the media to pay extra attention to the content of the complaints submitted on their interactive website “My Administration”, since they abound with stories of concrete realization of fundamental human rights regarding the state administration.

Today IA has organised a presentation of the findings of the project “Public Administration in Montenegro: Equal for All”, financially supported by the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, at PR Center.

“Within this project we continued the monitoring of recruitment and promotion in state authorities, but also, in cooperation with the Human Resources Administration, we have prepared a guide for applicants for work in state authorities. Strategically committed to make their work closer to the citizens by using modern technologies, we have also launched a new interactive website “Moja uprava” (My administration) recalled Stevo Muk, President of the Managing Board at IA.

“Public administration reform is not and should not be technical process that is being implemented isolated from the citizens, but has concrete consequences for them – and this is perhaps the most distinctive reflected when it comes to employment in state authorities” he added.

Milena Milosevic stressed that the IA has given a response to the question to what extent the recruitment is based on merits in the monitoring report published in April. Complaints submitted on web portal My administration only confirmed the key issues in the implementation of the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees.

These key issues are: the elders’ arbitrariness when selecting candidates, irregularities in the aptitude test, dissatisfaction of the candidates who have been employed on a temporary basis and who have found themselves in a kind of legal vacuum after the start of the implementation of the new Law on Civil Servants and State Employees.

“The irregularities in the aptitude test pointed out by the candidates are particularly important, because we can not know what is happening on the spot,” said Milosevic, pointing to the example of complaint which indicates that the job announcements are “setup”, so certain candidates receive questions and answers in advance by state authorities who prepare them.

“In the first monitoring report on recruitment and promotion in state authorities, IA pointed to the omission to adequately solve the legal status of civil servants employed in public administration on a temporary basis before starting the implementation of the Law on Civil Servants, which made the safety of the jobs of these employees significantly compromised”, reminded Milosevic, pointing to cases in which individuals have been employed on a temporary basis for more than 15 years.

“Unfortunately, the civil servants who have lost their jobs because the state authorities illegally kept them employed on a temporary basis for years, have no legal foundation to seek protection of their rights because the competent institutions believe that the provision on the automatic transformation from fixed term contract into indefinite contract does not apply to them”, she added.

The lack of depoliticisation of Senior Civil Servants in the state administration was also pointed out at the event, stressing that senior managers are still more serving political parties rather than citizens.

Jovana Marovic, research coordinator at IA, spoke, among other things, about the reform of public administration in the context of negotiations with the European Union.

“Reporting on public administration reform in the context of anti-corruption activities under Chapter 23 is poor”, she stressed.

“For more than two years of commencement of the implementation of the Law, preconditions for its implementation at the local level have not been created”, said Marovic, adding that the public is not allowed access to the amendments to the draft Law on Local Self-Government.

“Regardless of at least 2,300 redundant employees in the country’s municipalities, local governments continue to employ”.

Representatives of the IA announced that they will continue to advocate the key findings and recommendations of the project “State Administration in Montenegro: Equal for All!” through their membership in working groups for amending the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees and the preparation of the Strategy for Public Administration Reform for the period 2016-2020.

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