The new Government of Montenegro presented as one of its key program promises the improvement of the practice of harmonizing the human resources policy with the principles of human rights, transparency and the rule of law.
However, in the past quarter, Civic Alliance has noticed numerous omissions in the appointment of public officials and believes that they have to be seriously considered now – so that the new Government can correct these anomalies at an early stage of its mandate.
Taking the public administration over after the state elections in an atmosphere of galloping pandemic and economic collapse entailed the need to restore citizens’ trust in professionalism of public administration, with the aim of strengthening the public support of further work and solving of accumulated problems.
However, instead of changes, we are witnessing the continuation of some very poor practices, starting from the procedures for the appointment of state officials, to the representation of members of minority people on leading positions in public administration.
Civic Alliance has been monitoring the representation of minorities in public administration for a decade, and we continuously point out inadequate policies on that issue. Out of 205 appointed officials in the new government’s mandate, only seven come from minorities, while less than a third of the positions are held by women. Available data, obtained through the Government’s website and the Official Gazette, indicate that members of minorities have been appointed to lower positions, and that they are not in the ranks of state secretaries and directors of directorates, ie Deputies, and it is known that no minister comes from the lines of minorities.
When it comes to procedural omissions regarding the appointment of officials, the Government did not comply with the Decision on publishing materials from the session of the Government of Montenegro adopted on July 7, 2011. The mentioned Decision very clearly states that the Government should publish on the website and materials from the sessions, the proposed decisions on appointment, appointment and dismissal. In the observed quarterly period, the Government did not publish on its website the decisions that referred to about 40 appointments, while the same were published in the Official Gazette.
In addition, the Government has been appointing numerous interim Deputy Minister. Many of them were appointed to these positions without any announced competition, only the names of the new officials were announced.
Such a practice during the previous governments was one of the main targets of criticism of the then opposition. Therefore, the Government has to start fulfilling its pre-election promises and, in accordance with legal procedures, select and appoint persons to such positions that are vital for the functioning and progress of the entire system. Also, it is necessary to speed up the exit from the situation of “acting position”, where we will have institutions that will work in their full legal capacity, ie choose them in the legal procedure.
Perhaps the most important problems are the so-called party appointments. Given the Government’s actions so far, and strong demands of the ruling parties for employment “in depth”, despite the current legal procedures – there are increasing chances that we will continue to testify that party books and personal relations have more weight in the coming period instead of professional references. This scenario is already known to the citizens and we are sure that those who brought new structures to power with their votes do not want the continuation of the negative practices of the previous government. In other words – citizens do not want only new people, but new practices, real reforms and changes.
A special problem that we also point out is the rapid change of such elected officials or change of decisions immediately before the appointment, which speaks of poor strategy and coordination, which does not use known methods of human resources management policy, but indicates on arbitrary acts. In addition, we are witnessing the appointment of staff who have neither educational nor professional contacts with the departments to which they are appointed.
Due to all above mentioned, it is necessary for the Government to urgently revise its previous decisions and actions, to stop the practice that members of the ruling majority constantly criticized during the former government and to remind that the welfare of the state and the general interest of citizens must always come first.