Recruitment and promotion in State administration: Merits hardly achievable

The effect of the Law on Civil servants and State employees to establishing the merit based system in the state administration are limited due to inconsistent application of new regulations and weak competition during the recruitment, as assessed today at the press conference organized by Institute Alternative (IA).

The press conference was organized withing the project “State Administration in Montenegro – Equal for All”, supported by U.S. Embassy in Podgorica.

Its aim was to present the findings of the monitoring of recruitment and promotion in state administration in 2014.

“What we mean by the inconsistent application of the rules, is the broad interpretation of the discretion of Head of state authority not to select the best candidates assessed, superficial assessment of employees, and other formal, but also quite a severe flaws in the management of human resources,” said Milena Milošević, public policy researcher in IA.

She particularly pointed out the fact that a low number of candidates applying to the calls – on average, 2 candidates for last year, which imposes shortening the selection list, which currently makes five candidates with highest ranking among which the Head makes the final decision.

“The promotion at work of civil servants and state employees practically does not exist”, Milošević said, pointing out to the fact that according to the information available and the Central personnel register and the data to which the IA had access during monitoring in the past year there have been no decision on promotion.

“The legal provision according to which the promotion is made is on the basis of excellence at work which is only possible in a higher salary grade, is clearly not the right answer to the needs of motivating and retaining the most professional personnel,” she added.

Transparency procedures of the verification of abilities are at a high level. Human Resources Management Authority regularly publishes detailed reports on its website, it was assessed at the conference.

During the monitoring, in addition to the information available through the Human Resources Management Authority and The Appeal Commission, IA has focused on a total of 18 state bodies in order to map the key challenges in the implementation of the Law on Civil Servants, when it comes to recruitment and promotion procedures.

However, when it comes to the higher level of government bodies, it is more difficult to get information, because of the high cost of the procedure of access to information, for which IA had to pay more than 500 euros. Ministry of Defense refused to provide the names and surnames of employees, who have been recruited during 2014.

The Ministry of Health did not even respond to a request concerned the recruitment in the state organs for the second half of 2014, it was noted at the event.

Even when there is competition in recruitment, Heads often decide to exercise its discretion and not to choose the first-ranked candidate.

However, Milošević pointed out that the Heads often use this possibility very often, although it should be the case only exceptionally when they have precise explanation for that

In some cases, they often state the reasons that do not even have the foundation in the Law. For example, for the selection of candidates they use criteria that are directly in conflict with the principle of recruitment based on merit or criteria that have already been a part of the verification capabilities performed before the specially established commission.

Ana Đurnić, project associate in IA, announced the launching of Internet website mojauprava.me.

This site, which will also be launched by the IA within the project “State Administration in Montenegro: Equal for All”, will contain, in addition to an interactive component that will allow citizens to report problems when it comes to employment in state bodies, a graphic representation of the key steps and mechanisms to protect the rights of candidates for a job in state bodies.

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