Limits for Advisors

Monday May 20th, 2013
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Advisors are still entitled to apply for civil service in government departments where they had served during a term.

Vijece ministara

BIH Council of Ministers in session. (Photo: CIN)

By The Center for Investigative Reporting

Neven Akšamija, the head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Agency for Civil Service (ADS BiH), says that it will be discriminatory if advisors had been prevented from applying for civil service. In a reply to a question from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) Akšamija said that the BiH Constitution entitles a citizen to equal access to public services of his or her country.

CIN has conducted an investigation about advisors who were or have still been contracted in the ministries, assemblies and presidential offices at the levels of state and entities. The investigation uncovered that some of the advisors—who were hired without a vacancy—eventually swapped a short-term stint for a job for life. CIN found that the head of a government institution has a discretionary right to choose a senior civil servant, regardless whether he or she is ranked first or last on the list of successful candidates.

Akšamija said that these were the exceptions—CIN has found 15 people compared to 3,400 civil servants in total.

“Introduction of job classification is still a very slow process—from several months to several years. With the start of a so-called Stand By Arrangement will put a stop to opening new positions, at least on a bigger scope,” said Akšamija.

At the ADS’s proposal, the BiH Council of Ministers adopted a decree about specific cases that were at odds with advisors’ commitments. The decree stipulated that advisors could not work half-time or be hired simultaneously by another government department. Also, advisors did not have a right to find a job with an employer or a firm that their agency audited or monitored over a two-year after they left office.

Akšamija said that such a decision could not limit or ban advisors from applying for civil service and that such limitations even if defined by law, still might be wanting. “This would be a discriminatory measure if there’s no fair and sensible justification for such a treatment, i.e. if it’s not in the interest of reaching a legitimate goal.” According to his explanation, this would mean that just a simple vacancy application of an incumbent or former advisor would carry a risk for the civil service as a whole.

In its investigation, CIN warned that the examination board may rank candidates based on interviews with them, i.e. the subjective assessment of the board on the candidates’ qualifications and abilities. Akšamija said that the rules in vacancy procedures are being overhauled. Simplifying and improving the process of hiring in civil service has been one of the priorities in the ongoing reform of public administration.

Published May 20, 2013

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The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) work is available for free to all organizations that credit CIN as their source and link to www.cin.ba.

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