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Tempers around Secretaries of State have run high

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A competition to fill the vacancies of State Secretaries have not finished yet, but infosphere is full of an information about a ‘treacherous conduct’, ‘revenge’. etc. Even separate ministers protested against working with selected candidates. 

A competition to fill the vacancies of State Secretaries have not finished yet, but infosphere is full of an information about a ‘treacherous conduct’, ‘revenge’. etc. Even separate ministers protested against working with selected candidates.

Thus, there are some simple head-notes. What problems should the institution of Secretaries of State solve?

The first problem is a deprofessionalisation and degradation of the machinery of government. After each changes of a government, new ministers fill vacancies of the offices. This process is permanent, it is over and over again. A high personnel turnover of senior leadership positions is 75%. It has an effect on executives. Practically there are no professional workers and personal allegiance dominates.

The second problem is lack of institutional memory and continuity. After each advent of minister’s rule this process has to go back to the drawing board. So, we lose precious time. Reforms have not been finished. Experiments and populism dominate.

Consequently, Secretaries of State must:

·        stabilize ministry and release it from permanent staffing problems;

·        put right a professional execution of ministers decision and their political vision;

·        assist ministers with preparing and choosing the best practices, secure against breaking laws;

·        keep time and energy of ministers and their deputy ministers for political activity, releasing from a routine.

There is the most effective system of executive authority staff organization in  Europe and North America.

So, the going discourse should not be a subject of such talking points, – for example, that there is no necessity to have a State Secretaries offices. Notwithstanding the results of the competition.

Thus, about the competition.

If be honest, I’m not interested in surnames of winners.

There is important that the open procedure of competition has started. In such way many heads of local public administrations have been selected. But before that society didn’t even know where from candidates came, who and in which way selected them.

Now it’s very important that Secretaries of State, or even part of them, will be worthy of these offices for get ministries up and running. And it’s critically important that State Secretaries will continue their working after change of Government.

Are defective appointments are possible?

Yes, of course. But Government can adjust them. In case of finding legal restrictions, somebody can do it before an appointment. If after an appointment some nonconformities are turned up, we can raise a question about pre-term dismissing from service.

But now it would be better to think about help with additional trainings for appointed Secretaries of State. For example, such trainings can include an information about reforms of government staff, etc.

Conflicts of interests and allegations of corruption must be confirmed by specific authorities (NAZK, NABU, etc.).
Ministers, who present a demarche, should work up to end of competition. Because they would be able to agitate best candidates for a participating in the competition. They had to refer to facts and their positions during conversations with members of Government, Presidential representatives in Comission, etc. And now they must abide by the law, they must respect a Law of Ukraine.

Alternative is repeated behind-the-scenes appointments of anonymous contenders by unknown persons. So, all that we have had for 25 years.

Certainly, the procedure for competitve filling of public places should be improved. It’s necessary to open candidates’ scores, received by them from selection board, for society. And then they will explain to mass media, why not so good candidates won the competition.

But competitions and democracy are same. Probably it is not the best procedure, but mankind have not invented better yet. Anyway, it has not been existed in countries with weak democratic traditions.

Victor Tymoshchuk, CPLR