Municipality of Gacko is hiring: Administration is never enough

Autor: Direkt Aktuelno Društvo Politika
10 minuta čitanja

The Municipality of Gacko is among local self-governments with a significant surplus of workers. Although the budget for this year allocated 5.8 million BAM for personal income, it is clear that it will not be sufficient due to the increase in the minimum wage. Nevertheless, Mayor Ogjen Milinković has recently employed two more people, one of whom is the wife of the president of the Administration Union of this municipality.

zgrada opštinske uprave Gacko

Why it was necessary to hire new workers instead of redistributing existing ones has not been disclosed by the mayor. Up to this moment, he has neither returned calls nor responded to messages and emails.

The President of the Union, Lazar Okiljević, confirmed in a written response that his wife has been hired on a temporary basis as a replacement for a worker on sick leave. She also started working on a temporary basis three years ago, but with a change in power in the Municipality of Gacko, she, as the only pregnant employee, according to Okiljević, lost her job. Okiljević criticized us for never reporting on that specific case, although Direkt reported on workers who lost their jobs and the promises of the mayor and the president of the Assembly.

The Law is There Just for Show

The Law on Local Self-Government in Gacko, like in most other municipalities, has never been enforced. At least not in Article 67, which defines that there should be three officials per thousand inhabitants. Currently, according to unofficial data, since we haven't received official figures from the mayor, there are over 80 officials. That's almost three times more than the maximum of 30 that a local community with nine thousand inhabitants should have.

In the budget, out of 12.6 million BAM allocated for personal income this year, only 5.8 million is planned. However, with the increase in the minimum wage, that amount will not be sufficient. It has already been confirmed by the union committee that they will request a salary increase from the mayor.

“The increase in the minimum wage has caused some discord and dissatisfaction among workers because this decision has disrupted the structure, namely the range between salary groups that must exist. This will have to be regulated”, said members of the union committee with whom we spoke. They did not want to comment on the employment of the president of the Union's wife in the municipality, stating that it was not discussed at the meeting, and they do not influence who the mayor hires. They believe it will not affect the work of the union president since they have always made decisions together, and the work has been entirely transparent.

The large number of employees and almost half of the budget going towards salaries were also discussed at the last session of the Municipal Assembly of Gacko.

“This document shows the despair we find ourselves in – we have reduced the budget of the Municipality of Gacko to 150 thousand BAM. That's all we can allocate. Everything else from 12 million is already spent or allocated. We don't need a budget plan because everything is already reserved”, said PDP councillor Radoica Antunović, pointing out that last year this amount was 300 thousand, predicting that there will be nothing in that position next year.

The situation was acknowledged by SNSD councillor Siniša Šuković, who said that the budget has been reduced to salaries, instalments, and grants.

“It has been conceived like this for 20 years; we inherited it and continued, maybe even stronger”, he said, suggesting that representatives of all political parties should discuss solutions since everyone participated in creating the problem.

Radna mesta iz džepa- Luka Petrović, Ognjen Milinković i Lazar Okiljević na šrvom obeležavanju slave muške pevačke grupe “Sava Vladislavić” (Foto: fb)

[stextbox id='naslov’ caption='Job from Luka’]Lazar Okiljević, the president of the Municipal Administration Union, is employed as a municipal environmental inspector. In that position, we can freely say, he has not distinguished himself, especially during the intense emission of ash into the atmosphere from the chimneys of RiTE Gacko, as reported by Direkt. This is confirmed by the annual work report, stating that in one year he “processed eight cases, made three official notes, and wrote five responses”. This is in a municipality that is synonymous with a polluted environment. It seems that he expends much more energy on his involvement in the Male Singing Group of the Cultural and Artistic Society “Sava Vladislavić”, of which he is the president. At the celebration of the group's patron saint last year, besides the mayor, Luka Petrović, the acting director of ERS, was also present. Unofficially, we learned that he then inquired and promised employment for Mrs. Okiljević himself. Petrović's promise, it seems, had to be fulfilled by Mayor Milinković. When asked if there is any truth in this, Lazar Okiljević said he has no comment.[/stextbox]

Million from the President

It is certain that in an election year, this issue will not be radically resolved. Experience teaches us that those in power are more inclined to let time bring about some resolution, or in other words, let it continue as it is. In this, Mayor Ognjen Milinković relies on the support of the President of the Republic, Milorad Dodik.

A year ago, when Dodik was in Gacko, he stated that Milinković had his full support to create an optimal organization in the Municipal Administration. At that time, it was mentioned that the optimal number of employees would be 60. Milinković is counting on a financial injection of one million BAM to solve the problem of excess employees through a severance program, following the example of Bileća. However, there are no concrete steps on that path yet, and union members are preparing to knock on the door, demanding a salary increase.

Direkt recently reported that there were hirings even in the largest company in Gacko – the Mine and Thermal Power Plant. They claim that they hired 45 new workers exclusively for production. However, all these hirings took place without competition.

Although the right to work is a fundamental human right, the absence of competition usually indicates other motives in terms of employment, representing one of the worst violations of human rights, according to Mirjana Ćuskić from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.

“Besides corruption in the health and education sectors, corruption in the field of public employment represents one of the worst forms of human rights violations, as it directly prevents the realization of citizens’ economic and social rights, leading to a large number of people leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina every year.

It is not surprising that young people in BiH do not want to study, considering that university diplomas can be bought at almost every other gas station and that a large number of those holding high public positions have purchased fake diplomas”, emphasizes Ćuskić, adding that in our society, the party membership card is more important than a diploma.

“With it, you have access to almost all public functions, only if you are obedient enough and perform ‘party work’ according to instructions and correctly. There is almost no institution that conducts transparent competition procedures for public employment, so it is not surprising that many candidates do not even apply for competitions, knowing in advance to whom these jobs are assigned. Individuals who are victims of non-transparent competitions rarely decide to seek justice from competent institutions because these processes are very expensive and lengthy, and often, due to the strong influence of politics on the judiciary, result in negative decisions for the victims. This leads to a breakdown in society, which is already sufficiently divided and plundered. It is important for citizens to understand the extent to which politicians in BiH abuse their money and to use all democratic means at their disposal to fight for a better future for themselves and their children”, Mirjana Ćuskić concluded for Direkt.

Gacko zapošljava u opštinsku upravu

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