The long practice of employing people in the public administration by party lists continues in North Macedonia. This is done without any criteria and appropriate selection and everybody knows that the job advertisements are rigged for the party soldiers, says university professor Borche Davitkovski in the interview with Portalb.mk about the public administration reforms that had been promised so many times, but are still very far from full implementation and everything stays as it was.

What has changed in the public administration since the time of the previous governments?

Davitkovski: I think nothing has changed, it’s the same all the time – they win elections, put their people… It is quite curios that the senior officials, the directors – the second and the third tier of power – especially those appointed by the government, the managing boards, etc., do not obey any rules. Acting directors are appointed with disrespect to the legal requirements about the qualifications and the old practice goes on and on, they are appointing their own people and then state that “from now on we shall adopt a new law”. We were promised a High Management Service but so far there is no law. They are appointing their own personnel and  the Anti-Corruption Commission said there are conflicts of interest, namely in the case of the MEPSO’s director, but no one is reacting, I can’t understand this, this is all weird.

How is the system of meritocracy applied during employment?

Davitkovski: it is simple, coalition’s agreement is very strong, evidently stronger than the law. I think the situation will remain the same for a long time and we should first change the politicians’ code, lest, when they come to power decide “we are in power now and let’s appoint our people” – this is a bad way of thinking, as they should appoint the most skilled among them, in accordance with the law. The laws are good, but no one is implementing them.

Whether the meritocracy system is applied or not, this is simply wrong. There has to be a true political will ito solve these situations, and if not, we shall fall behind a lot behind Europe, with many of the personnel employed without passing the filters of knowledge. Apart from that, there are many high-ranking officials, and even ministers, who lack appropriate education.

They are demanding that people with musical education be appointed in legal positions and we all know that the job advertisements are rigged for the people from the political parties. But, no one is held responsible and isn’t reacting, I’ve been talking about reforms for the past 40 years and no one is listening. You are applying at a job advertisement and the people have already been selected. Everything else is just a show.

How satisfied are you with the public administration?

Borche Davitkovski: I’m very disappointed because I thought that the people will truly sit and prepare reforms, but until now I didn’t see any reform. The government’s first mandate passed and we can state that the first mandate had political topics, such as the Prespa Agreement, the agreement with Bulgaria… The second mandate has started, the reforms are implemented at the start of the mandate and not at the end, but the mandate is passing through, the local elections will be next, and the public administration will be filled in, they will be employing their people again. They will be hiring voters, and the quality of the services of the public administration has dropping year after year, and the citizens are not satisfied.

Else, the public administration reforms still stand as a blemish for North Macedonia, since the governments change all the time but the problems are left to rot in the institutions: the departisation of the administration should be done, the number of institutions and the employees in the public sector should be reduced, fast, efficient and quality services have to be offered…