Instant tailoring departments in the Government can make the work of the entire public administration difficult

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) warns that changes in the organizational structure of the Government, more specifically, instant tailoring of that system from 12 over 18 to a possible 24 ministries, as mentioned in the media, in just a few years, lead to serious problems that have negative consequences in the services of public administration.

CCE points out that frequent changes, through merging and separating of departments, significantly burden the work of public administration in the internal organization, which also leads to external problems in addressing the needs of citizens, as well as those that complicate the work of economic entities, including non-governmental organizations that try to contribute to democratization through the monitoring of public administration. It should be reminded that every organizational change in that system entails a series of administrative procedures, including the development of new internal documents and systematization, which is very demanding in terms of professional capacities and time if care is taken, and it should be, of compliance with other elements and the functionality of the system.

All of this is made possible by the fact that Montenegro does not have one of the important systemic laws – the Law on Government. It is also indicative that the officeholders in the past, as well as the new ones who came, skilfully avoided solving this issue, just as they avoided passing the equally important Law on the Parliament. It seems that too many, regardless of how much they are faced with citizens of different ideologies and political offers, like the undefinedness of those areas. It also shows that they find room for manoeuvre for party and personal interests, even though this is at the expense of the public interest.

CCE is at the position that changes in the organizational structure of the Government must be based on an assesment of that system and the needs for its rationalization, depoliticization and professionalization. An analysis of those needs, but also integrated mechanisms to prevent abuses in the process of negotiations on each new government or technical mandate, would also have to reflect the Law on Government.

Also, the CCE believes that the Law on the Parliament and the Law on the Government should be adopted by a two-thirds majority, which would allow for avoiding manipulations in the process of their adoption or changes when the law does not suit a small majority.

Finally, the CCE reminds of the earlier initiative, which we submitted when the Draft Law on the Government began to be worked on, which refers to the prescription of mandatory medical examinations of members of the Government (Prime Minister, Deputy PMs and Ministers) and the Secretary-General, with accompanying unannounced tests to psychoactive substances. That initiative also received strong support from citizens.

From the period of immutability of government, Montenegro has come to the point where governments change rather quickly. That can be a good basis for establishing a greater degree of responsibility, as well as those legal frameworks that have proven to be very necessary so that each new government does not shape the institutions anew.

Nikola Obradović, Programme assistant