Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis Speaks in Chamber of Deputies


Babis Sacks Civil Servants: Installs Loyalists

Andrej Babiš

Prague, May 31 (CTK) – The cabinet of PM Andrej Babis (ANO) dismissed at least 37 civil servants within its systemisation policy in 2017, but has claimed to have dismissed only 23, according to a Transparency International (TI) NGO press release out today.


Deputy interior minister for civil service Josef Postranecky rejected the criticism of TI in a statement provided to CTK.


The cabinet implemented the systemisation plan shortly after it was appointed last December. The Interior Ministry said the changes were linked to the reorganisation of the work of the individual ministries.


Babis criticised the overgrown state administration and claimed the plan would save 18 million crowns.


According to the cabinet’s previous statement, 14 sections were abolished at the ministries and the Office of Government, with 23 civil service posts and 50 other posts. The changes, effective as of January 2018, affected also the deputy ministers.


However, the TI data shows that about 50 percent more senior officials ended in their posts.


“It became apparent that only in these addressed bodies, 37 senior officials starting from department directors to higher posts were dismissed due to the systemisation,” TI writes.


Moreover, the Finance Ministry and the Environment Ministry did not respond to the question or did not specify the changes in their response, TI writes.


Postranecky explained that the TI data are based on a different interpretation of the figures concerning the systemisation.


“By systemisation, we understand the number of civil service and work places in a civil service office, not the number of employees in the office,” Postranecky said.


According to him, the number of 23 abolished civil service posts means the difference between the abolished and newly created civil service posts. The number of senior officials’ posts declined by 32, but the number of other than senior civil service posts increased by nine, Postranecky explained.


This March, Babis’s cabinet decided on another systemisation which would involve the abolition of further posts in the state administration. The cabinet also presented an amendment to the civil service law, which according to some opposition parties and trade unions will make it possible for the cabinet to get rid of further inconvenient civil servants and have other people take their posts.


“The functioning of the civil service law will become clear only after a change of cabinets and we consider the present steps dangerous,” TI Czech branch director David Ondracka commented on the amendment.


Postranecky also rejected this criticism, arguing the law deals with problematic areas. For example, the opening of recruitment procedure for the posts responds to situations when there is not a big interest in the participation in them, he said.


Postranecky also said these changes in senior posts are very small as compared to those that were entailed with changes of cabinets before the introduction of the civil service law.


In January, the cabinet lost a confidence vote and it continues ruling pending the establishment of its successor.


According to TI, the cabinet is attempting to circumvent the law and privatise the public interest.


“This, naturally, plays into the speculations about the installment of loyal people in the posts. The cabinet should strive to stabilise the state administration, not to disassemble it,” TI lawyer Petr Leyer said.


“Strategic institutions and organisations are being hastily disassembled in broad daylight, moreover, accompanied with rhetorics of a responsible government,” TI analyst Milan Eibl added.