A dangerous administrative gap

Salameh daraawi
Salameh Darawi (Photo: JNews)
Certain posts and positions within the state have gone unoccupied for over two years and with no real attempts to fill them. This creates negative impressions and indicators on a number of fronts, all of which raise the question: What is the logical explanation behind the slack in hiring?اضافة اعلان

Who could believe that the Department of Land and Survey has been operating without a director general for over two years, or that the general supplies and customs departments have only had acting directors for three months and one month, respectively.  The Ministry of Planning has not had a secretary general for two years.

There are also other senior leadership positions that have been vacant for months and weeks and the only explanation that anyone has found is one of the following:

First: The positions at these institutions are not as important as the ones everyone is familiar with, which is to say that the institutions in question can operate normally without a director. Personally, I believe that this reason may be unreasonable and is not taken into account by the government and policymakers given that these executives play a key role in the development of these bodies and the implementation of official policies as required.

Second: There is a genuine lack of qualified staff in the public sector who could assume these positions and that decision makers do not rush in making these decisions as long as applicants fail to meet the requirements set by the government. Therefore, there would not be a rush to hire until the right person has been chosen for the right position.

I think the second reason is more logical and a proper justification for why these positions have not been filled despite the daily pressures that the government faces from different entities.

The government today is paying the price for the actions of former governments, which colluded with different Lower Houses in the past to instate staff that are unqualified to lead to the public sector. Most notable of these actions have been the public sector restructuring plan endorsed in 2011, which has thus far cost the Treasury more than JD520 million, even though early estimates reported that the cost would not exceed JD82 million.

The issue is not limited to the dire consequences that the Treasury and citizens’ pockets have paid for, which in my opinion is the greatest case of corruption in the history of the state and is one that has gone unaccounted for. The issue has also affected all competent public sector employees who were driven to early retirement, resignation or emigration to find work elsewhere. The only ones who remain are those who came in through the Civil Service Bureau or infiltrated the public sector by means of nepotism or favoritism. Those people have had their salaries increased and have been promoted through the incentives regulation endorsed under the aforementioned restructuring plan.

It is no surprise that all the ministries and state institutions are demanding exemption from the restructuring regulation, which would allow them to appoint expertise from outside the scope of existing public employees. It has become difficult for officials to rely on what is already there. The public sector needs to eliminate the restructuring plan and allow for new contracts with external expertise to support the operations of these ministries and allow them to move forward with reform.