The Slovenia Times

Govt presents analysis of staffing by its predecessor


Ljubljana - The government presented on Thursday an analysis of hiring in the state administration between 1 January 2020 and 2 June 2022. Immediately after being sworn in, it decided to review all appointments, reassignments and promotions in the state administration to see whether some staff got the job through political connections.

Talking to the press on Thursday, Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said the first ever analysis of this kind was not a witch hunt.

The report compiled by the Public Administration Ministry found that 79 or 32.5% of all those hired as political officials remained in the state administration after they no longer held the status of an official.

In total, the number of employees in state administration grew by 512 to 31,846 between 1 January 2020 and 2 June 2022, an increase of 1.63%.

Just over 230 new people were hired in the military and the police, the rest in other bodies, including 243 in government cabinets.

During the Janez Janša government (March 2020-May 2022), the General Secretariat of the government hired the most cabinet employees. Out of nine officials, eight remained on after losing their status, one on a fixed-term contract, the rest on open-end contracts.

The Ministry of Finance hired the second largest number of cabinet employees during the previous government, followed by the Office for Development and Cohesion Policy.

"We can see that the loudest critics of this analysis had a reason to criticise the move in advance, because they were the most successful at staffing," Ajanović Hovnik said, adding that the employment of former cabinet employees in the public administration had become an urban myth.

The analysis found two spikes in reassignments of cabinet employees to open-ended contracts during the Janša government: the first was during speculation about a constructive vote of no confidence following the resignations of the health and agriculture ministers, and the second before the new government took over.

During that time a 300% increase in open-ended hiring was seen in cabinet employees, said Ajanović Hovnik.

Under the Marjan Šarec government (September 2018-March 2020), ten officials were given fixed-term contracts and two received open-ended contracts. It was a silver lining that Šarec's resignation happened unexpectedly, giving ministerial cabinets little room to "take care of their employees", said Ajanović Hovnik.

She believes a possible solution could be to limit hiring in the public administration to two set periods per year. The ministry is also working on guidelines for the development of a staffing system introducing centralised vetting of candidates.

The analysis also found that a half of cabinet employees who were put on new employment contracts received a salary higher than that stipulated for their position. An exception institute was used to justify these moves, however, this institute can only be used when there is just cause, the ministry said in a press release.

Moreover, the analysis found nearly 23,400 reassignments, of which just over 1,500 were between state administration bodies. The press release says that the reassignments were carried out for the purpose of increasing salaries and not to meet the needs of the work process.

"When we quantified it, we realised that the public administration's wage bill increased by nearly EUR 5 million due to this," the minister said.

Moreover, the government decided today that the ministries of labour, infrastructure and education may hire seven additional officials before the ministries are reshaped under a bill which is being challenged by the opposition in a referendum. They will be put on fixed-term employments.

The government also decided that the rights and duties of officials must be made equal to those of public servants. The former are still subject to austerity legislation, preventing inflation adjustments to their income.


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