Government announces competitions for the posts of state secretaries of 11 ministries

Parliamentarian Alyona Shkrum along with civil society experts clarify the competition procedure, speak of tasks and qualities the candidates should possess and stress on proper remuneration of state secretaries.

Kyiv, October 25, 2016. According to the competition rules, the documents can be submitted by the end of this week. Then applicants are supposed to take tests, solve situational problems and come in for an interview. This was stated by Alyona Shkrum, member of the parliament (MP) from Batkivshchyna faction, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It is important for the leaders to have an opportunity to bring along their professional teams. Together they will try to destroy the old, conservative, bureaucratic, corrupt system and build a new one in accordance with European standards. The law on state service gives them this opportunity,” she believes. Sergiy Soroka, civil platform “New Country”, coordinator of project group “Civil Service Reform in Ukraine”, explained that while the minister builds the policy of a ministry, the state secretary implements this policy and is the so-called executive director.


Skills and quailities of the future state secretary

According to Kostyantyn Vaschenko, Head of the National Agency on Civil Service, it is important that motivated people participate in such competitions. “This is head of the civil service of the ministry. Not just an expert but a manager who knows how to govern, how to perform key system tasks and implement the political strategy of the government. The law guarantees their independence but also their increases responsibility for the effective work of the ministry,” noted Mr. Vaschenko.

Denys Brodskyi, public administration expert, former head of the National Agency on Civil Service, believes that the level of tasks at competitions, taken in other public offices, is very low. “It is situational tasks that will show whether a person has leadership qualities, thinks strategically, and whether the person is able to take into account the interests of all stakeholders and communicate. This procedure must be anonymous: a candidate submits the application and committee members do not know who they evaluate,” explained Mr. Brodsky. According to him, the interviews should aim to identify reputational risks.

Civil experts will help government find perfect candidates

Mykola Vygovskyi, Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR), Council member, informed that the RPR will make an alternative analysis of candidates for the competitions and media. “We have launched an independent monitoring of business and political ties, the absence or presence of corruption risks to avoid unqualified personnel. We started yesterday.  The first messages will appear in the media soon,” he informed.

Salary of the state secretary will be UAH 35-40 thousand. “It’s much more than now, but much smaller than the highly qualified candidates claim,” noted Mr. Vashchenko. However, according to Valeriy Pekar, representative of civil platform “New Country,” in addition to the salary issue, it is the key issue is trust. Thus, many highly qualified candidates do not want to occupy these positions. “It is easy to lose credibility of the process and it is difficult to revive it. New state secretaries have to destroy the old state apparatus and system of backroom appointments. This is their main task,” he believes.

The government planned to complete competitions for the posts of the state secretary in 18 ministries by the end of the current year.