If you’re not a party member, you will lose your job!

As of June 30, three employees of the Property Sector within the Pristina Municipality – B.K., N.A. and A.K., are no longer part of the municipal administration where they had been working since 2012. For the employees their dismissal from work is simply a political matter. According to municipal officials, they have lost their jobs because of poor performance. However, it seems that the issue of performance depends very much on the perspective of superiors.

B.K. says that they were fired after 3 years only because they did not become members of the Movement for ‘Self-determination!’ (MSD). Meanwhile, 7 MSD activists were hired, who admitted themselves that they are activists of this party,” he adds. His colleague A.K. shares the same opinion is even his colleague.

A.K. has an official document according to which the work that he and B.K. had done within 6 months was much more than what others had completed in a year. That document shows that A.K. and B.K. had been on the field 1219 times in a 6-month period, meanwhile there are employees that had been on the field many times less during an entire year. This assessment was made by the team of field supervisors. B.K. with a colleague has filed 150 complaints, or 6 times more than the lowest performer with 21 complaints, while A.K. with a colleague, had filed 127 complaints with 180 units.

These numbers have strengthened their belief that they were fired because of political and party motives and not for lack of performance on the job.

These young people are part of a group of 13 who have previously been trained to work in the municipality in property tax sector through a project funded by USAID and the Municipality of Pristina. So those three are certified for their work. Many of the trainees were fired last year under the promise that a competition would be announced for their previous position and they would be allowed to compete.

J.B., who participated in the competition announced by the Municipality of Pristina but was rejected, made a complaint to the Independent Oversight Board of Kosovo Civil Service (IOBKCS) and won the contest; afterwards IOBKCS annulled the competition. But the decision to cancel the competition by municipal authorities, was taken about 8 months late. Even J.B. accuses the Municipality of Pristina for party preferences. 

“We were a group of 13 persons who have worked in the municipal property tax sector, unfortunately hired on service contracts. They fired us with tactic, but thankfully we won this contest to IOBKCS and the competitions was annulled. However there are still people working on service contracts,” she said.

J.B. as well is convinced that to be hired in the municipality one must be a member of MSD. She continues saying that her colleagues who were fired will emerge victorious from the contest, making such practices of municipal management simply irresponsible budget expenditures.

Meanwhile, the director of Property and Finance Sector, Visar Berisha, denies that the dismissals were caused by party affiliations (or lack thereof). “They had a probationary contract which was not terminated. This is what usually happens: upon the ending of the duration of the probation period, probationary contracts can be confirmed into full time employment or not. 7 or 8 people were hired, but this has nothing to do with the three employees in question. A few months ago 6 people were suspended from the directorate; not being able to announce the vacancy until employees complete the procedures, we hired other people to complete the work.”

Unfortunately, cases like these show that clientelism, nepotism, and non-merit employment are still a common phenomenon in the Kosovar society. Reforms in the procedures for qualification, certification and employment, whether in the public sector or private one, should be e priority for the Government.

Gur Kalaja
Pristina, July 2015