The Audit Service with an announcement refers to the issue of appointing a consultant to the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
In relation to the issue that arose due to the Decision of the Deputy Minister of Tourism to appoint a 19-year-old student as his Advisor/Partner, we note the following:
(a) It is known that the announcement of public positions is imposed, in general, to ensure equality and equality but also for reasons of public interest related to the merit-based staffing of the Public Service. The appointment, as well as the promotion, of the most worthy and able candidates is of capital importance to the common good. The adequate staffing of the Public Service directly promotes the interest of the public. Undemocratic criteria for the staffing of the Public Service not only do not promote but harm the public interest.
As he has not ’ repetition emphasized in a number of court decisions, the appointment of employees in the Public Service is a purely administrative act. The President of the Republic (PtD) or the Council of Ministers or the Ministers or the Members of Parliament have no authority over the appointment of civil servants. The Constitution excludes the involvement of any organ of political power in the exercise of the function of staffing the Public Service.
(b) On the basis of the above, our Service already in 2014 expressed strong concerns in relation to appointments of employees as partners of the PtD, Ministers and Members of Parliament. Realizing, however, the need to employ competent and trustworthy persons to support these officials, we agreed with a Ms’ exception to the process of political appointments of such collaborators, which, however, would be legally enshrined, and in any case would be applied very sparingly and on the basis of strict conditions.
(c) On 16.10.2014 the Presidency replied to us that it has proceeded with the preparation of terms of service for the Councilors of the PtD and the Ministers, in order to ensure uniformity and to avoid different interpretations of the terms of their contracts.
Finally, in the State Budget of 2016, a relevant note and a model contract were included, but without defining employment criteria and conditions.
(d) Contrary to the Government, the House of Representatives accepted our position for legislative regulation of the employment of parliamentary associates and passed the Law on Parliamentary Associates and Related Matters of 2019 (Law 41(I)/2019).
(e) After the passing of the above Law, we returned on 13.3.2019 to the Government and proposed the following:
• To establish a legal framework regarding the remuneration and other benefits of the Commissioners and Special Advisers of the respective President of the Republic.
• In the Explanatory Memorandum of the Budget, the Presidency should determine its needs for Advisors, the amount of their remuneration according to the duties of the position and the necessary qualifications. Then proceed to purchase services to meet these needs, based on defined procedures.
• For the purposes of transparency, the names, qualifications, position and remuneration of the selected Consultants should be made public.
The above are published in our Special Report with no. AM/01/2019 and date 17.7.2019.
(f) The Presidency of the Republic rejected our proposals on the grounds that such a framework would provide great inflexibility, a position with which we do not agree. At the same time, however, he informed us that the Council of Ministers, by its Decision, taken on March 27, 2019, approved a comprehensive employment framework for such Councillors. Based on this framework, the Advisors should have completed their twenty-first (21st) year of age and hold a university degree recognized in the Republic.
(g) The importance of such positions of Councilors of the Council of Ministers and Ministers is also presumed from the fact that the GRECO Committee of the Council of Europe, as well as the European Commission, consider the position of Councilor to be a position of influence and therefore request that the holders of such position make statements about where.
2. On the basis of the above, we consider that the hiring as a Consultant of a person who is 19 years old and does not have a university degree will be clearly illegal and abusive. It is therefore our recommendation to the Deputy Minister not to implement such a plan and to disassociate himself from such a commitment. In the event that an expenditure is made against such an appointment, we will submit a relevant complaint to the Independent Anti-Corruption Authority for examination of the possible commission of the offense of abuse of power.
3. Our Service will request details of all the Consultants who have been hired by the PtD, the Ministers and Deputy Ministers and will make public as much of this information as is permissible to be given. To this end, the Personal Data Protection Commissioner will be consulted.