Civil Service Commission backs extension of political appointments
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Civil Service Commission backs extension of political appointments

Acting commission head Udi Prawer, the sole dissenter, urges that 22 ministerial deputy directors be appointed by search committee instead

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (R), Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (L) and Likud Knesset Member Amir Ohana (C) attend a  committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on July 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (R), Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (L) and Likud Knesset Member Amir Ohana (C) attend a committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on July 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The extension of political appointments in government ministries took a step forward Tuesday when the Civil Service Commission approved the political hiring of 22 deputy directors general.

Udi Prawer, acting civil service commissioner, was the only person on a special commission committee to object, the business daily The Marker reported.

Outgoing commissioner Moshe Dayan objected to a similar proposal toward the end of his term.

Both men had delayed discussion of the proposal several times.

Outgoing Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan, seen participating in a state control committee at the Knesset, Jerusalem, June 18, 2013. (Flash90)

The political appointment of deputy directors by ministers was advanced by a committee headed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud).

Ministry directors are already political appointments.

Among those voting in favor of the proposal were the directors of four ministries — including the two serving in Shaked and Levin’s ministries and in the Culture and Sport Ministry led by Likud’s Miri Regev.  Representatives of the public on the committee also backed the move — including accountant Iris Stark, former Finance Ministry director Doron Cohen and former Justice Ministry director Guy Rotkopf.

Prawer’s compromise proposal to have the appointments made by a search committee based on strict criteria was rejected by Shaked.

The Marker report said that the almost wall-to-wall approval by the committee stood in stark contrast to the widespread professional opposition expressed in the corridors of government and “raised question marks over the freedom of opinion enjoyed by ministry directors, who are obviously aware that the ministers are very keen for there to be additional political appointments.”

The proposal was passed by the Civil Service Commission committee with several conditions: Directors will appoint their deputies, rather than ministers, and high threshold conditions were set.

As 15 professional deputy directors are already serving, there is room for just seven new political appointments at this time, at a cost of some NIS 14 million ($4 million).

The move still needs approval by the government and the Finance Ministry’s Budget Department.

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