Transparency and democracy NGO, Gong, said on Wednesday that the newly-elected Zagreb Mayor, Tomislav Tomasevic, had "betrayed his campaign promises" by replacing top managers of the Zagreb Holding directly, without first opening public tenders for vacancies.
“Appointments made without competition are not the path citizens chose in the elections, wanting a change in the way Zagreb is run, although it is indisputable that the City and Zagreb Holding have huge debts and that it is necessary to act as soon as possible,” Gong said in a press release.
Gong said that that Tomasevic “should have kept the promises and standards announced in the election platform” if he “really wants to change the model of governing Zagreb and – after 20 years of Milan Bandic’s rule – put an end to non-transparent employment practices.”
“The new model of governing Zagreb, announced by the We Can! platform, explicitly stated that members of the management board of Zagreb Holding would be selected in a public procedure, with the mandatory publication of their management plan. This has not been done so far, and public calls will only be made for additional members of Zagreb Holding management and supervisory boards,” Gong said. For years, Gong has been calling for mandatory public calls for management positions at public and municipal companies.
“We think that there is a high risk of corruption in public companies which have large budgets and a large number of employees,” Gong said.
Explaining on Tuesday why he resorted to the direct appointment at Zagreb Holding – even though during the election campaign Tomasevic and his party promised that new management would be hired through public calls only – Tomasevic said that the situation “inherited from the previous local government” forced them to react quickly and the direct appointment was “the most responsible solution.”
Zagreb Holding reported a consolidated loss of 305 million kuna (€40 million) for 2020. Tomasevic said that the new city administration, which took over less than two weeks ago, had only two options: to keep the incumbent management “that had obviously failed to put the situation under control” or to fire them, leaving Zagreb Holding without any effective management for “several months” during of the public selection procedure.
Tomasevic elaborated that the “minimum number” of top managers of Zagreb Holding (two) were directly appointed, and promised public calls for the remaining three members in the management board as well as the remaining members of the supervisory board.
(€1 = 7.50 kuna)