On October 5, the first meeting of the ARMA commission was held. Since then, the commission has met systematically every week. However, how effective have been these meetings and the selection commission itself? What important decisions could and could not its members make? Let’s try to figure it out.
Several competitions for state senior positions, especially when it comes to the so-called anti-corruption bodies, have set certain standards for the work of commissions. Among the key criteria are the openness and transparency of the work of the selection commission and ensuring equal treatment of candidates. For example, when electing HACC judges or selecting the head of the NACP, such standards were clearly demonstrated.
However, recently, we have often noticed how similar commissions for the selection of heads of bodies demonstrate only the ability to ineffectively spend taxpayer funds and participants’ time.
Unfortunately, it is the lack of clear criteria for holding the competition and the non-transparent work of the commission that create conditions for arranged solutions between some people and the promotion of the convenient candidate during the elections for the most important positions in the country. Formal compliance with the minimum rules offsets the very essence of competitions, and virtuous and worthy candidates have almost no chance of winning.
Starting from December 2019, the Asset Recovery and Management Agency has operated without a permanent manager, and the process of starting the selection of a manager has been delayed for no reason. It seems that two years is quite enough to prepare for the competition and its start?
As we can see, on October 2, the selection commission started accepting candidates’ documents. However, the commission “forgot” to post information for potential candidates about the stages of the competition, its procedure, and the evaluation methodology on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers.
This can significantly affect the number of participants because potential candidates will not know the rules under which the selection process will take place. Neither does it mean transparency in the competitive selection. Moreover, a decent and virtuous professional with managerial and international experience in the legal field usually wants to understand at least the selection and evaluation criteria before spending time collecting a large pile of documents for participation in the competition.
It is also important to know that the commission for the selection of the ARMA head instead of integrity will investigate issues of moral and business qualities. The issue of inetgrity is comprehensive: it is a matter of lifestyle, professional ethics and the source of fortune. Replacing this criterion with a study of moral and business qualities makes it possible to avoid a full-fledged comprehensive assessment of the criterion and will allow rather “dubious” candidates further.
This is precisely what the recent competition for the head of the BES has clearly demonstrated. The chair of the commission called the ex-member of the Party of Regions who voted for anti-Ukrainian Kivalov-Kolesnichenko’s Law a promising candidate in the final of the competition.
At their meetings, members of the commission for the election of the ARMA head talked about meritocracy, the worthiest candidates, and a bunch of other right things. In our cases, we see a lack of transparency, unwillingness to engage worthy candidates, and disinterest in the integrity of the future head of the ARMA.
It should be noted here that this agency not only has a highly important role in the system of anti-corruption agencies, but is also the result of Ukraine’s fulfillment of its international commitments. It is probably not great that a central body of executive power with a special status, an agency working on some high-profile arrested assets, is starting such a long-awaited selection of a head in such a way.