Rehiring a person who has retired is considered an unacceptable practice in the public sector, especially for an extended period, state auditors stated in the report on the Directorate for Economic Planning
Zdenko Milinović, a former assistant director in the Sector for Coordination of Preparation, Monitoring Implementation, and Evaluation of Development Documents and Analysis of Social Inclusion, retired from that position in April 2022. However, he was hired on a temporary engagement in the Directorate in June of the same year, for which he was paid 1,990 KM, according to Fokus.ba.
An incidental passerby
The information about the engagement of the retiree in the Directorate, without mentioning the person’s name, was published in the report for the previous year by the Audit Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the DEP, and the auditors noted that it was an opaque employment.
“The Directorate engaged one person under a work contract from the sixth month of the current year (referring to 2022), with a monthly amount of 1,990 KM for performing tasks in the Sector for Coordination of Preparation, Monitoring Implementation, and Evaluation of Development Documents and Analysis of Social Inclusion. The said person was previously employed in the Directorate as an assistant director in the same sector and retired in April 2022. Rehiring a person who has retired is considered an unacceptable practice in the public sector, especially for an extended period. The Directorate cites the inability to renew the existing systematized job position as the reason for engaging this person. Hiring under a work contract represents an opaque form of employment. Such an engagement might be justified in exceptional cases, specifically for tasks that occur sporadically”, states the audit report for the DEP for the year 2022.
We called the telephone number of the Directorate to verify whether Milinović is still working there, a year after receiving his first work contract as a retiree. Fortunately, Milinović answered the call, but he claimed that he was at the institution “by chance”.
“I can’t tell you anything; I’m here by chance. Currently, I am retired. I came here for some things; call the director’s office”, Milinović said.
When we pointed out that despite being retired, he still answered the Directorate’s telephone number and that we were calling him precisely to ask about his engagement, Milinović replied:
“I no longer work in the Directorate; I came here for some personal things”, Milinović said, directing us again to the director’s office of the Directorate.
Facsimile of a part of the audit report for DEP: Pensioner received a monthly engagement worth about 2,000 KM.
In the meantime, Fokus received a response from DEP signed by director Zoran Zeljko. According to that response, it appears that Milinović was still engaged under a work contract at the time of our call, even though he told us that he was a “pensioner” and that our call caught him at the Directorate as an “incidental passerby”, as deduced from Milinović’s response.
How the Engagement is Justified by Director Zeljko
“The previous convocation of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina had made a decision to ban the announcement of all types of job advertisements for filling positions of state officials, which was in effect from December 29, 2020, until almost the establishment of the new convocation of the Council of Ministers. As my colleague Milinović retired last year, we found ourselves in a situation where we could not fill his position or redistribute activities efficiently. At the same time, several additional activities were initiated that required the expertise of colleague Milinović, so I decided to sign short-term work contracts with him. The last contract was signed on April 1, 2023, for a duration of three months and will not be renewed. I believe that there was nothing non-transparent in this matter, and I acted within my authority to ensure continuity of activities in the Directorate for Economic Planning”, wrote Zeljko in response to Fokus.
In almost all the reports for the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, auditors often highlight the issue of employing individuals under work contracts for positions and tasks that are already systematized or are supposed to be performed by existing employees.
This practice leads to a significant amount of taxpayer money being drained from the budget, and most taxpayers are not even aware of how their money is being spent. For example, in this case, a pensioner receives both a good pension and a substantial fee, unlike those with minimal or average pensions who are not privileged to continue earning a substantial income after meeting retirement requirements.