Brussels, 06 February 2017
Note to the attention of Mr. Selmayr, President Juncker’s Head of Cabinet
And Mr. Italianer, Secretray-General of the Commission
Subject: « Parachuting » of cabinet members at the end of the College’s term of office
Ref.: Your declarations under item 7.12 of the minutes of the heads of Cabinets’ meeting held on 30 January
R&D would like to start by thanking you for outlining the principles which govern appointments and promotions of cabinet members at the weekly meeting of the Heads of Cabinet that took place on 30 January 2017, and which are in line with the positions that R&D has always put forward and defended.
This is a very good start but it is not enough.
1. A brief reminder of the facts
R&D has always fought parachuting of Cabinet members at the end of each College’s term of office and denounced its serious consequences, not only for the image and credibility of our institution and its appointment procedures, but also for the motivation of the staff.
In this respect, it is indisputable that the Barroso Commission exceeded all the limits (read our file) .
Without contesting the merits of our colleagues assigned to the Members’ cabinets, R&D has always advocated the setting up of clear instructions prohibiting in particular the appointment of cabinet members to management positions in the Directorate-General operating under their portfolio.
Likewise, R&D has always denounced the detestable practice of the “Geyser-parachuting”, namely the appointment of a cabinet member to a management position in a Directorate-General followed by an immediate reinstatement in a cabinet.
For way too long has the staff been aware, with deep disappointment, not to say true revulsion, of such practices, of acrobatic and fanciful management of the organizational charts aiming at vacating the runway for the smooth landing of the concerned “paratrooper”… often with mimicry efforts within the framework of “The exchange of services” between cabinets…
In particular, all too often the “external” procedures organized under Article 29(2)* of the Staff Regulations are used for the benefit of “internal-external” candidates assigned to a cabinet, who are not eligible in the internal phase for the purpose of appointing TA 2c) or of appointing/promoting civil servant colleagues with the rise of several grades.
The discouragement of other colleagues in relation to these practices is all the more understandable. On several occasions, R&D was able to announce the name of the prospective candidate, well ahead the publication of the procedure!
Whenever we asked to end these slippages, each time we denounced the devastating effects on the credibility of our institution and on the motivation of the staff, we received only bureaucratic answers denying any problems and assuring us that all appointment procedures had been implemented with the utmost transparency … in short, everything was going to be fine!
We noted with regret that our administration was absolutely unable to end to such practices or, even worse, that it was using its skills for detrimental manoeuvers, as was the case with internal competitions organized in 2014 for the benefit of cabinets by instrumentalising the legitimate expectations of post-2004 colleagues.
2. Your statements on the occasion of the meeting of the College held on 30 January (cf. item 7.12).
In view of the above, you can be sure that we took note with great satisfaction of your statements at the meeting of the Chefs de cabinet held on 30 January (cf. item 7.12) and we would like to thank you very sincerely for that.
Indeed, on this occasion you confirmed that:
“Shall not be allowed:
- the appointment of cabinet members to management positions in the Directorate-General operating under their portfolio and placed under their direct supervision.
- as well as appointments of cabinet members in a Directorate-General to obtain promotion and reinstatement in a cabinet as soon as this promotion is obtained. “
In support to these instructions, you pointed out that:
“These practices are demotivating for the rest of the staff who are not promoted with the same speed as the cabinet members”
This is a very clear position and those are instructions that we have been waiting for, for way too long.
This is a very good start but it is not enough.
It actually calls for further reflection on the proliferation of appointments of cabinet members on the occasion of the end of each term of office and also outside the directorates-general under their direct supervision, in particular within the framework of “the exchange of services” between cabinets.
In this regard, we reiterate our request that at the end of each term, taking account of the rules on the protection of personal data, the Commission undertakes to draw up a summary of career developments and appointments of cabinet members in particular as regards “external” procedure in light of Article 29 (2) of the Staff Regulations.
For R&D it has never been about challenging the merits of our cabinet colleagues but about defending the credibility of our institution and its appointment procedures, as well as about taking into account the devastating effects of these practices on the motivation of the rest of the staff…
Putting an end once and for all to the slippages and parachuting of each term of office, that is what the last-chance Commission must do.
We are counting on you to continue with the process undertaken through your abovementioned statements, and for which we would like thank you again.
CC : Mr. Oettinger Vice-President of the Commission
Mrs Souka, MM. Levasseur, Roques DG HR
*Article 29(2): A procedure other than the competition procedure may be adopted by the Appointing Authority for the recruitment of senior officials (Directors-General or their equivalent in grade AD 16 or AD 15 and Directors or their equivalent in grade AD 15 or AD 14) and, in exceptional cases, also for recruitment to posts which require special qualifications.