First a plumber, then an army officer, then a deputy mayor, now a library director. What a career!
Slunj Mayor Jure Katić (HDZ) appointed his deputy Ivan Požega as the acting director of the local library, reports Jutarnji on October 25, 2017. Regarded as a problematic move, this decision provoked a backlash on multiple fronts: among the opposition (Živi zid), in the local community, and naturally – in the media and on social networks, once the word has spread.
Apart from being the Deputy Mayor, Požega is a plumber by trade. Mayor Katić, however, doesn’t seem to acknowledge that Požega might not be the best candidate for this latest addition to his resumé. “Neither the mayor nor his deputy are required to have a college degree, if they consider themselves capable of running a city and if they are elected by the citizens. Not even completed elementary school was required from me, but I’ve shown I can lead, same as my deputy Požega”, the Mayor stated.
Živi zid seems to have an entirely different opinion on the matter. “Plumber, war veteran and deputy mayor by trade, and now, a director of the Slunj Library. And then you have the young educated people who have graduated from the relevant faculty, but cannot get the position because they don’t meet the criteria stated in the listing – five years of experience as a library director”, says a statement from representatives of Živi zid.
How did this all come to be? At the beginning of September, former journalist and then library director Nikola Živčić suddenly passed away, leaving a single employee working in the library. “In order to ensure the library would operate properly, implying payment of bills, filing reports, and management of day-to-day operation, the City Council appointed Ivan Požega as acting library director at their latest session”, said Katić, adding their decision clearly states that Požega will be holding the post until the public tender for the position has been concluded.
According to the Mayor, Požega will only be dealing with technical matters until the new director is appointed; they supposedly didn’t manage to appoint one so far even after two tenders have been held, as there were no interested professionals able to meet the strict criteria.
“I asked Požega to accept the offer as he used to have a connection with the library and the Public Open University. He was Živčić’s closest collaborator, as Živčić used to be the president of the Sports Society, and Požega his secretary. This was a logical decision. In addition, he’s retired, so we didn’t have to draft any new contracts”, said the Mayor.
“We are both an affordable option for the City, as we are retirees and volunteers. Us two combined have a smaller salary than a municipality mayor. I make around five thousand kuna [a month], while Požega gets 2600 kuna”, Katić concluded.
According to Požega, before the Homeland War, he used to work as a plumber in Zagreb, returning to Slunj and enlisting in 1991 even though he could have made significantly larger income in his trade. He retired as an army officer. Both he and Katić are offended by all the negative comments; Katić made sure to disclose his opinion about the whole ordeal “coming down to impertinence from members of Živi zid, who don’t have an understanding of politics and are going in the wrong direction”.
Just another day in Croatia.