Transparent Croatia: Sveta Nedelja to Pay Officials Based on Citizen Evaluation

Lauren Simmonds

With Bjelovar getting the ball well and truly rolling, a transparent Croatia could be closer than ever. A former pipe dream in a country with numerous essential systems mired in corruption, a transparent Croatia could give residents what they need to stay in Croatia.

As Index/Marko Repecki writes on the 21st of February, 2020, Sveta Nedelja is set to introduce a fixed and variable part of its salary paid to its officials and civil servants, which will depend on the evaluation they get from citizens. This revolutionary move was announced on Mayor Dario Zurovec’s Facebook profile, marking another step forward into a more transparent Croatia.

Sveta Nedelja near Zagreb is known for its enticing tax reliefs, but also for many successful businesses operating in its area. The most famous is probably Rimac Automobili, owned by beloved Croatian entrepreneur, Mate Rimac.

In addition to grading officials and civil servants and the new wage system, this town near Zagreb will also introduce a new level of transparency, meaning that citizens will have access to all the bills and invoices the city pays and the contracts it concludes.

This is a decision not many local sheriffs will like…

Many local sheriffs are far from pleased to see these kinds of ideas because they fear that their fellow citizens may also ask for something similar, but this practice is slowly spreading as a more transparent Croatia gradually begins to emerge. The younger generation of local leaders, however, understands that they are in their jobs because of the citizens, and the citizens aren’t there just because of them. Bjelovar, which has been written about frequently of late, also has systems for monitoring accounts after Mayor Dario Hrebak introduced it. The Municipality of Omisalj also boasts such a system, as Mirela Ahmetovic introduced a cost transparency system.

”We’re the first in Croatia to introduce employee appraisal by citizens and pay and reward them according to those appraisals, thus introducing a fixed and a variable part of their income. Specifically, today we have introduced an application through which citizens will be able to evaluate employees after using a service within city administration. Furthermore, city government employees will also be able to evaluate each other, and the result of this process will be a ranking of employees by grade. In the second step, we’ll propose to the city council a 10 percent pay cut for all employees,” Zurovec wrote on Facebook upon announcing the move.

The ability for citizens to evaluate officials and civil servants begins on March the 1st, 2020

“We will then pay them rewards each quarter as follows:

• 5 percent of the worst rated will not receive a reward (they will receive 10 percent less of their current income)
• The next 20 percent will receive a reward of half of the amount that has been deducted (they will receive a bonus of 5 percent lower than their previous salary)
• The middle 50 percent of those assessed will receive a reward in the same amount as their salary (ie, their salary + reward will be equal to their previous salary)
• The next 20 percent of those assessed will receive a reward in excess of the salary reduction (their salary + reward will be 5 percent higher than their previous salary)
• The top rated 5 percent will receive a reward of double the salary reduction (salary + reward will be 10 percent higher than their previous salary)

The ability for citizens to evaluate employees starts from March the 1st, 2020. If the City Council decides to formally adopt the decision, and I believe it will, it will be reflected in wages for the first time on July the 1st, 2020. The evaluations will be done in such a way that when using a city administration service, the citizen will receive a four-digit code from the employee, which he will enter into the application so that he can access the grading of that employee,” Zurovec’s statement reads.

The publication of all invoices/bills and purchase orders will further encourage a transparent Croatia.

“We’re the first in Croatia to make all of our contracts, purchase orders and invoices/bills public in order for people to see the documents to which the invoices are linked. Here, we’ll show all documents, even those below 20,000 kuna, which is not obligatory under the public procurement law. The only exception is, if we have such cases, contracts or invoices related to social welfare. In Croatia, we introduced real-time electromagnetic radiation measurements with the online publication of these documents in collaboration with the Koncar Institute to give our citizens an insight into the real levels of radiation, a level of transparency in all areas not ever seen before in Croatia.

After introducting the biggest local tax reliefs, Sveta Nedelja is once again raising the bar for the entire country, this time in the field of transparency, it is also raising the level of efficiency of the public sector, and we’re proving that it can be better! Finally, I’d like to ask for understanding if the application experiences some difficulties at the beginning of its function, and we’re open to suggestions for further improvements,” Dario Zurovec’s Facebook profile reads.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more information on a more transparent Croatia.


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