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Turmoil in the Center for Vocational Education culminated after the adoption of the act on the systematization of workplaces

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Aleksandra Lalević, Photo: gov.me
Aleksandra Lalević, Photo: gov.me
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

A long-term employee of the Legal Service at the Vocational Education Center (CSO) will have to learn to define the necessary knowledge and skills of high school students for the labor market, while her current position will be covered by another person.

This, among other things, is foreseen by the new Rulebook on the internal organization and systematization of jobs in that institution.

The employees and the Trade Union Organization CSO warned the management that the adoption of the act was "non-transparent, without the involvement of employees in the organizational units, except for those you chose yourself", and that the only recommendation for the positions was "the trust you have in those employees". They also claim that there has been a bad atmosphere in that institution for months, because the management marginalizes those who know.

Director of CSO Aleksandra Lalević, To "Vijesti" she replied that "giving other employees the opportunity to, after a decade or two of having colleagues in management positions,...does not represent an act that collapses an institution, but an act that provides the possibility for the Center to become a more open institution."

"...And that individuals who show results on the knowledge market can get the opportunity for advancement", she said.

In February, the Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation approved the new Rulebook on the internal organization and systematization of CSO jobs.

Calculation or need?

The employees of CSO told "Vijesti" that the director, through the new schedule of jobs, deals with "everyone she considers to be unsuitable".

"Even though it is about an institution and individuals who have achieved significant results in the last 20 years in terms of reform and development of professional education and adult education, which are recognized at the national and international level, this was not relevant for director Lalević", they emphasized.

According to them, the Department for International Cooperation, which will have three employees, was formed unnecessarily.

"Montenegro does not have access to European funds, which it will have when it becomes a member of the European Union. At this moment, it is enough that there is one person who will be in charge of monitoring calls in which the Center can participate as a partner or leader in the project and to connect organizational units that deal with professional work. The long-time head of the Department for Legal Affairs was assigned to a sector for which she has no experience, and the head of the Department for Adult Education, who is an andragogist and therefore the most qualified for that field, was also replaced, and there is talk that her place will be taken by a tourism expert...", they said. are "News".

And the Trade Union Organization CSO warned "of the danger that all this can lead to confusion at work and the impossibility of independent decision-making and responsibility".

"The meeting with the employees that I initiated as the president of the trade union organization, you accepted and made some changes, but again without the presence of managers and employees from most organizational units, who would adequately influence the content of the Rulebook", they announced in the letter delivered to Lalević.

Lalević: Changes are necessary

Lalević did not answer the questions regarding specific workplaces and changes, but said that "changes are a necessary prerequisite for the long-term development and success of the organization because they allow us to adapt to a dynamic environment, encourage innovation, increase efficiency and productivity, enable adaptation to new requirements and encourage professional employee development".

"The newly appointed heads of organizational units have leadership skills, adequate knowledge and experience gained through decades of work in education, both in the professional and adult education fields, as well as many years of experience in the creation and implementation of EU projects and cooperation with partners outside Montenegro" , said Lalević.

According to her, respecting transparency and dialogue with trade union organizations, comments on the draft rulebook on internal organization and systematization of workplaces were carefully considered, many of them were respected and included in the final text of the act.

"Giving the opportunity to other employees, that after a decade or two that there were colleagues in management positions, which you are interested in and which you indirectly mention, is not an act that collapses an institution, but an act that provides the possibility for the Center to become a more open institution, and that individuals who show results on the knowledge market can get the opportunity for advancement. The position of the aforementioned managers is not mandated, so we cannot talk about their dismissal", she clarified.

She emphasized that the finding of the State Audit Institution for 2022 is "the initial motivation for changes to the act".

"The audit of the business regularity of the JU Center for Vocational Education revealed non-compliance with the Law on State Property, the Law on Salaries in the Public Sector, the Labor Law, the Law on Management and Internal Controls, the Rulebook on the Internal Organization and Systematization of Workplaces, the Rulebook on the Uniform the classification of accounts for the budget of Montenegro and the budgets of municipalities, the Regulation on the way of keeping records of movable and immovable property and the Instruction on the detailed method of carrying out the inventory of movable and immovable property in state ownership. Based on the above, the competent Board of the SAI expresses a negative opinion on the compliance of operations with the regulations", Lalević cited the finding.

She added that the act passed the complete legal procedure.

"...From getting to know trade union organizations, CSO employees (who had the opportunity to publicly comment and change it at a collective meeting). After that, it was sent to the Management Board of CSO, and then to the Ministry. After the consent was given by the Ministry, it was publicly announced on the Notice Board of the CSO. The very process of adopting this act, which is extremely important for the work of the Center, lasted from the second half of October last year until the beginning of February 2024. The entire process of drafting and adopting the Rulebook on Systematization was extremely transparent and was carried out in accordance with the law," she answered.

She added that the act explains in detail all changes, including the definition of a new organizational unit of the Center, as well as all organizational changes within the Center.

"In the creation of the new structure, the principle was applied that it should be in accordance with the key goals of the organizational units and that it is justified and harmonized with the needs of further growth and development of the Center, which is extremely necessary at this moment," added Lalević.

The Ministry monitors what is happening, but does not interfere

When asked if they have received complaints regarding the new arrangement of positions in the CSO, the Ministry says that they will carry out administrative supervision if they have evidence that the institution's activities are not carried out in accordance with the law.

"The Center for Vocational Education is an independent public institution, founded by the Government of Montenegro, which has its own bodies - the Board of Directors and the director. The Ministry supervises the work of the Center. The Ministry is not authorized to make decisions on behalf of the Center, nor will it do so," said the department, adding that they are not authorized to interfere in the internal organization of the Center.

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