By its own definition, the RS Energy Regulatory Commission (RERS) is an independent organization in performing its tasks. In practice, however, it is a training ground for the installation of party cadres, according to the “Direct” research. In the Regulatory Commission, rewarded with generous salaries and numerous benefits, prominent party cadres of the ruling parties in Srpska sit. Employment also functions according to the party key, so the wife and daughter of the SNSD members from Trebinje were recently admitted to the RERS, among others, without a competition.
Commission of Prominent Politicians
The National Assembly of the RS recently, at the suggestion of the Government of the RS, for the second time in a row appointed Vladislav Vladičić as the President of the Regulatory Commission. Vladičić came to the chair of the President of the Commission from the chair of the director of “Elektro-Hercegovina” in Trebinje in 2015.
In addition to Vladičić, the NARS also gave a mandate to a former member of the Regulatory Commission, SNSD member Petar Munišić, then former secretary of the Banja Luka SNSD Zoran Novaković and prominent Banja Luka socialist Radenko Komljenović. The fifth member of the Commission is Mihajlo Travar from Banja Luka, who received the mandate in May 2018 while he was a high-ranking DNS official.
They all had to “freeze” party membership before taking office. But this has proven to be just a formality showing the public that politics is kept outside the RERS framework.
Benefits for members of the Commission – vehicles, apartments, and flexible working hours
According to president Vladičić, RERS gave Novaković, Komljenović, and Travar a vehicle to use in Trebinje.
“We thought it was a cheaper option for us than paying for their tickets, given that there are three of them,” Vladičić told Direct.
In addition, RERS provided them with apartments to use when in Trebinje. However, they do not come to work regularly, nor anyone requires it.
“The only work regarding RERS is here, in Trebinje. They come every week, at some point. I am not saying that they are engaged for eight hours, but the work of the Commission is set up in such a way that it can be performed without them being present for eight hours during working hours. Their duty is to review the materials that arrive. We all receive materials on the computer, we participate in giving comments to the sectors, and the sectors to us and everything that is made, before the session starts, it is subject to discussion and engagement of all members in full capacity”, says Vladičić.
The President of the Regulatory Commission considers that the salaries of its members are decent.
“We are not on a budget. As for other regulatory bodies, our salaries are the lowest, although they are very decent. My salary is 3,600, and their 3,400 marks, and we do not have any allowances for that”, Vladičić points out.
Darjana Simović, the wife of the SNSD councilor in the Trebinje City Assembly Srdjan Simović, recently got a job at RERS. She was admitted with a high school diploma, and she finished the high school of electrical engineering.
“She is employed in computer maintenance, it is operational work, like recording our sessions on audio equipment. No matter what it looks like, our documentation is extensive, we have an electronic management system, everything is scanned, translated into electronic form and has its own functions and the entire system that we monitor, that we work on “, they explain in RERS Darjana’s business duties.
Vladičić says that Simović finished three years of college, but that, regardless of that, in the future, she will not get a job that requires a university degree.
Tamara Aškrabić, the daughter of the former member of the Regulatory Commission Predrag Aškrabić, who passed away in May this year, was recently employed in RERS. She graduated from the private College of Vocational Studies in Information Technology in Belgrade, with the title of professional engineer of information technology. It is a three-year school for which the tuition costs around 3,100 euros. She came to RERS as a replacement for Tanja Vuković, who is on maternity leave. Tanja Vuković is the daughter-in-law of SNSD MP Radovan Vuković.
“Tanja Vuković performed tasks related to customer protection and parts of activities related to electricity supply. It is an economic segment more. And we have customer protection jobs, we have projects that we work with USAID, GIZ, and so on, we have requirements to bring RERS closer to users in terms of modern technologies that are web-oriented. Tamara is involved in these activities, she works on these jobs. Tanja worked on protecting customers in terms of more detailed dispute resolution, when it comes to errors in calculations and so on,” they explain in RERS.
When asked if he thinks that this way of employment is correct, Vladičić says that his “conscience dictated” that he should hire Tamara Aškrabić.
“That one is on me, that was my personal, emotional side. It was my emotional attitude towards that family to try to help them and ease the pain in that situation. If it is a mistake, write in red letters Vladislav Vladičić made a mistake. We are all people of flesh and blood and sometimes we do something that our conscience tells us to do “, Vladičić points out for” Direct “.
Both Simović and Aškrabić were employed without public competition, because RERS is not obliged to announce it for jobs with secondary education, as well as for temporary jobs and replacements in maternity leave for up to a year. In case of a decision to be accepted permanently, RERS must announce a public competition.
It is interesting that two wives of Trebinje priests also worked at RERS. One is still employed, as a graduate economist, while the other left RERS and moved to another Country.
“Everyone has the right to a job, regardless of whether she is the wife of a politician or a priest. I received more criticism because of the one who moved away because I did not offer her a job, but I was principled, because she did not have the citizenship of BiH, ” Vladičić points out.
When asked when he received the above criticism, Vladičić answered that “there are always people who are in some way authorities on the issue of social life.”
“We try to be professionals, you wouldn’t believe how much, but I appreciate the authorities. Not to the point where I’ll do by their orders, but I respect them “, says Vladičić.
Circulation of functions: Member of the Commission – Advisor – Member of the Commission
Like water circulating in nature, RERS circulates functions. Thus, Mladen Štaka was first employed as a secretary in RERS, and after that, he was appointed a member of the Commission. When his term expired, Vladičić appointed him as an advisor.
“I took him because he is a man who deserves some engagement with his knowledge. You can either send him home or give him some kind of a position. He is retiring this year, and his salary is around 2,600 marks “, says Vladičić for” Direct “.
Petar Munišić from Trebinje, a graduate chemical technologist, came to RERS as a member of the Commission. At the end of his term, he was appointed head of the RERS cabinet. When asked which competencies recommended Munišić for this position, Vladičić did not have a clear explanation.
“He worked, he was a member of the Commission. Personally, I found someone who was engaged and spent five years there, deserving of a position, an engagement in RERS. To be honest, I use his experience and work as needed. If it is a sin, I take it upon myself“, Vladičić points out.
Independence and party lists
On the conclusion that considering all the above, the independence of RERS is just a formality on paper, the President of the Commission claims that he personally tried not to be recognized in this institution as a member of the SNSD.
“It is known who decides the election of the members of the Commission. As for me, it says that I was a member of the SNSD. What I can say is that no matter how you look at it, you know who is working here. It used to be people from SDS, PDP, and when they were appointed, there were very recognizable persons from that structure. I tried hard and I don’t think anyone here has ever recognized me, except who doesn’t know me, which option I belong to. And according to the relationship, I have not moved any boss or worker to another job, nor have I made any gesture on that basis, you don’t need to ask me about that. The most important thing is to keep the dignity and strength of the leader and for your associates to feel it and have such an attitude towards it, and I think it is present here and I think we are the most valuable institution in Trebinje and beyond, in all services, interpersonal and work, “said Vladičić.
However, according to “Direkt”, during the elections, Vladičić asked the workers to sign the list of “secure votes” for the SNSD.
“Well, you see, I avoided it so elegantly and I called and said that it should not be done, that it is RERS,” Vladičić said when asked about the disputed lists.
In response to our statement that this means that pressure from his party still exists, the president of the RERS Commission says that it was a “recommendation”.
“Recommendation from the party?”, we asked.
“As you wish, but it did not happen,” Vladicic replied.
Leaving the party is just a formality
The President and members of the RERS are appointed by the National Assembly on the proposal of the Government, and on the basis of a public competition. According to the Law on Ministerial, Governmental and Other Appointments, any person who holds office in a political party cannot be appointed. However, a “hole” has been made in this law, which makes the previous rule completely meaningless.
“According to this Law, a candidate who resigns from a party position before the final appointment is made can be considered for the final appointment in accordance with the principles and procedures established by this Law,” explains Damjan Ožegović from Transparency International BiH for our portal.
Since almost all previous members of the Regulatory Commission were prominent political figures, it can be said that this legal “hole” was made to their measure.
“Given that the mandate in the commission lasts five years, and it is possible to get a maximum of two mandates, it is clear that by freezing their status in political parties, individuals can temporarily achieve greater benefits for themselves or even for the party they come from, and they are leaving it just temporarily “, Ožegović concluded for” Direct “.