The promotions lottery

During the 2013 exercise, R&D had already compared the promotion exercise to a board game between DGs and we announced the winners:  in other words DGs who swiped more promotions from the others (2013 Appraisal exercise: And the winner is…).

 

As part of the 2014 exercise, the feeling of taking part in  the organization of a mega-lottery has, if possible, increased even further!

 

The evolution and gradual shift from an administrative procedure, worthy of the name, towards this mega board-game that continues to be called a promotion exercise was made possible by several carefully measured ingredients…

 

1- The more than erratic nature of the distribution of Commission and DG quotas

 

So that no one understands in the end what is happening and what can be expected … it was first of all necessary to introduce a massive dose of unpredictability into the system. The more than mystical nature of the magic formula that governed the distribution of promotion quotas by grade and DG has increased this year.

 

Despite its efforts, having also used the assistance of an experienced exorcist, R&D is still not able to understand the impenetrable mystery of this formula and thus to answer the questions of services and colleagues.

 

This inconsistency is illustrated in the following examples (which can be reproduced in almost all grades and all DGs):

 

DG JRC

AD 10

AST 4

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

8

13

32

26

 

DG DEVCO

AD 10

AST 4

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

25

17

15

20

DGT

AD 10

AST 5

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

quotas

officials with an average permanence in the grade

23

45

12

15

 

The consequence of this totally aberrant distribution of quotas has been an undeniably unequal treatment according to grades and DGs.

 

Some DGs have been forced – despite their initial intentions and their genuine appreciation of the merits of colleagues – to provide a large number of “fast promotions” in a grade because they had received an exorbitant number of promotion opportunities which they could not reasonably renounce.

Worse: a DG was forced to offer a slew of promotions … without the proposed officials having even reached the age of 2 years in the grade as of January 2014. DG TAXUD has been a “victim” of this in AD7 grade where it received 14 quotas while only 3 officials had reached the average permanence in the grade and… all the other candidates had not yet 2 years in the grade.

In the face of the unpredictability of these quotas from one year to another, R&D understands the attitude of the DG who preferred to attribute these promotions rather than not to use them and end up next year with 1 or 2 quotas and 15 officials with an average permanence in the grade…. In other grades the same DG has not been able to propose officials with an average permanence in the grade and worthy of promotion…

Under these conditions, both DGs and staff representatives have been burdened with complaints from colleagues who no longer  understand the real meaning of these proposals and  the relationship between the merits of each and the good or bad luck of either being in a grade overwhelmed by a rain of opportunities for promotion or another that didn’t receive nearly enough!

A bit like having a winning or losing lottery ticket in  your hand…

All the efforts of both the staff representation and DGs vis-à-vis DG HR to understand the origin of these aberrations and correct them before it’ was too late received no response.

This is how the exercise was launched. But that is not all.

 

2 - DGs proposals with a less than 2 years average permanence in the grade on 1 January 2014 – the so called “HYPER-quick promotions”

 

To these structural problems were added proposals for ultra- quick promotions that were not resulting in any way from structural aberrations of the procedure and were perceived as insulting by the rest of the deserving staff.

Already last year, R&D had reported that officials had been proposed with an average permanence in the grade of 1 year and 1 month on 1/1/2013, contrary to the GIP for art. 45 (those officials having only a CDR in the grade).

DG HR was committed to follow this aspect very closely, to add an additional step in the exercise and to contact the DGs before publication of the promotion lists.

It is clear that these efforts have been ineffective and that there were dozens of proposals in both AD and AST categories for promotion for colleagues with less than 2 years average longevity in the grade on 1 January 2014 The height of this tragi-comedy being that TAXUD was relegated to the dock for its high-speed proposals to AD7, while these stemmed from the erratic distribution of DG HR quotas.

R&D continues to denounce such abuses and to propose that like the  General Implementation Provisions in the European Parliament, any official who has not reached 2 years of average permanence in the grade by 1st January of the year of promotion exercise to be excluded from this exercise.

 

3 – The increase in the number of appeals…

 

In these circumstances, having regard also to the increasingly virtual role of the evaluation reports and the lack of clarity over the criteria underlying the proposals for promotion, it is evident that colleagues who were not completely discouraged have been forced to lodge appeals. Apparently they were often encouraged to do so by their DGs that had not succeeded to manage their allocated quotas.

 

Appeals received by the Promotion Committees

 

Exercice 2013

Exercice 2014

Evolution

AST

(AST9 exclus)

463

585

+26%

AD

(AD12 et AD13 exclus)

467

559

+20%

 

And … the inability for the promotion committees to meet the expectations of colleagues!

 

The undeniable mismatch between the arbitrary quotas devoid of legal bases that are allocated to them and the number of appeals received, does not allow the promotion committees to ensure equitable treatment of all these appeals and forces them to operate constant arbitrations reinforcing colleagues feelings of demotivation and injustice.

 

This is all the more understandable if we consider the very important number of appeals by colleagues with a longevity in the grade equal or above the average permanence of the grade and with more glowing CDRs which perfectly set out the more than deserved character of a promotion … but for which appeals could not be accepted due to the lack of possibilities.

 

4 – Promotion rates and the Šef?ovi? guarantees

 

As if that were not enough, the promotion rates derived from Annex IB of the staff regulations have not been respected in the starting grades of AD and AST careers (AD5 and AD6 for AD and AST 1, AST2 and AST 3 for AST). The reason?

 

These famous internal competitions of which R&D has repeatedly denounced the undeclared purpose (The Barroso Commission has exceeded all limits!). Indeed, the cost of these competitions was largely paid for by the promotion exercise. Stated differently, the tenure of over 50 temporary agents AD and over 20 AST temporary agents, including cabinets, was “paid” by the promotion exercise! It will therefore not be surprising that next year DG HR informs us that the renewal of Berlaymont’s garage has cost 3 % of AST1 promotions…

 

To conclude, the Šef?ovi? guarantees have not been met, for the fifth consecutive year, in grades AST1 and AD5: while our former Commissioner pledged that 85 % of civil servants are promoted to these grades in 3 years or less, only 65 % are in fact promoted. Nothing has been undertaken by DG HR to ensure that, despite repeated requests from R&D.

 

Conclusion

R&D is again pleased that President Juncker has announced plans to put fairness at the heart of his political action.

 

Staff and their representatives have been calling for this for ages!

 

This should start with the introduction of corrective measures to stop this feeling of a lottery in the evaluation and promotion procedures to return to a serious and fair management of career development of staff.

 

In this obstacle course R&D is ready to start immediately with the negotiations and discussions that are necessary.

Related posts:

  1. CDR: The Missing Promotions
  2. Time running out for final appeal on Promotions 2011
  3. EEAS Promotions: Decision of the HR Establishing Provisions to the 2011 Exercice
  4. Magic at DG CONNECT …. and elsewhere?
  5. 2013 appraisal exercise: and the winner is …
  6. Reclassification exercise 2014: all bets are off … for FGI and FGII!

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