(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The cabinet on Sunday voted to extend the term in office of Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander by four months, despite a previous decision to end his term next month.
Hollander has served in his position for 14 years. According to a cabinet decision in February 2009, from now on civil service commissioners will serve for six years.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch was the only one to vote against the resolution, which was submitted by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Aharonovitch explained that his vote was not aimed personally at Hollander but was meant to stress that government decisions must be implemented.
Two watchdog organizations, The Movement for Quality Government and the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, protested the decision. The Movement for Quality Government asked the High Court of Justice to order a hearing on a petition it filed in 2008, demanding to remove Hollander, who was the subject of severe criticism in the state comptroller’s annual report earlier that year.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel announced that it would petition the High Court against the cabinet’s decision if it were carried out.
In explaining the decision to extend Hollander’s tenure, the cabinet secretary issued a statement explaining that Netanyahu had announced that he intended to carry out structural and organizational changes in the public sector and integrate the Internet and information revolution into it.
In view of these reforms, he said he had called on candidates, from both
the public and private sectors, to submit their candidacies for the
position. However, he continued, “outstanding candidates have not yet
applied. Therefore, the cabinet approved a four-month extension of the
tenure of the current civil service commissioner, Shmuel Hollander.”
Netanyahu added that the move was also necessary in order to prepare
legislation for a biannual state budget (2011-12) for its first Knesset
According to the statement, Netanyahu asked Prime Minister’s Office
director-general Eyal Gabai to examine the possibility of establishing a
search committee to recommend three worthy candidates for the post. He
added that the public sector currently costs 42 percent of GNP and that
he intends to reduce this proportion.
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