Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander on Wednesday called for an overhaul of the way appointments are handled in the Foreign Ministry.
In a letter to Foreign Minister director-general Ron Prosor, he said from now on appointments in the ministry should be made as in other ministries, with a representative from the Civil Service Commission and representatives from the public involved in the process.
Up until now, appointments inside the ministry were entirely an internal affair carried out by an eight-person body heavily influenced by the foreign minister, with the candidates not interviewed by the committee.
Hollander wrote that a draft State Comptroller's report on the ministry's appointments process found that the appointments committee had appointed unsuitable candidates from among the ministry to various Foreign Service positions. He said overhauling the system would ensure that candidates who did not go though the Foreign Ministry's cadet course and did not have the basic qualifications for the job, would not be appointed.
Hollander also froze promotions to the rank of ambassador - a salary rank in the ministry - until clear criteria for this promotion were drawn up. Up until now, this promotion has been the sole prerogative of the foreign minister.
The appointments process inside the ministry has become a contentious issue in recent months, with the Workers Committee calling for an overhaul and the system coming under sharp criticism from the Knesset State Control Committee.
But Workers Committee spokesman Ya'acov Livneh said although changes were needed in the appointments process, it needed to remain fully in the hands of the ministry. Otherwise, unworthy candidates would likely end up in sensitive positions, he said.
Livneh said a recent internal ministry reform had been implemented and had taken away some of the foreign minister's power in making lower-level appointments, and which - by mandating that transcripts be kept of the appointments proceedings - had made the whole process more apparent than in the past.