Personnel reshuffle in the regions
The main trend in staffing policy in the regions is to replace all district executive committees’ chairpersons ahead of the 2015 election campaign. In some regions, personnel rotation has almost been completed.
Rotating executive committee chairmen is meant to improve the local population’s trust in the local authorities ahead of the presidential election. Staff rotation does not always mean a career promotion - quite often it implies transfers of executive committee chairpersons from one region to another.
On average, each Oblast is divided into about 20 regions. Currently, the average term of service for district executive committee chairmen is 3-5 years. The share of regional chairpersons working in the same position for more than 10 years is about 10 %. In the Vitebsk Oblast, there are no executive committee chairpersons who have occupied their post for more than 10 years. In the Grodno Oblast, out of 18 regional executive committee chairmen, only one has been in his position longer than 10 years. In the Mogilev Oblast, three chairpersons have occupied their positions for more than 10 years, only one in the Minsk Oblast (Vileysky executive committee), and two in the Gomel Oblast (Narovlyansky and Braginsky executive committees).
Most of the regional executives have an agricultural background and have made their careers in agriculture. They are appointed by ‘parallel transfer’, i.e. a regional head is transferred from one region to another, without promoting local staff. This tactic is borrowed from the Soviet times: appointment practices within the Communist Party bodies, which de facto managed the regions.
As economic problems mushroom in the regions and potentially social tensions, showcase criminal proceedings against regional head should be anticipated. Firstly, against regional executives who have served in office longer than 5 years. However such practices are not yet widespread. As a rule, such executives are forced to resign or transferred to another post.