Advice for the new deputy minister on how to write a historic report about her first 100 days on the job.
Last week, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj appointed yet another deputy minister. The new deputy minister, Arberesha Krasniqi, will replace Faton Thaci as trade and industry deputy minister. If the new deputy minister has to report on the first 100 days, like all her colleagues did, here’s a few words of advice based on the 70+ reports that her colleagues have written:
- From the getgo, remind the PM that you were appointed by his decision. This might seem irrelevant, but many of your colleagues have done exactly this in their reports. If anything, it is not easy for the PM to remember over 80 decisions he signed to appoint deputy ministers like yourself.
- In the first couple of days of your new job, you will meet the minister – if you’re lucky. Some of your colleagues were unfortunate and did not get to meet their ministers at all – even though they are their deputies. How can you do your job as a deputy if you never meet the person you’re replacing? Be that as it may, whether you meet the minister or not, put it in the report to the PM.
- You won’t be the only deputy minister in the ministry – you could have up to five other colleagues. But do not despair, the more deputy ministers, the more opportunities to report. If you meet once with each deputy minister, you can include up to five bullet points in your report to the PM. If you meet your deputy minister colleagues more than once during the first 100 days, even better. Write this all down in the report.
- In your report to the PM, do not forget to describe how hospitable the civil servants of the ministry were. Did they offer you an office from your first day or did you have to take a hike for a few days until a small space you could call your office was found? If you were provided with an office, are you happy with the inventory? Do you share your office with your assistant and chauffeur like poor Gjergj Dedaj, or do you have a personal office as your post of deputy minister deserves? Don’t forget to mention in your report other logistical details, such as, if you received an official phone from the ministry, an official car and a television. The TV is very important to perform your duties as a deputy minister. Without one, how else would you watch your own televised appearances?
- Do not accept congratulations on the new post through phone calls or messages on social media. Invite everyone to your new office so they can congratulate you on the high post in Kosovo’s administration in person. Include all congratulatory visits in your report on the first 100 days on the job.
- Invite the ministry’s secretary and all department heads to introduce themselves and explain what they do. Each one of them has had to do this presentation about five times for all your previously appointed colleagues, thus, they have their presentations ready. Describe all these meetings in your 100-day report.
- Find an invitation to western European countries, or even better, to the US or Canada, and use it as an excuse to go on a study visit. It is not an issue at all if, as a deputy minister of trade and industry, you are invited to a wedding in Canada or Sweden, or to watch a football match of a lesser-known team. In your report, you can say that you’ve visited the diaspora to check if there were opportunities for investments in Kosovo. Take a cue from Minister Albena Reshitaj, who despite being a minister of environment and spatial planning, had no qualms about visiting the NATO headquarters in Canada and to even ‘secure support’ from this institution about things entirely out of her portfolio.
- The highlight of the job of a deputy minister is to represent the ministry in a cabinet meeting when the minister has better things to do and cannot attend. Thus, make sure that you get to participate in a cabinet meeting at least once. Besides marking this attendance in your report to the PM, attach the agenda of what the cabinet discusses on that day. This allows you to fill a whole page of the report.
- Include in your report every invitation for a conference organized by a non-governmental organization. Attach the agenda of the conference and a summary of the discussion to the report. Try to save links to articles of all your media coverage as well. If the PM doesn’t get to see them all, one of the national coordinators will surely summarize it for him.
- If you visit a religious building, or place flowers at memorials to martyrs anywhere in Kosovo, Macedonia, or Albania, do not forget to mention this in your report. The PM adores the patriotic acts of his deputy ministers. Also, if you go on summer vacations in Albania, make sure to plan a meeting with the mayor of a small municipality. This way, you could report your holiday as an official visit to the motherland and even get per diems.
- Make sure that you print and include in your report every email that you receive or send. The PM understands the challenge that deputy ministers face until they learn how to use their official email, in particular that great challenge to find the ë letter on the keyboard.
- Take care to take photos of every activity and send this photograph as proof to the PM. Because of the quality of the photos, it is very important that you give clear directions to the procurement office of the ministry as to what kind of phone you want them to purchase. The phone needs to have a high quality camera. Do not worry about the budget for the mobile phone, in any case, the PM is not paying for it out of his own pocket. On a whim, the PM was on the verge of pardoning water bottling companies a debt of 50 million euros, and even gave 53 million euros to the company building the Prishtina-Skopje highway. Thus, a good phone that costs 1,000 euros is no big deal as long as it leads to a good 100-day report.
- If you have a study or a report about the state of trade and industry – include it in the report. If you couldn’t manage to find such a report, which could have been written by the ministry or an NGO, don’t worry – you can always include a school paper you wrote during your studies, even if the paper has to do with psychology, the field you studied. At the end of the day, more than anything else, this government needs some studies on mental health.
- Finally, if there’s still some room in the report after all those photos, emails, and agendas, you can also include something tangible about the implementation of the ministry’s annual plan, or the National Strategy for Development 2016-2021. But this is not very important because the PM is aware that these plans were made just to save face.
If you abide by the advice given above, and based on the reports submitted by other deputy ministers prior to you with which the PM was satisfied, you could write a report up to 40 pages long. Since for the PM the weight of the report is more important than its content, your report could be evaluated as the best report written by a deputy minister. A historic report. Congratulations.