“How and who did the evaluation?” The signatories are requesting an independent commission

On Friday, 301 culture and heritage professionals sent an open letter to President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Nikolai Siuka and Culture Minister Lucien Romacano, in support of the removal of Stefan Palicci from the leadership of the National Heritage Institute.

301 requests clarifications from Minister Romașcanu (PSD) as to the manner in which Bâlici was evaluated, but also about the composition of the evaluation committee and the specializations of its members.

The signatories to the letter demand that the president and prime minister re-evaluate the architect’s activity report by an independent committee “of professionals in the field of heritage preservation and restoration”.

Specialists claim that the first period of the reign of Stefan Palese (2016-2021) was “marked by a strong reform of the INP”, which can be accessed and viewed by anyone on the institute’s website.

In short, the 301 signatories to the document ask:

1. An analysis of the manner in which the assessment was carried out at the end of Mr. Palesey’s term of office. What do you measure, does this justify the blame? Who constituted the commission and whether its members had the professional skills necessary to evaluate Mr. Belsey’s activity. If the assessment is not correct, we demand that Mr. Palese is immediately reinstated, by continuing the activity for another term, as provided by law.

2. The reinstatement of Mr. Stephen Plessy until the analysis of his appraisal method at the end of his tenure.

3. Urgently organize a fair and transparent competition to fill the public position of Director of the National Heritage Institute, if necessary. The politically justified temporary is the disease that destroys any public institution and makes it vulnerable to pressures from outside the field and the facts directly related to the duties and requirements of this institute. The natural institutional reaction would have been to stage a competition for office in the early days of provisional Mr. Balsey, but the model under which the INP was led before his term was favourable, and the results by comparison are clear.

The full letter from the 301 signatories to Stefan Plessy’s letter of support for the leadership of the National Heritage Institute:

Dear Mr. President,

Honorable Prime Minister,

I am writing to you on an issue of national security: Romania’s movable and immovable cultural heritage, European heritage. The National Heritage Institute (INP) is responsible for developing protection and conservation policies, the long-term strategy in heritage management, as well as standardizing and professionalizing the sector.

We believe that state institutions will serve the public interest as long as they are led by people with strong and relevant professional skills in the areas they lead.

Accordingly, we ask you to analyze the manner in which the end-of-term assessment of Mr. Stefan Plessy, Director of the National Heritage Institute has been carried out, and we strongly request a reassessment of Mr. Plessy’s activity report. By an independent committee of professionals in the field of heritage preservation and restoration.

On February 16, 2022, the intention of Mr. Lucien Romacano, Minister of Culture, to halt the extension of the contract of the interim director of Mr. Stefan Palese, who had recently completed a first 5-year term (2016-2021) marked by the strength of the INP reform. The National Heritage Institute Director’s Final Activity Report (2016-2021) is a public document, available on the National Heritage Institute’s website.

In the few hours since the news broke, hundreds of letters from specialists flooded the public space demanding that he be kept at the helm of a core institute of national cultural heritage.

At the end of the first semester, an assessment with a score of 8.76, procedurally incorrect, which did not allow the normal continuation of another period of his activity in the INP, an assessment which Mr. Palsey contested in vain (appeal rejected without explanation), is provisional.

After two months, we found out that despite her very impressive results, she would be replaced. At the express and firm request of many specialists, people who know firsthand the work, experience and activity, and above all the human and professional quality of Dr. Arch Konf. Stefan Palsee, we begin this list of support, through which you can order the following:

1. An analysis of the manner in which the assessment was carried out at the end of Mr. Palesey’s term of office. What do you measure, does this justify the blame? Who constituted the commission and whether its members had the professional skills necessary to evaluate Mr. Belsey’s activity. If the assessment is not correct, we demand that Mr. Palese is immediately reinstated, by continuing the activity for another term, as provided by law.

2. The reinstatement of Mr. Stephen Plessy until the analysis of his appraisal method at the end of his tenure.

3. Urgently organize a fair and transparent competition to fill the public position of Director of the National Heritage Institute, if necessary. The politically justified temporary is the disease that destroys any public institution and makes it vulnerable to pressures from outside the field and the facts directly related to the duties and requirements of this institute. The natural institutional reaction would have been to stage a competition for office in the early days of provisional Mr. Balsey, but the model under which the INP was led before his term was favourable, and the results by comparison are clear.

We demand full transparency and accountability towards the national heritage and towards state institutions that have proven that they can have real results when there are professionals in the administration.”

Image source: Inquam Photos / George Călin

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