“In the corner, unnoticed by anyone.” These were the words used by the renowned travel writer Evliya Çelebi to describe the municipality of Glamoč in the 17th century.
Four centuries later, Glamoč remains in the corner, and the municipality, which had many development opportunities and potentials, does not function well in certain situations that are particularly important for the population.
Due to fires, three family houses burned down in this municipality just last year. However, Glamoč does not have a fire brigade that could come to the aid of the population.
Only one bidder for the fire truck
Nevertheless, a few months ago, the municipal administration entered the process of procuring a used fire truck.
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Namely, on October 28, 2022, Glamoč issued a tender for the procurement of a fire truck. The procurement notice stated that they were looking for a used fire truck for the needs of the Civil Protection and Firefighting Service of the Municipality of Glamoč, and it was planned to allocate 150,000 KM without VAT for this procurement.
The tender documentation accompanying the procurement notice stated that they were looking for a vehicle that is a maximum of 15 years old (2007) and has a maximum mileage of 150,000 kilometres. It also specified that the vehicle must have a water tank with a minimum capacity of 2,500 litres, among other requirements.
Only one company, “RIF POST” D.O.O. from Živinice, responded to the mentioned invitation with a single offer priced at 140,000 KM, and the contract was awarded to that company.
Although the tender documentation stated that the vehicle must be free of visible damages, Glamoč purchased a fire truck, specifically a “Volvo” brand, with several visible and specific traces of damage.
In fact, a few months earlier, an advertisement for the sale of a “Volvo” fire truck with identical physical defects and damages was active on the online marketplace https://machineryline.info/, which specialized in the procurement of vehicles for industry and industrial equipment. However, the advertised price for that truck was 24,900 euros.
The truck from the mentioned marketplace, “Volvo” FL-240, has visible damages on the front left side near the headlight, as well as a scraped front left fender, identical to the truck that was purchased for the needs of the Glamoč Municipality.
Interestingly, the mentioned truck in the marketplace listing includes a technical specification of a tank capacity of 1,600 litres.
In the tender documentation, Glamoč requested a tank capacity of 2,800 litres.
At the same time as the truck procurement in Glamoč, the listing for the mentioned Volvo truck was also removed from the marketplace, indicating that the truck had been sold.
Tomislav Turnsek, the contact person for “Linemedia,” the publisher of the mentioned marketplace, responded to our inquiry stating that he cannot provide precise information about the seller of the mentioned vehicle or the sale price.
“As one of the leading advertising platforms, we advertise a significant number of vehicles of various types and purposes from all over the world.
For a more specific inquiry, we would need the ad number, and its ID (as stated in the ad specifications), in order to accurately determine which ad is being referred to.
We would also like to emphasize that the data we have regarding the ad is the information provided by the advertiser and is included in the ad description.
Additional information, such as traffic domain, IP address, and the like, is only provided upon request from the police or other authorized bodies. Typically, this is done in cases of suspected fraud or attempted fraud”, the response states.
Same supplier for the garbage truck as well
By the way, in the Capital Investment Plan for 2022, Glamoč allocated only 100,000 KM for the procurement of a fire truck and a garbage truck for the Public Utility Company “Komunalac.” According to Gerila's information, this was also the budgeted amount in the public procurement plan.
During the past year, the municipality of Glamoč procured a garbage truck for the needs of the Public Utility Company “Komunalac.” It's worth mentioning that this public company had its accounts blocked for years, operated with significant debts, and was declared bankrupt in 2022.
The municipality of Glamoč secured funds in the amount of 40,000 KM for the procurement of the vehicle through the Environmental Protection Fund. In February 2022, they issued a tender for the purchase of a garbage truck.
However, even though they were granted only 40,000 KM as a grant, Glamoč, through the public procurement process, sought a truck worth 49,990 KM. The same company, “RIF POST” D.O.O. from Živinice, was the only bidder again, with a price of 50,000 KM.
By the way, the primary activity of the mentioned company is construction works, and in the past few years, when it comes to procurements for institutions and public companies, they have only carried out vehicle procurement in two cases – both for the Municipality of Glamoč. In these two procurements alone, the municipality spent over 220,000 KM including VAT, even though the procurement plan had allocated only 100,000 KM for this purpose.
The mayor of Glamoč, Nebojša Radivojša, refused to answer our calls. Initially, he answered the phone, told us to call him later, and then stopped responding to our calls.
Marko Damjanović, the president of the Municipal Council, told Gerila that the budget for 2022 included the procurement of vehicles and that the additional funds were covered from the surplus remaining in the budget.
“We planned the procurement of those vehicles in the budget. We had a decision on the distribution of surpluses from previous years, where we planned an additional 100,000 marks for these purposes. There is a separate decision on the allocation of funds from that surplus. Both vehicles, as far as I know, have been procured”, said Damjanović.
However, Damjanović says that he is not initially aware of whether Glamoč made any changes to the Public Procurement Plan.
“You will have to ask the mayor and Mr Boris Lukajić, who is directly involved in public procurement. I am not aware of that fact because we have not yet received the budget execution report for 2022. So, those things are not known to me formally”, says Damjanović.
When asked about the procurement processes for the two trucks, Damjanović acknowledges that he is aware of them but personally does not bear responsibility for those procurements.
“At the previous session of the Municipal Council, one of the councillors raised that question, and he believes that the procurement was not transparent in a certain way. It involves public funds, and nothing can be hidden. If anything was done outside the rules, it went beyond me personally, as a councillor and as the president of the Council”, Damjanović told Gerila, mentioning the name of opposition councillor Nikola Srdić as the person who raised the most criticism regarding the procurement of the fire truck.
On the other hand, Srdić, in an interview with Gerila, says that he also received information that the mentioned vehicle was on the online marketplace and that the municipal administration never changed the procurement plan nor adjusted the number of funds for those two vehicles through a budget rebalance.
“So, in the budget, we have an item for motor vehicle procurement for 100,000 KM. In the budget rebalance that took place on November 29, 2022, that was not changed, and they officially procured the vehicle a few days before New Year for 140,000 KM, including VAT, it's around 164,000 KM. When we include the procurement of the garbage truck, which was 57,330 KM including VAT, we reach a total of 221,000 KM, which is 120,000 KM more than planned”, says Srdić, noting that, according to his information, the procurement value of the truck is also questionable because the mentioned truck has very limited equipment and capacity.
The municipality without firefighters, until recently also without employees with fire safety certificates
Srdić also adds that he is personally well aware of the issue when it comes to firefighting since, as a long-time employee in the Forestry Service, he was involved in negotiations for the establishment of a fire department in Glamoč.
“I personally, through a mutual agreement, established the Volunteer Fire Department during a meeting we had in 2017. Present at that meeting were the director of the Cantonal Civil Protection Administration, representatives of the Municipality of Glamoč, including the mayor himself, the director of the Forestry Service, representatives of the Forestry Economic Society, and the guys who work in these positions. So, there were eight or nine of us. We believed that we needed to improve firefighting in Glamoč. Since the Civil Protection Administration, by law, is responsible for fire extinguishing and managing firefighting operations, we needed to establish a fire department that would be part of the Civil Protection Administration, where the municipality would declare that fire department and cover the costs of firefighting. That is the simplest way, and those were the recommendations of the director of the Cantonal Civil Protection”, says Srdić.
However, according to his words, the municipal leadership betrayed that agreement, and the information about it was presented to the council members in an incomplete form and was not accepted.
He says that now it's unclear who will operate the fire truck and who will extinguish fires because until recently, no employee in the municipality had a certificate indicating they had completed fire protection training. However, in the past month, a few municipal security guards have undergone training.
The damage to the purchased fire truck for the Municipality of Glamoč is identical to the damage in the advertisement.
“Their vision is to have security guards and municipal porters drive it. I don't see any other possibility, except maybe forming a brigade within the Civil Protection Administration that would operate it with permanent employees. No employee in the municipality has the certification. And the Municipality did not participate in any training calls. Last summer, training was conducted, and we registered four candidates from Glamoč, but none of them were municipal employees. The Cantonal Civil Protection Administration had funding to pay for only one participant. I mentioned this at the municipality because the exam cost 400 marks per person. The mayor transferred the missing funds to the account of the Volunteer Fire Department Association, and then we had the funds for the other three”, Srdić adds.
Marko Damjanović also confirms that no employee of the Municipality of Glamoč has had the mentioned certifications so far.
“I've been in the Municipality for a long time, and I don't think anyone has such a certificate. I don't know if other municipalities have them. We have the Civil Protection Service, and some ten years ago, we made a decision to establish a professional fire brigade that was never realized. It's all in some formal-legal preparation, and the deputy mayor was hired last year through a regular procedure, and I'm aware that such individuals still don't have the certifications. However, as a municipality, we are preparing the necessary material and technical resources to train those individuals who will be professionally responsible, and they will obtain the certifications”, says Damjanović.
The organization chart was changed due to the elections
On the other hand, Nikola Srdić says that there were political disagreements during the appointment of the Assistant Chief for Civil Protection, which led to the amendment of the internal job classification regulations.
“When the competition for the position of the head of the Civil Protection Department was announced, certain items were removed from the job classification. Previously, the required qualification was listed as a degree in Defense and Protection. There was a person who worked in Civil Protection during the time when Nebojša Radivojša was a candidate for the municipality mayor, and this Mile Dokić also ran as an independent candidate in the elections. This person had a degree in Defense and Protection. When Radivojša won, he immediately terminated his employment. Now there is a legal process ongoing. In order to prevent this person from appearing in the competition, the internal job classification regulations were changed. They removed Defense and Protection and added History to enable the appointment of this person who is affiliated with the SDA”, adds Srdić.
The mentioned Mile Dokić also says that he is convinced that he was fired solely because of the elections.
“I was employed in the municipality without a competition, and I worked there for eight years, but I was the only one with a degree in National Defense and Civil Protection. Later, the Agency for Public Service announced a competition. When they did, I applied and scored 90 out of 100 points, while my opponent had 60 points. However, they did not follow the legal procedure, and that's the main point. They hired him instead. The man had never worked in the field. If he had performed better in the testing, I wouldn't have complained, but we all know it's politics. A commission was supposed to be formed for the interview, but it wasn't because the chief conducted the interview himself and gave this person a higher score”, says Dokić.
He also mentioned that he eventually sued the Municipality of Glamoč, but in a court in Sarajevo to avoid the Municipal Court and political pressure, although he doesn't have high hopes for any improvement due to the political situation.
“I haven't been in the municipality for three years, but you can come here and see the misery and destitution for yourself”, Dokić concluded.