Power Struggle Erupts Over Accountant Gen'l Appointees

FinMin DG wants to wrest power to appoint accountants away from Yaron Zelekha

The director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Raanan Dinur, suggests ending accountant general Yaron Zelekha's exclusive authority to appoint ministry accountants. They should be appointed through tenders, Dinur suggests.

His suggestion shows just how nasty the power struggle between Zelekha and other government decision-makers has become.

Normally, government policy is to man relatively senior positions through tenders. The policy of allowing the accountant-general to make appointments without tenders is decidedly unusual.

The law recognized the need to protect the independence of the accountants and the legal advisors: thus they are not considered ministry employees although they may be directly responsible to a professional director, whether it's the accountant general or the attorney general. 

The split between Zelekha and Dinur erupted after Zelekha told Dinur a few weeks ago that he meant to appoint a new round of accountants, and to replace Sima Fisher at the PMO.

Dinur claims he and Zelekha agreed to work together to replace the six-year veteran, and that Zelekha even supplied him a list of candidates. Dinur ruled out one person - Aharon Aharonov - and asked to continue considering the others.

Dinur did not explain why he rejected Aharonov, only that the decision came "in light of an opinion I received on him."

However, Zelekha then informed the PMO's director general that he had already decided to appoint Aharonov, Dinur asserts. Zelekha considers Aharonov to be one of the most experienced and best accountants in government.

Dinur responded that because the appointment was made without his agreement, he would prevent Aharonov from entering the PMO. He also retorted he would act to curtail Zelekha's authority, as was stated.

Zelekha denies that an agreement was made with Dinur and only supplied the list of names to show that Aharonov's appointment was done professionally.

Zelekha: "It's not my job to defend proper administration from attempts made to change the rules of the game."