Revolving door: How long must bureaucrats wait to join IP?

After the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared unconstitutional 10 years lock So that high-ranking public servants can work in the private initiative (IP), a movement known as “revolving door”Senator Ricardo Monreal Avila (Morena) announced that the Senate would take up the issue and with it the debate would reopen: How long should bureaucrats wait to be employed in the private sector?

Depending on context, with consent Federal Republican Austerity Act In 2019, our country became one of the strongest economies with revolving door locks, having had one of the most lax regulations on the matter. Although the opinion primarily predicted a cooling-off period of five yearsFinally, the Congress of the Union agreed to double it. The procedure applied to ministers of state, undersecretaries of ministries, senior officials or the like, heads of units and general managers.

The Supreme Court held that the 10-year cooling-off period stipulated in the legislation violated the right to freedom of work. Among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average waiting time Three years.

“Since the emergence of the project, we have suggested that the time should be between two years and four years maximum, It is an international standard. But the problem is that there are no mechanisms to ensure that this can be monitored. I think the number of years is what is known as legislative populism, if you say 10 or 15 the legislation seems very aggressive,” explains Eduardo Borques, executive director of the organization, in an interview. Mexican Transparency.

at SpainAnd JapanAnd United kingdom and the HollandFor example, waiting for two years. In the United States and Canada, the revolving door is closed for five years, and in the latter country there is a strict law with 20 very specific recommendations that should be avoided conflict of interest. Meanwhile, Transparency International recommends a two-year period before bureaucrats move into intellectual property.

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In the view of Manuel Guadarrama, Coordinator of Government and Finance at the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness (IMCO), it is a more suitable lock for revolving door It will range from six months to two years, depending on the international experience.

“This would be something more realistic, more proportionate and manageable, because in the end we prevent anyone from working, and getting resources and generating income from an area is a matter of experience,” the specialist says.

Eduardo Bohorquez explains that the locks on the revolving door are meant to prevent entry Inside information That some bureaucrats have access to use for commercial purposes, or that the decisions they make turn out to be some kind of bribery or bribery. “Imagine that you filed permits or permits in your last year of employment, then left and then the person to whom you granted the concession or permit appointed you. He is a necessary figure in any democracy.”

In addition, the cooling period It prevents unfair competition in the private sector and helps the country’s competitiveness by strengthening public policy integrity and the rule of law, which are important components of investment.

Why bureaucrats?

Why, if our constitution protects right to work, should bureaucrats enjoy a cooling off period as opposed to mobile workers within the same private sector? This is because the public service system has a higher level of demand.

“The system of responsibilities of public servants more than any other citizen. Government is required more in terms of responsibilities by constitutional design. It is a necessary mechanism because it is visible. There are typical cases, such as that of governors handing over notary offices in the last year of government to close friends or to people who did not have the right to be public federations, and with this handover, you give them business forever,” explains Eduardo Borques.

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The jobs of a bureaucrat, complements Manuel Guadarrama, are different from those of any other business activity. This means that the public nature goes beyond the realm of private interest, so the public servers They are charged with performing the legal and constitutional tasks of their office.

“Bearing in mind that the public interest is the cause of officials, the regulations to which they are subject will always have special measures compared to private initiative jobs‘, he adds.

It is not enough to change the years

Adjusting the waiting time is a good move to boost the turnstile, but it’s not the only element the new regulation should consider, notes Eduardo Borques. From a specialist’s point of view, in order to obtain more appropriate legislation, it is important to consider Level of risk and responsibility Who occupies the position held by the public servant.

“For example, the Secretary of State has access to much more information than the general manager or department head, so it must be proportional to the level of responsibility and the degree of risk in the job. information management sensitive or confidential.

However, positions such as chief of staff of the president’s office may have more access to it Inside information from some foreign ministers. “What is good practice is to do this according to the level of responsibility. There may be interesting things here: for example, an official from the General Directorate of Mines you might think does not have sensitive information, but has more sensitive data than the secretary, explains Eduardo Borques.

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For Manuel Guadarrama, after the cooling-off period, the new regulation must take into account a monitoring mechanism For the revolving door in both directions: from public service to intellectual property and vice versa.

“Finally, with prohibitions we won’t get anywhere. This is not a criminal law issue, but it is Administrative Law Punishment He points out that the goal in this case is prevention, raising standards and establishing monitoring and follow-up mechanisms that allow us to comply with regulations.”

Eduardo Borques agrees that cool offs are accompanied by a monitoring mechanism and therefore suggests alternatives such as bureaucrats having to inform the authority about who will be New business owner. “Once public servants are obligated to inform the Ministry of Public Administration or its equivalent in the country about the new situation, that government unit cannot say that it is not aware of the situation.”

closing revolving doorthe specialist asserts, that they do not seek that people do not have a job, but that everyone who is interested in entering the public service “thinks about it”, because one must realize that the system bears a greater responsibility.

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