Final Word from Thursday, July 24, 2014



Rarely do Czech politicians step up and accept ultimate chain-of-command responsibility for someone else's mistakes. When 12 people were charged in the Promopro fraud, ex-Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra washed his hands of it, saying that he had been kept in the dark. Andrej Babiš is different. He took full political responsibility as finance minister for the appointment of some dubious characters at Thermal - F, which operates the Thermal Hotel of Karlovy Vary. He said that he didn't know all the details of their background. What may look like a refreshing mea culpa actually reveals mountains about the way Babiš operates. It isn't his responsibility at all to vet the nominees to the bodies of state-owned companies. That is the job of the government's HR committee. Babiš bypassed the chain of responsibility to make a decision directly, and it's not the first time. After he took over ČEZ, he told TV Nova that he had rejected KDU-ČSL's nominees to the supervisory board, because they were controversial. Babiš is a one-man vetting agency. [Czech Republic personnel committee]

Glossary of difficult words

revealing - making interesting or significant information known, esp. about a person's attitude or character;

mea culpa - an acknowledgment of one's fault or error;

chain of command/responsibility - a hierarchy of authority in which each rank or position is accountable to the one directly superior;

in the dark - in a state of ignorance about something;

dubious - suspect;

refreshing - welcoming or stimulating because new or different;

to vet - to make a careful and critical examination of something; to investigate someone thoroughly for a position;

HR - human resources;

to bypass - to go around or past.

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