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A court ruling removed the directors of five museums

Two sentences by TAR Lazio, the administrative court for the Lazio region which includes Rome, ruled that the evaluation process in the international recruitment conducted by Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Ministry (MIBACT) for the post of Director at five museums was confused and opaque. TAR Lazio also questioned the hiring of foreigners to some of the positions to be filled.

The ruling affected the heads of the Ducal Palace Museum in Mantua and the Estense Gallery in Modena in northern Italy, and the archaeological museums of Naples (not Paestum’s archeological park), Taranto and Reggio Calabria in the south.

Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini said he was astonished by the administrative court’s decision and he decided to appeal to Concil of State, the higher administrative court. The ministry will ask to suspend the ruling.

The tender contested by the TAR was in January 2015 and drew applications by over 1,200 candidates, 80 of them from abroad.

The tender was part of a broader reform by Franceschini. His first step was to choose 20 museums and to give them full managerial autonomy. Then, he changed the old recruitment system and decided to launch an international tender to hire managers.