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After two and a half years of "reforms", the number of civil servants has remained unchanged

25 June 2012 / 14:06:28  GRReporter
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Four ministers from the last government of George Papandreou are blamed by the supervisory Troika for the failure of the memorandum, which many Greeks consider the "source" of all evils.

The report of the permanent representation of Greece’s creditors in Athens indicates that an "avalanche" of early retirements has swept the public sector in the last two years. To avoid the reduction of salaries, benefits, pensions and lump retirement benefits, thousands of civil servants preferred to retire "in time". In the same period, however, seventy thousand new employees were recruited, i.e. instead of reducing the number of civil servants in Greece. it increased.

The surge in appointments in local governments, the health care system, police services and the Ministry of Culture is the most significant. According to the Troika representatives, "while voting laws to reduce the number of civil servants, they signed appointments. While voting the "Kalikratis" programme for the new territorial-administrative division of the country in order to merge municipalities and save 1.5 billion, they appointed over twelve thousand employees in local government."

According to the report, the number of civil servants remained almost unchanged in 2010 and they numbered 692,301, although 53,336 employees had retired. New appointments filled almost all vacant positions.

In 2011, even after the supervisory Troika had required the strict implementation of the measure "one appointment for five leaves," the total number of civil servants fell by only 24,266, although the number of those who had left because of retirement reached 40,025. The government had immediately filled the remaining vacancies.

The most challenging is the case with appointments in the local administration, which reached twelve thousand in 2011. The compilers of the report expressed their surprise over the 5% "clear increase" in the number of municipal employees. And that after the implementation of the "Kalikratis" programme which had to save 1.5 billion euro for three years and some of the money would be secured by wage cuts.

The main observations in the report are as follows:

- Breach of the principle of "one appointment for five leaves." Instead of eight thousand appointments planned for 2011, the real number reached 16,711.

- Unclear procedures for the selection of candidates for appointment.

- "Gaps" in the data for the relocation of employees in other departments. Some of them "dropped out of the sight" of the competent Ministry of Administrative Reform.

As a result of this policy, the number of Greeks who are being paid by the state, local authorities and security services is increasing instead of decreasing every year. It is still over 1.13 million at present.

Significantly, the number of retired civil servants reached 431 thousand people in May this year. By comparison, in December 2010, the number of retired was 403,033 and in the elections in October 2009, it was 389,735 people.

The ministries, in which the controversial appointments took place, were headed by PASOK ministers, two of whom caused a storm of debate in the party with their will to participate in the new coalition government.

With these results, Minister Yiannis Ragousis’ grand plan to reform the state sector can be considered a complete failure. Equally obvious are the responsibilities for the failure in monitoring the financial condition of municipalities.

The second major sector in which the attempt to limit the staff failed is health care. Competent Minister Andreas Loverdos had not only appointed about three hundred people in the headquarters of the ministry to fill in two thirds of the vacancies, which were the result of retirements, but also approved the appointments of around six thousand people in the national health care system. These are medical, administrative and support staff in hospitals, which number 88,907 people. However, the quality of health services is changing for the worse.

An increase in the number of appointments was also reported during the term of Pavlos Geroulanos at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In addition to the former employees of the railways, over a thousand new employees were recruited there.
In the Ministry of Citizen Protection, former minister Michalis Chrysochoidis was even overzealous to fill in the vacancies “left desolate” after the retirement of employees, which numbered 2,257 in 2010 alone. The supervisory Troika is even trying to find 500 people, who were appointed in the particular Ministry but it is unclear in which service they were recruited.

Tags: PoliticsCivil servantsReformsNew appointmentsSupervisory TroikaReport
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