How can we make our politicians understand that certain jobs in the state apparatus should be protected against political interference and partisan games?
Let them appoint useless party cadres who like spending their time at the party offices (for lack of a more productive occupation) to inconsequential posts in the Greek state sector. However, by no means should these sorts of individuals be handed jobs at critical agencies and departments such as the civil protection authority or the security forces.
The once-dominant socialist PASOK was the first political party to start this cursed habit back in the 1980s. The country ended up paying a hefty price for it.
New Democracy conservatives went on to imitate the practice, by setting up party organizations that demanded to have a say over state sector appointments.
As a result, we came to a point where physical education teachers became hospital managers and incompetent officials held senior posts as the state mechanism became staffed with party cadres.
Leftist SYRIZA took the policy to a whole new level. While in the opposition, it vowed to terminate the practice of creating plum jobs for political acolytes and to restore meritocracy in state sector appointments, but instead it dragged the country further down the slippery slope of bad governance.
The fact of course is that we are all to blame for the mess. All of us. We voted in a regional governor (effectively a junior prime minister with major responsibilities at times of crisis) with no experience whatsoever. We voted for an extreme modern-day celebrity for the position of mayor of a historically significant municipality.
We never took the time to ask ourselves what these people know about crisis management or even the challenges of trash collection.
So the next time that we head to the ballot box, let us put our mind to work and ask the right questions regarding the experience of the candidates and their proposals on the key issues facing the country.
It’s high time we selected silent, non-charismatic politicians with common sense and a safe level of experience. We are responsible for who we vote for, who we entrust with life-or-death issues that concern all of us.
But, most importantly, we must make sure that our politicians stop appointing useless political cronies to key posts. The country’s public sector still has some organizations and agencies that can absorb all of them, entailing some cost to the taxpayer but – at least – no risk for the country. Let’s leave the serious jobs to the serious people.
Our politicians should stop asking, “Does this person belong to the party?” and instead ask, “Does this person have what it takes to get the job done?”