Athens Mayor warns of staffing problem

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis on Tuesday called on the debt-wracked government to set aside enough funding to retain municipal employees carrying out ?essential services? such as sanitation and child care for at least three years, noting that the expiration of hundreds of short-term contracts is leaving the City of Athens woefully understaffed.

?There must be special legislation for the three-year retention of contract workers who fulfill fundamental services,? Kaminis said after a municipal council meeting where his proposal was welcomed by a majority of councilors. The mayor noted that the City of Athens?s sanitation and kindergarten services were particularly at risk as the contracts of dozens of staff working in these areas are due to expire. Of some 750 municipal sanitation staff, only 152 are to be retained.

Thousands of state workers have lost their jobs over the past year after their expired contracts were not renewed. In the last month alone, 550 contract workers left the ranks of the municipal work force.