Minister aims for crackdown on misconduct as troika’s dismissal target looms

Facing pressure from the troika to fire 4,000 civil servants this year and 15,000 in total by the end of 2014, the government has picked up the pace in sackings and on Tuesday issued a circular to ministries with the aim of removing any delays to further dismissals.

Written by Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the missive asks for disciplinary hearings, which often drag on for many months, to be wrapped up in two to four months. The government wants to remove from the public payroll any civil servants found guilty of committing offenses. At the end of June, 1,920 cases, including appeals, were being examined by disciplinary panels.

It emerged that 104 civil servants have been dismissed over the past month after being found guilty during misconduct hearings. This is four more than had been sacked for offenses during the previous 11 months.

There has also been an attempt to bolster oversight, with public sector employees being transferred from other departments to staff the civil service inspection team, which now has 135 employees in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Mitsotakis said Tuesday that inspectors are going to search for civil servants that fail to turn up for work or who have used forged degrees to get their jobs.

“Those who possess genuine skills have nothing to fear,” Mitsotakis told ANT1 TV.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde also made reference to staffing issues in Greece’s public administration in a statement following the Washington-based organization’s decision to disburse another loan of 1.7 billion euros after completing the fourth review of the country’s economic program.

“Deeper public sector reforms are critical to complete the necessary fiscal adjustment going forward with broad public support,” she said. “Given the slow progress in public administration reforms, efforts should focus on ensuring the exit of unqualified personnel to create room to hire new staff with the relevant skills.”

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