Questions over new disciplinary procedure

The government came under attack Thursday from the opposition New Democracy party, which accused it of being lenient with civil servants and allowing them to return to work even if they are charged with crimes.

The complaint was lodged by conservative MP Kyriakos Mitsotakis after a report in Kathimerini revealed that under new guidelines introduced by the coalition, civil servants would not be immediately suspended from work if they are charged with an offense but only if they are arrested and held in custody.

Mitsotakis submitted a question to the government asking whether this change had led to public sector workers who have been charged with offenses but not yet tried being allowed to return to work. The former administrative reform minister also questioned the government over whether the civil service’s disciplinary panels are operating properly. He said that between July 2013 and December 2014 some 3,000 decisions were issued.

Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform Giorgos Katrougalos insisted in a statement that the government changed the rules because previously civil servants were sent home before there had been a judgment. “Innocent or guilty, everyone was thrown out of work in total contravention of the principle of the presumption of innocence,” he said.