Ex-space agency chief accuses gov’t official of ‘selective memory’

Ex-space agency chief accuses gov’t official of ‘selective memory’

Distinguished Greek-American scientist Stamatios Krimigis, who stepped down on Monday from the helm of Greece’s newly established Hellenic Space Agency (HSA) just a few weeks into his tenure, responded to comments on the resignation by the government's general secretary for telecommunications, saying that Vassilis Manglaras has a “selective memory.”

Krimigis, who is head emeritus of the Space Department Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University and was invited by Telecommunications and Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas to head the much-touted HSA, stepped down from the post over concerns that the agency was being given a “subservient” role to political interests and that Manglaras in particular had sought to undermine Krimigis's position from the onset.

Commenting on the lengthy letter of resignation sent by Krimigis explaining the reasons behind his decision and made public on Wednesday, the general secretary on Thursday morning accused the respected scientist of “coming into work just twice and not spending a minute to understand the responsibilities of the ministry and the organization.”

“Mr. Manglaras obviously has a selective memory,” Krimigis responded.

“First of all, the HSA's board of directors met on three occasions, in sessions lasting seven hours each, and addressed all of the issues at hand at great length. It is obvious that the board and myself spent a lot time on understanding the founding charter, the law and the ministerial decision [establishing the agency], which was only made public on March 15,” he said.

“After the second meeting, the board, having seen that… we were at an impasse, authorized the chairman and CEO to meet with Mr. Manglaras to discuss the issues, which the general secretary refused to do. Instead, in violation of all rules and ethics, he asked for a meeting with the board in which I would not be present, and which took place unofficially with just four of the seven members after three refused to take part,” added Krimigis.

“The minister was cognizant of all this,” he added.

Regarding comments made on Skai TV by Pappas, who brushed off the resignation by saying that “there are other Greek scientists abroad,” Krimigis said “everything that was said at the board's meetings is on the record and he [Pappas] can read it to see what he said or neglected to say.”

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