1,200 new employees to keep KEP up and running

The Citizens’ Service Centers (KEP) are to get 1,200 new staff and the 3,500 existing staff who are on short-term contracts will be made permanent early next year, announced Deputy Interior and Public Administration Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos last week. The minister was speaking at a meeting held to discuss the problems facing the recently established KEP and their close collaboration with the public services. Andreoulakos admitted that there were «problems in attitude and other problems arising from a lack of infrastructure and means.» Referring to the operational shortcomings of the system, he noted that there had been no planning for the development of the network, and that «there had been no provision for funding in the 2004 budget so that money for salaries after the first 18 months was secured.» Funds earmarked But his efforts have since secured 11 million euros, and 95-100 million euros have already been earmarked for KEP in the 2005 budget. Currently there are 940 KEP out of a planned 1,054, and an attempt is being made to redesign the network in accordance with town-planning and population criteria, so that the branches are evenly dispersed. Andreoulakos insisted that the government had no intention of changing the character of KEP and, addressing mayors and prefects, said, «There is no reason for us to favor party supporters at the expense of an institution and the state budget.» The minister was very strict concerning the productivity of KEP, noting that «the average time it took for public prosecutors to issue certificates ranged from 12 to 22 days.» Andreoulakos has sent a letter to Supreme Court prosecutor Dimitris Linos, noting these delays and criticizing the tendency of prosecutors to ask for more documentation than is required by the law.