Civil servants told to clean up their acts

In a bid to conduct an improbable makeover of the image of Greek civil servants, the government yesterday presented a blueprint aimed at transforming them into well-dressed, polite and efficient employees, ready to satisfy the public’s requirements. The Interior Ministry, with the help of the Ombudsman, drew up what it called a «Good Behavior Guide» in the hope of bringing about a new «administrative culture» within the civil service. «We do not want an employee who will make life difficult for citizens while hiding behind faceless procedures and the lack of responsibility,» said Deputy Interior Minister Apostolos Andreoulakos. Among the various guidelines for civil servants are that they should be presentable and behave appropriately, regardless of their mood. They are also advised to greet citizens politely and not to eat, smoke, read books or talk on their mobile phones while dealing with inquiries. Even if citizens cannot match a civil servant’s pleasant demeanor, proving instead to be tetchy and impatient, bureaucrats should maintain their cool and avoid arguments. Lastly, civil servants should not use their positions to help out friends or family with personal matters, the guide recommends.

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