New delay in filling ministry positions

The much-heralded bid to use the Internet to accept applications for high-ranking positions in public administration appears to have hit another snag, as sources said yesterday that the names of the general secretaries to be appointed at ministries will not be announced today as had been originally planned. The government has accepted hundreds of applications online for 88 positions – general secretaries at ministries and special secretaries at various public bodies, such as the financial crimes squad. Rather than follow the usual method of ministers picking the people with whom they wanted to work, usually close aides, Prime Minister George Papandreou insisted that those interested in the positions should send their CVs and fill out forms online. The process has taken much longer than expected, as government officials had to examine hundreds of CVs. The latest delay appears to have been caused by concern that the appointments should not appear to be politically influenced, thereby casting doubt on the whole process. Sources said the prime minister is trying to ensure that in many cases the candidates that are picked do not have any links to the minister under whom they are to serve and in some cases should not have links to PASOK at all. It is expected that the appointments will now be announced next week but even then the candidates will not all be named at once. Instead, they will be appointed gradually over the course of the week. Another appointment due to take place this week was that of the new police chief but sources said that this has also been postponed until next week.