Fair evaluation for civil servants

In an interview published today in Kathimerini’s English Edition, Athens Bar Association President Dimitris Paxinos noted that the judges found to be corrupt had actually been awarded top professional marks. Paxinos’s comments underscore that the evaluation process in the judiciary, and the public sector at large, is no longer functioning. The staff evaluation process right up and down the pyramid was effectively dismantled long ago. Everyone gets top marks, meaning that it is no longer possible to promote staff on the basis of their performance. The truth is that during the times when the state apparatus was being hijacked by the ruling party, staff evaluation was being made according to partisan-political rather than meritocratic criteria. Attempts to deal with the problem led to the other extreme: abolition of the assessment process altogether. The existing climate is one of excessive toleration of incompetence, ineffectiveness, and even blatant corruption. The climate of toleration, of course, has not brought about the end of patron-client relations, at least with regard to the staffing of senior posts in the broader public sector. Rather, this sad and counterproductive tradition continues, resulting in the waste of human resources. A meritocratic system, of course, presupposes a consensus between Greece’s main political parties. For the system to operate smoothly and effectively, the conservative and Socialist parties must join hands. Otherwise, each government will keep dismantling the system set up by its predecessor on the grounds that it aimed at using the state to cater for political cronies.

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