ATHENS – Newly-installed Attica Governor Rena Dourou, from the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party, has gotten the backing of the regional authority to refuse to implement required worker evaluations and could face prosecution.
Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ ruling New Democracy Conservatives, had warned that mayors, municipal officials and workers who refuse to take part in the evaluation plan would pay the price and that he may refer the cases to a prosecutor.
Workers fear that agreeing to have themselves evaluated could lead to mass firings, which the government has promised its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB ) it would implement.
The Attica Regional Council voted in favor of Dourou’s proposal that the authority should not provide its employees’ details to inspectors, athough it’s a requirement.
This also applies to checks on fixed-term contracts that were made permanent in 2006. The government believes that many of these switches were illegal
Dourou, Attica’s first female Governor, said previously she would cooperate with efforts to root out public sector workers who gained their jobs by using forged qualifications, fake credentials and false diplomas.
“My position is crystal-clear: zero tolerance for the holders of forged degrees,” said Dourou, who blamed previous governments for such cases of corruption in the civil service. She added that she had already approved penalties for such cases which had been pending since March.
But she said that the government’s aim of deeming 15 percent of civil servants who are evaluated as failing – even if they’re not – was an unjustified firing quota and not a genuine effort to assess the performance of public sector staff.
“This evaluation and its quotas are illegal and unconstitutional,” she said, citing court decisions. “The most legal thing I have done in my 40 years is to order the evaluation at the Attica Regional Authority not to happen.”
New Democracy Councilor Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who ran against Dourou in May’s elections, said that her decision ran contrary to the law.
“The question is: Will you enforce the law or not?” he said. “Will you act as a governor or as the leader of a SYRIZA group? I have the impression that I am at a gathering led by [Maximilien de] Robespierre sometimes.”
SYRIZA has taken a growing lead over New Democracy in polls with the Conservatives falling after backing harsh austerity measures demanded by the Troika.