ATHENS – Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he will give Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani the details of five mayors who have refused to provide the government with data for the evaluation of civil servants, a plan workers said would lead to mass firings as demanded by international lenders.
The move on Sept. 25th came a day after Attica Governor Rena Dourou, from the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party defied Mitsotakis, from the ruling New Democracy Conservatives, and said she would block the evaluations because she believed they were a hidden way to meet a quota for firing 15 percent of workers regardless of how they fared in evaluations.
Resistance is growing among municipal leaders aligned with the left in a battle against the coalition government that includes the PASOK Socialists, who have partnered with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the Conservative leader.
Mitsotakis is to forward Koutzamani the files relating to the municipalities of Halandri, Zografou, Larissa, Nikaia and Patra where officials have obstructed public administration inspectors from entering to obtain the data that municipal officials have refused to submit. The mayors of Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Aspropyrgos and Rethymno have co-operated with state inspectors.
In comments to Mega, Mitsotakis blasted Dourou for resisting efforts to review public sector employment contracts and for insisting that the evaluation scheme, one of the many demands from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB), is unlawful.
“How can she talk about legality when she refuses to enforce a law passed in Parliament?” Mitsotakis told the station. “Law abidance cannot be a la carte.”
On a visit to President Karolos Papoulias on Sept. 24th, Mitsotakis played down the growing tensions over the civil service scheme as a “small crossing of swords” but noted that he was determined for the law to be enforced.
The number of municipalities refusing to cooperate with the government over the evaluation of civil servants is growing. Apart from the 19 that had stated from last week that they would not send their employees’ details to the Administrative Reform Ministry, five more have failed to do so, including Patra and Larissa, while councilors at another three – Nafplio, Perama and Holargos – votedy to block the process.
“I am in favor of evaluation because I come from the private sector,” Holargos Mayor Ilias Apostolopoulos told Kathimerini, adding that he objects to the government having already decided that 15 percent of workers will be deemed not up to standard even if they are.
He said that he would like to wait for the Council of State to rule on the evaluation process. A decision is due next month. There was no indication on how the workers would be evaluated or if those with political connections would be exempt or protected, while those without would be canned.
Mitsotakis has already directed the firing of lower-paid workers, such as cleaning ladies, school nurses, crossing guards, municipal police and teachers, while excluding Parliament workers who threatened to strike and shut down the government unless they were insulated against further austerity measures the government adopted on Troika orders.
Apostolopoulos said the municipal council’s decision would not affect the process of checking on employees for forged degrees. He said one municipal worker in Holargos had already been fired by him for using a forged high school diploma.
SYRIZA doesn’t want any workers fired, even if they got their jobs through forged credentials or fake diplomas or are disciplinary problems, such as not showing up to work and being paid as no-shows.
“Nobody wants employees who got their jobs by using forged qualifications,” said Halandri Mayor Simos Roussos, who added that checks are continuing at the municipality.