Leftist SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday that his party would not fire any civil servants if it comes to power and would conduct its own evaluation of public sector employees, ending the cooperation that Greece has embarked on with the European Commission’s Task Force. Tsipras visited the National School of Public Administration on Thursday, where he told his audience that he would not proceed with the program of public sector sackings that the previous government agreed with Greece’s creditors. Athens has agreed to reduce the number of civil servants it employs by 150,000 by 2015. Some of this would come from bureaucrats retiring. “Using the [EU-IMF] memorandum as their playbook, New Democracy wants to fire 150,000 civil servants by 2015 but will not address the public sector being bureaucratic and dysfunctional,” he said. “Firings would limit its basic operations.” Tsipras added that the current process of creating an evaluation process for civil servants with the help of French experts brought to Greece by the EU Task Force would be abandoned. “We do not need any task force to tell us what to do,” he said. “The chronic weakness of our public administration is mainly due to the plundering of the public sector by governments that imposed party politics and patron-client relations,” he said, adding that there had been a lack of strategic planning. The SYRIZA leader also pledged to ban all consultants from the public sector, accusing previous ministers of hiring “armies of advisers and bypassing the public administration’s hierarchy.”
Tsipras said he would trust civil servants regardless of their political beliefs. “There is potential for a public sector that will be based on meritocracy and its trained staff,” he said. Exit polls from the May 6 elections indicated that SYRIZA was the most popular party among civil servants.