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Government sweeps away half of public service directors

THE GOVERNMENT of José Sócrates has made 25 of its 45 director generals, in the public service administration sector, redundant, following the introduction of the new Nominations Law, which was approved by parliament in June 2005.

The new law allowed the government to dismiss managers and directors, who it considered were not in line with its political vision, superfluous to requirements or not achieving good results. The government’s actions have caused a wave of criticism and uproar from backbenchers in the opposing PSD party, as well as criticism from Portugal’s President Cavaco Silva.

This reorganisation in the upper management ranks forms part of the government’s state administration restructuring programme, which will eventually streamline the state, by abolishing 188 managerial posts and downsizing the sector as a whole.

During his failed election campaign, Cavaco Silva slammed the reorganisation as a “bad step” by which the posts of director generals were automatically replaced or liquidated when the PS came to power. “In making these decisions the government should have based its criteria on previous track records and competence,” he said.  

In the Ministry of Finance, for example, the government dismissed six of its 10 director generals, replacing them with its own candidates. In other government sectors, positions have been abolished by amalgamating departments.