The term public servant has taken on a whole new meaning in Greece as the government is adopting a new plan beginning on April 8th where businesses and private citizens can rent the police force to perform services such as transport and personal security.
Proceeds from these private hirings will go directly to state coffers, and officers will receive no additional benefits for services performed outside the public domain.
By decision of the Ministries of Finance and Citizen Protection, the entire workforce of the Greek Police, all vehicles and motorcycles and even helicopters is held by the Police, can now be rented by individuals who want be safe and sleep soundly at night. Officers leased out for rent from those who can afford it of course, will be removed from the forces that protect other ordinary mortals. And anyone who thinks that all this cannot happen, only have to call upon the Government Gazette, which published a few days ago a rental price list of the service, with Prices starting at 30 Euros an hour for a single police car, and up to 1,500 Euros if you want to rent a helicopter from the Police. – Protothema.gr
With civil unrest beginning to boil after massive austerity was imposed in March on the Greek citizenry, and questions beginning to surface with the recent suicide of retiree Dimitris Christoulas in a public park over those same measures, the need for police services and public safety in the Mediterranean country is at an all-time high. Yet, the government is choosing to sell its public resources to the highest bidder to protect businesses, and those one might consider the 1%ers when the citizens need them the most.
Hiring police officers for private functions and services in the United States is not new, and in fact, is done regularly for high profile events such as the recent Whitney Houston funeral. However, union contracts usually facilitate these officers be paid overtime from the municpality for use at public events, and allowed to keep any payments for services if hired on their off hours.
The debt problems in Greece are leading government officials to make decisions based on montary needs over the lives and safety of the average citizen, who is now expereincing life-threatening unemployment, food, and medical shortages. Austerity cuts are leading many former middle class families to look in garbage cans for food to survive, and cutbacks in medical services are putting a strain on volunteer organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.
While Greece is just now experiencing the consequences of their years of growing debt, the situation throughout the Eurozone will only get worse before it gets better. Just one moth after the EU agreed upon a bailout of Greek debts, the government is finding it more difficult to find monies to provide even basic services to its citizens. With this new process created by the Greek government to hire out police offers to help fund their budget coffers, the term public servant is taking on a whole new meaning in the way governments choose to use their human resources.