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NEWS ROUNDUP 11 Jan 2018

Young attorney spearheads civil service overhaul

Ria Gehrerová recommended by Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia

"The Club of the Good Will Civil Servants" wants to change the image of Slovak government workers and keep those workers enthusiastic about their jobs.

Slovakia Women to watch

Why this story matters:

politics, work, economy

In Slovakia, people who work for the state are often described as lazy and incompetent. But a new wave of civil servants, who are young and well-educated, are defying that stereotype and want to help the country and politicians make better decisions.

These government workers have created a group called "The Club of the Good Will Civil Servants." The group meets periodically to encourage each other and stay enthusiastic about their work. The club also is working to reach and attract older civil servants and motivate them to be creative and committed.

The members of the club defy the stereotype of the old, cynical state civil servant. Its founder, Zuzana Vargová, is a young attorney who works for the president of Slovakia.

Despite not being paid as well as they would be in the private sector -- and despite rigorous hierarchy at the ministries -- club membership is growing. These younger civil servants are becoming more visible in the media and speaking out about what they see as much-needed improvements in government service. 

They know it's important to have good civil servants because they often outlast the politicians who are elected every four years. The public should hope they succeed.

Details from the story:

  • The club's founder is Zuzana Vargová, a lawyer who works for Slovak president Andrej Kiska.
  • The club's co-founder, Marek Plavčan, works as an analyst at the Ministry of Environment. 
  • Palvčan says the work he does at the ministry is more complex and prestigious than what he would be doing in any private company.

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