May 18, 2021

John Müller: Gerardo, the one from SEPE




I was reading an interview with the new progressive muse, the economist Mariana Mazzucato – in which she pondered the need to enhance the role of the State by turning it into an entrepreneurial, modern, market-creating and decentralized body – when I read a tweet from Gerardo Gutiérrez Ardoy , general director of the State Public Employment Service (SEPE), criticizing “trompe l’oeil [del gobierno de Isabel Díaz] Ayuso “and his” ineffectiveness in management. ” The subject has a lot of crumb. The first thing that stands out is that if there is an organism that has been branded as inoperative by the Spanish in the last year, it is the SEPE of Gutiérrez. The reasons are multiple: because it has few employees, because its job was face-to-face care and it was difficult to adapt to the pandemic, because it was difficult to pay ERTEs on time, because although the SEPE manages a concept that is on the payroll of employees, it has It has been impossible for the State to apply income tax withholdings correctly (and now they will have to pay the Treasury), because the computer system was obsolete and, ultimately, because there are Russian hackers, Putin’s sons.

It was easy to think that Gutiérrez was laying the rope in the house of the hanged man. And what would Mazzucato think? How to build an entrepreneurial state with general directors dedicated to electoral campaigns?

My second consideration was that CEOs usually have a certain semblance of impartiality. We know that they are appointed by the parties, but since they are usually civil servants, they maintain certain forms. Is it possible that the assault on the Administration led by Pedro Sánchez and Podemos from the government that has appointed the most CEOs with political criteria transformed that culture? The facts are that, in August, the Federation of Associations of the Higher Bodies of the Civil Administration of the State (Fedeca), which groups 45 associations of civil servants, denounced before the Supreme the appointment of more than 35 general directors who escape the criteria of merit and ability.

Gutiérrez is a civil servant (autonomous, it is true, but civil servant at the end) and from 2008 to 2011 he was general director of the SEPE of Castilla-La Mancha. So his foray into the Madrid campaign from his public position is not due to the fact that he comes from a culture other than the civil service. It would not, then, be an exemplary case of the so-called ‘Spoils System’ or patronage system, which the Administration takes for electoral booty every time the government changes.

My first reaction was to ask the Third Vice President and Minister of Labor to dismiss Gutiérrez for the inappropriateness of his tweet. But I’ve thought better of it. One person made me see that Gutiérrez could be a desperate man, that what he seeks with his tweet is precisely to be relieved of the torture rack that the SEPE has become. So I have changed my mind and now I ask Yolanda Díaz to ratify it in office.

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