Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist. Foto: Anders Jelmin/Swedish Radio.

Employment service boss will not step down

The Employment Service's board say they have no confidence in the agency’s general director, but she says in a press conference Friday afternoon that she is not stepping down.

“It’s business as usual,” says Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist to Swedish Television News, adding that it is only the government that can decide whether she goes.

Finance Minister Anders Borg says only that the government are looking into the matter and ”it is too early to say.” Swedish Television (SVT) reports that, based on their sources, the government will not make a decision on the general director’s position today.

The chair of the Employment Agency board, Christina Johansson, is from the same party as Anders Borg, the Moderates. She says that all opinion polls show that people have little faith in the employment agency, and that this is the responsibility of the agency’s senior management, including Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist.

Earlier today tabloid Aftonbladet reported that Bermudez-Svankvist had racked up a bill of SEK 311,000 during a year and a half, by surfing the internet on her work phone while abroad.

 Even if the general director is forced to leave her post, the government will have to keep paying her salary for another year, until her term runs out. Bermudez-Svankvist is the second best paid head of a government agency, on SEK 142,400 a month, reports news agency TT.

In an interview with rival tabloid Expressen, the Director-General replied that the phone bill figures "are over a long period but even so come as a shock".

She defends her use of the telephone abroad:

"I am the director-general of the Employment Service, a spokesman for the director-generals in Europe, and president of Wapes, the world organization of employment services, and go to their meetings and in Congress. When I go away I also work with my regular director-general job and am available via email, SMS and telephone," she says.

She adds that she had "no idea" that there is a function to turn off data traffic abroad and is upset that tax-payers will be footing the bill.

Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist, a dentist by profession, is fifty years old and has been director-general of the Public Employment Service for the last five years.

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