Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist (left) Hillevi Engström (right). Photo. Henrik Montgomery, Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix Montage
position untenable

Jobs agency boss forced to go by minister

Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist, the head of Sweden's state run jobs agency, Arbetsförmedlingen, has been fired from her post. Jobs Market Minister, Hillevi Engström, made the announcement at a press conference Sunday lunchtime. 

"The current situation is untenable," says Hillevi Engström.

Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist, who will leave her position with immediate effect, had been called to a meeting before lunch to be told the news. It follows Friday's public vote of no confidence in the general director by the board of the Public Employment Service. 

"I want to emphasize that this is not about phone bills," says Hillevi Engström, who argues that the decision is based on "an overall assessment".

The jobs market minister also said that she knew in advance about the agency's board's public vote of no confidence in the general director on Friday.

Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist released a statement at 1 P.M.

"This has been a fantastic year leading the Employment Service. The authority has undergone major changes during my five years in charge. I have with pride carried out my task and fullfilled the reform tasks given to me.

I am proud of the work that has been carried out.The greatest challenges have been to implement the new reforms, and to build an authority. Financial concerns, increased unemployment, generational change has characterized my time as Director General."

"To rehabilitate individuals who have a weak position in the labour market has been my driving force. Combating Xenophobia and discrimination in the community is my beacon," she writes.  

Angeles Bermudez-Svankvist, the 50-year-old former dentist was thought to enjoy the strong support of the centre-right government despite reported dissatisfaction from agency staff in surveys. However Friday's revelation by members of the agency board that they had lost all confidence in Bermudez-Svankvist had made her position untenable.

On Friday, Moderate Party member, Christina Johansson, who is on the board of the employment agency, said that all opinion polls showed 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.

Aftonbladet's story 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, was only "one piece of the puzzle" according to Christina Johansson

Although she has now been relieved of her job, 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.

The Swedish employment agency has over 325 local offices around Sweden.

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