It's All Personal

Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander's outburst against State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss would never have happened if the comptroller had refrained from mentioning Hollander's favorite employee. But אLindenstrauss wrote about her, and in spades.

As soon as Lindenstrauss wrote a special chapter about the "assistant to the civil service commissioner who was appointed to the post of deputy director general for administration," even though he never actually mentioned her name, the comptroller should have known that Hollander would explode.

Hollander is capable, just barely, of accepting general words of criticism about appointments in the treasury or Justice Ministry that did not exactly meet all the criteria required by law or proper administrative procedure; but to criticize Edna Alfasi? That was too much. That is a below-the-belt blow for Hollander. It's even a declaration of war.

Alfasi is Hollander's right-hand woman. In reality, she is actually the real manager of the Civil Service Commission. Everything is done according to her orders. The 186 commission employees are terrified of her. They know that everything that she decides, everything that she does, will be 100 percent backed up by Hollander - and she does a lot.

All 186 workers know that if they do not ingratiate themselves with Alfasi, they have no chance of promotion and no future.

Anyone who wants a higher salary grade, car, or improved pension must go through Alfasi. She decides.

The employees also know that if they dare criticize the commissioner or commission, Alfasi will find out. There are enough informers wandering the corridors - and anyone who crosses the line will find himself out on the street.

"We have no choice, we have to suck up to Edna," one of the senior employees told me yesterday, crying over the the reign of terror and obsequiousness. He went on to say that all the employees are scared, and have turned into a rubber stamp.

Hollander is quite an intellectual, and a veteran legal expert who served as the legal adviser to the Prime Minister's Office and cabinet secretary.

He brought Alfasi in to be his personal assistant when he started the job 10 years ago. Over time, and this is what the comptroller's report details, the personal assistant turned into a deputy director general for administration, through improper processes.

The report explains that Alfasi graduated from a vocational high school in a secretarial track. She has none of the higher academic education required for the position of deputy director general.

But the report does not list her other character traits, which serve to make up for the ones Hollander is missing.

Alfasi is a "jungle cat," who always lands on her feet. She has an infinite number of connections in the corridors of power. When a minister wants to receive approval to hire another secretary or assistant, the minister calls up Alfasi directly, and her decision is the law.

Therefore, the entire affair that broke out over the report and all the new affairs that are going to crawl out of the woodwork in the near future would ever have happened if Lindenstrauss had only left Hollander's favorite, Edna Alfasi, alone.