A blogger who repeatedly criticised a controversial hire to a powerful finance position reporting to the Ministry of Finance has paid out of pocket to conduct a formal survey on the hire, and showed some remarkable results.
Páll Magnússon (not to be confused with the state broadcasting director of the same name) was recently hired as the director of the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI), the government holding company on the financial market. The ISFI, while not itself a government office, does report directly to the Ministry of Finance.
Blogger for DV Teitur Atlason has written extensively on the hire, pointing out that Páll was hired over other applicants despite being less educated and having less experience than any of the other applicants. He also correctly pointed out that he was the assistant to Valgerður Sverrisdóttir when she was Ministry of Business, during the time that Iceland’s banks were privatised. This privatisation is today believed to have paved the way for the 2008 financial collapse.
Not content to stop at his own opinion, Teitur paid nearly 75,000 ISK to have the company Market and Media Research conduct a public survey on the hire. The results show a solid consensus.
When asked, “Do you consider it natural that Páll Magnússon, the city clerk of Kópavogur, be hired as the director of the ISFI?”, 89% responded No, while 11% agreed with the hire. Demographically, respondents were fairly balanced by gender, although people living in the capital were slightly more likely to be against the hire than those living in the countryside. Also, the greater the household income, the more likely a respondent was to agree with the hire.
The mission statement of the ISFI is to “restore and reconstruct a dynamic domestic financial market and promoting natural and effective competition in the market, to guarantee transparency in all decisions regarding the state’s participation in financial activities and ensure an effective dissemination of information to the public.”