QUIM BRUGUÉ. The intensity of the crisis is proof that many actions, at other times, would have been much discussed. Using financial constraints as an excuse privatized utilities, modify the conditions of public employees and weaken democratic institutions. I shall not now debate whether these initiatives are reluctantly (forced by circumstances) or enthusiastic (taking it to deploy some sort of hidden agenda). I have my opinion; but not more than that, airing an opinion.
Of the many public institutions suspected of malfunction and threatened demolition, there is one which is not spoken enough: local governments. The 947 municipalities of Catalonia and thousands of local officials are suffering a huge campaign to discredit and, their protection, a harsh attack on what they have been since the first democratic elections 1979. The draft reform of the Local Government Act, in Catalonia and Spain, are the spearhead of the offensive.
Defend against this attack does not justify the means corruption or misconduct of some municipalities. Nothing is further from my intention; instead, I am of those who believes that in such cases would be very strong, exigir dimissions i, given case, criminal responsibility. Ara bé, I do not think it acceptable discourse in the case -convertint category- deny the undeniable contribution made by the councils in the quality of life of citizens and the progress of our towns and cities. Following 34 years of local democracy, councils have provided local services, have deepened the democratic relationship between citizens and government and have responded to profound social and economic changes, Showing flexibility and innovation. And all they have to be the weakest level administrative and, nevertheless, which has generated less debt.
To achieve these results, our councils have not been hiding behind the safety of routine administrative. No limited run, more or less efficient, decisions made by other. Have not used the shield of a competence framework and financial deficit to narrow their responsibilities. Ben to Contrari, have made decisions and were responsible for that interested and affected their community, whether or not it was planned regulations. Away from the protection and peace of certainties administrative, Our councils have claimed and exercised the political will to influence, intencionalment, in the present and the future of their community.
This is the political will to do that today is under suspicion and threatened by those who prefer to turn our councils operators residual minimum skills. Taking advantage of a situation where the discrediting of politics and politicians is so intense, many state and regional officials have been left to drift populist drag them to consider, no politics without politicians, councils work better. The argument is as fallacious as simple: get rid of a bunch of drill and, more, spare. What more could you ask for?
These days I could read the 82 pages of the draft Law on Local Government of Catalonia, unfortunately, see how oozes confidence and threats to 947 municipalities of Catalonia. Both the mission statement found in the preamble and in the goals set in the first article highlights the willingness of local governments to place a sort of chastity belt, lest encouraged to live life. It, seems, anesthetize forces to avoid any initiative. The councils have been kind of crazy irresponsible that we have control, even a straitjacket. So, The bill sets 5 objectives: "to clarify roles", "Ensure financial sustainability", "Simplified structures", "Improve the quality of services" and "set the system of relations" between the councils and the Government (Article 1). All is "streamlining" and "clarify", because, apparently, councils are irrational and have exceeded their duties. It is no longer a suspect, is a sentence.
The draft, otherwise, is unclear how local governments drive towards the way of salvation. The formula is simple: once castrated institutions will become more docile and, thus, be limited to what we indicate the. This us-the Government- he represents a cluster of virtues, rational and prudent wisdom. So this super-Us reserves the right to indicate, control, assess and limit the actions of local crazy. The intrusion of moral superiority and tone of the text is such that even be allowed to introduce concepts such as reassignment "Competencies laws attributed to municipalities (…) May be subject to reassignment "(Article 18). And not only instructed what to do, but how and with what instruments. Just a few examples:
- "The Government shall regulate the minimum quality standards for services" (39.2)
- "The Government regulations regulate the procedure for reassignment services" (40.2)
- "The Government shall establish by regulation (…) Criteria and evaluation procedures (46.2)
- "Municipalities (…) Must prepare and adopt an action program must include municipal in any case (…)” (49.1)
It seems that, to our legislators, despite the complexity and volatility of the current world, the best answer is not to promote flexibility, entrepreneurship and innovation capacity. Best Answer, however, find the one that Max Weber obfuscated, from the vantage of the regional administration, dictates and controls even the smallest details. This is the spirit of a draft that does not recognize the knowledge accumulated by municipalities, that denies the ability to make decisions, forget that the role of citizenship and democratic deepening desire to standardize and, definitely, uses the populist politicization smile to overthrow one of the fundamental ingredients of our democracy. If the suspicions and threats that permeate this preliminary progress, ben aviat, to understand how the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government and how it relates to the councils have to restore an old reading The Castle, the Franz Kafka.
Teia Fabrega says:
Jul 12, 2013
I think an excellent article !!! Since most of 20 years, local government totally agree with you. Thanks.