Mayors and county council presidents to decide who will replace the heads of deconcentrated institutions, to be sacked as of January 1st.
Shortly after it was completed, the draft law of decentralisation already began sparking controversy, even inside the ruling coalition. First, the Liberals do not seem to agree to the idea that the government will pass the law by taking responsibility in Parliament. The first vice-president of PNL, Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday after a meeting of the parliamentary groups of PNL, that some liberals think the government should not take responsibility for the decentralisation law and want a debate in Parliament over this document. “There are strong arguments in favour of asking for a vote of confidence as well, but obviously my colleagues, who are lawmakers, wanted a debate in Parliament,” Iohannis explained. The Liberal leader added that there was no discussion within USL on whether the government will ask for a confidence vote only for the draft law of decentralisation or if it will also include modifications of the Law of central administration and the Law of the civil servant. Iohannis however mentioned that these problems will be approached by the Union and the best solution will be found. The PNL first vice-president added that no disputes exist over the fundamentals of the project. “There are no disputes anymore about the fundamentals of the problem. Everybody wants to make the decentralisation, everybody understood what institutions will leave from ministries and will go to CJ and CL,” Iohannis stated.
Victor Ponta yesterday answered Iohannis that the decision to take responsibility for the decentralisation was jointly made by all the leaders of the Social Liberal Union (USL). “You attended the press conference when Antonescu, with me, Daniel Constantin and Oprea announced the decision of USL (…) someone ran from the picture and said he was not there,” PM Ponta ironically commented.
A second matter that will certainly cause criticism refers to transferring some institutions from the control of ministries to that of mayor’s offices and county councils. Furthermore, the draft law stipulates that the chiefs of the transferred structures will be dismissed starting January 1st, by decision of mayors of county council presidents. Moreover, the heads of CJs will also propose the new managers of decentralised structures and the decision will be voted by County Councils.
Iohannis explained that dismissing the chiefs of deconcentrated structures “is something natural and necessary” in view of changing the legal relations, mentioning that he does not rule out the idea that some will lose their offices. Asked about the risk of the present chiefs of deconcentrated structures panicking because of this measure, Iohannis answered, quoted by Mediafax: “I don’t think this is a matter of panicking, but there may be people losing their jobs and someone else becoming chief of department.”
According to the annexes of the draft law, the departments of agriculture, the offices of soil and agrochemical studies, and the agronomist’s houses will be reorganised into one sole structure of agricultural departments, which will report to county councils. Moreover, the county departments for culture and patrimony, the county departments for sports and youth, children’s palaces are transferred to county councils, while children’s clubs and school sports clubs are transferred to local councils.
The county agencies for payments and social inspection and the similar structure of Bucharest will be transferred from the Labour Ministry to county councils. The county agency for environment protection and the regional branch of the National Agency of Fishing and Aquaculture are also transferred to county councils. Health departments, county centres of medical equipment, the centres of diagnosis and treatment, the medical centres and the specialised ambulatories are reorganised under the form of public health departments under the authority of county councils.
County councils will issue licenses for the new buildings with tourist destination, i.e. hotels, restaurants, guesthouses, clubs and casinos, which – under the present law – have their licenses issued by the Ministry of SMEs and Tourism, led by Maria Grapini.
Dragnea demands extra funding worth RON 2 bln for mayors in 2014
Apart from the preparations in view of taking control in territory through the decentralisation, the minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, deputy PM Liviu Dragnea asked the government to supplement the funds of his ministry for 2014 – an electoral year – by RON 2 bln (EUR 450 M), almost twice the present sum, mainly for the projects of local administrations. Government sources quoted by Mediafax added that the money will be used next year for various projects, such as those pertaining to the restoration of water and sewer systems.