POLITICS

Public funds for public sector employees’ exotic trips

By Adina Popescu

‘Adevarul’ daily reveals some of the exotic destinations that some public sector employees visited using public funds. Italy, Spain, Croatia, Israel, UAE, Tunisia, Philippines, India and the Caribbean are just some of the destinations that local representatives and heads of agencies prefer, although they claim that the purpose of the visits was to exchange views or to promote Romania as a tourism and economic destination. ‘Adevarul’ daily journalists however state that this kind of visits have no visible effects for taxpayers.

Thus, Craiova Deputy Mayor Marinica Dinca and Marinel Florescu, head of the city’s public transport agency, spent 5 days in Dubai in the spring, attending the World Congress of the International Union of Public Transporters. Their stay had a cost of EUR 6,000, the money coming from public funds. The officials came back from Dubai mesmerized by its futuristic public transport system and determined to buy 20 new buses, however the tender was postponed until the autumn.

Three quarters of Giurgiu County’s officials, along with 25 Mayors and Deputy Mayors, went to Barcelona in May in order to learn about waste disposal and to arrange two Spanish investment projects. The trip had a cost of EUR 25,000, the money coming from the County Council’s budget. The planned investments are yet to become a reality.
The Vice President of the Prahova County Council was excluded after he went on a trip to Rome in April. No fewer than 180 public sector employees went on that trip, including the County Council President’s secretary. The trip had a cost of RON 500,000.

Iasi City Hall employees went on 90 trips in Romania and abroad last year, most of them being trips to Europe taken by the employees working on European projects. For example, four employees that handle investment projects traveled through Belgium and Czech Republic but the subsequent works on improving public transportation were poor.
Bacau City Hall employees spent tens of thousands of EUR visiting European countries and Israel. Bacau Mayor Romeo Stavarache himself went on a trip to the Philippines, without any palpable result for the community.

Bucharest city hall’s comic opera, screen for tourism

The Bucharest City Hall’s general council members and heads of services went on dozens of luxury trips abroad, taking part in the Comic Opera’s tours abroad. The Comic Opera is subordinated to the City Hall, being led by Smaranda Oteanu-Bunea, a former musical critic suspected by the press of having been a Securitate informant. The countries visited by the Comic Opera include India, Egypt, the Dominican Republic, Italy, France, Spain, South Korea and Dubai.

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