Bucharest City General Mayor Gabriela Firea told Agerpres in an interview carried on Saturday that the joint stock companies to be set up by the city in various areas of public services could employ nearly 5,000 people, including the current employees of public corporations, administrations and the general mayor’s staff.
“As far as I am concerned, I believe that the first meeting of the General Council, after the one scheduled for February, when an agreement in principle is expected to be passed, we will be able to come up with estimates of the management teams of each joint stock, type of investment and staff size. Anyway, there will be an increase, but no unemployed in Bucharest City because of this administrative reorganisation. I am expecting that in two years’ time there will be 5,000 jobs for Bucharesters. One of my main electoral promises was job creation, and that is what I have started doing,” Firea told Agerpres.
She denied accusations that she would attempt to turn the city into an Ltd., adding that estimates show the operation of the joint stocks will cut by 25 percent the city’s spending.
“Firstly, the General Council will not approve or discuss establishing Ltds, but joint stock companies one hundred percent owned by the city (…). So there is now way we can turn the city into an Ltd. I guess these are rather political statements or statements by people who do not understand this phenomenon very well, do not understand that legislation permits and even encourages the establishment of such business entities, which are closer to the citizens and that cut costs while improving public services and charging less. Our estimates show that the city could be spared 20-25 percent of its spending, with such savings to be used in other areas, such as social services. This would mean big budgetary savings. At the same time, we would create new jobs because current employees of public corporations and administration and part of the general mayor’s staff will be employed but many more specialists will be needed in certain areas. So, we came up to create jobs, not to make Bucharesters unemployed,” said Firea.
She added that the joint stocks will be much closer to the citizens and their needs, adding that it is a European practice for territorial administrative units to create such entities.
”In a bit over half an year in office, I have assessed al the city’s public services. Unfortunately, we have been dissatisfied with what happens in the capital for years. We have a budget seen as big, almost one billion euro – but that is not reflected in the quality of services or the Bucharesters’ ways of living, precisely because this very big budget – as far as I am concerned – has not been used efficiently to the benefit of the citizens. There were some privately-owned companies constantly accessing this big budget and other entrepreneurs were not given a chance to work for the mayoralty and consequently for Bucharesters. Others argue selection criteria were not exactly transparent, given that the same companies would win the tenders for years. What I am suggesting is changing the way things have been done so far so that the corporations and administrations currently operating under the authority of the General Council may be turned into joint stock companies hundred per cent owned by the city, and so by the Bucharesters, that will provide high quality services for less so that the Bucharesters may get to pay less for public lighting, parking lots, sewage, water supply and all other services – such as public sanitation, cleaning and environment. Higher quality at smaller costs,” said Firea.
She went on to say the joint stocks will be inspected by the Court of Accountants because they will be funded under Law 215 concerning local public administration and operate under the authority of the General Council.