UNCJR chair Dragnea: We will unveil on Monday a law amending the law on local public finance

Chairman of the National Union of Romania’s County Councils (UNCJR) Liviu Dragnea told a working meeting on Thursday in Busteni of associative bodies of Romania’s local public administration that on Monday he will present to a meeting of the ruling coalition a draft law amending the law concerning local public finance.

‘I am happy with the way discussions have gone so far. Today I won something important, namely the law amending local public finance that UNCJR proposed as principle was accepted by the finance minister.

On Monday, we will introduce the draft law to the ruling coalition and if they also accept it normal procedures for its passage by the Government and Parliament will follow,’ Dragnea, who is also Deputy Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), in the ruling coalition, told.

He voiced hope that the staff chart for mayoralties will pass in the days ahead, underscoring that irrespective of the amount to be earmarked for the mayoralties, the important thing is that the budget will be adequate to cover the operational needs.

‘We want to make sure there is no mayoralty in Romania short of money to pay the wages to their staff. We do not know yet how the budget of mayoralties will look like in the end, in that it could be smaller or bigger.

What is important is that it should be explained. As budgets are built now, many mayors do not know if they have any money left and they are hard pressed making a development programme.

That is why we have suggested that the mayoralties that do not have own earnings to secure their operation should be extended by us the necessary funds, to include a distinct component in the local administrations’ budgets that will be fed from a national development fund transparently earmarked without any political influence,’ said Dragnea.

The UNCJR chairman pointed out that there are nearly 60,000 people working in the administration out of a total of 1.5 million public employees, and any decision regarding their curtailment should be taken after careful analysis.

‘After we have drawn up the staff charts, which have not been made in Romania in the past 20 years, we will reach a conclusion whether or not we should cut or whether or not we should hire more.

I do not think we can afford to lay off people because we are talking here about 60,000 out of 1.5 million public employees.
These are 60,000 people who keep running more than 3,000 mayoralties in Romania plus 41 county councils and mayor’s offices of five, seven or 11 employees,’ said Dragnea.

He added that the concept of cost standards in the administration is a Romanian creation originating in the need to secure the necessary resources for the mayoralties so that they may secure in their turn ‘public access to civilisation.’

The aims of the meeting in Busteni are to establish operational standards that will include cost and quality standards as well as staff rules, operational spending for the local administrations, as well as setting up distinct funds for the development of local communities.

Public administration officials have gathered all these proposals in a draft law amending the existing law on public finance.
‘All the four associative structures – communes, towns, cities and counties – have agreed on the matter at hand.

We have introduced the draft to the finance minister and discussed it article by article. In the end, the finance minister voiced agreement on the draft and we are now discussing cost and quality standards and staff regulations,’ said Dragnea.

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