Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Tuesday that a set of bills on local and regional government units, designed to reduce the number of local officials, had been put to public consultation.
The legislative set also reduces the number of members of representative bodies.
“The Justice and Public Administration Ministry has put to public consultation a bill on local and regional government, a bill on local elections and a bill on the City of Zagreb,” he said.
618 fewer officials at local elections
Malenica recalled that so far 1,321 local officials were elected and that following the adoption of the proposed amendments, their number would drop to 703, and that 618 fewer officials would be elected.
The number of members of representative bodies would be reduced by 10% and their allowances will be capped, he said.
The amendments introduce an obligation for local government units to publish information on how budget money is spent while the Budget Act will provide more specific regulations.
The ministry will see to it, through digital platforms, that this change is as cheap as possible for local government units, Malenica said.
He noted that that way participatory democracy was being strengthened as was citizens’ participation in decision-making at the local level.
The amendments also harmonise terms for running in local electons to introduce the obligation for both candidates for leaders of local government units and those running for members of representative bodies to have at least six months of registered residence in a given unit of local government at the moment when elections are called.
The minister said that this rule had existed until 2009.
Ministry cannot control system of hiring at local gov’t units
As for public criticism that the amendments were only cosmetic changes and that most deputies in local government units would be hired as advisors or department heads, Malenica said that his ministry could not control the system of hiring in local government units.
He added that based on the law on salaries in local and regional government units, the outlays for salaries must not exceed 20% of those units’ revenues.