“We’re happy to be healthy and free.” This has become a common salute among the mayors in Romania, according to Bucharest mayor Gabriela Firea, who also said that being a mayor in Romania is “difficult,” “complex,” and “risky.”
She made the statement on Monday, during the General Assembly of the Association of Municipalities of Romania. Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, Liviu Dragnea – the leader of the ruling party Social Democratic Party (PSD) and president of the Chamber of Deputies, and Calin Popescu Tariceanu – the co-president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) and president of the Senate also attended the event.
Speaking at the meeting, Gabriela Firea said that most of the mayors said similar things when greeting other people that morning, namely “We’re happy to be healthy and free,” and this is not a form of normality, reports local Agerpres.
“Normal is that the elected representatives are held politically accountable by those who elected them, (…) that they are professional and honest,” Firea said.
She also added: “Together we have tried and succeeded to change the perceptions about the wrong and damaging concept of ‘signing like a mayor’. No, we are not signing like a mayor, meaning that we don’t know what we’re signing, but we’re investing with an administrative formula a document prepared by professionals, this is what the law on administrations says.”
In Firea’s opinion, the mayors have to bear unfair criticism and undue pressures while being afraid for their families and loved ones.
In recent years, some of the most powerful mayors in Romania have been targeted by investigations carried out by the National Anticorruption Department. This might be one of the reasons why Gabriela Firea said that the mayors are now greeting each other with “We’re happy to be healthy and free.” According to DNA’s annual activity report for 2016, a total of 47 mayors and 12 deputy mayors were sent to court last year, and 28 mayors received final sentences.
Among the most well known mayors that have had problems with the law there are former Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu, former Constanta mayor Radu Mazare, former Piatra Neamt mayor Gheorghe Stefan, and Brasov mayor George Scripcaru.
In mid-February, DNA prosecutors charged Timisoara mayor Nicolae Robu with abuse of office in repeated form in a case related to the illegal sale of almost 1,000 nationalized houses in downtown Timisoara.
Irina Popescu, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo source: AMR – Asociaţia Municipiilor din România on Facebook)