This is what Jan Dirk Pruem, the writer of the outgoing Mir Council, argues, in an article he published this week in the National Administration. In 2002 the municipalities began to operate on a dual basis, as a new position of registrar was introduced. From March 2002 onwards, this function was implemented in a work-related and registry-related manner, in the larger municipalities. It was not easy. Mayors, city councilors and town clerks were extremely reluctant to take on the new dual status. For board members, double action proved no easy task. In many municipalities there was a type of dominance growing. The other councils mixed duality with dueling, says Brum. Only after a number of council conditions did some stability come about.
As a result, significant portions, if any, of the registrar’s business has yet to be explored. Nevertheless, I feel there is a tendency among the scribes to record and define what is now. As a result, the councils and staff space is not explored, coagulation occurs and the Cartel of internal and external job evaluation experts is imprisoned. This does not do justice to the position of the registrar, nor the necessary support for the municipal council, nor the interest of the population in a vibrant local democracy.
There is not enough balance
The clerks have so far failed to build the bridge between the municipality and the town hall of the council. It became a registry inside the town hall. “As clerks, we have provided very little counterweight. And so it happens – despite all the gentle factional visits – that city councils have allowed themselves to engage in City Hall with their City Hall business. Now that the debate rages across the country over a different style of governance. Contemporary councils and employees should make use of the resulting space. “Open the shutters locally for other and better contacts with the community.”
Local Home of Democracy
The scribes now have the opportunity and the task to reorganize the local home of democracy. First, there must be a room for residents or an ombudsman. That room fills with issues of engagement, counseling, or an ombudsman with council members who are easily accessible to residents. Residents should also be given a place in the control room. “Specifically to develop more qualitative controls and focus less on indicators and quantitative data,” Pruim explains.
In the information room, the registrar assists council members in obtaining information in this digital age; Has an informational value that can be used and available to board members. There should be room in the taskroom to put complex topics on the agenda that require a very comprehensive and long-term photography phase. In this room there should be plenty of room for the social partners (chain). A regional room should also be created, while the decision-making room should be refreshed and renewed “if only to accommodate digital meeting options”. With all these rooms, “there is a house with its doors and windows wide open which invites the residents to be active in one of those rooms if they wish to do so.”
There are more duties awaiting the writer. They must raise issues that have not been or barely discussed yet. Issues such as the head of the Special Council and the activation of the local party (the district). Make the usefulness and necessity of national parties a subject of discussion at the local level. A local council member from within the municipality to follow up. Entering barricades to restore autonomy. Fight for its own municipal financial sphere. Organize people’s participation beyond traditional participation and unleash their knowledge. Impose additional controls.
With this, scribes explore the boundaries of their field and make room for board members. This is necessary to revitalize local representative democracy, so that councilors can better and more effectively assume their place and office.
Read the full article by Jan Dirk Brüim in Local Administration No.8 this week (login)