Why did the parties, all of them, take so long to find candidates for the next municipal elections involving all the big Italian cities? Why are there so few personalities who aspire to become mayor, once a very prestigious position? The answer lies in the demonstration of the first citizens held yesterday in Rome with which the Anci, the association of 8,000 Italian municipalities, launched an ultimatum: within three months the text of the crime of abuse of office must be abolished or radically changed. and at least three articles of the Tuel (Consolidated Local Authorities) which define the duties of the mayors. “The situation is paradoxical – explained Antonio Decaro, mayor of Bari and president of Anci – now if you sign a provision, even a banal one, you risk abuse of office, if you don’t sign it you risk the omission of official documents” . The story of the mayor of Crema, Stefania Bonaldi, reached the stage in June by a guarantee notice for negligent injuries because a child was injured in a kindergarten.
Ranking of governors and mayors Sole 24 ore: Zaia and Decaro in the lead. A leap of 11 points for Zingaretti
Too much time wasted
But the alarm dates back to years ago. For more than four years, in fact, Anci has been waiting for the package of proposals drawn up precisely to prevent the blocking of administrative activity to be transformed into concrete facts. Package that Decaro, accompanied by a large group of colleagues, yesterday presented to Prime Minister Mario Draghi together with the request to hurry: if in three months everything remains as before, the mayors are ready for new sensational initiatives. “Draghi has shown himself to be sensitive and supportive – Decaro declares to Messaggero – And he assured us that he will follow with extreme attention the theme and the initiatives on which the government is already working”. The Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, is already working to reform articles 50, 54 and 107 of the Tuel (the Consolidated Law on Local Authorities) to redefine the responsibilities of mayors.
“We will not introduce a criminal shield for the mayors, but it is not possible that they are responsible even if a cornice falls – reiterated the Lamorgese yesterday – In the provision of revision of the Tuel we will introduce some innovations also on the ordinances. We are aware of the difficulty in finding someone who wants to participate in public life knowing that then he will have to face who knows what legal problems ”.
In fact, the numbers – grouped by former minister Enrico Costa, now in Action, on the website www.presuntoinnocente.com – speak for themselves. According to Istat data, in 2017 there were 6,500 proceedings opened for abuse of office, but only 57 convictions. In 2018, those defined by Gip and Gup (therefore beyond the first filter of the Prosecutors) were 7,133 but 6,142 were archived. “In the vast majority of cases – explains Costa – the mayors are acquitted because the fact does not exist but after years of wandering often on unfounded or instrumental complaints from the opposition.”
“I would like it to be clear – insists Decaro – that we do not ask for impunity of any kind but only crystalline laws which, instead of hindering our action as it currently happens, facilitate it”. In reality, the mayors have achieved something in recent years. For example, the provision that made them generically responsible for the Civil Protection is no longer in force, so there have been many cases of convictions of the first citizens for floods or events related to bad weather for which they had no direct responsibility. Last year, then, the Conte 2 government with the simplification decree has filed the rules on abuse of office with the aim of eliminating or at least reducing the phenomenon of “fear of signing” for which mayors and administrative managers avoid enact measures to avoid exposing oneself to judicial measures. The mini-reform traced the abuse of office to “specific rules of conduct expressly provided for by the law”, thus excluding all minor cases provided for by regulations from which judicial measures often arose based on complaints from representatives of the opposition or affected interests . “I really hope this is the right time – concludes Decaro – Because the fact that it is difficult to find candidates for mayors for large Italian cities is a wake-up call for all Italian society”.
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