By Angelos Anastasiou
THE Interior minister should draft a new proposal for local government to facilitate consensus, Municipalities Union head Alexis Galanos said yesterday.
He was referring to the planned overhaul of local administration structures, spearheaded by the creation of second-tier bodies overarching current municipalities and local councils and taking over many of their responsibilities and obligations, with a view to decreasing the number of administrative bodies and improving efficiency.
Speaking to reporters after a session of the union’s executive committee, Galanos stressed the concept of clustering – the administrative grouping together of municipal and local authorities – which was proposed by two studies carried out by British and Italian experts.
“Clustering will take place incrementally and will relate to the number of municipalities in the future,” Galanos said.
He also expressed the wish that local government will not be judged by the scandals that “may have erupted in one municipality, or may erupt in others.”
“Such things happen across the spectrum of Cypriot society,” he said.
“There are serious problems at local-government level,” Galanos said. “But let us not forget that they were the first form of democracy in Cyprus, that they have contributed to growth and that there have been great mayors who have fought.”
He said that while mistakes should be corrected and crimes paid for, they should not be used as an excuse to reduce it to irrelevance, and added that there has never been a confrontational attitude towards any government minister.
“We wish to work with the Interior minister, we want to have a working cooperation with him, because we are all working for this country – because we both want to serve our country,” Galanos said.
“That is why we should all be a little more careful when we characterise things – so that our good intentions aren’t misunderstood,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Municipalities Union’s executive committee elected Nicosia mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis as vice-president, replacing of former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas, who resigned last month under the weight of the Paphos Sewerage Board scandal.