“…Venice was for over thirty years a national example for the number and quality of services offered to the citizens and for the impartiality and the respect for law based on best practices of accountability and transparency.”
“What is happening in Venice?”
In the City of Venice the relationship between administrators and personnel (managers, officials, employees) has been altered, and this development risks compromising relations between the citizens and the city Administration. This is the alarm being sounded by seven former top ranking managers for the City of Venice and the former head of the Press Office, who in their letter denounce the serious situation which tends to influence, if not force the choices of the management, in contrast with the separation which the law has placed between political direction and administrative management.
“After the major division of competences that focused on the structure of and all the resulting responsibilities for criminal, civil and administrative functions, – write the former managers Luigi Bassetto, Manuel Cattani, Sandro Del Todesco, Roberto Ellero, Giulio Gidoni, Oscar Girotto, Maria Maddalena Morino and the former head of the Press Office, Enzo Bon – they are now advancing a contradictory regulatory framework that creates conditions in which the political party, which remains however “not responsible”, acquires powers of “influence” in dealing with the managers, in a creeping invasion on the autonomy which the law assigns to them.
In fact it appears evident that the condition of insecurity over keeping one’s own position, if not one’s own job, while operating within the environment of the PA’s confusing reform, has generated, in some cases, a broken relationship between administrators and managers/officials in which the expectation of the first is not team work based on the loyal collaboration of the employees, with the goal of the public good via the quality of services offered and the regularity of action, but rather the absolute loyalty to the administrator on duty, which must be expressed through the uncritical execution of orders given without any prior consultation”.
Such distortions of relations come to be seen by the citizens of the Lagoon city as the result of the inefficiency and unreliability of public employees, when instead Venice was for over thirty years a national example for the number and quality of services offered to the citizens and for the impartiality and the respect for law based on best practices of accountability and transparency.
“As we approach the mid-point of the (Brugnaro Administration’s) term – they continue – there is an evident need for a sharp reversal of this tendency, because to not appreciate the existent human resources and professionalism in the public sector is a true waste on the part of the Administration. The exhibition of a superficial and preconceived negative valuation of work done by the employees and of union relations goes well beyond the objective of improving organization, becoming dangerously instrumental in the reduction of important projects and services of the the direct public management. Justifying this line by feeding false clichés about public employees through attitudes and behaviors reinforces the idea that the very existence and quality of services can only be guaranteed by following the course of outsourcing and privatization.”
We judge to be serious as well the weakening of the role of the Municipalities, which for years have been excellent in the decentralization and delivery of services to the citizens, as well as the decision to dismiss temporary workers, who instead could have been renewed working within the budget which Commissioner Zappalorto left behind for the Brugnaro Administration.
“There is a need – they conclude – to stimulate a new awareness, which must begin with those who understand the problems of the citizen because they confront them daily with their own work. This is needed in order to avoid the abandoning of the continuity of socio-economic renewal processes, which produces an inevitable improvisation in political-administrative management and the imposition of an artificially optimistic vision, expressed by superficial means, which seems like a choice to disengage from the responsibility for degradation and for the growing sense of insecurity denounced by the citizens. We need, in the end, to avoid the loss of trust in the city’s institutions.
We, the signatories of these thoughts, appeal to all levels of responsibility: we ask for the safeguarding of the great heritage of competence, commitment and honesty of which the employees of the City of Venice are the bearers. The employees of all public institutions, from their own experience, are aware that every devaluation of their work must always be challenged as such action carries with it the further risk of the devaluation of work in general.
Luigi Bassetto, Manuel Cattani, Sandro Del Todesco, Roberto Ellero, Giulio Gidoni, Oscar Girotto, Maria Maddalena Morino, Enzo Bon
7 Dec. 2017