State Duma voted in favour of governors being entitled to participate in mayor appointment process
January 21, 2015. The MPs will endorse a city manager being the only self-governance institution. Governors together with city councils will be entitled to form a tender board in larger municipalities that will be entitled to select candidates for mayor. Thus, the appointed mayor will as well serve as the head of local administration.
On Tuesday, in the second reading the State Duma adopted a bill abolishing municipal council members right to run for election to municipal council multiple times, if the municipal council was dismissed due to their own fault. Last February, the deputies of Legislative Assembly of Krasnoyarsk krai submitted such proposal to the State Duma. However, until the second reading the draft has been greatly modified by the chairmen of committees on local government of State Duma and Federation Council, respectively by Viktor Kidyaev and Dmitry Azarov. As a result, the bill constitutes a new content: experts admit that the amendments are of much greater significance than the original text.
Kidyaev, the deputy of chairman Viktor Kazakov, explained to RBK that two new alternatives for election of a head of municipal entity have been introduced. The first option – the head of municipality, which is appointed by city council of municipal entity from among its members, would be entitled to serve as the head of local administration. At the same time he loses his mandate. The second one – the head of municipal entity appointed by the municipal council from among the candidates selected by the tender board would be entitled to serve as the head of local administration. In the municipal district, urban district, urban district divided into inner-city divisions, as well as in inner-city municipal entity a governor and the representative body of municipality are equally eligible to appoint members to such a commission.
In May 2014, the State Duma adopted amendments authorising regional authorities to abolish the direct election for mayors in large cities. As a result, for the time being three models of city management are authorized by law. The first suggests that the head of municipality elected by popular vote shall as well serve as the head of local administration (sovereign mayor), the second – a mayor (who is the chairman of the municipal duma) is appointed by the municipal council and a contracted city manager carries out administrative duties, and the third one – the head of city – the speaker – is elected by popular vote, whereas the city manager is in charge of administration.
The political scientist Alexander Kinev explained the purport of amendments saying that the deputies’ proposal referred to the contracted city manager serving as the head of municipal entity. ‘The mayor – the speaker – would no longer be appointed by the municipal council, whereas a city manager would be the only municipal leadership and moreover would serve as an actual head of the municipality, who was not elected by popular vote’, – he said. The expert specified that this particular option when the authorities are entitled to appoint the official would be introduced in all types of municipal entities. According to Kinev, the proposed amendment implicates that the speaker will no longer serve as the head of municipality, and the city manager would have more power. In his view, thus the two-headed management system is abolished as it invoked conflicts between mayors and city managers in a number of cities. The expert representing the Committee of Civic Initiatives Andrei Makimov explained that the head of the city – the speaker – actually does not have the levers of power (as opposed to the city manager), however both officials claim for the leadership.
According to one of the authors of local self-government reform that was implemented last year the Senator Vyacheslav Timchenko, the bill shall establish unified concept of municipality head. ‘There is a confusion of terms, who is the superior of the city’ – he added. According to Maksimov, the government finally found a scheme establishing the vertical power transmission to the very bottom.
The Source: RBC