Representatives and officials of local authorities are more and more suffering from intimidations: in this article we collected the answers of mayors of municipalities that are among the network of ALDA’s members.

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An article by G. Baldessaro, published in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 2nd March 2015, reveals a shocking truth: around 8% of Italian municipalities, without no discrimination for dimensions and geographical position, suffers from acts of intimidation, concretely addressed to mayors and councillors.

According to the data presented, the phenomenon is constantly increasing: in 2013, the registered cases were 870, while in the first four moth period of 2014 the cases were 395. In the last 16 months the number of intimidations counts up to 1,265.

Although the situation is alarming, the European Association for Local Democracy – ALDA, with more than 15 years of experience in the field of citizen participation at the local level, wants to highlight some good examples identified during these years. ALDA is a membership-based organisation, gathering more than 170 members – including local authorities and NGOs coming from Italy, Europe and Neighboring countries. Constant collaboration with civil society and local authorities allows discovering the authenticity of relations, fostering mutual trust and good governance, and giving relevance to the values of democracy, participation, development and legality.

The puzzling report by La Repubblica made ALDA and its Italian member reflect on this issue, in particular with the mayors of municipalities that are among our members. The Mayor of Mesagne, in the province of Brindisi, and the Mayor of Thiene, Vicenza, underlined the importance of involving citizens and joining the European network for an effective local democracy.

Franco Scoditti, Mayor of the Municipality of Mesagne, affirmed: “ When the organised crime affected the historic, social and economic fabric of the territory, as the Sacra Corona Unita in Mesagne, the risk of intimidations is constant, although the bench and good sense struggled against it. In this sense, we, as municipal administrators, keep dealing effectively with goods seized to mafia, working on social cohesion and taking part to national and international networks, which are able to accelerate cultural regenerating processes and to foster the exchange of good practices that are necessary for a real and healthy development of the territory. We decided to join the network of ALDA for these reasons, in order to support citizens’ awareness that there are many experts working on that.”

“Although nowadays our territory seems to be free from the the organized crime, at the environmental and urbanistic level, we cannot be naïf regarding this issue”, declared Giovanni Battista Casarotto, Mayor of Thiene (Vicenza). “It is essential to make more transparent administrations, allowing citizens to participate directly to the activities of the local administration. Integrity is pursued through the internal regulations, such as the anti-corruption plan and the program for transparency, which are approved every year, and the regular update of the information on the municipality website, in a particular the section called “Transparent administration”. In addition, citizens can ask to publish information that is not present or updated in the website. The exchange of good practices is essential to educate the bureaucracy system and citizens the culture of legality, transparency and mutual collaboration, in particular to reach the European citizenship. In this context, ALDA represent the ideal interlocutor between different national and European municipalities, aiming to contrast those phenomena that threaten integrity and good governance”.

“The network and our members’ opinions on our work is really important to us” said Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA. “Our members and partners have to be satisfied of joint work and should perceive our collaborations as an added value. We live in a world where transparency is not common and where serenity is not always taken for granted. But we want to highlight those experiences and cooperation marked by authenticity and commitment of people working with passion. We hope to create stronger relations, marked by respect, cohesion and mutual trust.”

Representatives and officials of local authorities are more and more suffering from intimidations: in this article we collected the answers of mayors of municipalities that are among the network of ALDA’s members.

***

An article by G. Baldessaro, published in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica on 2nd March 2015, reveals a shocking truth: around 8% of Italian municipalities, without no discrimination for dimensions and geographical position, suffers from acts of intimidation, concretely addressed to mayors and councillors.

According to the data presented, the phenomenon is constantly increasing: in 2013, the registered cases were 870, while in the first four moth period of 2014 the cases were 395. In the last 16 months the number of intimidations counts up to 1,265.

Although the situation is alarming, the European Association for Local Democracy – ALDA, with more than 15 years of experience in the field of citizen participation at the local level, wants to highlight some good examples identified during these years. ALDA is a membership-based organisation, gathering more than 170 members – including local authorities and NGOs coming from Italy, Europe and Neighboring countries. Constant collaboration with civil society and local authorities allows discovering the authenticity of relations, fostering mutual trust and good governance, and giving relevance to the values of democracy, participation, development and legality.

The puzzling report by La Repubblica made ALDA and its Italian member reflect on this issue, in particular with the mayors of municipalities that are among our members. The Mayor of Mesagne, in the province of Brindisi, and the Mayor of Thiene, Vicenza, underlined the importance of involving citizens and joining the European network for an effective local democracy.

Franco Scoditti, Mayor of the Municipality of Mesagne, affirmed: “ When the organised crime affected the historic, social and economic fabric of the territory, as the Sacra Corona Unita in Mesagne, the risk of intimidations is constant, although the bench and good sense struggled against it. In this sense, we, as municipal administrators, keep dealing effectively with goods seized to mafia, working on social cohesion and taking part to national and international networks, which are able to accelerate cultural regenerating processes and to foster the exchange of good practices that are necessary for a real and healthy development of the territory. We decided to join the network of ALDA for these reasons, in order to support citizens’ awareness that there are many experts working on that.”

“Although nowadays our territory seems to be free from the the organized crime, at the environmental and urbanistic level, we cannot be naïf regarding this issue”, declared Giovanni Battista Casarotto, Mayor of Thiene (Vicenza). “It is essential to make more transparent administrations, allowing citizens to participate directly to the activities of the local administration. Integrity is pursued through the internal regulations, such as the anti-corruption plan and the program for transparency, which are approved every year, and the regular update of the information on the municipality website, in a particular the section called “Transparent administration”. In addition, citizens can ask to publish information that is not present or updated in the website. The exchange of good practices is essential to educate the bureaucracy system and citizens the culture of legality, transparency and mutual collaboration, in particular to reach the European citizenship. In this context, ALDA represent the ideal interlocutor between different national and European municipalities, aiming to contrast those phenomena that threaten integrity and good governance”.

“The network and our members’ opinions on our work is really important to us” said Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA. “Our members and partners have to be satisfied of joint work and should perceive our collaborations as an added value. We live in a world where transparency is not common and where serenity is not always taken for granted. But we want to highlight those experiences and cooperation marked by authenticity and commitment of people working with passion. We hope to create stronger relations, marked by respect, cohesion and mutual trust.”