Based on international best practices: (i) In terms of integrity is it advisable to have city council members who are not paid public salaries and are free to engage in private business? (ii) Should all members of city and municipal councils be required to publicly disclose their assets and business connections (regardless of whether or not they receive public salaries)? Should the asset disclosure requirement extend to heads of city and municipal services/departments? (iii) Should there be post-employment restrictions and revolving door regulations for local officials and civil servants from local government bodies?
The government is preparing to implement a comprehensive reform of local government bodies by adopting an entirely new local government law. This is a good opportunity to review the existing integrity mechanisms in local government and to address any possible gaps.
1. Local elected officials’ allowances and restrictions 2. Asset and interest declarations at the local level 3. Closing the revolving door at the local level 4. References
The remuneration of city councillors should be determined according to the nature of their workload, as well as the size of the respective local government area. Some sort of compensation is nevertheless advisable so that less privileged citizens can also afford to be a city councillor. In addition, there should be clear rules restricting the engagement of city councillors in private activities to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Rules on asset and interest declarations are also instrumental in enhancing integrity and curbing corruption risks at the local level. Within this framework, elected officials such as mayors and city/ county councillors, as well heads of departments should be required to regularly disclose information related to gifts received, all properties and sources of income, debts and liabilities, shares in companies, as well as potential conflicts of interest. In certain circumstances, municipalities should also seek to restrict pre-public employment (the movement of businesspeople to the local administration) and post-public employment to avoid undue influence and misuse of confidential information.