Streamlining the Administration (1): The environmental excuse

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In the next few days, some consideration will be given and shared on the problems created by the slowness of the public administration, what causes it and some proposals for changing the administrative direction.

Administrative streamlining as a smoke screen

The Balearic Government is announcing a chain of legislative changes that, under cover of needing to streamline procedures, they are, in reality hiding a series of personal and specific favours given to people who have violated current urban planning regulations. The reason for this behaviour would be to gain votes. It usually takes years to be made public.

This is a dynamic that GOB finds highly dangerous where the history of this autonomous community of corruption by the leadership at state level is nearly always linked to urban planning.

Let us remember that the announcement has been accompanied by the prior closure of the office of anticorruption that was functioning at a Balearic level. This was an explicit decision generating a context that aggravates the risk described even more.

Most of the projects are not assessed by the environment department

One of the considerations that must be clarified in the first place is that the majority of the procedures that citizens carry out in front of the public administration do not have to undergo environmental assessment.

Only large plans and projects go through that channel: those that are planned over protected areas, valuable habitats or that foresee high pollution or high consumption of resources.

This means that most of the procedures will not save any time by the brazenness of the Government wishing to apply control of the environment. There will be no noticeable improvement on issues that must be resolved by the local councils (ayuntamientos), the Island Council (Consell Insular), the other Balearic Ministries, or the state ministries (Coasts, Defense, Ports, Airport, etc.).

Incorporating political interference in decision making

In the middle of the eighties, it was decided to build a collegiate body in which different people participated and could endorse technical reports. In this way, the usual pressures from promoters on key people in the decision-making could be avoided.

The current proposal of the Government is to eliminate this collegiate body and to have a senior official, in other words a political individual, to be the decision maker. No one should shy away from the fact that this means the return of giving strength to political interference and weakening the voice of the technicians who will not have the protection of a meeting with several people.

A change of this sort does not speed up anything, but it can help condition the final resolution if it has the capacity to press the right button. This could translate into greater administrative complexity later if resolutions are made on areas that are discussed in detail by the organisation of citizens.