In Romania, the mayor’s signature might only serve to authenticate documents only an authentication one and not a specialty one.
In recent years, against the backdrop of the fight against corruption, many high-ranking officials in the Romanian administration have been removed. From top players in the central administration, MPs, ministers and even an ex-prime minister to local officials, such as presidents of county councils or mayors of small communes, a lot of people have fallen victim, politically speaking, to the fight against corruption. That is why, there is no easy way for politicians to cover their backs without being noticed. The Senate has passed a draft bill amending the local administration law providing for local officials to have exclusive responsibility for the documents they issue, without the legal endorsement of the public institution’s secretary and without the signatures of civil servants with prerogatives in the field. As the senator of the Social-Democratic Party, the main ruling party, Ioan Denes, argues, the mayor’s signature reflects only the mayor’s authority, not expertise. Ioan Denes, secretary of the Senate Administration Committee:
“This proposal and the amendments have made it clear for everybody, including those interpreting the laws, that the mayor’s signature is a signature authenticating the document he or she issued, and not an expert opinion regarding town-planning or other areas related to an administrative document issued by the local public administration.”
The MPs of the Save Romania Union, USR, the second opposition faction in this country, voted against the draft law, warning that through that law, mayors might be exonerated from the responsibility of signing an administrative document. Florina Presada, a USR senator:
“Though we believe that every civil servant should be responsible for the documents he or she signs, we also believe that the mayor should share that responsibility. This initiative is dangerous because mayors may be exonerated from the responsibility of countersigning or signing administrative documents. We demand that the errors made by the Committee be removed and we will call on Parliament, on our fellow senators to turn down the draft law.”
The draft law was tacitly passed by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate is the decision-making body in this case. As pundits note, the initiative fuels suspicions that being exonerated from the responsibility for his or her own signature, a mayor, whoever he or she might be, can very easily conceal his or her incompetence or intention to embezzle public money, the latter being a practice that has often been confirmed in court. (Translated by A.M. Palcu)