OBSTACLES

For the project, the Mayor first needed to find a partner who had experience and professional expertise necessary for qualified evaluation of the corruption issue. In order for the partner to assess the municipality environment independently, it had to be an external partner. Because neither the Mayor nor the municipality had no reach or the competency over this partner, his decision to cooperate on this project must have been voluntary. Ideally, the partner was to be a subject of high reputation, which would place an appropriate weight on the outcome of the project. In Slovakia, the ideal partner was found in the Slovak branch of the internationally renowned organization Transparency International (TIS), which fulfilled the first condition of launching a successful preparation process.

I suppose the most significant moment was the communication between the members of the Town Council, who were the only people with competency to approve the financial means necessary to support the project. In the next steps, the members also had to vote with more than half of all votes in order to approve the proposed measures, which could thus replace the existing procedures and internal regulations managing the course of the municipality. Without the needed support of the members of the Town Council, the project itself could not have been formed into actual measures managing the processes and the course of the municipality, its employees as well as elected officials. Public opinion also played an important role, when a general belief of corruption in connection to public services has tired people. Cooperation with TIS, the perfect organization for such role, as well as personal involvement of the US Ambassador to Slovakia, His Excellency Vincent Obsitnik, both proved to be of great aid to the project. The use of transparency in these initial steps came to be an effective tool that can affect the decision making processes of elected officials. Right from the beginning the public had a sufficient amount of information on the project and even those officials, whose personal beliefs would not have led them to support the project, did in fact support it as they realized that their disapproval with the prepared project would have to be voiced out loud and transparently. Such public and open disapproval would have most probably caused serious consequences in the upcoming elections.
In all other steps, the Mayor could rely on his competencies and rights that allowed and assured him that all other parts of the project will be executed by the municipality and town hall employees. Simply said, from his position he was able to ensure the execution of the project with direct orders to his subordinates municipality employees.
For a complete picture, we must add that some of the proposed measures ensuring the transparency at decision making processes met with obstacles from the legislature point of view. Specifically the disclosure of personal data of employees and elected officials, their family members as well as personal data of all candidates applying for a job with the municipality. Such disclosure of personal information in proposed extent would, according to the legislature, require consent of all involved people. To give an example and to best describe the situation: During a hiring process, the municipality would, under an anticorruption measure, have an obligation to identify and thus disclose all personal information on all candidates. According to the legislature, it is possible only with consent of involved person. To expect that unsuccessful candidates would provide such permission to disclose their personal data would be naïve.