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ROAD TO TRANSPARENCY

After becoming the mayor, Andrej Hrnciar met with contracts that were disadvantageous to the town. Some decisions of his predecessors and their administration, maybe unintentionally but nevertheless, showed deficiencies as to the following the publicís interest. He also met with the dissatisfaction of the public of which a big part expressed distrust in the fulfillment of publicís interest even though many times they actually lacked any real facts and their disbelieve was only a result of insufficient information. The public just simply named public services and governmental sector a feeding ground to corruption. Andrej Hrnciar began to meet with nontransparent influences that tried to affect the decision making process of the mayor, elected town representatives as well as employees of the town hall. When searching for possible solutions that would restrict such behaviors, he met with the representatives of the local branch of the internationally renowned organization Transparency International Slovensko (TIS). Here he came across with a will to cooperate on a project that would complexly solve the problem of corruption on the municipality level in the town of Martin.

At this point, it was out there in the open that such project was being prepared. He also received support from the Embassy of the United States of America in Slovakia. On the town level, the financing of the project that would cover the work of internal and external team members of TIS was an issue that needed to be solved. The only way for this was to approve the necessary sum of money from the townís budget. As only members of the Town Council have such competence, this step counted with the approval of the majority of them. In the opposite case, even with the effort of the mayor, the project would have been left without financial coverage it needed. Even at this point it was helpful that the whole process took place transparently and that Council members during voting on the project felt they were watched by the public. Public support of the then-Ambassador of the United States of America to Slovakia, His Excellency Vincent Obsitnik, and the publicís opinion it helped to impress, was a huge help too. After approval of the necessary finances, the signing of contract could have taken place between the town of Martin and TIS, based on which the organization began to work on the project of the package of anticorruption measures. Of course, an intense cooperation from the town and its employees, who apart from their regular job duties worked on the preparation of the project on a big scale, was needed. In this case, however, no additional financial boost was necessary.

In the first phase, TIS came with 17 most corruption-sensitive town policies. In the next step, TIS in cooperation with town hall employees worked out actual measures that implemented the project into procedures and internal town regulations. Then it was only up to the townís representatives and employees to further follow the projectís steps. It is expected that a year from the implementation of the project into everyday life of the town hall, an audit is to take place that shall evaluate changes and results that the anticorruption project has brought on the local municipality level. Based on the results accomplished so far, we can justly declare that all, whom are in any way connected to the public service, will benefit from the project. The public appreciates the transparency of the municipality processes, opportunity to monitor, analyze and participate in the services and last but not least, the more efficient use of public resources, which are gained by taxation and various fees. The elected municipality representatives and employees value the fact that due to transparency, the rules based on which they execute their duties and responsibilities are clear. On one hand, it frees them from the effort of being manipulated into decisions they would not want to take, and on the other hand, it helps them build a clean record and trust in their work performance on behalf of public interest.

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