Friday, 28 January 2022

Deputy Mayor Says Solution to High Corporate Gas Bills to Be Sought with State

ZAGREB, 28 Jan 2022 - Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec on Thursday evening commented on Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić's accusing the City of Zagreb and Mayor Tomislav Tomašević of being responsible for markedly higher corporate gas bills in Zagreb, noting that a solution would have to be sought in cooperation with the state.

Ćorić said earlier in the day that Tomašević and his team were responsible for the markedly higher corporate gas bills in Zagreb, and not HDZ personnel, because they failed to procure it at better prices.

Tomašević said the former director of the City Gasworks' Supply division, Igor Pirija, who ran the division until last October, was responsible and that he was HDZ personnel, claiming that he did not buy gas at cheaper prices on time and that Zagreb businesses were in trouble because of him.

"The former management of the City Gasworks' Supply division made a number of bad business decisions that resulted in losses for that company and higher bills for corporate users. In the spring (of 2021) it signed contracts under which already then it sold gas at prices that were below market prices while buying it at variable prices. It created a huge risk and we see the consequences now," the deputy mayor said.

She put this in the context of the global energy crisis, saying that not only Zagreb but other local government units as well were having problems with gas prices and that a solution would have to be sought in cooperation with the state.

Talks are underway and the public will be informed of the results, she said.

Dolenec also noted that one should establish if the unfavourable contracts on gas prices were only bad business moves by the former management of the City Gasworks' Supply division or were harmful contracts for which one should be held criminally liable.

She also said that the city would cover the difference in the gas bill of the soup kitchen in Zagreb's Sveti Duh neighbourhood, which from the earlier monthly amount of HRK 6,000 has risen to 25,000.

"The St Anthony of Padua soup kitchen... provides around 400 meals a day. The city has financed soup kitchens since 2004, and in the budget for this year HRK 700,000 has been earmarked for soup kitchens," Dolenec said, noting that the city would make sure the operation of the soup kitchen was not jeopardised.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

New Members of Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre Steering Board Appointed

ZAGREB, 28 Sept, 2021 - Zagreb Deputy Mayor Danijela Dolenec told a news conference on Tuesday that the city had relieved of their duties former members of the Steering Board of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre, and appointed three new members, including new Board chair Gordana Keresteš.

Dolenec said that Keresteš was a full-time professor at the Department for Developmental Psychology of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and that the other two new members of the Board were Andrea Jambrošić Sakoman, a psychiatrist from the Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital, and Lora Vidović, former Ombudswoman and head of the UNICEF Office Croatia.

"The new Steering Board, which will meet shortly, has the task to formally accept the resignation tendered by Centre head Gordana Buljan Flander, appoint the Centre's acting head and call applications for its new head," Dolenec said.

Asked if he would promptly replace the Centre's Steering Board if the editor in chief of the H-alter web portal, which was banned by a court injunction from reporting about the Centre, were not a member of the We Can! platform, Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević of the We Can! platform said that he would.

"Of course I would, this is about the event itself, the court decision and the very act of seeking a court injunction to ban media from reporting about the Centre's work and its director in the future. It has been condemned by all political actors in this country, from those in power to those in the opposition," Tomašević said.

He added that it was an act of common sense to condemn the court injunction by replacing the Centre's Steering Board, thus sending the message to all city-run institutions and companies and offices that they were liable to public criticism and had to answer to it with arguments.

The former head of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre, Gordana Buljan Flander, resigned last Thursday following negative reactions to her demand for a court injunction to stop the H-alter website writing about her and the Centre.

The injunction by Zagreb Municipal Court judge Andrija Krivak came after the nonprofit website in the past few weeks ran a series of articles by reporter Jelena Jindra problematising the work of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre and its head.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Tomislav Tomašević Pledges Reorganisation of Zagreb City Administration

ZAGREB, 18 May, 2021 - The Green-Left Coalition's candidate for the mayor of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević, said on Tuesday that after the 30 May runoff, which he expects to win, the coalition would embark on a reorganisation of the city administration and ask the heads of its 27 departments to offer their resignation.

"If we want a change, it is our right to ask the city ministers, as well as directors of city-owned companies... to offer their resignation," Tomašević said at a news conference.

He noted that he would ask current office-holders to submit reports and evaluate their work, while new department heads would be chosen in public procedures and the number of city departments would be reduced due to reorganisation.

Tomašević said that he would not make any rash moves and would hold meetings with all department heads and ask them to report on what had been done so far.

"The only criterion will be one's performance, and I have been familiar with that, having been a city councillor for the past four years," he said.

Citizens urged to apply

He called on citizens who believe they have the necessary qualifications to apply once vacancies are advertised, noting that they would be expected to implement the political goals of the Green-Left Coalition's platform.

Tomašević also commented on the statement by his rival Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement, who on election day, 16 May, referred to him and his coalition as the far left.

"That kind of tactic does not and will not work in Zagreb, as shown by the election outcome," Tomašević said, noting that he did not intend to demonise his political rivals.

He noted that in the first round of the election Škoro had led a smear campaign.

This was proved by the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries (HAKOM) as it has turned out that Škoro had hired an agency that phoned voters and vilified his rivals, Tomašević said, noting that he would continue a positive election campaign.

He called on voters to give him the largest possible support in the runoff, adding that every vote would count as it would enhance the legitimacy of the planned changes.

The coalition of the We Can! platform and its partners won 23 of the 47 seats in the Zagreb City Assembly, and Tomašević said that they would discuss forming the majority, based on programme cooperation, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) but not before the runoff.

He noted that he had already discussed this with the SDP's mayoral candidate, Joško Klisović, and that he did not expect any problems with the formation of a stable majority.

Tomašević said that he expected to be supported in the runoff by candidates from the centre to the left, which Klisović already did after the first round of the election, calling on SDP voters to support Tomašević in the 30 May runoff.

Danijela Dolenec, a candidate for Tomašević's deputy, said that the results of elections for local government units, showing that their slate was the strongest in 16 of the 17 of Zagreb's districts, proved that citizens had recognised that their coalition's relationship with citizens was based on partnership.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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