“A prefect will be a public servant, and this post will not be a political one”, says Vyacheslav Negoda

Minregion continues its collaboration with expert community in the area of reformation of local self-government system and territorial organization of authority, particularly focusing on the legal support of creation and functioning of the institution of prefects in Ukraine.

It should be reminded, that creation of the institution of prefects is provided by the draft law on introduction of amendments on decentralization of authority to the Constitution of Ukraine, which received an approving opinion of the Venice Commission, and a conclusion from the Constitutional court of Ukraine, considering the draft law to be fully consistent with the provisions of articles 157 and 158 of the Basic law.

On the invitation of Minregion and Kiev office of the International Solidarity Fund «SolidarityFundPL», headed by Markijan Zelak (Zhelyak), Polish experts-practitioners of local self-government reformation – Jacek Kozlowski, wojewoda of Mazowieckie wojewodztwo, and Grzegorz Kubalski, deputy director of the Bureau of the Association of Polish powiats, expert of Polish Sejm – arrived in Ukraine. Jointly with the ministry specialists and experts from associations of local self-government bodies, they are developing the draft Law of Ukraine “On prefects”.

On August 6 the workgroup headed by deputy Minister of regional development, construction, and housing and communal services, Vyacheslav Negoda, held a round table discussion of the first edition of the draft law on prefects.
The Deputy Minister noted that the problem concerned the elimination of the institution of local state administrations – oblast and raion ones – within the executive authority system, and creation of the institution of prefects, who would be the local executive authority representatives.

“The working version of the draft law provides that the prefects shall be appointed by the President, following the application of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. It is also provided that a prefect shall be a public servant and the post shall not belong to political ones. The prefect’s key function (as provided by the Constitution) is to control the observance of the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine by local self-government bodies”, Vyacheslav Negoda explained.

Mazowsze wojewoda, Jacek Kozlowski, noted that he had carefully studied the draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine and the first edition of the draft law on prefects, who represented the analogue of Polish wojewodas.

“Here I see certain conceptual similarities of the principles, providing the basis of today’s Polish state, and the fundamentals, which are to be embedded in the new government model in Ukraine. As I can see, the principles, embedded in the document, are important for successful transfer of Polish self-government establishing experience; they will allow it to be effectively implemented in Ukraine as well”, Jacek Kozlowski stressed.

He noted that Polish was a Unitarian, and, at the same time, a deeply decentralized state: an arrangement, based on the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. complimentarity.

“Polish local self-government reform was, on one hand, a reform of political system, and, on the other, it had a great impact on the reformation of economy. Both successes of Polish reforms and  swift democratic changes of early 1990-s resulted from the fact that the three key reforms – the reform of political system, the reform of economical relations system, and the reform of public administration –  happened simultaneously and very quickly. Conclusion that follows: when we simultaneously, during a very short time interval, reform the key aspects of social and political life, positive outcomes are accumulated and added. If reforms are procrastinated, we are helping the opponents and critics of these reforms”, the wojewoda of Mazowzhe said.

The experts discussed a series of important issues concerning creation and functioning of the institute of prefects, particularly, their responsibilities, functions, the order of analysis of acts of local self-government bodies by prefects, their relations with these bodies as well as with central executive authorities, relations between prefects and enterprises, institutions, organizations, and citizens. Considerable attention of the round table participants was devoted to the issues concerning the acts of a prefect, and the procedure of appeals against them, their cancellation, etc.

Jacek Kozlowski presented statistical data on the issuance of legal acts by wojewodas in Poland. “A wojewoda issues approximately 20 thousand acts a year. About five hundred of them are cancellations of decisions made by local self-government bodies, and only 30-40 of these acts are brought to court. This is an insignificant percentage. All other local authorities, whose decisions were cancelled, are welcome to correct their mistakes without legal red tape, while those, who appealed to court trying to complain against wojewoda’s decisions, cannot make new decisions until their cases are settled”, the wojewoda stated.

Vyacheslav Negoda said, that Minregion would address every provision of the draft law with care, and, once completed, the draft law would be presented for broad expert and public discussion.

On July 15 2015 the President of Ukraine submitted the draft law “On Introduction of Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (on authority decentralization)” (registry # 2217a), which provided that executive power in raions and oblasts, in Kiev and Sebastopol, should be executed by prefects, to the parliament for consideration. In order to facilitate legal development of the draft law, the workgroup, created by the Vice Prime-Minister, Minister of regional development, construction, and housing and communal services of Ukraine, G.G.Zubko, started working on development of the draft Law of Ukraine on prefects.

As of now, the constitutive meetings of the workgroup have taken place, during which, jointly with Ukrainian experts, conceptual principles of legislative support of a legal status of a prefect (as an institution, meant to facilitate executive power on the respective territory of a raion, oblast, Kiev and Sebastopol) have been developed.

On August 6-7, 2015, at a round table, involving  representatives of central executive authorities, Administration of the President of Ukraine, Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Apparatus of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Polish experts (Jacek Kozlowski, wojewoda of Mazowieckie wojewodztwo, and Grzegorz Kubalski, deputy director of the Bureau of the Association of Polish powiats, expert of Sejm of Republic of Poland), Ukrainian academics, all-Ukrainian associations of local self-government bodies, the first edition of the draft Law of Ukraine will be discussed.

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