The long-standing debts of the municipalities and the pandemic crisis which led to a reduction in revenues brought them to disintegration, with several municipalities being understaffed and with serious functional problems.
As “P” is informed, several municipalities, such as the Municipalities of Agios Dometios, Geri, Idali and Tseri are facing the most serious problems regarding the lack of staff, with the result that many of the services of the above municipalities operate simply on the basis of their contract obligations.
It is recalled that on May 7, 2020 and until the end of the year in question, the Council of Ministers informed in a circular that it decided to suspend the filling of all vacancies in the public and wider public sector, including local authorities, due to the negative impact caused by the pandemic in public finances. The suspension of filling vacancies included hourly staff, a ban on hiring temporary workers and upgrading and / or creating new / additional vacancies.
Need for reform
In communication of “P” with the general secretary of SIDIKEK-PEO, he confirmed that in some municipalities there is a serious problem regarding understaffing, and therefore many of them resort to purchasing services to meet their needs. “If there is no solution to this issue, we have no choice but to proceed with dynamic measures,” said Mr. Grigoriou. The Secretary General of SIDIKEK-PEO went on to say that this situation has brought about serious, negative effects on the efficiency and effectiveness of municipalities and community councils, and consequently on citizens and society at large. For his part, the Secretary General of the UN-SEC Andreas Elias stressed the need for local government reform, because the stagnation of recent years has led municipalities and communities in dire straits. In the same vein were the statements of the president of the Union of Municipalities of Cyprus Andreas Vyra, who also spoke about staff shortages that exist in various municipalities of the country, and reiterated the need for the bills to proceed with the reform of local government.
According to the data of the Statistical Service of Cyprus, at the end of 2012 the total staff of the municipalities amounted to 3,667, while at the end of the first quarter of 2021 it amounted to 2,902. According to a report by the Audit Office in 2018, the total debts of the municipalities exceeded 300 million euros, while there are debts of hundreds of millions of euros in the employees' pension funds.