The councilors of Karczew did not grant discharge to the mayor, Michał Rudzki. Earlier, they reduced his gross salary from PLN 7,900 to PLN 4,440, which is 3,200 “on hand”. The interested person himself says that – although his wages are now probably the lowest in this type of position in Poland – he and his associates will continue to work.
At the last graduation session on Thursday, July 29, the city council in Karczew did not pass a resolution on granting a vote of confidence to mayor Michał Rudzki. The decision was made unanimously. Every year, the mayor must present to the councilors information on the implementation of the budget and a report on activities for the previous year. During the session, the report is considered, there is also a debate, and its result is a vote of confidence, which Rudzki ultimately did not receive.
They may pass a resolution on a referendum on the dismissal of the mayor
In the 15-person council of four PiS councilors and four councilors from KWW, Your Self-Government Community – forms the ruling coalition. 10 out of 11 councilors present were in favor of not granting a vote of approval for the previous year. This is another year when the councilors made such a decision.
What does it mean? As we read in the Act on the local government, if the mayor is not granted the vote of confidence in the next two years, the council may adopt a resolution to hold a referendum on his dismissal. We asked the mayor about it. – The Council may, but does not have to, pass a resolution to hold a referendum on this matter. In fact, it can do it now, and more precisely not earlier than 14 days from the date of adopting the resolution on not giving the mayor a vote of confidence – he explained.
“You’ve seen another mayor in this chair”
The lack of discharge is a consequence of a dispute between council members and the mayor. At the end of June, it was decided by a majority of votes to lower Rudzki’s salary to the lowest possible amount. At that time, PiS councilor Artur Laskus asked for such an item to be on the agenda.
Piotr Kwiatkowski (KWW Michał Rudzki Together for the Karczew Commune) said at the session: – As part of the composition of the council, we are surprised by the resolution, which is handed over to us only at the committee meeting. It is obvious that this resolution was written five minutes before the commission. This is another situation when a comprehensive document is presented to us only at the meeting at which the document is to be adopted.
He added: – You are proposing a reduction of the mayor’s salary to PLN 4440 gross. If my memory is correct, it is currently PLN 7,900 gross. This salary so far was the lowest among the authorities of our poviat’s communes. I believe that this action will not lead to anything constructive. In part, I can understand you, some regret about the fact that the cooperation does not look like you would like it to, or that you imagined it differently and you have certainly seen another mayor in this seat.
The councilor concluded that the proposed salary was “abnormally low”.
“No cooperation with the city council”
Małgorzata Spirowska from KWW Your Local Government Community alleged that the mayor informs about local disputes on Facebook. She cited an example of a dispute over who is to pay for the removal of rubbish from the parish cemetery, so far it has been paid by the local government. Laskus: – Each case, whether it concerns the issue of the clinic or the collection of rubbish from the parish, or concerning the museum – each has one common point, i.e. a message on Facebook. There is no collaboration with councilors, no internal discussion, no problem solving. There is a message on Facebook and only then this run is popularized and is uncontrolled. The residents’ reactions are starting to emerge.
We contacted the chairman of the City Council in Karczew, Piotr Żelazko (PiS). We tried to find out what was the justification for reducing the mayor’s salary. The chairman referred us to the resolution published in the Public Information Bulletin. He only stated that the decision of the councilors was “a summary of the mayor’s two-and-a-half years’ work.”
Asked about specific reasons, he mentioned: – Lack of cooperation with the city council, an attempt to cause conflicts with the health service, causing a garbage crisis twice in the municipality, where the mayor tried to force the council to pay extra to the company that collects waste, during the term of the contract and threatened that the garbage would no longer be picked up. There are a lot of such events that took place during the half of the term of office – said the councilor.
The resolution reducing the salary itself includes 11 charges, including: “exposure of the Karczew commune to serious financial losses in connection with the attempt to pay an additional, unjustified amount of PLN 772 thousand to a company repelling waste”, “repeated (and, consequently, more expensive) tender on the collection of waste “,” an error in the documentation resulting in an overpayment of over 10 million of the so-called “janosik”, artificially increasing the wealth of the commune and adversely affecting potential investments “,” attempting to dismiss the director of the clinic, Piotr Banasiak, causing a health panic in the Karczew commune, undermining the trust in doctors “or” bringing unjustified complaints to the Regional Audit Chamber in Warsaw against the resolutions of the City Council. “
They wanted to dismiss the councilors
Local portals, including the Otwock Line, informed about difficult relations between the councilors and the mayor. On June 13, a referendum was held in Karczew on dismissal before the end of the term of the City Council. It was originally planned for January, but due to pandemic restrictions, the election commissioner was forced to reschedule. Among the reasons was dissatisfaction with the activities of the councilors. According to the initiators of the referendum, councilors blocked the mayor’s initiatives, and the results expected by the residents were lacking. Two thousand inhabitants signed the motion to organize a referendum.
In the vote, the vast majority voted in favor of dismissing the council, as the turnout was too low (21.74%) to consider the results of the referendum as binding.
Salary lowered at the first session after the referendum
In an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl, mayor Rudzki emphasized that difficulties in cooperation with councilors appeared at the beginning of the term of office. – I am not involved in any political grouping. However, I have repeatedly expressed interest in cooperation, and there was no effect on the part of the council, he admitted. He added that the referendum was an echo of the graduation session. – Then, despite the implementation of one hundred percent of the budget for 2019, the councilors did not discharge me. A group of residents then took the initiative to cancel the city council. As the actions of the majority coalition indicated that there was no willingness to cooperate, and the commune was losing it, he said.
– Can a reduction in salary be linked with revenge? Even before the referendum, in a conversation with one of the council representatives, I heard that there were such plans. By a strange coincidence, such a decision was made at the first session after the referendum. My salary has been reduced to the lowest possible amount – added the mayor.
When asked about 11 allegations, he replied: – These are arguments that are strictly political arguments. They are not substantive. We read there that “the mayor made a risk”, “caused panic”. I have the right to refer to the Regional Audit Chamber in the context of resolutions adopted by the council. The councilors want to deprive me of these competences – he assessed.
What was the matter of the junk crisis mentioned by councilors? – I informed the councilors that the rates for the rubbish they proposed resulted in the garbage system not being balanced. Prices were going up and the resources we had secured in this regard were not enough. We informed the councilors that the junk company was threatening to stop providing our services. The councilors tried to push through decisions that were not favorable from the point of view of the inhabitants. They made it difficult to pass a resolution securing these funds. It came to such a point that for several days the garbage was not collected from some sectors – described Rudzki.
He also referred to the removal of rubbish from the parish church: – I learned that the rubbish is being removed from the parish cemetery and I stopped this practice. The councilors said it was wrong and inappropriate. It lasted for 16, if not more years, and then the councilors did not mind, he accused. He added that the rest of the points “will be addressed soon so that the residents know what is going on”.
The lowest salary in Poland
– For my part, I would like to assure you that the unfavorable circumstances that we are witnessing make me have even more determination to act and work for the benefit of the commune and its inhabitants. To prove to them that this work is not for eight hours a day, but for much more: in fact 24 hours and seven days a week – the mayor of Karczew told us. – My salary is the lowest salary of a commune head or mayor in Poland, because it cannot be lower, and one of the lowest salaries that are paid in the municipal office in Karczew – emphasized Rudzki.
Main photo source: Google Maps