ICMA is founded on the fundamental belief that professional, nonpartisan public servants are essential to the effective management and administration of government. ICMA emphasizes the necessity of professional management in local government because local government has direct and immediate impact on the daily lives of the people they serve. While ICMA advocates for the council-manager form of government as the ideal form of local governance, it also recognizes the need to identify opportunities to include professional management within the construct of other local government systems. This is particularly important in our efforts to promote professional management internationally.
Our global efforts require a strong network of affiliates to offer insight into how professional management might work in cities and countries under a variety of government institutions and legal frameworks. One of these essential partners is the ICMA Romanian affiliate, Association of Public Administrators in Romania (AAPRO).
Thanks to the ongoing leadership from Timisoara, ICMA International Vice President Robert Kristof, and the members of AAPRO, who have been instrumental to ICMA’s continued international influence to advance the vital role of professional management in local government, ICMA was able to introduce the concept of professional management within the Republic of Moldova and its local governments
There is no history of professional local government management in Moldova. Instead, communities are managed centrally from the Ministry of Interior. However, ICMA and AAPRO engaged with the State Chancellery of the Republic of Moldova along with the mayors representing local governments. After a productive meeting in December 2020, the Moldovans agreed to consider hiring a city manager to demonstrate if it might be a viable option for cities in Moldova.
In early March of this year, AAPRO and ICMA organized a visit for a delegation of six mayors and vice mayors of the largest municipalities of Moldova and the deputy secretary general of the State Chancellery. The delegation visited four cities in Romania—Cluj, Turda, Sibiu, and Bucharest—to see how the city manager functions in those municipalities. They also met with leadership of AAPRO and the Romanian Association of Cities (CALM). ICMA President Jim Malloy greeted the delegation virtually and demonstrated ICMA’s commitment to professional local government. During the meeting, all sides agreed on further cooperation with the Romanian cities, and the Romanian cities expressed their desire for ICMA and ICMA Europe members to continue their support in addressing critical challenges they have been facing.
CALM also expressed interest in becoming an ICMA affiliate like AAPRO and will encourage the city managers association in Moldova to become an affiliate as well after it is formed.
Ultimately, as a result of the visit, Mrs. Rodelia Vasilcov was hired on March 15, 2021 as the city manager of Edinet—the first city manager in Moldova. Edinet is a municipality with a population of more than 15,000 residents and is located north of the Capital City, Chișinău.
Additionally, the State Chancellery announced its intent to change the wording of the Local Government Act of Moldova by this summer in cooperation with ICMA, a move that will pave the way for other cities to hire professional city managers in Moldova.
I am proud to announce such great news and proud to be a member of an organization that is changing lives of local government worldwide. This is the ICMA vision playing out in real time.