The Foundation For The Defense Of Citizens Against State Abuses (FACIAS) is referring to the Court of Auditors the irresponsible expenditure of the City Hall, which, despite employing over 60 lawyers, paid 18,000,000 lei for external legal assistance services in 2023 alone. All this while the citizens of Bucharest are freezing in the cold due to lack of investment in heating infrastructure. FACIAS's action is part of the "Turn off the waste tap" campaign.
Following a request to the City Hall, FACIAS has learned that the local administration in Bucharest has contracted no less than 65 contracts for legal assistance and representation in court in the last year, for which it has paid 18 million RON, about 3.5 million euro. This is in addition to the annual salaries of around €1 million for the more than 60 legal advisers employed at the town hall, based on an average salary of 6,000 lei a month.
Why is it necessary to pay 60 lawyers and to conclude 65 contracts for external legal advice and assistance, when the legal advisers are also legal representatives in court? Are the 60 employees not sufficiently trained? If so, why are they still being kept in this position? If they are sufficiently trained, why is there still a need to outsource services? The situation reported by FACIAS raises serious questions about the efficiency and justification of public spending, in an economic context where every penny should be spent with maximum responsibility. This is precisely why FACIAS is referring the matter to the Court of Auditors and asking it to examine how justified this expenditure is.
Heating and public transport or legal aid?
FACIAS also calls on the City Hall to provide transparent and detailed explanations for this unjustified expenditure and to take immediate action to stop the waste of public money. These funds should be spent on essential areas for the citizens of Bucharest such as heating, public transport or infrastructure. In the first two weeks of 2024 alone, hundreds of thousands of people in more than 1,000 blocks of flats were left without heat and hot water due to endless breakdowns at Termoenergetica. Moreover, according to FACIAS information, the City Hall of the Capital pays legal assistance even for cases in which the institution has been sued by citizens or owners' associations accusing the lack of heat and hot water. Basically, proper funding for the heating system would not only considerably improve comfort for Bucharest residents, but could also eliminate some of the city hall's legal waste.
FACIAS continues to monitor and report on irresponsible spending of public money!