Further training course in Tools for Municipal Management designed for mayors and municipal representatives from south central region was held from 8 to 10 December in the Pamporovo resort. The event is organized by Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" and its branch in the town of Smolyan and gave the official start of the activities of the newly established Institute for Integrated Management of Municipalities. It was attended by 75 representatives from 15 municipalities of Smolyan, Plovdiv, Sofia and Stara Zagora regions.
On the floor of the forum, the President of Varna Free University, Prof. Anna Nedyalkova greeted the participants for their dedication to the development of the region and gave a special greeting on the occasion of the Day of Youth and Knowledge - 8 December.
In recent years, the need for specialized education and further training of staff related to the management of municipalities has been felt. This applies to both staff at a medium level - specialists in regional and municipal administrations, and the senior managers - mayors, deputy mayors, heads of directorates, heads of departments, chief architects, specialists in municipal administration, said the director of the Institute for Integrated Management of Municipalities, Prof. Atanas Kovachev.
The Regional Governor of Smolyan, Mr Nedyalko Slavov thanked for the opportunity to welcome and delivered a short lecture on extremely important for the management of municipalities topic - "The Interaction between Regional, State and Municipal Authorities."
If years ago, I had to answer the question what the priority areas in regional development are, I would point out infrastructure, but today - I would say education.
This is a field in which the interaction between regional, state and municipal authorities is extremely important. With my presence here I emphasize how much we value the branch of Varna Free University, said the governor.
On the topic of "The New Agenda of Regions, Cities and Municipalities" spoke Desislava Georgieva, expert from the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
As particularly important was highlighted the combining of traditional ways of financing with creative and flexible financial instruments such as public-private partnerships, various types of financial engineering and involvement of financial institutions. Here participation of municipalities is especially important, she stressed.
Mrs Vanuhi Arakelyan – Chairperson of the Appeal Court, Varna, presented during the training in Tools for Municipal Management several typified categories of problems related to "critical" absorption of European funds and the problems related to the financial stability of municipalities, as well as specific practical problems associated with the bankruptcy proceedings.
I would like to thank Varna Free University - innovative, leading, with a pulse on society’s need, that provided me with the opportunity to meet with you today and to talk as "power to power" because we do not have disparate interests, said Judge Arakelyan.
As part of the training in New Agenda of Regions, Cities and Municipalities, the Mayor of the municipality of Zlatograd, Mr Miroslav Yanchev, presented the experience of the municipality in the implementation of policies for effective management. It includes management of municipal funds and resources, combined with effective planning at the local level, said Mr Yanchev. According to him, the biggest challenge for any local government is which activities to implement with priority. As a successful practice, the mayor of the municipality of Zlatograd presented the modern urban concept implemented by his team.
During the training, Prof. George Vredeveld, Director of the Economic Centre for Education and Research at the University of Cincinnati, addressed the participants in a video with a comment on the role of applied economics in understanding the local environment, to assess the competitive advantages and stimulate economic growth in the region.
One of the tasks of the Institute for Integrated Management of Municipalities is to be ahead of problems, to offer solutions. Prepared people should be employed in municipal management, Arch. Petar Dikov, lecturer in the training is adamant on the matter. The formal acceptance criteria of municipal development plans were discussed within the framework of the discussion. The specifics of the procedure are an important part in the work of municipal administrations, said the Vice President of Varna Free University, Yani Yanev.
Arch. Petar Dikov commented on the topic of "Development of Municipal Communication and Transport System." The problems that were considered were those of transport infrastructure, development of cycling transport, planning new rail corridors, funds to maintain third and fourth class road network and dealing with depopulation of different regions. In the discussion were involved the Mayor of Zlatograd, Miroslav Yanchev, the General Secretary of Kostenets Municipality, Georgi Yanakiev, the Mayor of Parvomay -Angel Papazov.
The Mayor of Parvomay, Angel Papazov was a speaker on the topic of "Relations and Cooperation between Local Government and the Business in the Municipality of Parvomay." He presented the main objectives in the work of the municipal administration such as infrastructure, improvement of the ecological environment, sports and tourism, stimulation of economic development and urban planning.
We should have more contacts and good presentation of what we have and what we are doing, said the Mayor of the Parvomay. He presented the partnership of the municipality both with representatives of the Bulgarian business and business organizations from Turkey, Greece, France, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Croatia and the Kingdom of Jordan.
"Architecture is great art, urban planning is science, art, politics and construction, the city is the greatest invention of humanity", with these words Corr. Mem.Prof. Atanas Kovachev, D.Sc. began his presentation on "Sustainable Architecture and Urban Planning - Cause in the Modern World." He presented some of the most outstanding works of architecture from bygone eras and masterpieces of modern architecture that mark the stages in the overall development of human civilization.
In his second lecture on "Certification of Buildings and Complexes", Prof. Kovachev presented an overview of the various international evaluation systems of buildings and presented examples of the Bulgarian and world practice.
On the third day of the training in Tools for Municipal Management, Mr Marian Zhekov, Manager of Implementation and Maintenance, David Holding AD presented electronic platforms to support the activities of municipal administrations.
Assoc. Prof. Galina Momcheva, PhD, Head of the Department of Informatics and Economics at VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar" presented tools for online positioning of municipalities and businesses.
I would like you to see the different university, not just that which educates Bachelors and Masters, but a university which participates in business processes and also motivates its students to participate, said Assoc. Prof. Momcheva.
She commented on important issues related to the creation of digital content, branding of the localities and online marketing.
The Deputy Mayor of Smolyan, Marin Zahariev commented on the problems and challenges facing project management in the municipalities. He presented some of the most significant projects developed and implemented by the Municipality of Smolyan. Mr. Zahariev declared the interest of the municipality to develop a partnership with Varna Free University.
During the discussion, the President of Varna Free University, Prof. Anna Nedyalkova, D.Sc. commented on the significance of the sustainability of the projects to create economic growth, sustainable job creation, stimulation of new entrepreneurial initiatives and binding of project activities with the plan for integrated urban development and strategy for smart specialization.
Venera Arachkova, Deputy Mayor of Smolyan presented the best practices in the work of the municipality. Civic participation is one of the important tools that we use in the work of Smolyan Municipality. So people are provided with the opportunity to draw the attention of the local authorities to the real problems, said Mrs Arachkova. She stressed the importance of public advice as a corrective in the work of the municipal councils and municipal administration.
At the end of the training in Tools for Municipal Management, the Deputy Mayor of Smolyan, Marin Zahariev thanked the organizers for the interesting topics and issues that were presented and proposed at the next meeting, representatives of partner municipalities from abroad to be included. The President of Varna Free University, Prof. Anna Nedyalkova, D.Sc. thanked everyone who were interested in the forum. She stressed that the aim of the Institute for Integrated Management of Municipalities is to create lasting partnerships. We are ready to formulate research tasks at your request, to support you with our expertise, to invite you to assess projects developed by students and doctoral students. Let us not look in a formal way at the possibility for placements and internships, commented prof. Nedyalkova.
All participants received certificates of training issued by Varna Free University and the Institute for Integrated Management of Municipalities.