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Kassab to Haddad | Meet the New Boss


With the impending changing of the guard, São Paulo will be undergoing some interesting changes — or else not undergoing them, if opposition parties can filibuster them out of existence.

In any event, it is shaping up as a concerted effort to decentralize city management and planning after a period in which the PSDB-DEM took the opposite approach.

I do not pretend to be an expert on local politics — and how — but it is hard to mistake the political implications of newsflow from the business section

Take the refusal of CESP — a major Bovespa-listed generator with historic ties to the PSDB  — to renegotiate its concession with the federal government. As a result the feds may not achieve the price savings they promised to deliver.

There was an attempt to privatize the company in 2001 — rolling blackouts in the national grid caused the transaction to be dropped —  followed by an IPO in 2006:

On 28 June 2006, the Colombian  Interconexión Eléctrica S.A. acquired  50,.1% of the shares held at the time by the São Paulo state government  — a sum equivalent to 21% of the market value of CTEEP, the private concession-holder for the state’s transmission requirements.

But I digress — that bane of the blogging mind. My train of thought is that the opposing tendencies — centralization and decentralization — will provoke legislative conflict. There is a São Paulo which recently called for federal aid in the war on crime and there is an industrial São Paulo driven by the free market in real estate and tickled pink about lower energy prices …

Source: Viomundo.

Since 2002, the city of São Paulo has been subdivided into 31 subprefectures — miniature “municipalities” covering the 1,.528 square kilometers of the city. Each of these represent between  30,000 and 400,000 inhabitants.

Created when  Marta Suplicy was in power, between 2001 and 2005, the intention was to decentralize city management in order to better address the specific, detailed needs of each region with respect to education, health, public works, and other needs.

In  2005, when José Serra (PSDB-SP) assumed his post as mayor of the city, he recentralized city management, leaving the subprefectures with a skeleton crew.

Finally, in 2007, Mayor Gilberto Kassab (DEM-PSD) militarized the subprefectures, naming reserve military police colonels and lieutenant colonels to run them..

“The main job of the subprefectures  was to repress street vendors, a job for which these ex-cops are well suited,” according to a civil servant familiar with City Hall politics who asked not to be named. «When it comes to management, however,  they are just the pits.».

“The subprefectures have been administratively and politically neutralized,” the source explains.  “Decisions on the contracting of services for which the subprefecture is nominally responsible, such as trash collection, street sweeping, and others, have been centralized, A handful of municipal secretaries now make these decisions for the entire city.”

When Kassab became mayor, one of his first official acts was to name his brothers to run the newly centralized SPTrans and Metro companies.

Since January 2012, each subprefect has received R$ 19,294.10 in monthly salary, as well as retirement payments from the Polícia Militar (PM).

The rough equivalent of US$125,000 per year.

Last week — on 28 November, to be precise — mayor Kassab dismissed 15 subprefects and their deputies, along with … a number of staff from the office of subprefecture coordination.

The dismissals take effect on 30 November.

These personnel changes are published  in Directive 1212 of 28 November, signed by Kassab and published in the Official Diary on 29 November, p. 57.

Conceição Lemes goes on to produce documentation of the reshuffling.

The official documents indicate a bureaucratic game of three-card monte in which subprefects are laterally transferred or traded to other subprefectures. According to  Lemes, the game of musical chairs is intended to make life difficult for the incoming municipal government of the PT.

«I asked City Hall about these changes, which are taking place exactly one month prior to the end of the Kassab governmenet and the beginning of the Haddad administration.

«The secretariate of subprefecture coordination responded by e-mail:

“This office is promoting an administrative adjustment in order to strengthen and disencumber the task of implementing and developing public policy under the current government, which is still in office.”

“Doing this right before turning out the lights, this is a joke,” said our anonymous civil servant. “This game of musical chairs is designed to withhold information from and make life difficult for the incoming administration.”

“There will be no effective transition, because subprefects who moved to new subprefectures will know nothing about conditions on the ground in their new territories,” the source states.

The Estado de S. Paulo has this to say about the coming transition.

After five years under the command of retired and reserve military police colonels, the subprefectures of the city will return to being run by political allies.  Mayor elect Fernando Haddad (PT) will accept nominations from city councilmembers with strong regional ties and good relations with social movements, and based on a “clear slate” requirement.  A 32nd subprefecture is being planning for Sapopemba.

Helping  Haddad with the selection of  1,400 nominees … is former CET president Chico Macena,  47 anos, whom Haddad will name as Coordinator of the Subprefectures. Also to be named today are another six city secretaries, includding Luciana Temer and Marianne Pinotti of the PMDB.

Pressured by PT members about what will happen when the military men leave the scene, Haddad has said that nominees will be carefully scrutinized. The goal is to avoid having muncipal governments mired in scandal or transformed into the polítical offices of city councilmembers, as has happened before.

In order to maintain control and support,  Haddad plans to open the process to society. He plans to install consulting councils in each region, elected by the popular vote and receiving a public salary. Among the tasks assigned to these bodies will be the auditing and oversight of city leaders and presenting the social demands of their constituents.

Even those who supported  (PSDB) in the last election have been contacted over the subprefectures — person such as  Goulart (PSD), Milton Leite (DEM) and Antonio Carlos Rodrigues (PR).

But this division of spoils is not unanimously endorsed. The opposition to the PT promise to protest the nominations. … PSDB leader Floriano Pesaro, said the nomination process was shameful. “With the colonels you don’t get that political gamesmanship, you get an administration that respects the law to the letter.