In recent weeks, the harmony of Medellin’s governance with the city’s civil society has been affected by a series of decisions originating from the Medellin mayor’s office that interfere with the regulations and corporate governance of companies so emblematic of the city & the country such as Empresas Públicas de Medellin (EPM) and Ruta N that generate national and international concern.
Medellin is a resilient city by nature based on the values of work, family, and education as the axes of progress and of collaborative governance as a fundamental basis for citizen consensus on institutional trust and good governance with the entire municipal corpus.
Recently, the mayor made some decisions behind the back of the EPM board of directors, motivating the board’s massive resignation in an act of protest. Likewise, it did not consult with the academy, civil organizations, and the industrial associations of the city, as has been traditional, for the formation of a new board. A similar circumstance we encounter with the leading entity in innovation, science and technology of Medellin, Ruta N, where the director, appointed by the mayor himself, was fired for “complying with the technical but for failing to comply with the political”, an entity that had previously been armored against the political machinations of the governments of the day.
The opinions of guest editorial contributors are their own and not necessarily those of Finance Colombia, its publisher, editors, or staff.
In this sense, the mayor goes against complying with EPM’s City Relations Framework Agreement as well as the proposed government program put forward by the candidate to the citizens when running for mayor and then materialized in the Medellín Futuro 2020–2023 development plan.
Leading citizens of all socio-economic and socio-cultural sectors of the city have extended, on multiple occasions and forms, bridges of dialogue, but the mayor has missed opportunities to rebuild a constructive relationship and a roadmap to work as a team with key sectors of the city. Personal resentment, pride, and arrogance are not good qualities when power is exercised and this particular agenda is in contrast to a Medellin that has worked together for decades for its integral development and is a benchmark in Colombia and throughout the world.
The mayor considers the members of the civic oversight bodies that exist to take care of the state, an instrument established in the country’s legal system and that the mayor himself, as a citizen, proposed in the past. These forces cannot be obscure when the names of citizens, civil organizations, companies, academic institutions and think-tanks are in the light of all and there are oversight bodies with legal frame acting for many years, strengthening the guidelines of the Sustainable Development Goals and the policies of the OECD that strengthen territorial governance.
These oversight bodies work with basic principles and clear objectives that reflect the broad citizen consensus that considers that the state belongs to and matters to all the citizens of Medellin. They are instances outside any type of activism, political party platform or any person.
If the mayor does not take the initiative, citizens must rebuild a broken trust that in turn generates trust in the international community that Medellin continues to be a resilient society interested in the well-being of all those who reside in the city.
ABOVE PHOTO: Just as in an orchestra, a functioning municipal or civic society counts on the harmony between multiple units working together towards a common objective. Above, the musicians are being addressed by Sergio Escobar, author of this guest opinion piece.