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Round Table: The Local Public Mediator of Botevgrad Municipality: the First Six Months of the Institution
On 14 October, 2004, a round table The Local Public Mediator of Botevgrad Municipality: the First Six Months of the Institution took place in the city of Botevgrad. It was organized by the Future for All of Us Association under its project Establishment of the Local Ombudsman Institution in Sofia Region implemented within the framework of the Civil Society Against Corruption Program of Coalition 2000.

The round table sought to acquaint the general public in Botevgrad with the first report on the activities of the municipal public mediator prior to its presentation before the municipal council.

The Chair of the Municipal Council of Botevgrad municipality Mr. Volodia Kazakov welcomed the participants and presented the objective of the event. In his opening remarks the newly elected public mediator of Sofia municipality Mr. Angel Stefanov expressed his hope for future successful cooperation between the local public mediators throughout the country.

The public mediator of Botevgrad municipality Mr. Vasil Vasilev presented his report on the results of his activities during the first six months since the introduction of the institution. He underlined that the institution was established thanks to the successful public-private partnership in Botevgrad municipality. Mr. Vassilev pointed out the main problems he has been addressed with as well as some specific aspects of his activity.

Ms. Dragomira Paunova from CSD Law Program presented the process of establishing the institution of the local public mediator in the country after the 2003 legislative amendments and the Coalition 2000 contribution for the successful start of the institution. She also acquainted the participants with Ombudsman Information Network, its structure and contents, and the possibilities it provides for exchange of knowledge, experience, and good practice among local public mediators.

Mr. Peter Kovachev, Governance Advisor at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) briefed the participants on the USAID efforts to support the strengthening of civil society and promotion of the democratic values in Bulgaria.

The Deputy Mayor of Sofia municipality General Emil Tanev and Colonel Stoyan Stoyanov, Expert at the Office of the Deputy Mayor, shared their views on the ombudsman institution and its activity in some specific areas such as security and public order protection.

The Mayor of Botevgrad municipality Mr. Georgi Georgiev spoke on the process of establishing the institution in the municipality and the relations between the public mediator and the municipal administration. He described the role of the mediator for improving the administrative services on municipal level.

Representatives of local NGOs shared their vision on the activity of the institution and the cooperation between the civil society and the local public mediator.

In the course of the discussion a number of questions were raised on different aspects of the public mediator’s activity, e.g. its role in curbing corruption, the necessary prerequisites for its successful functioning, including sufficient financing and office equipment, the importance of good communication with the local authorities for achieving better results. The process of spreading the public mediator institution throughout the country and the necessity of establishing long-lasting and sustainable cooperation between the local public mediators and between them and the future national ombudsman were also among the topics discussed.

Agenda of the round table
Report of the activities of the Botevgrad public mediator Mr. Vasil Vasilev during the period: 1.04.2004 - 14.10.2004 (available only in Bulgarian)
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