No time to lose

Renzi announces his city council in record timing

Editorial Staff
July 2, 2009

In line with Matteo Renzi's recent claim, ‘Florence has no time to lose', on June 28, just 48 hours after being proclaimed mayor, the 34-year-old primo cittadino announced his picks in the city's next municipal government. In keeping with two of his election pledges, Florence's new giunta comunale will be comprised of just ten people, split equally between men and women, and will be younger than in years past, boasting an average age of 42 years.


Centre-left politician for the Partito Democratico (PD) and former city councilor in Florence, Dario Nardella will be Renzi's right-hand man at Palazzo Vecchio in the role of vice-mayor. He will also oversee economic development and tourism.     


Barbara Cavandoli, also a city councilor for the PD, was nominated sports superintendent, while Elisabetta Cianfanelli, representing the Partito Socialista, will oversee the university and research committee. University professor and head of the group of municipal councilors for the PD, Rosa Maria Di Giorgi is the city's newest education superintendent. Claudio Fantoni, a PD city councilor, chorus singer and labour unionist at the Maggio Musical Fiorentino, was given the mandate for housing, while Massimo Mattei, municipal and provincial councilor for the PD will chair Florence's public transport, infrastructure, public works and the urban design committees. Mattei will no doubt have the hottest potato to juggle in Palazzo Vecchio: that of ushering in the Tramvia. Municipal councilor for the PD, Stefania Saccardi will lead the social services and welfare committee and Cristina Scaletti, a medical researcher and representative of the Italia dei Valori party, was given the mandate for the environment.


Another interesting move by Renzi was that of choosing two high-profile figures from the industrial and academic worlds to head the culture and business and innovation committees. Angelo Falchetti, a founder of the local IT firm, Dada, will oversee the following committees: the municipal budget, business partnerships, organization and innovation.


Sociologist and writer, Giuliano da Empoli, will chair Florence's culture committee, which, interestingly, will also include a new definition and concept, that of ‘contemporaneity', in the governance of a city that has traditionally been viewed and governed in way that conserves its historical and artistic value, while often sacrificing a more modern vision.


Da Empoli's main goal is to utilize Florence's vast historical and artistic heritage in order to bring the city to the forefront of cultural innovation. ‘Cities of great historical and artistic importance, like Florence, are often crushed by this ‘heavy weight'; other cities of this nature are often forced to re-invent themselves in order to continue to attract culture and creativity; Florence does not have to do this: our city boasts hundreds of foreign universities and cultural investors and philanthropists that have come here spontaneously. The first step is to create a network contacting all of these actors that help keep culture alive in this city,' Da Empoli told the press.


Renzi will take on the mandate for municipal policing and city planning (which is a rather delicate mandate in light of the investigations underway into three of the city's most important and controversial urban planning projects: Castello, Novoli and the Fortezza da Basso). He also appointed members to a special committee dedicated to city planning (their names are to be announced on July 13). Moreover, former Florence prosecutor, Pier Luigi Vigna, was nominated special ‘technical councilor' of safety and security, a pro bono role that will operate outside the city council's jurisdiction.


Renzi's 10-member city council met for the first time on June 30. The 34-year-old mayor also satisfied another election pledge-that of meeting with the electorate once a week to exchange ideas, comments and concerns. On July 1, Renzi held his first meeting with the citizenry in the Palazzo Vecchio's Clemente VII room, also the mayor's new office.


In keeping with true ‘Renzi style', just before heading into the official press conference, Florence's newly elected mayor hit send on his Facebook page, announcing the new members of his giunta to his thousands of Facebook friends.

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