The provincial council of Limburg has criticized the report of a committee chaired by Arno Visser, president of the Court of Audit, on the administrative culture in Limburg. During a debate Friday, they took it for granted. The Provincial Executive’s proposal was to embrace the report, but not everyone agreed with the conclusions of the research report, which was also criticized by public administration experts. The Visser committee ruled, among other things, that the administrative culture in Limburg did not differ from that in the rest of the Netherlands and that there was a trail by media, especially through NRC†
A report on the landscape organization IKL and its director, former CDA deputy Herman Vrehen, was also taken for notice by the States because of conclusions not shared by everyone. The findings of two other studies into the behavior of two former deputies were adopted.
Parliament unanimously supported a motion calling for measures and a budget for more honest and transparent action, regular reflection on their own actions and the promotion of good regional and local journalism.
The reason for the investigations and the motion was an administrative crisis that arose when all the deputies and the king’s commissioner resigned last spring. The reason was a publication in NRC about the landscape organization IKL and its directors and dissatisfaction with the approach to a number of integrity issues.
Mirjam Depondt-Olivers, deputy leader of the largest party, called the CDA last year “in all respects intense, including for confidence in politics”. According to her, the Christian Democrats have done plenty of self-reflection. Part of the conclusions: strong drivers should not become dominant drivers. Solution-oriented working should not degenerate into favoritism. “The province must be imitable and positively critical States have an important role in strict control,” she says.
Ruby Driessen, leader of the Forum for Democracy party, saw “expensive reports staying away from often questionable acts, abuses, misdeeds and crimes bordering on crime”. Marc van Caldenberg, party leader of the SP, objected to the image that the Provincial Council was led too much by emotion when the GS fell last spring: “We were not a runaway herd of parliamentarians.”
The Provincial Council unanimously believes that reports from citizens about abuses in the past ten years should be re-examined. The Visser Committee received 286 reports from 144 people and saw no reason for further investigation. The parliament considers that the expectations aroused by setting up a hotline have not been fulfilled and that the issues identified deserve further study.
King’s Commissioner Emile Roemer (SP) called Friday’s meeting “a new beginning. No one is saying that everything went well. A number of things must be different and better. We must do everything we can to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Marcel Thewissen, party chairman of Samen voor Limburg: “I wish every Limburger, civil servant, administrator and Member of Parliament a change: They drank a glass, they took a pee and for once everything did not stay the way it was.”
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad of 2 April 2022
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 2, 2022