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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 0 » CSBE
    in Jordan Overview The decline in the performance of municipal institutions in Jordan is taking place in a quick and worrying manner This decline unfortunately is not a recent development and goes back to the 1970s but its pace has accelerated greatly during the past decade The decline appears in many areas including land use planning transportation waste management the expansion of the city and the provision of public green spaces It is not necessarily the result of a lack of technical skills at municipal institutions but is primarily due to a mismanagement of available human and financial resources This is evident in the inflated numbers of municipal staff members the lack of transparency and public participation in the decision making process the ascendancy of personal interests over the public interest and the spread of corruption All this of course is not limited to municipal institutions but is also apparent in various public sector institutions In order to discuss these matters in more detail CSBE organized a series of sessions and a survey about city management as part of Diwan al Mimar This lengthy season of the Diwan included four sessions to each of which a former official who had held a position associated with city management in Jordan and who in our opinion left a positive impact on that position was invited to give a presentation and to interact with the members of the Diwan The reason for inviting former officials is because they do not usually feel obliged to repeat the official line regarding their work Moreover their distance from public office allows them to diagnose their responsibilities and to reflect upon their years in office in a more objective manner than those currently occupying their positions CSBE invited Omar Maani the former Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality Walid Masri the former Mayor of the Greater Irbid Municipality Mohammad Balqar the former Commissioner at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority ASEZA and Omar Razzaz the former Director of the Social Security Corporation who did not hold a position in municipal administration but has a doctorate degree in urban planning Their lectures which are summarized in this report and the interactions with each of them have provided for a rich and valuable experience 2 Session with Omar Maani the former Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality The first Diwan session was with Omar Maani In it he talked about transferring the experiences of working in the private sector to the public sector specifically to the Greater Amman Municipality and about institutionalizing the municipality s work He also spoke about the challenges of managing such a huge institution which employs more than 23 000 staff members and which suffers from numerous efficiencies and from the predominance of the concept of dependency among a large number of its employees Among the services that a municipality can provide Maani indicated that public transportation is an essential service in city life He added that it has to be included in the city

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-16/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 2 » CSBE
    and through enhancing investment However he criticized their marginalization of the city s residents in its management Session with Omar Razzaz the former Director of the Social Security Corporation Omar Razzaz talked about several topics including the centralization and decentralization of city management He mentioned that there is a difference between decentralization and the de concentration of centralization which involves giving decision making authority to officials who are employees of the central authority but are physically located away from the seat of central authority He added that the role of secondary cities in Jordan must be enhanced in order to reduce the dominance of Amman as the center of political economic and cultural activities and to create a reasonable gradation in the roles of different cities in the country He also explained that public institutions in Jordan including municipalities should not have such an excessive numbers of employees Jordan does not possess the necessary economic resources that would allow for the employment of such large numbers and more importantly this over employment has led to a deterioration in the performance of public institutions Survey on City Management in Jordan A survey that included questions about the management of Amman was distributed to the Diwan al Mimar members after the conclusion of the four sessions The survey questions addressed issues about the short and long term challenges that Amman is facing the type of officials they believe can efficiently manage the city and how to best allocate Amman s municipal budget to provide different services The Diwan members agreed on the characteristics that they feel a city such as Amman should possess Although these characteristics might appear to be too obvious they felt they need to be stressed since the cities of Jordan unfortunately lack them In their answers to the

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-2/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 3 » CSBE
    the progress of the work of his administration Maani stated that he considers his points of weakness to be on the political level since municipal work combines both technical expertise and political skill Transferring expertise from the private to the public sector Maani considers overall low levels of competency to be a major issue he faced at GAM He noticed that most of the employees who work in the public sector look at it as a stable form for employment and that efficiency is not a priority in this situation which is a main difference between the public and private sectors He also believes that developing the public sector by following the governance systems used in the private sector is possible Yet dealing with public money and having to address such a wide range of responsibilities complicates work in the public sector Maani gave the case of public sector employees in Singapore as an example of a condition to which Jordan should aspire Their salaries are higher than the salaries of private sector employees and private firms compete to hire former public sector employees once they leave the public sector The concept of dependency has been prevalent for a long time in the public sector in Jordan Accordingly very little is expected of public sector employees and a good number of them do not do much work Maani also mentioned that someone who has worked in the private sector and is used to group work efficiency and being forthcoming faces many obstacles when moving to the public sector He believes that he was assigned the mayoral position to contribute to improving the efficiency of the institution to improve Amman as a city to live in to work on developing a master plan for the city and to stop the city s urban deterioration While Maani used to work with small board members in the private sector as mayor he had to work with the city council which consists of 68 members representing the city s 2 5 million inhabitants The mayor also serves all the residents of the city rather than one client However supervisory governmental bodies such as the Audit Bureau find it difficult to work with an official who works quickly and in non traditional ways He therefore always found himself having to explain to these bodies that certain services such as public transportation should be part of the responsibility of GAM rather than the Ministry of Transportation since land use and transportation are strongly connected and a city s master plan cannot be developed without taking public transportation into consideration Maani mentioned that his request to place public transportation under the responsibility of GAM faced many objections and he therefore had to explain the reasons behind his request to numerous officials including the Prime Minister but by the time he had convinced him of the validity of his request the Prime Minister was no longer in his position He faced a similar experience with the Minister of

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-3/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 4 » CSBE
    because they are afraid that others will take over their positions He noticed however that the City Manager and the executive officials at GAM worked extremely well together and that their relationship was characterized by cooperation and mutual support Merging municipalities Maani pointed that there is a need for merging surrounding areas with the city of Amman since the city will grow and spread to eventually reach them In this context he mentioned the Amman Development Corridor which passes through several municipalities but should be under the supervision of one authority He also mentioned the need for unifying billboards along Airport Road which passes through a number of municipalities As for transferring the growth of Amman to other Jordanian cities Maani thinks that developing large urban settlements of the same scale as Amman has not succeeded and that migration to the city continues He also believes that the officials and specialists who have been involved in urban planning on the national level need to develop urban settlements in a manner that takes into consideration the social conditions of surrounding areas but that these officials have not succeeded so far and have dealt with planning in a superficial way Maani believes that the reason behind this failure is the absence of political and social planning He added that he believes Jordan will remain a single city country although it is still possible to develop the port city of Aqaba as another main urban center in the country Electing the Mayor of Amman and the experience of its City Council Maani mentioned a question he was asked by a journalist when he was appointed Mayor of Amman about how he would like the city s residents to remember his tenure once it is over Maani s answer was that he would like

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-4/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 5 » CSBE
    is that of local governance which is represented by municipalities Local governance in Jordan dates back to the end of the nineteenth century during the Ottoman period It is associated with society s right to manage its organizational affairs and services and with allowing citizens to manage their everyday issues in a specific geographic area independently and without referring to the central authority Laws in Jordan up to the 1970s used to define municipalities as public institutions that are financially and administratively independent but the concept of local governance started deteriorating since then as the country shifted to centralization and the authority of municipalities was increasingly limited until it has reached conditions of local management rather than local governance which are two different notions The roles of municipalities were associated with all the issues that address the everyday life of Jordanians These issues include securing education health food supervision water electricity gas and transportation Municipal laws until 1955 had even assigned two additional roles to the mission of municipalities The first was providing housing for those who could not afford it and the second was providing job opportunities for the unemployed Masri added that the condition of municipalities started deteriorating when they shifted from being institutions of local governance to ones involved in local management and found their responsibilities being limited to areas such as issuing construction permits and implementing land use and zoning regulations Masri believes there is no other way for reforming municipalities but by reinstituting their role as institutions of local governance Merging municipalities and the Greater Irbid Municipality Masri considers that merging municipalities is important This was implemented in Irbid since there was an urgent need to unify the planning process in Irbid and adjacent areas The process however involved numerous deficiencies such as unequal representation

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-5/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 6 » CSBE
    communication with the city council which is among the responsibilities of the municipality Masri also suggested forming neighborhood associations to represent the city s residents in the best manner possible and to improve interaction between the municipality the city council and city residents Masri added that municipalities should carry out studies that include opinion surveys before and after any project is implemented to see how the public reacts to it and to be able to take their opinions into consideration Interaction between city residents Masri stated that there are economic gaps and various boundaries that prevent city residents in Jordan from connecting with each other more effectively add to this a lack of public gathering spaces He also mentioned that no attempts have been made to address this problem mainly because of negligence He commented however that neighborhoods and particularly neighborhood associations provide a starting point for effectively dealing with this subject and addressing the lack of a comprehensive identity that brings city residents together After all interaction between residents from different backgrounds is direct and continuous in a given neighborhood Mayoral elections Masri thinks that mayors should be elected and that city residents are capable of electing mayors objectively and independently of family or tribal relations He also thinks that if cities reclaim municipal tasks that had belonged to them in the past such as overseeing services relating to transportation education and health this would encourage residents to elect the mayors they believe are capable of building a better future for them and their cities This was the case until the 1960s and 1970s when municipalities were responsible for a wider range of tasks Since then however Jordan has become a rentier country and the state believes it knows the needs of its people better than they do Moreover

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-6/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 7 » CSBE
    and has since then felt a deep belonging and strong attachment to the city Two different administrative systems for one city Balqar pointed out that he dealt with two different administrative systems during his stay in Aqaba that of ARA and that of ASEZA which was established in 2001 He considers both systems successful and finds it difficult to choose one over the other In fact many of the authorities that were assigned to ARA were transferred to ASEZA when it replaced ARA Balqar believes however that a number of the new mandates that ASEZA enjoyed contributed to increasing its financial revenues and allowed it to attract investments in a manner that was not possible for ARA He added that the potential for Aqaba s development increased after ASEZA was established and that it became less dependent on Amman on the administrative and the financial levels Balqar believes that what has been achieved in Aqaba since ARA was established in 1984 should be preserved He also believes that the accomplishments that were achieved in Aqaba relied mainly on the institutional structures of both ARA and ASEZA but that these accomplishments have varied over the years in terms in scope and type depending on the individuals who have managed the development process and on their capacities Balqar thinks that the management of the city during the last five years has not always achieved the desired results and that the situation has gotten even more complicated during the last two years due to the prevailing hesitation in decision making resulting from what he referred to as the Jordanian Spring Public demands and city management The session facilitator Farouk Yaghmour stated that the current demands by Aqaba residents are primarily related to their exclusion from participating in the management of the city and

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-7/ (2016-02-13)
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  • City Management in Jordan: Challenges Awaiting Solutions report (English) 8 » CSBE
    development corporation was to carry out development projects without any involvement in legislation The initial concept for the corporation was larger than what was carried out on the ground Bids were issued to search for an international private sector developer that would develop the whole city through the development corporation This idea however was quickly abandoned and a government owned corporation was established instead due to the inability to guarantee the competencies of the international companies that applied for the bid For example a visit to the offices of one of those companies showed that the number of its staff members and its size did not in any way satisfy the needed work requirements It therefore was agreed that although the idea seemed to be logically excellent it might attract parties without adequate qualifications and these might even take advantage of the bids they win to achieve quick gains through trading in real estate instead of carrying out development work Balqar generally believes that the idea of ADC is an excellent one but that it has not been implemented in the way that was planned The planning of Aqaba Balqar stated that Aqaba probably has undergone more planning studies than any other part of Jordan The first plan to be developed for Aqaba was the Brown Plan which was carried out during the 1960s before the 1965 agreement with Saudi Arabia for the exchange of a 12km coastal strip in Saudi Arabia for an area of Jordan located at its southeastern border After this coastal area was incorporated as a part of Jordan it was managed by the Jordan National Planning Council instead of a local planning organization This situation lasted until ARA was established Aqaba was a small town that consisted of a coast and a port with a railway line passing through it During the 1970s the Greek Planner Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis designed a vehicular coastal touristic road that goes along with the topography of the area and ends at the border with Saudi Arabia The National Planning Council focused on promoting industry in the area since touristic projects were not a priority at that time Industrial facilities therefore were established near the Saudi Arabian border but that was done in an unplanned manner These areas were later merged with Aqaba and placed under the jurisdiction of ARA In 1985 the regional consulting firm Dar Al Handasah worked on the first master plan that links the southern coast with Aqaba with the aim that the expanded area would accommodate 200 000 inhabitants This plan developed a clear network of roads and set the foundations for expansion and for accommodating different economic activities Besides the master plan Dar Al Handasah worked on developing more detailed urban plans and zoning studies Their work was used until ASEZA asked the American consulting firm Gensler to update the Aqaba master plan in 2001 In this context Balqar finds the legislation associated with managing the master plan more important than the master plan

    Original URL path: http://www.csbe.org/activities/diwan-al-mimar/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english/city-management-in-jordan-challenges-awaiting-solutions-report-english-8/ (2016-02-13)
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