Cabinet wants new aldermen to voluntarily be screened for integrity
Now that the municipal elections have been held and new offices of mayor and aldermen are being formed in municipalities, the Cabinet hopes that new aldermen will be screened for integrity. A new law to enforce this is not ready yet, Minister Hanke Bruins-Slot of Home Affairs wrote in a letter to mayors. She hopes that candidates will cooperate voluntarily.
The bill makes it mandatory for aldermen to have a Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG), among other things. Bruins-Slot's predecessor Kajsa Ollongren hoped in November that the law could take effect on April 1, but with only a few days to go, parliament hasn't even discussed it yet. The Minister, therefore, sent this appeal to mayors.
Mayors can ask the candidate aldermen whether they'd voluntarily apply for a VOG and do a risk analysis on integrity, Bruins-Slot wrote. This should, for example, look at the candidates' financial interests, whether they lied on their CV, and how they acted in matters of confidentiality. "In essence, it is about attitude and behavior, about doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and about awareness of risks and vulnerabilities," said the Minister.
She said that the mayors themselves must see how they can best monitor the administration's integrity in their municipalities. Bruins-Slot said she realizes that such a check "can also lead to tensions" in local politics. But municipalities have often already made agreements on this subject themselves. It is ultimately the city council that decides who becomes an alderman.
Unlike the aldermen, the mayors themselves are appointed by the crown, which means they are screened differently. The Ministry of Home Affairs asks intelligence service AIVD and the Tax Authority to screen the favorite candidate for mayor. The police also do a criminal record check.
Reporting by ANP