Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 0, No 18
26 January 1999

Andrew Stroehlein C Z E C H   R E P U B L I C :
The "Radical" Mayor

Andrew Stroehlein

Hats off to Jindrich Jermar, the new mayor of Ceske Vsi na Jesenicku. Mayor Jermar, an independent elected on a Social Democratic ticket, has expanded the opening hours of local municipal offices so that they are open every working day.

Anyone living in the Czech Republic knows how much time is lost trying to get papers and stamps from state offices that are only open for public inquiries one or two afternoons a week. Jermar's decision is a victory for common sense and decency.

Explaining his decision, Jermar said, "(Limited opening hours at state offices) have long bothered me - both in the past few years and under the old regime. Public servants are here for the people, not the other way around."

One sad postscript to this story is that one Czech daily newspaper (Slovo) reported this small bit of progress under the headline "The Radical Mayor." It seems that what would only be considered sensible elsewhere is considered radical in the Czech Republic.

Andrew Stroehlein, 26 January 1999


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