State of receivership, when administrating Italian cities becomes impossible

Currently there are over 200 Italian cities placed under receivership. From financial emergencies, to the influence of organized crime, many can be the reasons that bring a municipality to have its mayor removed. 

On novembre 3rd 2015 the city of Rome was officially place under receivership. Following the resignation of more than half of the city council, Mayor Ignazio Marino ended his struggle to stay in office. As it happens under these circumstances the president of the Italian Republic was forced to sign a decree, and nominate Francesco Paolo Tronca as the new Commissioner of Rome.

But how does the law actually work? Under which circumstances can a city be place under receivership? In Italy the event is regulated by the legislative decree 267 of 2000 (testo unico enti locali), more specifically article 141 “dissolvement of city and provincial councils

The municipal and provincial councils are dissolved by decree of the President of the Republic, at the proposal of the Minister of Interior: a) when undertaking acts contrary to the Constitution or for serious and persistent violations of the law; b) the normal functioning of government bodies could not be ensured  for the following reasons: 1) permanent disability, removal, disqualification, death of the mayor or the president of the province; 2) the resignation of the mayor or the president of the province; 3) resignation of half plus one of the members of the city council, not considering for this purpose the mayor or the chairman of the province; 4) Impossibility to substitute  the members of the city council; c) the city budget is not approved in time

There are basically three reasons that can bring a city to be place under receivership: 1) actions taken by the city or provincial council that go against the law or the constitution; 2) when it is impossible to assure the correct functioning of government bodies (for example: the mayor resigns or dies, the majority of city council resigns, or it is impossible to substitute council members); 3) the budget is not approved in time.

Another possibility is considered by the Italian system, and has to do with organized crime. Under Italian law, when “concrete, unambiguous and relevant elements emerge regarding the direct or indirect connection of the local administrators with organized crime or on forms of conditioning of the administrators themselves that impede the free determination of the elected and administrative bodies” the prefect can propose the dissolution of a city council for Mafia links.