Up and running
Since the new mayor took office on January 1st, public administration is up and running again. Dozens of civil servants are sweeping the streets, collecting trash and fixing holes.
Dr. Júlio, who moved to our town more than twenty years ago, told me a few things about the new mayor that give us reason for a little hope. Timóteo is a very rich man. He owns a couple of farms, so - in theory - he doesn't need to steal from public coffers (in theory, that would be true of 90% of all politicians. But you need only look at the figures of the latest corruption scandals to see that theory and reality are two very different categories). People love him because he treats everyone, even the beggar on the streets, with respect and kindness. But what really surprised everyone, including his opposition, is that he nominated highly competent secretaries for education and health services, the two departments that were falling apart under our last mayor.
We will see how things work out. One of the biggest question marks is the that the counties in Brazil depend on the state and the federal government for funds. All taxes we pay go directly to Brasília, our nation's capital, and are then redistributed to the states and counties. Personal friendships and connections are therefore vital.