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New elected officials lost in the jungle of administrative acronyms – France


“How many times have I heard people say ‘I don’t understand anything’,” says Philippe Deniau from his office at the town hall of Saint-Ouen-les-Vignes (Indre-et-Loire). Mayor of this town of Touraine of 1,013 inhabitants since 2017, this former public finance official has embarked on the creation of a dictionary of acronyms, a sort of thematic lexicon for “elected officials who block”.

“It’s not just a problem of elected young people, it’s a problem of elected officials. As soon as you want to take an interest in a subject, you have to go very, very far in terms of knowledge, ”believes the one who is also responsible for Gemapi (Management of aquatic environments and flood prevention) and PAAT (Plan d ‘ territorial purchasing action) of its ComCom (community of municipalities).

Acronyms are the tip of the iceberg. Then there are the intervention levels

To show this, the retiree takes out a notarial questionnaire, sent to the town hall as part of a real estate sale. He then takes each line, making it clear that behind the questions lie important concepts in terms of development and town planning. He quotes with a smile: PLU “even PLUI”, POS, COS, PLD, DPU “simple or reinforced”, ZAD, AVAP “the old ZPPAUP” …

“Acronyms are the tip of the iceberg. Then there are the levels of intervention: Europe, State, regions, departments, communities of municipalities, ”he adds. “It’s very complicated to find yourself in this kind of jungle of skills, which themselves are the product of different laws. Especially since the Hollande, Sarkozy and Macron presidencies with all the laws, especially on town planning, the environment and housing. “

“A whole afternoon” to decode

To help, the State has even regrouped on the data.gouv site a search engine that includes 5510 entries. But it is far from going around the question: the Ministry of Culture, or the Senate, have their own glossaries online …

Arriving during her term of office at the Center-Val de Loire regional council, Sandrine Tricot remembers her first unstable steps in this labyrinthine forest. “I had the impression of getting on a TGV already on the way. (…) It is not very readable for everyone, ”says this elected EELV from Loir-et-Cher.

“Ahhh, the vocabulary of the planning committee on the first weekend. I took my Sunday afternoon to decode. A whole afternoon in search of the vocabulary that I lacked, ”she explains. “It requires a lot of work,” judge the elected, who says she is lucky to have been able to count on the teams of the environmental group at the regional council to help her.

Towards a third sweep

The deputy Sophie Métadier (UDI) handles it all with dexterity. “We stopped the Scot, so now we have to consult the PPA. And to be able to have the opinion of the MRAe, which itself will be subject to the opinion of the CDPENAF. That’s a magic sentence, you are sure that nobody understood anything ”, she laughs, evoking a subject of territorial development.

Newly elected during partial legislative elections in Indre-et-Loire in June, the mayor of Beaulieu-les-Loches (until the end of the month) is doing perfectly in this “millefeuille”. A trained town planner, she easily deciphers the “unspeakable gibberish” of land use planning. But since June 8, it has come up against that of the Assembly. “When I see the quantity of bills that we can receive in ten days, and that there are already creations of additional monitoring committees (…), but when will it stop? She asks herself.

In an attempt to simplify public life a little, the Senate decided to clean up in early June by repealing a hundred obsolete laws. A second blow from the BALAI (Office for the repeal of unnecessary old laws) after that of 2019, already getting rid of about fifty texts.

A BALAI 3 is already “in preparation”, announced the vice-president of the Senate Vincent Delahaye. This third component “will focus more on local authorities”. To the delight of the elected officials of Saint-Ouen-les-Vignes…

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