Sick of Terminal Bureaucracy

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Italian bureaucracy has grown like an immense fig. Whoever gets into contact with it is suffocated by a boa constrictor. Step by step they become a wet rag, a piece of raging meat, a madman looking for a vendetta. The terminal bureaucracy is the true flower in the button hole of our political class. People who wouldn’t know how to manage a public bathroom become mayors, undersecretaries, Ministers, local cabinet members. Promoted to the top of their incapacity. Never responsible for anything in relation to the citizen, the one who pays them their salary. The only defence is to avoid every contact. Ignore them. Pretend that bureaucracy does not exist. That it is a farce to pay salaries to a few million Italians integrated into the system. When that is not possible, as for Alessandro, there’s just the black hole waiting.

”I signed up to AIRE (Anagrafe Italiani Residenti all'Estero = List of Italians Resident Abroad) at the Consulate at the end of November last year. At the beginning of this year, the Consulate called me back to tell me that having consulted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for cases similar to mine they were told that there’s the need for the proof of residence and not just the self-certification. In my case the Permanent Resident Card.
As they asked me to, I sent this to the Consulate via fax. I phoned them to make sure it got there. They confirmed receipt. A few days ago, on 27 March , after the important date of 16 March, the last date for the Consulates to send off the envelopes for the votes I hear the response that yes I am signed up to AIRE but not to the election lists. They have to fax the request to my town of residence in Italy. That same day they fax the request.
The town hall that should reply in 24 hours, does not respond. They send another fax. Nothing to be done. At this point I call the town hall directly. They give me another fax number. Everything seems to go well but the town hall did not give authorisation to the Consulate to let me vote abroad. We have gone past the established time limits they say
I call the town hall back. They confirm this version of the facts. They put the blame on the Consulate for not having sent the fax in time. It is discovered that as well as the request for elections, the Consulate sent the town hall my request for being included on the AIRE for the first time (the one that I did at the end of November of the previous year). Because of a directive from the Minister of the Interior, the town hall can do nothing more. There is also a directive from the Minister of Foreign Affairs that would allow “generous” town halls to accept last minute requests.
I understand all the bureaucratic problems. However I don’t understand why the citizen cannot enjoy his right to vote. I would have to return to Italy, something that has no sense and that would obviously be very burdensome. I felt like a citizen of “serie B” for two reasons:
- I was resident in the wrong town. If I had been resident in another town, they would have given me permission to vote, as I have seen happening
I don’t have equal rights with other Italians because in fact I cannot vote and perhaps I will hear people saying that it’s not good that you don’t go and vote. I want to vote, not as a concession, but as a right. I also want to be able to choose to not vote, but the voting envelope has to arrive at my house, otherwise I won’t feel that I am being treated like a citizen.” Alessandro Calia, Devon, Pennsylvania

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Posted by Beppe Grillo at 10:44 PM in | Comments (14)
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about consulates: I went to the NY Italian Consulate to renew my passport. It took me two trips to NY city from Long Island ($100 between gasoline, toll bridges, parking and so on); Other $ 100 fee (cash only - it seems that credit card is a too advanced concept for the consulate) but the result was FANTASTIC!!
The only two information they needed to write in the front page (sex & address) are WRONG!!
Of course, I have now a copy of the passport hanging in a nice frame in my dining room: it is a great monument to the incompetence of the overpaid workers in the italian consulate!!

Posted by: Daniela | April 11, 2008 06:10 PM


FRMAGGI, your comment is... cheesy!

Posted by: S. Berl. | April 6, 2008 12:04 PM


The burocratic mindset is so insipid, its tentacles stretch into the private sector and how! This is a brief description of my incredible odissey in setting up a simple domain name in Italy. And they think we're on the Information Superhighway...what a joke.

http://burntbythetuscansun.blogspot.com/2007/11/and-on-28th-daygod-created-your-domain.html

One day, I would like to find that Monastery perched up high in the rocks where hundreds of monks are actually poring through documents, seeing if signatures match up, faxes sent properly, only black ink is used, etc. etc. It would be a scene right out of In the Name of the Rose.

fmaggi

Posted by: Francesca Maggi | April 5, 2008 08:04 PM


Gary Casella, the same rules apply to Europeans in the US.

You can complain about the rules in general, for these are general rules, not specific and peculiar Italian laws. For once, Italy is not excelling in bad legislation. Its bad legislation in this case is shared by all.

Anyway, owning real estate in Italy is a sheer act of masochism. Not only for the costs of holding it, but for the bureaucracy involved and, not least, for the very high likelihood that real estate prices are likely to decrease significantly over the next few years. (Besides the fact that current prices are ridiculously high for a country on the verge of bankruptcy, where people are struggling to make ends meet, real estate is a very easy source of taxation--and a sure one.)

Anyway, if you think it´s still better than going to a hotel or renting an apartment--good luck!

Posted by: R. P. | April 4, 2008 09:09 PM


Pietri,

no, I´m abroad, received all the paperwork early, already sent the vote. Where I am now the consulate happens to work perfectly well.

It was not the same in most other consulates, where I lived before. At least, not until I became friends with the people working there--as usual for Italy.

The local administrations back in Italy, anyway, are usually even worse. So, if you want to be sure, you need to follow up and get confirmation that the residency has been properly and timely registered. Waiting until elections is not such a good idea, if you care to have your situation in order and vote.

To wait, then to go through all the hassle of correcting their mistakes in the few days preceding the elections... when one does not even want to vote does not strike me as much better organization that that the poor fellow complains about.

Posted by: S. Ferrari | April 4, 2008 08:57 PM


Who does not, in whatever country, have trouble getting things done when he government is involved? I will agree, though, with the fact that the Italians who run the Questuras and other sub governmental agencies, are power crazed and nasty! My example....I have a home in Italy, left by my great uncle to my father, and now to me. I have taxes to pay on land, house, water, TV...etc. I pay them. YET......I still cannot get a 'permiso per sogiorno' to allow me to stay for more than 90 days. What they require is impossible to give. I do not think that I should have to give them anything except records that the house is mine and that all taxes are paid. Does not work, though and the people who relay this to me, when I go, are always nasty and almost happy to be able to see the disappointment in my eyes. Customs never questions when I leave Italy after 4 months but so I do not break the law, I must heave myself into Croatia or on a cruise to Turkey or another non EU locale, so I can show that I did not stay more than 90 days at one time, in Italy. Now, I do not want to work nor do I ask for health coverage and money, now, is not an issue, so what is the issue? If someone could explain this to me I would be most grateful. At least Americans in positions of power have smiles on their faces, as they are trained to do, and given they have nothing else in their wasted minds. Like their counterparts in Italy, but always with a "have a nice day"!

Posted by: Gary Casella | April 4, 2008 05:28 PM


Who does not, in whatever country, have trouble getting things done when he government is involved? I will agree, though, with the fact that the Italians who run the Questuras and other sub governmental agencies, are power crazed and nasty! My example....I have a home in Italy, left by my great uncle to my father, and now to me. I have taxes to pay on land, house, water, TV...etc. I pay them. YET......I still cannot get a 'permiso per sogiorno' to allow me to stay for more than 90 days. What they require is impossible to give. I do not think that I should have to give them anything except records that the house is mine and that all taxes are paid. Does not work, though and the people who relay this to me, when I go, are always nasty and almost happy to be able to see the disappointment in my eyes. Customs never questions when I leave Italy after 4 months but so I do not break the law, I must heave myself into Croatia or on a cruise to Turkey or another non EU locale, so I can show that I dod not stay more than 90 days at one time, in Italy. Now, I do not want to work nor do I ask for health coverage and money, now, is not an issue, so what is the issue? If someone could explain this to me I would be most grateful. At least Americans in positions of power have smiles on their faces, as they are trained to do, and given they have nothing else in their wasted minds. Like their counterparts in Italy, but always with a "have a nice day"!

Posted by: Gary Casella | April 4, 2008 05:27 PM


Same here. But I wasn't going to vote for these crooks anyway.

Posted by: Mark | April 4, 2008 05:24 PM


Folks, same thing happened to me. You need at least one year in advance to make this happen.
I wonder - if I had the same performance in my job - how long I would last in my company.

The solution is simple: performance management, ownership, lay-offs, effective justice, ...

But why? How do you think our party system completely based on "clientelismo" would survive to such a catastrophe?

Stefano

PS. S. Ferrari probably works for a Comune or a Cooperativa, do not blame him.

Posted by: Stefano Pietri | April 4, 2008 04:54 PM


BTW the same story here. I had to call the Italian consulate today and ask why I had not received the envelope containing the papers to vote. They said it was an error from the "comune" in Rome which had not send the "nullaosta" to them (it's always someone else responsibility. Why didn't they chase them up bfr?) and that I had to call back on monday.
How many other italian citizen abroad are in the same situation ? This is a shame!

Posted by: f.c. | April 4, 2008 03:14 PM


Hi guys
I share the same frustrations. The same process in the UK took 6 months, apparently due to workload!

Posted by: Nicoletta Turci | April 4, 2008 02:47 PM


Amazing how some people who haven't said a single word for decades to the uncompetent, corrupted and burocratic italian political system are now criticising Beppe Grillo. A comedian with great sense of humour who use satire to denounce the crap of the italian institutions.
It was like if in France some people were asking some explainations to "les guignoles de l'info" or to "Happening Happy Hippy Party" in UK ....

Posted by: frankie hat | April 4, 2008 01:44 PM


Dear Grillo, I think you have done an amazing job in bringing up all this crap that is part of the Italian culture/politics/beheavior etc. etc. You have waken up the sleeping dog inside many of the honest and laborer Italians....now my question is: given that it looks like you are not interested in being part of the politic network, what is your ultimate goal? I am afraid that soon or later people will get used to your initiative as well and all your efforts and work will be worthless. Personally I see only 1 possibility: you run your own party, I mean alone, without coalition, a kind of dictatorship of honesty or ....I don't see any other way other than driving a kind of "French revolution". Any initiative within the actual system will be easily digested and eliminated by the system itself. That's what Italy is about....I left the country for this reason...willing to come back if I see the light! Thanks for what you are doing. Just my 2 cents to the cause. Ciao Carlo

Posted by: Carlo Biondolillo | April 4, 2008 01:22 AM


...he doesn´t even want to vote.

Yet he goes through all the trouble of contacting the consulate, the offices in his hometown and even Grillo. All this for something he doesn´t even care to do! Only because it hurts his feelings, poor thing!

You really can´t find anything better to do, huh!?

Posted by: S. Ferrari | April 4, 2008 01:22 AM


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