Jasna Gabric, Mayor of Trbovlje, Slovenia, since 2014
WORLD MAYOR 2018
Dedicated to women mayors
The 2018 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on women mayors who have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to their communities. The organisers wish to show what outstanding women mayors achieve all over the world. By doing so, they hope to encourage more women to contemplate a career in local government and run for political office. The women, who will be awarded the 2018 World Mayor Prize and other honours, will be role models for young women and, indeed, men everywhere. Qualities sought ||| Jasna Gabric, Mayor of Trbovlje, Slovenia, has been longlisted for the 2018 World Mayor Prize. ||| Vote for Mayor Trbovlje |||
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Mayor of Trbovlje (Slovenia)
Nominated by Andreja P., Slovenia:
Jasna Gabric is not only the youngest female Mayor elected in 2014 in Slovenia, but she is one of the most hard working women. She is very consistent. Her commitment is to reduce unemployment rate under 10%, when she became Mayor was more than 21%. But not only that, she is providing better life for all people in her town. She is a true fighter, with a lot of energy to change the living conditions in her town. She is not only strongly and passionately supported by her own community but also beyond her town. She is also active on EU lever, so she has wide look on different topics. She also strongly believes in equal opportunities, non-discrimination, in addition equality between men and women and freedom of speech.
Nominated by Leana T., Trbovlje:
Jasna Gabric is a good example of how a young person can successfully lead the city community. With her hard work, breakthrough project and heart the city raised again through and become economically strong. She also support sport activity of citizens and cultural projects. She is one of the few mayors who builds a multicultural community and respects all citiezens regardless their religion, color or persuasion.
Nominated by Jure, Slovenia:
Jasna came like a wind of change bringing optimism. She proved that with a positive thought and good ideas, the environment can be changed. Jasna set new criteria and new values. At work she is very successful, fast and and professional. She can make quick and responsible decisions and is a trustworthy colleague. With her work and dedication, the city of Trbovlje gained reputation and recognition.
Nominated by Alojz F., Trbovlje:
Mayor Gabric is a clear supporter, we have not had that yet. She is attentive, she is people, and she is trying to help everyone. Many times she is developing and awakening under her leadership.
Nominated by Frida F., Trbovlie:
Jasna Gabric was, as a woman and very young elected to the mayor, exposed to the great pressures of the competition, many people wanted to harm her, but she was all thoughtfully and decisively, but calmly resisted. She is very fair and honest, she always listens to people's problems and tries to help them. A lot of attention is also paid to helping and arranging the surrounding villages belonging to the municipality of Trbovlje. Under her leadership, Trbovlje has seen many changes and improvements, and people have been given the mayor, as we had not yet.
Nominated by Andrej, Trbovlje:
Young unspoilt mayor with knowledge and vision, how to transform forgotten less developed city and municipality on level of the most developed cities in Slovenia.
• She renovates worn out public infrastructure (roads, parks, pavements, cycle tracks
• She builds efficient team of co-workers on municipality office.
• She obtains some funds from European projects.
• She improves the conditions to build economy in municipality.
Nominated by Tomaz T., Trbovlje:
With her youth, enthusiasm and desire to work, Jasna Gabric; has made a radical change in the old mining town of Trbovlje. Her method of managing the city already gave excellent results in her first term of office. She was uncompromising when it came to projects, which her predecessors did not even dare to start. But Jasna managed to accomplish them. Positive changes and the development of the city are visible at every step. In the Central Sava Valley (in Slovene: Zasavje) we would say »hats off to such a mayor«.
Nominated by Uros, Trbovlje:
Jasna never sleeps, she is always at work. If there is a problem, she always finds the solution. Before she came in Trbovlje was very sleepy town with no dream. And than she come with such a positiv energy and start shaking the people minds so we could start dream again. She changed our city in to the better place.
Challenges for Trbovlje: In February 2016 Trbovlje was hit by a natural disaster, rocky avalanche on the main road to the city! People was caught in vehicles, there was no water, all communication was destroyed. It was nightmare. But she and her team solved the whole situation in only 40 day. We got new road, new communication lines, new water pipes, they solved the problem with the hill and avalanche.
Nominated by Zdenka, Trbovlje:
Je zupanja s srcem ki se posveca obcanom ne le mestnim tudi okoliskim krajanom. Obcino Trbovlje je predstavila v turisticni atrahtivni distinaciji. Kolesarske steze 4 dritl Perkmandlc Jamatlon Skok iz dimnika itd.
Nominated by Zoran G., Trbovlje:
Jasna is young, honest, fair, smart Mayor of Trbovlje who in almost four years made advanced progress of our town in all aspekts.
Challenges for Trbovlje: Decrease of unemployment, increase of cleanliness, the quality of living in Trbovlje is much higher for children (game centers, park), young and old habitants.
Nominated by Primoz B., Trbovlje:
Progress in the development of Trbovlje is visible at every step. Over the last 4 years, huge public infrastructure has been restored. The town has lost the appearance of the abandoned mining town and is becoming green and friendly to visitors. Employees in the municipal administration became accessible to citizens, who can influence the further development of Trbovlje. Excellent work so far with clear view into the future!
Nominated by Sean O’C., outside Slovenia:
Being elected Mayor in 2014 at the age of 29, Jasna Gabric; became the youngest female Mayor in Slovenia. Immediately at the beginning of her term, Ms Gabric; was confronted with multiple challenges. The municipality of Trbovlje, a former industrial town with a 200-year mining tradition, was experiencing enormous upheaval. The unemployment rate, in this city of 16.300, was 21%; there was little optimism among citizens; the organisation of tasks did not meet the current challenges; and sustainable mobility had never even been addressed. Mining and heavy industry had left their mark on the environment and the economy.
From then, until today, Jasna Gabric; has introduced several far-reaching changes to the life of Trbovlje, changes that touch upon administrative, socio-economic, energy and environmental aspects.
Administrative wind of change
At the beginning of her term, Ms Gabric; decided to reshuffle the administrative organisation, bringing in new staff, recruited according to merit, and implementing a number of organisational changes. She was aware that major reforms would be possible only with the support and cooperation of a good team.
Furthermore, wishing to implement innovative projects, the Mayor had to find reserves within the municipal budget, given that state funding of municipalities had been reduced in recent years, while expenditure on statutory social welfare had been increasing. Thanks to the above mentioned reorganisation of the municipality, its operations and its public institutions, she was able to make savings that were then channelled into development-related projects. In addition, the municipality has been successful in most of its applications for funding.
The Mayor also produced a short study, the aim of which was to demonstrate to the state authorities that the law on financing municipalities in Slovenia was outdated and was not keeping up with the challenges and needs of the municipalities. To that end, the municipality of Trbovlje asked the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia for a constitutional review of the law, with the application currently being examined as a priority.
Social and economic inclusion as a cornerstone for a brighter future
Ms Gabric; is a Mayor who is aware that contact with citizens is vital for an effective municipality. She makes the bottom-up approach her signature through measures such as:
• Being active on Facebook, where she herself regularly answers questions raised by citizens. She has introduced a Mayor-citizen contact point twice a month, where citizens can talk to her directly about their problems. In the first three years of the initiative, she has received more than 300 citizens (more than 100 per year);
• Attaching great importance to the harmony between different religious communities, and therefore feeling passionate about maintaining genuine contacts and cooperating with the two largest religious communities in the city, Christians and Muslims, she also meets with all representatives of religious communities at the town hall reception at the end of the year to talk about challenges, the lives of citizens and their views on the local community.
Under Ms Gabric's leadership, the town has revived twinning with cities in other countries in ex-Yugoslavia that had been dormant for 30 years, and she has also launched new twinning projects:
• In the 1960s and 1970s, the municipality of Trbovlje was twinned with the Serbian city of Lazarevac and the Macedonian city of Valandovo. Cooperation between them faded after 1988 but Ms Gabric; was determined to bring it back to life. She visited both cities and established contacts, while in 2017 an exchange project for children took part in an EU procedure and received funding. Thus, after 30 years, children will once again visit the cities in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and, in exchange, their families will host their counterparts in Trbovlje in 2018. By reviving this cooperation, the municipality wishes to promote the importance of intercultural dialogue between different nations and people of different religions, and to connect young people who come from different backgrounds, speak different languages and belong to different cultures.
• The municipality is also working with municipalities in Croatia, among them the municipality of Mali Losinj, on a project called "Mountain Bike World Cup", which is being organised by Trbovlje, and with the municipalities of Rijeka and Labin as well as the Slovenian municipality of Slovenska Bistrica on a project called "Inspiration".
The municipality of Trbovlje has been awarded a "Disabled-Friendly Municipality" certificate and named a "Child-Friendly City" by UNICEF. To honour these titles, the municipality has undertaken to carry out programmes and activities in relevant areas every year, aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable groups. During her term, the municipality has made visible progress also in the field of youth work and volunteering, receiving the "Youth-Friendly Municipality" and "Volunteer-Friendly Municipality" certificates.
Looking at the life-standard in Trbovlje, at the outset of her term of office, the economy was the biggest challenge, as the unemployment rate stood at 21%. Today, in 2018, that rate is 14%. Despite this fall, the municipality is aiming to get the unemployment below 10%. On taking office, the Mayor visited a number of small and medium-sized enterprises to discuss with them their suggestions for improving the economic situation. During her term:
* financial incentives worth EUR 100 000 have been offered each year to small and medium sized enterprises;
* she has secured funds for larger enterprises and their investments from the state within the framework of the Hrastnik-Radece-Trbovlje programme;
* in cooperation with the business community, two programmes were developed to apply for EU funds, aimed respectively at improving conditions in the industrial zone and launching a project to extend the space available for cutting-edge entrepreneurs and new technologies;
* one of the best performing Slovenian companies, Dewesoft, opened an entrepreneurial accelerator for start-ups in Trbovlje, which has become a prime example within Slovenia of young entrepreneurs being provided with full support to develop their entrepreneurial ideas;
* efforts have been made to encourage contacts within the business community, including by organising a get-together at the end of every year to meet and discuss current challenges.
Cleaner air and sustainable transport for a higher quality of lives
Ms Gabric; did not wait long to break with the old industrial tradition of the municipality and to initiate a transition to a healthier, more sustainable environment for her citizens. Hand in hand with representatives of civic initiatives, she drew up a future-oriented environmental policy.
The municipality has had to come to grips with the problem of PM10 particles, which has prompted the Mayor to actively search for solutions aimed at improving the air quality. In addition to carrying out projects in the field of sustainable mobility, the municipality started cooperating with the municipality of Lo˚ki Potok and the responsible ministry in order to develop filters for chimneys. The Mayor also actively took part in improving an offer published by the ministry. She ensured that the offer to co-finance purchases of new combustion heaters ensured that pensioners were also eligible for a 100% reimbursement of costs when purchasing the installations. Furthermore, the offer was adjusted so that the poorest citizens were able to obtain funding. In addition and under the Mayor‚s leadership, the municipality is expanding its hot water network with a view to reducing PM10 particles in the city.
Decisive steps were taken on the path towards sustainable mobility: drawing up a strategy for sustainable mobility, investing in the purchase of an electric vehicle, and installing electric charging stations in the town, while this year (2018) the first stretch of a cycling path is being created.
Related to this, and under the leadership of Ms Gabric, the main road into the city, which was over 60 years old, as well as other high-risk road sections in the city, are being renovated and urgently needed bus stops at dangerous road sections crossing school routes, have been installed. For example, a new bus line, named Terezncan, has been introduced, primarily for all those living in the hilly parts of the city who find it difficult to travel to the town centre to run errands.
Being and feeling safe at home
After being in office for only a year, the Mayor successfully tackled a major natural disaster ˆ a rockfall involving two 200-tonne rocks, which blocked the main road into the city and cut the water and electricity supply as well as telecommunications lines. Working together with colleagues and government services, she managed to resolve the situation in record time for such a complex operation: 40 days. In recognition for her work, the Mayor was awarded a bronze Civil Protection Award of the Republic of Slovenia.
In the area of security and dealings with the public, a safety panel has been set up at the municipality and public services dealing with road safety and crime (police, ambulance, schools, etc.) have been interconnected. As recognition for its approach in resolving safety issues and conducting related projects, the municipality received an award in 2018 for being the safest town in Slovenia in the category of small and medium-size municipalities (Slovenian Grand Security Award) from the Institute for Corporative Safety Studies.
Trbovlje, a municipality open to the rest of the world!
Ms Gabric; is a strong believer in European and international city diplomacy, sharing and learning best practice. Through her membership of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), she also exercises her possibility, as a mayor, to influence EU decision making, and she is the Coordinator for the ALDE group (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) in the European Committee of the Regions' Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC). In spring 2017, the ALDE group visited Trbovlje at her invitation to learn about the entrepreneurial accelerator for start-ups in Trbovlje, set up by Devesoft with support from the City Council.
In addition, at the CoR she is the co-chair of the Joint Consultative Committee JCC that the CoR has established with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The exchange of experiences between local politicians in the EU and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia plays an important role in preparing local authorities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for accession to the EU.
Jasna Gabric; holds the following additional functions in Slovenia:
- Vice-President of the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia
- Member of the national advisory group participating in the "Europe Goes Local" project
- Chair of the Regional Council.
Challenges for Trbovlje:
One of her challenges ahead, is to offer the citizens of Trbovlje high quality living conditions, offering an environment where people can fully develop their potential and where economic development will go hand in hand and be in harmony with the needs of the local community.
The Mayor is determined to bring the unemployment level down further below the 10% mark. This will be achieved by:
• continuing to support "Javna dela", a programme addressed to tackle unemployment, by providing short term employment within the public administration to people having been unemployed for a long time, in such areas as administrative tasks, gardening and assistance to pupils in schools;
• launching a project, worth over EUR 2 million, to develop the Nasipi industrial zone;
- embarking on the development of Industry 4.0 technologies in a new business incubator located on the premises of the company Papaja, which the municipality bought for this express purpose in 2018;
• continuing to upgrade the roads and pressing on with activities related to the construction of the tunnel, along with a connecting road to the motorway network, which will link the region of Zasavje with the rest of the country;
• promoting sustainable urban development projects;
• within the next five years she would like to construct a new industrial park on a former mining site to make way for new businesses and further cut unemployment;
• in 2019, the municipality will reduce the property tax rate (a compensation fee for building site use), which is among the highest of all Slovenian municipalities, with a view to lowering the cost for businesses;
•• The awards and certificates that the Mayor and Trbovlje have obtained show that the municipality has been increasingly successful in a number of different areas; she will strive to maintain and further improve this level of quality.
•• The city council will continue to implement sustainable mobility in urban development, expand the bicycle paths they began building in 2018, set up intermodal points, i.e. an electric bike rental network, implement programmes for better quality of life, rehabilitate degraded mining sites and turn them into the green lungs of the city with opportunities for quality leisure time for everyone.
•• Replacing the old pre-school centre that no longer meets the required standards with the construction of a new pre-school centre and thereby also addressing the shortage of places.
•• In 2018 the municipality made historic progress towards better connecting the region of Zasavje by road, i.e. by a motorway. Although the project was first discussed in the 1970s, it never made it past the discussions stage. Until now. In 2018, the municipalities of Prebold, Hrastnik and Trbovlje came together at the political level and made a commitment to embark on a joint project and provide the financing for its coordination. This was the first major step towards constructing a tunnel to the town of Prebold, along with a connecting road, which would improve road links between Zasavje and the rest of the country, and provide a huge shot in the arm to the region‚s development.
•• The Mayor and the city council are looking into carrying out more projects in the future to establish links with municipalities abroad, and to use EU funding for projects promoting tourism, ecology and sustainable development.