Paraná TV Second Edition. Originally broadcasted on March 15th, 2010
March, 16th 2010 | Karlos Kohlbach, Katia Brembatti, James Alberti and Gabriel Tabatcheik
Although the role of the Assembleia Legislativa do Paraná (Legislative Assembly of the State of Paraná) is essential and confers transparency to the public power, the legislature treats its documents in an obscure way. Besides keeping all files under lock and key (no copies can be found for consultation at library of the House), the Assembly created a new way to publicize its procedures: using single page daily files.
These documents are not numbered and don’t follow any chronological order; they have no type of sequence that could be used for an audit – which makes it possible for irregularities to become “legal”. These printings show only the date they were published. It’s quite common to verify that the dates match the dates of numbered official daily files, though. In other words: on the same day, two daily files are publicized – one is numbered, the other isn’t.
More than half (56.7%) of all official acts of the Assembly from 2006 to 2009 – which include nominations, exonerations and managerial decisions – is published in single page daily files, if publicized at all.
The existence and regular publication of such single page daily files was unveiled by Gazeta do Povo and RPCTV, that consulted more than 700 official daily journals published by the legislature in the State of Parana from 1998 to March, 31st 2009 – date that the House’s payroll was made public for the first time in history.
Acts and procedures about staff turnover are precisely the most frequent subject on single page publications. Since 2006, more than 3,000 decisions hiring or dismissing staff were publicized, being 1,000 out of this total divulged though single page daily journals. That is, at least one out of each three hirings or dismissals was divulged in unnumbered editions. While the numbered official journals contain an average of 10 names per edition in the unnumbered ones this number goes up to 65.
The existence of parallel documentation in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana was classified as “surprising” by Constitutional and Administrative lawyers consulted by Gazeta do Povo. In their opinion, this constitutes clear evidence of violation of the principles of public management publicity and personality.
José Vicente Santos de Mendonça, PhD and Law professor at Fundação Getulio Vargas, says that the systematic publication of single page journals is “outrageous.” He argues that any extra publication can only be published if there is a clear justification. “The public institutions must be managed in public”, says Mendonça. The lawyer outlines that the publicity is a basic requirement for the efficiency of the public actions, and that not disclosing them can compromise the validity of the documents.
José dos Santos Carvalho, author of the famous Manual de Direito Administrativo (Administrative Law Handbook), emphasizes that the law demands that all state acts must be publicized. “Even knowing nobody reads it, this information must be available in case someone decides to consult it”, says the author. Carvalho Filho states that publishing single page diaries can only happen in case of emergency. “This can’t happen for any ordinary reason: if it does, the society won’t be able to monitor what’s going on. It’s not an acceptable model of Assembly daily file.”
The publication of single page files is an exclusivity of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana. At least if we consider the most important Legislative Houses in Brazil. Even in the Senate, which daily journal was said to be polemically associated to secret acts last year, there is no publication of single page files. The Senate’s print house director, Florian Madruga, satirizes the possible existence of single page secret files. “Every single publication must be numbered. If it doesn’t have numbers, it can’t be filed nor controlled”.
“Time machine” foresees admissions
Besides the unnumbered single page files, another situation that can frequently be seen in the Assembly daily files also draws attention: the heads of the House can retroactively hire or dismiss people, going months and even years back in time – a sort of an act notarization “time machine”. Such mechanism also foresees admissions, as if the person in charge of the publication could guess when an employee would be hired or dismissed.
A fine example is the hiring of Elizandra Polak Luvizotto, published in the Assembly daily file #24, on March, 26th 2008. It could be just another ordinary act of the executive clerks of the Assembly nominating a server to assist the coordination of the House ceremony.
However, the date of the nomination, when Luvizotto should start working, is registered as being June, 6th 2001. In other words, she was retroactively hired seven years prior to the date she was supposed to start working. During all this time, Luvizotto didn’t have her nomination formalized.
The case gets even worse: no numbered (official) daily files contain her dismissal. However, her name is not shown in the House payroll made public last year. If she is still in payroll, her name was concealed. If she was fired, the act remains secret.
If going back in time seems absurd, the daily files also report “future admissions”. That’s the case of Sandra Beatriz Formighieri Niederauer, whose nomination for the office of the state representative Caíto Quintana was published in Assembly daily file on February, 14th 2006. The act, however, was signed by Hermas Brandão, president at the time, only in December 2006, 11 months after it supposedly happened.
According to José Vicente Santos Mendonça, from FGV, this type of situation raises suspicion. “A nomination that happens one year after it’s published has no value. One thing is not publishing an act, but this is a plain and systematic irregularity.”
“Bicho do Paraná”(Local Thing)
Among all the Legislative Houses in Southern and Southeastern Brazil, only the Legislative Assembly in the State of Parana publicizes unnumbered editions of Assembly daily files.
Rio Grande do Sul
All editions, even when extra, are numbered
The files are numbered. There are no single page unnumbered files.
There are no single page unnumbered files.
Rio de Janeiro
All publications respect the same numbers used in the Official State Daily Journal