Letter from the Mayor of Hajnówka to the residents Hajnówka Wita September 6, 2023



Dear All,

active participation of residents in social media is an increasingly common form of expressing opinions about the issues that are going on in the city. Often, on the basis of content from the broadly understood Internet, we consolidate our view on various matters, evaluate people, decide on choices or stop expressing interest. It’s a sign of the times. I do not use popular platforms myself, but I know many people for whom what they read and publish in social media is important, it is a form of contact with the world, a source of knowledge or an opportunity to express themselves on various topics. Unfortunately, more and more often there is a situation of publishing unverified, untrue information in social media, resulting from interpretation, own subjective judgment, often based on dislike of specific people. The media hype created at that time, filled with malicious and mocking comments, is for some a place of games and great fun, for others it is associated with mental suffering and fear for their safety. The authors of the posts are proud of themselves, they stimulate the exchange of comments, without thinking that by hitting one specific person, they hurt others.

Such a situation has been taking place in Hajnówka for many months. We are witnessing merciless attacks on the activities of the city office related to the implementation of the “Hajnówka ReNewal – Green Transformation” project. Information full of manipulation appears in social media, suggesting illegal activities, collecting undue remuneration. There are even legends in the city about the salaries of officials responsible for the project. I would like to categorically deny them: Every zloty was spent as intended!

I am very surprised by the reluctance of the residents of Hajnówka to remunerate the employees of the office adequately to the actions taken. What drives those who write these critical and mocking comments? Did any of the authors of these posts, instead of writing about Byzantium, come and get acquainted with the course of a typical day of an employee responsible for the timely implementation of the project? Did he count how many phone calls a day employees of the office make, how many messages they reply, how many meetings they participate in, how many pages of regulations and regulations they have to know on an ongoing basis, what problems they encounter every day, how many reports, summaries, project information they have to develop, prepare, send ? Would any of the attackers take on additional duties without pay? The inspections carried out so far have not revealed any irregularities, the reports have been approved, the ongoing implementation of the project is positively assessed by the Program Operator. But this good assessment did not come by itself. It is the result of hard work and above-average commitment. I would like to emphasize that assembling the team was not easy. We searched for employees for a long time, due to the lack of candidates, we had to repeat the competition procedures. These people undertook to work in the office not for me, the mayor of the city, but for you, in order to create the best living conditions for you. All awards were paid for the work performed, in accordance with the terms of the Program, in accordance with the project budget.

Do you remember where this project came from? The city of Hajnówka was included in the list of 122 small and medium-sized cities losing their socio-economic functions, a list prepared by a team of scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences, led by Professor Przemysław Śleszyński. Unfortunately, we took the infamous second place, which means that the loss of the function of the city is a big problem, threatening permanent marginalization. Thanks to the project, we have a chance to change that. For the first time, the city received such large funds for development. The project is demanding, difficult to implement, specific, because it is fragmented into over 70 parts. I have already said several times that we have not implemented such a project in the city yet. The New Development Path for the City of Hajnówka is not a mayor’s project, it is a project of the city and residents, for the city and for residents. If you feel the need to discuss each action in detail, if you suffer from a lack of information, you do not understand the provisions of the programme, individual budget items or the scope of projects are not clear, then please give me a signal. If necessary, cyclical information meetings about the project will be launched. Everyone will be able to come, ask, find out. The voice and involvement of residents is important in this project. Publishing out-of-context, excerpted fragments of responses to requests for access to public information on social media and making insinuations that are harmful to office employees is an action against the city. If you have critical comments about my mayorship, please contact me directly. Ideas regarding the New Path of Development and declarations of joining the Hajnówka project – ReNewal Zielona Transformacja will be welcome in the development paper. I am asking you to popularize the project, promote its results, encourage and not discourage change. We received PLN 16 million non-refundable, which does not mean unconditionally. Let’s use them for the good of the city.

Jerzy Sirak

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