The mayor of Santos city, Paulo Alexandre Barbosa, allowed an interview to The Winners, in which he reveals several initiatives promoted by the city, that since 2013 – beginning of his management –, went through wide changes. Among the accomplishments of his political mandate there’re: creation of mechanisms for financial balance, transparency commitment, implementation of health public politics with the use of technological resources, urban mobility improvements, partnerships with private initiative, expansion of monitoring public roads by a greater patrolling coverage on the streets. Follow the interview
The Winners – You were re-elected with about 80% of the votes during a serious financial crises. How did you achieve this historical mark during such a turbulent period?
Paulo Alexandre Barbosa – The result of the polls is the public recognition of a work that started a lot before the elections, more precisely in January 1st of 2013. On the first day that we took office, our first act was to sign the decree that established Programa Eficiência Total (Total Efficiency Program), with several economic measures and tax planning. During the same year, Programa Participação Direta nos Resultados – PDR (Direct Profit Sharing Program – PDR), that pays bonus to the servers for meeting economic goals, improvement of public services and administrative efficiency. With finance balance, it was possible to go through the major financial crises of the country, without delaying salaries, amplifying the attendance and still investing in strategic constructions for the city, such as the accomplishment of health units, sportive equipments, reference centres of assistance, bike paths among other works.
TW – How to stimulate the public machine to improve performance by doing more and with quality?
PAB – The meritocracy is what boosts the public machine. The PDR is a good example. We started in 2014 with 7 secretaries and then it was extended to all government, establishing management contracts with indicators and goals to be accomplished. All is done with full transparency. The monthly results of performance of each secretary can be accompanied by Portal Indicameta (www.santos.sp.gov.br/indicameta). We still have the Efficiency Ranking that shows the performance of each secretary. We have to pay, in February around R$ 9 million in awards for the servers. An efficient management is the one that recognises and values the individual effort of your team. Everyone ends up winning, especially the population.
TW – Is efficiency the watchword of public authority?
PAB – More than one word is the oxygen for the public authority. It’s a challenge that requires perseverance and control instruments. In recognition to its highly effective work in public authority, Santos was selected by Comunitas for developing projects that can be replicated in other cities of the country. This partnership allowed training servers, to introduce new management models to improve our indicators. Santos is leading the Effective Raking of the State Court of Accounts, of a total of 644 cities. In two years, we had four awarded projects by the Ministry of Transparency and General Comptroller’s Office. In the last evaluation of the Federal Public Prosecutor, Santos received 10 score in the Transparency Portal, it proves that transparency walks holding hands with efficiency.
TW – How the technology is contributing to improve the management in your city?
PAB – In the first election campaign, our motto was to take care, innovate and move forward. It’s starting from the innovative technology that we can take better care of the most needed people and move forward with public politics. Today, for example, we’ve integrated the patients chart to a wide fully computerised database. Regardless of the unit in which the patient goes to see a doctor, this doctor can access the electronic medical record. We’ve finish with thousands of papers that were manipulated in each query. Other successful initiative was the system of digital processes. There are already more than 100 processes in this segment, with more than 160 thousand opened with this system. The time of a supplier request of registration, decreased from 119 days to approximately one week, The economy is already above R$ 2 million.
TW – How the partnerships are assisting the management?
PAB – The partnerships are essential to minimize the impacts of the crises and to guarantee the investments needed for the population. Without spending even one cent from the public safes, we managed funds from private initiative to refurbish theatres, to take care of the maintenance of public spaces and still to built health units, polyclinics, schools, welfare equipments, training centers and technology and even a popular restaurant that serves lunch for R$ 1 and the breakfast for R$ 0.50 cents. The major part of this private investment, result of a compensation law which we created for companies that perform works with impact in the city.
TW – Is urban planning a need of all big cities, how to plan and execute measures at the same time, that is how to change the car wheel with it in motion?
PAB – Santos invested in an urban planning that promotes the economic development without compromising the quality of life that is the main heritage of the city. A good example is the Veículo Leve sobre Trilhos (light vehicles on rails), work that went live after almost 30 years. We have the first VLT of Brazil, sustainable modal and integrated with public transportation. We expanded the bike paths with almost 50Km of extension. The Bike Santos, bicycle sharing program, is the national record in trips, beating Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. When we started the management there was no bus with air conditioning and complimentary internet, and nowadays 100% of them have Wi-Fi and 70% have AC. Until 2020 all of them will have these features.
TW – Is facilitated mobility the main attractive for locals and tourists?
PAB – One third of everything that is produced in Brazil passes by Santos port. There are millions of trucks around the city, and that compromises the local traffic from Santos, the access of tourists and the country economy. There are billions of reais lost because of the high volume of car traffic. This is the reason why we invested in the biggest mobility project of the history of Santos. It is around R$ 700 million that we seek funding and partnerships with the government of Sao Paulo state to execute draining works, buses highways, bridges and viaducts. Only the Union, until now, did not make viable the port access work. When everything is ready, the traffic chaos at the entrance of the city due to the floods generated by rainy days, will be over.
TW – You started an unreleased work in regards to environmental matters, to combat the erosion of a stretch of the beach. How are the results of this work?
PAB – Santos is part of Projeto Metrópole, initiative that involves international researchers that study the global phenomenon of tide elevation. One of the effects is the increase of the beach erosion. The choice of the city is due to an extensive database of the town hall. The resources were managed with Public Ministry due to compensation per environmental damage, meaning that, they were cost effective. There was no cost for the city neither for the project nor for the implementation.
TW – Are the results as expected?
PAB – In this first phase, we placed bags in a stretch of the beach. In a short period of time, we already managed to recover a small strip of the sand that was taken by the sea. Is a long term project and is being followed by a specialist from Unicamp and teachers from international Universities.
TW – Issues that affect all majors in Brazil: health and safety. What is the priority in the health segment?
PAB –The health was taken as a priority with 10 new polyclinics for basic assistance and three new units of emergency assistance. One is already working since 2015 in a partnership with Fundação Lusíada that funded the building construction. The second will be delivered in January, meanwhile the third on the second semester of 2019. Another innovation was the first competition for hiring commissioned positions in the health segment. The hiring was done by a specialised company that recruited candidates from all over Brazil and abroad.
TW – On health, the indicators improved a lot, specially, on child mortality. How is it possible?
PAB – We managed to improve a lot on this segment. We created, the Programa Mãe Santista, with several initiatives to accompany the pregnancy. We have a school for moms, courses, activities, queries; we offer transportation vouchers, all the conditions for the mothers to have the best assistance possible during birth time. We implemented, the Estivadores Hospital, a big complex that assists maternity, with more than 200 births per month, in partnership with Oswaldo Cruz Hospital, in Sao Paulo. All the expertise, the technology and the specialist’s team contribute to our work in the maternity. This initiative had positive outcome with the decrease of child mortality. We reached the lowest level in the history; we are with 9 cases for 1 thousand that were born alive, a lot lower than the national average and the lowest level in the history of the city.
TW – Santos is known as one of the most safe cities in Brazil, within the ones with more than 100 thousand habitants. Where the investment should be focused?
PAB – Safety is ensured with police on the streets. Therefore, we installed initiatives like Atividade Delegada that allows the payment for policeman that work in their free time, using uniform and cars that are part of the corporation; we expanded the Guarda Municipal, with the major contest of the history, hiring 150 new professionals. Therefore, we increased the presence of patrolling around the cities and besides that we created a monitoring system with cameras throughout the city. We are approximately 188 cameras in 2013, and nowadays, there are more than 1.100, that allows a fast response and effective response to all crime occurrences. Security factor is very important when choosing a location to live. On that record we are performing very well. Santos has been elected the best Brazilian city to live for two consecutive years.
TW – Is monitoring a solution for the safety issue?
PAB – We made progress with the monitoring by using cameras to consolidate an intelligence centre. We are implementing the Centro de Controle Operacional (Operational Controlled Center) that will work as the brain of the city. In it, we’ll have several sectors and governmental agencies as police, CET and Samu acting together in the same space for the solution of daily basis problems causing a less impact in the city. In case of accidents the police are informed at the same time as the health emergency services (ambulances) and CET and they all act to solve the situation simultaneously.
TW – As well as other Brazilian cities Santos has regions that are more needy, what is the strategy to assist these people and to develop them, not only for transferring income?
PAB – The strategy is to invest in areas of greater vulnerability. Only public investments assist to reduce social differences. Santos is the only city in the state, except from the capital, that will count with four Bom Prato restaurants, all of them near regions with low Human Development Index. Besides the mentioned service, we created new structures to assist new habitants of these regions and to develop their competences, especially to incentive empowerment and protagonist. Those equipments installed in the neediest communities, developing sports, recreation but focusing as well in training for them to also seek for their own income, they are called Vilas Creativas, that develop economy segments as cinema, gastronomy, music, beauty, allowing them to start generating their own income by working on their abilities.
TW – The city of Santos will be the headquarter of The Unesco World Congress of creative economy. Hows the preparations?
PAB – Santos is one of Unesco’s creative cities on cinema, regarding quantity of production, festivals, leasing and structure relative this sector. On a dispute with over 200 cities, Santos was elected to host this congress that will happen for the very first time in Latin America. It’s an opportunity to amplify the exchange of information, to learn with other cities about their best practices and to expose what we produce over here, we will work to make a great event. We want to show how locals from Santos innovate and make a difference to change people’s life. After all Santos on 2020 will be the world capital of Creativity.