Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
Provincial office of city affairs
The organisation of the local administration at Galaţi during the 19th and early 20th centuries involved an important role for municipal councils. In 1830 the Russian authorities imposed an Urban Commission (Comisia orăşenească), made up of three members, appointed to look after the good order of the town, to draft projects for its development and embellishment, and to administer the local budget. In December 1831, according to the provisions of the “Organic Statutes”, the administration of the town was taken over by a Municipal Council (Sfat Municipal), made up of three members: Petrache Altântovici, Iordachi Mantu, and Ioan Simionovici, whom the central authorities recognised only with some delay, as all three were foreign subjects. Since 1833, the institution was called the Urban Ephorate (Eforia orăşenească), composed of three members, supported by a secretary, two civil servants, and a scribe. The members were elected for a term of one year and were not remunerated. The Urban Ephorate was entrusted with administering the budget, protecting the town’s trade and securing the proper supply of local markets.
A major administrative reform, introduced after the creation of modern Romania by the union of the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859, was regulated by the “Communal Law” of 1864, which organised Galaţi with the rank of urban commune. The public administration was led by a Communal Council (Consiliu communal), and the actual management was entrusted to a mayor (primar). The Communal Council had 15 members in cities with a population between 30,000 and 50,000 inhabitants, but the number of councillors grew with the increase of the urban population and by subsequent changes of the law. Councillors were elected for a term of four years, and half of them were renewed every two years by ballot.
Subsequent regulations modified several of these provisions, so that by the end of the 19th century things were slightly different. The communal organisation was made up of the mayor and three deputies, all four elected from among the 27 members of the Communal Council. According to the electoral system, the councillors were voted into two electoral colleges, 14 at the first college and 13 at the second one. A huge number of persons occupied these positions, also due to the political instability at a local and central level (there were 46 terms of mayor at Galaţi over a period of half a century, 1864–1914).
 Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 347–348.
 Ibid., 348.
 The text of the Communal Law of 1864 is available at the address http://lege5.ro/Gratuit/heztqmzv/legea-nr-394-1864-pentru-comunele-urbane-si-rurale.
 Moise N. Pacu, Cartea judeţului Covurluiu. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice, (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891), 302–303.
The Communal Law of 1864:
Official site of the Municipality of Galaţi
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.
Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).
Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).