Danilo S. Furundžić, General Manager PE “Kikinda”: Realized goals with the care for each employee

Significant savings in the budget of the Municipality of Kikinda, achieved goals, care of employees, preparation of a system for construction of a water factory and other significant investments – are the priorities in the management of Danilo Furundžić, the Director of PE “Kikinda”, who in just seven months of its founding managed to justify the reform of public enterprises by consolidating the activities of the former five.

Taking over the director’s duties and changes in senior management always draw special attention. Due to the complex business conditions arose by entirely new mode of working since Danilo Furundžić‘s arrival at the management of PE “Kikinda,” we asked him about the status of companies and to assess the operations of the new company.

We are pleased with the operations of the PE “Kikinda” in the past seven months because a part of the goals we have set up by its formation have been fulfilled. The process of liquidation of four public companies and one agency was initiated, and savings in the budget of the Municipality of Kikinda of about 500 million dinars were realized. Previous enterprises had costs of 850, and the current company of 359 million dinars. For salaries, 236 million dinars were allocated, and currently we allocate 162.

From May to December, this company generated 220 million dinars of income.

JP “Kikinda” operates independently, and in 2016 we expect 360 million dinars of revenues, out of which 310 million are directly from communal activities, and 40 are other revenues. Considering that 10% of the funds will be spent on investments, local self-government will help us to further develop. Investments are divided into those that will help the system to function and into those intended for further development, which are to be realized for the first time. The most important investment in the next year is the construction of a water factory or the beginning of the second round of negotiations with KFW Bank which includes the preparation of the main project, pre-parcellation, adaptation of the sewerage network, so we expect to start the construction in 2018.

In addition to the investment for the construction of a water factory, which additional investments will PE “Kikinda” be pursuing in the upcoming period?

40 million dinars will be invested in the next year’s budget for the reconstruction of the market in the city centre. The concept of the Kikinda’s market is interesting to me as a citizen and as an architect. The market covers an area of 3,500 square meters and there was a project that would extend it to 10 thousand square meters, which is not justified, although the market position is very good. In the next year, the construction of a production hall is planned in the former PUC “6.oktobar” through a private-public partnership and the construction of a residential building in Mikronaselje in Block D. With the cooperation with the local self-government, we are about to complete the construction of the building in Block C2 and start building another building within this Block. There is also the arrangement of several industrial zones, the establishing of a Free Customs Zone for which we will develop an urban plan and edit the terrain for future users. We also plan to automate the chlorination of drinking water wells for which the future water factory will be closely linked to. The sewage pumping station in Cara Dušana Street, which was last invested in 1969, will be repaired. We are close to ending the reconstruction of the administrative building of PE “Kikinda”, the former building of PUC “6.oktobar” and during the following year we plan to completely renovate all facilities in the former Utility Company, and to put into operation the former “Nursery”, the building of the former City Directorate, the Agency for Agriculture and Small Economy.

Company development as a priority

All of our sectors have prepared the aims and activities that are necessary to be finalized in the next 10 years. We divided them into the most important, most urgent and critical ones, and then to those that will lead to improved billing and business operations, and the last ones that will lead to development. Depending on available funds, we determine when we will start certain activity development, and during the following year, the aforementioned are the most urgent ones. The biggest problem we encountered after taking over, was that the employees were not aware of available resources. For example, in the municipality we have more water meters than there are in our records and we invoice, or we have consumers that are not recorded – Furundžić notes.

Looking from the collection of payment perspective, are the first seven months showing there are grounds for optimism?

The inflows of PE “Kikinda” were initially 160 million dinars, out of which 123 were collected. Within the basic communal activities of water supply and sewerage, the collection with households is at the level of 80 percent, while it is slightly lower with legal entities. In the upcoming period, concrete measures will be taken which should reduce the percentage of outstanding accounts. In our other activities, the collection is satisfactory, and I would like to emphasize the collection at the market is at over 90%.

Since you have been managing PE “Kikinda”, a strong message has been sent to the public that there will be a turning point in business and towards consumers, primarily from the household category, but also towards the employees. Could you please explain what does the care of employees mean?

I am aware of the time we live in, but improving working conditions for each employee is my priority. When I was entrusted with this position in PE “Kikinda”, I accepted the responsibility and care for employees.  Also, I consider that the obligation of each manager is to take care of each organizational part that he is managing, but about the employees above all. My idea is to create a system that will function in such a way that every employee feels the humane atmosphere in the work environment.

Cooperation with the Trade Union, in this light, can be one of the most important pillars of care for employees. How do you see this dialogue to develop in the future?

I take the cooperation with the Union very seriously. When I was appointed as the Director of PE “Kikinda”, the representatives of the Trade Union were among the first ones I spoke with. We have agreed on some forms of cooperation in order to complement each other in employee care. It may still be early to talk about concrete actions and results, but soon we will see that the employee who does his job responsibly and honestly does not have to worry about his job in PE “Kikinda”.


Note for employees

I would like to encourage all employees to give themselves a chance by contributing to PE “Kikinda” reaching a high level of professionalism. Should we act this way, the results will not be visible for the company but also for every employee providing for his family by hard and honest work. This should be a personal interest, and the time will show whether the workplace at PE “Kikinda” was someone’s livelihood, or professionalism and proving oneself in the profession was a motive for pursuing the employment in such a system.