In this interview, Giuseppe Ferrante reflects on his time spent serving the Municipality of Palermo from 1995-2000 under Mayor Leoluca Orlando. He begins by explaining his personal background in the private sector prior to his appointment to the city government and describing the pervasive presence of the mafia in the city government and culture prior to the transformation of the 1990s. Ferrante discusses Mayor Orlando’s strategies to change Palermo. Orlando hired honest and hard-working employees, often from outside of political circles, as in the case of Ferrante, in order to eliminate the unprofessional culture that marked past administrations. Popular faith in the government and pride in the city soon returned to Palermo. Ferrante explains how his commercial, security, and traffic initiatives contributed to a turnaround in downtown Palermo, creating a safe and lively pedestrian area full of shops, markets, restaurants, bars, and cafés. His familiarity with the private sector as an entrepreneur informed his successful business-friendly policies. He also recounts his efforts to improve Palermo’s relationships with its sister cities around the world. Then he discusses the responsibilities of and working relationships among the members of the City Council before reflecting on the time of the Orlando administration. Although he says his term brought about positive change, he expresses disappointment with the governments that followed Orlando’s team.
Case Studies: Palermo Renaissance Part 1: Rebuilding Civic Identity and Reclaiming a City from the Mafia in Italy, 1993-2000; Palermo Renaissance Part 2: Reforming City Hall, 1993-2000; and Palermo Renaissance Part 3: Strengthening Municipal Services, 1993-2000
Giuseppe Ferrante served the Municipality of Palermo under Mayor Leoluca Orlando from March 1995 until April 2000. He worked primarily as both Commissioner of Productive Activities and of Tourism; however, his responsibilities were many and varied. He was also in charge of the municipal police department and information technology for the city administration, worked with the municipal service companies, and served more briefly as Commissioner of Traffic. Prior to his appointment to the city government, Ferrante worked exclusively in the private sector. He managed a clothing company with 200 employees and headed the Sicilian and youth chapters of the Confindustria, an Italian confederation of industrialists. In 1985, Ferrante started a Sicilian business magazine.