Lucy Núñez’s last week as mayor
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Every three years, on October 9 the local administration in San Miguel comes to an end. Before concluding her three-year term as mayor, Luz María Núñez Flores talked to Atención about her main achievements and what is left to be done. She talked not only about her good decisions but also about her mistakes; based on that, she herself graded her administration as an 8 on a scale from 1 to 10. Her main mistake, she said, was the election of her directors, and her best decision was making citizens the protagonists of her administration. Finally, she talked about her future plans, including the possibility of future political positions.
The first female mayor
On July 5, 2009, with more than 27,000 votes Luz María Núñez Flores was elected by sanmiguelenses as the first female mayor of the municipality. In an exclusive interview with Atención, Núñez said she would be remembered for forming the first citizens’ government and for being the first female mayor. She added she would also be remembered for restoring the old city hall building, which is one of the most important buildings in Mexico, having been the site where the first independent city council was formed, and also for the foundation of the House of the European Union in San Miguel. “I would like to be remembered for fostering social organization from within the government,” she said.
Good decisions and bad
According to Núñez, the mayor is the politician who is closest to the citizens, and for that reason he or she bears the responsibility for the good and bad decisions of an administration. “I am human, and like any other person and I have made mistakes” she said, although she said she always tried to do a lot with just a little. “We wanted to achieve the greatest benefit for the citizens,” she said.
Nuñez said that she is proud of restoring an administration that was in bankruptcy and inoperative when she took it over, and because three years later she is handing over an administration with healthy finances that are well organized. She said that during her administration the citizens were the protagonists. “We fostered social participation and made decisions along with sanmiguelenses,” she said. Another achievement she mentioned was the democratic election of rural representatives who were trained to know how to initiate proceedings within the administration, which helped “make the most of the money we had,” she said.
Núñez commented that among the other achievements of her administration were beneficial programs for social development, citing the example that more than 350 rural communities and neighborhoods were improved with sidewalks, schools, houses, wells and roofs, among other benefits. And she commented that in almost 80 percent of those communities the inhabitants commented that in the last 10 or 15 years no other mayor had visited their communities. Another good decision, according to Nuñez, was the creation of the Instituto Municipal de la Juventud (Municipal Institute for Youth), which was in keeping with her goal of leading a government with social responsibility and sensitivity.
Núñez commented that her biggest mistake was the election of some of her directors, because she considered their academic preparation over their sensitivity or dedication to public service. “But those errors are not just mine—they were shared by the city councilors who voted in favor of the directors,” said Núñez. During her administration, around seven directors were removed from their positions, among them the director of Urban Development, Eduardo Arias, who according to Núñez “generated many problems for the municipality, such as the McDonald’s case, or the second story on calle San Francisco. Although he had the will to work, he did not have enough knowledge about his functions. For that reason, the municipal government is still trying to fix errors from public servants who were academically prepared but did not know how to do their work.” She also commented that the public servants not only in this administration but in the next must be sensitive and willing to work for the benefit of the residents of San Miguel.
Mayor Nuñez remarked that the case of the “duck” construction in Colonia Allende is not an error of her administration, but that some laws governing construction are poorly written. She also said that whether she is mayor or not, she opposes the construction of the “duck.” On the matter of the former “Glorieta de los Héroes” which will soon be reinaugurated as “Glorieta de los Conspiradores,” she said, “We made a horrible mistake, and we have to acknowledge it.”
What remains to be done?
Núñez said that she is proud to live in a city appointed as a World Heritage site, “but this city will always be two San Miguels: the one of the rich and the one of the poor, which does not appear on the covers of magazines, but exists.” She acknowledged that in her administration some municipal employees’ needs were not satisfied, not enough jobs were created, and rather than loving their work many employees just worked for the paycheck. Although she achieved approval for the Code for Ecological Management, the Code for Territorial Management has yet to be approved, but it is in an advanced stage of development.
Do sanmiguelenses like their mayor?
In 2009, more than 25,000 sanmiguelenses did not vote for Luz María Núñez and did not have a good opinion of her. On this matter, Núñez said, “I am not a gold coin; obviously there are people who did not like me, but I convinced them with facts. Currently, when I am on the streets, people talk to me with lots of love and gratitude for the work that I have done to improve the city. They say that San Miguel is a secure city and also it is beautiful.” She also commented that she has not been confronted by citizens “treating me as a thief or a dishonest person.” She acknowledged “I have made mistakes, like everyone. There may be people who do not appreciate me as a person, but they appreciate the work that has been done. The opinions of the citizens count most.”
Núñez leaves office next Tuesday. She owns the local TV station Canal 4 and once her administration is over, she will work on developing programming for the channel. She said that the current governor is fostering an important citizens’ agenda and in that sense “we will be integrated to keep working on social participation in the northern zone of the state.” Núñez said that her best moment as mayor was when she was sworn in and saw her entire family united at the city hall. The worst moment was the only day when she did not go to work, the day when one of her collaborators betrayed her. “It was very painful for me,” she said. She added that she has not dismissed the possibility of running for future public offices.
A municipality with healthy finances
Recently, the incoming mayor, Mauricio Trejo, declared that the municipality did not have updated public accounting records, which is one of the most important duties of the mayor so that the income and expenses of the administration can be known. Because of this, Trejo claimed, San Miguel could face the biggest financial fraud in its history.
Núñez, in an interview, showed documents that proved that the public accounting is updated and the information has been sent monthly to the state congress. She responded, “Those statements don’t make sense and only reflect a total ignorance,” pointing out that she would have been reprimanded by financial overseers or the congress if public accounting reports had not been delivered.
Trejo also claimed that the current administration is providing them only “superficial” information in the transition process. On that matter, Núñez commented that they are handing over just the information permitted by law, and after October 10 Trejo has the responsibility of starting an audit of her government.