The public account is public information, according to law
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
During the last weeks of Mayor Nuñez’s administration, and before the beginning of Mauricio Trejo’s, several comments from the transition team emerged related to the behavior of the outgoing administration, which, according to them, did not provide useful information to the incoming administration regarding public accounting. For that reason, Trejo declared that San Miguel could face a financial fraud, and also said that the public account had not been updated since February of this year.
The municipal public account is a document managed by the Treasury Department; it reflects the management of public finances and contains the objective and clear financial information on the municipality. Through this document people can learn about incomes and expenses and how the money was invested. Federal and state laws and also the local regulations of transparency and access to governmental information state that the public account is a public document and must be published by the municipalities through any possible media. However, even though the laws stipulated it be published, the municipal government did not publish it or provide it to the transition committee. For that reason, the new treasurer, Jaime Labrada, requested it through a document addressed to former treasurer Oliverio Sánchez, who said that he would give an answer on Friday, October 5. But that never happened.
After Trejo’s declarations about the lacking public account and the possibility of a financial fraud, Luz María Núñez produced some documents related to the public account, in order to demonstrate that it had been updated monthly and sent to the state congress. Núñez said that they were only handing over the information required by law. Treasurer Labrada said that merely showing the front pages of the public accounting records does not prove anything and they cannot validate them because they did not disclose the contents of the entire document; they don’t even know whether it contains valid information. “We have to keep saying that there is no public account and we can think that there are not healthy finances because we did not receive the information,” said Labrada, who added that in the days to come they will decide whether an audit of the past administration is necessary to reconcile the financial information. The audit would be undertaken by an external firm in order to guarantee the public account is correct. The new government received the public account on October 10, during the first city council session, and it will be analyzed in the upcoming days.