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Political disagreement in the local administration

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

The PAN (National Action Party) city councilors in a press release said that “Mauricio Trejo does not want to be observed by the auditing department.” The city treasurer, however, said that “we will not fire the personnel from the auditing department to hire new people.”  The municipal comptroller indicated that the personnel who are working temporarily in that department and currently do not have a contract will continue working as usual and he would not prohibit them from using municipal equipment or resources. Mauricio Trejo commented that the municipal comptroller must take advantage of his staff.

The city council has not yet approved the hiring of the seven new staff members for the auditing department who have been proposed by the municipal comptroller, and for that reason the PAN city councilors circulated a press release in which they formulated several questions for Mayor Trejo, going so far as to say that Trejo does not want to be audited.

According to the document, Article 139 of the Organic Municipal Law states that the municipal comptroller has the right to propose hiring staff that he trusts to work with him.  The city council respected the law and personnel were hired on a temporary basis to work from October 10 to December 31 of last year, but they are still on the job without a contract or an official position. According to the press release they have not been paid since the beginning of this year but they have continued working because Trejo asks for results. City councilor Gabriela Rodríguez said that the day after the press release was issued the personnel from the auditing department were barred from entering the building by orders from the assistant mayor, José Luis Chagoyán.

Later, the municipal treasurer, Jaime Labrada, said in a press conference that the local government would not fire anyone from the auditing department because they could sue and the administration could lose a lot of money. Supposedly the municipal comptroller had the intention of removing the whole staff of that department (10 people) and hiring people of his choosing. “All of them deserve to keep working so they have an income. They will not be fired. I know some of them and I know that they are capable of doing a good job,” said the treasurer.

José García Beltrán, the comptroller, said that the personnel who were working in that department when he arrived knew that they were not going to be fired. “I made a proposal to relocate them in the administration so I could hire people that I trust, but I never said I would fire them,” added the comptroller. Beltrán said that the proposal was that if the administration would not relocate the personnel that seven additional people of his choosing be hired. According to Beltrán, he needs more people in that office because of the sizeable budget of the administration this year (close to 800 million pesos). “There are more financial resources to be audited, and I have the impression that the administration does not want that,” said Beltrán.

Assistant Mayor Chagoyán addressed a document to Beltrán suggesting that the personnel without a contract should not be using municipal equipment or have access to public information, but Beltrán said that he would not accept the suggestion because Chagoyán is not his boss, the city council is, and if there is not an agreement from the city council prohibiting the personnel access to equipment and information he will not fire them from the office.

About the whole situation Mayor Trejo said, “As a businessman, I can say that comparing a private company and a public administration, a private company works with a third of the staff that the public administration does. In the case of the auditing department I would improve the process first by reorganizing the area and taking advantage of the personnel we have. After that, if necessary I would hire just one more person, and if that was not enough I would hire a second, but one by one. I am an administrator and the key is to do more with fewer human and financial resources. It is not bad to ask for more personnel, but currently we have not even collected 10 percent of our total budget.” Trejo said that the document published by the city councilors does not have a factual basis.

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