Municipal comptroller dismissed from post
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Changes in the local administration continue. The most recent was the dismissal of the municipal comptroller, José García Beltrán, who was fired by the city council after announcing some irregularities in the leasing of the new patrol cars added to the Public Security and Traffic Departments.
The municipal comptroller is proposed to the city council by the party obtaining the second-highest number of votes in the municipal election, in this case the PAN party. The discord between the central administration and the municipal comptroller began when the city council did not approved the hiring of 10 more staff members for the comptroller’s department, personnel that were not necessary according to Mayor Mauricio Trejo. Later, in a city council meeting, it was decided that a commission would determine whether the additional personnel were necessary but the final decision would be made by Mayor Trejo. On February 14 the local government announced the leasing of 26 new vehicles for the Public Security and Traffic Departments. It was reported that the vehicles were leased at a monthly cost of 270,000 pesos and that in 30 months the leasing company would hand over to the administration 26 new vehicles at a cost of one peso each.
On February 19, the municipal comptroller and three PAN city councilors said that the administration leased the vehicles without authorization from the expenditures committee and did not publish a call for bids, thereby failing to follow article 193 of the Municipal Organic Law. The same day, in a private city council meeting, with nine votes, including one from a member of the PAN party in addition to votes from the mayor and the assistant mayor, the municipal comptroller was dismissed from his post. He was reportedly removed for infractions including denying information to the city secretary, mistreating personnel, being absent from his office during working hours and having personnel in the office who were not part of the administration, among others.
The local PAN committee supported the decision by the city council, but the state PAN committee did not, stating that a democracy is built with constructive criticism. Three of the four PAN city councilors announced that they will start legal proceedings against Mayor Trejo because of the removal of García Beltrán. With regard to the leasing of patrol vehicles, Jaime Labrada, the municipal treasurer, said that “the leasing was done according to the regulations and current procedures, and that will be demonstrated to the authorities.” Luis López Chávez is currently the acting comptroller.