MARTINA LETS DOWN THE COAST
In the scramble to fill the gaps in the government team running Orihuela after the Constitutional Court ended the practice of using non-elected councillors to run government departments, Manuel Gallud of the Green Party, previously a non-elected councillor, moved up to an elected councillor post after the resignation of the number three on the Green Party electoral list. He had two conditions for accepting the post. One was that he could continue to work in Orihuela as a Dentist and that he should get an additional, full time highly qualified assistant (asesor) to help him. The condition that a full-time councillor post should be downgraded to a part-time post to enable him to continue to work as a Dentist was rejected by a majority vote in the Plenary in May. The Mayor, however, went ahead to decree this arrangement thereby risking being taken to court by the Popular Party for violating the procedures of local government law. Manuel Gallud as a part time elected councillor will be responsible for many of the most important jobs in the government - Budget and Finance, Commerce and Employment and Environment. The PP-CLARO opposition considered that these responsibilities more than justified a full time councillor.
In the press it was speculated that the condition for providing Mr. Gallud with a fully qualified assistant would be met by the post of the only remaining assistant to Martina Scheurer, Councillor for the Coast, being reduced from a full time to a part time position – Martina has not spoken about it but she lost one of her two assistant posts in the government reshuffle after the expulsion of Pedro Mancebo in February. Bob Houliston, C.L.A.R.O., argued that sacrificing half of the only remaining assistant post would downgrade the coast where in the previous PP government and when the new three-party government took office in 2011 there had always been two full time assistants to help the Councillor for the Coast, a position which should be one of the most important in the government. Bob Houliston was told in the council meeting that this would not be done but within a couple of days this is precisely what the Mayor decreed. SHAME ON MARTINA for not standing up for the coast and letting the needs of an Orihuela councillor overrule the needs of Orihuela Costa with a population equal to the size of Orihuela city and all sorts of deficiencies in services and infrastructure.