The mayor, left, enjoys a winter holiday in Canada. The mayor, left, enjoys a winter holiday in Canada.

Mayor travels abroad while staff go unpaid

Municipal staff in Chiapas capital have not yet received their full year-end bonus

While the mayor of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, was enjoying a family holiday in Canada, his staff were left waiting for overdue year-end bonus payments.

Photos posted to social media show Fernando Castellanos Cal y Mayor and his mother standing outside a Four Seasons hotel and his wife and two daughters frolicking in the snow.

Municipal staff told the newspaper Reforma that their contract with the Castellanos administration stipulates that their aguinaldo, or year-end bonus, should be 45 days.

Before leaving Castellanos paid them only 15 days, saying that most of their bonus would not be paid until January. The move triggered a series of protests last month.

The law stipulates the bonuses are to be paid by December 20.

News of the mayor’s travel triggered renewed protests by dissatisfied municipal staff and several social organizations, who demanded Castellanos’ impeachment, based on his alleged failure to carry out several public works projects.

As well, some municipal government suppliers said the administration was in arrears with them.

Just last month Castellanos, a member of the Ecologist Green Party of México (PVEM), was criticized for tagging along on the campaign trail of José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, the presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Castellanos joined several rallies at times when constituents felt he should have been at his desk.

It is not the first time that the mayor’s travels have raised eyebrows back home. In July, he traveled to Santiago, Chile, for an international congress on local governance and intelligent cities.

In 2009, when he was the state leader of his party, Castellanos was arrested in the Tuxtla Gutiérrez airport after he was found in possession of 1 million pesos in cash.

It was revealed by finance officials last month that his municipality is the most indebted in Chiapas, owing more than 375 million pesos (US $19 million).

Source: Reforma (sp)
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