Aguero on the campaign trail. Agüero on the campaign trail.

Musical mayor cancels free programs, lays off staff after losing election

Jiutepec politician touted free services during his campaign

The musical mayor of Jiutepec, Morelos, lost his reelection bid on July 1 and appears to have been peeved by the results.

Following José Manuel Agüero Tovar’s loss at the polls in Morelos’ second largest municipality there has been a massive layoff of non-unionized municipal workers and the suspension of his administration’s free public services and social programs.

Those programs were highlighted last May in a promotional video online in which Manolo, as the mayor is known, leads a choreographed dance routine with children, men and women of all ages and a clown.

The emphasis of the video is a long list of his administration’s achievements, all of which were free: garbage collection, shoes and school supplies for children, public transportation, scholarships, medical examinations and parks.

Continuing those free services and programs became Agüero’s campaign promises.

On election day, close to one-third of the voters — more than 27,000 — chose to stick with Manolo but it wasn’t enough to beat the Together We Will Make History coalition candidate, Rafael Reyes Reyes, who received more than 38,000 votes, or 46%.

One week later, Agüero suspended the free solid waste collection service, announcing there would be a charge of 50 pesos per garbage can and four pesos per garbage bag.

He also fired 300 non-union municipal staff, allegedly for not supporting his reelection campaign.

That was the accusation made by one of the fired employees, Ana Luisa Méndez Corona, who worked for 18 months in the municipal water department. She was laid off on July 3, two days after the election.

She told the newspaper El Universal that her firing was part of a “political vendetta.” Non-unionized workers like her, she said, were told to attend political rallies and events in support of Agüero during their leisure hours. She and other workers refused.

“During the campaign I received text messages in which I was told ‘We don’t see you sharing,’ ‘We don’t see you participating or joining the campaign,'” said Méndez.

Agüero explained that the layoffs and the suspension of free services and programs were intended to close off his administration and hand over a healthy financial situation to his successor in December.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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