|Councillor Bob Houliston|
I regret to inform you of my decision to resign, as of today, from the municipal government of Orihuela and from my post as Councillor for the Coast, Beaches and International Residents
My decision has been caused by the present near paralysis of an important sector of the administration of the coast resulting from the sudden and abrupt transfer to Orihuela on 23 January, 2012 of the Resident Engineer. With this transfer, I have lost the services of a competent and very experienced officer. I have also lost the only technical officer working on the coast, dedicated to the supervision of works and contracts and authorised to co-sign with me, work completion certificates and bills essential for the payment of invoices. For this reason, in the course of the past month since her transfer a number of invoices have not been authorised for payment. The legal, administrative and financial problems which this creates are already considerable. I am not prepared to take political responsibility for resolving problems which others have caused..
As you know, this situation is the latest in a series of incidents resulting from the systematic refusal of an element in the government to cooperate and coordinate their activities which concern the coast with me, the councillor geographically competent From the first day I have been aware of their opposition to me and to my having the means necessary to carry out my work for the coast. In the meeting of the councillors forming the majority on the council, the government group, held on on 16 July, 2011 of which I was not informed and to which I was not invited, the conclusions of the negotiations for the inclusion in the government of the Centro Liberal Renovador (CLR) party were presented. Needless to say, I was not informed either of these negotiations or consulted on aspects relating to my responsibilities.
Arriving at this meeting by chance, I was obliged to block a proposal to divide the responsibilites which you granted to me as councillor for the coast on my entry into the government and to share these responsibilities with another councillor. I also had to block a proposal to remove the post of personal advisor to help me with my work on the coast, a post which you had previously agreed to, on a full-time basis and which was subsequently reduced to a part-time basis at the insistence of Pedro Mancebo and the CLR party. Finally, at the same meeting I was obliged to object to the title of the responsibilities to be given to Pedro Mancebo as Councillor for the Coordination OF the Services of the Coast, considering that as councillor for the coast, I should be responsible for the coordination of my services. The title of Pedro Mancebo's responsiblities was changed to Councillor for the Coordination of Services WITH the Coast..
While the preposition in the title of Pedro Mancebo's competences was changed from “of” to “with” I am convinced that the intention behind his original proposal remained unchanged. To illustrate this belief, you will remember that I objected to the definition of his competences included in Decree 513 signed by you on 16 September, 2011 which gave him responsibility for approving (visto bueno) all proposed agreements, decisions (resoluciones), decrees and other documents relating to the work of the councillor for the coast. At the same time the Decree gave him responsibility for “optimising” all resources be they personnel, material, economic or budgetary of the municipal office of the Town Hall in Orihuela Costa.
These responsibilities created in effect the post of a “Controller” (Concejal Controlador) of the councillor for the coast. Regretably, despite my proposals aimed at seeking a consensus on the text, these responsibilities remained essentially unchaged in the modified Decree which you signed on 16 December, 2011 and which I was notified of on 6 February, 2012,
An example of the “optimisation” of the human resources of the coast can be seen in the decision taken by two CLR councillors and, I suppose, the Councillor for Coordinating Services with the coast, to transfer with 6 minutes notice for “organisational necessity” the Resident Engineer who had worked for 12 years on the coast. The officer in question was of such importance, given her responsibility for supervising contracts for basic services, the quality of the beaches and the budgetary procedures, the coast is suffering from her removal. The contract engineer who was appointed in December as a reinforcement, cannot be expected to fulfil all these functions. He does not have power of signature. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any serious effort to solve this problem or the more general problem of insufficient staff, by providing the coast with the appropriate number of qualified, permanent officials needed to look after the needs of 35% of the population of Orihuela, almost the same number as those living in Orihuela city.
I do not wish to go into the detail of all the incidents of non-cooperation and the placing of obstacles to the carrying out of my work which have been caused by the CLR element in the government over the past 7 months and which continue to this day, The consequences have been to divide and weaken the management of the coast against the interest of the people living on the coast and their democratically expressed wishes as to who should represent them.
This long and painful experience convinces me of the impossibility of carrying out my work in the interest of Orihuela Costa. I am therefore obliged to resign from my post as Councillor for the Coast and as a member of your government. I will, of course, continue as an elected member of the Corporation. to work for the interests of Orihuela Costa.
I should like to state that during the past 8 months, I have formed and will retain the highest appreciation of your personal and professional qualities and those of the majority of members of your government”.
This will mean that the town council is now split into two distinct armies; the tripartite governing team of the PSOE, Los Verdes and CLR will now only have 12 Councillors, whilst the PP oposition party will have an equal number of Councillors; with Bob Houliston holding the balancing council seat bringing the total to 25. Monserrate Guillén Sáez as Mayor of Orihuela, and leader of the tripartite alliance will have a difficult time with getting legislation approved through the Town Council with Bob Houliston having the floating, deciding vote.
The alternative, feared by many who have experienced the previous government periods of the Partido Popular party in Orihuela, is that Bob Houliston will give his permanent allegiance to the PP in return for being giving total Councillor responsibility for the Orihuela Costa area. This would be the achievement, pinnacle, of his personal ambition for totalitarian control of the coastal region. What cost for power!