29/05/2012 Lanzarote (BG) - Blanca Blancas and Domingo Garcia, members of Alternativa Ciudadana en el Ayuntamiento de Arrecife, have proposed an initiative stating all council members who exceed the monthly €120 allowance for mobile phone usage, pay the outstanding amount out of their own pocket.
The current budget, and previous accounts, state that all council members, whether members of the governing or opposition parties, are entitled to an allowance of €120 per month, covering their mobile phone bill.
In contrast to the Cabildo, who’s phones automatically blocks outgoing calls once the allowance limit has been reached, Arrecife Town Hall have not investigated how many council members exceed the limit and therefore no action has been taken, regardless of how much over the limit they were spending.
The issue of exceeding allowance limits and running up substantial mobile phone bills first sparked debate as details of council member Pedro de Armas’ (Lanzarote Nationalist Party (PNL)) expenditure on a trip to the Caribbean, recently surfaced. Figures leaked from the government reveal he built up a bill of €1,200.
The formación asamblearia are claiming that the “controversy” arising from the use of government issued mobile phones has consequently landed the City Council directly in the firing line of the national media who have wasted little time in heavily criticizing them for their behaviour.
Council members of Alternativa Ciudadana have responded by announcing a motion addressing the issue has been submitted for discussion at the next plenary session and insisted: ”The best way for us to show the seriousness and rigor of political administrators is by the strict enforcement of the rules that govern us”.
The objective of the initiative is to “clear any doubts that might remain in Arrecife regarding the responsibility of public officials” in their management of luxuries afforded to them by the council to aid and improve their performance and allow them to deal with certain matters in as stress free a way as possible.
Therefore, Alternativa Ciudadana want to establish a clause in the current budget that they hope will reduce overspending and will allow the City Council to charge any councilor who exceeds the €120 monthly allowance, the outstanding deficit. This measure, if passed, will apply “to all who went overboard in spending” and not only Pedro de Armas.