The chickens have come home to roost at the Orange Walk Town Council as 11 employees were axed from that municipality. PUP Mayor, Kevin Bernard has gone to great lengths to try to explain away the woes at the Town Council, but the reality has set in. Last week, we reported that the Council was unable to pay employees and now, they have begun to lay off workers. A release from the Council states that "On Wednesday, October 17, 2012, the Orange Walk Town Council held a management meeting to address certain critical matters affecting the delivery of service to residents of the town." It goes on, "At the end of the meeting, the regrettable decision to immediately streamline staff was taken, resulting in the Council laying off 11 employees on Friday, October 19, 2012."
What the release forgot to mention was that after assuming office, Bernard and his Council went on an all-out campaign to fire employees, who had been there for years and, who were perceived to be supporters of the UDP. Shortly thereafter, the Council was overloaded with PUP lackeys, some of whom were hired to do the same job, in effect paying two people for the same work. Among those hired was a bodyguard for the Mayor. The Council then became overburdened with salaries. In the month of April, salaries went from a projected 34 thousand dollars to be spent, to a whopping 55,600 dollars. Then in June, the projection of salaries went from 34 thousand dollars to 66 thousand dollars.
It is no wonder that these days, all the mayor can say is that salaries are consuming all of the Council's finances. And he is right, but it is as a result of the Town Council being saddled with highly paid lackeys, who spend most of their time standing in front of the Town Council looking at passersby.
Now the concern is that the council - simply put - is broke. They are left to "address certain critical matters, which is of their own doing. The issue of firing the workers however, is a bitter one for those who have been canned. In one instance, one of those people fired has just made a loan to complete his small family home. In other instances, there have been people who have been at the Council for anywhere between 15 and 23 years. Things are so bad at the Council that one of the employees was given a letter in which the council proposes to pay severance through a weekly payment plan until they are able to settle all that is owed to the worker.
But despite the financial troubles at the Town Council, and he laying off of workers, the Mayor can still find money to hire the likes of Sanny Baeza, the PUP's mouthpiece in Orange Walk, to be a revenue collector.
Imagine just seven months into their tenure of office and the Mayor and his Councillors have already run the Orange Walk Town Council broke. But this is the way the People's United Party operates. There is nothing that they put their hands on that they can successfully manage.