Before taking ofiice as mayor of La Paz, Baja California Sur, Armando Martinez Vega made an agreement with the State Government in order to pay $3,000 pesos to each one of the union workers, who were on strike at the time.
The agreement was that, once in office, Vega`s adminstration will discount $1,000 pesos a month to each worker to repay the loan. However, members of la Paz section of the Trade Union of Public Service Workers of the State authorities, Municipalities and Decentralized Institutions BCS (SUTSPEMIDBCS), denounced that the mayor is threatening to discount the loan in one payment.
Martinez Vega was officially sworn in as mayor of La Paz at 7: pm on Sunday, September 27th. By 8:00 am the next morning, the new administration was already out filling potholes, and was also busy beginning the firing of 1,000 city workers in order to decrease the amount the municipality pays in salaries.
Martinez inherited a bankrupt municipality from Esthela Ponce Beltran and Francisco Monroy Sánchez. When Ponce Beltran took over in 2011 after the three-year term of Rosa Delia Cota Montaño, Ponce Beltran found the municipality to be a little more then $285,000 million pesos in debt. Far from reducing that debt, former-mayor Esthela Ponce Beltrán increased the debt to what some are suspecting to be close to $895,000 million pesos.
During the last few months of Monroy Sánchez’s term, the city was unable to pay the salaries of city workers. Garbage collection was intermittent, and the streets were left unattended after every rain. Monroy Sánchez had also been trying to work out a deal with CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) to pay the municipality’s past-due $35 million peso electric bill. City offices were running on gas generators over the summer.
The state government under Governor Carlos Mendoza has secured a deal with CFE to pay the municipality’s outstanding electricity debt. Even so, newly-appointed mayor Martinez Vega is still committed to decreasing the city’s payroll cost. Currently, the city isn’t generating enough income to pay all its staff. Not even close. In order to decrease payroll costs, Martinez Vega will need to reduce city staffing by 1,000 employees.
Painful and complicated measures will have to be taken in order to correct the problems inherited from previous administrations; nonetheless, Martinez Vega is committing his term as mayor to getting Baja California Sur’s capital back on track.
Martinez Vega’s term will run until 2018.