Many residents of San Javier are outraged and took their frustration to the street in a protest when the news that the Local Mayor of this relatively small municipality voted to increase his monthly wage by an additional 1000€.
The wage increase, takes Mayor José Miguel Luengo Gallego’s yearly income from 40,000€ to a whopping 52,000€.
Not only did the reigning Partido Popular vote to increase the Mayors wages but also that of the councilors and the real stinger, that has left many local residents feeling very bitter, is the announcement that the councilors will also receive 700€ instead of 500€ for attending each council meeting! This last announcement has left many residents wondering what on earth the councilors wages are for if they are also to be paid for attending each meeting.
The wages seem extortionately high especially when you consider that as of the last formal census (2014) the population of this small coastal Municipality was just under 32,000 people. Breaking that down into Euros and cents that means that every single man, woman and child is contributing 1.62€ towards the Mayors wages, not to mention the other 21 councilors.
Considering that Pudsey in the West Riding area of the UK has a comparable population and it’s Mayor Lord Mayor Gerry Harper who is also the Mayor of Leeds and surrounding villages with a total population of over 2.3 million receives a salary of around £38,000, it bodes the question, are the residents of San Javier getting value for money? Apart from the wage rise in itself the people who were protesting highlighted the bad timing of the increase, one protestor stated “ Following the devastating consequences of the Gota Fria in December many people in San Javier are homeless or at the very least left without many belongings, where is the Mayors solidarity with the people at this hard time?”
The opposing PSOE party and Podemos have of course had a field day with the negative reaction of the people towards the Mayor and councilors wage rises stating that the move to call an emergency meeting on December 24th was done in a rush and the proposal to increase the wages was pushed through at a time when opposing party members were not present.
The general secretary of the Podemos Party in Murcia Oscar Urralburu stated “ It is not ethical following the December floods in San Javier, with so many people suffering financially, over 280,000 people cannot afford to heat their homes during winter, that the Mayor of San Javier increases his wage by 30% to 52,000€.”
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