Halsema said she had never recognized Puig as a friend, and so she was “deeply surprised, shocked and ashamed” that she was accused of favoritism.
She acknowledged that the chancellor, who was appointed at her instigation as program director for the city’s 750th anniversary, was in 2018 part of a group founded on the initiative of the late Eric van Bruggen and advised her during her mayoral application.
But in the years that followed she had an “intermittent connection” with Puig. “Maybe some apps. It never occurred to me that it could be built as a friendly relationship. That’s why I got robbed. I’m sorry the picture came out.” By the way, Halsema could not fail to emphasize that there is nothing wrong with her political antenna.
Puig’s appointment sparked outrage in the city council. Compensation of 10,000 euros per month in particular for 20 hours worked per week was a stumbling block. Additionally, various groups felt that the job should have been put up for tender. SP and PvdD, among others, spoke of a manifestation of nepotism. The head of the PvdD party, Van Lammeren, thinks the whole thing ‘isn’t nice. SP hopes Halsema will learn “lessons” from the issue and JA21 now sees a pattern of “clumsy operation” in the mayor.
D66 leader Van Dantzig said his group was angry because the mayor had bounced the ball in the previous debate. The council could have been more severe, it was said at the time. “At your service,” said Van Danzig, who insisted on political sensitivity. For him, this is the end.
At the request of the council, the municipality obtained a second opinion on whether or not the job should be offered. This is not so, concludes Professor Groningen van Romburg, which goes against the conclusion of Professor Kuipers (Radboud University) who said the opposite previously in Telegraaf. FD party chief and former lawyer Anton van Schegendel questioned the second opinion. “A debate between the tender attorneys,” said Halsema, who acknowledged at length that Puig’s case was “too messy and not pretty.” For example, his bills continued to be paid, while the work on paper was completed.
There was no clear answer as to how this happened, although Halsema blamed the municipality. There has been confusion about the length of his contract, among other things. The Corona pandemic was not an “excuse”, but it could explain why it was a “chaos” in the official organization, it seems.
CDA chair Dedric Boumsma reports that after some time Puig raised the alarm with the municipality about his job situation. Halsema did not tell the mayor, who was unable to respond.
At the council’s request, Halsema has now promised a laundry list of improvements. For example, consultants should start working with schedules and Halsema wants to place such jobs with the municipality in the future, rather than outsourcing it through an independent contract, or putting it up for public tender.
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