Officials Claim More Than $1,5 Million From Liberia City Hall

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A group of seven officials from the City of Liberia filed a lawsuit against the city that could cost Liberians ¢945 ($1.5m) in taxpayer money.  

In 2011, former mayor Luis Gerardo Castañeda fired them because, he said, they didn’t fulfill the requirements for their jobs. But a labor judge ordered they be re-hired in 2012.

The court ruled the terminations were unjustified because the city didn’t follow due process.

Human resources indicated that they had no requirements, they didn’t comply with the civil service code Castañeda said.

The public officials’ last names were Mora Rodríguez, Espinoza Rodríguez, Membreño Escalante, Nuñez Sanabria, Fernandez Bustos, Torres Ampié, and Jiménez Angulo. They work in procurement, inspection and the municipal support staff.

The city paid them the salaries that the would have received in 2011 and 2012, according to mayor Julio Viales and their attorney, but the workers now claim interest payments and moral damage and harm.

Should the City Continue to Pay?

Mayor Viales said that the city can’t pay the ¢945 million with the 2019 budget. But he said that they could use money from a fund to pay the debt little by little over several years.

Representatives from Liberia heard the case during a session in November and complained about the former mayor’s error.

Many people could get rich over the poor administrative decisions that cost the City of Liberia,” said representative Miguel Ángel Morice.  

With $1,5 million, Liberians could have almost eight kilometers (5 miles) of paved roads, according to estimates done by the canton’s Technical Road Management Unit upon request from this newspaper.

José Daniel Martínez, attorney for the affected city workers, said that his clients are willing to negotiate with the local government and receive the money in installments or even a lower amount. The case is now in the hands of Liberia’s labor court.