Former Puerto de la Cruz Treasury Councillor Denies Hiring Close Acquaintance as “Assistant”

The former Finance Councillor of Puerto de la Cruz City Council, Sandra Rodríguez, refuted on Wednesday the allegation that she personally recruited an individual at the end of 2015 through the public company Pamarsa, with whom she reportedly had “a close relationship”, and asserted that she remained completely detached from the entire process.

During the oral hearing, Rodríguez, from CC and who assumed the mayorship of this Tenerife municipality after the passing of Mayor Marcos Brito, also denied involvement in the subsequent appointment of this employee on a permanent basis, a phase that concluded the relationship that, she claimed, “barely lasted a month and a half.”

The Public Prosecutor’s office did not furnish any documents, whereas the private plaintiff indicated that despite the fact that the selection process in public companies differs from that of an administration, in this instance “there was an excessive degree of flexibility”, with no advertising, selection process, or impartiality.

The accusation is seeking the disqualification of Rodríguez, who presently holds the position of General Director of Children and Family Protection for the Government of the Canary Islands, from holding public office. Furthermore, it questions the successive forms of employment contracts that transitioned from temporary to full-time and eventually to permanent, without the necessary qualifications.

All of these actions are deemed incompatible with public employment as they were, according to the prosecutor, executed “personally” due to the “close friendship” they maintained.

The defense argued that the conditions do not support an assertion of malfeasance in which the former councillor acted as an essential collaborator, primarily because it is the mayor who serves as the president of the Corporation and of Pamarsa.

According to her defense, Rodríguez would not have had the authority to commit this crime due to the nature of the public company. It was also pointed out that another councillor alongside the manager were responsible for this area.

The defense rested on the fact that it is an entity external to the City Council that conducted the contracts based on its own criteria.

Rodríguez stated that when the manager of the Maritime Park informed her of the need for personnel, she forwarded it to Pamarsa, which handled the recruitment without her having any influence or input in the selection process.

It was also disclosed that the shortage of employees was communicated to the then-mayor, Lope Afonso, who testified as a witness during the proceedings.

Regarding the employee in question, his background as a lifeguard was taken into consideration, and he was later suggested for a supervisory role and tasked with specialized work in the swimming pools.

The individual mentioned that he became aware of the vacancy through two colleagues, secured the position upon submitting his resume, and always remained a non-civil servant. His purported “close relationship” with the former councillor ended shortly afterward.

The former mayor, Lope Afonso, was called to testify as a witness for signing the appointment, and stated that he endorsed it, as with the others, only after Rodríguez proposed it, but denied direct involvement in the selection of the employee.

The former municipal secretary from 2012 to 2019 did not recall raising any concerns about “irregularities” in the process when he appeared in court years ago. He certified that Pamarsa is an entity wholly funded by the City Council as a Public Commercial Company.

The former manager of Lago Martiánez refuted claims that he was tasked with seeking personnel for Pamarsa by the councillor and indicated that it was she who informed him of the hiring of this employee.

The witness expressed discontent as he was assigned specialized tasks without the requisite qualifications and thus demanded it to be handled through a company.

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