López Obrador whips Congress into shape

President-elect AMLO will seek to end privileges for high officials as part of his austerity program
López Obrador whips Congress into shape
No public server will be allowed to travel abroad without the secretary’s previous authorization, and the leave of absence will be limited to the strict minimum - Photo: File photo/EFE
13/07/2018
13:42
Misael Zavala y Alberto Morales
Mexico City
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Starting Mexico’s next government administration, president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador will end privileges for high officials such as unnecessary travels, binge drinking, and personal drivers as part of his austerity program meant to end corruption among public servers, who will now have to meet the citizens’ needs with respect.

The 50 general guidelines for the fight against corruption and the new republican austerity policy will soon be presented by the president-elect. It includes specific regulations to tighten the officers’ belts.

For example, no public server will be allowed to travel abroad without the secretary’s previous authorization, and the leave of absence will be limited to the strict minimum.

“No one will be allowed to use government owned planes or helicopters. That transport fleet will be sold and travel expenses will be limited to the strict minimum,” states the plan López Obrador will start implementing on December 1, once he officially becomes the new president of Mexico.

The use of official vehicles and other public assets for personal matters will also be forbidden. Although it is officially forbidden to drink alcohol at public offices, the politician from Tabasco established that no public officer will be allowed to come to work under the effects of alcohol, or drink alcoholic beverages at public offices.

According to the general austerity plan which López Obrador presented directly to his local deputies, mayors, and governors at a private meeting, only federal government secretaries and assistant secretaries will be able to have personal drivers.

The document also includes a 70% reduction of all personnel of confidence, and those that won’t be cut out will have to work Monday through Saturday and at least eight hours of work a day.

Public servers will be banned from receiving gifts worth more than MXN$5,000. Though the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities already states that public servers should refrain from demanding, accepting, or receiving any kind of undue gift or favor related to their official functions, the leftist president-elect will closely observe the compliance of the rule.
 

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“Should they fail to comply, public servers would be committing a serious offense, which could be punished with the suspension of their functions or a complete dismissal from their public employment, as well as a financial penalty or a temporary disqualification from their duties,” the new law states.

López Obrador’s new ordinances will put bureaucrats under close scrutiny during the next administration. Officers from the Ministry of Treasury, Communications and Transport, Energy, as well as other areas will be banned from attending parties, dinners, sports events, or travels with contractors, concessionaires, major taxpayers, suppliers, or investors related to their public duties. The purpose of this is to avoid any conflict of interest.

Furthermore, trust funds will be forbidden, as well as any other mechanism used to hide public funds and avoid transparency.

“Wages will be cut in half for top officials, some of which currently earn more than one million pesos a year. The reduction will be progressive. Those who earn 2 million a year will be subject to larger reductions,” he explained. López Obrador intends to serve as an example, since he will only receive half of the current president Enrique Peña Nieto’s salary.

Another ordinance will focus on the cancellation of any kind of espionage or wiretapping that compromises the right to privacy.

“Government intelligence will exclusively address crime prevention and the fight against crime,” Obrador stated yesterday at the private meeting.

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