War of words in payments row

Controversy has erupted in Torrox after it was claimed payments totalling €45,000 were made to members of the Local Police by the Popular Party-led council.

The payments, made during July and August, have been publicised by ex-mayor and socialist PSOE party spokesman Francisco Muñoz who slammed “overspending and mischief” by the ruling group.

But he has been accused of lying by one councillor who said the money corresponded to overtime payments during the holiday period.

The comments by Muñoz highlight unease over an alleged increase in municipal expenses via bonus payments after it was claimed some officers received sums of around €2,000 and one union official nearly €2,700.

Muñoz said the ruling party used public money to “reward workers arbitrarily” and “buy the silence of the unions at the expense of citizens’ pockets.”

The money, he said, should be used to “reduce local unemployment,” and not go to “officials who already earn a good salary.”

But security councillor Paolo Moreno defended his party’s actions saying the town was “safer than four years ago” and insisted the payments had helped strengthen security measures “bloated by the previous regime.”

He criticised the town hall’s former administration for sacking 10 officers and reducing “the workforce almost 30 per cent.”

Muñoz, he said, had lied to residents about the police bonus payments, which “simply correspond to overtime worked by officers during the holiday period in order to ensure optimal coverage.”

Moreno said the town’s population tripled every summer and “we cannot cope with the lack of officers.”

The town hall declined to comment when contacted by EWN, but the dispute and controversy seem set to drag on.

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