The Mayor of Castalla promotes the modernization and transparent management of the Group of Comparsas

  • The first mayor clarifies that the City Council has been forced to intervene in the entity by unsuccessfully claiming the accounts during the last 4 years
  • Antonio Bernabeu defends the obligation of the Council to monitor the use of the residents’ money and offers to incorporate an expert to help

The Mayor of Castalla, Antonio Bernabeu, has regretted the resignation of 9 of the 20 members of the Board of Directors of the Agrupación de Comparsas de Moros y Cristianos, although he has informed that the municipal intervention in the Agrupación de Comparsas has taken place after four years asking for transparency in its accounts. According to the councillor, the council “is not going to shirk its responsibility for auditing an association of which it is a member and which receives more than 30,000 euros a year in subsidies of public money”. Bernabeu has also clarified that from the government team there is no interest in entering the organizational function of either the festivities or the Group of Comparsas, since the objective of these movements is to make the entity work as “a modern and effective association”.

The first Councillor of Castellón also pointed out that the resignations of the Association last week were not unanimous, as was erroneously published, but that the internal discrepancies regarding the management were clear, in his opinion, as at least five of the delegates, together with other members of the Board such as the Councillor for Festivals, the Parish Priest and the Mayor of Festivals, did not support the departure of their colleagues. For this reason, Bernabeu has also shown his “displeasure because he believed in the ability of the outgoing board to lead the necessary changes in the functioning of the Group of Comparsas and in their ability to work for the festivities”.

Thus, the Town Hall only intends to comply with its legal obligation to guarantee the proper use of the money of the residents of Castalla, as well as to monitor and offer with total transparency the accounts of an association in which the highest public institution of the municipality is a participant by contributing money from all the castelluts. In this sense, Antonio Bernabeu has insisted that the role of the administration is to know what the citizens’ money is spent on and to ensure that this is done in a legal and verifiable manner. The Councillor for Festivals, Noelia Álvarez, added that “at no time do we want to harm the festivals but quite the opposite, because we are all festive people, our intention is to promote them and see if with the same economic effort we can be more efficient and do more to improve and strengthen our traditions”.

A technician to strengthen management
The Mayor has proposed that the new board of directors, which will emerge at the end of this process, will be able to count on the incorporation of a technician in the machinery of the Association to help keep the accounts up to date and to explain them clearly to both the collegiate body of government and the neighbours who wish to do so. Bernabeu stressed the “willingness not to mix the management of the festival with politics. It is a question of improving the management of both the festive entity and its reflection in the accounting books, the rigour of which is a legal mandate wherever citizens’ money is deposited”.

As for the Agrupación de Comparsas de Castalla, this is a non-profit organisation, obliged to duly justify its movements and keep a record of the accounts in its books, for which reason the councillor had shown “great concern given that in recent years the accounts, balance sheets or inventory had not been made known in sufficient time and with the necessary clarity”.

Nevertheless, the first councillor and the councillor for festivals have expressed their determination to promote important transformations in an entity that has not modified its operation in forty years of activity, and therefore they have clarified that they already have the support of the majority of the Castalla groups, and therefore of an important part of the mass of festival-goers. And they are confident that this stage of modernisation will become a “unanimous objective of the festeros, once we all decide how to do it”, they concluded.

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