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Court upholds panel system used by Consell de Formentera to vet temp hires

Holding the suit “lacked any legal basis”, Palma's number three court for contentious administrative proceedings threw out a case filed in 2018 by Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT, General Workers' Union) regarding the selection process that the Consell de Formentera uses to vet non-permanent employees.

The ruling by Judge Pedro Antonio Mas Cladera upholds the Formentera government's temporary staff selection process, which it qualified as “reactive, in tune with the principles of the constitution and adapted to local needs”.

In response to a series of claims alleged over the last two years by UGT, the court ruled out any question of irregularities, confirming that the Formentera government’s procedure for selecting staff is “perfectly legal”.

The plaintiffs had taken issue with two procedures in particular employed in the selection of new personnel, although the ruling is generally applicable to all employee contracts with comparable terms signed over the previous legislative term.

UGT had argued that rules for career public servants should apply to temporary hires as well, which would have meant selection panels must be staffed exclusively by career public servants.

The Consell's legal service warned of grave consequences had the plaintiffs' suit proved successful, since the scarcity of career public servants would have made Formentera dependent on other islands to fill employee selection panels. That would mean losing autonomy, added travel costs and further obstacles to finding staff familiar with the particularities of Formentera and local government.

The magistrate conceded the uniqueness of Formentera's situation and that a firm grasp of its particularities was crucial, asserting that “this specific configuration of hiring panels is a function of time constraints inherent to the hiring process and the short supply of career civil servants”.

12 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Govern allocates €3.6m in 2020 budget for Sant Ferran school

reunio---pressupostosjp1Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer and councillor of economy and the tax office, Bartomeu Escandell, sat down at local government headquarters today with Rosario Sánchez and Joan Ignasi Morey, the heads of the Balearic tax office and budgets section, respectively, to get a look at Formentera’s place in the regional government’s latest spending plans. The meeting was also attended by local vice-presidents Ana Juan and Rafael Ramírez.

Investing in Formentera
Investment in educational infrastructure is one of the budget’s standout features, including the €3.6-million projected completion of work on the new Sant Ferran school. Nearly half a million euros (€470K) are earmarked for ongoing construction of an 18-bed residence for the elderly.

In healthcare, crews are wrapping up construction so the Eivissa and Formentera health department can stay on track for the 2020 rollout of a haemodynamics service. In mobility, the €180K installation of technology in new buses required to standardise highway transport fares across the archipelago is also on the horizon.

President Ferrer was positive about the Govern’s 2020 budgetary scheme for Formentera. “In general, the budgets bode stability and balance in the years ahead”, she said. Ferrer highlighted “vital local investment like the Sant Ferran school or the completion of work on the senior assisted living centre”.

Environment and energy efficiency
The president also underscored the importance of other investment. In environment there will be €364,950 for maintenance on the local water purification plant; a €400K remodel of the third line of production at the desalination plant; €228,750 for efforts by the healthy forests network, like pest control and spread prevention, to tackle the pine processionary.

The budget also includes line items to improve energy efficiency, like €120K in subsidised investment to promote renewable energies and energy self-sufficiency in the public administrations

Agriculture, fishing & food
To make the agrifood industry more dynamic, a quarter of a million euros has been set aside for upkeep of irrigation ponds. A half a million for the Eivissa and Formentera LEADER programme. Ninety-four thousand euros for desalination upgrades at the Formentera irrigation pond. Patrols of the marine reserves.

Culture and patrimony
The budgets also include €120K in funding for the planned Formentera Museum and Cultural Centre Foundation.
 
In total, the budget includes €17.53m for Formentera, €6.73m in investment from Balearic ministries and various public-sector businesses and bodies of the regional government. Half of the total budget —€8.77m— is funding from the Balearic government to Formentera.

Speaking generally, Balearic minister Sánchez called the budget “socially and financially responsible”. The plans reflect not only a consolidation of funding for social policies, but expansion, too. At €3.09 million, such policies account for 70.5% of the non-financial spending in 2020. Plus, public investment has held steady, as do efforts to control and stabilise public debt.


11 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Alejandra Ferrer calls for environment and social policies to be at centre of work of administrations

cursa-constitucio--pj1Earlier today at the head offices of the Consell de Formentera, President Alejandra Ferrer spoke to islanders gathered for the 41st anniversary of the Spanish Constitution.

Ferrer highlighted progress and growing participation among islanders, saying they “want to be a part of the political decision-making process on their island. Young people, too, want to be part of it”. She described a future that was “sustainable, where the rights of the child are paramount, where parents can balance work and family, but above all, a future where our children have the chance to enjoy the planet as we’ve been able to”, reasoning: “This is why environmental and social policies must anchor efforts at every level of government”.

Dedicated senator
Underscoring the current need for certain constitutional reforms, Ferrer held up one move in particular which she described as “vital” for Formentera: “the modification of article 69.3, recognising Formentera residents’ right to elect their own senator”. That petition, part of a long-standing appeal, was put before the Spanish congress on 2 November 2018. As Ferrer pointed out, however, the request has been held up since the start of the current legislative term. “So it’s time to make our voices heard about this most basic of rights”, she said, calling such a change “a new stage in the evolution of Formentera’s autonomy, and one that will put an end to uneven national representation between the islands”.

Ferrer closed by insisting that Formentera in particular, and the entire Balearic region in general, “is waiting for recognition of and compensation for our circumstances as an island society”. She called for “a coordinated and efficient effort to meet our diverse needs while respecting the framework of rights and freedoms like the one we celebrate today”, she said.

Musical performance
At the event’s close, Clara Escandell and Jaume Ramírez, two students in the workshop on traditional music at the Formentera School of Music and Dance, performed the songs “Sa Curta”, “Sa Calera” and “Pàgines Enrere”.


6 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera seeks Madrid’s help in getting ahead of Sustainable Development Goals

reunio---presidenta-senador1Formentera’s president Alejandra Ferrer sat down today with the Balearic Islands’ representative in the Senate, José Vicente Marí Bosó, at the head offices of local government. The president thanked the Balearic senator for his visit and seized the opportunity to impress on him the island’s principal appeals in the hope Marí Bosó convey them to the government in Madrid.

Much of the talk at the gathering centred on climate change. “We spoke about asking the central government to lend local administrations a hand so we can make real progress on the Sustainable Development Goals”, explained Ferrer.

Highways agreement
Another topic to receive attention was the importance of striking a new highways agreement, or conveni de carreteres, between Formentera and Madrid. “Formentera's is the only Balearic council that made the investment, paid its bill and accounted for the expenditure”, noted Marí Bosó. “So we'll be encouraging our counterparts in Madrid to move quickly on the new agreement, and reminding the Ministry of Development that those who follow the rules need to be rewarded for it”.

The president also called Marí Bosó’s attention to the fact Formentera lacks its own senator. Other issues raised included the importance of developing the Spanish Coastal Law on Formentera — “just as long”, added Ferrer, “as we defend the rights of the landowners who are most affected by it”. Sea and air travel discounts for islanders and freight featured among the other points on President Ferrer’s agenda, “not to mention maintaining air connections in the wake of the Air Europa and Iberia merger”.

Senator Marí Bosó made assurances he would advocate for including Formentera’s needs around public investment —as well as water purification upgrades and subsidised waste transport costs— in the spending plans of the central government.


4 December 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

Formentera calls for restored surgeries at hospital, joins response to climate emergency

ple-2019-novembre-1jpRepresentatives gathered today for the November plenary sitting of the Consell de Formentera. Assembly members came together to urge the Balearic government to “restore surgical service at the Formentera Hospital” —which a recent departure left without its specialist surgeon— “as soon as possible”.

Conseller Ramírez brought the proposal, in which the administration points out that a hospital's ability to perform surgical functions is “crucial to proper healthcare provision”, and insists the regional government go beyond the contingency plan currently in place to assure “a professionally-staffed and properly-run service at Formentera's hospital”.

Climate emergency
In a nod to Climate Change Day and thanks to backing from the GxF-PSOE governing team, a declaration of climate emergency passed despite the abstention of opposition group Sa Unió. Backed by environment conseller Antonio J Sanz, the proposal refers to the grave peril faced by the planet, living beings and ecosystems and recognises “the veritable existence of the climate crisis, and the gravity of the situation”. That's why, the text continues, “reducing emissions is the only sure path forward for the island”.

Declaring climate emergency means enacting efforts to educate and change the habits of every islander, and accepting the ecological crisis as a real one. The Consell de Formentera pledges to set in motion such a process of social change and promises to reach the initiative's general objectives. Formentera makes other pledges as well, like implementing new regional legislation on climate change that took effect this year; making the necessary political commitments and assuring the resources necessary to cutting greenhouse gases; progressively replacing fossil fuels; assuring sound management of public spaces; working to recover aquifers and fomenting a locally functioning economy.

Government proclamation
The plenary session also came with unanimous approval for a proclamation on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Equality consellera Vanessa Parellada pointed out that “after the Canary Islands, the Balearics see more cases of gender violence than anywhere in Spain”. Twenty-nine women have denounced domestic violence this year alone, said Parellada, “13 in emergency situations and 16 following recommendations from primary care providers”. In the document, Formentera's political representatives pledge their commitment to the fight to end gender violence, promising to use “public policy and action to promote male and female equality — to achieve a society where every individual's equality and dignity are part of humankind's inalienable rights”. Formentera also calls on the central government to keep the promise it lays out in its “National Pledge” (Pacto de Estado) to stop gender violence.

Molí Vell de la Mola
The session brought cross-party approval for two other proposals. First, to classify the “Old La Mola Mill” (Molí Vell de la Mola) as a cultural interest site. According to patrimony chief Raquel Guasch, “as one of seven local flour mills which at one point existed on the island, this windmill is part of Formentera's ethnological heritage, and the only one with original machinery is still in place”. La Mola's Molí Vell is included in the Formentera Catalogue of Cultural Heritage Sites, established in 2010 and mandating maximum protection for the monument.

Other proposals
One proposal to score cross-party support came from Sa Unió, calling for local government to implement a door-to-door service to pick up deceased animals. The authors of the proposal described it as a “petition from many animal owners and animal professionals” and pointed out that “such a service is envisioned in the protocol for the public service of solid waste collection and transport”.

Another two measures passed with GxF-PSOE support and despite the abstaining vote of Sa Unió representatives. One deals with an oversight regime and limitations on spending and obligations pursuant to article 13 of Royal Decree 424/2017, issued 28 April. “The new protocol is designed to make the oversight process observed by local government employees more objective and responsive”, said economy and tax office conseller Bartomeu Escandell, even as he asserted “some controls by inspection staff will always be necessary to guarantee the process”.

The second proposal to get the go-ahead called for changes in the ordinance regulating the fees imposed on private citizens for using municipal fitness facilities and services and taking part in sports-related activities. Sport consellera Paula Ferrer described the modified regulations as “key to streamlining administrative procedures so we can improve the service delivered to islanders”.

The newest representative of Sa Unió, Maribel Castelló Yern, assumed her office during the plenary session. Castelló takes the place of Anna Negre.


29 November 2019
Department of Communication
Consell de Formentera

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