Comptroller criticizes Kfar Saba on media adviser

As soon as Yehuda Ben Hamo became mayor in 2003, the city hired a media and public relations adviser who had been involved in Ben Hamo's election campaign.

By MIRIAM BULWAR DAVID-HAY (TRANSLATED)
February 17, 2008 13:12
1 minute read.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss has severely criticized Kfar Saba for hiring a media adviser without a proper public tender and without a proper employment agreement, reports www.local.co.il. Lindenstrauss said the employment of the spokesman "raises suspicions that the decision was tainted by foreign considerations." According to the report, although Kfar Saba already had a spokesman at the time, as soon as Yehuda Ben Hamo became mayor in 2003, the city hired a media and public relations adviser who had been involved in Ben Hamo's election campaign. The connection with the adviser ended a year later but was renewed in May 2005 after a public tender. "In December 2003, immediately after the elections, the city should have avoided acquiring the services of his (Ben Hamo's) campaign manager in the field of public relations without conducting a proper tender process because of their previous political connection," Lindenstrauss said. "The fact that he was employed for nine months without the signing of an agreement between them raises suspicions that the decision was tainted by foreign considerations." Lindenstrauss also found that when a tender was finally conducted, there were several faults in the process, with different candidates being given differing information and with another political crony being put in charge of the tender process. "The mayor should have avoided acquiring media services that were not the result of equal and transparent processes, and should have avoided a situation that raises the suspicion that there is a link between the decision and this political connection to the mayor," Lindenstrauss said. A municipal spokesman said that when Ben Hamo became mayor, Kfar Saba had been on the "verge of economic collapse" and that the new mayor and his council had been faced with the task "of saving a sinking ship." He said Ben Hamo had consolidated resources and had saved money by hiring the adviser, and that the current media adviser had been selected after a proper and open tender process. The spokesman also said the activities of the current council had taken the city out of its financial crisis and had won the praise of various government ministries and specialists in the field.


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