Beersheba department head fired as mayor moves to clean up city

Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch has asked the head of the city's Environmental Quality Department, Itzik Helman, to resign after expressing dissatisfaction with the level of cleanliness in the city, reports Danilovitch's request reportedly surprised no one, given that he has made improving the appearance of the city a stated priority, but some sources said Danilovitch had political reasons for wanting to remove Helman, who was allied with former mayor Yaakov Terner. According to the report, in his mayoral election campaign last year, Danilovitch placed great emphasis on the need to clean up the city and improve its appearance. Every newspaper survey in the area in recent years has found that residents give the city low marks for cleanliness and regard the issue as one of the most important they face. The report said that in a press conference just before Pessah, Danilovitch told reporters that he had not wanted to "cause shockwaves and cut off heads" immediately after the election, and had decided to wait and to give everyone a chance to improve the situation. "But I discovered that in many areas there was no change," Danilovitch said. According to the report, some sources said the resignation request was politically motivated. Some sources also said the cleanliness problems in the city were not Helman's fault, but would only be fixed if there were major changes in the organization and structure of the Environmental Quality Department. A municipal spokesman said there would be no comment on the meeting between the mayor and Helman.