IT’S perhaps no surprise that a town hall in the Valencia region should be among the most secretive in Spain.
This is the region, after all, which launched the giant Gürtel scandal and has seen a succession of ex-PP bigwigs caught up in sleaze probes.
With ex-leader of Valencia, Eduardo Zaplana, accused of laundering €20million via a series of opaque offshore companies in Andorra and Luxembourg this month, what example is being set?
So the fact that Rojales town hall hides most of its sensitive information, as does Pilar de la Horadada, Guardamar, Javea and many more, is sadly par for the course.
After all, when the money comes rolling in from the Generalitat and central government once a year, transparency is the last thing on the minds of most mayors and councillors.
Working out schemes to syphon it off for themselves, their friends or their families has long been the way things worked.
Nepotism, bumping up invoices, backhanders for contracts, fake expense claims and paying for jobs that don’t exist are just some of the ways to use the revenue.
So it’s great to discover that there are some towns and cities in the region (Denia and Valencia city, in particular, both scoring over 70%) that are actually leading the way in Spain for openness and honesty.
Let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with political allegiance… It’s entirely about the people in charge and whether they want to open up their town halls to public scrutiny.
The good ones clearly understand that their citizens, the taxpayers, have a right to know where their money goes.
It’s a shame that there are still so many dinosaurs still lining themselves up for a fall.