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Apr 9, 2015

Why Was Managing Engineer Terminated?

Javier Novelo

A senior employee of the Belmopan City Council, in fact the head of the Engineering Section, is out of a job with absolutely no warning. Javier Novelo was a head of section, responsible for inspecting and signing off on payment for Council contracts. All indications are that he was an exemplary worker. So why was he given just hours to vacate the premises, like a common criminal, last week? Today Mike Rudon went looking for answers, and found that where powerful politicians are involved, there’s always more than meets the eye. Here’s that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

On March thirty-first, at around midday the Belmopan City Council’s Managing Engineer, Javier Novelo, was called into the office of the City Administrator and told that he had until five that evening to clear out his office and leave the premises. Novelo had been with the Council for ten years, the last year and a half as the head of the Engineering section. His last appraisal just weeks before was more than satisfactory. So why was the head of section treated in that way?

 

Simeon Lopez, Former Mayor, Belmopan

“I was quite surprised and shocked when I understood that his contract was not renewed as of the end of March. Of course you know I am not there anymore. I considered him to be a really good worker, but they have their reasons. I don’t know.”

 

We tried to get answers from Mayor Khalid Belisle. He didn’t answer our calls or texts, and when we visited his office we were told that he was not in. Javier Novelo, released so arbitrarily, also declined comment.

 

Simeon Lopez

Simeon Lopez

“I think the best thing now is to check with…I don’t know how much the heads of section of the City Council would want to talk to the media as to what happened in Mr. Novelo’s case, because they are all co-workers. Mr. Novelo was a head of section. I would hope that they would be able to work out things. It might cause the Council some difficulty later on down the road. But that’s how it is. I don’t know why so abruptly his contract was terminated, because the contract specifies that you need to express your interest of renewal at least three months before your expiration date, and he did that. But why it was not renewed. That’s out of my hands right now.”

 

We managed to speak to sources in the Council, and got some disturbing answers. Angela Wade, a former City Administrator at the Council and the sister of Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar, is the one who is believed made the decision. She was brought in after elections to oversee the transition of the Council, and since she and Novelo had difficulties when they worked together, he got the axe. As simple as that.

 

Angela Wade

Simeon Lopez

“I know that he had been experiencing some difficulty with one of the City Administrators who was there, and at the time I was the one who was protecting him more than anything. And then after the new Council was elected, I know the same City Administrator had come in to do what they call a transition period, and that was one of her recommendations to not renew the contract of Mr. Novelo. It was sad and it was shocking. I understand it was done by a round robin of phone calls from the office of the Council to the other elected Councillors to give their opinion on it. It was not really a meeting of the Council to approve it. It was a round robin telephone thing.”

 

That’s bad enough, but sources high in the Council also confirmed to us that immediately after Javier Novelo was told to leave, effective immediately, Angela Wade’s husband, the brother-in-law of Belmopan Area Representative John Saldivar, assumed the newly-vacated post of Managing Engineer of the Belmopan City Council. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

As we said earlier, we could not get confirmation from the Belmopan Mayor.  

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3 Responses for “Why Was Managing Engineer Terminated?”

  1. Karen says:

    WOW!! Clearly this is politics at its highest. If Mr. Novelo was not doing a good job then he should have been given warnings to improve his performance. You cannot fire someone just because they don’t agree with everything that you say (OR MAYBE YOU CAN ONLY IN BELIZE!!!). Putting Wade’s husband in the position says clearly that this decision is personal and has nothing to do with job performance.

  2. Kikin says:

    Is the brother-in-law / husband a licensed engineer?

  3. Shantel says:

    Good job Mayor Khalid Belisle!! get rid of who uno no like..

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