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Mayor’s driver contract raises ruckus in Naha Assembly

Date Posted: 2004-03-11

An altered clause in the work contract of the Naha City Mayor’s limousine driver caused a heated argument in the city’s regular assembly meeting on Tuesday. The point of the problem was who made the change, and who authorized it.

One of the perks the mayor of Naha City is entitled to is a limo and a driver that the past mayors have used daily for travel between their home and the office. The current mayor, Takashi Onaga, makes his way to the office mostly on a bicycle and does not use the limo in order to set an example of saving taxpayers’ money. Thus, during his tenure, the city has hired the limo driver only on an every second day basis.

Opposition representatives in the assembly claimed that the contract had been changed illegally. They suspect that the changes were made by the mayor’s office, as there was the mayoral seal stamped beside the clause that was changed. There also was no date written when the change was made.

Naha City Assembly member Chosho Wakugawa, who had a copy of the original agreement, went so far as accusing the mayor of forging an official document.

A representative of the mayor’s office even went back to the City General Affairs Office while the meeting was in recess to look for additional documents that would show the date when the change was made, but was not able to find any.

Finally, the assembly chairman stopped the argument and adjourned the meeting well past midnight without any consensus on the matter. The only agreement the assembly could reach was to take up the matter on a later date.

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