Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley is a man under pressure - being attacked from all sides on matters small and large, from potholes to security workers. And it seems the pressure is starting to get to him - mainly because we suspect he feels that after paving over 100 streets in a year, and creating two superb parks - he shouldn't have to face such sustained criticism. But, in public life these days, the expectations never stop rising - and today that seemed to raise the mayor's ire; simply put, it got to him.

It happened during a 25 minute impromptu question and answer session at the Battlefield park. The mayor was there to launch a new fitness programme, but all the media wanted to know about was the 26 security workers that the city council intends to terminate. That subject took up 21 minutes of the 25 minute interview, and in the 18th minute, he cracked and let the media have it.

The issue is that he gave 20 of the 26 workers his word that they would be re-hired, but his word wasn't enough - and he feels it should have been. Here's how he explained it:..

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"The issue that we are talking about is good faith. I represented certain things to members of the staff. I represented certain things to the labour commissioner. I represented certain things to my response to a letter that Mr. Neal wrote me and I mentioned this that the person is going to take on these staff members. They say that they don't trust that because they have to put that in writing and we want to see that black and white. I am the mayor and I am telling you that that is to be done. If you can't trust me then why the heck are we talking."

Reporter
"But as an attorney you know that everything is in black and white."

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"No!, no!, no!. I am telling you that Monday you will be employed by one person and Tuesday you will be employed by something. If I am telling you this and it doesn't happen, vote me out of office. I am giving you my word."

Reporter
"Regardless, you'll lose your job if this doesn't happen."

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Well fair enough then, I am lying, I am lying to you all, they are not going to get hired. I am telling you that I sat down with these people. I discussed in depth with these people. We made it a condition that they take on these staff. This is not an easy situation. I understand that they will be disgruntled if I was in their situation - I would be disgruntled. There is a place for consultation but essentially what they want is that they want us to stop this; they want us not to do this and we have told them that our analysis indicates that this is a good move for the city. The City Council made a decision and we are going through with it."

Mike Rudon, reporter Ch 5
"Sir, all this consultation with the staff, was this done after the CWU had their first press conference or before?"

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"So, where is the proof for that?"

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"I don't have to give any proof, this was done before."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"Was there a letter?"

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Ask the staff member."

Geovanni Brackett, reporter
"They are saying they weren't consulted."

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Well I am saying differently. I was told by the labour commissioner this morning that the Christian Workers Union are trying to unionize our staff to execute a collective bargaining agreement from 1999. From 1999, they are trying to unionize these people and trying to get them into a collective bargaining agreement - that's laziness. That's something that could be done within a year's period. That's something that would have protected them, it would have given them the authority to step in and negotiate. Am I supposed to be responsible for that? My responsibility is to ensure that your streets get build and your city is paying its debt and we are moving forward in terms of accountability and transparency. The City Council cannot be the higher bed for political persons from whichever party. We need a smaller City Council that is more efficient. If people want and they expect their street to be fix, they expect parks, they expect a vibrant City Council, where do you think that I will get that money from, so that we have to be responsible and treat people fairly, but we have to have a much more efficient City Council."

"When I took office the City Council had 297 employees. When we effect this privatization, we are going to have 225 employees. We have reduced the staff of the City Council by 23% - that's savings in labour cost and that money is going back into running the city, paying bills for the city and developing streets and other infrastructure. The reality is that we need to cut cost at City Council. We have minimized corruption substantially. I remembered we had this discussion when we lay off 30 people just after our election. This is something that we need to do as a city. The City Council is too expensive and the only way that we can deal with expense is to reduce sanitation cost and staff cost."

The city expects to save four hundred thousand dollars annually by retaining a private security team. And the mayor says the reason their current supervisor Hiram Longsworth is being given the job is because if they retained a private security firm, that firm would have their own security guards and would not want to hire the old city guards. Under the present configuration, Longsworth has agreed to take on 20 of the 26 workers - the others are being left out for disciplinary reasons.

The mayor discussed this and other related issues with the Labour Commissioner when they met this morning. He says the main issue in the meeting was the calculation of benefits:..

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Because of these circumstances and the labour union and the commissioner calling and things like that, the city administrator felt that since it had gotten at that level; let us hold off until the Mayor returns. I've return, I met with the labour commissioner this morning, he wanted certain information. He was quite satisfied with what we have done and he wanted to verify if the calculations were correct in terms of what we were paying them and that's only a mathematical thing. If you are saying that we owe you two hundred dollars more, we are going to pay you your two hundred dollars more. If you say you are entitled to two thousand dollars more, we are going to give you your two thousand dollars more. No staff has to be concerned that we will treat them unfairly. What we decide to do as a consequence of me meeting with the labour commissioner this morning is to say that we are going to do this thing on Friday. We are going to engage with anyone who wants to engage including the unions."

So now, the new date for the transition is scheduled for this week Friday, February 7th. In the interim the mayor expects to meet with the Christian Workers Union.

Channel 7