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Councilor who fired official for being mother quits Madrid family committee

Municipal worker declines offer from city mayor Ana Botella to return to her post

Ángel Donesteve has quit his seat on Madrid's family committee.
Ángel Donesteve has quit his seat on Madrid's family committee.AYUNTAMIENTO DE MADRID

A Madrid councilor who dismissed a high-ranking employee after suggesting that her role as a mother was interfering with her work has given up his seat on the city’s Family and Social Affairs Committee.

“The media headlines are false, evidently her dismissal had nothing to do with her motherhood,” Ángel Donesteve, a councilor for the Popular Party (PP) who heads the city’s Hortaleza district, told the committee on Tuesday morning.

The worker in question is a civil servant who headed the district’s legal affairs department for a decade. For the last two years she occupied the post of district secretary, the third most important position in the local administration.

The media headlines are false, evidently her dismissal had nothing to do with her motherhood” Ángel Donesteve, PP councilor

In late September, Donesteve removed her from her secretary post, arguing that “she would rather balance her personal and family life, but I need maximum performance and as many work hours as possible.”

“I was delighted when she happily became a mother a year ago, [but] right now I prefer to have maximum performance. I only have eight months left here at the most, so I want the utmost efficiency from the entire district team,” he stated, in reference to the fact that Mayor Ana Botella’s term in office ends next May.

Botella forced Donesteve to issue an apology but decided to keep him in his post, as well as on the family committee. Meanwhile, the Socialist Party and the United Left demanded his resignation.

On Tuesday morning, Donesteve apologized for his “offensive and unfortunate” statements. “What I said is not what I think,” he said.

Later in the morning, he conveyed his wish to quit the committee.

Meanwhile, the municipal worker has declined a personal offer from Mayor Botella to return to her post, explaining that she no longer wishes to work for Donesteve. As a civil servant, she will be placed at a different city agency.

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