APSSM President says resigning during negotiations was an error of judgment

The APSSM President says that his resignation during negotiations was an error of judgment. For at least a week now, policy analyst at the Ministry of Agriculture and financial guru for the trade unions Jose Castellanos, has been under fire for apparently abandoning his union colleagues when they most needed him. Today, Castellanos came out of his relative obscurity to appear on two morning shows in Belize City. PLUS News caught up with him and asked what everyone wanted to know: did he step aside voluntarily or was he forced or coerced out?  Confirming that he does intend to retire, Castellanos refused to point fingers for his sudden departure and said he came back to offer his perspective to his union brethren and the general public one last time.

vlcsnap-2013-02-12-19h42m14s210The reasons I left were personal reasons and health challenges.  Now as I said earlier, I think it was an error of judgement, but that is the past, that is history.  I’m still in communication with my Union, the Association of Public Service Senior Managers.  In fact I’m having a meeting with them on Friday, to give them an assessment of how I interpret the formula and the Salary Adjustment, what it means. In my opinion, for the next four years, all it would mean is 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year, a Salary Adjustment on average of no more within one and one and a half per-cent.  It’s important for you to understand that, so that they don’t expect 5 or 7 or 8 per-cent.  In reality thay will only get one per-cent, or one and a half per-cent.

We asked specifically whether he was threatened in his capacity as president of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers (APSSM), Castellanos again refused to speculate.

In terms of what happened and didn’t happen, I don’t want to focus that, I am focusing on the issues and the future. I would say this however though, that I feel that the President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers needs to be seconded, and work full time for the Unions, so he can do his work objectively and freely, just like how the Presidents of BNTU, the National Teachers Union, and the Public Service Union are seconded. I think if we get that, we’ll get greater effort from out Union leaders, and we’ll have tremendous output and productivity.  That’s what I have to say on that matter.

Castellanos, who was elected for a 2-year term, says he will be meeting with the APSSM executive on Friday to discuss his future. He was also questioned as to whether he thought he had let his colleagues down, he admitted to an “error of judgment” but said he still had the confidence of the union:

No, I think I did my contribution.  I work hard.  I work from Mondays to Sundays.  I work 12 to 15 hours a day, voluntary work now, ’cause I’m not getting paid a single cent to do this thing.  I even spend money from my own pocket to do this type of work.  I did my best.  I gave it everything, but I also know when to move on, and when to depart.  My Association has very capable people.  It’s the brain power of the Public Service, and we have shown it in the past. And Ida showed it.  She was also a member of the Association.  She spoke in the past,  I served for three months as President of the Association of Public Service Senior Managers, and I can tell you this.  We achieved in three months, what was not achieved in ten years. And we would have done a lot more for also the union and the private sector. But, another leader will have to come and do that for them. I will move now into the private sector, opening my consulting firm in Belmopan, and I will move forward with my life. 

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