A'dam mayor under fire for expensive party planner
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema is facing criticism because of an expensive party planner hired by the municipality for the celebration of the city's 750th anniversary. There are concerns about the costs involved and that the city did not put out the job to tender, De Telegraaf reports.
The municipality hired consultant and PvdA prominent Lennart Booij to prepare for the city anniversary in 2025. He's been doing so for the past two years and is allowed to declare 10,000 euros per month for 20 hours of work per week, according to De Telegraaf. Booij's job was not put out to public tender because the mayor thought he was the right man for the job, the newspaper wrote.
According to Pieter Kuypers, professor of European and Dutch procurement law at Radboud University, a municipality can "almost never" award a contract without public tendering it. There is case law from the Court of Justice that this exception must be interpreted "extremely restrictively" and only applies in "very special" cases, he said. The case in Amsterdam should probably have been put out to public tender, he said.
"It is frustrating that for the second time in a short period, we are confronted with wage agreements that do not seem to comply with the applicable rules at the municipality," PvdA faction leader Sofyan Mbarki said to the newspaper. "This is really unacceptable, and I expect the mayor to do everything to rectify this. I want to know why it went wrong and how it can really be prevented."