Shinichi Takehara, mayor of Akune, Kagoshima Prefecture, was ousted by lawmakers after criticizing bureaucrats’ pay, saying most earned more than three times the average salary of the city’s 24,000 citizens.
Assembly members in the seaside city voted 11 to 5 late Friday to remove Takehara, 50, from office. Takehara in February said in his blog the salaries were too high and sapped the city’s budget.
“The mayor has damaged Akune’s reputation, and we can’t continue under his leadership,” said Takayuki Kinoshita, a lawmaker who supported the no-confidence vote.
“He has been insulting assembly members through his blog since his inauguration.”
Takehara, who was barred from attending the session, said he plans to run for mayor in the next election, which will be held within 50 days.
“After disclosing a hidden truth, I was ousted,” he said Monday. “But that result doesn’t matter so much because my purpose from the beginning was to let citizens know the real situation.”
Takehara had published a list that showed the city’s 268 full-time employees earn an average of ¥6.5 million a year and about half get more than ¥7 million. Average income per individual in Akune was ¥1.9 million for the year that ended in March 2007, the third-lowest among 17 cities in the prefecture, Akune’s Web site said.
“These bureaucrats reign over citizens who are struggling as they face decreasing incomes,” Takehara, who listed his own income as ¥10 million, wrote in his blog. “Their pay is almost equal to the salaries of managers at big companies.”
Municipal tax revenue for Akune, where the main industries are agriculture and services such as tourism, was about ¥2 billion in the year that ended in March 2008, according to the city’s Web site. Based on Takehara’s calculations, ¥1.73 billion of that is taken up by bureaucrats’ pay.
Takehara, who took office last August, responded to a no- confidence vote in February by dissolving the city’s assembly to face the electorate. A vote last month gave a majority in the assembly to his opponents.
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