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8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

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21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Council members divided over Accounting Office

1 February 2008 - Against the background of a conflict between the Accounting Office and the Zuidoost District Council, News from Amsterdam asked over one hundred district council members to evaluate the Accounting Office. On average, they award a 7.5 on a 1 to 10 scale. Ethnic minority respondents are more critical and award an average 6.1.

After an Accounting Office report on conflicts of interest, the Zuidoost PvdA expelled three council members. However, the party also commissioned a counter investigation. When that investigation resulted in a milder judgement, the council members were allowed to return. The Accounting Office felt snubbed and ended its collaboration with Zuidoost.

A survey among 117 council members (including some non-voting council members) reveals that only 18% agree with the decision to allow the three council members to return. Among ethnic minority respondents, 50% agree.

Some respondents say that the three council members have discredited their office, whereas others say they have received enough punishment. One respondent says it is ‘perplexing’ that the board and the then party leader of the Zuidoost PvdA have not been held responsible.

Half the respondents agree with the PvdA Zuidoost’s decision to commission a counter investigation. Support is mainly to be found among fellow party members: 83 percent of PvdA respondents agree with the counter investigation. A majority of the remaining respondents (63%) disagree.

Those in favour argue that it is important to be thorough if a judgement is to be made that will have serious consequences for the council members involved. However, a critic speaks of ‘a farce, motivated by the desire to rehabilitate the PvdA party group members’. Further, the counter investigation would undermine the position of the Accounting Office.

Some respondents in general value the Accounting Office’s investigations, but are critical of the ‘overly populist’ or ‘political’ way in which findings are presented. Almost half the districts are not affiliated to the Accounting Office, but have an accounting committee. Respondents do not evaluate these committees more or less favourably than the Accounting Office.

Some PvdA members in Zuidoost feel that their district, with its high proportion of ethnic minority residents, is being unfairly singled out for criticism. Earlier this week, it was revealed that council members in other districts have also been involved in conflicts of interest involving personal gain.

This weekend, the entire report of the News from Amsterdam district council survey will be published. Issues covered include the best district council member and the most frequented neighbourhood website.


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