Resignation of Molenbeek’s Municipal Secretary Amid Governance Challenges

The interim municipal secretary of Molenbeek Marijke Aelbrecht is resigning. In an internal letter, she criticizes the fact that the mayor and aldermen make decisions about staff without her – as head of human resources – being aware of them.

“I hereby inform you that I wish to terminate my appointment as interim municipal secretary,” Aelbrecht writes in an internal letter. The municipal secretary has been working for the municipality of Molenbeek for decades and would actually have quit earlier. When the application procedure for the new municipal secretary Sylvia Lahy was unsuccessful, the incumbent municipal secretary agreed to stay on longer.

“Since the mayor decided to entrust me with this position in 2020, I have always fulfilled it with great dedication and professionalism,” the letter said. “More than once she (the mayor, ed.) has congratulated me on this, sometimes in public and especially in front of the members of the Municipal Council.”

‘Political settlements’

But recently the council of aldermen does not seem to take the law into account, Aelbrecht writes. As municipal secretary, she is in charge of human resources in the municipality, but she regrets that she was not always informed of personnel decisions.

Recently, the HR director was reportedly dismissed without the approval of the municipal secretary. She co-signed the letter denouncing poor management of the municipality. The municipal secretary writes that, in her opinion, the municipality has become ‘ungovernable’. “Sooner or later, no staff member will remain immune from the whims and political reckonings.”

Special municipal council

It is not yet clear who will fill the position of municipal secretary. Next week – if there are enough signatures – a special municipal council will take place behind closed doors in which the municipal secretary and the HR director will be heard, as well as three other department heads.

During that meeting, the municipal council may decide to ask competent minister Bernard Clerfayt (Défi) to carry out an audit of the management of the municipality.

Mayor Catherine Moureaux (PS) does not wish to respond.

This article is originally published on

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