He still has a few days of vacation, but Godfried van Gestel, the new alderperson for building and living in Geldrop-Mierlo, is ready to start his new job. As the successor to Marc Jeucken, who is quitting soon, he is looking forward to it. “It’s definitely not a snake pit here. Everyone wants the best for Geldrop-Mierlo.”
The 60-year-old Van Gestel is no stranger to Geldrop-Mierlo’s town hall. After all, he was appointed formateur a year ago after the municipal elections. Under his leadership, the coalition programme between the local parties DGG (Geldrop) and DPM (Mierlo) and the CDA came about. “It is indeed quite special that I now become an alderperson myself, but at the same time it is also an advantage. I already know the people of the council and the college a bit and they know me. That makes it easier to talk. We already pretty much know what we have in common”.
As of April 4, the new alderperson will be part of a five-member college. He will have the portfolio of Urban Planning, Housing, Environmental Law, Municipal Property and Municipal Land Management. An active member of the CDA group and a regular visitor to meetings and gatherings, Van Gestel also regularly gives solicited and unsolicited advice. “So I talk to a lot of people within the department and so I quickly realised that I was one of the potential candidates. Moreover, I have never made a secret of the fact that I aspire to a position in public administration.
So Van Gestel is looking forward to starting his new job, but obviously would have liked things to be different for the current alderperson. “I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for Marc and of course it is heartbreaking that he is leaving. Especially because of the reasons he puts forward.” Jeucken is quitting because he is “experiencing a diminishing sense of support and trust. In an earlier comment, he let it be known that he no longer feels happy “in the split between wishes from the city council and the available possibilities”. This is apparently affecting his health as well.
As an independent security consultant and former police chief and director of the CDA party office, Van Gestel has gained the necessary experience in municipal politics. “I feel a lot of appreciation and trust and I think that is important when accepting a new position. I have to feel at home, safe and welcome somewhere, otherwise such cooperation is often doomed to failure. Of course, I never have certainty, but given the reactions of my future colleagues in the council, the college and the civil service, it should work out well.”
‘Doing it together’
Current Alderman for Housing Jeucken will step down on April 3rd; a day later Van Gestel will be installed as his successor. “We have spoken to each other extensively and he fully supports my candidacy. That’s nice. Maybe after nine years it is also time for a new face. Who will say? I have often been asked in recent days if I am going to do things differently. It is too early to say. In any case, I am a different person and have my own way of working. Doing things ‘together’ is very important to me and I think that is also consistent with the wishes within the college and the City Council”.
Translated by: Anitha Sevugan