About a half of the current Riga City Council members have a financial interest in a failure of reforms intended by Edmunds Sprudzs, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.
He is set to ban city council members from holding posts in municipal institutions and enterprises at the same time.
Riga City Council coalition has already previously come under fire for fusion of the legislative and the executive power. Income statements show that many its members, who take up posts in municipal enterprises’ boards and councils, are paid much more than for their work in Riga City Council.
Riga City Council members earn an average of less than 500 lats a month – about LVL 5 500 ($ 1 018) per year.
However, the pay for holding posts in public transport company Rigas Satiksme and others is several times higher, reports daily Diena.
“The restrictions would apply to mayors and other city council staff, directors and deputy directors of municipal institutions, as well as board members in companies, where municipalities own over 50% of the stake,” Sprudzs’ adviser Inga Antane says.
It should be added that for the time being the reforms do not apply to councils of municipal companies. Therefore, council members of the public company Riga International Bus Station will not yet need to tighten their belts.
Although the law prohibits city council members to be appointed executive directors, so far it did not apply to three executive directorates in Riga. Two of them are headed by Dmitrijs Pavlovs, who ran Latgale Suburb (Riga) before the elections. The third one is run by Sergejs Hristolubovs, who did not have any executive powers before the 2009 election. He is a member of Latvian Socialist Party, which is part of Harmony Centre.
Meanwhile, Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs believes that their role in the posts is not that important at all.
“They decide on the inner repairs of housing blocks, green space, gardens and, forgive me for saying, what is left after walking dogs. Twice a year they get to vote on the decisions that directly affect the executive power, so they can abstain,” he says.
The issue of executive powers held by Riga City Council members soars even more when we get to Riga Freeport, which is chaired by Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks.
The board consists of Harmony Center members Nils Usakovs, Vadims Jerosenko and Mihails Kameneckis, who all make about LVL 30 000 ($ 55 555) a year.
The current version of the reforms does not apply to Riga Freeport, but the ruling party Unity wants to come up with certain restrictions also on those making good many there.