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Tuesday 21.02.2017 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne
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To prevent questionable procurement, Revalde turns to State Audit

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn order to secure rational use of public funding allocated to Ventspils University College, Ventspils University College rector Gita Revalde has turned to State Audit with a request to carry out an inspection at the education institution.

This will help save funding worth EUR 42,000 the Senate of Ventspils University College has requested the rector to allocate for a procurement project titled ‘audit of Ventspils University College’s financial administration and performance’, Revalde told BNN.

During the meeting of the senate, the rector pointed to the fact that spending such amounts of funding is not an efficient way of doing things, because annual reports of auditors are positive. In addition, she said this amount is not provided in the education institution’s budget plan. The State Audit functions objectively and neutrally. With that, its report would have a greater degree of trustworthiness. It would also help avert suspicions that such an evaluation was politically ordered.

The Senate of Ventspils University College decided to organize the audit after the 23 March meeting, which was attended by officials of Ventspils City Council, including the criminally accused Aivars Lembergs.

BNN had previously reported that Revalde, who was dismissed from her post by the college’s constitution council, calls this decision absurd. She has decided to appeal it in Education and Science Ministry and Education State Quality Service.

«It all began on 23 April, while I was away in Germany. Representatives of Ventspils City Council showed up in the senate and basically called in the meeting of the college council, asking to replace the rector. The deputy chairperson of the council later told me that it was organized by Lembergs,» – Revalde mentioned.

Delfi had previously reported that following the increase in tension between Revalde and Ventspils City Council, Aivars Lembergs had issued a warning – if VeA does not find a new head for the education institution, it can forget about the municipality’s continued grants. This warning was issued at the end of 2015. It seems that it has been carried out as well, because Ventspils University College has yet to receive grants.

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  1. Ieva Vizule says:

    I represent the academic staff of Ventspils University College as well the Constitutional Council of the given institution, which on May 26 – after a 6-hour debating – voted for the removal of Ms Gita Rēvalde from the rector’s position. The vote was 21 votes for the removal and 6 against, which means the absolute majority of the council members were in favour of this decision.

    Ms Rēvalde is presenting this as the decision imposed by the city mayor Mr Lembergs (which is easy to do because of him having spoken publicly about it not once). However, it is the staff of the university college that finds it impossible to work with Ms Rēvalde, and with her acting Deputy Mr Ratnieks.

    STAFF OF VENTSPILS UNIVERSITY COLLEGE IS AGAINST MS RĒVALDE (Aand MR RATNIEKS

    The reasons: Mr Revalde, who represents the executive power, has been demonstrating obvious disrespect to the decisions and opinion of the Senate – legislative power of the institution (she continued giving orders that counter decisions of the Senate). This is why the Constitutional Council had a meeting and expected the rector to give the annual report of her activities in the position of the rector. Since Aug 28 of 2013, NOT ONCE this has been done. The initial goal of the meeting was only to assess her performance.

    On the day of the meeting – May 26, Ms Rēvalde refused to report on her job performance and the operation of Ventspils University College during and under her management. She just left the room after some excuses presented in a long string of legal considerations. Ms Revalde added that the Constitutional Council had no right to ask her to report on her job performance (despite it being stipulated by the law; the council is the body that both elects the rector into the position, as well as can remove them).

    After listening to all the evidence – audit results by the City Council on how the resources allocated by it were used; account of the instances of psychological abuse from the side of Mr Rēvalde and Mr Ratnieks towards administrative staff; account of instances of abuse of their formal power, thus preventing or slowing down some important procurement procedures, and also after the debates, the formulation of the decision was changed to a much stronger one – Ms Rēvalde was removed from the position, because had lost trust of the staff of Ventspils University College. Her management style was considered absolutely inappropriate, despite her very advanced scientific qualifications and commendable achievements in physics.

    The aftermaths of the decision keep adding to the already strained conflict situation:
    – several staff members – by the order of Ms Revalde have been deprived of the rights to publish official news on the University college website (the rights left only to herself and Mr Ratnieks), which means the information that is currently being placed on our website represnts only Ms Revalde and Ms Ratnieks’ point of view;
    – the signature rights on all important decisions left only to herself and Mr Ratnieks (no other two deputy rectors). Apart from any financial and administrative decision, this also means that no formal letter can leave the institution without her approval;
    – psychological abuse towards the staff members that oppose her is being continued (some have been on sick leave because of her and Mr Ratniek’s activities;
    – the atmosphere of suspicion and lack of trust maintained;
    – attempts to split the staff or worse – to put one group against the other maintained;
    – anybody who does not agree with her opinion is an enemy, hence attempts to get rid of some administrative staff – through her orders, have again been made;
    – numerous legal ‘essays’ and complaints on the council decision and staff have been developed and submitted to different public bodies, including, political party, Mr Ratnieks is a member of, has been involved in this blasphemy. The lawyers, who are funded from the budget of our institution, actually, can be said to work only for her and Mr Ratnieks. We – staff members are made to look for some legal advice outside.

    Isn’t this abuse of formal power?

    Two people try to run Ventspils University College, ignoring the opinion of the majority of the staff. Currently, abusing their power. All they have is the formal power. How do they imagine to run an organisation only through that.

    IT IS NOT Ms Rēvalde versus Mr Lembergs or City Council, but Ms Revalde versus absolute majority of her staff. Ventspils University College is a state higher education institution founded in 1997, but it’s real founder is Ventspils City Council. For the first three years, there was no financing allocated by the government, only by the local municipality. Our university college keeps receiving financial support – for studies, research, publication, staff training and education – from the Ventspils City Council. The mayor, obviously, earlier than the staff of the university college saw through the activities of Ms Revalde. She refused to co-operate with the City Council, even though our institution has signed a bilateral co-operation agreement. She also refused to account for how the financing allocate dby the City Council was used. This was the reason for Mr Lemberg’s outrage.

    The legislative body of Ventspils University college was trying to convince Ms Rēvalde that this co-operation is our history; we as both an educational and research institution have only benefited from it in numerous ways. The same as with your parents – not always you support their words and deeds, but they are your parents. We want a rector that not divides but unites us all.

    Ms Rēvalde – RECTOR AGAINST HER OWN STAFF,

    and yes, STAFF AGAINST Ms Rēvalde.

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  2. Ieva Vizule says:

    Additional comment – this call by Ms Rēvalde is another attempt to delay the decision of the Constitutional Council of Ventspils University College concerning her removal from the rector’s position coming into effect.

    An urgent audit is required; knowing that the State Audit Office has a long waiting list, this is bound to take some good time. Very convenient for Ms Rēvalde indeed.

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