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Riga City Council fails to get rid of Transport Department’s director

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSo far, Riga City Council has not been able to dismiss Transport Department’s official director Vitalijs Reinbahs through court. Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs has been fruitlessly trying to get rid of Reinbahs since August 2016, as reported by Diena.

For more than two years now Riga City Council’s Transport Department has been managed by Emīls Jakrins. However, officially he remains acting director of the department. Although Reinbahs does not perform any official functions, it does not prevent him from being paid a salary of more than EUR 2,000. For a long time now, Riga City Council has been trying to dismiss him through different courts. However, he remains in his post.

Transport Department’s public relations representatives Una Ahuna-Ozola has confirmed in a conversation with Diena that although Reinbahs does not perform his functions, he is still paid a monthly salary of EUR 2,438 (before taxes), whereas the salary of the actual head of the department is some EUR 100 smaller – EUR 2,305 (before taxes). Information on the municipality’s website also shows that Jarkins was paid EUR 2,601 in November, whereas Reinbahs was paid EUR 1,029.

Riga City Council has attempted getting rid of Reinbahs several times. In August 2016, Ušakovs expressed distrust towards Reinbahs, backing his argument with delays with construction work in the city, which is something the Transport Department is directly responsible for. However, the trade union was against his dismissal. Because of that, it was not possible to fire him. TV3 programme Nekā personīga reported in February 2018 that Ušakovs had dismissed Reinbahs poorly, because allegedly Reinbahs failed to meet deadlines for street repairs and had poorly organized all work. However, instead of actual proof, the mayor referenced what the media had reported.

Reinbahs contested his dismissal in court, which ruled in his favour, as reported by Diena. Reinbahs had also used a child-care leave somewhere in the middle to extend the period of time during which it would be impossible to dismiss him.

After a year-long absence, Reinbahs returned to work in summer 2017. Ušakovs then decided to put him on downtime.

As reported by Diena, the ruling of Riga Latgale District Court announced in December was favourable for Reinbahs – the litigation was ceased because the plea was submitted by a person with no plea rights. The plaintiff in this case was Riga City Council, which wanted to use the court in order to terminate relations with Reinbahs. According to Riga City Council public relations representative Ugis Vidauskis, the city council has submitted a side complaint in regards to the ruling, saying that it was incorrect.

Diena could not contact Reinbahs to get his comments.

As it is known, Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry submitted a letter to State Audit on 14 February, asking the institution to assess the use of funds by Riga City Council in paying wages to the two directors of the Transport Department, as confirmed by the ministry’s representative Santa Vaļuma.

State Audit’s public relations representative Reinis Grāvītis told Diena that this request has been received. However, the ministry is the institution responsible for monitoring municipalities and their activities. Grāvītis does not deny the fact that the salary matter at Riga City Council’s Transport Department had been in its sights even before the letter.

In 2013, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau commenced a criminal case in relation to bribery at Riga City Council’s Transport Department. KNAB detained Reinbahs and he was made a suspect later. Nekā personīga had previously reported that there had been suspicions that Reinbahs had possibly accepted payments through a third person in exchange for favourable conditions in a shuttle bus tender.

Rīgas satiksme’s tender was won by Riga City Council coalition’s partner party Honour to Serve Riga member Aleksandrs Brandavs’ Rīgas mikroautobusu satiksme.


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