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Tuesday 25.09.2018 | Name days: Rauls, Rodrigo
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Ventspils City Council CEO has larger wage than country’s president, prime minister and Saeima speaker

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe website of Ventspils City Council has information regarding the size of wages paid to the city council’s deputies and officials in January. While there is nothing surprising, and certain individuals close to those in charge are still paid ten times more than members of the opposition, one thing worth mentioning is that the wage paid to the city council’s CEO Aldis Ābele is apparently higher than what is paid not only to CEOs of other major cities, but also the country’s highest ranking officials, as reported by Ventspilnieks.lv.

According to information from the website, Aldis Ābele received EUR 4,206.36 ‘on hands’ in January 2017 (EUR 4,003.7 in December 2017). Meanwhile, the CEO of Riga, which is larger and wealthier than Ventspils, Juris Radzēvičs was paid EUR 2,365.59 in December 2017 (data for January is not yet available). The CEO of Jurmala was paid EUR 2,859.38, and CEO of Daugavpils was paid EUR 1,743.39, which also includes EUR 1,091.75 of vacation pay.

The CEO of Ventspils City Council is also paid more than the president of Latvia (EUR 5,121 before and EUR 3,542.52 after taxes), State President’s Chancellery manager Arnis Salnājs (EUR 3,978), Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece (EUR 2,888.27), Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis (EUR 3,789.33), and director of the State Chancellery Jānis Citskovskis (EUR 2,833.63).

The law obligates all 119 municipalities in Latvia to publish wages paid to deputies every month. All of them have the same duties and equal rights. However, the difference in the wages paid to them is nothing short of dramatic. There are no restrictions, no red line that should not be crossed, when it comes to the size of wages for members of the municipal administration. The matter regarding wages is in their own hands. As a result there is now a situation when loyalty to those in power pays great dividends. The more loyal the deputy, the more posts he can have. This also means a larger overall wage.

Ventspilnieks.lv mentions that both the media and political experts have pointed out this problem on multiple occasions. For example, Providus Centre’s researchers Iveta Kažoka’s and Līga Stafecka’s study ‘Balance of power and control in Latvia’s municipalities’ came to a rather sad conclusion – wages are a powerful weapon the hands of city council chairpersons. «Expectations of getting easy money often influences officials in votes and ensure loyalty towards the ruling power.»

There is currently no reason to expect the situation with loyal deputies kept on a monetary leash close to those in power to change – no one controls this field and no one analyses information.

It can be mentioned for comparison that there were 39,286 residents registered in Ventspils at the beginning of 2017. The city’s budget revenue for 2018 is planned at EUR 70,874 million.

It can be assumed at first that Ventspils is ahead of the rest of Latvia in terms of average wages. This is not the case, however. According to data from CV-Online Latvia, the highest average wages are found in Riga (EUR 936). Average wages in Latvia are the lowest in Deugavpils (EUR 582). Average wages in Pieriga and Jurmala reach EUR 865. In Zemgale they reach EUR 680, in Kurzeme – EUR 678, in Vidzeme – EUR 649, and in Latgale – EUR 594.

Ref: 224.109.109.4201


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