In Narva, there are around 10 companies and foundations who have local government members sitting on them. This is a long-term aspect of Narva's political culture and no matter how new politics the power-seekers are promising, everything comes down to apportioning seats on the councils.
More well-off companies like Narva Vesi and Narva Hospital are paying around €500-700 a month to their board members, so an active power coalition member who is leading the council's committee, might earn an extra €1,000 on top of their councilor's wage.
City commissioner Jana Kondrašova told ERR that the longest meeting was held when the coalition was dividing seats in the council. "On the one side, we were arguing that every council has to have the people who understand what is happening in the field, but on the other side we were arguing with Katri Raik (mayor of Narva-ed.) that one person can take multiple positions in different councils," Kondrašova said.
She made it to the council on Raik's list and left the political group Narva's Future electoral alliance after council seats for the latter started to be distributed to Center Party members.
"It is very difficult for me to work with people whose politics were quite different before the elections. It is very difficult to imagine how our program can be implemented," Kondrašova told ERR.
Narva Mayor Katri Raik, who previously ruled out post-election co-operation with the Center Party, admitted that the situation is confusing and substantive changes in Narva's city management could only take place in four or five years, but now the wishes of the councilors must be taken into account.
"The people of Narva are not doing very well when the average salary is around €1000, and let's be honest, in addition to the work and time that these councils and committees bring with them, there is also a significant amount of money that the council members put in their pockets," Raik told ERR. "It's always been like this in Narva, I've criticized it myself, but it's true that every coalition ambassador had to get a council seat. Rapid changes in the world, unfortunately, are often not possible."
Raik said that the salaries of the members of the supervisory boards of municipal companies have been equalized and the higher ones have been cut by a third, but Narva cannot be managed without them.
"If you take away the income or reduce them to €100, for example, I think that the mayor who makes the move may as well write a resignation letter," Raik said.
Raik's electoral coalition put in a strong result in the local elections in Narva last October.
Editor: Roberta Vaino