De Facto

Pētījums atklāj plašu pesticīdu klātbūtni Latvijā

De Facto

De Facto. Vilcieni un pesticīdi

Iesalnieks darbu "Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijās" dabūja pat bez pieredzes ar būvlīgumiem

LTV examines express railway job for former Saeima deputy

Latvian Television's investigative show De Facto on January 7 examined how a recent Saeima deputy landed a key job with a state-owned railway company despite having no obvious expertise in the transport sector.

At the end of last year, one of the most high-profile politicians of the nationalist National Alliance (NA), Jānis Iesalnieks, surprised the public by announcing that he had taken on a professional challenge outside of politics, and would no longer run for political office. 

Soon afterwards, Iesalnieks' new position was revealed – head of construction contracts at the state company "Eiropas Dzelzceļa lijnas" (European Railway Lines/EDzL), which is the implementer of the huge Rail Baltica project in Latvia.

The company admitted to De Facto that Iesalnieks had very little practical experience with construction contracts, but that the other candidates who applied for the job did not have such experience either, as the salary of 3,500 euros per month was not considered competitive in the industry.

EDzL is a state capital company, whose capital is held by the Ministry of Transport. The company explained that the vacancy arose because one of the three existing construction contract managers left the company. The job requirements clearly indicated that they were looking for a person with experience in the field of construction, preferably international. 

This advertisement was also noticed by Jānis Iesalnieks, who recently lost his job as the legal advisor of the previous Minister of Transport Jānis Vitenbergs (National Alliance) as a result of a changed government coalition.

"I realized at the beginning of last year, I would say, that I don't want to continue my career in politics. The fact that the government changed after that actually only accelerated my plans, which were already outlined before," Iesalnieks told De Facto.

The politician is not a complete stranger to the railwwys: his father, Juris Iesalnieks, was the director of the State Railway Administration for many years.

After not being elected to the Saeima last year, he decided to look for a job in a state-owned company or institution related to transport. He has not asked any party member or former colleague in the ministry for help with finding a job, he insists.

Last fall, he sent some nine applications for various jobs. The vacancy at EDzL attracted the attention of Iesalnieks, because he says he is an ardent supporter of the Rail Baltica project: "After evaluating the requirements of this job advertisement, I thought that I could pull off the job, considering that I also had a little experience with real estate management and construction."

Iesalnieks' experience in the private sector is short-lived, moreover, it ended ten years ago, when he became a consultant of the National Alliance and later held various political positions - as a parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Justice, an advisor to the minister in the Ministry of Transport, and as a member of the Saeima.

How did it happen that out of 19 applicants for the position in which it will be necessary to control the execution of construction contracts worth billions, a person with, as he himself admits, only a little experience in the field of construction, was recognized as the best?

It follows from the explanation of Ieva Mūrniece, head of EDzL's personnel department, that the other candidates were even weaker, and they also had no experience in construction:

"I myself have been working in personnel management for more than 20 years, and all these years in the construction industry. Lawyers with construction competence cannot be found on the market at the moment, and if there are any, they are paid much more than what we can offer."

When asked if this is why EDzL had to hire a "cheaper" lawyer without construction experience, the head of the company's HR department says: "I wouldn't want to belittle and say "cheaper", but this is a solution in a way, because the specific employee works in the project management team in cooperation with colleagues, where there are also engineers, and they complement each other very well with their competences."

Mūrniece, who herself was a member of the competition commission, reveals that four out of 19 candidates were invited to the second round – but as already mentioned, none of them really had practical experience with construction. 

Iesalnieks is confident that he will pass the probationary period and claims that the new job is not just an attempt to "winter" while the National Alliance is in the opposition.

"I have realized that I am interested in the transport industry and work in the long term. And politics is such an activity that drains a person very much, and if a person works only in politics for too long, then it narrows the vision of the world."


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