Questions over municipal post Rīga mayor's wife held for eight years

Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova, the wife of Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) and the long-standing head of his office, has for eight years held a consulting post at the Rīgas ūdens municipal water company, reported LTV's De facto March 17.

A consulting agreement between Strautiņa, who married Ušakovs in 2014, was concluded in late 2010. It lasted until late 2018 and has not been renewed since. 

While turning journalists away upon being contacted at the Rīga City Council, she nevertheless provided a written reply about her duties at the post. 

"I have attended work meetings in the Rīga City Council as well as the responsible ministries. I have provided my opinion over bills to be reviewed at the Saeima that touch upon the operations of Rīgas ūdens. I have met company management and specialists to resolve specific problems that houses and residents faced," she told De facto.

Strautiņa-Ušakova also mentioned specific laws and regulations she has worked on. De facto has concluded that Strautiņa-Ušakova must have contacted the Environment Ministry over these, but the Environment Ministry said they have no data over her presence at any meetings the ministry has held to discuss legislative acts. 

Rīgas ūdens head Dagnija Kalniņa told De facto that despite the fact that the company has a legal department, Strautiņa has the necessary knowledge over public legislature and that Kalniņa had herself approached Strautiņa for this post.

Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs meanwhile was evasive as to whether he had helped Strautiņa, who back in 2010 was his legal adviser, secure the post. 

"Iveta Strautiņa has managed the offices of two Justice Ministers. Until she started working with Harmony, no-one had the idea to chase her with a camera. No-one in the country could doubt her expertise," he said.

There is a long history in the Rīga City Council of employing people associated with the ruling Harmony party in municipal companies. 

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