Transparency in municipalities

Published February 24, 2015

municipality

Municipalities of Alytus (78 points from 100), Šakiai (74 points) and Plungė (74 points) districts accounts for their activities best, shows the latest Municipal Transparency research carried out by Transparency International Lithuania. The least accountable are Skuodas (37 points), Rokiškis (36 points) and Pasvalys (33 points) municipalities. Conflicts of interests, influence of lobbyists and how residents may get involved into decision-making are almost undisclosed by all municipalities in Lithuania.

Results of this research show that none of the municipalities publish information about their meetings with interest groups, the offers received during such meetings and further decisions taken by the municipality. Only Birštonas district municipality publishes declarations of public and private interests of politicians and its heads of administration. Aanother eight municipalities publish this information partly. Moreover, every fourth municipality publishes what sort of gifts their employees are allowed to receive and every fifth municipality publishes how their residents may get involved into decision-making.

The research analyzed how much information municipalities provide online about: its employees, activities of municipal council, anti-corruption measures, municipal entities and companies, annual budgets, public procurement and opportunities for residents to participate in decision-making process.
Birštonas district municipality publishes the most detailed information about its employees, including their contact information and positions (100 points), Plungė district municipality – about its anti-corruption activities (86 points) and Tauragė district municipality – about municipal entities, companies and composition of their boards (100 points).

Municipalities of Mažeikiai, Šakiai and Vilnius accounted best for their annual budgets and municipal debt (100 points each), Birštonas district municipality – for its public procurement (94 points) and Alytus district municipality – about the opportunities for residents to participate in municipal activities (83 points). Half of all the municipalities publish individual politicians’ votes and minutes of every Council meeting.

“This research provides an excellent opportunity for municipalities to understand how they can work in a more transparent way and how their transparency looks when compared with other municipalities. A more open municipality is a necessary when fighting corruption. Unfortunately, municipalities are still among the most corrupt institutions in Lithuania”, said Sergejus Muravjovas, the executive director of “Transparency International” Lithuanian Chapter.

The research evaluated not only mandatory but also additional information about the activities. After the analysis was made, the results were sent to all municipalities to double-check the information gathered and offer to start publishing information online. 12 out of 60 municipalities took this opportunity.

The methodology of this research was designed following the examples of municipal research made by Transparency International National Chapters in Portugal and Slovakia.

The initiative is supported by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Program.

Please visit www.jurgiokepure.lt for more information.