Transparent Financial Management of Municipal Enterprises
Initiative: “Open Access”
Place: Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast
The journalist’s initiative in Kremenchuk, Central Ukraine, strives for public control of handling of public funds and reducing possible corruption activities. Their pilot campaign which published property testimonials of city business directors and pointing to the disproportion between official income and their properties has expanded this year. The campaign aimed to get finance of municipal businesses published to show how they handle public funds which are a significant contribution to their budget each year. Neither in the Czech Republic nor in Ukraine financial management is transparent for these businesses so that leads to even absurd spending such as 500,000 hryvnia (approx. 16.350 EUR) for the delivery of kefir for instance. In 2017 the Kremenchuk City Council decided to create new websites to gradually publish information in open way including about hundred council companies. The Open Access initiative endeavoured to be part of an official working group to cooperate with professionals on the website. One of the most important companies established by the city – Miskoformlenie – addressed students at the local Faculty of journalism to help with “cleaning” data and overcoming technical difficulties. The Open Access initiative organized two open-access seminars for these students. The initiative highlighted a corruption issue related to the celebrations of City of Kremenchuk in 2017, when the Department of Culture and several municipal companies were supposed to commit an illegal conduct. The two month initiative had been gathering documents to prosecute these institutions to the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights. The case went to court. At the same time this complaint was passed to the State Audit Office of Ukraine and the local police. The initiative is waiting now how much the City Council would be willing to get the finance of its businesses published and transparent on new emerging websites which should be completed by the end of summer 2018. Although the campaign´s main goal has not been achieved yet, local journalists have managed to make an affair of the city’s non-transparent economy, debate and dialogue with city leaders to gradually move towards change.