Independent members of the management board of Lietuvos Pastas (Lithuanian Post) have refused to stay on after defying Transport and Communications Minister Jaroslav Narkevic's instruction to halt the sale of three key postal buildings and fire the state postal company's chief executive officer.
© Ukmergės žinios

In a statement issued after Monday's meeting with Narkevic, Nerijus Datkunas, the board's chairman, said that the ministry's demands would be detrimental to the company's operations and its 5,000 employees.

According to the statement, Deputy Transport and Communications Minister Gytis Mazeika and Joana Sokolnik, an advisor to Narkevic, informed Datkunas on October 31 that the minister was demanding an immediate suspension of the auctions of the central post office buildings in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda and dismissal of Lietuvos Pastas CEO Asta Sungailiene.

Datkunas replied that such issues had to be decided by Lietuvos Pastas' board and that there had to be clear grounds for sacking the CEO. On the evening of the same day, all board members received letters informing them about the board's dismissal as of October 31.

The minister revised his order last week to extend the board's powers until December 31, but its independent members do not agree to stay on.

"In our legal assessment, the board of Lietuvos Pastas was dismissed on October 31. For the sake of transparency, we emphasize that the management board is no longer functioning," Datkunas said in the statement.

According to Mazeika, the ministry wanted the board to "listen more into the public's interests".

"The post is a state enterprise that carries a certain political burden, too," the vice-minister told BNS after Monday's meeting with the board members.

The dismissed board had four independent members – Datkunas, Jurate Stanisauskiene, Danielius Merkinas and Grazvydas Jukna – and a member representing the ministry, Janina Laskauskiene.

Lietuvos Pastas has decided to sell the three buildings, saying they are too large for the company and too costly to maintain.

The communications minister believes, however, that the company should look again at possibilities to continue using the buildings for public needs.

"We have launched a process to re-examine all possible options, attracting municipal authorities and other social partners in an effort to preserve the buildings for public use," Narkevic told BNS after the meeting.

The National Commission for Cultural Heritage, the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO and the Lithuanian Restorers' Union have voiced concern over the planned sale of these buildings.

BNS
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