OASTH starts out on bumpy road

OASTH starts out on bumpy road

There was a changing of the guard at the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organization (OASTH) on Thursday but it appears that the denunciation of the government’s decision to remove the existing board and bring the firm under public control isn’t going to stop anytime soon.

Outgoing OASTH CEO Christos Stefanidis told Kathimerini that he and fellow board members have written to Greece’s lenders, including the European Stability Mechanism, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, to argue that the law paving the way for the changes at the transport organization is unconstitutional.

The legislation was approved by Parliament on July 31 but Stefanidis argues that it was not accompanied by the necessary report from the State General Accounting Office. According to Stefanidis, the government has not included in financial calculations the planned purchase of 100 buses. The new law, the outgoing CEO argues, also does not have a limit on the number of hirings that can be made.

The departing board has informed the institutions that it plans to plans to appeal to the Council of State. The appeal against the constitutionality of the legislation, Law 4482/2017, is expected to be lodged at Greece’s highest administrative court today. The outgoing board members warn that if their appeal is successful, the government will have to compensate them.

Stefanidis and his colleagues also plan to write to the European Commission’s directorates general for competition and the internal market.

Stefanidis handed over control at OASTH Thursday to the new CEO appointed by the government, Stelios Pappas, who is the father of Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas. The Transport Ministry said that Stelios Pappas will not receive a salary for his work.

The former CEO said that the ousted board has already secured a prosecutor’s order giving them access to any documents from OASTH that they need as part of their legal challenge. Stefanidis expressed concerns that the documents may be tampered with.

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