Theater of Cruelty

Good for the city

The fact that Grete Horntvedt has left his position is good for Oslo. But it does not solve the problems behind the corruption scandal.


[29. September 2006] City Development Council Grete Horntvedt in Oslo resigned on Wednesday, September 27, together with Chairman of the Board Signe Horn in Undervisningsbygg. It was a wise decision. The City Council in particular could be seated if she wanted to, but as the chief responsible for the municipal enterprise Education Building, it is right to take the consequence of the extensive fraud and corruption scandal that has been revealed. It was Horn and Horntvedt's responsibility to provide control routines that would make such an impossibility.

In recent years Horntvedt has become known as the city development agency that regrets. This summer, she regretted the planning of the office buildings that would make the new opera invisible from the east and welcomed the city council's initiative to look at the matter again. Two years ago, she looked up at what has become one of the city's ugliest buildings, Hotel Opera in Bjørvika, and said she regretted it. It was difficult to understand the drawings. And when she saw the new KPMG building on Majorstua, the City Council declared that “I imagined it would be much more beautiful. If I'm going to regret anything, it's that we didn't stand up and say no. "

It is a strength to admit that one has been wrong. For a politician, it is even better to be sure of what one is actually adopting. And when the tens of millions that would have been spent in tired classrooms for the city's children disappear into the pockets of Greek employees and vendors, it doesn't help to regret. One must act. Now it is up to City Councilman Erling Lae to find a replacement who does the job better and not worse.

However, the most serious thing about Grete Horntvedt's handling of the scandal is that it did not happen. This is the obvious underestimation of the problem she showed when she described the fraud as a result of sharpened vessels in the municipality – just like in sports. On Wednesday, however, Minister of Local Government Åslaug Haga demonstrated both insight and willingness to do something about the reasons when she called for more whistleblowers in municipal Norway. It is now up to both the government and the city council to make things better for them.

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