Source: Politika

Behind the scenes

Everyone who decides to use the data about salaries in state bodies from those institutions' information booklets should be very cautious, because many of them haven't been updated for so long that they could be easily called - sources of disinformation. However, in the  Information booklet of the National Assembly of Serbia, one of the rare data that is correct is the one pertaining to salaries, but only of the MPs, and only because they haven't been corrected for almost four years, because this document has been last time updated in April last year. 

The Assembly of Serbia has published, amongst the first, its information booklet and it was excellent. It contained all data, especially detailed and precise were the financial data, the ones most sought after, not only from the Parliament, but also from the other state authorities. In each moment one could see how much money the Assembly has, how much and for what it has spent per quarters.  But, it was so until the last year, when “updating” was forgotten.  A little bit earlier they also became “forgetful” in the Government, so the last updating of its information booklet has been published in January last year. In the ministries, they are a little bit more updated,  but in those special information  booklets you will not see what are the salaries of Prime Minister, Vice President and ministers, that writes in Government information  booklet, exactly as you can just there find the costs of Prime Minister's and Vice President's Cabinet.  In the other state authorities also, the situation is not much better.

Rodoljub Sabic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance says that there is a law and instruction he gave, based on legal authorizations, on data updating, but "a large number of those to whom that law pertains do not observe it." He stresses that  "it is better not to have information booklet, because then people call and ask for information, and when it exists, you rely on the data from it, and they haven't been updated for a year." So, says Sabic, this is completely worthless if not updated. The Commissioner, as he says, does not have factual or legal power to enforce someone to become updated. "I have never received assistance from the Government for those efforts, and I have in several instances pointed the problem out to it. When you 'browse' those information booklets, this is the reason for consternation, because they also contain contradictory data, especially those pertaining to finances, for which the journalists and the public are the most interested. I, according to the law, am entitled to the salary big as the salary of the Supreme Court of Serbia Judge,  and I could, for instance see according to the published data that I have salary smaller than the judge,  but then bigger than the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic - complete nightmare.

It is a paradox that we have all that, while listening to the story about e-government, and announcement of significantly changed attitude of the power towards the citizens and the media."

The biggest number of reasons for anger, regarding lack of updating of Assembly Information booklet, have the MPs, the most attacked and the most criticized ones for  "not doing anything, and receiving huge salaries." If the Information booklet has been updated, everyone could see that, for instance MPs have salaries smaller than the National Assembly Secretary - MPs salary is 75,883 dinars, and the Secretary's is a little bigger than 90,000. In the Information booklet however, writes that the Secretary's salary is 72,011 dinars. To remind you, the MPs had, as members of the Government and persons appointed and employed in the Parliament, a chance to increase their salaries, but they have tidily in the last three and a half years refused all increases for themselves,  but voted for all increases of salaries of Parliament employees.

The Assembly of Vojvodina has tidily published Information booklet for convocation  2008-2012, which is for every praise, and according to the data quoted there, it is more profitable to be an MP in Vojvodina Parliament, because the salary there is 73,299 dinars, but with MP's bonus it can reach 110,000 dinars. An MP in the Serbian Parliament with MP's bonus receives monthly 105,000. Also the Chairman of Vojvodina Assembly with monthly salary of 128,274 dinars is profiting in relation to the Serbian National Assembly Chairman, with 105,884. dinars. Maybe these data testify why Slavica uki-Dejanovi refused to be on the "payroll" in the Parliament.

Veljko Odalovic, Serbian National Assembly Secretary, who has in his time also been an MP in the S&M Assembly, where by the way, for much smaller work MPs received much bigger salaries than the colleagues from the Serbian Parliament, says for  "Politika" that he has already observed the Assembly Information booklet problem. He adds that on the  meeting with people who would deal in this job, he said that in the Information booklet all information have to be true and "fresh", "this is not an easy job and I will not promise any deadline in which it would be completed, but I promise that it would be in the shortest possible period."