Salaries and expenses for high government officials reined in

  • 2009-12-09
  • By Ella Karapetyan

TALLINN - The long discussions in parliament on a new bill in which the salaries of high-ranking government officials would be reduced, are over for now. According to the new law, the highest salary will be received by the president, the prime minister, the speaker of the parliament and the chairman of the highest court. They are set to receive the same pay, though the level of income has not been defined yet. Salaries of other high-ranking officials will no longer be based on the salary of the president.

The government is also going to cancel compensation for all extra charges and benefits from high-ranking state officials, as well as all extra expenses they receive. Only the expenses of the president and members of the parliament will be compensated for.
Chairman of the Constitutional Commission Vjajno Linda, who is responsible for the bill, said that the new system of salaries will now satisfy widespread complaints over officials’ high salaries. Linda added that the number which will become the basis for calculation of salaries for government officials hasn’t been settled yet, and that it would take some time to figure out. “The highest number which will be set as the basis for calculating salaries will become clear in a week,” he said.

Linda said that the process of defining this factor, undoubtedly, would be helped by public discussion.
The mayor of Tallinn, Edgar Savisaar, said that salaries of Tallinn’s officials are very transparent for all city employees. He adds that the share of additional payments is “very insignificant.” Savisaar maintains that “In 2009, for example, only 2 percent of the monthly wages fund is provided for additional payments.”

“I want to point out that the state has addressed the city council [with regards to] the project which calls for a reduction in my salary, by approximately 8 percent, as well as the salaries of other members of the city council in 2010,” the mayor said.
“This year we spent 7 percent less of the budget on salaries in comparison with the previous year. Moreover, next year this sum will be reduced by [another] 8 percent.” We have cancelled holiday pay, and the share of awards has been reduced from approximately 5 percent, to 1 percent. Therefore, employees will only receive their wages, without any extra awards or benefits.