Centre for Civic Education (CCE) submitted the initiative to the State Election Commission (SEC) to revoke the Decision on determining remuneration for work in the State Election Commission, adopted by the SEC on 1 July 2020, as certain provisions of that Decision are not in accordance with the Law on Wages of Civil Servants.
Namely, Article 7 of that Decision prescribes the remuneration for work in the Commission from the day of announcing the elections until the day of determining the final election results, and it amounts to two and a half average salaries, i.e. 1,250 euros additionally. Both the president and the secretary, i.e. professionally employed persons, are entitled to this compensation, which is in direct conflict with the provisions of the Law on Wages of Civil Servants, which Article 26 explicitly prescribes restrictions regarding the benefits.
Articles 5 and 6 of this Decision, which stipulate the fee for attending the sessions of the permanent members of the SEC, are also dubious. Considering that they were paid a fixed fee of 300 euros for their work in the Commission, there is no reason to set an additional fee of 20% of the value of the multiplier for the attendance of each session. Article 7 of the Rules of Procedure of the State Election Commission stipulates that the Commission works and decides at the session, so it can be concluded that the SEC rewards members of the Commission for performing work that is their legal obligation, but does not deprive them of funds in periods when there are no elections or sessions.
Also, in a broader context, despite the fact that salaries have been significantly reduced for top executives in the legislative, executive and judicial branch, the SEC imposes compensation to executives and permanent members in the amount of two and a half average salaries per month, hence, operating as if the situation is regular and as if that institution does not belong to the public sector financed from the Budget of Montenegro. It is also strange that the members of the SEC who come from the Government and the Parliament did not point out this (Secretaries General of the Government and the Parliament), but also all other members from political parties and the NGO sector. In this manner, the message is sent that despite all the differences, they are very united when it comes to compensation and even when the legality or justification of compensation is questionable.
If the SEC does not revoke the disputed Decision, the CCE will also address the competent Ministry of Finance to conduct an inspection by the budgetary inspector, in accordance with the Law on Wages of Civil Servants.
Vasilije Radulović, Program associate