MPs to demonstrate on the example of compensation upon the end of the term of office a responsible attitude towards the budget and citizens

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), following the earlier announcements, sent to all parliamentary clubs, but also the Committee on Political System, Judiciary and Administration, an Initiative to amend Article 36 of the Law on Salaries of Public Sector Employees and Article 60 of the Law on Civil Servants and employees.

The initiative proposes to shorten the period of receiving the so-called functionaries’ compensation from the current one year to three months, but also the abolition of the possibility of extending the payment of compensation to one year if the official acquires the right to a pension in that period. Also, the CCE proposed a change in the amount of this compensation, i.e. instead of the amount of salary received by the official in the last month before leaving office, it should now be limited to the amount of average net salary in Montenegro.

The Initiative also envisages restrictions in terms of exercising this right. If the CCE proposal is adopted, officials who spent less than three months in office, who were dismissed from office, as well as those officials who were dismissed on personal request would not be entitled to this compensation upon termination of office.

Furthermore, the CCE proposed an amendment regarding the termination of the right to compensation before the established deadline. Namely, the previous norm stipulates “exercising the right to a pension” as one of the reasons for termination, which was not in line with the needs of savings and accountable public resources management. Accordingly, a change in this formulation was initiated in “fulfilling the conditions for exercising the right to an old-age pension”, meaning that by acquiring the right to a pension, the beneficiary (a public official) loses the right to compensation, and it becomes irrelevant whether s/he wants to exercise the right to a pension or not.

The Initiative anticipate that persons whose term of office is terminated if a state body is abolished or part of activities that do not fall within the scope of another state body or if that person’s job is abolished by adopting a new or amending an existing act on internal organization and systematization belongs to compensation for six months after the termination of function at the level of average salary in Montenegro, instead of the previous compensation for one year in the amount of the last salary within the term of office.

In order to harmonize, the CCE proposed amendments to Article 60 of the Law on Civil Servants and Employees, in the part of the amount of compensation to which are entitled the appointed persons whose mandate has expired and who have not been deployed for a period of one year. Thus, instead of the compensation in the amount of the salary that the official had in the last month of performing his/her duties, this compensation is lowered to the level of the average net salary in Montenegro. The proposed amendment abolishes the possibility of extending this benefit for another year if the official acquires the right to a pension during that time.

This Initiative brings a combination of good legal solutions from the countries of the region, which have been further modified in line with the real possibilities of Montenegro in terms of allocation for this type of privilege. The CCE hopes that the MPs in the Parliament of Montenegro will put this Initiative on the agenda as a priority and demonstrate that awareness of the importance of the public interest is above the particular interests of the functionaries’ benefits upon termination of office.

Vasilije Radulović, Programme Associate