President's Office paid out HRK 2 mln to former officials in 2015

Under the law governing the obligations and rights of state officials, last year slightly over two million kuna was paid out to 13 officials employed in former President Ivo Josipovic's office who were entitled to "six plus six" wages once their term ended.

According to that law, when officials cease to hold office they are entitled to receive full pay for six months and half pay for another six months, until such time that they find other employment or become entitled to a pension allowance.

Total monthly costs for the former officials amount to HRK 93,000.

In 2015, HRK 2.06 million was paid out for this purpose or a net amount of HRK 93,300 per month. Last year 13 officials exercised the right to "six plus six" wages and seven are still being paid under that scheme, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's office told Hina on Wednesday.

Along with former President Josipovic four of his advisers exercised that right in 2015, as did his former chief-of-staff, two department heads and five assistants. Six officials are still receiving half-pay. Josipovic exercised this right until 31 August.

"The total expenditure for this this year will depend on whether all these officials will continue to exercise that right to the end," the President's Office said.

Asked about total costs incurred by the President's Office last year, the President's Office said that final accounts had not been completed yet, but that they would be far below the approved budget or the amount spent in 2014. The budget of the President's Office for 2015 was HRK 41.1 million.

"The final accounts for 2015 will be completed by 31 January as required by law and then we will have detailed data of actual spending. What we can claim for the time being is that the total costs incurred by the President's Office in 2015 will be significantly below the amount approved in the budget and definitely less than the costs incurred in 2014," the President's Office said.

Hina was told that the work of the commission examining new potential premises for the President's Office was nearing completion and its findings were expected in the spring. The commission is looking at security, technical, IT, protocol, space, financial and other standards. On 19 March last year, a month after taking up office, the President decided to initiate proceedings to find an appropriate location for her office.

The President's Office underscored that special attention would be paid to the costs at the existing location as well as the costs of relocation and the adaptation of available premises owned by the government.

The findings will be submitted to the State Property Management Office (DUUDI) to determine whether any premises owned by the state meet the necessary standards. "Accordingly, the President will adopt a decision in cooperation with the government and parliament on possible premises for the President's Office," the President's Office said.

Media have speculated that a potential site could be the building housing the Croatian History Institute in Opaticka Street, and previously a residency in Visoka Street was also considered as an option. However, experts claim that neither building satisfies the necessary standards.

The present presidential complex in Pantovcak Street is in fact a temporary site chosen after the building now housing the government was shelled in the early days of the war on 7 October 1991, which until then was where the President's Office was located.

Last update: Wed, 13/01/2016 - 20:55

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