A member of United Srpska and a vice-president of National Assembly, Milan Petković, filed a petition with the Republika Srpska National Assembly to abolish legislators’ payout when their term in office expired or was cut short. The payout amounts to six monthly salaries. If legislators endorse the petition, not only entity ministers, legislators and council members will be denied this perk, but also local level officials: mayors; heads of municipalities and their deputies, as well as the presidents and vice-presidents of local assemblies.
Petković said that his petition will probably be discussed during the following session of the RS National Assembly in the beginning of February. He expects that the legislators will oppose his proposal.
“I expect that they, legislators discussing the topic, will now try to look for some modification or to possibly limit (the pay) to three months, but let’s see,” said Petkovic. “That’s what I’ve been told.”
During the last term, the National Assembly discussed the abolishing of this severance after a the caucus of Forward Srpska submitted its petition. However, it was not adopted because most of the legislators abstained from vote.
However, the public’s pressure returned the proposal to the Assembly’s agenda.
“Politicians are those who should pay attention to the voice of the people and the people’s needs and if the people have been saying for a long time now that this right is unjustified, then it is certainly justified for me to call for its abolition,” Petković told the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN).
CIN reporters uncovered that after the 2014 term ended, 53 officials at the NSRS, the Council of Peoples, and the RS government collected severance pay – at a cost to the RS budget of nearly 843,000 KM.
Four years later, 37 officials from these institutions collected the payout. On their net salaries around 100,000 KM a month was spent. The investigation found that The RS had no hard and fast rules for awarding post-term severance, so this allowance was used also by officials who have other sources of income.
Also, all officeholders appointed by the National Assembly are entitled to post-term payment and that includes dozens of officials from the entity and state level.
CIN’s online database features information about 476 officeholders from across BiH who received at least 8.5 million KM in severance pay over a six-year period. Fifteen of these took a payout two or three times which means that some received salary for over two years without doing anything.
A right to legislative payout was abolished at the state level, but not at the level of entity institutions.