National Robbery: How OHR Produces Administration
During the last few weeks, we could witness an avalanche of raises for the administration and representatives in the parliament; our journalist demonstrates why the OHR is responsible for the uncontrolled growth of state administration in Bosnia-Hercegovina and increased costs of servicing of that administrative apparatus, amounting to about 70 percent of the total national budget of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Public servants "imposed" by Ashdown earn three times more than "ordinary" public servants
ESI Institute analysts claim that OHR is responsible for dramatic growth of the state administration; none of the new centralized institutions has reduced costs of the existing entity administration; the OHR prevented the Council of Ministers from reducing the salaries of employees of the Communication Regulation Agency; the Parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina initiated the wave of raises of salaries in the state administration
by Asim METILJEVIC
Slobodna Bosna, Sarajevo, Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina, B-H, July 10, 2003
One of the key criticisms of the international community in Bosnia-Hercegovina and its "excessive" use of force, as recently asserted by the ESI (Initiative for European Stability) Institute analysts, has to do with the epidemic of establishment of new, as a rule expensive, institutions sponsored by the international community. Without any public discussion and agreement of the local authorities, after an initial period in which these institutions are subsidized by the international community, they are supposed to be supported by the Bosnian taxpayers. As a rule, these newly created institutions have a special status. Their employees, although formally a part of the Bosnian state administration, have privileged status and treatment in the budget, incomparable with the status of other public servants appointed by the local authorities or elected by the Bosnian voters.
Ashdown Ignores Most Important Factors
This criticism of the ESI analysts, besides being absolutely accurate, is also interesting because of the context in which it has surfaced. Namely, only a few days before, High Representative Paddy Ashdown had complained about excessive spending of the state administration, asserting that the state administration spends almost 70 percent of the GNP, which is unbearable for the weak Bosnian economy. Naturally, Ashdown ignored the true reasons for the flourishing of the administrative apparatus in Bosnia-Hercegovina, as such an analysis would be damning for the Office of the High Representative. Namely, exactly the international community has crucially influenced the formation of numerous, expensive, cumbersome and frequently absolutely unnecessary institutions whose financing sucks up most of the state revenue. On the other hand, every attempt of the local authorities to adjust salaries of the employees in "protected" institutions (such as the CRA, judiciary, ombudsmen) to the level of salaries of other state employees, has been decisively rejected by the OHR leadership. The readers probably still recall the scandalous case with the salaries of the Communications Regulation Agency (CRA) and the humiliation of the Council of Ministers at the time when it was forced to adopt two contradictory decisions within only ten days. The first decision banned further salary raises in the CRA, while the second decision approved the requested salary raises! Namely, in October 2003 CRA employees requested permission from the Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Hercegovina to raise salaries by between 200 and 500 KM [roughly $125 to $250] a month, so that the lowest monthly wage in the CRA (earned by the receptionists) would be increased from 900 KM to 1,090 KM, while the highest salary, earned by chiefs of various departments, would be increased from 4,000 KM to 4,500 KM! The Council of Ministers of BH unanimously rejected this request. However, several days later a recommendation came from the OHR to approve the requested salary increase with the comical justification that otherwise "the CRA would be forced to stop its activities until the end of the year". In other words, the CRA employees, earning 4,000 KM a month, threatened to go on strike if their salaries were not increased by another 500 KM a month! The Council of Ministers was forced to increase in similar manner salaries of ombudsmen, prosecutors, judges, various commissions, agencies, pretty much all the institutions set up or reformed by the OHR and "attached" to the faucet of the state budget, which the local authorities do not dare touch, let alone close.
Salaries Even Without Employees
For example, the Supreme Court of the Federation BH, another object of reform by the OHR, spends every year KM 2.4 million on salaries of 88 employees, while the Ministry of Agriculture (most OHR employees have no idea this ministry actually exists), with the same number of employees, uses 40 percent less taxpayers' funds!
Employees of the institute for control of medications, 30 of them, cost the Bosnian taxpayers 500,000 KM, while 15 employees of the Prosecution of Bosnia-Hercegovina, also touched by the reformist hand of the OHR, spend 767,000 KM on salaries, on average three times as much per employee!
The Federation BH Ombudsman's Office is another expensive institution (48 employees - 2 million KM annually), as well as the Judicial Police, whose work sets taxpayers back 6.4 million KM, half of which is spent on salaries!
However, the most interesting new invention of the OHR is that the Federation BH spends significant portion of its budget for institutions that have no employees at all! The Federation BH commission for election and appointment of judges costs 114,000 KM per annum, while the Commission for Selection of Prosecutors costs 60,000 KM. Of course, the funds are spent for honorariums earned by members of the commissions, which, by the way, meet seldom, only several times a year! The Human Rights Court also has no employees, but spends up to 250,000 KM a year!
20 Percent More For Secret Police
Tireless production of new administrative apparatus and extra financial burden becomes even more obvious on the country level. By comparing entity and country budgets we reveal a shocking fact: in no case has financing of new institutions on the country level reduced expenses of similar entity institutions. On the contrary, after the formation of "joint" institutions on the country level, entity institutions remain untouched. The same number of employees with same expenses as before the formation of the "joint" institution. For example, for two entity intelligence services, FOSS in Federation BH, and OBS in Srpska, entity budgets set aside 20 million KM every year (FOSS 15 million and OBS 5 million). After the setting up of the country Agency for Information and Protection, one would have expected that the expenses of the entity agencies would have been reduced roughly by the amount spent for the financing of the new agency, approximately 5 million KM. However, instead, BH got three agencies. Two entity agencies still financed by 20 million KM, and a new agency at the country level, financed by 5 KM million, which means that the budget for intelligence agencies has increased by 20 percent!
Similarly, after setting up the BH Court, whose work will cost 7.9 million KM this year, entity courts continued working with the same number of employees and same expenses. Even the permanent Military Committee is not financed from the budget earmarked for the entity armies, but from a new requisition in the budget of close to one million KM. The same applies to the BH Prosecutor (2.4 million KM), the Human Rights Court (600,000KM), the Commission for Property Requests (600,000 KM), Ombudsman's Office (600,000 KM), the Statistics Agency (588,000 KM), the State Administration Agency (1.1 Million KM), etc.
New Wave of Salary Increases
The privileged status of the institutions set up at the insistence of the international community in Bosnia-Hercegovina becomes obvious when considering not only salaries of their employees (on average twice as large as those of ministers), but also their expenses. As a rule, travel expenses are especially high! For example, the Human Rights Court and the Communications Regulation Agency receive for travel expenses four times more than the Ministry (i.e. Directorate) for European Integration!
Salaries in the State Border Service, the Agency for State Administration, the Center for Mine Removal, are also questionable.
Without exception, all newly created or reformed institutions under supervision of the international community spend far more than the rest of the state administration, which is not only morally unacceptable, but is also economically unbearable.
Extremely high salaries in the CRA, Ombudsman's office, the prosecution, judiciary, the State Border Service and other newly formed institutions have whetted appetites in the rest of the state administration and caused a chain reaction and increases in salaries. The first ones to test waters were representatives in the Parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina, who added the "official supplement" and bonus to their salaries. Several days later, representatives in the Federation BH Parliament followed their suit and, as can be heard, similar decisions have been already prepared in most cantonal assemblies! No matter how much this most recent wave of increases in salaries of state administration employees may seem immoral, it is difficult to find rational arguments against it. It really does not make sense that a government minister or the speaker of the parliament earns half as much as an anonymous clerk in the CRA or a honorarium of one of members of numerous commissions in charge of selecting and appointing prosecutors and judges.
High Representative Paddy Ashdown is right about one thing though. The state administration in Bosnia-Hercegovina is extremely expensive. The problem is, however, that that administration is not only expensive, but is becoming increasingly expensive with every coming day, mostly thanks to the OHR and its head!
Finci Holds Record With 7,000KM, While In Federation BH Prosecutor Knezevic Tops List With 5,400 KM!?
According to the information obtained by Slobodna Bosna, the highest salary in the Federation BH administration belongs to Federation BH prosecutor Zdravko Knezevic. His pre-tax monthly salary is 5,400KM. he is followed by judges and ombudsmen with monthly salaries of close to 5,000 KM.
On the country level, on the other hand, the record earner is Jakob Finci, director of the Agency for State Administration, in charge of the professional organization of the state administrative apparatus. Finci's monthly salary is close to 7,000 KM, or 1,000 KM less than earned by prosecutors and judges, and 2,000 KM less than earned by bosses at the CRA.
Excluding "privileged" institutions, the highest salary in the BH state administration goes to members of the Presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina. Their base salary is 1,700 KM per month, plus extras for experience, official supplement and hardship.
The chair of the Council of Ministers earns 1632 KM per month, just like the speakers of both chambers of the Parliament of Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Translated on March 1, 2004