Slovakia: Local Romani councilors give up their remuneration
Five newly-elected local councilors from the Romani Coalition Party (Strana romské koalice - SRK) in the town of Kamenná Poruba (Vranov nad Topľou district) have surprised the public by giving up their remuneration. The councilors will perform their roles on the local council completely free of charge.
The Romani councilors had declared they would not be taking the remuneration of EUR 22 per month because of the municipality's bad financial situation and have kept their promise. They claim they want to set an example for other politicians.
The SRK has governed the town since the last elections. In addition to the post of mayor, it has a majority on the local council, where Romani people occupy five of the nine seats.
"We decided to give up our remuneration as councilors. The municipality is not doing well, we must save money," Róbert Kováč (45) and Andrej Tippan (42) announced on behalf of all the SRK councilors; both men are otherwise unemployed.
The councilors said they were giving up their EUR 22 per month in remuneration out of conviction, not because it might affect their welfare. The men receive EUR 120 monthly from the labor office and also perform minor community service jobs.
The other two SRK councilors are tradespeople and the third works as a driver. The rest of the municipal councilors will not be giving up their remuneration.
Newly-elected Mayor Josef Gaďo (58) says the local government is grappling with debts and also suspects there have been scams involving municipal property. "I proposed that I receive just the legal minimum pay, as mayor my salary is EUR 834 per month," he admitted.
"We want collaboration in the community to be good. We don't want the majority to fear the minority or vice versa, we don't want prejudices. We don't want to burn bridges, we want to build them and to create good interpersonal relationships here," the mayor said.
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