26.8 C
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

“Sejm Welcomes”, i.e. behind the scenes of the Sejm and the work of journalists. Fragment of the book

Must read

- Advertisement -

“I caught Tadeusz Cymański signing the attendance list at one of the Sejm committees, even though he was absent and did not take part in it. And it happened by accident and partly at the request of the MP and the officials, who quite clumsily tried to pretend that nothing of the sort had happened did not happen. This attracted my attention,” writes Radomir Wit in his latest book “Sejm Wita”, which will soon be available for sale. We are the first to present its fragments.

“Sejm Wita”, Radomir Wit’s latest book about the backstage of the Sejm and the work of political journalists, will soon be available for sale.

The book, which will be released on September 26, will also include observations by Justyna Dobrosz-Oracz from “Gazeta Wyborcza”, Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska from “Fakty” TVN, Roch Kowalski from RMF FM, Patryk Michalski from Wirtualna Polska and Karolina Lewicka from TOK FM .

We are the first to present fragments of the book, including the story of Tadeusz Cymański and the issue of signing the attendance list at one of the parliamentary committees, despite his absence.

- Advertisement -

Radomir Wit’s book “SEJM WITTA”

“How many times have you heard from politicians from the ruling camp that they are doing everything for Poland? Jaroslaw Kaczynski he assured that you don’t go into politics for the money, and Beata Szydło argued that the most important things are “work, humility and moderation”. It is true that she later clarified, shouting from the Sejm rostrum, that they deserved the awards, that this humility and moderation had a specific price, counted in tens of thousands of gold awards for the ministers. There was also a belief that we had to work for the idea. These words were spoken by the Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski, who had countless layers of life advice for protesting resident doctors and teachers. Later it turned out that the idea for which Stanisław Karczewski works is very well paid. In 2019, the tvn24.pl portal determined, for example, that in the years 2009–2015, when Karczewski was a senator and later deputy speaker of the Senate, he earned over PLN 400,000 because he was on paid shifts in a hospital where he was on unpaid leave for… exercising the mandate of a senator. Sounds very logical, right? Just as logical as when someone who has made hundreds of thousands has golden advice for those who will never be able to earn the same amount in such a short time. Teachers advised by Stanisław Karczewski can only dream of such amounts in their accounts. And no one is depriving anyone of their right to earn money, on the contrary, but it is politicians who have their mouths full of phrases about humility and moderation. They just never specify that this applies to voters, not themselves. Moreover, as TVN24 journalists found out, the history of Senator Karczewski making extra money while on duty raised a number of legal doubts.

It’s in order. You probably want to know how much exactly MPs and senators earn per month? Two amounts are needed to start with. The current parliamentary salary is PLN 12,826.64 gross. In addition, there is the allowance, i.e. PLN 4,008.33 gross. But this is only the beginning of what politicians can count on. The list of privileges is long, but first a few words about salary.

Where does this amount come from? Pursuant to the Act on the exercise of the mandate of a deputy and senator, parliamentarians are entitled to remuneration corresponding to 80 percent of the remuneration of an undersecretary of state, i.e. a deputy minister. And how do we know how much the deputy minister earns? You need to look at the budget act, there, in the thicket of various items, you will find the base amount for people who hold managerial state positions. But that’s not the end. The base amount is the basis for calculating the salaries of individual politicians. This is where the presidential regulation comes in handy, containing a conversion factor for specific positions.

A little multiplication and we have the result. Current score. Because in the entire history of these regulatory vessels there is one trick: politicians give themselves the opportunity to increase their earnings. It is enough that the base amount in the budget act changes. There were such attempts during work on the 2023 budget. United Right politicians then explained that it was only an indexation, not any raises. The increase of less than eight percent was supposed to be a response to the inflationary challenges faced by all of Poland. The opposition decided to distance itself from the idea of ​​increases and proposed freezing the mentioned base amount. The government camp ultimately withdrew and froze this amount at the previous level. But it is enough to change it when designing subsequent budgets and the parliamentary and senatorial remuneration immediately increases. This applies to all state management positions in Poland.

By the way, during the above-mentioned discussion about pay raises for politicians, one of the members of the parliamentary club PIS, Tadeusz Cymański, argued that “It’s not a raise, just valorization. We are dealing with a crisis and difficult times.” This colorful politician brings together several phenomena typical of the Polish political scene. He could give his political experience to several politicians, as he was a member of parliament for the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and the current ninth term. If you noticed the missing cadence, well done, congratulations on reading carefully. If you haven’t noticed this, I appeal to you: please read more carefully! Yeah. Returning to the mentioned politician: between the sixth and eighth term in the Polish Sejm, MP Cymański managed to become an MEP. Such a change is also a significant financial injection, because the salary increases to hundreds of thousands of zlotys per year. It comes to that pension for MEPs, which is due after the age of sixty-three, and its amount is related to the number of years spent in the European Parliament.

Tadeusz Cymański and Radomir Wit Seym welcomes

Let’s take a look at MP Cymański’s declaration of assets submitted in 2023. In the income section you will find several items:

  • Member’s emoluments Sejm of the Republic of Poland – PLN 203,936.42
  • Parliamentary allowance – PLN 45,466.16
  • Including tax-free – PLN 32,536.40
  • Including taxable amount – PLN 9,466.16
  • Pension from the European Parliament – ​​EUR 19,818.78
  • ZUS pension – PLN 99,225.82.

It can be impressive, right? When I checked the summary of Tadeusz Cymański’s parliamentary activity in June 2023, he made thirty-four statements at Sejm sessions, two interpellations that were initiated, and one statement. All this within the four-year parliamentary term.

His media statistics are definitely better, because Tadeusz Cymański is one of those who always finds a moment to stop in the parliamentary corridor and colorfully comment on Polish political life. Judge for yourself whether the balance of formal activities is impressive, especially when you consider how much it costs for citizens to maintain such an MP.

By the way, I remembered the situation when I caught Tadeusz Cymański signing the attendance list at one of the Sejm committees, even though he was absent and did not participate in it. And it happened by accident and partly at the request of the MP and the officials, who quite clumsily tried to pretend that nothing like that had happened, and thus it attracted my attention. I must admit right away that I wasn’t hunting for MPs who signed attendance lists but did not participate in committee meetings that day. I was simply looking around for politicians whose comments I could record on a certain topic, and the easiest way to find them is when MPs are in one room.

Cymański signed the attendance list, although he was not at the meetingTVN24

The meeting ended, I managed to record a few people and then Tadeusz Cymański rushed into the almost empty room. Politicians certify their presence by signing letters, which Sejm officials usually place on the presidential table at the entrance. When the committee ends, the letters are placed in folders and taken away by officials. The arrival of the MP in the hall stopped the process. He took out something to write on and started signing. Let me remind you that the committee was over, the MP did not participate in the meeting, but he still intended to sign the list. I noticed this because the clerk was trying to cover Cymański with her back, as if hoping that his action would escape my attention. The effect was the opposite, I noticed what was happening and asked the operator I was working with that day to record it all. MP Cymański realized that I had noticed and started behaving a bit like a child caught by his parents, trying to reach into the drawer with sweets, even though his parents clearly forbade it. You know what it looks like. He read these letters intensively. He knew I knew and that I would ask about it in a moment, so he tried to delay the moment.

I asked the MP why he did it, and a galaxy of justifications began. That he had a meeting as part of his parliamentary duties and did not make it to the committee; that he was working; that he wasn’t slacking off, so what does it matter whether he worked on the commission or worked elsewhere; that nothing of the sort had happened, because he was not at home, not sleeping. Only after a long exchange of opinions did he admit that signing attendance when you are absent is not one of the practices that are a good example for others. And who if who, but an MP, should probably lead by example, in the end he creates the law that others must later follow. It ended with a letter asking for an excuse for the MP’s absence. I don’t want to fool you, however, cases of such signing of lists are common, there is always someone who shows up for a minute, signs and leaves. Or he will sign and not come in at all. There are also visits by MEPs who receive per diem allowances for participating in Polish Parliament committees, and at some point during each term, their increased activity in this field can be noticed. That is, they suddenly come to various meetings. The idea is to make the most of the available withdrawal limits.

This is another little curiosity about the story about the Public Finance Committee. Or maybe not small, because grain for grain, and a solid measure will be collected. The point is that there are parliamentary committees whose members – in accordance with applicable regulations – can count on allowances to their parliamentary remuneration. The package of such committees includes those relating to public finances (because they meet often, especially when adopting the budget or examining the implementation of the budget for the previous year), legislative, European Union affairs or secret services. Membership in these committees is associated with an additional 10 percent. Hence, on the part of some, the need to sign their presence on the commission despite the absence in the physical sense. But this is not the end, because according to the Act on the performance of the mandate of a deputy and senator, there may be more allowances. And so, 20 percent of the allowance is waiting for the chairman of the committee, and 15 percent for the deputy chairman. There is also a 10 percent allowance for those performing functions in permanent subcommittees, and there are many of them and they are a kind of rewards for those who have contributed to the power camp and at the same time do not deserve the fruits of the highest branches.

Radomir Wit conducted his first political conversations as a high school student on Akademickie Radio LUZ 91.6 FM. He has been associated with TVN24 since 2016 – he is a parliamentary correspondent, author and host of the “#BezKitu Campaign” program, as well as the series “Sejm welcomes” on the TVN24 GO platform.

Main photo source: TVN24

Source link

More articles

- Advertisement -

Latest article