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Świętokrzyskie. Millions of zlotys in awards for voivodeship marshal officials

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Prizes worth a total of over PLN 10 million were paid to its employees in 2023 by the Marshal's Office of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The record holder, voivodeship secretary Mariusz Bodo, received as much as PLN 75,000 as a gesture of appreciation. Activists of the RIO Association, which published the data, talk about the “Marshal's Byzantium”. – This sum may seem large, but it results from the summary of many years of employee involvement – explains the office's spokesman Przemysław Chruściel.

Approximately PLN 10 million in discretionary awards and the same amount of various allowances was paid by the Marshal's Office of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship to its employees in 2023. Data obtained through access to public information were published by activists of the RIO Association, which promotes the transparency of public institutions.

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Almost half a million zlotys in prizes and bonuses for seven people

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The awarded officials received from several to several dozen thousand zlotys in their accounts. The record holder is the voivodeship secretary, Mariusz Bodo, who received as much as PLN 75,000 (all amounts are gross) in a discretionary award. In addition, he also received a “special allowance” of PLN 88.5 thousand, a functional allowance of PLN 44.4 thousand and a salary – the highest in the office.

Secretary of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Mariusz BodoMarshal's Office of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship

Members of the voivodeship board did not receive any discretionary awards, but instead received special allowances ranging from PLN 45,000 to PLN 57,000. Seven people – the voivodeship board, the secretary and the treasurer – received a total of almost half a million zlotys in special allowances and prizes. In addition, there are functional allowances and basic salary.

In this way, Secretary Bodo himself earned over PLN 300,000 in total during the year. Activists of the RIO Association calculated that Marshal Andrzej Bętkowski earned over PLN 230,000 in a year, and the other members of the management board from PLN 188,000 to PLN 217,000. These amounts include basic salary.

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Marshal of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship Andrzej BętkowskiPAP/Piotr Polak

The president of the RIO Association, Piotr Kapuściński, in an interview with tvn24.pl, emphasizes that he has never encountered such a scale of awards in any other public institution. – In the Kielce city hall, these amounts usually amount to one thousand or one and a half thousand zlotys. Compared to the awards at the Marshal's Office, it's as if they didn't exist, he says.

In response to the request for public information, the Marshal's Office emphasizes that special allowances were granted “for a periodic increase in official duties or for entrusting additional tasks”, while the awards were granted “based on written requests of heads of organizational units”.

– The justification for these awards presented to us is very laconic. It is difficult to draw any conclusions as to what they were associated with. According to the regulations, they should be awarded for special achievements, emphasizes Piotr Kapuściński. The head of the association summarizes the office's expenses briefly: “Marshal's Byzantium.”

The expenditure on recognition of the management staff of the Świętokrzyskie Marshal's Office became famous when, at the end of last year, it turned out that the marshal's closest collaborators they received bonuses worth a total of PLN 700,000 for the first three quarters of 2023. Świętokrzyskie councilors sharply criticized Marshal Andrzej Bętkowski for this. Although he is a PiS politician, councilors from the current opposition have recently gained a majority in the assembly. In response to high rewards for officials, they rejected the draft budget for 2024 (they adopted it only after amendments in January). – This is simply wicked, there are limits to greed – said non-affiliated councilor Agnieszka Buras in December. – Have fun on your own account – said the head of the PSL club, Andrzej Swajda, to the marshal's people.

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“Summary of long-term employee involvement”

The spokesman for the Marshal of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Przemysław Chruściel, explains in an interview with tvn24.pl that “the sum may seem large, but it results from the summary of many years of employee involvement.”

– 2023 was exceptional throughout the entire term of office, because the remuneration in this period was influenced by many factors that did not occur in previous years. Awards were paid to employees several times, many of them related to summarizing the effects of implemented projects carried out over several years. Last year, in connection with the end of the EU financial perspective 2014-2020, awards were granted to employees particularly involved in the finalization of certain EU projects. This financing came from European Union funds and did not burden the voivodeship budget – he explains.

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When asked about the case of the voivodeship secretary, Chruściel emphasizes that Mariusz Bodo “also serves as the administrative manager of the entire office, which employs over 900 people, i.e. he is responsible for the efficient functioning of the entire institution.” – Directly supervises the work of three departments. As part of his duties, he also participated in the implementation of several projects, including EU ones. To put it colloquially, this amount has “accumulated” – the spokesman replied, referring to the PLN 75,000 in prizes awarded to the secretary.

– It's not like only some of our staff receive high amounts. The office cares and appreciates its employees who perform really responsible tasks and the vast majority of them received awards. Only people in the initial phase of employment or people on long-term absence do not receive awards, Chruściel points out.

The head of the RIO Association also points out that the office has only made seven of over 800 names public. The rest of the officials are anonymous, identified only by their functions. – This is an illegal act. These people perform public functions. Moreover, on March 20, the Provincial Administrative Court in Kielce obliged the marshal to consider our application regarding awards granted in 2022 for each employee. We are waiting for this to happen – emphasizes Piotr Kapuściński.

The court stated that the office should provide public information “in the scope of data of persons who received bonuses, allowances and awards.”

Przemysław Chruściel emphasizes that he has not yet read this judgment. – Our activities are based on regulations, in particular the Act on access to public information. In our opinion, employee issues are subject to legal protection, but we cannot talk about all persons. We will adapt to the court's judgment once we become acquainted with it, the spokesman assured.

Author:Bartłomiej Plewnia

Main photo source: swietokrzyskie.pro



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