OMBUDSWOMAN Jana Dubovcová prepared three budget priorities for next year but the Finance Ministry granted them no funds in its draft bill for the 2015 state budget. Dubovcová said the budget was so low that it could effectively eliminate her department, pointing out that the office has never been fully staffed or equipped.

“If its [office’s] funds are cut even in this situation, I see it as very clear message that there is probably no interest in the Slovak Republic in the full real work of a public advocate,” Dubovcová said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

The Ombudswoman’s office prepared three priorities for 2015. The first involves strengthening the office’s influence in the regions by hiring professional employees who would be closer to the people and local authorities. The second aims to provide education about people’s basic rights and freedoms and about the powers and activities of the Ombudswoman’s office. Thirdly, the office wants to renew its technical equipment and upgrade its old software, some of which has not been updated since the creation of the office in 2002, SITA reported.

The Finance Ministry gave Dubovcová’s office €1.179 million for 2015 and €1.165 million for 2014 which is the lowest sum allocated for the department since 2004. The office lacks the money to pay the salaries of 20 of its job positions and Dubovcová said that the budget is low enough to effectively dissolve the department.

“Considering the progress of the office’s budget, which managed with the sum of €1.248 million in 2010,” Ombudswoman’s spokesperson Ján Glovičko said, as quoted by SITA, “this means that the current or next year’s budget doesn’t reflect the growth in prices and the lawful adjustment of employees’ salaries following their years of service.”

(Source: SITA)

Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.