CONFUSION REIGNS OVER CLASSIFIED INFORMATION

Ministers' wages an open secret

EVERYBODY can calculate them but effectively they became secret as of November 1, 2001.
Wages of cabinet members were labelled confidential under the new classified information system related to the creation of National Security Office (NBÚ) two months ago.
Public and media outcry at discovering that one of 54 items which the government office included on its list of classified information and submitted the list to the NBÚ made even ministers themselves wonder why their wages should be secret.

EVERYBODY can calculate them but effectively they became secret as of November 1, 2001.

Wages of cabinet members were labelled confidential under the new classified information system related to the creation of National Security Office (NBÚ) two months ago.

Public and media outcry at discovering that one of 54 items which the government office included on its list of classified information and submitted the list to the NBÚ made even ministers themselves wonder why their wages should be secret.

Several ministers said they would require an explanation and remedy at the first 2002 cabinet meeting Wednesday January 9.

Interior Minister Ivan Šimko said the inclusion of ministers' wages to the classified list was a "mistake and needs to be fixed."

Deputy Prime Minister for European Union integration Mária Kadlečíková agreed with Šimko as did Deputy Prime Minister for legislature Ľubomír Fogaš who said the move "doesn't make sense".

Wages of cabinet members are set by law and are calculated as 1.5 times the wage of a member of parliament (MP). MPs get three times the average national wage.

A minister thus earns about Sk51,000 ($1,070) as well as getting expense money and bonuses which are available on display at the cabinet's website.

The cabinet office issued the decree which lists classified information including wages as well as ministers' personal file information. Tibor Tóth, head of cabinet office said that he "already issued respective orders so that this item [wages] is taken out of the confidential list".

Hoping that it would happen soon Daniel Lipšic, head of office with the Justice Ministry said it would be "absurd" if the situation was not remedied.

"It would be as if some ministry was trying to make secret that there are seven days to a week," he said.

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