MILOSLAVA Zemková, the recently appointed director of public broadcaster Radio and Television of Slovakia (RTVS), has been pressed to explain her acceptance of around €17,000 in severance payments after she left her last job, as director of Slovak Radio (SRo), to move to RTVS. RTVS was created by the merger of SRo and Slovak Television (STV) at the beginning of 2011.
Zemková in effect moved from one directorship to another, although she was acting RTVS director for two months before being confirmed in the job by parliament in February.
In addition to her severance payment, Zemková also received a bonus worth three times her former monthly salary, meaning that she was paid a total of around €30,000 upon leaving her old job as SRo director, the Sme daily reported. The bonus was approved by the SRo Council, which oversaw the public broadcaster.
However, one council member, Michal Dzurjanin, told the Sme daily that council members did not know about Zemková’s severance payment and would not have voted for the bonus if they had.
RTVS spokeswoman Alexandra Štullerová Koreňová said that Zemková’s working relationship with SRo had ended and that she was entitled to the severance payment. She remained tight-lipped about the exact sum Zemková received but according to Sme, Zemková’s monthly salary at SRo was €4,282.
Zemková’s severance pay-off was based on a last-minute change to the collective agreement between SRo and trade unions, which established a severance payment of four times her monthly salary.
Culture Minister Daniel Krajcer, who was behind the creation of RTVS, refused to comment on Zemková’s bonus and severance payments and suggested that the issue was for the RTVS Council, the steering body of the merged broadcaster. Nevertheless, his Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party colleague, Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík, called on Zemková to return the severance payment, suggesting that she was not morally entitled to it, the SITA newswire reported.
On April 12, Štullerová Koreňová said that it was not clear to whom Zemková would return the money since she was paid it by SRo, which no longer exists, and not RTVS. Zemková has now given the money to charity, the spokeswoman said, without specifying which one.
When it came to the bonus, however, Sulík said this was justified.
“She deserves one such payment because she has been leading the radio with expertise and dignity and the results of SRo cannot be compared with the results of STV,” Sulík said, as quoted by SITA, referring to the financial crisis which RTVS is now facing as a result of the huge debts it inherited from STV.
In a brief interview with Sme on April 9, Zemková said that she does not intend to return the severance payment as, she said, everyone who leaves their job has the right to a severance payment. She also argued that even though she is not jobless, her job as RTVS director does not represent a continuation of her previous role.
18. Apr 2011 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová