White Crow awards handed out

TEACHERS Oto Žarnay and Vladimír Crmoman, ex-employee of the state-run social insurer Sociálna Poisťovňa Mariana Vavrová and activist Katarína Šimončičová are the latest recipients of the White Crow Award.

TEACHERS Oto Žarnay and Vladimír Crmoman, ex-employee of the state-run social insurer Sociálna Poisťovňa Mariana Vavrová and activist Katarína Šimončičová are the latest recipients of the White Crow Award.

Zuzana Wienk of Fair-Play Alliance, which awards the prize annually in cooperation with the Via Iuris association, said on the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on November 17 that the awardees are exceptional people who undertook things which they were not obliged to, often at the price of facing injustice, as they believed that it was the right thing to do.

Oto Žarnay lost his position at the Polárna Business Academy in Košice after he filed a motion to the regional office over the school’s paying a flat fee for legal services that it did not need. Only one colleague stood by Žarnay, and he was dismissed, too. However the school claimed that it does not allot money for needless external legal services, with the school’s director, Peter Ivan, saying that the teacher had to be dismissed, as he was redundant.

The award also went to Katarína Šimončičová for a long-term contribution. Bratislava locals know her mainly as the fighter for trees.

The youngest holder of the prize, Mariana Vavrová, was dismissed when she exposed how the management of the social security provider ordered its employees to pay out old-age pensions to police and army officers who served fewer than 15 years, in violation of the law. Vavrová said that the management did not analyse the effect of the measure on the state budget, and she organised an internal petition against the order. A colleague of Vavrová’s who participated in the action was also dismissed, and several others received sanctions as well.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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