|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.37, 11.10.01, p9|
STAFF at the EU's Economic and Social Committee (Ecosoc) are seeking an explanation for why a high-ranking official was given a sizeable payment to compensate him for holidays he never took - in an apparent breach of the institution's rules.
Although the staff regulations state there should be no overtime or similar payments made to A-grade fonctionnaires, a leading Ecosoc director recently collected about €25,000 - the equivalent of 50 days' holiday pay.
The long-serving official, Giovanni di Muro, retired from the Brussels-based institution before the summer break. Until then he had been second in command to Secretary-General Patrick Venturini. A spokeswoman for Venturini confirmed that the case was exceptional as di Muro's heavy workload had given him less leeway in taking holidays than most of his colleagues.
As well as his Ecosoc activities, the Italian had worked closely with the European Committee of the Regions, helping set it up during the mid-1990s. "It's true that this is more than we would normally pay out," the spokeswoman added. "We decided in 1996 to be more strict about such payments but it wasn't possible in all cases. "We tried to make the best of the situation that we inherited." She also confirmed that Venturini had received a letter from a staff representative on the matter. "This was not an official complaint but a request for information," she said. However, European Voice has learned that the letter makes clear that the staff representative has taken a dim view of the payment.
It pointed out that assurances had previously been given that Ecosoc would strictly adhere to the regulations covering EU officials. The Union's financial watchdog, the Court of Auditors, has also urged Ecosoc to exercise more control over payments to its leading officials.
Insiders say there is considerable dismay among staff regarding the apparent favouritism which was shown to di Muro. "There's a question of discrimination here," said one. "If most other people had decided not to take their holidays, then their employers would just say 'tough cheese'."
Staff at the EU's Economic and Social Committee (Ecosoc) are seeking an explanation for why a high-ranking official, Giovanni di Muro, was given a sizeable payment to compensate him for holidays he never took - in an apparent breach of the institution's rules.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations|