Police President sets lower bonus limit

Petr Lessy, the head of the Czech Police force, has set a new ceiling on bonuses that can be awarded to law enforcement authorities

Every member of the Czech police force — the top brass included — will be restricted to a maximum annual bonus equal to three months’ salary, the nation’s top cop has decided, following on concern that remuneration has been excessively high and not based on merit.

Police President Petr Lessy’s edict on bonuses sets the new cap at three gross monthly salaries. In the past, a politically or otherwise well connected deputy president taking home Kč 70,000 per month, for example, could look forward to a windfall of Kč 250,000.

While that ceiling was only some Kč 40,000 more than that of the new limit, in the case of a deputy president, the server iHNED.cz noted on Friday that the limits themselves have often not been respected — including by Lessy himself.

In fact, the remuneration the Police President has granted is also being examined. Although exceeding caps is not a crime, the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police force, is looking into cases where Lessy granted bonuses that were above existing limits by Kč 10,000 or more.

Ironically, the Interior Ministry itself has also come under fire in this regard.

Thanks to exceptionally high bonuses, 10 senior officials in the ministry earned more on average per month in 2010 than did any Cabinet minister (at Kč 106,900 per month) with some earning more than Prime Minister Petr Nečas (Kč 150,400) and President Václav Klaus (Kč 186,700 per month), the news server Aktuálně.cz reported in July.

The majority of state offices refuse to disclose the salaries and bonuses awarded to staff — despite a judgment last summer by the country’s Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) that it not be kept secret.