The government of Hungary has appointed 32 ministerial commissioners at an annual cost to the nation’s taxpayers of HUF 230 million (USD 900,000), writes online daily Blikk.hu. This is nine more than the 23 employed by the government only a few months ago.
Of the 27 commissioners drawing a salary, the vast majority earn as much as a deputy state secretary, or HUF 748,000 a month. According to Blikk, those holding other governmental positions earn substantially more.
One Fidesz MP, Ákos Kara (pictured), holds three salaried governmental positions for total monthly pay of HUF 1,969,000 (USD 7,700), or nine times the average gross salary in Hungary. Elected to parliament in April and appointed state secretary for information and consumer protection in October, Kara also serves as ministerial commissioner for the development of the Győr-Gyöngyű canal.
Blikk reports that there are a number of government officials at the Office of the Prime Minister who earn double salaries. State secretary for European matters Szabolcs Takács and the deputy state secretary for operations and human resources also draw monthly salaries of HUF 1,750,000 and HUF 1,720,000 respectively thanks to their “moonlighting” as government commissioners.
In response to Blikk’s request for information, the Office of the Prime Minister responded that “Ministerial Commissioners are appointed in the interest of organizing and realizing projects and improvements of importance to the Hungarian nation. The significance of these programs necessitates the work of such experts like Ildikó Kandra and Szabolcs Ferenc Takács. Their knowledge and experience guarantees high quality work”.
Blikk writes that most of the ministerial commissioners –six of them–work in the National Development Ministry but none are employed by the Ministries of Defense or National Economy.
It is not clear at this time why so many ministerial commissioners are needed, especially in light of last week’s revelation that the current government employs twice as many deputy state secretaries and nearly three times as many state secretaries as that of the “expert” Bajnai government (2009-2010) at an annual cost to Hungarian taxpayers of HUF 2.3 billion (USD 9 million). Plus perks.