We’ve won the Grand Prize, 627.45 euros per month
Every four months each member of the Board of the Autonomous Entity of Gaming and Betting (EAJA) of the Generalitat receives 2500 Euro just for attending a monthly meeting, in addition, of course, to their salary.
This is the same sum than any of us might win if we bought a Catalan lottery number and the last four digits matched the number of the Grand Prize (the Grossa de Cap d’Any). So it is the same as winning the Grand Prize every four months without even having to buy a lottery ticket.
Some months ago, following the discovery of a 2010 Government Agreement that reduced the per diem for attendance at meetings of certain advisory bodies or managerial boards of Generalitat entities, we explained on this website how individuals were paid 627.45 Euros for attending a Board meeting (see the blog post We are letting the cat out of the bag – 627 euros per meeting?).The amount was surprising as it is very close to the minimum monthly wage in Spain (€645.30)
In Govern Obert we asked ourselves which boards were involved. Now, thanks to the improved transparency of the Catalan government, which has published various documents on its Transparency Portal (link to a 19-page PDF), we have learned that one of these boards is none other than the Catalan gaming board (Autonomous Entity of Gaming and Betting -EAJA), the same body that set up and manages our new lottery “la Grossa de Cap d’Any”.
The members of the gaming board have scheduled twelve meetings in 2013, a year of austerity. This means that €5019 a month (that is, €60,235 a year) from the budget of this independent government institution wholly funded by public money is being paid out to eight people as a supplement to their salaries.
And who are these eight fortunate board members? A few days earlier Govern Obert had posed the riddle of the organizational chart of the Department of Economy and Knowledge, and the answer is that five of the board members are responsible for the six entities that appear on the web page tabs of the Department of Economy and Knowledge:
Georgina Arderiu, Treasury Secretary (Chair of the Board)
Rosa Batalla, Director of the EAJA, (Secretary of the Board)
And the following members:
Elsa Artadi, CEO of the EAJA and Director General of the Department of Taxes and Gambling
Amadeu Farré, Assistant Director-General for Management and Control of Gaming and Gambling
Josep Lluís García, Chief Counsel of the General Secretariat of Economy and Knowledge
Dolors Rusinés, Secretary General of the Ministry, Department of Welfare and Family Affairs
Marian Muro, Director General of Tourism, Ministry of Business and Employment
The sixth member is Àngel Vicente, a career official and the Coordinator of Development of the Tax Administration of Catalonia, attached to the Ministry of Finance.
As you can see in our visualization of the Ministry of Economy and Knowledge, we note with interest that the only body dependent directly on the EAJA is the “Management of the EAJA”. The introduction of an until then non-existent CEO was established by a decree passed on October 2, 2012, which said “the CEO of the EAJA will exercise executive functions. It is hereby designated that the functions of routine management of the Entity correspond to the Director”. This change was made four months before Elsa Artadi, Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard, replaced Amadeu Farré as head of the EAJA.
Incidentally, both Georgina Arderiu and Dolors Rusinés are also members of the Board of another Catalan government entity—Infrastructuras, SAU. This means that they both also receive €627.45 each time they attend meetings of that board, but in that case “only” ten meetings are scheduled this year.
Transparency and the right to information is not only knowing the real incomes of our political representatives. It entails much more than that. In Govern Obert we explain this because we think that it helps to make people more aware that they have a right to know how public money, that is, our money, is being spent.
To celebrate this first six months of our existence, thanks to the support and encouragement of our readers, we decided to buy this lottery ticket for the Grossa de Cap d’Any.
Happy holidays to all! Shortly we will be publishing more stories and more interviews with the MPs involved in the establishment of the Catalan Transparency and Access Act, which is currently in committee stage in the Catalan Parliament (you can read our interviews to date with MPs from Ciudadanos, Iniciativa per Catalunya- Esquerra Unida i Alternativa y a Convergència i Unió) on our website.