Heads must roll

Someone must be responsible for the administrative mistake that led to the ministerial salary increase being carried out behind people’s backs.

The mess on the ministerial salary increase that led to a parliamentary motion tabled by Opposition leader Joseph Muscat is the biggest embarrassment that any Maltese Prime Minister has been subjected to since Independence in 1964.

Many do not agree with my already expressed opinion that the increases were justified, but this is not the point. Even if the increases were a quarter of what they actually were, the real scandal is in the way government’s decision was put into force by the civil service and the way the people of Malta were kept in the dark about it.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi says this was the result of an administrative mistake and I believe him. But who is responsible for this administrative mistake? Under the government of Lawrence Gonzi, people who were deemed responsible for much lesser administrative mistakes have had to resign and this gave the message that his leadership wanted to reinforce the notion of accountability and responsibility for one’s actions. That is as it should be.

However, in this messy case Lawrence Gonzi has taken a different tack. He says the mess is all the result of an administrative mistake and stops there. Is it any wonder that people start asking whether the notion that administrative mistakes lead to consequences is not a universal principle as in practice it is subject to selectivity? I would have thought that the more serious an administrative mistake is, the more serious are the consequences.

The people are now faced with a situation where the administration does not follow its own much vaunted principles announced out for the approval and the admiration of the common citizen.

The considerate way in which dissenting Nationalist MPs have tackled the problem when having to take a decision on Joseph Muscat’s motion should not be abused of by being part of a process in which the dust is swept under the carpet.

I understand that these MPs did not want to appear as if they are all out to destabilise the government that depends on their support, more so after the divorce referendum episode. But this is no green light for Gonzi to starting acting as if nothing serious really happened – ‘come se non fosse niente’, as the Italians say.

Is Lawrence Gonzi covering up for someone whom he wouldn’t like to ditch? If this is the case, then this is yet another grave mistake – practically equivalent to the administrative mess that led to Lawrence Gonzi’s greatest embarrassment.

The Prime Minister is duty bound to find out who is responsible for this mistake; even carry out an investigation in order to establish who should carry the can. He should go public about this and ask whoever it is to resign from whichever perch he sits on. There is no other decent way out. The country will not forget this mess unless the PM acts in this way. Heads must roll.

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Gahan tal-miskin Martinu rega beda jinhaq...l-ewwel tu hasla lil MIkiel tal-IVA allavolja bicca wahda minnhom, u numel imhutra li meta Mikiel dur ghall-haddiema ghax qul li l-haddiema ma jahdmux iktar minn 14 fil-mijja, dun GAHAN ZAMM mieghu. FUq il-kuxjenza tieghu qed nitkellem habojb? Imbghud rega jinhaq fuq jeffri taghhom, ghax mwerwer li anki dun jista jisfor...naqra naqra qeghdin tizvintaw u sa duk in nhur forsi taqdu hdux il-cuc ghall-elexjoni GAHAN ...l-ebda hanqa qatt ma tellghet is-sema ha hoj... Wasal il-mument li naqbbduk u nwaddbuk GJO VAN minghajr mugna u nhalluk titkaxkar ma xi hmur tas-sinja Ha hoj.....
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Meravilja kif jinbidel bniedem minn meta jkun ministru u mbaghad ma jibqax ministru! Veru Dr Jekyll u Mr Hyde. Jidhirli li meta S-Sur falzon kien ministru tal-public works kien iddikjara li l-haddiema kien jaghtu biss 14% xoghol. Niftakar sewwa? Fil-kas ikkoreguni. Mhux il-ministri biss jinbidlu: Araw il-partitarji kif iharsu lejn bniedem skond id-daqqa. Nispjega ruhi: Tiftakru l-lejburisti kif ippruvaw isallbuih lil JPO qabel l-elezzjoni? Tiftakru kemm ghopllewh mas-sema u talbuh jinghaqad maghhom erbat ijiem ilu?
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Mr.M Falzon, well said! we have ministers l who have conscience about divorce about not being legislated , well i dont care about their opinion neither about their blieves, but in this opinion they have mistaken Conscience with Profit, well i dont see any bad personally, but Tonio Fenech should know for example , he is minister of economy knows about numbers, but in contrary he doesnt, I take the example of you have a company where in profitable times you increase the salary of workers but in bad times the you decrease their salary just to avoid firing workers BUT instead he the administrative company increases its salary while workers are getting fired like they are trying to get much of the company while they can.Well thats bad administration. As we see we never passed recession (just go in streets and ask ppl) even if Tonio Fenech showing off with his black leather suitcase, especially that grin he shows while being captured on tv during the budget. Heads must roll literally, instead of backpedaling..
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Luke Camilleri
Heads must roll? Heads ae already rolling....in dough from ministerial salary increases !
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Luke Camilleri
Heads must roll? Heads ae already rolling....in dough from ministerial salary increases !
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Luke Camilleri
Heads must roll? Heads ae already rolling....in dough from ministerial salary increases !
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What heads? In Malta no heads rolls! Those of Dorlores Christina, Austin Gatt and Tonio Borg are still intact! Unbelievable but true. Only that of Dr Charles Mangion rolled. But that was in the time of Dr Sant who, unfortunately, was brought down by one of his own kind on that dreadful 1998 August evening! Otherwise, we pride ourselves that we do not have the culture of resignations like the rest of Europe. Anyone who compares his salary/honoraria with those of the House of Commons is one big BIG JOKE.
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Agree with this article 100%. In the justice literature we distinguish between distributive and procedural justice. Distributive justice is what one gets. In the case of the salary increases this is debatable and there are those who agree and those who don't. Procedural justice is about how one gets what he or she gets. In the case there is 100% agreement that these guys got their remuneration increase behind everybody's back...hence it constitutes an injustice and it breaches people's trust in the political class. This is a grave foul for the future democratic process in this country and someone must be held responsible....in this case the PM!!! The guy wants to be paid like a Chairman of a private entity. Fine! Had the chairman of a private entity got himself into this blunder he would have offered his resignation as to safe the trust of the shareholders. This PM thinks he is above the law just because he is a Knight of the Order of St John!
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Before demanding accountability Michael Falzon should put his house in order and assume responsibility for the state of the finances of the WSC during his period of tenure.
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Whoever said that the pen is mightier than the sword was 100% right..........right..................but only in 5% of the cases..................in all the other cases..................might is right and there is little you or me can do about it..........until the next election....................but by then, who knows.
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Mr.Falzon, there is one main issue that you failed to address in your support, justifying this salary increase which is probably the reason why the civil service was not completely coherent with the administration. According to Joe Mizzi, the PL parliamentary whip, when the PM annouched this honoraria in 2008, the total increase amounted to 19,000 euros. In 2011 parliament has been made aware that the total increase has now reached over 39,000 euros. Perhaps before you write any more hogwash, you should get to the truth.
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Very Well said Mr Falzon. I fully agree with your comments
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Liliana Camilleri
Michael, I agree that Public Service should be held accountable. However, how can we BELIEVE that the ministerial salary increase was an ADMINISTRATIVE not a POLITICAL blunder, when we have been fed incredible spin & misinformation. This has become a pethatic charade and at this stage, blaming it on pen-pushers will only increase our mistrust in the system. The only way they may restore some credibility is by advancing effective Parliamentary Reform as some news that is reaching us from our House of Representatives verges on the ridiculous. But then it may now be far too late to make such moves in the current legislature.
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Dear Perit Falzon, Do you really believe that this was an administrative error? Then what was the Cabinet approving in 2008, that same administrative error? Say that to the Marines, Michael. Nahseb li Louis Galea kien profeta fis-snin 90 meta qal lin-Nazzjonalisti TITHANZRUX!
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Wara dawn il hnizrijiet kollha li qed jaghmel gonzipn, il poplu qed jippretendi li kif fi ftit zmien iehor jitla fil gvern il pl, Joseph jiehu hsieb dawn in nies malizzjuzi u li kulhadd ihallas ta ghemilu.Jekk jigri hekk,il pl ghandu garanzija ta zmien twil fil quccata
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The responsible official could be a high ranking civil servant who was slinged up by Gonzi himself. He could be benefitting from two salaries as well. That is what happens when seniority in thrown in the dust bin.
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@Progressive; I am sorry but you are out of touch with reality. The higher echelons in the public sector earn Eur30 000 and more, managers in private indusstry earn Eur30 000 and more, CEOs earn even double and triple that amount, skilled people make that amount and more, professionals make much more than that, lots of people in business make much more than that. If it weren't for that, the average wage would be less than Eur15 000, considering that quite a chunk of the workforce have a lower wage.
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Vera Dr Tonio fenech ma tafx TISTHI minghalik li TRID tithaq bkullhadd L-ewwel THAQT bl-ex haddiema ta xatt li tghajthom il KELMA li DAK LI HAQQHOM ser JIEHDUH u IC CUC li lahhaqt f-AIR MALTA ser IKECCI 600 Haddiem mil l-AIR MALTA mela biex tajghtu salarju ta nofs MILJUN EWRO kull sena lil dan hemm flus ghalih Il vera il PN THAQTU BIN NIES (1) Ex Haddiema tax xatt (2) haddiema ta dockyard (3) haddiema ta Sea Malta u issa il haddiema ta Air Malta FEJNA IL KARANZIJA LI WEDHOM Dr Gonzi li HOBZHOM MAHBUS Il poplu issa IMXEBBA MINKOM u kif rega taghkom risposta fir referendum dwar id DIVORZJU hekk ukoll ser jaghtijilkom fl-elezjoni li JMISS Jien nitlob lil Dr Joseph Muscat biex jekk jitla fil gvern iz zieda li hadtu Dr Gonzi u il minstri shau ta 500 ewro fil gimgha IGALKOM THALSUHOM LURA FEJNA IL KUXJENZA LI GHANDEK SAFJA Dr GONZI ghax Joseph Muscat Iz ZIEDA LI KIEN SER JIEHU KIEN ser JAGHTIHA LIL FQAR lilu ma taghjtilux Dr Gonzi qed naraw kemm ghandek KUXJENZA NADIFA IMISSEK TISTHI QIED ICCAHHAD LIL FOQRA MIL GHAJNUNA LI KIEN SER JAGHTIHOM Joseph Muscat
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Peppi Azzopardi says Ministers are "missionaries", I say more likely they are "mercenaries".....Any one knows the perks they enjoy (Air Malta tickets, telephopnes, mobiles etc)...are they taxed on these as they should be? Now we have a "Westminster" based salary system.. I would presume that this comes with a "Westminster" code of ethics and that said code starts being put in practice as somehow, in Malta, the buck always stops with at the "antecamera" of the minister's office ie on the table of secretary, assistant secretary or the permanent secretary.
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Dear Michael The rise in the ministers' salaries were approved by the cabinet. So they are ultimately responsible. By trying to place the responsibility on some administrative person is highly irresponsible by the PM as he is ABDICATING his responsibility. Even if he was not aware of the actual mess his Finance minister must surely have been aware of what was going on. I not immediately then come the following budget he must have been definitely aware. If not than he is a bigger idiot than what I consider him to be. The civil service does what the ministers tell it to do and not the other way round. . No matter how they try to play it they are still guilty of the whole mess (both the administrative and the non deserved increase).
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No excuses for the PM! He is the head of government, so he is responsible!Did he or did he not approve? His whole cabinet should follow suit for they have been accomplices by consenting! So bring along the guillotine Monsieur Robespierre........time is up for this government! By the way, who earns 30000euros? Hallina [email protected]! Lil min se dbellahha!The average wage is not more than 15,000 euros! Trid tkun xi blue eyed sewwa biex tara 30,000 euros! Jaqaw xi darba hadt xi commission?! This government has become detached from the people's sufferings, people do not eat on statistics and what you mentioned......they were left with a meagre 1.60 euro increase only.....I beg your pardon, the government gie jaqa' u jqum mill-poplu f'sitwazzjoni ta'recessjoni! Ma jixraqlux li jkompli jghaffeg lin-nies!
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No excuses for the PM! He is the head of government, so he is responsible!Did he or did he not approve? His whole cabinet should follow suit for they have been accomplices by consenting! So bring along the guillotine Monsieur Robespierre........time is up for this government! By the way, who earns 30000euros? Hallina [email protected]! Lil min se dbellahha!The average wage is not more than 15,000 euros! Trid tkun xi blue eyed sewwa biex tara 30,000 euros! Jaqaw xi darba hadt xi commission?! This government has become detached from the people's sufferings, people do not eat on statistics and what you mentioned......they were left with a meagre 1.60 euro increase only.....I beg your pardon, the government gie jaqa' u jqum mill-poplu f'sitwazzjoni ta'recessjoni! Ma jixraqlux li jkompli jghaffeg lin-nies!
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Nice words Michael...........................................but that is what they are going to remain........................................just words.
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Does one really care about what our MPs get by way of income and honoraria? Should we not be more concerned about whether the administration is delivering the goods? Minister's and other MPs' income does not have any bearing on our life style. Whether a minister earns Eur100 000 or Eur70 000 p.a, and I earn Eur30 000, I still have to live on my Eur30 000. What affects my life style is my salary and whether the Cabinet is delivering the goods. Are the ministers in fact delivering? The economic indicators show that they are; if one compares today's figures with those of a decade ago, one concludes that there is no doubt about the economic progress achieved. Is the quality of life today better than it was a decade ago? No one has any doubt that it is. A look around us shows that the quality of life in Malta has never been so high. What is cabinet costing the taxpayer? We are told that in 2008 there was a downsizing in cabinet's composition, which resulted in an annual saving of Eur1 million. We are also told that the rise in cabinet members' earnings tots up to EurO.4 million, therefore there is an overall saving of Eur0.6 million. These are I think the salient points; the rest is just hot air.
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Point taken.............Now what ?
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Desiree' Attard
"Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi says this was the result of an administrative mistake and I believe him."...and I and the majority of Maltese voters don't!
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Mela sewwa, l-ħaddiem miskin jieħu ż-żjieda miżera ta' l-għoli tal-ħajja u l-ministru u l-kabinett jieħdu żjieda ta' iktar 100 darba! Iva, hekk jiġu jekk tara x'żjieda ħadu l-ħaddiema fl-aħħar tliet snin: http://mazzun.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/cola-ghall-haddiem-xampanja-ghall-kabinett/
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Mr.Falzon, in regards to your opinion about your support for a justified ministerial salaries I take issue with your reason about this matter. You are hereby quoted as follows:- "Many do not agree with my already expressed opinion that the increases were justified, but this is not the point. Even if the increases were a quarter of what they actually were, the real scandal is in the way government’s decision was put into force by the civil service and the way the people of Malta were kept in the dark about it." My rebuttal to this statement is that had this government used the same scales to justify their increase and afforded same to the working class, then perhaps you might be a little more believable in your assessment. Let's tell the people the truth. When this administration by underestimating the rate of inflation to use as a barometer for the workers index of the COLA, it also was overestimating the rate of growth of the economy which was the base for their salary increases and other benefits. However what I find exceedingly disturbing is the audacity of the members of the cabinet that has justified this thrift of tax payers money by comparing travel costs and ministers salaries with that of the British MP's. As a EU state are the Maltese considered that witless to accept such hogwash considering the size of the 2 countries England & Malta. I prefer to remind you that when any government chooses to inflict a heavier burden than necessary on it's own people, it is time for that electorate to take note of their own sacrifices and act accordingly when the time is right either through their show of united demonstrations or if that fails through their right of electing transparent members of parliament. At present most EU state are in turmoil about the national debts and the austerity measures needed to slow down this financial collapse. So your thinking tells me that you are quite willing to justify these increases and this island to live with the consequences. For a while there I thought you have understood the pains of our people when you were at the front of the divorce referendum but I guess my opinion has once again to consider you as nothing more than a government mouthpiece who is trying to build a bridge between this administration of Gonzipn and your representation of the builders association that is in dire needs of government intervention.
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Very well said. Gonzi can;t get away with this just like nothing happen.
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No Michael the main problem that damaged the government is the fact that he appeared insensitive and after shooting down the opposition, continued to be insensitive. http://bit.ly/iGn2Qe
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Heads, rolls and accountability cannot co-exist in the same sentence in Malta.
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@ Mr. Falzon As a former Politian, you are as detached from the realities as your ex colleagues ( on both sides of the floor ) and trying to dismiss this debacle as an administrative fiasco but yet justifying the merits of a huge increment to our politicians personal coffers is indicative of the ego trip that a political career brings about. This drugged feeling of omnipotence and the dizzying heights of this roller coaster ride makes one forget what this is all about. This episode is the reason why politics is a dirty game since it lacks any kind of humility and any sense of responsibility towards the electorate. Equal Justice to all but that some are more equal than others is the order of the day, an attitude practiced by all ministers and perfected by the PM. One speaks a lot about conscience these days but that has become such a liability amongst our politicians that everything is taken with a pinch of salt every time a politician opens up his mouth. You may no longer be active in politics but you’re obviously still haven’t come back down to earth yet.
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Isabelle Borg
Well said Michael, but sorry to say that your comments will fall on deaf ears.
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Always a pleasure to follow Mr Falzon's opinion pieces, well done.
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Very well said, Mr. Falzon!