By Andria Kades
All pensions received by elected officials need to be reviewed, Union of Municipalities chief, and Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos said on Wednesday, adding that there was a huge gap between mayoral pensions and those of MPs.
Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, Alexis Galanos said: “Mayors have the lowest pensions as far as publically elected people are concerned.”
His comment followed publication in daily Phileleftheros of a leaked letter he sent to the interior minister dated July 20 breaking down the pension payments to ministers, MPs and mayors.
Controversially, as of 2013 MPs can receive a pension of €1,803 for one term or €1,352 with a one-off lump sum of €75,728 on retirement. If they serve two terms they can have €4,407 per month as a pension with no lump sum, or €3,305 a month with a one-off lump sum of €185,114.
The minimum pension for an MP is €1,803 while the maximum is €4,958.
Data from 2010 shows ministers’ pensions are €2,341 per month for five years of service and €4,142 per month with 10 years’ service to a maximum of €5,763.
All aforementioned parties also receive a 13th pension.
Mayors, who work two or three times more than MPs, according to Galanos’ letter receive €1,200 as a monthly pension if they serve one term, or €900 with a one off lump sum of €54,000. For two terms, their minimum pension is €1,500 a month, or €1,125 a month with a one-off lump sum of €63,000.
Councilors, mayors and deputy mayors are also eligible for remuneration for expenses such as attending events and “other allowances”.
Asked if mayors considered their pensions too low or MPs pensions too high, Galanos stressed that the letter was sent to the ministry following a request from the Treasury and was not unsolicited.
“This letter is not a complaint nor a demand. It is a response we gave to the government that requested it,” he said. Galanos said MPs pensions calculations included the salary of an assistant. For example, if the MP’s salary was €5,000 and their associate’s is €2,000 then their pension was calculated using the combined figure of €7,000, he said.
“The most fair thing that needs to be done is to have a broader re-assessment of all pensions,” he added. He said the responsibilities of mayors far exceed those of MPs.
Quoting Galanos’ letter, Phileleftheros said local authorities have largely contributed to Cyprus’ development commercially, socially, culturally, and in terms of tourism, housing and roads.
Without their contribution several big projects would not have materialised, while the matter of their pensions dates back 25 years when former Nicosia mayor Lellos Demetriades was heading the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, it said.