Former Deputy Prefect of Zadar County won the court battle and proved that state officials do not have to obey working hours rules.
“I did come to my workplace, but I am not a dork who must report when he comes and goes”, said seven years ago then Deputy Prefect of Zadar County Stanko Zrilić, after it was discovered that in July of that year he did not spend a single minute at his office. His former superior, County Prefect Stipe Zrilić, no relation, refused to pay him his salary. But, Stanko Zrilić continued with his habit and from January 2012 to February 2013 came to his office only occasionally, reports Index.hr on October 18, 2016.
Since he was not coming to his office, Stanko Zrilić was reported to the Commission for Conflict of Interest Prevention, which fined him with a fine in the amount of one monthly salary, which was 10,000 kuna. The Commission even allowed him to pay the fine in five instalments. However, Zrilić decided to appealed the Commission’s decision to the Administrative Court and won.
The Administrative Court in Split concluded that the provisions on working hours do not apply to state officials, which includes deputy county prefects. It did not matter that Stanko Zrilić later admitted, contrary to initial claims, that he really did not come to work and that the electronic time registry of his attendance was accurate. The working hours rules did not apply to him because he was a state official. However, the Commission for Conflict of Interest Prevention forwarded the case to the State Attorney’s Office, due to the suspicion that he forged the documents on working hours.
In more than a year, Zrilić spent in his office just 2,246 minutes, or 37.43 hours. The standard five-day work week is 40 hours, but Deputy Prefect Zrilić failed to work for that long in a whole year. Despite this, and there were months when he did not appear at all in the county building, Zrilić would sign a statement that he did work for 40 hours and would regularly receive his 10,000 kuna salary. Within the period in question, there were some very short visits to the office. For example, on 30 March 2012 he attended his duties in the office from 10.25 pm to 10.30 pm.
There were some other similar cases in other counties and towns, most famously in Split where then Mayor Željko Kerum did not appear in the town hall for a while. However, due to a decision by then Minister of Administration Arsen Bauk, the rules on working hours apply only to civil service members and not to state officials. “You see now that I was right”, said Bauk explaining that the court supported his rules. “State officials are not subject to the working time requirements”, said Bauk.