TNO in court over executive pay

The TNO scientific research institute has gone to court after ministers refused to approve the pay package for a new executive board member because it breaks guidelines on public sector pay, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.


TNO wants to appoint former senior vice admiral Jan Willem Kelder to its board for €220,000 a year excluding bonuses, the paper says. He also has a €90,000 annual pension from the defence ministry.
Under government guidelines, Kelder should not earn more than the prime minister’s basic package of €176,000.
The defence ministry is an important TNO customer and it is customary for it to name one of the board, the paper says. A deal had been reached with Kelder but defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop refused to approve the appointment because of the ‘unacceptable’ salary deal.
Public sector
The dispute also partly revolves around whether TNO is a public sector organisation and falls under the pay guidelines, the Volkskrant says.
The institute functions as a company and two-thirds of its turnover comes from commercial contracts. But the cabinet argues that 54% of its funding comes from the government and services ‘the public interest’.
Labour MP Angelien Eijsink told the Volkskrant that soldiers are retired at 58 because of the heavy nature of their jobs. ‘It is thought they are then ‘past it’,’ she was reported as saying. ‘So can you then take on such a serious position?’
The court will rule on the appointment today.