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ISFED presents a report on salary monitoring of Election Administration of Georgia

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, July 30
On July 28th, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) published a monitoring report of expenses incurred for salaries of Central Election Commissionís (CEC)members and employees in 2016-2019 years. As the statement released by ISFED reads, the document researched compensation (salary, bonuses, supplements) of CEC members and supervisors as well as the members, staff and freelancers of the District Election Commission.

According to ISFED, the report aims to analyze what positive changes have been implemented in the Election Administration of Georgia in terms of remuneration rules and to examine the challenges that the institution faces in this direction.

As the statement explains, based on Public information and analysis of legislative frame, it was determined that the amount of salary/award and bonuses paid in the institution(CEC) is changeable, therefore, ISFED finds the criteria used to define the amount of money uncertain. As the statement reads, alongside doubled salary during election months, bonuses are paid as well, the purpose of which is unknown for ISFED, since doubled salary defined by the law is paid exactly due to a variable working schedule.

According to the ISFED report, in 2016-2017, during electoral as well as non-electoral periods, officials and members of CEC were frequently receiving bonuses or salary supplements equal to the salary and sometimes even more than the original salary, whereas they had been already obtaining doubled salary in times of electoral months. ISFED notes that similar cases to this were also observed in July of 2019.

The report showed that in 2018 and 2019 years, the frequency, as well as the amounts of awards and salary supplements, diminished, which presents a positive tendency according to the ISFD. For instance, from 2016 to 2019, the share of supplement received by the officials of CEC in the total remuneration diminished from 32.3% to 12.1% and the share of bonus/award decreased from 16.2% to 1.2%. However, these changes were implemented at the expense of increasing the salary amounts, which according to ISFED means that the expenses defined for supplements and bonuses/awards were transferred to the salary.

In the statement, ISFED notes that the criteria, periodicity and percentage capacity of increasing the salaries are not defined, thus ISFED finds the ground of increasing salary in 2018 incomprehensible. It is noted that the salaries of the chairman, deputy and secretary rose by 50%, 68% and 70% and the salary of the first category minor specialist increased by 65%.

ISFED shares recommendations for CEC, ďwhich come in compliance with legal content and the standards of data transparency.Ē According to the recommendations, parallel to doubled salary, supplements should not be paid; periodicity of granting supplements is desired to be defined and salaries, bonuses and awards of CECís every member should be public as it is in the case of CECís Chairman, deputy and secretary.