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People protest increased salaries of the high ranking officials

04.07.2007
1 500 Lari for Chairman of the Municipality And 2 100 Lari for Governor

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Hundreds of nursery schools, culture houses and libraries are closed because of lack of funds in the local budget. Socially excluded people cannot get allowances for the same reason; however chairmen of municipalities and governors have their salaries raised at the expense of above-mentioned changes. Hereinafter the chairmen will receive 1 500 lari and governors will receive 2 100 lari a month. The decision was made at the meeting of local self-governmental bodies and it caused public concern.

Three months ago, under the resolution of the Regional Gubernator a great number of employees were dismissed from the Municipality and Administrative Board. In his conversation with us Gia Natsvlishvili, the President’s Representative to Kakheti Region, said that the reason for personnel reduction was increased wage funds. “Almost in every district most part of the budget is spent on salaries. However, there are people who do not have much to do at the offices. It is not necessary to have so many employees at the Municipalities and Administrative Boards. For example, there are 15 employees at the Telavi Municipality and the Administrative Board employs 84 people; There are 22 people employed at the Akhmeta Municipality and 71 at the Administrative Board; 17 people work at the Sagarejo Municipality and 94 at the Administrative Board; the same is the situation in every district. In addition to that, chairmen and governors cannot understand who of their employees represent legislative body and who represents executive one. …at the expense of personnel reduction and decreased salaries we will be able to do much good for villages. In some villages people suffer without water,” said President’s Representative at that time.

Despite that nothing has improved in villages. People still do not have drinking water, proper roads, etc. One cannot observe any remarkable changes in the towns either. Let alone the improvement of social conditions and local infrastructure, they have not carried out any activities to decorate the city except those two buildings they have painted. Despite all that the chairmen of the municipalities and governors think that they have deserved to have their salaries raised.

“My salary was 1 100 lari until last week. The Municipality appreciates the work of the governor and the Administrative Board, they considered that we have reached success and they gave a raise in my salary with 1000 lari,” said Davit Lekishvil, Governor of the Dedoflistskaro Municipality.

Givi Buchukuri, chairman of the Dedoflistskaro Municipality, thinks that governor’s salary was raised because of Municipality’s will. “Mandate-procedure Commission works within the Municipality which prepared the framework regarding the raise in salaries. The Municipality discussed the question at the meeting last week and then gave raise in salaries,” said Buchukuri.

-Mr. Givi, we met Dedoflistskaro residents who pointed out that nothing had been changed lately in the district. How have you deserved 1 500 lari and how has the governor deserved his 2 100 lari? It is noticeable that the salaries of other employees of the Municipality and the Administrative Board remained the same.

-Do you envy our salaries? Why did not you make any comments when they reduced our salaries? Shortly speaking, I cannot tell you anything more. Do you want to know everything?” the chairman could not help his surprise.

It is evident that Municipality could not make independent decisions about the reduction or rise in salaries. Representatives of the Municipality confirmed that they had not initiated to give raise in salaries. “They called us from the Regional Administration and gave directives to raise the salary of the Governor and chairman of the Municipality. We raised question at the meeting and enacted the framework. Why, do not we deserve increased salaries?” Tamaz Abramishvili, chairman of the Gurjaani Municipality asked.

Neither Gia Tsverava, chairman of the Lagodekhi Municipality, refused that the Regional Administration ordered to give raise in salaries. “They might have considered the question and decided we had short salaries and gave raise in them. The Governor told me that he had received this information from the Regional Administration. We checked the information and it turned out right. Like in all districts, we have also given raise in the salaries of the governor and the chairman of the Municipality,” said Tsverava.

The society did not appreciate the changes. Nobody had informed them regarding the news.

“We have not had water for twenty years already. We are bringing water from the stream which is three kilometers away from the village. They have appropriated funds each time the budget apportioned for the rehabilitation of the water system. We do not have road either. Everything is pulling down. They have closed down nursery school, library and club because of lack of funds. Nobody cares about young generation. We cope with many other problems. They have cut off the water in the Alazani Irrigation Channel. Trees and plants in our plots are drying up and nobody pays attention to us.  We have met the governor and the chairman of the Municipality but do you know what they told us? –they said “we cannot do anything; private company supplies you with water.” However, they know how to raise their salaries. What deed have they deserved the raise in salaries for?” said Giorgi Javshanashvili, a resident of the village of Gurjaani.

Ordinary people, as well as representatives of the non-governmental organizations and political parties condemn the situation.

“Human rights are blatantly violated by high ranking officials at the Municipalities and Administrative Boards. Thus they should have their salaries cut and not raised. They state that the nursery schools, libraries, art and sport schools, etc. are closed because of short budget. They have abolished all kind of social allowances envisaged in the local budget for those socially excluded people who could not enroll the State Poverty Reduction Program for uncertain reasons. These people used to receive some allowances in extreme situations. If the budget is so poor why they have increased their salaries?” asked representatives of the Human Rights Center.

“New Rights” also protest the rise in salaries for the officials. Today, representatives of the Kakheti Regional Organization for the party will hold press-conference regarding the situation. Employees of the liquidated nursery schools, libraries and culture houses will attend the press-conference.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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