On May 10, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presented a report of monitoring salary expenditures made to members and employees of the Central Election Commission in 2011-2015.
ISFED analyzed wages, bonuses and supplementary pays made to the CEC management team, its members and staff based on public information requested from the CEC.
Analysis of the statistical information revealed a number of important trends – total amount of supplementary pays and bonuses paid to the CEC chairs equals their wage. For instance, from January 2011 to September 2013, Zurab Kharatishvili received a total salary of 320,271 GEL, including 168,156 in wages, 82,322 in bonuses and 69,793 in supplementary pays. Total amount of bonuses and supplementary pays for the CEC Chair amounted to 90.5% of his total wage.
As to the current chair of the Commission, Tamar Zhvania, from September 2013 through November 2015, she received a total salary of 32,520 laris, including 165,123.55 laris in wages, 66,762 laris in bonuses and 97,635 laris as supplementary pays. Total amount of bonuses and supplementary pays received by the CEC Chair from September 2015 through November 2015 amounted to 99.6% of her total wage.
Same system of provision of bonuses and supplementary pays applies to other officials or members of the Commission. For instance, from 2011 through December 2013, the CEC Deputy Chair Davit Kirtadze received total remuneration of 346,869.50, including GEL 172,408 laris in wages, 79,977 laris in bonuses and 94,484.50 laris as supplementary pays. Total amount of bonuses and supplementary pays received by the Deputy Chair amounted to 101.2% of his wage.
Giorgi Sharabidze was appointed to the office of the CEC Deputy Chair in December 2013. From December 2013 through November 2015, he earned total remuneration of 218,775.36 laris, including 116,060.36 laris in wages, 47,882 laris in bonuses and 54,833 laris in supplementary pays. Total amount of bonuses and supplementary pays received by the Deputy Chair during the period amounted to 88.5% of his wage. The report reveals similar trends in compensation of the CEC secretary and remaining 10 members (non-managerial positions) of the Commission.
The documents analyzed by ISFED clearly show that unlimited amount and frequency of bonuses and supplementary pays provided throughout years is a systemic problem. Amounts of bonuses and supplementary pays vary each month, while criteria for determining their amounts and their frequency remains ambiguous. This hinders transparency of spending in public agencies. The document shows that bonuses for the CEC head officers, staff members and freelance employees are provided on a regular basis, instead of providing them in exceptional cases. Supplementary pays provided during election period in most cases are equal to or greater than wages, while during election period members of the CEC are already receiving double wages. In most cases, total bonuses and supplementary pays received by the CEC head officers and members is greater than 50% of their total wage and in some cases is as high as over 200% of their wage. We believe that such amounts of bonuses and supplementary pays are unreasonable and uncalled for.
The report proposes concrete recommendations to address issues revealed by the monitoring. ISFED believes that it is important to define frequency, justification and amount of bonuses and supplementary pays for members of the EMB and its employees clearly and unambiguously. It is equally important to define minimum and maximum percentage of bonuses and supplementary pays relative to wage. Amount of bonuses provided in non-election period must be reduced, while supplementary pays should not be provided during election period considering the double wage. Use of bonuses and supplementary pays as incentives for employees should not be systematic; rather, bonuses and supplementary pays should be provided in rare cases for a special merit.