Rules of Regulation for Compensating Sakrebulo Members - Inconsistent Practice in Municipalities
During the July 2014 local self-government elections the population of Georgia elected 2083 members of 71 municipalities. The interest of both political parties and independent candidates was high in the local self-government elections. According to the CEC estimates, total of 10,7001candidates were running for office in the 2014 local self-government elections. In addition to political considerations, the interest in the elections was fueled by the incentive of employment. In light of particularly intense problem of unemployment in rural areas, local self-government institutes provide one of the best opportunities for employment.
Are members of Sakrebulo compensated for their work or not?
Pursuant to para.1, Article 41 of the Local Self-Government Code, member of municipality Sakrebulo, a member of municipality Sakrebulo discharges his/her official powers without interrupting his official activities and free of charge. Compensation is provided only for the work of Municipality Sakrebulo official, Article 31 of the Code provides the following list of Municipality Sakrebulo officials:
- Municipality Sakrebulo Chairperson
- Deputy Chairperson
- Chairperson of Sakrebulo Commission
- Chairperson of Sakrebulo Faction
It seems that members of Sakrebulo work without compensation; however, the Code provides that expenses related to discharging of official powers of Sakrebuli Municipality Member can be compensated under the regulations of Municipality Sakrebulo. In practice, compensation of the expenses is rather inconsistent; it differs according to municipalities and used to be changed almost every year. The rules regulating compensation for Sakrebulo members promoted a malicious practice of creating as many factions as possible in order for Sakrebulo members to occupy more paid positions and have higher salary. For instance, during monitoring of the developments in local self-governments in 2012-2013, ISFED found the trend of creating many factions in Sakrebulo. For instance, in Sakrebulo of Senaki composed of 25 members, 7 factions had been created, 6 in Mestia Sakrebulo composed of 22 members, 5 in Mtskheta Sakrebulo with 21 members, 7 in Kaspi Sakrebulo with 22 members, etc. 2 Notably, para.4, Article 30 of the Local Self-Government Code stipulates that a faction should have at least 3 members.
Compensation for Sakrebulo Officials
Maximum amount of compensation for Sakrebulo officials is determined under the resolution of the Government of Georgia. According to 2014 data, official compensation for Sakrebulo chairpersons was 2 650 laris per month, for deputy chairpersons - 1 700 laris per month and for chairpersons of Sakrebulo commission and factions – 1350 laris. In addition, as noted earlier, expenses related to discharging of official powers of Sakrebuli Municipality Members are compensated under the regulations of Sakrebulos. As demonstrated by official records requested by ISFED, such expenses are often compensated for Sakrebulo officials.
Compensation for Sakrebulo Members in Municipalities
ISFED requested resolutions from all municipalities throughout Georgia, determining rules for regulating compensation of Sakrebulo members both in 2010 and 2014.
In 2010, regulations for compensating Sakrebulo members were modified several times. The last modifications were made in 2012-2013, when Sakrebulo chairpersons were replaced in almost all of the municipalities. 3 In some municipalities previous regulations continue to apply to Sakrebulo members elected in 2014, while in some cases changes are much more evident and the amounts for compensation have been increased. For instance, in Baghdati monthly compensation for Sakrebulo members was 300 laris, while under the 2014 resolution the amount was increased to 375 laris. In Lentekhi the amount of compensation was increased from 150 laris in 2011 to 250 laris in 2014; in Senaki – from 130 laris in 2013 to 400 laris in 2013 and the same amount has been the same ever since.
At the time ISFED requested the information, in August 2014, certain municipalities had not yet adopted new 2014 resolutions; however, based on the information that we have it is safe to conclude that regulations for compensation of the expenses remains inconsistent and the reason why these different practices exist is still ambiguous. For instance, compensation and transportation allowance for Sakrebulo members in mountainous regions is higher than in other municipalities.
Compensation of expenses related to the work of a Sakrebulo member has the following two key components – first, compensation for attending Sakrebulo meetings and participating in the work of Sakrebulo agencies and second, for meeting with constituents and executing orders of Sakrebulo and Sakrebulo chairperson. In some municipalities only total monthly compensation is provided, without segregated amounts for meeting with constituents or executing orders of Sakrebulo chairperson or any other responsibilities. In some cases, the amount for compensation is excessively segregated – for instance, Kareli municipality is the only with extremely narrow compensation regulations. For instance, regulations provide specific amounts for compensating Sakrebulo members for attending meetings. These amounts differ depending on meeting venues. In particular, member of the Sakrebulo receives 100 laris for attending Sakrebulo meetings and participating in ocmmissions; 250 laris for meeting constituents, which is further narrowed down to 100 laris for a meeting within the premises of Kareli municipality, 50 laris for a field meeting (no more than three meetings per month) and 50 laris for meeting persons accountable to Sakrebulo.
In Aspindza Municipality, 2011 resolution determined rules for regulating compensation of Sakrebulo members elected in 2010, stipulating that all Sakrebulo members including officials should receive 150 laris for participating in Sakrebulo meetings and the work of Sakrebulo agencies. It also provided the following compensation for meetings with constituents and executing orders of Sakrebulo – 250 laris for Sakrebulo chairperson, 200 laris for deputy chairperson, 150 laris for chairpersons of commissions and factions and 100 laris for Sakrebulo members. At the time ISFED requested the information from Aspindza Municipality, the same regulations applied to members of Sakrebulo elected in 2014. The same practice of providing lower compensation for Sakrebulo members than for Sakrebulo officials was also established under 2011 resolution of Kharagauli Sakrebulo, as well as 2011 resolution of Dmanisi Sakrebulo, 2014 resolution of Akhaltsikhe Sakrebulo and 2011 resolution of Tsalka Sakrebulo.
In some municipalities, all Sakrebulo members received compensation, including officials; however, officials received much more compensation than rest of the members of Sakrebulo. For instance, under the resolution of Keda Sakrebulo adopted in 2014, chairperson receives 300 laris for participating in Sakrebulo meetings, deputy chairpersons and commission/faction chairpersons receive 230 laris. 2014 resolution of Poti Sakrebul establishes the same practice, while under 2012 resolution of Lanchkhuti Sakrebulo everyone received 500 laris for participating in Sakrebulo meetings; however, Sakrebulo members received additional amount for meeting with constituents and executing orders.
In some municipalities the rules regulating compensation does not apply to Sakrebulo officials. For instance, 2014 resolution of Adigeni Sakrebuli determines rules for regulating compensation for Sakrebulo members except for Sakrebulo officials. Under the resolution, Sakrebulo members receive 550 laris total per month.
Compensation for Sakrebulo Members in Self-Governing Cities
Maximum amount for compensation of Sakrebulo members in self-governing cities is provided. For instance, under Article 9 of Tbilisi Sakrebulo Regulations, Sakrebulo member receives total of 1700 laris per month for his/her work, including: chairpersons of Sakrebuli factions can provide compensation for faction members for their contributions to the work of the faction with maximum amount of 300 laris; Sakrebilo members receive 700 laris for their work in commissions and remaining 700 lari can be provided as compensation by Sakrebulo chairperson for individual Sakrebulo members for attending meetings, participating in discussions and executing orders, in each individual case4.
Notably, in Rustavi Sakrebulo, under August 4, 2014 resolution, Sakrebulo chairperson, deputy chairperson, commission/faction chairpersons and members receive 200 laris each for participating in Sakrebulo meetings and its agencies. Sakrebulo chairperson and other members of Sakrebulo are also compensated for meeting with constituents with 300 and 150 laris each, respectively. Further, deputy chairperson of Sakrebulo, chairpersons of commisisons/factions and Sakrebulo members receive 150 laris each for fulfillment of orders of Sakrebulo and Sakrebulo chairperson. Under 2011 resolution, Sakrebulo chairperson and deputy chairperson received 500 laris for participating in the work of Sakrebulos’ agencies, while commission/faction chairpersons received 250 laris and Sakrebulo members received 125 laris each. Compensation for meeting with constituents is as follows: 1000 laris for the chairperson/deputy chairperson; 250 laris for faction/commission chairpersons, 125 laris for Sakrebulo members. For executing orders of Sakrebulo and Sakrebulo chairperson, the chairperson and his/her deputy received 350 laris, commission/faction chairpersons and Sakrebulo members received 125 laris. None of the municipalities provide the compensation as high as 1000 laris for meeting constituents.
In Batumi, Sakrebulo members elected in 2010 received 1000 laris per month as a compensation for fulfilling their official responsibilities. In Poti, under the applicable resolution adopted in 2014, the chairperson received 600 laris, his/her deputies – 500 laris, commission/faction chairpersons – 500 laris and members – 700 laries.
In addition to the compensation, transportation and communication costs are also covered for Sakrebulo members in varied amounts, with a notable difference between amounts allocated for Sakrebulo officials and other members. For instance, in 2014 in Sighnaghi, Sakrebulo Chairperson receives 300 liters of fuel, while deputy chairperson receives 100 liters. Majoritarian members of Sakrebulo receive 60 liters, while proportional members receive 50 liters. In Martvili Municipality, in 2014 the Sakrebulo Chairperson receives 800 liters of fuel and 100 laris to cover communication expenses, while Sakrebulo members receive 70 liters of fuel and 25 laris to cover their communication expenses.
Compared to previous years, monthly compensation amounts have been increased for members of Sakrebulo elected in 2014. At the time ISFED requested information, new regulations had been adopted in up to 30 Sakrebulos. In most of the cases maximum amount of compensation was same for all members of Sakrebulo and no significant differences existed depending on offices held. According to the information provided to us, minimum expenses are set at 200-250 laris, maximum - at 500-600 laris in some municipalities.
The resolution that determines rules for compensating expenses also determines norms for recording activities of a Sakrebulo member, including attendance to meetings, forms of meeting with constituents and more, which is important as Sakrebulo members know that their compensation commensurates to their performance. This will promote effectiveness of the work of Sakrebulos, attendance to meetings, etc.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Based on the analysis of rules regulating compensation of Sakrebulo members, we have found that
- The existing practice is inconsistent, it varies by different municipalities and was modified almost every year
- Monthly compensation for Sakrebulo members elected in 2014 has been increased compared to previous years
- The analysis has illustrated that in addition to their official remuneration, in some municipalities Sakrebulo members receive compensation for meeting with constituents and being involved in the work of Sakrebulo. In some municipalities this does not apply to officials.
- Rustavi Sakrebulo members receive the highest compensation for meeting with constituents
- At the time ISFED requested the information, in August 2014, some municipalities had not yet adopted new 2014 resolutions; based on the information that we have it is safe to conclude that regulations for compensation of the expenses remains inconsistent and the reason why these different practices exist is still ambiguous
Based on the analysis,
- It is important that rules regulating compensation of Sakrebulo members is improved within the frames of the self-government reform, and uniform practice is elaborated
- A single mechanism for fair compensation of Sakrebulo members for their work is determined
- Norms regulating cases when, how often, etc. applicable rules can be modified should be elaborated.
1 June 15, 2014 local self-government elections for representative and executive authorities (I and II rounds) http://www.cesko.ge/uploads/other/29/29124.pdf
2 See third report of monitoring post-election processes, p.36 http://www.isfed.ge/main/155/geo/
3 See reports of ISFED’s monitoring of developments in municipalities following the 2012 parliamentary elections, http://www.isfed.ge/main/activities/self/geo/
4 Resolution of Tbilisi Municipality Sakrebulo №2-1, July 19 2014 https://matsne.gov.ge/index.php?option=com_ldmssearch&view=docView&id=2409111&lang=ge