Watchdog Speaks against Increased Contractor Salaries in Public Bodies

Mechanism Possibly Used to Appoint Security Agents in Public Agencies, CSO Warns

A new study, published by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), a local watchdog, highlighted that in the first half of 2020, GEL 125,9 million (USD 40 million) was spent on the salaries of the contract employees in the ministries and public bodies, constituting a 19% -GEL 20 million (USD 6 million) increase compared to the first half of 2019. 

Watchdog asserted that the Law on Public Service only vaguely details the responsibilities of such employees and since they are either directly appointed or hired through a simplified process, the practice poses a risk of nepotism and irrational spending of the public budget. 

The watchdog also clarified the various types of employees in Ministries and state-funded – legal public law entities, noting that other than public servants and qualified public officers, a person may be employed on the basis of an employment agreement, or on the basis of an administrative agreement. IDFI added that according to the Law of Georgia on Public Service, persons with employment or administrative agreement are entitled to amounts of salaries, up to GEL 4000 (USD 1300) and up to GEL 6000 (USD 2000) respectively. 

According to the watchdog’s key findings of the study include:

  • In 2019, GEL 242 million (USD 77 million) was spent on employees with administrative and employment agreement contracts, up by GEL 25 million (USD 8 million) from 2018, and up by GEL 100 million (USD 31 million) from 2015.
  • Persons employed with administrative agreements are mostly advisers to ministers and their salaries vary from GEL 2,800 to 6000 (USD 900 – 2000).
  • Out of 104 public agencies addressed by IDFI, only 48 provided complete and sufficient information. 
  • Job descriptions of workers with administrative agreements or employment agreements are vague and do not properly describe the scope of work. 
  • Examining the CVs of advisors and their past work experiences raise doubts as to whether these positions are used to appoint State Security Service agents in public agencies. 

The CSO urged the government to revisit the existing employment practices in Ministries and LEPLs in order to reduce the risks of nepotism and corruption, as well as to provide detailed definitions of the advisors’, consultants’ and experts’ scope of work in the agencies. The watchdog argued that there should be a unified standard that would ensure that the contractors’ salaries are regulated in a fair manner. 

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