Revaz Kharazi:“Batumi City Hall has its own press service, its PR service, for which we pay hundreds of thousands of GEL, hundreds of thousands of money from the people of Batumi.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Revaz Kharazi’s statement is TRUE.

Resume: In addition to Batumi City Hall itself, almost all N(N)LEs established by Batumi City Hall also have press and PR services/units (names might differ) or at least a specialist who is responsible for this field. Batumi Municipal Council also has this type of service.

FactCheck requested information from the N(N)LEs. In regard to LLCs, FactCheck reached out to them in the past to request different information, although they denied the request on the grounds of having no relevant legal obligation. Therefore, this time, FactCheck did not request data from the LLCs.

According to the information provided by Batumi City Hall, the Batumi Municipal Council and N(N)LEs founded by Batumi City Hall, there are currently 28 individuals employed in the field of PR and media relations, including permanent workers and contract workers. Of this amount, five are employed in Batumi City Hall, six in the Batumi Municipal Council and 17 in the N(N)Les. This year, their total labour remuneration amounts to GEL 441,329. In 2020 and 2021, their labour remuneration was GEL 400,800 and 402,175, respectively.

Although our analysis does not include data from the relevant services of the LLCs, it is still evident that Revaz Kharazi’s statement based on these figures alone is TRUE.

Analysis

A member of the Batumi Municipality Council from the UNM, Revaz Kharazi, stated: “Batumi City Hall has its own press service, its PR service, for which we pay hundreds of thousands of GEL, hundreds of thousands of money from the people of Batumi.”

Prior to verification of the statement, FactCheck reached out to Revaz Kharazi to ask for clarification about his words. It was understood that Mr Kharazi meant not only Batumi City Hall’s PR service but relevant services/units of other organisations funded from the municipality’s local budget. Therefore, FactCheck requested information from non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities founded by Batumi City Hall. In regard to LLCs, our previous experience shows that they (Batumis Tskali LLC, Sandasuptaveba LLC) do not provide information and, therefore, FactCheck did not submit any request for information to them.

In regard to data provided by the N(N)Les of Batumi City Hall, it was found out that at least one individual is employed in those organisations and is responsible for the relationship with the mass media and the public.

Table 1: Number and Labour Remuneration of Employees Responsible for Media and PR Employed in Batumi City Hall’s Staff, the Batumi Municipal Council’s Staff and N(N)LEs Founded by Batumi City Hall*

Source: Batumi City Hall, Batumi Municipal Council, N(N)LEs, appendix: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14

Note: *Some replies indicated the amount of salaries at the time of sending the letter. Therefore, FactCheck made calculations for yearly figures. Labour remuneration includes salary as well as bonuses/supplements.

**Reply from the N(N)LE Municipal Inspection indicates that annual labour remuneration for contract workers in 2020-2021 was GEL 10,250 whilst it is only GEL 1,364 in 2022. FactCheck inquired whether or not it was a mistake and if it was the figure for a one-month salary. The service responded that we had to ask for the information again.

The table shows that the number of employees in Batumi City Hall’s Media and PR unit is unchanged during the reporting period and it consists of four permanent workers and one (photographer) contract worker. There are six people working for the Batumi Municipal Council’s PR – three permanent and three contract workers. Labour remuneration for Batumi City Hall’s Media and PR unit is GEL 96,360 this year whilst employees for Batumi Municipal Council will earn GEL 88,085.

In regard to non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities, there are 17 individuals employed in a total of ten organisations in the field of media and PR. Their total labour remuneration this year will be GEL 256,884. In 2022, total labour remuneration for all employees that work in the field of media and PR in Batumi City Hall, the Batumi Municipal Council and N(N)LEs is GEL 441,329. It was GEL 400,800 in 2020 and it was GEL 402,175 in 2021.


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