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At the plenary session held on 26 June 2013, Nodar Ebanoidze, Majoritarian Deputy from the Georgian Dream faction, presented a report prepared by the Temporary Committee which inspected the work of the State Audit Office in 2012. In the report, Ebanoidze outlined an artificial growth in the number of employees witnessed in the Chamber of Control [State Audit Office]. As it follows from his speech, the number of those who were officially listed as the employees of the abovementioned institution in 2012 was much larger than the number of those who were actually working there. The funds intended for the salaries of non-existent employees were used up by the means of awarding bonuses.

Reflecting upon Nodar Ebanoidze’s statement, Giorgi Vashadze, Member of the United National Movement, declared: “As for the bloated number of employees, Mr Nodar [Ebanoidze], prior to the elections, only 130 people were employed in the constituency which you represent as a Majoritarian Deputy [Kharagauli] whereas now the number of employees has increased to the point of 240. Well, this indeed represents an example of a bloated list of employees.”

During a private conversation with Giorgi Vashadze, we ascertained that his announcement referred to both the Council as well as the Assembly of the Kharagauli Municipality in terms of the number of employees.

FactCheck

inquired into the matter of the increase in the number of employees in the Kharagauli Municipality and set out to check the accuracy of Giorgi Vashadze’s statement. For this purpose we contacted the Council and the Assembly of the Kharagauli Municipality.

During our telephone conversation, the Deputy Head of the City Assembly, Koba Gogsadze, informed us that the number of employees in the Municipality Assembly has not changed since the elections. The Assembly has 27 deputies, none of whom has left the post; furthermore, considering the fact that the institution is comprised of elected members, no one has joined it either. We witness a similar situation in the Council where the number of people employed stayed unchanged following the elections and amounts to nine.

We also retrieved information about the number of employees from the Kharagauli Municipality Council. An official document states that the Municipality Council employed 154 people prior to the Parliamentary elections of 2012. By 9 July 2013, on the other hand, we witness the staff consisting of 137 employees. Although the abovementioned number has increased by 56, people hired under contract and for only certain periods of time and not included in the permanent staff must also be taken into consideration. Consequently, the Kharagauli Municipality Council currently employs 193 individuals.

After speaking to the Municipality Governor, Koba Lursmanashvili, we learned that various factors created the need for hiring additional people under contract. Specifically, working groups were created for tackling certain social and health issues as well as for providing help to people affected by natural disasters. These groups perform research in the corresponding fields and the existing number of employees proved to be insufficient for this purpose. Consequently, the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued an order for increasing the number of employees.

Conclusion

As described above, the Kharagauli Municipality Assembly currently employs 36 people (27 deputies and nine office workers) and the Kharagauli Municipality Council currently employs 193 (137 of whom are staff members and 56 are employees under contract). Altogether, there are 229 people currently employed by the Kharagauli Municipality.

Before the Parliamentary elections of 2012, the Kharagauli Municipality as a whole (Council and Assembly) employed 190 people instead of 130. At present, however, there are altogether 229 people working at the Municipality instead of 240. The increase in the number of employees is obvious although of a different scale than declared by Giorgi Vashadze. Furthermore, we must take into account the official statement of the Kharagauli Municipality that the increase was not caused by the enlargement of the permanent staff but by the hiring of temporary employees. While the number of people employed by the Municipality has grown, Vashadze did not speculate whether or not the hiring of permanent staff members or contract employees was responsible for the increase in the total number of employees.

Therefore, based on the official information we can conclude that the statement of Giorgi Vashadze: “As for the bloated number of employees, Mr Nodar [Ebanoidze], prior to the elections, only 130 people were employed in the constituency which you represent as a Majoritarian Deputy [Kharagauli] whereas now the number of the employees has increased to the point of 240” is HALF TRUE.