For the past two months, Hetq has tried, unsuccessfully, to find out how much the Yerevan Municipality spent on New Year’s bonuses for staff.
On December 20, 2017 Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan signed a one-time monetary award decree to “encourage municipality employees for their good work”.
Employees received a bonus equal to their one-month salary. However, the total amount of money and the number of awarded employees is not clear.
The decree’s addendum, where the names of the awardees and the amount of their award were supposed to be seen, doesn’t work on the Municipality’s webpage.
Even after three written requests and numerous phone calls, the municipality hasn’t provided the addendum to the award order. After the third written request, the municipality informed us that computer specialists are working on the problem and they will provide the information within 30 days.
We informed the Head of the Municipality’s Information and Public Relations Department Arthur Gevorgyan about the expiration of the one-month deadline, but the addendum was not sent. Obviously, the municipality is trying to conceal the amount of the award and the names of the employees, although it was published in prior years.
Yerevan Municipality annually allocates 200-300 million drams to its employees
In 2014 and 2016, Mayor Taron Margaryan also signed a decree on "Encouraging employees with a one-time monetary award" (no information on such a decree of 2015 could be found on the municipality’s official website).
These decrees reveal that the mayor also rewarded himself. For example, in 2014 he awarded himself 500,000 drams, in 2016 - 575,000 drams, and in 2017, based on his one-month salary, the award should have again been 575,000 drams.
In 2014, the mayor gave his 1,717 employees AMD 334.736 million in award payments; each employee getting an amount equal to one month in salary. On December 23, 2016, a total of 271,777,300 million AMD was allocated for awards paid to 1,220 municipal employees.
This tradition of giving incentives continues while the city budget is said to have a deficit of tens of millions of drams.
The 2018 budget has a deficit of 48 million drams. When the Yerevan Municipality approved the 2017 budget, it reported a deficit of 68 million drams.