Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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The Communities are beyond control



 As far back as 5 months ago “Aravot” daily applied to some village mayors requesting to provide the copies of the decisions taken by the Council of Elders beginning from the 1st of January up to the day of the request.   

Village mayors of Dalarik and Apaga villages of Armavir Marz (Province), as well as Lusakunk village of Gegharkunik Marz and Byurakan village of Aragatsotn Marz appeared to be so “secretive”, that we were forced to resend the inquiry-letter, and even called them. However, in vain: they still, violating the requirements of the Constitution and the Law “On Legal Acts”, have not provided the requested decisions. Still in August 25 the Dalarik village mayor Pargev Saghatelyan reverted to us in writing telling that we could get acquainted with the decisions of the Council of Elders at the web site of Armavir Marzpetaran (Province Council), which we failed to find there so far; though he continued sticking to his closed work style. It happened just when the Armavir Governor – Ashot Ghahramanyan still in the beginning of the year prided himself on the fact that his province was the only one in the country where the community leaders reported to their constituency of budget performance and plans. If the Governor before taking pride attempted at least to see how the village mayors work, he would notice that the population in many villages is unaware of the “most important” issues taken by the village mayors and the Council of Elders. We can only surmise whether the Governor tries to delude himself or he is beguiled into all this – otherwise the village mayor would not keep the decisions keep “secret”.    
We have been still expecting the return mail from Byurakan village mayor Hrachik Avagyan in Aragatsotn. The Decisions of the Council of Elders were sent, though with delay, only by Norashen village mayor from Gegharkunik Marz and Voskevaz village mayor from Aragatsotn Marz. Since Article 12.1 of the RA Law “On Local-self governing Bodies” is taken formally by community leaders in our country, viz. “A Community Leader shall, at least 7 days prior to a regular session of the Council of Elders, publish information on the time, venue and the draft of the agenda of the session…”, thus, we are going to keep the population of these two communities informed by means of our newspaper on  the issues  solved by the Council of Elders/ for their respective communities. The first session in these two communities for this year was dedicated to the sizes of salaries of the community leader and community staff. In Norashen village 2008 budget was also approved during the mentioned session. In Voskevaz village the Council of Elders approved the local duties and fees, the issues of land lease, allocation, alienation and building up. This issue in Norashen village was recalled only in relation to the grassland fees, though other fees were completely neglected. Monthly salary for Voskevaz village mayor Hayk Hovhannisyan was established equal to 150 000 drams, his deputy salary – 110 000 drams. Diverse approach was made toward the salaries of the watchmen and cleaners at village council and recreation and leisure centre: the salary at the village council is 35 000 drams, while at the recreation and leisure centre it is 25 000 drams. The Council of Elders/ in Norashen village established 95 000 dram salary for its village mayor Garnik Gasparyan, and 50 000 drams – for his deputy. It should be noted that if the salary report for Voskevaz village mayor was made by the chief accountant of the village, in Norashen village the mayor took care of himself. According to the list of staff this village apparently felt no need in the services of a cleaner, nor a watchman.           

It should be also noted that the minutes of the Council of Elders’/’ sessions were recorded with gross violations of the law. Particularly, except the 2nd minutes which referred to 2007 budget performance, the minutes taken during other sessions in Norashen village lacked any information on the number of the “pro”, “con” and “abstained” Elders. The minutes lack the names of the Elders present at the session either. It referred only to the names of those who expressed their opinions – the same 3 people in all sessions. The minutes in Voskevaz village mentioned only the names of the participants of the sessions, while the voting results still remained unclear. Paragraph 5 of the agenda of the 3rd session refers to modification to be made to the community budget; however the “story” of this paragraph remains unclear and disappears in the part of the conclusion. Thus, it is unclear whether the Council of Elders brought up this question for discussion or not. If ‘not’, then what was the reason? Here 2007 budget performance was left behind; it did not provided any details on what resources 2008 budget would be built either. It is noteworthy that 1 million 700 thousand drams from the community budget were spent on major repairs of the drinking fountain built in the center of Vosevaz village.        

We will revert to these communities soon; in the meantime we would like to remind the maneuvering village mayors that “Aravot” is prepared to pursue getting the copies of the mentioned decisions from them.  

“Aravot” Daily

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