Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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27 Tishrei 5764 - October 23, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Comptroller Says Directors of Art and Culture Organizations Received Exorbitant Salaries
by G. Kleiman

Directors of culture and arts institutions still receive extremely high salaries despite severe budget deficits and financial crises at the organizations they head, according to a report released by State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg.

The report contains a list of 114 directors who receive particularly high salaries, including 106 whose salaries exceed NIS 300,000 ($68,000) per year. Fifty-six directors earned over NIS 400,000 ($90,000). The highest salary was NIS 1,060,000 ($244,000). Among the 114 directors surveyed the average salary came to NIS 458,000 ($103,000) annually. The salary figures were taken from requests for support the institutions themselves submitted.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni told Yated Ne'eman that the Shinui Party owes the public an explanation for these exorbitant salaries in state-subsidized cultural organizations since it works to get State support for them. "Why is [Shinui] initiating budget increases for those who squeeze the state budget dry regardless of the severe economy state?" he asked. "The Shinui Party is demanding funding for directors of cultural organizations who receive salaries of over one million shekels per year, which effectively harms budgets for the middle class and the [underclass]. A committee that was supposed to assess the salaries of these directors has not met for more than six years. It also turns out that Shinui takes pains to transfer funds to these institutions in order to finance these inflated directors' salaries and meanwhile they demand that the government [cut more and more funding] for yeshiva students, child support allowances, single-parent families, the elderly, the handicapped and children. The public will undoubtedly remind the Shinui Party of this on the day of reckoning and punish them for it."

According to the Comptroller's report, the Ministry of Science was in charge of the Cultural Authority from 2000 to 2002. In November 2002 a law was enacted to regulate the status of the Public Council for Culture and the Arts. From 1996 until 2002 the Council did not meet even once. Therefore no guidelines for funding and directors' salaries were formulated. The Funding Support Committee determined the amount of funding these institutions would receive, without providing explanations or disclosures.

Since the council became inactive in 2002 no replacement has been appointed and guidelines for funding distribution have not been reviewed. The Culture Authority did not formulate criteria despite a High Court demand to do so. In 2003 the Culture Authority announced it was already in the process of formulating criteria and guidelines for granting funding to these so-called cultural institutions. The present criteria for receiving funding are not clear to anyone. Cultural institutions are constantly declaring they face budget crises, yet attempts by the Finance Ministry and the Science Ministry to limit the directors' state-subsidized salaries failed.


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