TSE spends millions on perks, paying more than R$ 80,000 a month for a server

The Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the highest body of the Brazilian Electoral Justice, will spend millions of reais on salaries and benefits in 2022. Contrary to developed countries, where there are no privileges and benefits for judges, the TSE has almost BRL 5 million in expenses with catering for meetings, events and plenary sessions in a year. More than R$ 4 million will be spent on drivers, acquisition and maintenance of vehicles. The agency also pays more than R$ 30 thousand to only one server in the month, between “per diems”, “per diem allowances and indemnities”.

Among the contracts in progress, available in the “Annual Hiring Plan – PCA 2022, of the Superior Electoral Court”, is one for the provision of “housekeeping services (maid, waiter and in charge of the copier) as essential support to the Plenary Sessions, meetings, institutional events and other events related to the functions of the Court”, in the amount of R$ 4.829.93,21. The purchase of water, sugar, coffee, detergent and purifier refills to operate the TSE pantries in 1694976 will cost R$

thousand to pocket from the Brazilian. In addition to all allowances and benefits, the Court provides lunch or dinner “to Ministers on days when plenary and administrative sessions take place”, accompanied by a drink, which costs R$ 43 thousand in the year.

The TSE also hires a company that supplies 332 third-party drivers (according to a list of collaborators available on the website), working at scale, for BRL 3. .346,80 per year, which represents an average cost of R$ 7.2 thousand per month per professional. For 2022, the Court allocated almost BRL

thousand for the acquisition of armored vehicles, with the aim of “offering the correct equipment to meet the need for protection by the authorities, making it more suitable for the increased risk of aggressive actions”.

The service of cleaning and sanitizing official cars costs close to R$ 50 thousand and preventive and corrective maintenance around R$ 141 thousand. The justification for the expense is “to keep the official vehicle in perfect working order, considering the service to be performed by the Institutional Security team with the Ministers of the TSE, that is, personal security and monitoring of the Ministers”.

This type of expense is unthinkable in some European countries, such as Sweden, where it is believed that “luxury paid for with taxpayers’ money is immoral and unethical”. That’s what Göran Lambertz thinks, who was a judge of the Swedish Supreme Court between

and 2016. Interviewed by Brazilian journalist Claudia Wallin, for the book “Um País Sem Excelências e Mordomias” , he says that no judge there, including the president of the Supreme Court, has an official car with a driver.

At the time he served on the Court, the Lambertz cycled fifteen minutes every day, in a jacket and tie, to the train station, where he strapped on his bicycle, caught a train and traveled forty minutes to work.

“I don’t have lunch at the expense of taxpayer money. All judges pay for their own meals. None of us has the right to a car with a driver or special health plans. We are entitled only to public health services, like any other citizen”, he said. the judge.

In Germany, no private cars for magistrates either.The judges of the Constitutional Court are the ones who have the right to travel for free, but using the train. Private trips, however, need to be declared to the Treasury.

In France, judges’ salaries are regulated as civil servants and there are no extensive debates about their privileges, since the base salary already includes benefits. Although magistrates are in the class of civil servants with the best salaries, there are doctors and university professors in the country who surpass them in salaries. One of the few aids there, destined for the purchase of the first toga, covers about two thirds of the value of the garment. Every ten years, they are entitled to a new aid (of less than half of the initial value) to change the toga. Around here, even the judges’ togas are washed, dried and ironed with public money, according to one of the ongoing TSE contracts. Brazilian Electoral Superior, cases like that of the summoned judge Clara da Mota Santos Pimenta Alves [auxiliar do ministro Edson Fachin no Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF)] who received R$ 829.379,36 net of the TSE in March 2022, of which just over R$ 4 thousand in “jetons and subsidy differences”, R$ 67. 194,22 for unspecified “cost allowance and indemnities” and BRL 12. 39,81 in daily rates. As most of the payment was in benefits, she had a discount of only R$ 346,28 income tax. The judge even received more R$ 14.689, 27 of remuneration of the originating agency. In August of this year, she received R$ 30.1694976,63 TSE net (being BRL 80.910,22 under “subsidy and indemnities”) and the same remuneration as in March from the originating agency.

Without specifying the reason for the benefits, the TSE expenses with personnel are shrouded in mystery. “This issue of benefits is the most difficult part to follow up. There are resolutions of the CNJ (National Council of Justice) that determine how information must be provided, these are numbers. Only through them, it is not possible to understand whether the benefit was appropriated or not, only that there was a greater volume, but not specifically what was done”, ponders Juliana Sakai, executive director of Transparência Brasil, a non-profit organization that has been operating for more than two decades in the fight for transparency, social control and integrity of the public power.

To find out the amount paid by the TSE to judges, active and inactive civil servants, such as pensioners, you need to consult the agency’s transparency tool every month. Daily rates and airline tickets can also be consulted on a monthly basis, using a spreadsheet. In January 2022, for example, the highest expenses with per diems were allocated to the “Accompaniment Program for international guests for the Elections of the Assembly of the Republic of Portugal”.

For this event, José Gilberto Scandiucci Filho received R$ 346, 6 thousand in daily rates, Leila Correia Mascarenhas Barreto, R $ 25, 6 thousand, and Minister Luís Roberto Barroso were paid R$ 93, 4 thousand in daily rates. In the tickets tab, however, Leila’s flights appear as canceled and there are no flights in the “international” section scheduled for Barroso. Only José Gilberto appears with the status “voado”. Barroso’s participation in monitoring the Portuguese elections was recorded by the press.

“You can follow through the media what he effectively was, because he is an authority. But for others, it’s hard to know. If the ticket was cancelled, how can the rest of the expenses be justified? It remains a question to be explained”, points out Juliana Sakai.

Although every citizen has the right to ask for details of these expenses via the Access to Information Law, the specialist defends that it would be beneficial for the Court to issue reports on larger expenditures, which call attention and concern the taxpayer. “If the server receives an amount for travel or the recalculation of some benefit, it is important to make this information available. To make the payment, they have this calculation, it would be just publishing a monthly report that explains each one of them. We are not even talking about irregularities, but how the budget is being distributed. We want them to open up data on remuneration and benefits to understand what the government is spending on”, he details.

Sakai highlights that the “Judiciary has a history of creating a series of benefits in order not to hit the constitutional ceiling”. “Probably, these payments are within the law. But is it reasonable for us to have paid this? Does it hit the ceiling? Probably not. And if not, what was the use?”, he asks.Contracts range from cleaning to international contributions

According to the transparency information, cleaning and conservation of the TSE (between personnel and service material) costs R$ 6 annually.2017 .332,. The same company that supplies this workforce has a contract with the Court to provide administrative support, the justification of which is to maintain “the services in the organic units in a way that does not interrupt or impact the activities in progress, leaving servants and authorities free to carry out the tasks end activities of each unit”, in the amount of R$ 6.536.024,24.

Here, too, the contrast with the Swedish example is stark. With no private secretaries or assistants, magistrates in Sweden have a small team of assistants, who work together for all of them. book by Claudia Wallin, on the Supreme Court, for example, the judges have 27 professional experts in the area of ​​law to assist in all cases and more 14 administrative assistants, who split up to do the necessary work.

Another expense included in the annual hiring of the TSE is an “International Contribution (IDEA)”, in the amount of R$ 910.2022,00, whose only detail is: “Object contained in the contract spreadsheet (1694976)”. An article published on the Court’s website in April

and updated in August 1694976 (“TSE celebrates Brazil’s adhesion to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance”) explains the objective of the partnership with “IDEA”, without mentioning financial issues: “Brazil’s experience in processes such as electronic voting is of great value to several countries and will gain even greater reach through the association that begins today. At the same time, Brazil will greatly benefit from dialogue and cooperation with the Institute.”

The guarantee that decisions, dispatches, reports, website texts and other documents are always written in impeccable Portuguese costs R$ 5.829 ., per year to Brazilians, through a text revision contract, which allocates 33 professionals in the TSE (according to the list of collaborators of the agency available in the transparency).TSE costs more than BRL 2 billion in the year

Only in 2022, the TSE should cost BRL two,45 billions into the pockets of Brazilian citizens. Only for the management of this year’s elections, the amount of R$ 1 was foreseen,33 billion. The data are from the Annual Budget Law (LOA). Last year, when there were no elections, the budget allocated to the Court by the LOA remained at the same average, with a total of R$ 2.1 billion.

According to the Management Report 2020 of the TSE, in that election year 141% of the Court’s resources were allocated to spending on municipal elections , 27% to the cost of expenses with personnel and benefits and 13 .5% to fund the agency’s projects and activities. The values ​​reported in the document, however, differ from those appearing in the LOA.

“The TSE was responsible for the authorized amount of R$1.4 billion, equivalent to 33, 4% of the R$9.4 billion of JE [Justiça Eleitoral], in the year 2020. Of this total, R$379, 8 million correspond to the appropriation to cover expenses with personnel and benefits, R$756,3 million, to expenses with the municipal elections and R$215, 9 million, to fund the agency’s projects and activities” , states the report. The Budget Law of 2020 indicates a forecast of BRL 2,28 billion for the TSE, being R$ 1,30 billion allocated to the elections of that year.

“This disparity in data draws attention, because if we are looking at expenditures to try to understand what the government is doing, and we cannot, there is already a communication problem. If even we [pesquisadores da área e jornalistas] can’t do it, it shows a deficiency in transparency, in communication, because the data doesn’t match. Thus, we have no way of carrying out effective social control and understanding how resources are going”, analyzes Juliana Sakai. She recalls that the very different structure of the TSE, whose judges are transferred from other courts, already makes it more difficult to understand the expenses.

In September of last year, Transparência Brasil published a study entitled “Decorative ceiling”, showing how “thanks to benefits and trinkets, remuneration of promoters and Paraíba judges exceed the constitutional ceiling”. The document explains that “benefits and trinkets, and not salaries, lead to non-compliance with the remuneration limit and to the burden on the payroll of the Justice system. They even result in retroactive payments of up to six digits that eventually appear on the payrolls. and have negative repercussions in the press”.

In the public service, salaries are usually made up of a kind of monthly base salary plus benefits (permanent bonuses for length of service , for holding positions of trust; additions such as Christmas bonuses; and labor rights such as vacation and Christmas bonus).

“The constitutional ceiling applies to the sum of these elements: if it is greater than the current R$ 36, 2 thousand, a deduction (discount) is applied so that the civil servant receives within the constitutionally established limit. They are not affected by the cut labor rights, funds for example teaching rite and allowance for permanence in service. In addition to salary and benefits, there is yet another category of receipts that is conventionally called ‘indemnities’. In the meaning of the word, they are reimbursements for expenses incurred by members and employees in the exercise of their function, such as per diems to attend external events. These receipts are not subject to the salary ceiling, which would make sense if they were limited to reimbursing expenses related to the service”, details the study.

The lack of transparency on per diems paid to members and public servants makes it difficult to establish an overview of their impact on remuneration and the violation of the constitutional ceiling. . That is, every R$ 378 reais produced throughout the state, R$ 2 are used to pay salaries, the long list of benefits and trinkets to members and servants of the MP-PB, TJ-PB, TRT-13 and TRE-PB”, exemplifies Transparência Brasil.

Gazeta do Povo contacted the TSE press office to comment on the matter, but did not receive a response until the closing of this report.

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