ILA spent millions on unapproved reforms

May 14, 2014 16:48

"The state paid millions for a specific set of reforms but received a totally different kind of reform," comptroller report finds.

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Apartment building [illustrative]

Apartment building 311. (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The Israel Lands Authority spent millions of shekels to implement reforms that varied greatly from those approved by the government, according to Wednesday’s State Comptroller Report.

The government appointed three bodies to examine ways to reform the ILA between 1986 and 2004. The resulting reforms, passed in 2011 and updated in 2013, called for trimming down the workforce, outsourcing services and focusing on the organization’s main goals of preserving and selling land.

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According to the report, ILA chairman Benzi Lieberman scrapped the outsourcing plans in order to avoid trimming the payroll.

“The state paid millions for a specific set of reforms but received a totally different kind of reform,” the report said.

In order to reduce the wage burden, the organization was supposed to allow 200 workers to retire. However, only 184 did, at a cost of NIS 150m., and instead of outsourcing or streamlining their jobs – as intended – the ILA hired 170 new employees, undermining the goal of the retirement incentives.

Despite a collective agreement that limited wage increases to 20.5 percent, wages went up by an average of 36%, and spread out over 676 employees. All this added up to NIS 35 million a year.

The ILA’s inability to provide an adequate supply of land fueled a spike in the housing market, where prices increased roughly 80% since 2007.

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