March 21st, 2010 | Karlos Kohlbach, Katia Brembatti, James Alberti and Gabriel Tabatcheik
The number of politicians at the Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana is way higher 54, number that accounts for the elected representatives. There are many others in the hallways, offices and even in the electoral bases. These extra employees are career politics that lost the elections in their hometowns and were then hired as part of the State’s Legislature. By crosschecking the names in the House payroll for the last 12 years with the names of the candidates for the municipal and state elections in the State of Parana since 1996, as divulged by the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE), Gazeta do Povo and RPCTV could find 548 names appearing in the two lists.
That means that for each group of 10 House employees, there is a former politician or a wannabe. In the current roll of employees, according to the list divulged in April 2009 by the Assembly, there are 163 former candidates. Considering only the House commissioned employees, it’s possible to find an even higher percentage of politicians defeated in previous elections. At the House, there is one career employee to every four positions of trust. However, to each employee hired through public admission tests that already with political background there are 20 commissioned candidates.
According to the law, every public employee has the right to run for elections. They only need to take a leave from their duties three months prior to the elections day, with no salary loss. This shows that the House ends up fostering a job scheme to guarantee salaries for those who don´t win the elections. Since the vast majority of employees are hired for a commissioned position – defined exclusively by each State Representative – the parts involved rely too much on one another.
By analyzing the data crosschecked by Gazeta do Povo, it’s possible to verify that many of the people employed by the House – whose paychecks come out of the taxpayers pocket- actually only work to protect the political interests of the State Representatives who hired them. City councilors and mayors defeated in the ballots are nominated right after the votes are counted so that they can serve the best interests of the State Representatives. This stratagem only swells the number of political allies in the electoral bases, not to mention the son of the politicians: there is more than two dozen of them, who cannot work for their fathers due to the anti-nepotism law, but have their jobs guaranteed at many State Representative offices.
A great deal of the employees-candidates is resilient. Being defeated once does not bring them down nor does it keep them for trying again and again. Jose Ritti Filho, elected mayor of Santo Antonio da Platina twice -1989/1993 and 2005/2007, when he had his mandate revoked- is a master of trial. He has run for five elections since 1996. That means he has only skipped two out of the seven elections in the period.
Another 40 people that have already been part of the House payroll have also run for four elections in the last 15 years. The vast majority has tried or already has been a City Councilor – in 745 cases the candidacy was for City Councils. Cases where the candidate was running for mayor totaled 207. There were at least 17 cases the employees tried to get elected as State Representative, with the clear intent to expand their political outreach throughout the state – the number also matches the attempts to get to the Chamber of Deputies.
The city with most cases of employees becoming candidates or vice-versa is Curitiba, with 112 cases, followed by Londrina (23), Piraquara(22), and Pinhais (21). However, politicians from more than half of the cities in the state have their names in the House payroll. Candidates from 207 of the 399 cities in the state have worked or are still working for the House.
The former State Representative Geraldo Cartario (PMDB) is by far the number one in admissions. He had his political powers revoked and left the House in February 2009. Among the 122 employees that worked at his office, 21 were also running for the last seven elections.
The Presidency and First-Secretary offices have also hired many politicians defeated in the elections. At least 19 candidates have worked for one of these offices. PT is the party with the biggest number of employees-candidates, 12 cases, followed by PMDB (11), DEM (7) and PSDB (6). After the latest election, held in 2008, at least 73 people in the House current payroll were candidates. Among them, 53 run for City Councilor and 20 for positions in city halls.
City Councilor listed as House employee
Besides being a City Councilor in Ibaiti, Claudio Gerolimo (PSDB) is also a Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana employee. His name can be found in the House payroll divulged in April 2009. According to the records, he works as a commissioned employee for the House.
Better known in the 29,000 inhabitant city as Claudio da Vince, this is the second time he is elected City Counselor. He is the president of the farming union of the city and also, according to TSE, a businessman.
In order to justify the commissioned job in the House, Claudio Gerolimo declared he temped as a Legislative Advisor for the State Representative Valdir Rossoni (PSDB) and his nomination was valid for only 30 days.
Rossoni declared there was no legal impediment to hire the City Councilor, but even though he informally consulted the Audit Office and the House Legal Department, which alerted him the admission wasn’t advisable. For this reason, the State Representative exonerated Gerolimo. “I covered my bases,” declared the State Representative. In the letter he sent to RPC, Rossoni informs that the City Councilor worked for the House for three months – From May 1st to June 1st.
Enemies united by the Legislative Assembly
Two of the three candidates that run for mayor in Pitanga (in central state Parana) in the 2008 elections were given jobs at the Legislative Assembly. The two candidates defeated in the elections, Cleon Cosme Costa (PMDB) and Alexandre Carlos Buchmann (PTB) – who has already been mayor of the city in the past – are on the list of commissioned employees published on May 31st last year.
Without knowing He was being taped, Buchmann admitted he performed political tasks for Alexandre Curi (PMDB) in the region. According to Buchmann, Curi promised him, should he lose the election, a job in the Legislative Assembly in exchange of certain political favors. Gazeta do Povo tried to contact Buchmann again so he could confirm the story, but he couldn’t be found.
Costa, who is PMDB’s President in town, has an even closer relationship with Curi. He is a business partner of Curi’s father in a local radio station. Since he also owns a loans company and receives pension from the former state bank, Banestado, the politician admits he doesn’t need the salary he receives from the House, but he insists on getting it anyway. “If I work, I need to get paid,” he said.
Costa’s son, Cleon Cassius Costa, had his nomination for the First Secretary officer published one year before the 2008 elections. The nomination was signed by Alexandre Curi. Curi didn’t want to make any statements about the case.
Names of even former Federal Representatives found in payroll.
Among the employees working for the Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana there are some people that once waltzed in hallways of the Congress.
Bernardino Barreto de Oliveira, better known as Pastor Oliveira, and Jose Felinto were once Federal Representatives. Both politicians didn’t get elected in the 1998 and 2002 state elections, but this didn’t keep them from finding shelter in the Legislative Assembly.
Bernardindo Barreto de Oliveira is from Rio de Janeiro and has had many jobs in his life. He worked as a shoe shiner, a deliveryman, a clerk and a cab driver before becoming a church pastor with the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God and still find time to become a politician. He has moved to the State of Parana after becoming popular on TV and radio shows. Oliveira was elected Curitiba City Counselor in 1996 and State Representative in 1998 and 2002.
Jose Felinto, who is very famous in the state’s political scenario, was once PMDB, but is currently with PP. He was elected State Representative once and shows he is still very familiar with plenary sessions. But, according to the records, he should be working as a security officer of the House.
Former State Representatives
Luiz Carlos Alborguetti, who died in December 2009, has let the office as a State Representative in 2006. His name, however, is on the list of the Legislative Assembly commissioned employees that was made public last April. As for Mário Sérgio Bradock Zacheski, his name shouldn’t be on the list, once he was supposedly transferred by the Public Security Bureau to the House First Secretary’s office at least two years ago.
The former State Representative Antonio Carlos Baratter worked at Ademar Traiano’s office until October 2006. The former State Representative Nilton Roberto Barbosa is also on the list. He was hired through a public admission test.