GEO

Evaluation of the work of majoritarian MP's bureaus in Adjara

19 December, 2013

Transparency International Georgia has released a report outlining the results of the activities of the bureaus of single-seat MPs elected in the Adjara Region after the 2012 parliamentary election. The report also analyses the efficiency of their work.

Pursuant to the Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, a single-seat MP’s bureau, expenses of which are covered from the Parliament’s budget in the amount of 5,000 GEL, is set up to organize work with the electorate, identify the problems of the local population, lobby the executive and self-governing authorities in favour of the needs of the population, and ensure the MP’s participation in resolving local affairs.

Letters were sent on October 1, 2013 to the Batumi, Khulo, Khelvachauri, Kobuleti, Keda and Shuakhevi single-seat MPs’ bureaus, requesting information about public meetings held with citizens by each single-seat MP or his/her bureau. We also requested a list of the initiatives submitted by single-seat MPs in the Parliament or Government based on the needs identified as a result of such meetings. In addition, we inquired about the number of employees in the bureaus and their salaries.

The responses received demonstrate that the majority of single-seat MPs’ bureaus do not carry out needs assessments, but common problems are identified based on visits to the field or citizens’ written submissions.

Some of the major concerns of the population of the Adjara Region still include employment, healthcare, pensions, and benefit payments to eco-migrants and socially vulnerable groups. Also of concern are legislative gaps concerning the registration of titles to land, the return of titles to encroached property and a lack of pre-school education institutions region-wide.

Importantly, 4 out of 6 Adjarian single-seat MPs’ bureaus have provided timely responses to our queries. The bureaus of the Keda single-seat MP Iasha Shervashidze and the Shuakhevi single-seat MP Omar Megrelidze have not provided a written response or answered the telephones referred to on the Parliament’s website.

Bureaus have also provided incomplete information to Transparency International Georgia’s questions concerning the salary of employees of the single-seat MPs’ bureaus. The bureaus of the Batumi single-seat MP Murman Dumbadze and the Kobuleti single-seat MP Pati Khalvashi have requested that we address the Parliament’s administration to obtain information regarding salaries. The reasons behind this referral remain unknown.

Batumi: Murman Dumbadze

This single-seat MP’s bureau has been running since November 2012 and has 3 employees. Until now, 550 citizens have filed written submissions with the bureau, while the MP has personally met with approximately 6,000 citizens. According to the bureau, employment is a key problem for citizens. Apart from this, issues related to the pensions of persons with various disabilities, assistance for socially vulnerable groups, property and non-registered land parcels and a lack of new kindergartens are of concern.

Murman Dumbadze has initiated a draft Law in the Parliament of Georgia on amendments to the Georgian Law on Broadcasting, creating the Adjara Television as a separate legal entity of public law. Furthermore, the MP is actively studying the problems of eco-migrants and is developing a legislative initiative in regards to this.

As for the information on the salary and bonuses of employees of the single-seat MP's bureau, the bureau requested that we address the Parliament's administration regarding this matter. The bureau did not clarify, however, why it is unable to provide information on the salary of the bureau's employees.

Khulo: Anzor Bolkvadze

The Khulo single-seat MP's bureau has been running since January 2013 and has 5 employees. Since operating, 20 citizens have addressed the bureau in writing and 180 - orally. The bureau has not carried out a needs assessment, but the content of applications illustrates a need for the improvement of conditions of back-migrated populations, coverage of medical care expenses, employment, the evacuation of people from potential landslide zones, the issuing of new land plots and the construction of kindergartens. Representatives of self-government, as well as the executive and legislative authorities, systematically attend meetings with the population.

Anzor Bolkvadze has not initiated a draft law in the Parliament of Georgia. However, the MP has raised an initiative in the Government of Adjara concerning the rehabilitation of motor roads leading to the villages Okroshuashvilebi, Vashlovani and Khikhadziri. The initiative is currently being considered.

According to the bureau, an average of 350 GEL was issued to the employees during the past year. Nevertheless, the meaning of an average salary and how the bureau calculated this amount remains unknown. Extra salaries or bonuses have not been issued.

Khelvachauri: Rostom Khalvashi

The bureau operates since 20 November 2012 and employs 2 people. It has received 74 written and 1,200 oral submissions from citizens. As a result of 5 public meetings, the MP has identified problems with the accommodation of people from potential landslide zones, the recognition of property rights and an absence of medical care service centers.

The MP is developing an initiative on the return of land plots previously transferred to Batumi from the administrative borders of Khelvachauri. The transfers were completely groundless and the families, who were unable to benefit from the reform introduced under the 18 January 1992 Resolution N48 of the Cabinet of Ministers of Georgia, cannot realize their rights and register titles to real property.

According to the single-seat MP's bureau, it has paid its employees salaries that reach a total of 18,364 GEL from 20 November 2012 until the present. This makes us believe that the average salary of 2 employees of the bureau is 918 GEL. Bonuses and extras have not been paid to the employees of the Khelvachauri single-seat MP's bureau.

Kobuleti: Pati Khalvashi

The Kobuleti single-seat MP's bureau started operating on 6 November 2012, and currently it employs 4 people. 250 citizens have addressed the bureau in writing, and over 1,000 - orally.

The bureau has not carried out a needs assessment, but in general,  social, economic, banking and property-related issues are of concern. The single-seat MP's bureau notifies relevant authorities about the citizens' request in writing and sometimes orally, but the consequences of such submissions are unclear.

Pati Khalvashi has not initiated any draft laws in the Parliament of Georgia. The Bureau has not provided information on the salary rates of its staff and has asked us to address the Financial and Economic Department of the Parliament of Georgia.

Number of staff and monthly total salaries

Salary

Number of staff

Bureau

Did not provide

3

Batumi

Did not provide

3

Kobuleti

350 GEL on average (incomplete data)

5

Khulo

Over 10 months - 18,364 GEL (incomplete data)

2

Khelvachauri

No response

No response

Keda

No response

No response

Shuakhevi

It should be noted that the single-seat MPs often meet with the local population and are well aware of their socio-economic state. Yet, as already noted, meeting the population and collecting information from them is not the only duty of a single-seat MP. They are obligated to identify concrete ways to solve problems and lobby their enforcement, as well as to initiate legislative amendments as needed. Unfortunately, the initiatives submitted by the single-seat MPs to the relevant authorities are not proportionate to the problems prevailing in the region.

Author: TI Georgia