Invalid liquidation of municipalities cost self-government budgets more than 2 million GEL - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Invalid liquidation of municipalities cost self-government budgets more than 2 million GEL

14 November, 2014

In July 2014, as a part of local government reform, the municipalities of Zugdidi, Ozurgeti, Ambrolauri, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Mtskheta and Telavi were liquidated and immediately replaced by the newly established self-governing cities and communities.

Transparency International Georgia assessed the liquidation process of the Municipalities as illegal due to the absence of proper justification. Our organization adviced the Municipalities to consider its reorganization instead of liquidation. However, our recommendation was not taken into account.

Since June this year, the officials and civil servants were warned about their potential dismissals in all of the seven Municipalities, as a result of the liquidation process. Consequently, according to the article 109 of the Law of Georgia on “Civil Service,” after being removed from their posts, every employee was entitled to receive the compensation which is the amount of an equivalent of their official two-month salary. However, they were later appointed as acting officials in the structural bodies of newly-established self-governing communities and the cities. For instance, out of 276 Zugdidi Municipality officials dismissed on July 10-14 as a part of liquidation process as much as 109 were appointed within the period of July 14-29 as acting officials in the structural bodies of Zugdidi Gamgeoba (local administration) and City Hall. What is important, the work interruption for a number of employees did not last for more than a month. In the end, 2 203 168 GEL was issued for the workers of all seven Municipalities as a total amount of the compensation.

Notably, 60% of the employees from the liquidated Municipalities of Zugdidi, Akhatsikhe, Gori and Mtskheta were employed in the newly-established self-governments. 50% of the workers at the Municipalities of Ozurgeti and Ambrolauri and more than 70% in Telavi were assigned acting officials positions in the corresponding self-governments.

What is important, after the enactment of the new Code on “Local Self-Government,” the governors offices in the communities/villages with hardly 3-4 employees were closed. The units were given the administrative status and could have only one representative which was appointed by the Head of the Municipality. Hence, this is the reason why only 50-60% of the former Municipality employees were employed in the new self-governing units. Had the case been different, the percentage would possibly be higher.

Detailed information about the amount of compensation allocated from the budget of self-government institutions is presented in the table below:

The research reveals that the new self-governing institutions should have been established as a result of the Municipality reorganization, instead of their liquidation. This way, the process would have been fully justified by the existing legislative norms. In addition, only the former employees who were not assigned posts in the newly-established self-governing units would have been compensated. As a result, the amount of money spent on the compensation from the budgets of local governments would have been appropriated to fight the current problems of the Municipalities.
Author: TI Georgia