Staff numbers swell at entities set up by Guria’s municipalities
Since the 2014 local self-governance elections, the number of staff employed at the non-profit (non-commercial) legal entities established by Guria municipalities has increased by 984, inflating the salary portion of their budgets by a total of GEL 370,000 each month and GEL 4.5 million annually on average.
According to the law, a “municipality can establish a N(N)LE for coordination of its activities”, the head of which is appointed and dismissed by the governor/mayor of the municipality. The head of the N(N)LE and the governor of the municipality make decisions regarding structure and staffing of the organization, along with hiring and dismissing employees and determining their salaries.
Transparency International (TI) Georgia requested public information regarding the number of employees of the N(N)LEs founded by Guria municipalities in May 2014 and in October 2015, along with salary expenses for the respective periods.
The provided information has demonstrated:
- In July 2014, 33 N(N)LEs were functioning in the municipalities of Guria. By October 2015, this number had increased to 47. The number of employees of the N(N)LEs in the region soared from 1970 to 2954. The expense on the monthly salaries of the staff increased on average from GEL 569 070.4 to GEL 947 517.5.
- While before the elections in now-defunct Municipality of Ozurgeti there were 8 N(N)LEs, after the elections in the municipalities of Community of Ozurgeti and City of Ozurgeti 25 N(N)LEs were founded. It is unclear how the need for extra 17 legal entities emerged.
- Also among 16 N(N)LEs founded by the City of Ozurgeti, five legal entities are dedicated to sports (Sports Development Center, Sports School, Tennis School, Rugby Development Center, Football School Merstkhali). In our opinion, these N(N)LEs can be merged, thus saving budgetary expenses and financial resources.
- In Lanchkhuti Municipality, in May 2014, there were 13 N(N)LEs; however,, in February 2015 all cultural N(N)LEs were merged into one Cultural Entity Union, decreasing number of N(N)LEs to 10.
Please see the detailed information in graphs:
TI Georgia once again recommends that municipalities decide based on the local needs what type of organizations are necessary for effective functioning of the local government. Taking into account limited budgetary resources, they should mostly focus on saving administrative expenses and dealing with the essential needs of the citizens, utility and infrastructural projects.
It must be noted, that unlike appointment to a public office, employment at N(N)LEs does not require going a competitive merit based process. Thus, a head of N(N)LE personally makes staffing decisions, which does not allow for employment of persons with higher qualifications who would have been chosen through open competitions. At the same time, qualifications of individuals appointed without open contests are under question.
For improvement of the system of appointment of heads and staff of legal entities founded by a municipality, it is necessary that:
- Standards and principles for oral or written exams be defined, so that qualifications of a candidate are appropriately evaluated based on the specialization and the activities of the N(N)LE.
- Clear and measurable criteria for appointing staff in N(N)LEs be defined, so that the risks of bias are minimized.
Notice: In this study, the data for 2014 is for the now-defunct municipality of Ozurgeti. 2015 data covers the existing two municipalities, Community of Ozurgeti and the City of Ozurgeti.
 Paragraph 1, Article 20, Local Self-Government Code