GEO

Evaluation of Performance of the 6th City Council of Kutaisi

01 July, 2020

 

Transparency International Georgia has evaluated the performance of the representative body of the Municipality of the City of Kutaisi elected in 2017 – the City Council (hereinafter “the City Council of Kutaisi”).

The report is based on the information requested and received from the City Council and on observations of our organization and covers the period from November 2017 up to 2019.

 Main Findings

            Exercise of control:  

  • During the reporting period, the City Council of Kutaisi exercised weak oversight on the executive body and on legal entities established by the municipality, and the City Council’s control over officials and individual agencies accountable to it was formal in most cases.
  • During the reporting period, the City Council of Kutaisi didn’t invite an independent auditor to conduct an independent audit of the City Council’s activities. 

The process of adoption of legal acts:

  • The City Council of Kutaisi held 37 sessions, including 10 extraordinary sessions.
  • During the reporting period, only the Commission on Healthcare and Social Affairs invited 2 specialists for the duration of one year.  
  • The City Council of Kutaisi adopted 134 resolutions, 110 of which had been authored/initiated by the Kutaisi City Hall, 23 – by the City Council, and 1 – by the Gender Equality Council.
  • All the 5 factions at the City Council of Kutaisi submitted initiatives to the City Council.  The factions had 24 initiatives during the reporting period.
  • The Gender Equality Council at the City Council of Kutaisi considered the draft Budget of the Municipality of Kutaisi and elaborated recommendations as well as legislative proposals.
  • It is noteworthy that the City Council of the previous convocation didn’t include a gender equality council at all, so the formation of this council is a positive novelty.

Accountability:

  • Three of 16 officials of the City Council of Kutaisi filled out their asset declarations with shortcomings.
  • Members of the City Council missed sessions of the Council 192 times in total. Members of the Council who missed the most sessions include Vladimer Kldiashvili (21 sessions) and Giorgi Ukleba (20 sessions) from the United National Movement and Davit Gogisvanidze (19 sessions) from European Georgia. 

It is noteworthy that Giorgi Ukleba and Davit Gogisvanidze also had the most absences from sessions of the City Council of the previous convocation, 50 and 43, respectively.

  • GEL 1,853,759 was given as salaries at the City Council of Kutaisi. The staff and non-staff employees of the City Council received GEL 202,446 in total in the form of salary supplements, bonuses, and allowances.
  • The City Council of Kutaisi spent 115,653 liters of fuel.
  • Members and staff of the City Council of Kutaisi spent GEL 48,906 in total on work trips within the country and abroad.

Recommendations

Exercise of control:

  • Members of the City Council should get involved more actively in supervision activities. Specifically, they should exercise more intensive control on the process of public procurements and on the progress of large infrastructure projects. 
  • The City Council should work actively and in good faith to reveal cases of conflict of interest, incompatibility with office, and violations of the Rules of Procedure of the City Council and of ethical norms in the municipality. 

Accountability:

  • Attendance of members of the City Council at the sessions of the Council and its commissions should be improved considerably. Every member of the City Council should exercise responsibility and attend the sessions. In addition, the reasons of both valid and invalid absences of each member of the City Council should be established and studied, and corresponding measures should be applied.
  • Filling out asset declarations by officials is an important mechanism for ensuring transparency and accountability. At the same time, filling out declarations incompletely also contains a risk of corruption. For this reason, it is necessary that officials fill out the declarations completely.  

Activities of factions:

  • It is important that the activities of factions be beneficial for the corresponding self-government body. Factions should get actively involved in the process of considering and deciding on issues that fall under the powers of the City Council; study/control the activities of the City Hall and municipal legal entities; submit initiatives to the City Council; get actively involved in the budgeting process; etc. Factions increase citizens’ involvement in self-government considerably, as well as support local initiatives and advocate for citizens’ needs and problems. Therefore, we call upon the factions to use the said instruments actively.

Expenditures of the City Council:

  • It is important that the expenditures incurred by the City Council be in full conformity with the exercise of the powers assigned to the Council by the legislation.
  • The City Council should exercise strict control on the administrative expenditures of both the representative body, in particular, and the municipality, in general, and be oriented at efficient spending of funds.   

Petitions:

  • The legislation enables self-government bodies to decrease the number of signatures required to file a petition to any number they want. The Local Self-Government Code only sets the upper limit – 1%, which may be difficult to observe considering a large number of citizens in some municipalities. Considering that not a single petition was registered at the City Council during the reporting period, we believe that the City Council of Kutaisi, too, should decrease the lower limit of the number of signatures and set it at 0.3% or 0.5% instead of 1%, which will make the procedure of preparation of a petition easier for interested individuals.  

General assembly of the settlement:

  • The general assembly of the settlement has not been held in Kutaisi yet. It is important that the City Council take the initiative to activate this mechanism of involvement and apply to the Mayor with a motion to hold the assembly. It is necessary for the municipality to hold the general assembly of the settlement in order to better plan the budget of every following year.
Kutaisi