ISFED Third Interim Report on LSG Monitoring ENG-final

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ISFED Third Interim Report on LSG Monitoring ENG-final

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    International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

    Monitoring the Process of Certification and Competition in Public Service

    Third Interim Report

    For the period from October 2014 to April 2015

    May 22, 2015

    Tbilisi

    This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ISFED and do not necessarily reflect the views of

    USAID, American people or the United States Government.

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    By the June 26, 2014 amendments to the Law of Georgia on Public Service1, the deadline for implementing the first stage of the

    process of certification and competition in public service at the local self-government level is July 1, 2015. The purpose of

    certification is to evaluate professional skills of public servants at the local (municipal) level, while competitions are the

    mechanism for filling vacant positions in public service. Corresponding Commissions for Competition and Certification are in

    charge of the process of public service competition and certification. The process is technically supported by the National Center

    of Examinations and Assessments of Georgia and the Training Center of Justice (TCJ).

    Observation Methodology

    Since October 2014, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has been monitoring the process of

    competitions and certification during the stage of tests and interviews throughout Georgia. 73 observers of ISFED are monitoring

    the process using uniform methodology and questionnaires.

    Notably, due to certain restrictions imposed by self-governing agencies ISFED is unable to monitor the decision-making process

    about candidates at these Commissions. Therefore, our assessments are based on observer reports on how well candidates

    presented themselves during interviews, how many questions they answered, whether their answers were correct and whether they

    were knowledgeable about pertinent issues of public service.

    ISFED has requested information about the process of competition and certification from all self-governing agencies where the

    process of appointment of recruits has been completed. However since ISFEDs ability to monitor was fully or in part restricted in 14 self-governing agencies and in addition, not all municipalities provided the information requested, ISFEDs assessment of competition results is incomplete and does not reflect the situation across the country.

    The present reports provides an account of challenges to accessing public information, trends identified through monitoring of

    interviews, assessment of decisions made by Commissions for Competition and Certification as well as local self-government

    agencies.

    Challenges to accessing public information

    From January 1 to March 1, 2015, ISFED filed up to 850 requests for accessing information about staff changes and the process of

    certification and competition in self-governing agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition.

    Throughout Georgia, total of 61 self-governing agencies and 52 Commissions for Certification and Competition provided ISFED

    with information in response to its over 300 requests, and the process was marked by errors and violations. In view of the total

    amount of self-governing agencies and Commissions2, share of self-government agencies where ISFED faced challenges to

    accessing public information was 43%, while the share of such Commissions was 68%. ISFED faced challenges to accessing

    public information in 37 Gamgeobas, 17 Sakrebulos and 7 City Halls. Gamgeobas had the highest percentage share (63%),

    followed by City Halls with relatively fewer but still considerable challenges to accessing public information (58%). Fewest

    challenges were found in Sakrebulos (24%).

    1 See Article 1344 of the Law on Public Service of Georgia: https://matsne.gov.ge/ka/document/view/28312 2 142 self-governing territories (59 Gamgeobas; 71 Sakrebulos; 12 City Halls); 77 commissions for certification and competition;

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    Major difficulties to accessing public information included violation of time limits for providing the information and provision of

    incomplete and/or wrong information by local self-government agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition.

    Further, in a number of cases information requested by ISFED was not provided at all. In response to 65 written requests filed by

    ISFED for accessing public information, 25 local self-government agencies provided information in violation of applicable time

    limits3, while 19 Commissions for Certification and Competition4 provided information in violation of applicable time limits in

    response to 21 written requests of ISFED. Further, responses provided by 46 local self-governing agencies5 to 106 written requests

    and by 40 Commissions6 to 67 written requests were incomplete and/or contained inaccuracies. 5 self-governing agencies7 refused

    to respond to ISFEDs 12 written requests, while 26 Commissions left 35 written requests of ISFED without a response8.

    3 17 Gamgeobas (Mtastsminda, Nadzaladevi, Chighureti, Gldani, Gardabani, Tsalka, Tianeti, Aspindza, Akhaltsikhe, Kaspi, Gori, Lanchkhuti, Chokhatauri, Gurjaani, Sagarejo, Oni, Martvili); 6 Sakrebulos (Tbilisi, Dmanisi, Lanchkhuti, Oni, Martvili, Zugdidi);

    3 City Halls (Akhaltsikhe, Telavi, Batumi); 4 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilsi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Telavi City commission, Kutaisi City Hall commission, Lanchkhuti Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba commissions, Gardabani, Tetritskaro, Dmanisi, Gori, Khashuri, Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki, Adigeni, Chokhatauri, Gurjaani, Sagarejo municipality commissions; 5 28 Gamgeobas ( Isani, Chughureti, Gldani, Gardabani, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Khashuri, Aspindza, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Khulo, Keda, Kobuleti, Chokhatauri,

    Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Dedoplistskaro, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, Lentekhi, Kharagauli, Terjola, Vani, Sachkhere, Abasha, Zugdidi); 12 Sakrebulos (Tbilisi, Rustavi, Tetritskaro, Kaspi, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Keda, Kobuleti, Chokhatauri, Lanchkhuti, Dedoplistskaro, Terjola); 6 City Halls (Tbilisi,

    Rustavi, Akhaltsikhe, Poti, Telavi, Kutaisi); 6 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilisi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Teavi City Commission, Kutaisi City Hall commission, Ambrolauri City commission, Zugdidi City commission, Lanchkhuti Gamgeoba and Sakrebulo commissions, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro, Telavi, Oni, Ambrolauri, Tsageri,

    Lentekhi, Kharagauli, Terjola, Sachkhere, Zestaponi, Baghdati, Vani, Chiatura, Tskaltubo, Mestia, Abasha, Senaki, Martvili, Khobi, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha, Chokhatauri, Marneuli, Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Akhalkalaki, Khashuri, Kareli, Borjomi municipality commissions; 7 3 Gamgeobas (Akhalkalaki, Lanchkhuti, Lagodekhi); 1 Sakrebulo (Akhalkalaki); 1 City Hall (Akhalkalaki); 8 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilisi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Akhaltsike City Hall commission, Telavi City commission, Gardabani Sakrebulo commission, Lanchkhuti gamgeoba and Sakrebulo commissions, Tetritskaro, Marneuli, Tsalka, Khashuri, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza, Adigeni,

    Borjomi, Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Kvareli, Lagodekhi, Dedoplistskaro, Telavi, Akhmeta, Terjola, Tsalenjikha municipality commissions.

    .

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    Notably, majority of self-governing agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition made technical errors in the

    process of providing access to public information, and these errors were observed in some cases only; however, they had an

    overall negative impact on qualitative analysis of information. Further, some local self-governing agencies and Commissions

    cooperated poorly with ISFED and refused to provide access to public information. These agencies and commissions include:

    Akhalkalaki Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba, Aspindza Gamgeoba, Sagarejo Gamgeoba, Lagodekhi Gamgeoba, Lanchkhuti

    Gamgeoba, Khashuri Commission, Terjola Commission, Akhaltsikhe City Hall and Gamgeoba commissions, Aspindza

    Commission.

    List of candidates and results protocols are one of the most important pieces of information for evaluating final results of

    competitions and certifications, as they let us determine whether decisions of individual commissions about winning candidates

    were objective.

    26 Commissions refused to provide access to final results of competitions and certifications, while 19 Commissions classified these results as personal information. The remaining Commissions did not respond to ISFEDs request at all or declined to elaborate on their refusal.

    Kakheti Region was most problematic among the regions in terms of providing access to results of competitions and certifications.

    All nine commissions operating in Kakheti Region refused to provide the information to ISFED. Further, five commissions in

    Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, five in Kvemo Kartli Region, 2 in Tbilisi, 2 in Imereti Region, 2 in Guri and one in Shoda Kartli

    refused to provide access to results.

    Position of Lagodekhi Municipality about protection of personal information is interesting. Commission of the municipality, led

    by First Deputy Gamgebeli refused to provide access to competition results, stating that the information contained personal data.

    However, in December 2014, Gamgeoba published on its website a schedule of testing that included not only names and surnames

    of all candidates but also, their personal identification numbers. Therefore, it is unclear for us what criteria the municipality uses

    to identify personal information and on what grounds the Commission refused to provide access to information about winning

    candidates.

    In general, ISFED finds the varying approach of self-governing agencies and Commission towards personal information peculiar.

    A number of self-governing agencies provided full access to results, including names and surnames of winning candidates,

    without classifying them as personal data, while other self-governing agencies classified the information as personal data and

    refused to provide access.

    ISFED believes that the refusal of Commissions and self-governing agencies to provide access to the results was illegal. Because the process of certification and competition in public service is an issue of public concern, any pertinent document must

    be publicly accessible. This will allow determining whether a particular commission made fair and legitimate decisions in the

    process of evaluation and recruitment of candidates. In this respect, cooperation with organizations monitoring and evaluation the

    process, and keeping the public informed is of particular importance.

    The Process of Interviews

    From October 1, 2015 to April 1, 2015, ISFED monitored interviews during the process of competition and certification in 52

    municipalities and 6 self-governing cities, including 5 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Adjara9, 1 municipality in

    Guria10, 3 municipalities in Shida-Kartli11

    , 6 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Kakheti12

    , 4 municipalities in Samtskhe-

    Javakheti13

    , 11 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Imereti14

    , 8 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Samegrelo15

    , 4

    municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Racha-Lechkhumi Kvemo Svaneti16

    , 7 municipalities in Kvemo Kartli17

    , 4

    municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Mtskheta-Mtianeti18

    and the city of Tbilisi19

    .

    9 Keda, Shuakhevi, Khulo, Kobuleti, Khelvachauri, Baumi; 10 Chokhatauri; 11 Kaspi, Khashuri, Gori; 12 Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Dedoplistskaro, Lagodekhi, Kvareli, Akhmeta, city of Telavi; 13 Adigeni, Akhalkalaki, Borjomi, Ninotsminda; 14 Kutaisi, Kharagauli, Sachkhere, Chiatura, Zestaponi, Baghdati, Vani, Samtredia, Khoni, Tkibuli, Tskaltubo; 15 Mestia, Abasha, Senaki, Martvili, Zugdidi, Khobi, city of Zugdidi; 16 Oni, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, Lentekhi, city of Ambrolauri; 17 Gardabani, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Bolnisi, Marneuli, Rustavi; 18 Tianeti, Mtskheta, Dusheti, Kazbegi, city of Mtskheta; 19 City Hall, Sakrebulo;

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    ISFED monitored interviews during the process of competition and certification in 112 local self-governing agencies, including 5

    self-governing agencies where ISFEDs monitoring was limited in some way20. Out of 121 self-governing agencies 9 self-governing agencies refused to provide ISFED with access to ongoing or scheduled interviews

    21.

    According to ISFEDs observer reports, on the most part interviews monitored by ISFED ran smoothly, equal time was allocated to all candidates and questions were similar in terms of their content and difficulty. Commission members were mostly positive

    towards candidates. However, in 12 self-governing territories commission members asked irrelevant questions, pressured

    and discriminated against some candidates based on their political affiliation and gender.

    ISFED provided detailed account of facts in 822

    out of 12 self-governing territories in its second interim report23

    . The present

    report provides an account of facts not included in the second interim report, including alleged pressure of candidates by

    Commission members and improperly administered interviews in 4 self-governing agencies. 24

    Alleged acts of pressure against candidates in Kareli Municipality

    Kareli Municipality administered the process of interviews in two stages one in December 2014 and the other in March 2015. Access of ISFEDs observers to interviews was restricted during both stages. By the decision of Commission Chair ISFEDs representatives were allowed to attend interview of a particular candidate only when he or she consented, which we believe was a

    mere formality.

    When speaking with ISFEDs observer in private, several candidates noted that the chair (Municipality Gamgebeli) is not friendly with non-governmental and media organization. Fearing any problems with Gamgebeli in the future, candidates refuse to consent

    to presence of observer during interview. These facts have also been corroborated by ISFEDs local observer.

    ISFEDs observer monitoring the process of competition in the waiting area of Kareli Gamgeoba building reported that candidates were registered by an unauthorized individual security officer, which also presented candidates with an option to have a representative of an NGO attend interview and had them sign along the line that said: I do not wish to be interviewed in presence of an NGO representative.

    Further, after being interviewed, majority of candidates declined request of ISFEDs observer to comment about interview or provide any information.

    Notably, during both stages of interviews at Gamgeoba only one candidate consented to presence of an NGO representative

    during his interview. ISFEDs observer reported that the Commission members intentionally subjected this individual to improper and stressful environment, by expressing their clearly negative attitude towards the candidate.

    ISFED believes that the foregoing gives rise to valid suspicions about alleged pressure of candidates and involvement of

    unauthorized individuals in the work of the Commission, causing the lack of trust in the work of the Commission.

    Acts of pressure on alleged grounds of political belief in Terjola Municipality

    Some candidates maintain that final decision of Terjola Municipality Commission for Competition and Certification was not

    objective. They were demanding abolishment of the decision and resignation of the Commission Chair at a rally held on March 4,

    2015 outside Gamgeoba.

    In an interview with ISFEDs representatives, 20 candidates stated that the Commission violated its own regulations in the selection process. They explained that members of the Commission asked questions only about Georgian laws only; they did not

    refer to any other fields envisaged by competition regulations. The Commission did not use the interview assessment template

    envisaged by its commission regulations25, and requiring evaluation of candidates skills.

    These candidates allege that the reason why the commission decided against nominating them for the vacant positions was their

    political affiliation, since they were associated with political party the United National Movement.

    On March 5, 2015, the candidates filed with the complaints commission seeking annulment of the commission for competition

    and certification. 26 On March 10, 2015, Terjola Municipality Complaints Commission reviewed the complaints of candidates

    participating in competition announced for filling vacant positions in Terjola Municipality Gamgeoba and Sakrebulo.

    ISFED welcomes the decision of the complaints commission announcing the process of interviews as illegal for failure of the

    commission to use a pre-determined template of evaluation of candidates.

    20 Tbilisi City Hall, Kutaisi City Hall, Gori City Hall, Telavi City Hall, Lanchkhuti Municipality; 21 Ozurgeti City Hall, Rustavi City Hall, Akhaltsikhe, Ozurgeti, Aspindza, Kareli, Telavi, Terjola, Sagarejo municipalities; 22 Khulo, Tsageri, Gardabani, Kaspi, Keda, Gori, Akhmeta, Tbilisi; 23 http://www.isfed.ge/main/855/eng/; 24 Kareli, Batumi, Terjola, Zestaponi; 25 See October 22, 2014 Resolution of Terjola Municipality Sakrebulo, N37; 26 See June 18, 2014 resolution of the Government of Georgia, dated June 18, 2014, N412, Article 15;

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    The commission did not take into account the opinion of the complaints commission. Consequently, up to 20 candidates filed in

    court on March 25, 2015, seeking annulment of the commission and re-interviewing of candidates interviewed during the second

    stage.

    ISFED believes that the decision of Terjola Municipality Commission for Competition and Certification violates the

    principles of objectivity, transparency and equality mandated by Article 3 of Resolution of the Government of Georgia

    N412. Therefore, ISFED provided legal assistance to the foregoing individuals and is representing them before court.

    Improperly Administered Interviews and Bias in Batumi Sakrebulo

    ISFED identified a number of negative trends in interviews of public servants during the process of certification in Batumi

    Sakrebulo in March 2015. In particular, the commission had failed to establish which legal acts in particular were candidates

    required to know per qualification requirements, and members of the commission were trying to figure it out during interviews.

    Further, the commission chair criticized the commission secretary due to the fact that a number of legal acts were missing from

    the description of qualification requirements for several positions. Some questions asked by members of the commission at

    interviews were poorly worded, formulated and articulated. Several participants asked for further elaboration on these questions

    but commission members, including ones who had asked the questions, mostly failed to. Moreover, it seemed that some members

    of the commission did not understand these questions and did not know their answers.

    ISFED believes that the Commission acted in a biased manner against four participants of certification by openly expressing their

    disapproval about their work, and asking only 2-3 questions. The commission members asked questions to one of the candidates

    only after the chair insisted that that they did.

    Improperly administered interviews in Zestaponi Municipality

    After monitoring competition in Zestaponi Municipality, ISFED is not able to draw any conclusions about fairness of the process

    of selection. In particular, the Commission rarely asked questions about professional issues. Instead, it was asking questions

    about marital status and education. Candidates were essentially relating their biographies. Consequently, ISFED was unable to

    draw any conclusions about qualification of candidates and to determine whether they were fit for vacant positions that they were

    selected for and later appointed to.

    ISFEDs Assessment of the Process of Selection of Winning Candidates

    As noted above, ISFED is actively working to obtain access to final results of the competition process, including the information

    about candidates appointed to vacant positions, in order to perform comparative analysis of the information and determine

    whether commission evaluation of interviews and final decision-making was objective. However, ISFED were unable to do

    comparative analysis due to restriction of monitoring and challenges to accessing information in 40 self-governing

    territories. Further, several self-governing territories have not yet responded to our formal requests.

    In 56 self-governing agencies where ISFED analyzed the process of election, commissions were fair and objective in evaluating

    interviews and determining winners. However, ISFED believes that the commission could have made a better choice for 100

    vacant positions. Based on observation, ISFED considers that:

    On 34 positions commission had alternative to select more qualified candidates;

    On 32 positions , where commission had no better alternative, commission selected law qualified candidates, therefore commission could announce new competitions on these positions;

    On 20 positions that remained vacant, commission had alternative to select the candidates;

    On 9 positions, commission received improper decisions regarding the public servants subordinated to the certification;

    On 2 positions having better alternative commission still selected the acting trustees and 3 positions remained vacant for the acting trustees, who could not pass the tests in the first tour of competition.

    Detailed information and assessments about 26 cases out of 100 are provided in the second interim report of ISFED27

    . Below is an

    assessment of the selection process in 15 self-governing cities based on information obtained and analyzed by ISFED. We

    disagree with commission decisions about winning candidates for 74 positions and decisions of self-governing agencies about

    winning candidates for 3 positions.

    Adigeni Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the Commission about 2 positions. In particular, competition for the positions of trustee of the village of Gurguli and the village of Daba Adigeni was held two times. The first

    competition was announced to be ruined by the commission, and a new competition was scheduled. Notably, acting trustees had

    27 http://www.isfed.ge/main/855/eng/

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    been appointed for both positions but they failed the initial test. During a new competition, they passed their tests and interviews

    and were selected. ISFED believes that the commission could have chosen appropriate candidates for both positions during

    initial competition. This raises serious doubts that the commission deliberately announced that first competition was

    ruined and scheduled a new competition in an attempt to keep the vacant positions for the interim appointees.

    Khobi Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission for 2 positions. One of the candidates K.J. had applied for the position of Gamgebeli Representative in Kulevi Community. His competitor B.Kh. had also applied for a

    different position Gamgebeli Representative in Shua Khorga Community. The Commission selected B.Kh. for the former position. ISFED concludes that both candidates performed equally well during their interviews; however, K.J. had higher test-

    scores (46) than B.Kh. (37). According to K.J., the commission could have selected B.Kh. for the position of Gamgebeli

    Representative in Shua Khorga Community where he did not have any competitors; instead, the commission left the position

    vacant. ISFED believes that because K.J. had higher test-scores than B.Kh. and both candidates performed equally well in

    interviews, the commission should have selected K.J. Further, we have a valid suspicion that the commission intentionally left

    the office of Gamgebeli Representative on Shua Khorga, in favor of one of the interim appointees, who had failed to pass

    the test.

    Kaspi Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the Commission for 2 positions. From the monitoring ISFED concluded that interim appointees for the positions of senior specialist of administration and lead specialist of internal

    audit service did poorly during their interviews and essentially failed to answer questions directly related to their work. There

    were no other candidates for the two vacant positions and therefore, the interim appointees did not have any competition.

    However, ISFED believes that the commission should have announced the competition to be ruined and scheduled a new

    competition to select better candidates.

    Ambrolauri Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission about 5 positions. The commission did not select any candidates for the positions of Gamgebeli Representative in Skhvavi Administrative Territory and senior

    specialist of Internal Audit and Control Service. ISFED believes that the commission could have made a selection from

    candidates participating in the competition. Further, for it chose week candidates for the positions of senior specialist of the

    Department of Health and Social Protection and senior specialist of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Division at Social

    Services Department. The commission could have made a far better choice for the two positions.

    City Hall of Ambrolauri ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission for 1 position. Following the competition, it left the position of senior specialist for the Division of Chancellery and Personnel Affairs (Department of Administrative Services)

    vacant. Based on the monitoring, ISFED concludes that the commission could have selected a qualified candidate, who did well

    during interview and fulfilled all the qualifying requirements for the position.

    Baghdati Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission for 9 positions. ISFED concludes that none of the candidates were qualified for the positions of lead architect of Infrastructure, Transport and Improvement Service,

    senior specialist of Social and Health Protection Service, senior specialist in labor issues of Social and Health Protection Service

    and Gamgebeli Representative; nevertheless, the commission selected winning candidates instead of announcing the

    competition to be ruined. Based on the monitoring, ISFED found that for the following positions the commission could have

    selected better candidates: chancellery specialist of administrative service, senior specialist for the affairs of infrastructure,

    transport and improvement, and senior specialist of military service.

    Notably, out of the two candidates selected by the commission for the positions of senior audit specialist of audit and monitoring

    service, and financial specialist of audit and monitoring service, were appointed by Gamgebeli as full-time employees but were

    instead appointed as interim replacements. ISFED believes that the two candidates did not perform best during interviews and

    therefore, Gamgebeli made an objective decision.

    Tkibuli Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about one position. Following the competition, the commission decided to leave office of Gamgebeli Representative in Satsiri Community vacant. Based on the

    monitoring, ISFED concludes that the commission could have made chosen an appropriate candidate; especially considering

    that one of the candidates performed very well during interview and received high test-scores but the commission did not choose

    her. The candidate finds the decision biased and has appealed it in court.

    Chiatura Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about one position. Following the competition, the commission decided to leave the position of head of the Chancellery and HR Department vacant. However, based

    on monitoring ISFED concludes that one of the candidates had no match in terms of her experience and education. She performed

    best during interview but the commission did not select her.

    Tskaltubo Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about 5 positions. Based on the monitoring, ISFED concludes that the commission selected poorly qualified candidates for the following positions: Gamgebeli

    Representative in Administrative Territory of the City of Tskaltubo, senior specialist of Administrative Service, Human Resources

    and Public Relations Department, and senior specialist for Economic Development and Property Management Service of

    Gamgeoba. The commission could have selected better-qualified candidates for these positions. Further, we were unable to

    evaluate qualifications of a candidate selected for the position of senior specialist at the Economic Development and Property

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    Management Service as because of emotionally charged environment she left the interview room without answering any of the

    questions. Even though all six other candidates for the position performed better during interviews, the commission made a

    different choice.

    Zugdidi Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission about 9 positions of Gamgebeli Representative. Based on the monitoring, ISFED found that none of the candidates were able to answer questions during

    interviews. Because there was no other better alternative for 7 positions of Gamgebeli Representative, the commission should

    have announced the competition as ruined and should have scheduled a new competition. As to two positions of Gamgebeli

    Representative (in Chkadua and Akhalkata), two candidates (G.Ch. and I.J., respectively) performed best but they were not

    selected.

    Gamgeoba of Chkhorotsku Municipality ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission about 5 positions. Based on the monitoring, ISFED believes that for three positions of Gamgebelis representative (in communities of Akhuta, Letsurtsumi and Mukhuri) where the competition was announced to be ruined, the commission could have selected several fitting candidates.

    ISFED also found that the commission selected weaker candidates for the following positions: head of the Department of Property

    Registration and Management, and specialist of IDPs and Refugees Department. The commission could have selected better

    candidates for these two positions.

    Dusheti Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about 1 position. In particular, the commission announced competition for the position of Gamgebeli Representative in Ukana Pshavi ruined. ISFED believes that

    the commission had an opportunity to choose among several qualified candidates.

    Kobuleti Municipality Gamgeoba ISFED disagrees with decisions of the commission about 14 positions. Based on the monitoring, ISFED found that the commission could have selected winning candidates for 7 positions (representatives of

    Gamgebeli in Mukhaestate, Khetsubani, Kakuti, Leghva, and Kobuleti City administrative territories, senior specialists in

    Kobuleti Village and Kvirike administrative territories) and therefore, the decision to announce the competition to be ruined

    was biased. Further, for 3 positions (lead specialist in Supervision Service on exterior issues, senior specialists in administrative

    territories of Kobuleti Village and Kvirike Village) the commission selected mediocre candidates as winners, while it could have

    made a better choice. For 4 positions (lead specialists in two administrative territories of Kobuleti, Khetsubani and Tskavroki) the

    commission selected mediocre candidates as winners. Although it did not have a better choice, the commission could have

    scheduled a new competition to select qualified candidates.

    Batumi City Hall ISFED found that candidates selected as winners for 8 positions during the second stage of the competition were unqualified (2

    nd category lead specialist at the division of technical supervision of improvement services; 3

    rd category lead

    specialist at the department of state supervision on construction works of supervision services; 1st category lead specialist at the

    division of urban planning and development of the department of architecture and urban planning; assistant to representative of

    Mayor in Old Batumi, Aghmashenebeli, Boni-Gorodoki and Kakhaberi administrative territories, as well as Mayors representative in Tamari Settlement). ISFED believes that the commission did not have any better options in 6 cases, and

    therefore the competition should have been announced to be ruined. For two positions the commission could have made a

    better choice, and it should have taken the opportunity.

    Sakrebulo of the City of Batumi - ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about 1 position. The commission ruled

    that 3 public servants failed their interviews and decided that they were unqualified for their positions. Based on the interviews,

    ISFED concludes that decision of the commission about two candidates was fair; however, commissions decision about the third candidate, L.D. who was holding the position of an assistant, was unfair. Compared to other candidates, L.D. was asked a lot more

    questions. She responded majority of the questions really well. Instead of finding L.D. unqualified, the commission should have

    ruled that she was partially fit for the office and was in need of further improvement of her qualifications.

    Batumi City Hall based on the monitoring of interviews for certification, ISFED disagrees with decision of the commission about 8 positions. ISFED believes that the commission should have found 7 other public servants as unqualified for positions that

    they are holding (2nd

    category senior specialist of material-technical support department of the office of the city hall; 3rd

    category

    senior specialist of the administrative supervision division of supervision services; 2nd

    category lead specialist of technical

    supervision division of the improvement services; deputy head of health and social services; head of the division for social and

    veterans affairs at the department of health and social affairs; 2nd category lead specialist of the mobilization division of military registration and conscription). As to 10 public servants that the commission found to be unqualified for positions that they were

    holding because they failed their interviews, ISFED believes that the commission made fair decision in 9 cases, because

    candidates failed to answer the simplest of professional questions; however, for the remaining one candidate 3rd category lead specialist of administrative supervision division of supervision services performed well during interview, and ISFED disagrees

    with the decision of the commission that found him unqualified.

    Tianeti Municipality Sakrebulo ISFED disagrees with the decision of Sakrebulo Chair to leave 3 positions vacant following the competition. Commission nominated candidates for the following positions: head of Sakrebulo Office, head of organization

    department of Sakrebulo Office and secretary of Sakrebulo Office. Sakrebulo Chair did not approve the candidates and the

    positions remain vacant. ISFED believes that the commission had selected and nominated highly qualified individuals.

    Therefore, the reason why the chair decided against approving these candidates is unclear.

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    Key Conclusions

    ISFED monitored interviews during the process of competition and certification in 52 municipalities and 6 self-governing cities.

    In total, ISFED monitored interviews in 112 self-governing agencies, including 14 self-governing agencies where ISFEDs

    monitoring was limited fully or in part.

    Throughout Georgia, total of 61 self-governing agencies and 52 Commissions for Certification and Competition provided ISFED

    with information in response to its over 300 requests, and the process was marked by errors and violations. In view of the total

    amount of self-governing agencies and Commissions28

    , share of self-government agencies where ISFED faced challenges to

    accessing public information was 43%, while the share of such Commissions was 68%.

    Notably, 26 Commissions refused to provide access to final results of competitions and certifications, while 19 Commissions

    classified these results as personal information; remaining Commissions did not respond to ISFEDs request at all or declined to elaborate on their refusal.

    ISFED believes that the refusal of Commissions and self-governing agencies to provide access to the results was illegal.

    Because the process of certification and competition in public service is an issue of public concern, any pertinent document must

    be publicly accessible. This will allow determining whether a particular commission made fair and legitimate decisions in the

    process of evaluation and recruitment of candidates. In this respect, cooperation with organizations monitoring and evaluation the

    process, and keeping the public informed is of particular importance.

    According to ISFEDs observer reports, on the most part interviews monitored by ISFED ran smoothly, equal time was allocated to all candidates and questions were similar in terms of their content and difficulty. Commission members were mostly positive

    towards candidates. However, in 12 self-governing territories (Kareli, Batumi, Zestaponi, Terjola, Khulo, Tsageri,

    Gardabani, Kaspi, Keda, Gori Akhmeta, Tbilisi) commission members asked irrelevant questions, pressured and

    discriminated against some candidates based on their political affiliation and gender.

    ISFED believes that to ensure transparency of competition and certification processes, the foregoing facts must be investigated in

    depth and further actions must be taken by corresponding authorities.

    ISFED was unable to evaluate the process of selection of public service employees in 40 self-government agencies due to

    restrictions of monitoring and challenges to accessing information.

    ISFED believes that the refusal of Commissions and self-governing agencies to provide access to the results was illegal. Because

    the process of certification and competition in public service is an issue of public concern, any pertinent document must be

    publicly accessible. This will allow determining whether a particular commission made fair and legitimate decisions in the process

    of evaluation and recruitment of candidates. In this respect, cooperation with organizations monitoring and evaluation the process,

    and keeping the public informed is of particular importance.

    In 56 self-governing agencies where ISFED analyzed the process of election, commissions were fair and objective in evaluating

    interviews and determining winners. However, ISFED believes that the commission could have made a better choice for 100

    vacant positions.

    ISFED found several important trends in the process of selection of candidates by Commissions for Competition and Certification

    and self-governing agencies:

    Commissions and self-governing agencies intentionally left some of the positions vacant, to keep temporary appointees and other acting employees in place. Competitions were announced to be ruined even when commissions had an

    opportunity to choose qualified candidates; new competitions were scheduled in hopes of letting temporary appointees

    and other acting employees re-take tests that they had failed during the first stage of selection process (Gamgeobas of

    Adigeni and Khobi);

    Commission remained some positions vacant even they had the alternative of choosing the candidates (Gamgeobas of

    Ambrolauri, Tkibuli, Chiatura, Khobi, Chkhorotsku, Kobuleti, Khulo, City Halls of Batumi and Ambrolauri);

    28 142 self-governing agencies (59 Gamgeoba; 71 Sakrebulo; 12 City Hall); 77 commissions for certification and competition;

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    Commissions had an opportunity to select highly-qualified candidates as winners but they chose not to and made decisions in favor of poorly qualified candidates ( Gamgeobas of Ambrolauri, Baghdati, Tskaltubo, Khobi, Zugdidi,

    Chkhorotsku, Kobuleti, Dusheti, Khulo, Keda, Chokhatauri, Sakrebulo of Batumi, City Hall of Batumi).

    Commissions selected unqualified candidates as winners when they had no other choice, instead of announcing competition as ruined and rescheduling a new one for the purpose of selecting qualified candidates (Gamgeobas of

    Baghdati, Zugdidi, Kobuleti, Khulo, Kaspi and City Hall of Batumi).

    Results of ISFEDs monitoring suggest that problems related to the lack of criteria for selection of candidates; varying approach to providing access to public information, and broad guidelines for conducting certification and competition processes, which do not

    include important details, had a negative impact on the course of the process and created obstacles for ISFED both for monitoring

    and for accessing public information. ISFED believes that these problems raised questions about validity of evaluation of

    candidates and credibility of final decisions, and also led to candidates complaints and discontent. Therefore, thorough

    evaluation of transparency and fairness of the process of certification and competition, and determination of whether final

    decisions made by the commission are objective is impossible.

    ISFED continues to monitor the process of certification and competition in public services, and will periodically update public

    about the course of the process, trends identified and violations detected.

    Recommendations:

    1. Public agencies must provide access to public information in a timely manner and in full. Further, uniform approach to releasing public information must be established across all self-governing agencies, and access to personal information

    must be provided in consideration of issues of public concern. In particular, list of candidates (indicating their names and

    surnames) selected by commissions and competition results must be accessible to public;

    2. Local self-government bodies should give all interested candidates an opportunity to monitor the process of certification and competition in a comprehensive manner, and provide their access to all stages of the process testing, interviews and final decision-making, in order to prevent any questions about fairness of the process.

    3. Commissions must evaluate candidates according to pre-determined criteria, in order to ensure credibility and fairness of final decisions as much as possible;

    4. Equal conditions must be created for all candidates during interviews; commission members should treat all candidates equally, notwithstanding their political affiliation or sex. We urge authorities to investigate acts of alleged pressure in a

    timely and effective manner.

    5. When there is no choice of suitable candidates for especially important and high-level positions, competition must be announced again.