Baghdati municipality government without a head
On April 25, 2016 an anti-corruption agency of the State Security Service of Georgia arrested Irakli Gegeshidze – a governor of Baghdati municipality. He is convicted of abuse of power and embezzlement of large sum of money while serving in the office. At this moment, he is under a pretrial detention which automatically suspends his authority.
According to the judicial code of the local self-government, in case of a suspension of authority, the power is granted to the first deputy, but interestingly, Gegeshidze dismissed his only deputy – Gela Mshvildadze just several hours before his arrest. The information was confirmed by Gela Mshvildadze himself and official representative of the municipality as well.
Consequently, the municipality has neither a head nor an authorized person who would be in charge of the municipality government. According to the local self-government code, only the first deputy of the governor/mayor is authorized to perform the duties of the governor.
The local self-government code rules out other possibilities to settle the current situation.
In case of the suspension of the executive branch of the municipality - governor/mayor’s authority, their duties must be performed by legally authorized person - the first deputy. If not so, the functioning of the municipality may get questionable owing to the facts that governor/mayor or acting governor/mayor is a person who:
- Acts as an executive body of the municipality and the highest ranking public official;
- Represents municipality and ensures the implementation of the municipality duties;
- Submits the formulated projects of the municipality budget and budgetary adjustments to the assembly for approval;
- Ensures the implementation of the budget in the capacity of their jurisdiction;
In case of the absence of either a governor or an acting governor, an executive body of the local self-government cannot fully function.
Currently, an administration of the municipality cannot present the public information because of the absence of the signatory person. We urge the timely changes taking into account a summer period when the tenders in terms of village support and other municipality programs are either to be announced or already winner companies have to be contracted.
Because of the fact that the local self-government code does not regulate the legal errors, we think that the Parliament of Georgia should make a change in the local self-government code in order to avoid the delay of the executive body.