Kutaisi awaiting its 12th mayor
Since 2003, 11 mayors of Kutaisi have been replaced. The process still continues and Kutaisi is currently awaiting its 12th mayor.
The 11th mayor Dimitri Kopaliani retained the post for 98 days, during which time he spent 37 of those days on vacation. He received a total remuneration of GEL 7,963.17, including a bonus of GEL 2,750.
During his term, a reorganization process of the Kutaisi council and a reduction of staff began. 86 employees were dismissed and 2 deputy majors were made to leave their positions on disciplinary grounds. However, shortly after the reorganization, the council appointed 96 employees to different positions.
As for the legality of the reorganization, the Kutaisi City Court has fully satisfied the complaints of those who where dismissed because of the reorganization and ordered these former officials to be reinstated to their positions, which means the number of vacancies will be increased by at least ten positions.
The Mayor of Kutaisi has declared his mistrust of other staff members in the city council and demanded their activities to be scrutinized. He also wished to create an advisory council that would offer directly to the mayor expert conclusions on a variety of issues.
Since the dismissal of Dimitri Kopaliani from his position on September 13 2013, the acting mayor was changed twice. First, Kote Lomidze, one of the Vice Mayors, filled the position. On September 30, he was replaced by the second Vice Mayor Tengiz Topuridze. As Kote Lomidze states, the replacement was deemed necessary due to his intention to participate in the competition for the selection of the Mayor of the city, but the competition had not yet been announced. Additionally, the legislation did not forbid Kote Lomidze from holding his position before the competition was announced.
We believe that the frequent change of the city’s mayors and the appointment of unqualified candidates will have a negative impact on urban development and the municipal service activities.
Transparency International Georgia addresses the Kutaisi council and requests that it make the certifying commission’s activities transparent, make sure that staff members are skilled, possessing proper knowledge and experience, and that the qualified individuals are selected for the two positions of the city mayor.