Evaluation of the Fifth Convocation of Kutaisi City Council and Recommendations to the New City Council

01 December, 2017

Transparency International Georgia examined the activities of the fifth convocation of Kutaisi City Council performed during the period from 14 July 2014 until 30 August 2017.

Like previous similar studies of activities of former convocations of Tbilisi and Zugdidi City Councils, this report is based on the information requested and received from the City Council and on observations by our organization.

Main Findings:

  • During the period covered by the report, 71 sessions were held by Kutaisi City Council, of these 35 were extraordinary sessions.
  • The implementation of the oversight function by the City Council is weak. Accountable officials were never summoned to the City Council sessions for an unscheduled hearing.
  • The total of 133 decrees approving Kutaisi mayor’s [decisions] on direct lease for use of Kutaisi City Municipality’s property were issued, including granting usufruct on property to the bureaus of Kutaisi majoritarian members of the Georgian Parliament Dimitri Mkheidze, Koba Narchemashvili and Genadi Margvelashvili.
  • During the period covered by the study, seven officials engaged in business activities were identified. All seven officials were members of Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia. Among them, two officials, namely Kutaisi City Council Deputy Chairman Beka Kancheli and Kutaisi City Council Commission Chairwoman Lela Kelbakiani, indicated complete information about their business shares in their declarations. Kutaisi City Council Deputy Chairman Nikoloz Lataria submitted an incomplete declaration. Kutaisi City Council Chairman Davit Dvali, Kutaisi City Council Commission Chairman Teimuraz Nadiradze and Kutaisi City Council Commission Chairwoman Irma Petriashvili failed to fully indicate their business shares in their declarations. Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia member Irma Petriashvili holds a management position in a business company, specifically, she is the director of LLC “College of Local Government Officials”.
  • The City Council failed to establish a Gender Equality Council despite such obligation being stipulated by the law.
  • During the period covered by the study, the attendance at the sessions of the City Council and commissions by the City Council members was identified as a problematic issue.
  • No City Council commission ever invited an expert or specialist to the discussion of an issue where they could offer relevant expertise.
  • During the period covered by the study, the decree ordering independent audit of Kutaisi City Council activities was issued by Kutaisi City Council only once, on 11 August 2017.
  • Kutaisi City Council did not have a separate website. Only general information about City Council chairman and his deputies was provided by Kutaisi City Hall’s website.

We believe that sharing the shortcomings, challenges, successful activities and experience identified in the work of Kutaisi City Council will significantly facilitate the activities of the new City Council elected on 21 October 2017.

We call on the sixth convocation of the City Council to consider the following recommendations:

  • City Council members should be more actively involved in public activities, namely, should be using more frequently their right of posing questions, summoning officials accountable to the City Council.
  • Kutaisi City Council should improve the organizational aspects of its work, reduce the number of extraordinary sessions and the number of issues discussed at them, as this hampers the involvement of citizens and the possibility to prepare for the discussion of issues at the sessions.
  • The attendance of sessions of the City Council and its commissions by the members needs to be improved significantly.
  • Officials must fill out their declarations fully.
  • A Gender Equality Council must be set up at Kutaisi City Council.
  • The City Council must observe the requirement stipulated by the law and make sure that the duration of activities of an ad hoc working group does not exceed six months.
  • The City Council must have an official website with detailed information about its activities.
  • It is important that the City Council provide accurate and complete information so that its activities are transparent and open to the public.