Evaluation of Performance of the Municipal Council of Zugdidi
Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) is presenting its evaluation of the performance of the representative body of the Zugdidi Municipality – the Municipal Council elected in 2017.
The report is based on information requested and received from the Municipal Council and that posted on the Council’s official website, as well as on observations of our organization.
The reporting period of the study is from November 2017 up to 2019.
- During the reporting period, the Municipal Council of Zugdidi exercised weak supervision on the Zugdidi City Hall and legal entities established by it, and the control over the officials and individual agencies accountable to the Municipal Council was formal in most cases.
- During the reporting period, the Municipal Council of Zugdidi held 65 sessions, more than half (40) of which were extraordinary sessions.
- During the same period, the Municipal Council of Zugdidi adopted 189 resolutions, out of which 146 were authored/initiated by the Zugdidi City Hall and 43 – by the Municipal Council.
- Only 7 of the 50 members of the Municipal Council are women, which is 14% of the total membership.
- As of 2019, 4 of the 21 officials of the Municipal Council of Zugdidi had filled out their asset declarations with shortcomings.
- During the same period, only 2 of the 6 factions of the Municipal Council – the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia and the Conservatives – submitted initiatives, while the factions of the United National Movement, the Industrialists, the Greens, and European Georgia didn’t submit a single initiative to the Municipal Council.
- Considering the minimum activity carried out by the factions, the expenditures incurred by the Zugdidi Municipality on their functioning, which amount to GEL 582,032 in total, are disproportionately large.
- The Municipal Council of Zugdidi includes the Gender Equality Council, whose action plan was approved by the Municipal Council on April 2019; accordingly, a part of the planned activities are scheduled for the time following the reporting period of this study.
- All members of the Municipal Council have been absent from the Council’s sessions during the reporting period. There were 965 absences from the Council’s sessions in total, including 918 absences without a valid reason. Members of the Council failed to take part in commission sessions 1,012 times, including 993 absences without a valid reason.
- The Chairperson of the European Georgia faction, Gela Toloraia, missed the most sessions of the Municipal Council (57) without a valid reason, while a member of the same faction, Irakli Ghurtskaia, missed the most commission sessions (72) without a valid reason.
- During the reporting period, the salaries given to members of the Municipal Council of Zugdidi amounted to GEL 1,952,557 in total, while the staff of the Municipal Council received a total of GEL 26,700 as monetary rewards.
- During the same period, the Municipal Council of Zugdidi spent 89.8 tons of fuel, with a value of GEL 193,777; out of this, 16.5 tons (16,531 liters) of fuel (with a total value of GEL 36,606) was spent by the Chairperson of the Municipal Council, Mamuka Tsotseria.
Exercise of control:
Members of the Municipal Council of Zugdidi should participate more actively in supervision activities. Specifically, they should use mechanisms of control more frequently and supervise the process of public procurements and large infrastructure projects more effectively.
- The standing commissions of the Municipal Council should get involved actively in the process of supervision of the activities of executive bodies.
- The Municipal Council should actively and conscientiously reveal cases of conflict of interest, incompatibility with office, and violations of the Rules of Procedure of the Municipal Council and of ethical norms in the municipality.
- The Municipal Council should exercise control on the process of fulfillment of recommendations given, including those prepared by ad hoc task forces at the Municipal Council, and take care of the fulfillment of each recommendation.
Sessions of the Municipal Council:
- The Municipal Council of Zugdidi should improve the organizational aspects of its work and reduce the number of extraordinary sessions, as they fail to ensure citizens’ involvement, mobilization of interest groups, preparation of issues to be considered at the sessions, and transparency of the deliberative body.
- Attendance of members of the Municipal Council at the sessions of the Council and its commissions should be improved. We believe that every member of the Municipal Council should exercise responsibility and attend the sessions. In addition, members of the Municipal Council should be subjected to corresponding sanctions in the event of missing a session without a valid reason.
- 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 declarations completely and without any shortcomings.
Activities of factions:
- It is important that the activities of factions be beneficial for the relevant self-government body. Factions should get actively involved in the process of considering and deciding on issues that fall under the powers of the Municipal Council, study/control the activities of the City Hall and municipal legal entities; submit initiatives to the Municipal Council; get actively involved in the budgeting process; etc. Factions increase citizens’ involvement in self-government, 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 Municipal Council:
- It is important that the expenditures incurred by the Municipal Council be in full conformity with the exercise of the powers assigned to the Council by law.
- The Municipal 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 financial resources.