GEO

TI Georgia releases a new report on the changes in the civil service after 2012 parliamentary elections

12 August, 2013

Update: 14 August 2013 – Transparency International Georgia would like to thank the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, and the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure for their feedback on our 12 August report Staffing Changes  after the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.  

Our report now contains several of the clarifications and corrections provided by these three ministries. We would hereby like to note that these changes do not affect the findings and tendencies uncovered by the report:

  1. The statistics concerning the Ministry of Justice has been corrected. More specifically, we clarified that of the 567 people who left their positions, most were reappointed to other positions within the Ministry. Therefore, a total of 99 people, rather than 567,  left their positions. The respective changes have been made to the overall statistics as well as to the diagrams.  

  2. A misprint has been corrected in the paragraph concerning the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure: “115” has been changed to “10”. This error did not affect the Ministry data or overall statistics in our report.

  3. The report stated that the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure had not provided us with information regarding their staff certification exams. The Ministry clarified that certifications have not in fact taken place in the Ministry, a fact which is now reflected in the report.

  4. A comment stating that the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development did not provide us with the requested information has been removed.

We would like to once again thank these ministries for their comments and feedback.

We would also like to respond to the statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding our report’s omission of the competitions announced by their Ministry. This omission was due to the fact that the competitions the Minister are referring to were announced on the 6 March, which is beyond our reporting period.

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Tbilisi, 12 August 2013 - Staffing changes in the civil service following the 1 October 2012 elections became a topic  of concern for the general public. Changes occurred in institutions of the central government and in local authorities. Transparency International Georgia decided to examine these processes thoroughly.

The reporting period spans from 20 October, 2012, until 1 March 2013. We selected the period of five months following the elections because we expected that in this period, there might be a greater risk of people being dismissed and others hired for politically motivated reasons. 

We identified several negative trends and characteristics, which pose a threat to the stability of civil service and ongoing reforms.

Summary of statistical data

  • After the parliamentary elections a total of at least 5,149 employees have been dismissed from public institutions (ministries and their subordinate legal entities of public law (LEPLs), municipalities, boards and councils), of which 2,330 (45%) have resigned by submitting their own application, which raises a reasonable doubt that in many cases public employees did not voluntarily leave their positions;
  • From 6,557 of newly hired/appointed public service employees, only 257 (4%) went through a competitive hiring process;
  • A total of 11% of all employees were dismissed from those public agencies that have provided us with details on their staffing;
  • 3,301 employees were dismissed from central government bodies. The largest number of public servants was dismissed from the following ministries: Internal Affairs (897), Health and Social Services (883) and Defense (690). This number includes the ministries' subordinate LEPLs;
  • 1,869 employees were dismissed from local government bodies, of which more than half (1,022) left after filing their resignation notification;
  • The highest number of individuals on the local level was dismissed in the municipalities in Kakheti (585), Imereti (290) and Autonomous Republic of Adjara (241).

Main trends in human resources policy

  • The wave of dismissals occurred after the elections, and in some cases the decisions appeared to be politically-motivated;
  • Dismissals of medium and low-ranking officials happened as well – people who are the main foundation of the public service in democratic countries and who are not political appointees that are replaced after changes of power;
  • In some cases, dismissals occurred without a sufficient legal basis. Employment termination letters for the people who did not resign voluntarily were often composed in violation of the law;
  • No tests and examinations were held in the vast majority of instances, and wherever held, was organized largely ineffectively;
  • A large part of dismissed public officials wrote their own resignation letters. Sometimes they reported pressure from their new supervisors;
  • Although some of the former public officials spoke out about pressure, we do not know whether people who applied this pressure were held liable;
  • Heads of Municipalities in Gurjaani and Dedoplistskaro were clearly appointed in violation of the law, but, nevertheless they continue to serve in these positions;
  • TI Georgia encouraged employees to file an online application to report a violation of their rights, a few dozen people have done so;
  • It was difficult to obtain information from some public institutions, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, from which we were provided with information only 5 months after our freedom of information request and only after a number of reminders and official complaints.

Transparency International Georgia calls for the heads of administrative bodies to prevent changes in the public service based on political or any other discrimination:

  • The only criteria for appointment or dismissal of a public official should be based on the fact whether they have the qualifications for their current or future position or not;
  • It is recommended that any staff changes should only be implemented based on testing and examinations, to ensure that decisions are based on objective criteria;
  • Committees overseeing the testing and certification of civil servants should be composed of persons who have sufficient competence to assess qualifications of the contestants who undergo the process.