GEO

Zugdidi City Council Performance Report

06 November, 2017

Transparency International Georgia is carrying out an evaluation of the performance of representative bodies in Georgia. On October 19, 2017, the organization published a report on the performance of the Tbilisi City Council. The latest report examines the performance of the Zugdidi City Council.

The municipality of the self-governing city of Zugdidi will cease to exist in the nearest future as a result of legislative amendments to the Local Government Code adopted by the Parliament in June 2017 that reduced the number of self-governing cities from 12 to 5. Transparency International Georgia opposed this decision; however, the Georgian Parliament and Government did not share our position. Nevertheless, we believe that an analysis of the shortcomings, challenges, successes and experience of Zugdidi City Municipality can be of use to the newly elected (October 21) Zugdidi Municipal Council, which will assemble and hold its first meeting in the nearest future.

The report is based on public information requested from the municipal council or obtained from its official website, as well as our observations.

Key findings:

  • Zugdidi City Council conducted weak oversight of the executive body and entities subordinate to the municipality. The City Council’s oversight activities in relation to specific public officials and entities accountable to it were mostly formal in nature.
  • Almost 42% of all meetings (196) held by Zugdidi City Council were extraordinary.
  • Zugdidi City Council adopted a total of 696 legal acts, of which 551 were initiated by Zugdidi City Hall, and 155 by the Council itself.
  • Zugdidi City Council had the highest levels of openness and citizen engagement among municipalities of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region. In its January 2017 report, Transparency International Georgia found the City Council website to be the most informative and transparent in the region.
  • Incomplete public official asset declarations were found to be a problem in Zugdidi City Council as well. Two such facts were identified during the evaluation: Levan Konjaria (chairperson of the faction National Movement) and Tengiz Kharchilava (chairperson of the Finance and Budget Commission) failed to declare their business ties.
  • Zugdidi City Council spent a total of GEL 444,479 as bonuses and salary supplements. Even though the City Council did adopt an ordinance on issuing bonuses, the legal act had a number of shortcomings and did require appropriate justification. As a result, most bonuses were issued on a quarterly basis and on public holidays, rather than based on merit.
  • In October 2015, Zugdidi City Council adopted a Code of Ethics that set professional and ethical standards for Council members. However, the Ethics Commission held only a single meeting during the reporting period and did not identify any cases of violation of the Code.

 

Reporting period - July 2014 to August 18, 2017