ISFED Third Interim Report on LSG Monitoring ENG-final

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ISFED Third Interim Report on LSG Monitoring ENG-final

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    International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

    Monitoring the Process of Certification and Competition in Public Service

    Third Interim Report

    For the period from October 2014 to April 2015

    May 22, 2015

    Tbilisi

    This report is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of ISFED and do not necessarily reflect the views of

    USAID, American people or the United States Government.

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    By the June 26, 2014 amendments to the Law of Georgia on Public Service1, the deadline for implementing the first stage of the

    process of certification and competition in public service at the local self-government level is July 1, 2015. The purpose of

    certification is to evaluate professional skills of public servants at the local (municipal) level, while competitions are the

    mechanism for filling vacant positions in public service. Corresponding Commissions for Competition and Certification are in

    charge of the process of public service competition and certification. The process is technically supported by the National Center

    of Examinations and Assessments of Georgia and the Training Center of Justice (TCJ).

    Observation Methodology

    Since October 2014, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has been monitoring the process of

    competitions and certification during the stage of tests and interviews throughout Georgia. 73 observers of ISFED are monitoring

    the process using uniform methodology and questionnaires.

    Notably, due to certain restrictions imposed by self-governing agencies ISFED is unable to monitor the decision-making process

    about candidates at these Commissions. Therefore, our assessments are based on observer reports on how well candidates

    presented themselves during interviews, how many questions they answered, whether their answers were correct and whether they

    were knowledgeable about pertinent issues of public service.

    ISFED has requested information about the process of competition and certification from all self-governing agencies where the

    process of appointment of recruits has been completed. However since ISFEDs ability to monitor was fully or in part restricted in 14 self-governing agencies and in addition, not all municipalities provided the information requested, ISFEDs assessment of competition results is incomplete and does not reflect the situation across the country.

    The present reports provides an account of challenges to accessing public information, trends identified through monitoring of

    interviews, assessment of decisions made by Commissions for Competition and Certification as well as local self-government

    agencies.

    Challenges to accessing public information

    From January 1 to March 1, 2015, ISFED filed up to 850 requests for accessing information about staff changes and the process of

    certification and competition in self-governing agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition.

    Throughout Georgia, total of 61 self-governing agencies and 52 Commissions for Certification and Competition provided ISFED

    with information in response to its over 300 requests, and the process was marked by errors and violations. In view of the total

    amount of self-governing agencies and Commissions2, share of self-government agencies where ISFED faced challenges to

    accessing public information was 43%, while the share of such Commissions was 68%. ISFED faced challenges to accessing

    public information in 37 Gamgeobas, 17 Sakrebulos and 7 City Halls. Gamgeobas had the highest percentage share (63%),

    followed by City Halls with relatively fewer but still considerable challenges to accessing public information (58%). Fewest

    challenges were found in Sakrebulos (24%).

    1 See Article 1344 of the Law on Public Service of Georgia: https://matsne.gov.ge/ka/document/view/28312 2 142 self-governing territories (59 Gamgeobas; 71 Sakrebulos; 12 City Halls); 77 commissions for certification and competition;

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    Major difficulties to accessing public information included violation of time limits for providing the information and provision of

    incomplete and/or wrong information by local self-government agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition.

    Further, in a number of cases information requested by ISFED was not provided at all. In response to 65 written requests filed by

    ISFED for accessing public information, 25 local self-government agencies provided information in violation of applicable time

    limits3, while 19 Commissions for Certification and Competition4 provided information in violation of applicable time limits in

    response to 21 written requests of ISFED. Further, responses provided by 46 local self-governing agencies5 to 106 written requests

    and by 40 Commissions6 to 67 written requests were incomplete and/or contained inaccuracies. 5 self-governing agencies7 refused

    to respond to ISFEDs 12 written requests, while 26 Commissions left 35 written requests of ISFED without a response8.

    3 17 Gamgeobas (Mtastsminda, Nadzaladevi, Chighureti, Gldani, Gardabani, Tsalka, Tianeti, Aspindza, Akhaltsikhe, Kaspi, Gori, Lanchkhuti, Chokhatauri, Gurjaani, Sagarejo, Oni, Martvili); 6 Sakrebulos (Tbilisi, Dmanisi, Lanchkhuti, Oni, Martvili, Zugdidi);

    3 City Halls (Akhaltsikhe, Telavi, Batumi); 4 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilsi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Telavi City commission, Kutaisi City Hall commission, Lanchkhuti Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba commissions, Gardabani, Tetritskaro, Dmanisi, Gori, Khashuri, Borjomi, Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki, Adigeni, Chokhatauri, Gurjaani, Sagarejo municipality commissions; 5 28 Gamgeobas ( Isani, Chughureti, Gldani, Gardabani, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Khashuri, Aspindza, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Khulo, Keda, Kobuleti, Chokhatauri,

    Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Dedoplistskaro, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, Lentekhi, Kharagauli, Terjola, Vani, Sachkhere, Abasha, Zugdidi); 12 Sakrebulos (Tbilisi, Rustavi, Tetritskaro, Kaspi, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi, Keda, Kobuleti, Chokhatauri, Lanchkhuti, Dedoplistskaro, Terjola); 6 City Halls (Tbilisi,

    Rustavi, Akhaltsikhe, Poti, Telavi, Kutaisi); 6 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilisi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Teavi City Commission, Kutaisi City Hall commission, Ambrolauri City commission, Zugdidi City commission, Lanchkhuti Gamgeoba and Sakrebulo commissions, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro, Telavi, Oni, Ambrolauri, Tsageri,

    Lentekhi, Kharagauli, Terjola, Sachkhere, Zestaponi, Baghdati, Vani, Chiatura, Tskaltubo, Mestia, Abasha, Senaki, Martvili, Khobi, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha, Chokhatauri, Marneuli, Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Akhalkalaki, Khashuri, Kareli, Borjomi municipality commissions; 7 3 Gamgeobas (Akhalkalaki, Lanchkhuti, Lagodekhi); 1 Sakrebulo (Akhalkalaki); 1 City Hall (Akhalkalaki); 8 Tbilisi Sakrebulo commission, Tbilisi City Hall commission, Rustavi City Hall commission, Akhaltsike City Hall commission, Telavi City commission, Gardabani Sakrebulo commission, Lanchkhuti gamgeoba and Sakrebulo commissions, Tetritskaro, Marneuli, Tsalka, Khashuri, Akhaltsikhe, Aspindza, Adigeni,

    Borjomi, Sagarejo, Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Kvareli, Lagodekhi, Dedoplistskaro, Telavi, Akhmeta, Terjola, Tsalenjikha municipality commissions.

    .

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    Notably, majority of self-governing agencies and Commissions for Certification and Competition made technical errors in the

    process of providing access to public information, and these errors were observed in some cases only; however, they had an

    overall negative impact on qualitative analysis of information. Further, some local self-governing agencies and Commissions

    cooperated poorly with ISFED and refused to provide access to public information. These agencies and commissions include:

    Akhalkalaki Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba, Aspindza Gamgeoba, Sagarejo Gamgeoba, Lagodekhi Gamgeoba, Lanchkhuti

    Gamgeoba, Khashuri Commission, Terjola Commission, Akhaltsikhe City Hall and Gamgeoba commissions, Aspindza

    Commission.

    List of candidates and results protocols are one of the most important pieces of information for evaluating final results of

    competitions and certifications, as they let us determine whether decisions of individual commissions about winning candidates

    were objective.

    26 Commissions refused to provide access to final results of competitions and certifications, while 19 Commissions classified these results as personal information. The remaining Commissions did not respond to ISFEDs request at all or declined to elaborate on their refusal.

    Kakheti Region was most problematic among the regions in terms of providing access to results of competitions and certifications.

    All nine commissions operating in Kakheti Region refused to provide the information to ISFED. Further, five commissions in

    Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, five in Kvemo Kartli Region, 2 in Tbilisi, 2 in Imereti Region, 2 in Guri and one in Shoda Kartli

    refused to provide access to results.

    Position of Lagodekhi Municipality about protection of personal information is interesting. Commission of the municipality, led

    by First Deputy Gamgebeli refused to provide access to competition results, stating that the information contained personal data.

    However, in December 2014, Gamgeoba published on its website a schedule of testing that included not only names and surnames

    of all candidates but also, their personal identification numbers. Therefore, it is unclear for us what criteria the municipality uses

    to identify personal information and on what grounds the Commission refused to provide access to information about winning

    candidates.

    In general, ISFED finds the varying approach of self-governing agencies and Commission towards personal information peculiar.

    A number of self-governing agencies provided full access to results, including names and surnames of winning candidates,

    without classifying them as personal data, while other self-governing agencies classified the information as personal data and

    refused to provide access.

    ISFED believes that the refusal of Commissions and self-governing agencies to provide access to the results was illegal. Because the process of certification and competition in public service is an issue of public concern, any pertinent document must

    be publicly accessible. This will allow determining whether a particular commission made fair and legitimate decisions in the

    process of evaluation and recruitment of candidates. In this respect, cooperation with organizations monitoring and evaluation the

    process, and keeping the public informed is of particular importance.

    The Process of Interviews

    From October 1, 2015 to April 1, 2015, ISFED monitored interviews during the process of competition and certification in 52

    municipalities and 6 self-governing cities, including 5 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Adjara9, 1 municipality in

    Guria10, 3 municipalities in Shida-Kartli11

    , 6 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Kakheti12

    , 4 municipalities in Samtskhe-

    Javakheti13

    , 11 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Imereti14

    , 8 municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Samegrelo15

    , 4

    municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Racha-Lechkhumi Kvemo Svaneti16

    , 7 municipalities in Kvemo Kartli17

    , 4

    municipalities and 1 self-governing city in Mtskheta-Mtianeti18

    and the city of Tbilisi19

    .

    9 Keda, Shuakhevi, Khulo, Kobuleti, Khelvachauri, Baumi; 10 Chokhatauri; 11 Kaspi, Khashuri, Gori; 12 Gurjaani, Sighnaghi, Dedoplistskaro, Lagodekhi, Kvareli, Akhmeta, city of Telavi; 13 Adigeni, Akhalkalaki, Borjomi, Ninotsminda; 14 Kutaisi, Kharagauli, Sachkhere, Chiatura, Zestaponi, Baghdati, Vani, Samtredia, Khoni, Tkibuli, Tskaltubo; 15 Mestia, Abasha, Senaki, Martvili, Zugdidi, Khobi, city of Zugdidi; 16 Oni, Ambrolauri, Tsageri, Lentekhi, city of Ambrolauri; 17 Gardabani, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro, Tsalka, Bolnisi, Marneuli, Rustavi; 18 Tianeti, Mtskheta, Dusheti, Kazbegi, city of Mtskheta; 19 City Hall, Sakrebulo;

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    ISFED monitored interviews during the process of competition and certification in 112 local self-governing agencies, including 5

    self-governing agencies where ISFEDs monitoring was limited in some way20. Out of 121 self-governing agencies 9 self-governing agencies refused to provide ISFED with access to ongoing or scheduled interviews

    21.

    According to ISFEDs observer reports, on the most part interviews monitored by ISFED ran smoothly, equal time was allocated to all candidates and questions were similar in terms of their content and difficulty. Commission members were mostly positive

    towards candidates. However, in 12 self-governing territories commission members asked irrelevant questions, pressured

    and discriminated against some candidates based on their political affiliation and gender.

    ISFED provided detailed account of facts in 822

    out of 12 self-governing territories in its second interim report23

    . The present

    report provides an account of facts not included in the second interim report, including alleged pressure of candidates by

    Commission members and improperly administered interviews in 4 self-governing agencies. 24

    Alleged acts of pressure against candidates in Kareli Municipality

    Kareli Municipality administered the process of interviews in two stages one in December 2014 and the other in March 2015. Access of ISFEDs observers to interviews was restricted during both stages. By the decision of Commission Chair ISFEDs representatives were allowed to attend interview of a particular candidate only when he or she consented, which we believe was a

    mere formality.

    When speaking with ISFEDs observer in private, several candidates noted that the chair (Municipality Gamgebeli) is not friendly with non-governmental and media organization. Fearing any problems with Gamgebeli in the future, candidates refuse to consent

    to presence of observer during interview. These facts have also been corroborated by ISFEDs local observer.

    ISFEDs observer monitoring the process of competition in the waiting area of Kareli Gamgeoba building reported that candidates were registered by an unauthorized individual security officer, which also presented candidates with an option to have a representative of an NGO attend interview and had them sign along the line that said: I do not wish to be interviewed in presence of an NGO representative.

    Further, after being interviewed, majority of candidates declined request of ISFEDs observer to comment about interview or provide any information.

    Notably, during both stages of interviews at Gamgeoba only one candidate consented to presence of an NGO representative

    during hi...