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Mizandari plans to file a law suit against the ministry

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, February 13
The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association will protect the interests of the former First Deputy Minister of Culture and Monument Protection Marine Mizandari so that the officials will have to prove the necessity for Mizandaris’ dismissal in court.

After dismissal from her post, Mizandari said it was hard for her to work at the Ministry of Culture. She said the ministry has problems with its management, policy, and views.

People gathered in support of Mizandari in front of the ministry on Tuesday calling Mizandari one of the best staff workers in the ministry, while her former colleagues say Mizandari had problems with the team and made unanimous decisions.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili approved Minister Odisharia’s request about Mizandari’s dismissal on February 10. The reason for her dismissal was her alleged insubordination and failure to comply with instructions. The announcement released on the webpage of the Ministry of Culture says Mizandari’s dismissal is based on the Public Service Law of Georgia, Article 99, Paragraph 3 and considers Articles 78 (paragraph 1, subparagraphs a. and c.) and 79 (paragraph 1, subparagraph f.) of the same law.

The Paragraph 3 of Article 99, considering dismissal due to disciplinary misconduct reads that “a civil servant may be dismissed from service without imposition of a disciplinary sanction, if he/she grossly violates service duties.”

The relevant subparagraphs of Article 78 explain that disciplinary misconduct stated in order are:

a) non-performance or inadequate performance of professional duties (if found guilty);

c) an action (guilty behavior) violating general moral norms or discrediting the civil servant or the agency, no matter whether it is committed at work or outside.

The disciplinary sanctions of Article 79 give “an official or an agency, authorized to appoint a civil servant to a position,” the right to impose a “dismissal from the Civil Service pursuant to this law.”

However, the above mentioned articles of the Law of Georgia on the Civil Service have other paragraphs and subparagraphs as well, which are considered to be less extreme measures than dismissal.

Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia said the ministry works as a team while Mizandari tried to make unanimous decisions.

“I thought Mizandari would be a better team-person,” Minister Odisharia said adding that when he, as a minister, makes decisions his deputy should carry it out. The minister’s first deputy had received a warning for appointing a council session over Sakdrisi gold mine without his approval. “This is one example where she was acting arbitrarily,” he said stressing that the Sakdrisi case has nothing to do with Mizandari’s dismissal.

A group of environmental protectors demand restoration of the status of cultural heritage to Sakdrisi gold mine, which is believed to be the world's oldest gold-mining center, while the mining company RMG Gold wanted to excavate the site.

A couple of weeks ago, Mizandari brought up the issue of Sakdrisi at a session of the cultural heritage protection council, which concluded in a recommendation that the mine’s heritage status should be restored. Mizandari thinks that the Ministry of Culture has failed in protecting the interests of the country’s cultural heritage.

Expressing his respect towards Mizandari as “a professional,” Gharibashvili said for him, as the leader of the government, it is “absolutely unacceptable” when a deputy minister publicly criticizes the minister. He said it means that the two have incompatibility.

“If you are a deputy and do not like your supervisor, you should go,” Gharibashvili said supposing that Odisharia and Mizandari have had a dispute for several months.

Calling the reasons of her dismissal “feeble,” Mizandari said as a Georgian citizen she is thinking of filing a lawsuit. Even though she does not demand restoration to the position, Mizandari needs explanations to the reason of her dismissal based on “disciplinary misconduct.”

According to the representative of Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association, Sulkhan Saladze, who will protect Mizandari’s interests at court, the ministry has to present the documents proving Mizandari’s misconduct.