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Mayor’s Office faces criticism

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, October 9
The Tbilisi Mayor’s Office has been criticized regarding two issues recently. One of them concerns salary supplements and another is related to the certification exams of the Tbilisi Mayor’s employees.

After taking office, new Mayor Davit Narmania stated that there was not enough money in the Tbilisi budget and announced the “tightened belts” policy. The mayor’s office might also take a loan of 30mln GEL from private banks to fill the deficit. It is also known to the public that after various scandals the government canceled bonuses alongside salaries. However, as it appears, bonuses were replaced by “salary supplements”.

Several days ago, various media outlets released a decree signed by Davit Narmania that reads that end-of-year salary supplements should be given to 26 employees of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office. The total sum of the supplement during the last four months came to 152,060 GEL. Based on this, the vice-mayor takes a 3,540 GEL monthly supplement, deputy mayor- 3,360 GEL, administration chairperson 3,180 GEL, his first deputy-2,000 GEL, deputy- 1,800 GEL, head of the civil service -2,600GEL, district governors- 2,600 GEL, deputy governors- 1,800 GEL, and so on.

The special statement of the Mayor’s Office and Narmania claim that nothing has been changed and no regulations have been introduced by the new administration. According to Narmania, the Tbilisi government really tightened belts and accumulated more money for important projects. The statement reads that the salary supplements were given under the previous administration as well and are targeted for those employees who carry much responsibility and deal with especially large amounts of money. The statement stresses that the salary should meet the employees’ qualifications. The mayor’s office informs that the body is working on salary regulations that will be finalized by the end of the year.

Members of the opposition United National Movement accuse the current Tbilisi leadership in misspending the money. According to Sevdia Ugrekhelidze the Mayor’s Office tightened belts at the expense of the people only.

The UNM also criticized the Mayor’s Office leadership regarding the certification process for the office employees. The UNM members claim that the old staff of the office is being unfairly fired.

The National Movement also demanded the resignation of Vice-Mayor Alexandre Margishvili from the post of chairman of the certification assessment commission.

“The certification is a criminal, if Margishvili does not resign from the commission chairmanship; the current leadership will pay a high political price for it very soon, because I think that appointing Margishvili as the committee chairman is an offense,” said Nika Melia from the UNM. The UNM members state that there are former employees of the Mayor’s Office who appealed their dismissal to the court and the certification process should not take place before the court’s verdicts over the cases.

Narmania states that Margishvili is a professional and objective person and excludes any violations in terms of the certification process. He admits that the certification is essential for detecting unprofessional employees. Narmania stresses that only a very few people left the Mayor’s Office and there are just a few appeals to the court.

“We cannot wait for the verdicts as the certification is the government’s decision and fits in regulations. If some of the former employees are restored on their previous posts, we will obey the court’s decision,” Narmania said.