The Mayor of Tbilisi City Hall, Kakha Kaladze, has made a statement in regard to ongoing shake-up in Tbilisi City Hall. As stated by the Mayor, it is the requirement of the law to hold competition during the reorganization process and employees will also have to pass the exams.
“The main criteria for selecting the employees will be professionalism, knowledge, experience and integrity. In regard to competition in general, this is required by the law and we observe the law. The competition will apply to everybody, including those who have already passed the examination. They will definitely have to retake the exam.
It is possible, that in the first part of his statement Kakha Kaladze was referring to the legal obligation, which stipulates that new employees have to be hired on the basis of competition. This obligation does indeed concern to public institutions and public is aware of that. However, the Mayor of Tbilisi have also emphasized that incumbent professional public servants will also have to retake the exam. FactCheck took interest in this very issue.
The Mayor of Tbilisi speaks about selecting employees for Tbilisi City Hall through competition after the end of reorganization. The issues pertaining reorganization in the public institutions are governed by the Chapter 11 of the Law of Georgia On Public Service. In accordance with the law, reorganization of a public institution is a partial or complete change of that institution’s structure, which aims to ensure efficient governance. This process does not entail termination of status of public servants. In case the available positions are slashed as a result of reorganization, public administration is obliged to inform the Civil Service Bureau to facilitate public servants’ mobility. In this case, public servant is transferred within the same or different public institution without a competition on a same or lower position. In turn, if the mobility principle cannot be observed, public servants will be transferred into public service reserve.
Generally, employees are appointed at the vacant positions of the public institutions through competition. The exception is when taking the vacant position is possible by transferring a public servant or by the rule of mobility. Therefore, in the period of reorganization of public institution, vacant positions are taken by mobility without a competition.
In regard to examination of a public servant, the Law of Georgia on Public Service adopted in 1997 envisions examination of public servant in every three years. Aim of that examination was to evaluate professional skills and qualifications of a public servant, required to take up this or that position. Concurrently, a head of public institution wielded an authority to consult the results of examination while reducing the positions during reorganization process. After the introduction of new Law on Public Service (the law fully went into force on 1 July 2017), public servant’s examination was abolished and instead, public servant’s assessment was introduced. In accordance to the latter, an immediate superior of the public servant carries out assessment once a year. Public institutions do the assessment of public servants in accordance with the rule as defined the ordinance of the Government of Georgia. Public servant is assessed by the work he/she has done, which includes evaluation of documents and interviewing a public servant. Therefore, examination of public servants and mechanisms of assessment of incumbent public servant are substantially different.
Therefore, assessment of a public servant is not related to the process of reorganization of public institution and it is constantly carried out. Further, in case of reduction of positions as a result of reorganization there is no explicit requirement in the law, which mandates that public servant’s assessment results have to be taken into account. However, in this case, taking into account the results of assessment would indeed corresponds with the principles of public service.
As already mentioned, in accordance with the existing legislation, Mayor does not have an authority to hold examinations during the reorganization process. Therefore, taking into account the principles of public service, it is important for new structure to have fair, transparent and impartial selection mechanism for hiring the people with necessary skills and use that mechanism to re-appoint the employees during the reorganization process.
The new Law of Georgia on Public Service does not envision examination of public servants. Therefore, there is no legal obligation to hold competition during the reorganization process. On the contrary, if available positions are reduced as a result of reorganization, public servants from those positions are transferred within the same or different public institution by mobility principle, without a competition. In addition, the now defunct Law of Georgian On Public Service adopted in 1997 which envisioned examination of public servants, cannot govern the legal relations with professional public servant of Tbilisi City Hall’s structural unit. The only criterion which can possibly be used to select the employees anew during the reorganization (which results in decrease of available positions) is to take into account the assessment results of the public servants employed in that public institution.
FactCheck concludes that Kakha Kaladze’s statement is FALSE.