The average rate of transparency and accountability of municipalities in Georgia still remains low – 28%, 25% for city halls and 31% for municipal councils.
On July 2, 2019 representatives of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC) and Management Systems Development Center (MSDC) presented the Evaluation of Municipalities in 2019, according to the Local Self-Government Index. Municipalities in the top five spots were also awarded based on the transparency index. The initiative is financially supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).
Batumi Municipality was named as the municipality with the highest results. According to 0-100% measurement scale, the result of Batumi Municipality was 61%. Rustavi Municipality was also awarded (57%) together with Lagodekhi (56%), Zugdidi (55%) and Tetritsqaro (52%) Municipalities.
The high score of Lagodekhi Municipality was mostly based on the prominent result of the municipal council of Lagodekhi, for receiving 87%, as one of the best results among representative and executive branches. For this reason, the municipal council of Lagodekhi was also awarded a special certificate.
The lowest assessments among municipalities were received by Akhalkalaki (6%), Ninotsminda (7%), Aspindza (7%), Adigeni (8%) and Samtredia (9%) municipalities, lagging behind the 10% threshold of the ratings.
“This year is the second time we assess municipalities transparency in Georgia. We see an increase in the transparency of city halls and city councils. Despite this progress, a more substantial change and political will are needed to achieve meaningful openness levels. More attention should be paid to employment information, administrative expenses and staffing policy, where we most often hear scandals related to nepotism, corrupt staffing policies used by municipal sub-entities, etc.” – said Vakhtang Natsvlishvili, Open Society Georgia Foundation Participatory Democracy Program representative.
Giorgi Toklikishvili, expert of CTC: “According to 2019 Evaluation results, about 40% o municipalities lag behind the 20% threshold of the Implementation of Proactive Disclosure. The poor practice of publishing the information was identified related to the municipalities’ administrative expenses. Lack in the use of electronic tools has been demonstrated in the field of citizen services. Notwithstanding the fact that the founding of the Council of Civil Advisors is required by law, it has not been created in 11 municipalities so far”.
The head of IDFI’s Media, Internet and Telecommunication direction, Teona Turashvili, emphasized the main trends of transparency of municipalities between 2017 and 2019. She has noted: “All three thematic blocks of Index (proactive disclosure of public information, electronic governance, and citizen participation and accountability) has been improved by – 6-7%”.
About the Local Self-Government Index: The index assesses transparency and accountability of Georgian municipalities. The index also evaluates the quality of citizens’ participation in the decision-making process. The results of the 2017 and 2019 National Evaluation, as well as municipalities’ rating, are available on the following website: www.LDGIndex.org\