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Gori municipality mayor is blamed in politically motivated discrimination

26.01.2018

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Several days after taking up the office, the Gori municipal mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili announced that employees of the local self-government body will not be fired or recruited based on political views. “We will not hire people according to their political views and everybody will see that.” His statement became urgent two months later, after several public servants appealed the Gori district court against the mayor; they requested determination of the politically motivated discrimination from the side of Tavzarashvili.

Irma Papidze is one of those public servants, who appealed the court and she was head of the human resources department in the Gori municipality administration before the two municipal bodies unified. During the pre-election campaign she left the local organization of the ruling party and supported Oniashvili, mayor candidate of the Movement for the Construction. Papidze herself was single mandate candidate of the opposition party. Oniashvili and Papidze lost the elections.

Before elections, public servants in the Gori municipality city hall and municipal administration were interviewed, which aimed to evaluate their competence. Employees of the new municipality administrations were to be selected in accordance to the interview results. Irma Papidze received the best evaluation during the interview.

Papidze believes it is connected with her political views that the mobility rule did not refer to her and she was not hired in the new municipal city hall. Her doubt is reinforced by the fact that the person, who received worse evaluation in the interview, replaced her on the position of the head of HR department. 

“They refused me to hire because of my political views. During the 2017 municipal elections I supported the former governor of the Gori municipality. Tavzarashvili directly told me let him give you a job and said that my support to Davit Oniashvili was one of the reasons of rejecting my candidature,” Papidze said.

Gori municipality mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili did not respond accusations against him. Deputy Mayor Aleksi Mariamidze excludes politically motivated discrimination and said the Gori municipal mayor had to select employees of the new administration from the former employees of two administrative units – Gori municipality administration and Gori City Hall. 

“The decision was made based on the working reputation, theoretical and practical skills of each candidate. Both of them are perfect professionals but the best was selected. Tsitsino Orjonikidze was appointed to the position. Allegation that Irma Papidze was not selected because she supported the opposition Movement for Construction, is groundless,” Aleksi Mariamidze said.

Papidze requested written clarification from the municipality mayor. The response letter reads: “In accordance to the mobility rule, you were not hired in the Gori municipality city hall but the process is ongoing and has not finished.”

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association defends Papidze’s interests in the court. Gori office of the GYLA spoke about politically motivated discrimination in Papidze’s case.

Keti Bebiashvili, head of the GYLA’s Gori office: “We studied the case of Irma Papidze. As she was single mandate candidate of the Movement for Construction during the last municipal elections and also exposed the Georgian Dream’s local organization in some violations, we see political discrimination in her case.”

Bebiashvili said the mobility process did not refer to Papidze at all. Nobody offered her a position, neither her previous position nor a new one, which could be equal to her qualification and previous position.

Former head of the culture unit in the Gori municipality administration Natia Tchampuridze and former head of the legal service Revaz Gogiashvili were supporters of Davit Oniashvili. Like Papidze, they were not employed in the new municipality administrations either and they also appealed the court.

Natia Tchampuridze: “I was head of the culture unit of the district administration. Head of the same unit in the City Hall was promoted in the new municipal city hall and there was no competition between us. However, I was not appointed to the same position in the new administration. I do not want to connect this fact with the political motives because I have never been politically active person. But I have only one explanation to this situation.”

“Nowadays, they cannot hire any public servant in accordance to the mobility rule. All terms have expired. It is not lawful process and I will prove it in the court,” Revaz Gogiashvili said.

Representative of the Gori municipal city hall clarified that the employees were selected in accordance to the law and they will follow court decision with regard to disputed cases. 

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