On 30 July 2014, at the plenary session of the Parliament, the Parliamentary Majority MP, Tamaz Mechiauri, made a statement:  “There has been no employee certification in the State Audit Office of Georgia for the last seven years. This is a violation of the 5 February 2009 Directive No. 47 of the President of Georgia and the 2 October 2009 Directive of the Chamber of Control which says that a public servant must be subject to certification every three years.”

FactCheck

took interest in this statement and verified its accuracy.

The Law of Georgia on Public Service determines the legal basis of the public service organisation in Georgia. It regulates the relations connected to the public service and determines the legal status of a civil servant. The certification of a public servant means checking the compliance of his/her habits, skills, qualifications, abilities and personal features to the requirements of the desired/held position.

A public servant is subject to certification:

a) Every three years (Certification Period);

b) A candidate for the position is also subject to certification if the position must be filled through competition.

A public servant is not subject to certification if:

a) He/she is appointed or chosen by the President of Georgia, the Prime Minister of Georgia, the Parliament of Georgia or the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia;

a)

He/she is appointed or chosen by the high representative bodies of the Autonomous Republics of Abkhazia or Ajara;

b) He/she is appointed for a limited amount of time.

Directive No. 47 of the President of Georgia determines the specific procedures of the certification of public servants. Unlike the aforementioned Law, the Directive says that a public servant who has been proposed for promotion is also subject to certification.

Directive No. 246/42 of the Chairman of the Chamber of Control of Georgia determines the procedures of the appointment and certification of the employees of the State Audit Office of Georgia. The Directive also determines who is subject to certification and the aim and frequency of the certification.

FactCheck

tried to find the number of employees subject to certification in the State Audit Office of Georgia from 2004 to present. The answer of the State Audit Office says: “Two certifications were conducted in the State Audit Office of Georgia (Chamber of Control of Georgia) in 2005 and 2009. The number of employees certified in 2005 could not be determined due to the lack of information in our archives. Ten employees were certified in 2009. The State Audit Office has employed 187 people based upon several competitions.”

For additional information FactCheck

contacted the Deputy Head of the Administration of the State Audit Office of Georgia, Archil Kikvadze. According to him, that there are 350 positions legally determined in the State Audit Office (based upon the Prime Minister’s Directive, this number was equal to 400 in 2013).

Mr Kikvadze also confirmed that the number of employees certified in 2005 is unknown. As for 2009, the situation is almost similar as they have information only about ten certified employees. Kikvadze also pointed out that all public servants hired without competition will be subject to certification in October 2014. The certification process in this case will be documented from 2012 as the Office did not keep prior information about employee certifications.

According to our respondent, apart from certification the employees have a minimum of two trainings each year to enhance their qualification after which they are subject to mandatory testing.

Conclusion

The Law of Georgia on Public Service, the Directives of the President of Georgia and the Chairman of the Chamber of Control of Georgia all determine the procedures and requirements of the certification of employees. These documents make clear that a public servant must be subject to certification every three years. Hence, this part of Mr Mechiauri’s statement is correct. However, it is not true that there has been no certification in the State Audit Office of Georgia for seven years. Ten employees were certified in 2009. It should be pointed out, however, that this number is very low as compared to the number of employees of the State Audit Office (350-400). According to the law, all of the employees not appointed by appropriate officials must be subject to certification. Hence, most of the employees of the Office should have been certified. We were told that the new administration does not know the reason why only ten employees were certified in 2009.

It should be noted that there have been no certifications in 2012 or 2013; however, we cannot insist that this a violation of the law as the government change was marked with hiring new employees who were hired by competition and must be subject to certification after three years of being employed in the State Audit Office. The remainder of the employees who have not been subject to competition will be certified in October 2014.

FactCheck concludes that Tamaz Mechiauri’s statement: “There has been no employee certification in the State Audit Office of Georgia for the last seven years. This is a violation of the law which says that a public servant must be subject to certification every three years,” is HALF TRUE.

Editorial Remark: The initial version of this article was published on 10 September 2014. Several of our readers commented upon the article saying that only one certification in seven years with only ten people certified was not entirely in accordance with the requirements of the law. The readers also remarked that based upon the aforementioned factors FactCheck’s

verdict was too strict.

After these comments, FactCheck decided to find additional information about the certifications in the State Audit Office of Georgia. In order to do this, we spoke with the Deputy Head of the Administration of the State Audit Office of Georgia. Based upon the information from this interview, the article has been corrected and the verdict has been changed as well.

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