International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy won another case. Zestaponi District Court granted the claim of 21 plaintiffs represented by ISFED.
The court invalidated decision of selection committee announcing that the plaintiffs’ employment applications were unsuccessful, and ordered the commission to hold repeat interviews.
The plaintiffs participated in a competition for employment at Terjola Municipality Sakrebulo and Gamgeoba. The candidates succeeded the first and the second stages of the selection process but after the third stage the commission refused to hire them. The candidates claim that in its work the commission violated the principle of openness by refusing to allow interested parties, including ISFED’s representatives to observe the process of interviews. The commission did not use any evaluation checklist, as mandated by the regulations for evaluating candidate’s skills. Its assessments about work experience of candidates were biased; in particular, candidates with less experience received higher scores.
ISFED welcomes the decision of Zestaponi District Court to invalidate interviews held without using a pre-determined evaluation checklist. The interviews should have been conducted in abidance by the Regulations of the commission for selection and certification, adopted under the Resolution no.37 of Terjola Municipality Sakrebulo. The regulations mandate that the commission evaluate candidates based on a pre-determined scheme and criteria but the commission failed to follow these regulations.
The court notes that as a collegial administrative agency the commission is obligated to hold open meetings that are accessible to public. It may deny access only when the meeting room is full and it may not hold any more people. The court explained: “public has the right to know whether the issue concerned was discussed during the meeting in a comprehensive manner, views that each member of the commission expressed and deliberations that led to the final decision. Otherwise, it would be impossible to evaluate work of a public institution and its individual members.”
ISFED believes that for maximum avoidance of prejudiced decisions, commissions for selection and certification are obligated to work in abidance by the principles of applicable legislation and regulations. The commission should evaluate individual candidates based on pre-determined criteria, in order to avoid any unfair and prejudicial decisions.
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International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy provides legal assistance within the project Protecting Rights of Civil Servants for Politically Neutral and Discrimination-Free Public Service in Georgia funded by the Embassy of Netherlands in Georgia. Within the project ISFED provides free legal consultation, representation and prepares legal documents for victims of unfair selection and certification process and dismissals without legal cause in public service.