A second wave of changing gamgebelis has just begun, says Nino Lomjaria, head of ISFED. (Facebook.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Staff changes and dismissals at municipalities that began after the 2012 parliamentary elections continuing in Georgia. About 2300 person have lost their seats during the last 9 months.

According to a report by International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), who have monitored the changes at municipalities, town administrators, or gamgebelis, have been changed in 55 municipalities.

In some cases, they have been changed several times in one district, but only in 19 of them was there a competitive selection process.

“A second wave of changing gamgebelis has just begun, that means impeachment of old gamgebelis at some municipalities. There was pressure in several cases. 13 gamgebelis and two city mayors have been changed after 3 August,” said Nino Lomjaria, head of ISFED.

2 321 employees in 55 municipalities have been dismissed. 519 territorial authority attorneys were among those who were fired after meeting with gamgebelis.

“A large part of the dismissed employees wrote an appeal about leaving positions. In most cases, dozens of them wrote it at the same time, which raises logical doubt whether they wrote the letters on their own. In some cases, the fired employees claim that officials demanded that they leave their seats,” said Lomjaria.

After the publication of ISFED’s previous interim survey about hiring at municipalities, Irakli Melashvili, aide of the prime minister, said that dismissal of 1 877 persons from local governments, where up to 40 000 people are employed, is not a big number.

But Pavle Kublashvili, a member of the minority National Movement party, says: “The changes began immediately after the 1 October election. The election was parliamentary and it should not have affected the situation in local government, but it did, and this means that the new ruling party has put pressure on the local authorities.”

ISFED will continue its monitoring leading up to the presidential election on October 27.