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Former and Current Managers of Kindergartens Continuing To Fight

October 24, 2007

The scandals around Gori kindergartens are not calming down. The former managers are filing claims with the prosecutor’s office because they argue that current managers illegally work at the schools. The former managers cite the Criminal Law of Georgia’s sections on the abuse of power and appropriation of state property to support their claims of criminal responsibility.

Local government representatives are arguing about the fairness of an election held in the kindergarten. Vano Balakhashvili, the head of the Gori Department of Normative Acts Registry (a part of the Georgian Ministry of Justice), tells the Human Rights Centre, “There is not any official document registered, any legal act or regulation about the abovementioned election in our Department. You can address me in written form and I can confirm if for you,” Balakhashvili said.
His comment is recorded on audio tape.

Why is it then necessary for the Governor of Shida Kartli to make a claim in court? During a briefing at the kindergarten in Chala District, the governor stated that he is going to take action with the court for abolishing the results of the contest.

“It is interesting which results the governor abolishes while no legal document exists. In fact, this contest is illegal. The winners don’t have the right to hold any position,” declared Natia Kaliashvili, a lawyer with the Human Rights Centre.

Marina Metreveli, the manager of  kindergarten no.3, believes that he is legally appointed on her position.

It has become clear that the Gori court is far away from reality. Judge Dzimistarashvili has ruled that one of the plaintiff’s claims to abolish the contest results will not be accepted by the court as the deadline for filing a complaint has expired.

“It is interesting how these so-called managers hold their positions in the kindergarten. Balakhashvili announced that he has not  registered a single document or regulation about this contest and the present  managers don’t have any right to hold these positions,” argues the former manager of kindergarten no.12, Lia Chonishvili.

“The local government made the situation harder than it needed to be and now they are not liable to solve it. Both the former and current managers bother them and representatives of local government tell both sides the same thing: ‘Both of you are right and we cannot manage to find the truth in this complicated situation,’ says Marina Inauri, the former manager of a kindergarten.

“The former personnel don’t consider one thing: kindergartens are now under the control of the Municipality and soon they will become a separate legal entity, requiring a new manager. A contest had to be held for this purpose. Without such a process, the kindergarten managers would be illegal,” says Zviad Khmaladz, the Head of the Gori City Council.

Lia Chonashvili confirms that the government is making the situation more difficult than it needs to be. ”They don’t publish any documents or orders which prove that we are dismissed,” she says. “So we still hold our positions.”

The Human Rights Centre knew the new managers had gone to the Office of the Public Defender seeking help. The former manager of kindergarten no. 12, Lia Chonishvili, tells us that the former managers also went to the Public Defender’s Office but they were not satisfied with their visit. A representative of the Public Defender’s Office, Salome Vardiashvil, told the HRC that, “Our conclusion on that issue is objective and fair. We have met both sides and listened their claims. We will eventually give you the materials of this case but we are currently still studying it. After this inquiry all the materials will be released, as will our position. Because the former governor was fired by Mikheil Kareli’s administration, whom we were always critical of, doesn’t mean that we will consider only the former governor’s desires. The present managers claimed that the former ones were going to return their positions and illegally invade the kindergarten. I told them that in the case of illegal activity they have right to seek police help.”

One interesting detail remains that among the present managers are people who have relatives in local government. This fact makes many of the former managers afraid.

“Natia Kokoshvili has been appointed to kindergarten no. 9, and her sister works in the local government office as a main specialist. At the kindergarten no. 2, Nona Bukhradze, the wife of Dato Bukhradze and Mikheil Karelis’ close friend, has been appointed. Dato Bukhradze is a top official in the criminal police. The organizer of this contest, Revaz Gogoishvili, is Dato Bukhradze’s nephew. At kindergarten no. 12, the sister of Lali Klimiashvili, the former Head of  Staff, has been appointed. At Kindergarten no. 9, Nino Rostiashvili has been appointed. Her daughter Maia Rostiashvili, works in Mikheil Kareli’s staff. At kindergarten no. 3, Khatuna Iluridze has been appointed and her husband, Mamuka Davituliani, is a member of the Gori City Council. At kindergarten no. 4, Ekaterine Didebeli has been appointed, who worked as Mikheil Khareli’s secretary for a long time as well as in election headquarters during the Okruashvili and Khareli period. At kindergarten no. 6, Oliko Tsuriashvili has been appointed, who is a relative of Irakli Okruashvili and also the wife of Gogs Basilashvili, the Deputy Head of Gori Market.”

Gori City Council Member Mamuka Davituliani argues that his wife deserved the manager’s position at the kindergarten and legally won, as she satisfied all the necessary requirements. “Who are we promoting? My wife, whose wage is GEL 100?” Davituliani declared.

Main staff specialist Sesili Kokoshvili doesn’t take this argument seriously and tells us that she doesn’t use her position to protect people. “I don’t have a valuable enough position to protect my sister,” she says. “She participated in the contest and managed to win.”

Saba Titsikashvili, Gori