Rating of Uzhgorod 2014:
City Mayor publicity
Executive bodies publicity
Publicity of council deputies
The results of measurement in 2014 identified Publicity Index of Uzhgorod city council as 43 %. Therefore, Uzhgorod is on the 16th position in the rating of cities, between Poltava and Zhytomyr. As compared to the previous year, Publicity Index of Uzhgorod has increased almost by a quarter, or by 11 % in absolute values. Thus, the activity of the city council can now be classified as ‘low publicity level’ rather than ‘nonpublic’ as it used to be.
In first place, publicity has improved for executive bodies (from 30 % to 47 %) and deputies of the city council (from 27 % to 40 %). Publicity of the City Mayor has roughly changed as publicity level is 42 % (41 % in 2013). It must also be noted that unlike in the previous year measurement parameters for the three local self-government objects under analysis are almost the same, while in 2013 the gap between the publicity indices of city council deputies and the Mayor was 14 % (27 % and 41 % respectively).
The most problematic issue for City Mayor, executive bodies and the deputies is their accountability. For instance, there is no public access to reports on the work of executive bodies, on implementation of regulatory policy, on the work of deputy commissions, reports on the work of deputies. Most reports on the implementation of special purpose programs are not available, a.o.
Publicity index of the City Mayor is 42 %. It has roughly changed since 2013. It must be noted that Uzhgorod city head Viktor Pohorelov was sent to resignation while his duties have been performed by the city council secretary Viktor Shchadey. The positive aspects of publicity of the former acting city mayor include free access on the official website to most of major strategic documents of Uzhgorod city council, directives of the city mayor, some published documents on budget policy. The most problematic are the issues of reporting of the city mayor and the lack of significant part of important personal details about the mayor, as well as nonpublic HR policy.
Publicity index of executive bodies is 47 %. As compared to 2013, it has increased by 17%. Thus, most information on executive bodies and their heads is freely accessible. In comparison to the previous year, the situation with publicizing draft resolutions and executive committee decisions has significantly improved. Executive committee meetings are open, so citizens can freely attend. The city has a functioning CRAS. The problems are still about reporting, close nature of land issues, no information on the scope and cost of services, or the privileges for different categories of population. The local self-government body should update the structure of the website and engage citizens to cooperation more actively.
Publicity index of the city council deputies has also largely increased – from 27 % in 2013 to 40 % in 2014. The increase is mostly due to publicizing of draft resolutions and decisions of city council sessions, securing citizen rights to attend plenary sessions of the city council, publications of data on the results of personal voting on the council website. Adopting provisions on public hearings and local initiative can also be positively assessed. They regulate mechanisms of citizen influence on the decision making process. At the same time, there is hardly any information on reporting by city council deputies and permanent deputy commissions. There is no schedule for reporting for 2013. No information is available on deputy requests, minutes of meetings of deputy commissions. Over this year, deputies have not initiated any public hearings.
Upon the whole, most information on the city mayor and his activities is available on the official website of Uzhgorod city council. Thus, the section on the ‘City Mayor’ has brief biographical note on the acting city mayor including date of birth and educational background. However, some socially important information is not publicized, such as there is no photo, information on the marital status, criminal record, or party affiliation. Declaration on income of Viktor Shchadey is published in a local ‘Uzhgorod’ newspaper of April, 12, 2014. It is available from the city council website in the section on ‘Income Declarations’. There is also information on location, mailing address, telephone numbers, and an email of a city mayor. It can be found in the section on ‘Structure of City Authorities’ / ‘City Mayor’. The council webpage and the notice board offer the schedule of receiving citizens by the city mayor. However, the information on the procedure of applying for an appointment is lacking. The receiving office of the acting city mayor has a schedule to receive directors of companies, unions, and organizations. Citizens do not have access to the list of powers of the city mayor which is not publicized either on the council webpage, or on the notice board. Therefore, local community members do not always understand which issues fall within the competence of the head of the city.
As to informing on the activities of the city mayor, there is no separate unit within the executive committee to be responsible for this direction. This function is partially fulfilled by the Unit for Internal Policy, Organizational Work, and Public Relations. Information on activities involving the acting city mayor is posted on the city council website. Usually, it is either image-building or announcement-oriented in nature. That is why it would be more useful for media people. Acting city mayor does not hold any special briefings. One exception was a briefing on canceling the May, 9 celebration in the city of Uzhgorod. At the same time, Viktor Shchadey holds briefings after session meetings or executive committee meetings, or following the public events he attends. Usually, they take place at least once a week.
The website does not have any information about assiatnts and advisors of the city mayor, while it would obviously be of high social interest.
As to informing about municipality officials, the city council website would have a section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ with information about the personnel composition of boards and departments, as well as contact information such as office telephone numbers.
At the same time, human resources policy is non-public enough. The council website lacks information on the procedures and conditions for holding vacancies. Information on competitions for vacancies is usually published in the ‘Uzhgorod’ newspaper one month before holding the competition. On the other hand, the information is not available on the website. Minutes of meetings of competition commissions are available only in response to a request for information.
Citizens have access to main strategic documents of city life. Thus, the council website contains a ‘Development Strategy for the City of Uzhgorod until 2015’ and a ‘Programme for Social and Economic Development’ for two years. ‘Master plan of the City of Uzhgorod’ is published on the website but not in a complete form. It does not include chapters classified ‘for official use only’. Citizens can learn more about the budget for the current year on the city council website but amendments to the budget are publicized in resolutions of the city council. It makes it more complicated to find them. Amendments to the budget are introduced almost at every session of Uzhgorod city council.
The city council does not have an implemented ISO quality management system.
Statute of Local Community of the city of Uzhgorod is publicized on the website in the section on ‘Uzhgorod City Council’ / ‘Statute of Local Community’.
The website publishes most resolutions by city mayor. However, some of them are published on the website later than the term provisioned by the law (6-7 days). After all, there is no information on the date of publication of the document. It also shows that the requirements of the law are breached.
There was adopted a resolution of Uzhgorod city executive committee on establishment of a unit to provide for the implementation of the Law of Ukraine ‘On Access to Public Information’ (#268 of July, 20, 2011). Appendix to the resolution which describes the procedure of access to information is available at the official website of Uzhgorod city council in the section on ‘Access to Public Information’.
The website does not have an option for search of docuemtns according to different criteria. It is an obstacle to find the needed regulatory legal act.
Most information on the structure and composition of executive bodies is published on the city council website. Thus, the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ offers information on the structure and personnel composition, telephone numbers, in some cases – also emails, office hours of Uzhgorod city council executive bodies. Also, the section includes information on heads of executive bodies, such as their full names, office telephone numbers, while for some heads email address are provided. At the same time, there is no biographical data or photographs.
Also, citizens can find at the council web page most information on deputy city mayors. Their biographical data and the photographs are posted in the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘City Mayor Deputies’. It includes a photo, date of birth, educational background, work experience, family status, but no information on any criminal record and party affiliation. The website also has data on location, mailing address (office numbers), and telephone numbers of deputy city mayors. Income declarations of two out of three deputy city mayors are published on the city council website in the section on ‘Income Declarations’. Shedule for receiving hours of executive bodies to meet with citizens are posted in the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘Departments and Units’. However, the application procedure is not described.
Also, the website offers information on companies, institutions, and organizations within the administration of the city council. However, there is no information on medical, educational, or cultural establishments.
Information on executive bodies’ powers is not available.
City council web page records an address and telephone numbers of executive committee chief administrator of Uzhgorod city council in the sections on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘Departments and Units’.
Personnel composition of executive committee is published in the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘Executive Committee’. However, the information is outdated as resolution of the city council #1393 of 11.07.2014 on changes in the composition of executive committee has not been included. The information on executive committee members includes date of birth, educational background, work place, and party affiliation of members of city council executive committee. At the same time, data on executive committee members Ya.L. Kozych and O. Yu. Hatner is not available at all. List of powers of executive committee is not available at the website.
Executive committee operates in quite a public way as to issues concerning draft resolutions and adopted resolutions, unlike last year. Thus, scheduled meetings of executive committee are held every week (sometimes twice a week), on Wednesday at 10.00 a.m. They publish the agenda, draft resolutions, and date of the meetings. The place of the meeting is not indicated even though meetings usually take place in a small assembly hall of the city council. Resolutions of executive committee are published on the council website in the section on ‘Regulatory Legal Acts’ / ‘Resolutions by Executive Committee’.
Some resolutions by executive committee are published in an official printed edition of the city council, the ‘Uzhgorod’ newspaper. Draft resolutions by executive committee are published on the city council website in the section on ‘Regulatory Legal Acts’ / ‘Resolutions by Executive Committee’. Usually, they are posted at least 5 days before the meeting to adopt them.
As to regulatory policy, the plan of actions to prepare draft regulatory acts for 2014 is not available on the city council website. However, draft regulatory acts and announcements on the fact of publishing draft regulatory acts are posted on the city council website in the section on ‘Normative Legal Acts’ / ‘Regulatory Acts’.
The programme of social and economic development of the city, with appendices, the same as special purpose programmes funded from local budget of the current year, are published in the form of city council resolutions. It is not convenient for search and use, though.
Citizens would not be able to find on the city council website any information on services rendered by municipal companies, or their cost, any data on privileges for different categories of citizens and different types of services, as well as formulae to calculate the tariffs for utilities provision services.
One of the gravest drawbacks of the website is lack of search system, in particular search for regulatory legal acts. It makes it more complicated and takes longer to find information citizens need.
Land issues remain to be the least public aspect in Uzhgorod city council. Observers failed to record any facts of holding land auctions in the city. As to the service of urban construction cadastre, on February, 27, 2014, city council adopted a resolution to introduce a Programme for Establishing and Implementing Urban Cadastre of the City of Uzhgorod for 2014-2018. No other data on the functioning of land cadastre in Uzhgorod has been recorded.
City council website has a section on ‘Deputry Corps’ / ‘City Council Deputies’ which includes telephone numbers to contact the deputies. Some deputies only indicated the number of department to work with deputies of Uzhgorod city council. Most biographical data of deputies is not available. Thus, city council website sections on ‘Deputry Corps’ / ‘City Council Deputies’ has photographs of deputies and dates of birth, party affiliation, and current employment. The Information is outdated. For example, Fedir Vashchuk is described as a rector of Uzhgorod National University even though he has not been on the position since February 2014. Data on property status of deputies (declarations of property, income, and expenditures) is not available on the city council website. There are only declarations of deputy city mayors and officials of city council executive committee.
The website does not have generalized information on rights and duties of city council deputies. Schedule of office receiving hours of deputies is published on the city council website in the section on ‘Deputry Corps’ / ‘City Council Deputies’ / ‘Receiving Hours Schedule’, in the form of a doc-format document. It contains information on boundaries of constituencies (for majoritarian elected deputies), a contact telephone number, days, hours, and place for appointments.
Documents regulating work of city council deputies are hardly available for citizens. Regulations of city council operations are published on the website as resolutions of the city council session. It makes it more complicated to locate it. At the same time, there is no relevant version of the regulations with all changes that are introduced from time to time. Provisions on the work of permanent commissions are not available in free access at all.
Data on city council secretary are published not in full scope. Thus, brief biography is posted in the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘Council Secretary’, while information on the powers is not available. There is indicated time but not place for receiving citizens. Declaration on property, income, expenditures, and financial liabilities of the council secretary is posted in the section on ‘Income Declarations’.
Information composition of deputy commissions is available in the section on ‘City Council Deputies’ in the form of downloadable file. Information available is as of April 2014. Information on shifts to other commissions is not published.
Composition of permanent deputy commissions is published in the section on ‘Deputy Corps’ / ‘Deputy Commissions’, and also in the form of a downloadable document in the section on ‘City Council Deputies’. Information on changes in the composition of deputy commissions is not available. Schedules of meetings of permanent deputy commissions are not published even though city council website informs on date, time, and place for deputy commissions meetings.
The list of majoritarian deputies and boundaries of constituencies is available in the section on ‘Deputy Corps’. It is offered in the document ‘Schedule to Receive Voters by Uzhgorod City Council Deputies of the IVth Convocation’. For each deputy elected in a majoritarian constituency, there is description of the constituency boundaries. Constituency map is not available.
Information on an email of the department for work with deputies and permanent commissions is available on the website in the ‘Contacts’ section. Place (office number), telephone numbers, and emails are published in the section on ‘Structure of City Council Bodies’ / ‘Departments and Units’.
Resolutions on convening council session are usually published at least 10 days before the city council session, along with the agenda and draft resolutions of the session. In voting, they use an electronic voting system, information on the registration of deputies is shown on the council website in voting results. Personal voting results are published on the council website along with adopted resolutions. Video and audio broadcast of the council sessions is not offered. At the same time, the city council website posts both adopted resolutions and sound recordings of the course of sessions in the section of ‘City Council Sessions Resolutions’.
All resolutions adopted at city council plenary sessions are published in due time (at least 10 working days after the meeting). No deputy funds have been allocated by the city council. Minutes of deputy commissions meetings and deputy requests are not published on the Uzhgorod city council website. Implementation plan of voters’ mandate by the deputies has not been adopted by the city council.
As to personal requests, the procedure is not complicated and is accessible for most categories of citizens. According to the schedule of appointments, acting city mayor holds meetings with citizens on the first Monday of the month, while on the fourth Thursday of the month the acting city mayor holds meetings as a council secretary. City mayor receives citizens in fixed hours and is personally attending the meetings. City mayor also regularly receives other categories of persons/unions. A receiving office is located on the ground floor of the city council. Entrance to the city council building is equipped with the rampant but other appliances to assist the disabled persons are not available. Acting city mayor also holds field meetings. Usually, they take place in cases of emergency or conflict situations. Also, anyone can communicate with the acting city mayor via social media through his personal Facebook profile. It is a platform to actively discuss relevant issues for the city of Uzhgorod. Operating emergency line for requests of citizens is not available. The website does not have information on the procedure for citizen requests but there is a function of ‘Public Office’. It is supposed to help receive a reply to your question after entering it into a respective window on the council website.
Acting city mayor does not use civil society resources actively enough. He hardly ever initiates any public hearings but city mayor participated in hearings initiated by public organizations. Information on city mayor initiating consultations with the public in the form of questioning or focus-groups has not been recorded. A separate public council under the auspices of the city mayor does not function but Uzhgorod city council public council is quite active. It often publicly criticizes activities of city authorities. As to working groups, an information request was submitted thereon. In response, a reply was received that at present there was one working group functioning at the city mayor. It is a working commission to monitor financial and economic activity of a municipal company ‘Production Office of Water Supply and Sewerage of the City of Uzhgorod’.
There is no separate unit to be responsible for establishing cooperation with civil society organizations. These functions are fulfilled by the Unit for Internal Policy, Organizational Work, and Public Relations.
Activities of executive committee are public enough. Access to meetings of executive committee is free. In order to attend the meeting, you do not need to write an application or go through a preliminary registration procedure. Those present are registered right before the start of executive committee meeting. There were adopted Provisions On Public Hearings published as an appendix to city council resolution. At the same time, public hearings are not used actively enough as a tool of civil influence, while the city council website only has some posts on the fact of holding such events.
Working groups established at executive bodies are usually interagency in nature and operate in a non-public manner, with no community involved. Advisory and consultancy bodies are not available at executive bodies. City council public council has several committees which work according to different directions.
The council official website has a separate section ‘On Access to Public Information’ which has Provisions on the Procedure of Providing Access to Public Information in Uzhgorod City Council and Its Executive Bodies, the procedure of disputing the resolutions or inactivity of information administrator, and a typical request form for access to public information.
The city council website is quite obsolete and does not satisfy the needs to conveniently obtain and use public information of Uzhgorod city council. Navigation system is not convenient. For instance, it is impossible to immediately go to main page; the search system is not available, etc.
Access mechanisms to public information in the city of Uzhgorod are sufficiently available but citizens do not always receive such information. Information requests can be submitted by all possible means: by mail, by an email, by fax, via telephone, and in person. Replies to most requests were received within 5 days. One reply was received after 20 days but we have been notified thereon 5 days after request registration.
Information received through requests is not always complete. At times, general description of the question is offered instead of a full-fledged response. Citizens have a chance to get acquainted with the procedure to dispute resolutions (acts or inactivity) by information administrators which is described in the section on ‘Access to Public Information’.
There is some room to work with the documents. It is available in the corridors next to general department offices and next to the department for work with documents. However, this place is not convenient since the room would not be able to host many requesters at a time. Requesters for information have a chance to process received information while the scope of payment for copying and printing of a request response over 10 pages is UAH 0.50 per page.
City council website and the CRAS page are not user-friendly for visually impaired persons as there is no option to regulate sharpness, font size, accompanying sound for user actions, or keyboard access.
Uzhgorod city council established CRAS which operates at the address of Uzhgorod, Poshtova pl., 3, ground floor. Uzhgorod CRAS does not have a separate website but information on CRAS operations is available at Uzhgorod city council website in the section of ‘Centre for Rendering Administrative Services of Uzhgorod City Council’. In particular, it is the address, CRAS office hours, list of documents, terms for rendering services, sample of the application form for an information card to request for a service.
There is a box for remarks and suggestions in the building of CRAS.
There is also an opportunity to receive information on available services via telephone.
Information on free of charge Register of Administrative Services is available at the Governmental portal. No round-the-clock telephone reference service or the option to inform requesters through mass media is available. Printed reference information materials are not available in the building of CRAS.
Due to lack of space, information stands do not have all samples of documents needed. Information cards are available from CRAS officials and can be offered by the officials in case of need. It must be noted that such cards are freely accessible at CRAS web page on city council website. Requesters can receive application forms for administrative services from CRAS officials upon request.
Electronic waiting line and the procedure of preliminary application to CRAS is not available since there is no need in it. Upon the measurement results, no queues have been recorded in CRAS.
Uzhgorod has an institution to render free of charge primary legal assistance which operates under oblast board of justice.
Citizens have free access to the council sessions. No impediments for citizens to attend the sessions have been identified. At the same time, the session assembly hall is located on the first floor, while the elevator in the building of the city council is not functioning. Therefore, the session hall is a place difficult to access by disabled persons. There is no separate prescribed procedure for the attending citizens to speak out during the session but the floor is given to citizens quite often, upon the chairperson’s permission.
Deputy commissions work quite publicly. Despite the fact that the procedure of access to deputy commission sessions is not published citizens usually have access to them upon the permission of individual deputy commission members, or a commission head.
In 2014, the procedure to involve the community to the work of city council has been modified. The procedure for public hearings is stipulated by Article 12 of the Statute of Local Community of the city of Uzhgorod. There are also separate Provisions on Public Hearings which largely improve and facilitate the procedure. Also, they have simplified the procedure for submitting local initiatives stipulated in the Provisions on Local Initiatives.
At the same time, deputies do not involve the community to discuss city council resolutions. Thus, deputies have not initiated any public hearings in 2014.
Report on budget execution is available only from the section on ‘Regulatory Legal Acts’/‘Resolutions of City Council Sessions’ in the resolution #1199 of February, 27, 2014. Information on implementation of programmes is submitted in the form of resolutions by city council deputies.
City mayor reporting remains to be one of the weakest publicity aspects. There has not been recorded any fact of public reporting at an open meeting with the community, as it is provisioned by the Law of Ukraine ‘On Local Self-Governance’ (part 7, Article 42). In Uzhgorod, the mayor usually reports on implementation of programmes of social, economic and cultural development of the city, and also on the implementation of specific purpose local programmes at the city council session. Information on implementation of programmes of social, economic, and cultural development of the city for 2013 is published in the section ‘On Implementation of Special Purpose Programmes’. No separate report has been recorded on the work of executive bodies. City mayor’s report on his work for 2013 has not been publicized. It might be due to the fact that Uzhgorod city mayor Viktor Pohorielov was dismissed from his position by the resolution of Uzhgorod city council in February 2014.
Reports by executive bodies can be assessed at a very low level. No reports by executive bodies on their performance have been detected. Report on implementation of programmes for social, economic, and cultural development for 2013 is published on the city council website but there are no interim reports for 2014.
Reports on public information requests processing are published on the website in the section on ‘Access to Public Information’ but they are not complete and contain only statistical data.
At present, data on city budget is not systematized and inconvenient to use. City council website has published information on the structure and the scope of expenditure of local budget but changes to the budget are only published in the form of city council resolutions. It makes it more complicated to use the documents. Quarterly reports on local budget execution are usually published in the form of city council resolutions.
Executive bodies’ reports on the course and results of municipal property alienation are not published.
The section on ‘Normative Legal Acts’ / ‘Regulatory Acts’ does not have published reports on monitoring effectiveness of regulatory acts. The official city council printed medium ‘Uzhgorod’ newspaper does not reveal such information, either.
Reporting is still the least public aspect in the work of Uzhgorod city council deputies. Upon the whole, reporting procedure of deputies to the community is not stipulated in the Statute of Local Community or in any other provisions by the council. Reports on the work of deputy commissions are not published on the council website. There is no information on whether deputies have any voters’ mandate. Relevant reports on city council deputies’ performance are not available on the website.
Some cases of deputies reporting on their work have been recorded but the results of such reports are not generalized. It is indicated in replies to requests that deputies do not inform city council on their reporting results. Along with that, in 2013, Uzhgorod city council adopted a resolution on arranging deputies reporting to the community.