Laine Randjärv resigns as mayor of Viimsi rural municipality

Laine Randjärv.
Laine Randjärv. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Laine Randjärv (Reform) is resigning as Viimsi mayor, ERR reports. The move follows criticisms over her handling of bullying claims at a school in the rural municipality just outside of Tallinn, which saw her fire the school's principal.

"I am taking political responsibility and resigning as Viimsi rural municipality mayor because of a lack of consensus at management level," Randjärv said on her social media account, citing disagreements about the changes the educational community might need.

"To prevent a power vacuum in the municipal government, I am asking for my resignation to take effect from Dec. 10, when the municipal council can appoint a new member of the municipal government," Randjärv continued.

Randjärv says she has a clear idea of changes needed to improve schools' learning environments, to ensure the safety of both students and teachers, along with a clear overview of how taxpayers' money would be spent.

"Unfortunately, there are many disagreements over management decisions today, so I think it is not fair to continue unless we can act in our best understanding. We have to give ourselves the opportunity to realize ourselves," she added.

According to Randjärv, the management structure at Viimsi's schools needs to be reorganized, as well as work on how to better notice and respond to school bullying and violence.

As reported on ERR, Randjärv angered politicians, teachers and the public in Viimsi after firing Sirje Toomla, formerly principal of the Haabneeme school, with immediate notice, citing incidents of reported bullying at the school. A few days later, however, the municipal government overruled her dismissal of the headteacher.

Märt Vooglaid, a member of the Viimsi Reform Party faction, told ERR that Randjärv also failed to get support from her own party for the steps she had taken or planned to take in the field of education, including at Haabneeme school.

"She did not find enough support for her proposals on the council, and as a politician, she realizes that the only course of action is to resign, which she has done so with great dignity," Vooglaid said.

According to Vooglaid, the coalition on Viimsi's council, consisting of Reform, the Social Democratic Party (SDE), Isamaa, and the Rannarahvas electoral league, will continue with the same composition and remain united. 

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), Centre and the Kogukondade Viimsi electoral league make up the opposition.

"I am convinced that the coalition will survive. We have two important positions to fill today. From next Tuesday, we began active consultations to fill the position of new municipal governor, and then on an educational governor," Vooglaid said.

The Viimsi coalition is formed by the Reform Party, the Social Democrats, the Electoral League of the Coast People and the Fatherland.

Laine Randjärv became mayor of Viimsi rural municipality in February 2019 following her predecessor Siim Kallas' announcement he wished to run for the Riigikogu (Kallas is now Riigikogu vice-president).

Randjärv herself ran in the March general election as well, polling 245 votes, insufficient for a seat, and she remained Viimsi mayor in any case.

Laine Randjärv is a former Minister of Culture, Riigikogu MP, mayor and deputy mayor of Tartum, as well as a former director of the Vanemuine Concert Hall in Tartu.She was briefly board member of cultural body Eesti Kontsert in autumn 2018, before being ousted.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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