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Tallinn recalls hospital council member over newspaper comments

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West Tallinn Central Hospital on Paldiski Maantee in Tallinn.
West Tallinn Central Hospital on Paldiski Maantee in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Tallinn City Government recalled a member of the council of the West Tallinn Central Hospital who criticized the process of electing a new hospital manager and the Mayor of Tallinn on Monday.

The city government held an extraordinary meeting and recalled Peeter Mardna after he spoke to newspaper Õhtulet claiming the outcome of the competition to find the new manager of the hospital had already been decided by the city government.

Mardna told the newspaper Dr. Arkadi Popov, head of the ambulance center at the North Estonian Regional Medical Center (PERH), and five others had submitted applications. He said Popov is the preferred choice of Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart and as Tallinn has a say in the selection process, the outcome has essentially already been decided. Mardna also said, in his opinion, the current head of the hospital Imbi Moks should continue.

The city government said Mardna's comments are not true and that the competition is ongoing.

Betina Beškina, deputy mayor responsible for Tallinn's social and healthcare sector, said in a statement that Mardna had lost credibility due to disclosing sensitive information during the hospital's recruitment process and for expressing personal preferences.

Beškina said the city government considers Mardna's behavior unethical as names of candidates should not be made public during the recruitment process. She said his actions do not "inspire confidence in the candidates either".

Peeter Mardna Source: Sten Teppan/ERR

In September, West Tallinn Central Hospital announced a public competition for the position of the Chairman of the Management Board in connection with the expiry of the term of office of the current Chairman of the Management Board, Imbi Moks in December. 

The recruitment process is conducted by the hospital and the selection committee is made up of members of the hospital's council which includes doctors and politicians.

The members are senior doctor and politician Merike Martinson (Center), Tallinn Chancellor Kairi Vaher, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina (Center), politician Margarita Tšernogorova (Center) and Peeter Mardna (Center) a former longtime physician at Magdalena Hospital.

The council of West Tallinn Central Hospital will discuss the election of a new manager on Monday.

The city government is not appointing a new member of the hospital's council at the moment, but at the proposal of the city government, an external expert will be involved in conducting the competition for the head of the West Tallinn Central Hospital.

Tallinn: Selection process is ongoing

Kirsti Ruul, head of Communications at Tallinn City Government, told ERR on Tuesday morning that Õhtuleht's story is not true and no new manager has been selected without a competition.

"The competition is ongoing. The candidates have submitted their documents, but they have not yet been invited for an interview. Certainly, no new leader has been selected without a competition," Ruul said.

Kõlvart had spoken with Popov about job

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart said on Tuesday afternoon he had asked Popov if he had considered applying for manager of West Tallinn Central Hospital (LTKH), but he never wanted to interfere in the selection of the council.

"I communicated with Dr. Arkadi Popov during the emergency situation and also during the second wave, which is not related to the selection of the LTKH board. However, the hospital makes the list of candidates on the basis of the visions presented to the council and the meetings held with them," Kõlvart said in a statement sent to the media.

The mayor said the city government wants to attract the best candidates by organizing public competitions and recruiting capable leaders with good management experience.

"If members of the selection board disclose confidential information about candidates during the competition, we will reduce the chances of getting strong managers and good professionals who are also in positions of responsibility and do not want to ruin their current position," Kõlvart wrote.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart's comments.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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