Deputy mayor faces no-confidence vote after stranded woman TV report

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Opposition parties on the Tallinn council, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), Isamaa, the Reform Party and the Social Democrats (SDE), are jointly initiating a vote of no-confidence in deputy mayor Kalle Klandorf (Center), due to his reported attitude towards a woman with mobility issues who had had difficulties getting round in the snow. The deputy mayor denies any wrong-doing.

Commercial TV channel Kanal 2 showed a clip in its news show "Reporter" of the woman who had gotten in trouble while going to an eye clinic, due to a sidewalk in the city center of Tallinn being blocked with snow. The woman used a wheeled walking aid, and the street in question had not been cleared of recent, heavy snowfalls.

The show asked Klandorf, one of six deputy mayors, for comment, since he is responsible for public, communal areas. Klandorf said he considered the situation satisfactory as it was, and recommended the woman take a taxi to her destination.

"A heartless and careless attitude towards the more vulnerable is not appropriate for a deputy mayor of Tallinn, and with this attitude, [Klandorf's] leading the city can't continue," the representatives of the four opposition parties said.

"Klandorf's responsibilities, besides organizing cleaning equipment parties, is to ensure the operating of public spaces and carry out monitoring if there's a problem. Recommending the elderly use taxis instead shows that in the city government, they have already given up."

The parties are planning to initiate a no-confidence vote, most likely at the next city council sitting.

Sidewalks in residential areas of the capital generally the responsibility of adjacent buildings' owners to keep clean, an activity which runs the gamut in terms of how conscientiously it is done.

Klandorf: I'm not going to resign

Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, Klandorf said that he had assumed the elderly woman, who used a wheeled walking aid to get around, had a disability and as such would have her taxi fare paid for by the city.

He also said he had no intention of resigning, adding that the sidewalk in question is privately-owned, meaning that as noted above, the owner of the adjacent property is liable for keeping it clean.

Klandorf's superior, Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center), however, said that the grievance against the deputy mayor was legitimate, adding Klandorf should not have phrased his initial statement in the way that he did.

Kõlvart said: "I am ready to apologize [on behalf of Klandorf]."

"I am sure my colleague did not want to attack or disparage anyone," Kolvart went on. "But in the interests of justice, we also need to listen to what Klandorf said."

At the same time, Kõlvart confirmed both that the sidewalk is adjacent to private property and that taxi fares in such cases will be reimbursed by the city.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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