Maarjo Mändmaa presented as new social ministry secretary general

Maarjo Mändmaa.
Maarjo Mändmaa.

Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo (Reform) and Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) are set to propose to the government their plan of appointing Maarjo Mändmaa to the position of Ministry of Social Affairs Secretary General. If the government approves the move, Mändmaa will begin at the position on August 23.

On August 2, a proposal was made to remove from office Secretary General of the Ministry of Social Affair Marike Priske, following criticisms of progress on the vaccination program. While some critics made the charge that Priske had been forced to take the hit for Tanel Kiik (Center), back in January she had been charged with jumping the wait line for her own coronavirus vaccine shots.

Kiik said expectations are high for Mändmaa as the chancellor. "The social affairs ministry is a ministry with a wide area of governance. The responsibility is exceptionally great during this crisis. It is important to maintain labor peace, to have a long-term strategic view of how to exit the pandemic, while also progressing policies," Kiik said.

He considers Maarjo Mändmaa a strong and competent leader, who has the advantage of earlier leadership experience in the ministry. "Expectations for the new secretary general are great from both society and the sector, there is basically no time to get settled in. It is important to ensure a supporting work atmosphere, effective cooperation between the ministry's agencies and a strategic vision of solving the COVID-19 crisis and more," Kiik said.

Signe Riisalo pointed out that the post of Secretary General is among the highest in Estonian ministries. "The social ministry's area of governance makes up nearly half of the Estonian state budget. We are responsible for pensions, child benefit, parental benefit, unemployment insurance and medical services. Leading a ministry like this demands statesmanship, empathy, leadership experience and field-specific competencies. Maarjo Mändmaa met these expectations to both I and Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik," Riisalo said.

Maarjo Mändmaa told ERR on Wednesday that his first order of business is to look over the coronavirus leadership scheme. "To gather up the people who have been involved so far, many social ministry area of governance leaders are changing, the ministry undersecretary is also changing. In short, we have to review the current scheme and ensure effective management of the coronavirus crisis," the new ministry secretary general said.

Maarjo Mändmaa graduated cum laude from the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, studying criminology. He has also studied public administration at the University of Tartu and got his master's degree in administrative management from the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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