Estonia abolished county governments a few years back and has cut in half the number of regional administration departments from this year. Of the roughly 500 employees of former county governments fewer than 30 regional administration officials-specialists remain today. However, there is now a plan to hire more.
County governments closed their doors on January 1, 2018, with their tasks divided up between different state agencies and local governments. The current so-called successors of former county governments are Ministry of Finance departments that mostly deal with planning.
The ministry's regional administration department had 15 county divisions last year, while seven remain from January 1 this year.
"Some of the work got done and ran out, meaning there are seven divisions today. That's pretty much all there is to it. When these divisions were created, a part of their tasks concerned county government assets. County governments left quite a few assets behind, including archives," Väino Tõemets, head of the regional administration department, said.
Jaan Leivategija took over running the western branch of the department from this year and said that the division is mostly in charge of planning.
"From national special plans to county thematic plans and local government general plans if necessary," he said.
Väino Tõemets said that while so-called executive positions were done away with, the department will have to hire more specialists in the near future.
"Wind farm power lines, undersea power cables, 2+2 highways, whether in the north or west of the country – our workload is set to grow considerably," Tõemets said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski