Ex-health minister Tanel Kiik could end up new Tallinn deputy mayor

Tanel Kiik.
Tanel Kiik. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) told online news portal Delfi late last week that he had offered former health and labor minister Tanel Kiik (Center) the position of deputy mayor.

"It's true that I asked Tanel today what he thought, and he said he'd start thinking about it, Kõlvart confirmed to Delfi (link in Estonian) on Friday.

Should Kiik, who lost his job as minister when the Estonian government was replaced, decide to accept, he will be taking up the deputy mayor post vacated by Andrei Novikov. Novikov recently quit the Center Party and will joining the management board of city-owned public transport company Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT).

Kõlvart said that the two would continue discussing the prospect this week. "I looked at who within our party could work in a leadership position — who has the experience — and that's when I came up with the idea to propose this to Tanel," he said.

Kiik himself likewise confirmed to Delfi that he had indeed had such a conversation with the capital's mayor and Center Party chair on Friday, and that they would continue discussing the matter this week.

"We'll have to calmly discuss what these tasks and challenges in the city system are; deputy mayor is a position with great responsibility," he said. "We will make an announcement once an actual decision has been made on the matter."

The former minister added that he's received job offers from both the political and private sectors, but currently he'd prefer to remain in politics.

Tallinn city government is currently ruled by a Center-Social Democratic Party (SDE) coalition.

Novikov heading from City Hall to TLT board

This May, TLT CEO Deniss Boroditš and board member Otto Popel were fired following an expose published by investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress (link in Estonian) detailing how the two had taken several international training trips on the City of Tallinn's dime, including the city paying for their plane tickets, hotels and per diems.

While not one of these trips had been relevant to Tallinn's public transport, Boroditš had nonetheless allowed for these bills — totaling €33,000-35,000 over two years — to be paid for out of TLT's budget, the paper said. At the time he was fired, Boroditš was earning a monthly salary of €7,500 as CEO of TLT.

In addition to serving as chair of the TLT's supervisory board at the time, Andrei Novikov had served as the deputy mayor of Tallinn responsible for the transport company's area of activity since 2017, and was the city official to have concluded contracts with the two ex-board members.

At the time of Boroditš and Popel's firing, Novikov had told ERR that he would not be resigning as deputy mayor, despite having been the one to agree to Boroditš expenses.

Novikov was appointed to the TLT board via a politically nonpartisan competition, Kõlvart stressed to ERR on Friday.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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