Former Defense Minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) saod, when commenting on Meelis Oidsalu's recent article on the inner circle benefits of top-ranking officials, that public service competitions are open and public in Estonia.
Oidsalu, former deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Defense, writes in an opinion piece for ERR News that outgoing head of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (EFIS) Mikk Marran and his agency found themselves in a crisis of trust in the ministry's administrative area, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Monday.
Oidsalu finds that problems were caused by Marran's domineering manner. He writes that the EFIS director built a sparkly shell around the agency while overlooking core processes. The former high-ranking official goes on to suggest there is an inner circle of top public executives in which well-paid roles are appointed as opposed to finding people through public competitions. Marran's promotion to head state forest manager RMK following his numerous fallings out (with EFIS clients), according to Oidsalu, is a sign of Estonia moving away from the principles of meritocracy in public service.
Parrying Oidsalu's notion of an inner circle of officials, Laanet said that competitions are public.
"The political leadership has certain choices. They usually do not coincide with those of the higher public servants selection committee, while the best person running is usually selected. Talking about ministers, the also have a measure of say, for example, when it comes to the secretary general," Laanet said.
Laanet described his working relationship with Marran as businesslike but admitted, as claimed by Oidsalu, that he had to pull him out of vacation during the Belarusian [migrant] crisis.
"Yes, it is true that I called him, while I don't remember how many days it took him to return to work," the former minister recalled.
Asked what he thinks of Oidsalu's decision to go public, Laanet had this to say: "Meelis Oidsalu is well-known as a fierce critic. A theater critic and social critic, and that is just his style of going about these things. And as ours is a democratic society, we cannot really hold it against him," Laanet said.
Oidsali refused to comment on the article, as did Mikk Marran and State Secretary Taimar Peterkop, whose name is also mentioned.
Editor: Marcus Turovski