The requirement in the application conditions for applicants to the director general post a state agency under the defense ministry's remit to hold a master's degree in law gives the impression of a targeted competitive process where the successful applicant is already known in advance, State Secretary Taimar Peterkop concedes, at a time when calls are being made for more transparency in the hiring processes of top officials
Appearing on ETV panel show "UV Faktor" Tuesday evening, Peterkop, talking about the Defense Resources Agency (KRA) said: "When the competitive process started, we drew the Ministry of Defense's attention to the fact that the requirement for legal education creates the image that it is a targeted competition."
"However, the Ministry of Defense remained adamant that that requirement is needed for the position. However, I completely agree that such an impression remains," he went on.
The current acting KRA director, Anu Rannaveski, has a master's degree in law; the KRA competitive process which closed Monday attracted just one applicant.
The previous director, Marlen Piskunov, who quit suddenly in March, applied at a time when the requirements stated three years of management experience and "sufficient education", daily Postimees reports (link in Estonian).
Acting director Rannaveski has been an employee of the defense ministry since 2011 and managed its department of defense services, and previously worked heading up the KRA's legal department, for four years.
The inference thus is that the recent job ad was tailor-made with Rannaveski in mind for a permanent post.
A former, long-serving Deputy Secretary General at the ministry, Meelis Oidsalu, said last month that competitive processes for top civil servants' positions are often a sham, since the successful applicant has already been chosen. Oidsalu, who now works for ERR said that he had already known himself that he was a shoo-in for his defense ministry position in each time he applied, both initially and when a term was drawing to a close.
Oidsalu also said that outgoing Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluuramet) director Mikk Marran had been moved to head up the state forestry commission, the RMK when not half-way through his second, five-year term, as a result of overspending on luxuries while in office, adding that top civil service positions were doled out within a small, closed cabal - a claim which the Ministry of Defense Secretary General Kusti Salm strenuously rejected.
The process by which current Minister of Finance Keit Pentus-Rosimannus was nominated as Estonia's next representative at the European Court of Auditors has also attracted controversy, since the appointment to the post is a matter for the finance minister themselves, though State Secretary Peterkop told "UV Faktor" that all procedural aspects of the nomination had been carried out correctly.
The KRA calls up and prepares citizens for compulsory military service, recruits citizens for duty in the active service, ensures an overview of the state's available mobilization resources and supports the national defense course in school, according to its website.
Editor: Andrew Whyte