Government undecided on new PPA chief

Kaja Kallas and Lauri Läänemets at a government press conference.
Kaja Kallas and Lauri Läänemets at a government press conference. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The coalition has not yet reached a consensus on the next chief of the Police and Boarder Guard Board (PPA). The interior minister's preferred candidate is neither opposed nor supported.

The PPA is Estonia's largest institution and there are two main problems facing the organization in the coming years: the impact of the war in Ukraine and dealing with an aging workforce.

There is no need to organize an open competition for the position as the PPA is a security agency, Monday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.

Minister of Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) has proposed Veiko Kommusaar, ministry undersecretary, fill the role.

"All the candidates are very good, but in the end you have to choose the best one. Kommusaar has a very good vision for how the Estonian police should move forward, how we can do more to ensure people's safety in a situation where we will have fewer police officers because we have an aging population," said Läänemets.

At the same time, a selection committee, headed by State Secretary Taimar Peterkop, appointed by the minister, also considered other officials — but not Kommusaar.

Ministry of the Interior Undersecretary Veiko Kommusaar. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

"We conducted a mental aptitude test, a personality test, held interviews where candidates presented their vision and based on that we ranked them," explained Peterkop.

The committee considered PPA general directors Krista Aas and Egert Belitšev and the head of the Rescue Board Kuno Tammearu for the top job. Belitšev ranked first.

While there is technically nothing wrong with Läänemets proposing another candidate, Peterkop said organizing the committee at the same time seemed "a bit incomprehensible" as a lot of time and resources were allocated.

Läänemets said Kommusaar was proposed as some of the other candidates were considered unsuitable by members of the coalition, although he would not say who.

Kommusaar was recommended to the minister by PPA, where the undersecretary used to work, he said.

Taimar Peterkop. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

But the current police chief Elmar Vaher backs Aas and Belitšev saying he has seen how they work.

"My recommendation to the minister is to choose a new police chief from among them. But I have full confidence in the minister because he has to work with the new leader," he told AK.

Criticism of Kommusaar centers on the fact he has not been directly involved in PPA work for some time and does not have experience managing a large organization. Läänemets said he did not agree.

Kommusaar said he has management experience and his current work draws on his past experiences.

"Ministerial work also involves multifaceted management: leading change, leading the processes to make those changes happen in society, and, of course, leading people," he said, adding he also has management experience from the PPA.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) wants to meet with all the candidates before a decision is reached. The head of the PPA must be approved by a Riigikogu committee.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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