The newly-appointed government representative for Ida-Viru County will be remunerated over €5,000 per month gross, portal Delfi reports.
The role is a sui generis one, set up by the current government in the interests of centralization.
The Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition agreement allowed for a regional government representative to be installed in respect of Ida-Viru County specifically, in order to both improve its socio-economic situation, and to boost presence of the state within that county.
The area has historically leaned heavily on the oil shale sector – mining, producing and refining that oil, and using it as a fuel at power stations – so the decline in the sector, currently partly reversed, and the moving forward with the green transition have had their impact on the region's economy.
It borders with the Russian Federation, while some towns, most notably Narva, are majority Russian-speaking.
Narva itself has a notably idiosyncratic and tumultuous local politics scene; when local government proved wanting, the state has stepped in on more than one occasion to put in place policies regarding the removal or relocation of relics, statues, monuments and the like, glorifying the Soviet occupation of Estonia.
A total of 34 candidates submitted documents to the public competitive process announced to find the first Ida-Viru County state representative, which was whittled down to a shortlist of nine; the final candidate chosen was Jaanus Purga, a former board member at Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) – a company involved in the oil shale sector.
Purga is also one of the founders and leaders of SA Rohetiiger ("Green Tiger"), a foundation aimed at moving forward with the green transition by bringing together stakeholders to that end.
Regional Affairs Minister Madis Kallas (SDE) told SDE that Purga's new monthly wage of a little over €5,000 is comparable with that paid to his ministry's undersecretaries (€5,130 per month gross).
Purga himself had stated openly his intentions to run for the position, noting that he has been residing in Ida-Viru County for 25 years now, which gives him local knowledge and means he is not an outsider.
"The county has given me a lot, now I want to give something back," he told Delfi.
Minister Kallas said it was Purga's high motivation, his comprehensive knowledge and versatile experience, strong business background, clear vision of the region's future and orientation towards solutions which made him the chosen candidate.
Purga will be based in Jõhvi, in North-Central Ida-Viru County, and starts work next Monday, October 16.
Editor: Andrew Whyte